The Sweet Christian Bride

Invitations I: Setting the Tone for Your Wedding

by admin on February 19, 2013 in Invitations with No Comments

Chris and I have a habit of rating movie previews.  In the darkness of the theater, we will glance at each other’s silhouetted hands to see how many fingers the other is holding up.  Scary movies or anti-God movies always get zeros, and movies in a beloved series (think Indiana Jones or X-Men) always get tens.  But everything else is left open to how good the preview is.  It is our only taste of what’s to come, so our expectations are shaped then and there by what the trailer shows us.

The same is true for your wedding.  Your invitations (and/or save-the-dates) set the tone for your wedding; it is your wedding’s preview.

If your invitations are formal, your guests will expect a formal wedding.  If your invitations are playful, they will anticipate a more casual wedding.

Many couples choose to keep the invitations in line with their wedding theme such as seashells on a beach wedding invitation, green tones on an outdoor wedding invitation, or fall flowers and leaves on an autumnal wedding invitation.  It piques the guests’ appetite for the wedding to come.

I once received an invitation that looked like two pieces of dark card stock pasted together.  The text was in Times New Roman font on white printer paper that had crooked edges and glue marks showing.  Honestly, I was shocked that this is what they had chosen to represent the celebration of their wedding (as well as to ask Chris and me to shell out hundreds of dollars to be there).

I wasn’t appalled by the simplicity or affordability.  Those qualities are admirable and are in fact consistent with this couple’s personality.  I was appalled that the invitation was sloppy.  The tone that it set for their wedding was inconsequential and haphazard.

Chris and I went to their wedding because we love them, but we were banking on having a higher opportunity cost than reward if the rest of their wedding was going to be so careless and chaotic.  (Thankfully, the wedding was spectacular and nothing whatsoever like their invitations intimated).

If you aren’t sure how to start choosing an invitation, take inventory of the “tone setting” details of your overall wedding experience.  What season is your wedding in?  What is your venue like?  At what time of day will it take place?  What attire would you prefer for your guests?  What attire is the bridal party wearing?  What are your centerpieces and other decorations like?

Chris and I had no idea what we wanted to do for the invitations, but we knew what adjectives we wanted people to use when they described our wedding: classy, fun, and personal.  It was a summer, daytime wedding, so we wanted a lighter approach to the invitation rather than using heavy or dark card stock.

The bridesmaids were in short dresses, which leaned more towards casual, but the groomsmen were in tuxedos (the kind with the four in hand tie, not the bow tie), which was more formal.  We wanted our guests to be in “garden party” attire.

Our ceremony was in a lush garden and our reception was in a wooden lodge, both of which felt very natural, so we thought green would be an appropriate background color that would highlight our wedding colors: yellow and white.

All of our details were laid out before us, but we still had no idea what that added up to in terms of creating an invitation design.

One of my bridesmaids, Tatiana, was up for the challenge.  She was delighted to use her photography and design skills to create several mock-ups that fit with our adjectives, colors, and budget.  She sent the mock-ups to us over email and when we chose one, she created them all.

We loved them so much that her invitations became the model for our name cards, guest favors, and programs.  All of a sudden, we found a visual theme that would carry through all the aesthetic elements of the wedding!

Whatever you decide to do, have fun with it and feel free to ask your trusted friends or family what ideas they might have.  Sometimes they can spark an even greater thought than you might have mustered.  Whether simple or elaborate, let your invitations reflect what your guests can expect more of at your wedding.  They will be counting down the days in anticipation of your wedding, eager to be there celebrating with you!

Photos by me (if you couldn’t tell)  🙂

Article was originally published on February 18, 2011.

By Lindsay

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