Tag: InvitationMaven

Do It Yourself (DIY) versus Professional Invitations: Pros and Cons to Help You Decide What’s Best for You

Last month, I wrote about how to add unique and personal touches to your wedding or party décor with projects you do yourself (known as Do It Yourself, or DIY). The article was actually about how you can hire a professional to help you if you don’t think you can or don’t want to do the work yourself, but still want that personal touch at your party. This month, I thought I’d delve a little deeper into the Do It Yourself decision as it pertains to invitations, and present some pros and cons to help you decide whether or not you should make your own or hire a professional. This article will help you figure that out so you can set the right tone for your event.

INVITATION STYLE AND DESIGN

The invitation you choose for your event is largely based on how formal your event is and what tone and expectations you want to set for your guests. If you are throwing an elegant affair, you’ll probably want to have an invitation that imparts the formality of the event. Fancier invitations such as letterpress, foil stamping, laser cut designs, and printing on things other than paper (like plastic or wood), are not easily done from home. Ordering invitations from a professional company expands the range of papers and printing styles you can choose from. Also, if you have a specific design in mind, the best option is to Read more

Five Common Invitation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

When designing your custom event invitation, whether it’s for a wedding, bar mitzvah, fundraising event or milestone birthday, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. There’s more to it than simply creating the invitation and placing it in the envelope. Here are the top 5 mistakes most people make when creating their invitations and some tips about how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Not including all the necessary information on the invitation

I find that some clients worry that their invitation includes too much information. However, I counter that it’s best to include all of the information your guests will need to know rather than leave something out for the sake of cutting out a few words. Of course, your invitation should include the basic details of the event such as the day and date of the event, the time the event starts, and the location of the venue, but don’t be afraid to include inserts with additional details. For example, one of the most common inserts is a Map and Directions card. Even though most cars and phones have navigation software to help guide guests to the location of your event, including a pre-printed map or printed directions in the invitation, especially if the venue is difficult to find, is a courtesy many guests will appreciate.

Other common inserts include a separate reception card, which is critical if your reception is at a different location than your ceremony, a “Weekend Events” insert with information about events taking place before and after the main event, and an “Accommodations” card, which can include information about local hotels, nearby airports, local attractions, rental car agencies, and room blocks you have reserved on behalf of your guests. Finally, don’t forget to include information about the dress code somewhere in your invitation suite, either on the invitation itself or on a separate card. People want to know how to dress for the occasion, so be sure to let them know.

Mistake #2: Not sending invitations out on time and not giving people enough time to RSVP

The number one question I get from clients is “when should I send out my invitations?” The answer is six to eight weeks before your event. If you are having a destination wedding, be sure to send them out on the eight-week end of that mailing window so that guests have enough time to make travel arrangements.

Tied in with this mistake is not giving people enough time to respond. You want to give them three to four weeks from when they receive your invitation to when you want the RSVP back to figure out if they can attend. Set the RSVP return date no later than two weeks before your event. If you mail your invitations on time, this will give guests plenty of time to let you know and it will give you enough time to follow up with guests you don’t hear from so you can give your caterer an accurate number.

Mistake #3: Not clearly identifying who is invited

The best way to let your guests know who is invited to your event is to tell them on the front of the envelope. Don’t include references to other people who live at an address on the front of the envelope, either directly or implied, unless you intend to include them in your festivities. For example, if you are inviting a couple but not their kids, address the envelope as “Mr. and Mrs. Steven Jones” rather than “The Jones Family.” If you are including the girlfriend or boyfriend of a guest, it’s best to find out the name of that person and address the invitation to both people by name. If you decide a friend may bring a guest (or a “plus one” in wedding parlance), be sure to include “and Guest” on his or her envelope.

Mistake #4: Printing your registry information on the invitation

I have had several clients who want to put their wedding registry information on their actual invitations. I strongly discourage them from doing this as it’s an etiquette no-no. Instead, as I’ve done with several clients, include an insert with a link to your wedding website (NOTE: Do NOT print the direct link to your registry on either your invitation or inserts. Rather, embed the ink somewhere on your website and make it easy for guests to find once they’re there). From your website, guests can search for more information about your event, including your registry.

Mistake #5: Forgetting the stamp on the RSVP envelope

To encourage your guests to send back their RSVP cards, make it as easy as possible for them to do so. You can do that by including a pre addressed and stamped envelope. That way, all your guest has to do is fill out the RSVP card, put it in the envelope, seal it, and drop it in a mailbox. Don’t try to save money by not including pre-paid return stamp. It’s considered a party faux pas.

When designing your invitation suite, be sure to include all the details your guests will need to know. If you’re not sure, or don’t want the information on the main invitation itself, include the information on a separate insert. When I design an invitation suite for my clients, I use a check list to make sure I haven’t left off any important details. For your FREE CHECKLIST of details to include when designing your invitation suite, click here: INVITATION DETAILS TO INCLUDE ON EVERY INVITATION. For assistance in designing a one-of-a-kind custom invitation suite, complete with all the information your guests need to know, contact Invitation Maven at info@InvitationMaven.com.

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DIY Not Your Thing? Hire a Professional to Help Create Personal Details for Your Wedding or Mitzvah

As a professional designer of custom wedding invitations, I see all manner of design incorporated into a bride and groom’s special day. My absolute favorite events are those where the bride (and sometimes even the groom) create their own beautiful handmade details. I love these weddings because the details make the event personal and bring guests closer to the bride and groom. And with sites like Instagram and Pinterest, Do-It-Yourself, or DIY, is more popular than ever.

These websites provide a plethora of ideas brides and grooms can search for inspiration. Many of the ideas even include How To instructions and links for finding necessary supplies and materials. But what I hear most often from my clients who LOVE what they see is that they just aren’t able to do it themselves. Either they don’t feel like they’ve got the creative bug or they don’t have the time or inclination.

That’s where I come in.

Pinterest is a wonderful resource

In addition to designing custom wedding invitations, I also can help design and create any design a client sees online. A party planner I work with once sent me an image from Pinterest of a 5-foot tall jumbo tissue paper flower and asked if I could make some for her client. “Of course!” I said. And I made it so. I made 16 flowers in varying heights. And the best part? The flower heads are removable from the stems so I can change them to match any color scheme. I initially made them with peach colored flowers, then made purple flowers for another party, as you can see in the images below. And I’m currently creating the flower tops in blues to match the decor of an upcoming event.

Jumbo tissue paper flowers make a stunning display at the entrance to any party.
The flower tops can be swapped out to match any decor.


Custom artwork designed by the guest of honor adds a special touch

For another client, I incorporated a painting the client’s daughter made into not only the reception card in the invitation suite, but also into the seating cards and cover of a bencher, a book containing Jewish prayers recited after meals.

Reception card featuring original artwork painted by one of the bat mitzvah girls.
Seating cards for a beach-themed bat mitzvah
Custom benchers for reciting grace after meals.

Seating cards (above) and custom benchers (below) featuring the same artwork as the Reception Card.

Other hand-painted images were used in other parts of the invitation suite and repeated at the party as well.

Doing double duty

And for my own son’s bar mitzvah in December 2014, I hand painted a chair that we used for two separate parts of the event: first, the chair was our sign in “book.” Our guests signed in to the party by writing their name on the chair. Then, we used that same chair for a traditional Jewish chair lifting dance called the horah at the beginning of the festivities. This chair is now a keepsake that my son keeps in his room.

Hand painted sign-in chair that can also be used for the horah

Don’t skip DIY because you don’t think you can do it yourself

DIY is very popular and is a great way to incorporate personal details into your party. But you don’t have to do it all yourself. Contact Invitation Maven at info@InvitationMaven for help in giving your party some DIY touches.

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#batmitzvah
#bnaimitzvah
#wedding
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#DIY
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Making Sure Your Invitation is Functional, Not Just “Pretty”

Why Invitation Design is Important

This beginning post isn’t really about invitations, per se. It is about how what may become the most infamous design flaw in the print world ruined such an important and special moment for many people anticipating a crowning achievement in their careers. This story highlights the importance of a good, functional design and demonstrates why function and clarity are more important that looks.

Here’s what happened:

It’s Oscar Sunday, 2017, Hollywood’s most important night of the year. They save the biggest and most anticipated Oscar for the end of the show: BEST PICTURE. Anticipation builds throughout the evening, and the moment everyone is waiting for arrives.

To add to the drama of the moment, two iconic stars, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, open the envelope and announce the winner for Best Picture. Actors, producers and others involved with the winning film come up on stage. Acceptance speeches are given. Then, in what is perhaps the oddest and most surreal moment in Academy Awards history, utter confusion ensues and the REAL winner is unceremoniously revealed.

It’s a chaotic and embarrassing scene as it becomes apparent that the presenters were handed the wrong envelope. The protocols that surround this process are well known and strictly adhered to, so how could this happen?

Well, it seems the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences took the design process in house this year. And while they may have created an envelope that looked beautiful, it seems their graphic designers did not take into account the whole purpose of design: to be functional. And part of being functional, especially when billions of people are watching and Hollywood careers are on the line, is to be clear and to have what is known in the engineering field as redundancy. Clarity imparts the necessary information. Redundancy ensures that if your system fails, you have a reliable backup.

The protocols protecting the secrecy of the winners of the Academy Awards are well documented. Here’s a short video that explains some of the detailed protocols employed: Academy Awards Ballot Process. However, it seems the designers of this year’s Academy Award envelopes failed to build redundancy and clarity into the envelope design itself, measures that could have minimized the possibility of handing the presenter the wrong envelope.

This year’s Oscar envelope was red with small gold writing on the outside. There are two issues with this. First, in the hustle and bustle that occurs backstage at the Oscars, it is easy to misread small print. Second, gold on red does not offer much contrast, and with unknown and changing lighting conditions, it is important that the print be legible and easy to read. Metallic gold foil can be difficult to read in low light situations because of the reflection of the light on the text.

Compare this year’s design (below) to last year’s envelope (above). Several design elements intended to ensure clarity are immediately apparent. On last year’s envelope, the text is written in large black print on a light background. This makes it far easier to read in both low and bright lighting. Further, the category is printed on both the front AND the back of the envelope. This makes it much easier for everyone involved in handling that envelope to make sure the correct envelope is handed to the presenters. So if the person doesn’t read the front of the envelope correctly, the same information is printed on the back.

  

In the words of Marc Friedland of Couture Communications of Los Angeles, the man who designed the Oscar envelopes from 2011 – 2016, the primary goal of the envelope is to make it “dummy proof.” By building redundancy and clarity into the design, mistakes are minimized.

So while the visual appeal is important, if the wrong envelope is handed to the presenter, it won’t matter how beautiful the envelope is. It has to function properly, and that includes making sure the correct envelope is easily identifiable in the first place.

For more information about what went wrong at the 2017 Academy Awards, here’s an article about the snafu: 2017 Oscars Envelope Mistake

The concepts of clarity and redundancy are just as important in invitation design. You want to make sure your invitation is clear to the reader. Read it from your guest’s perspective, not your own. Does it say who it’s from, does it have the correct date, is the time correct (a.m. vs. p.m.), is the venue accurate so your guests know where to go? All of these details matter. It’s about being clear.

And there are ways to build in redundancy, too. Numbering each RSVP card ensures that you know who the response is from even if your guests forget to write their names.

For assistance in designing the envelopes and invitations for your next event, contact Invitation Maven at info@InvitationMaven.com.

#Oscars
#AcademyAwards
#AcademyofMotionPicturesArtsandSciences
#BestPicture
#Envelopes
#CustomEnvelopes
#CustomInvitations
#InvitationDesign
#FunctionalDesign
#Redundancy
#InvitationMaven
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@AcademyAwards
@AcademyofMotionPicturesArtsandSciences
@CoutureCommunicationsofLosAngeles
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No Right Way or Wrong Way…Only YOUR Way

I am often asked “what’s the right way to…” followed by a question about how to handle a situation one might encounter when planning a party. My answer usually is “there is no RIGHT way or WRONG way…there’s only YOUR way.” I say this because every bride and groom, every bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah child, and every honoree is unique and their special event should reflect who they are. So while there are social conventions that can help guide you, there’s no reason why you can’t get creative and have fun planning your big event.

This is even true as it pertains to your invitations.

For example, in years past, wedding invitations were very formal. They had inner and outer envelopes, the bride’s parents were listed as the hosts, and the envelopes were addressed with formal honorifics (e.g., Mr. and Mrs. John Smith). These days, however, not all weddings are such formal affairs. And even if they are, many young brides and grooms are not comfortable with the formalities associated with weddings of the past.

It’s now perfectly acceptable to mail wedding invitations in a single envelope. In fact, in the more than 20 years since I started designing custom invitations, I have never designed a wedding invitation with a double envelope.

Brides and grooms often address their invitations using guests’ first and last names without honorifics (e.g., Mary and John Smith). This reduced formality sits better with many millennials.

Brides and grooms often host their own weddings and send their invitations from them, not from their parents. And even when they aren’t paying for their own wedding, sometimes certain family dynamics call for brides and grooms to send the invitations in order to avoid hurt feelings. I have a current wedding invitation client who is doing just that. The groom’s father recently passed away and in deference to his mother’s feelings, they chose to word the invitation as though they were inviting everyone. Their invitation reads:

Together with our families
Jenna Marie
Daughter of Cynthia and Robert Morgan
and
James Edward
Son of Jennifer and the late Richard Jackson
invite you to join us as we exchange wedding vows

Instead of using a formal RSVP card with an envelope, many of my clients opt to use a postcard RSVP. We design the front with all of the requisite RSVP information (names of guests, accepts or declines the invitation, meal choices, and whatever other information they need to collect) and the back is printed with the return address. This not only saves the cost of the envelope, but the postage is less expensive and it doesn’t weigh as much.

One thing is clear, however, regardless of the formality of the event: a wedding needs a real invitation and a real response card. Weddings are special and while you may be planning an informal affair at an eclectic or non-traditional venue, sending a printed invitation is one tradition that still endures. But have fun with that tradition and make the invitation reflect YOU.

For assistance creating your perfect wedding invitation, bar mitzvah invitation or bat mitzvah invitation, contact Invitation Maven at info@InvitationMaven.com or visit our website at www.InvitationMaven.com.

Taco Bell is Opening for Weddings

I receive alerts for interesting wedding-related articles. Well, this one caught my eye. Apparently, Taco Bell’s Las Vegas flagship store will be opening for weddings come summer 2017!

Brides and grooms on a budget, or who really love Taco Bell…can get married at Taco Bell for only $600. They receive a Taco Bell garter, bowtie and hot sauce bouquet, as well as “Just Married” shirts and champagne.

Taco Bell is having a contest to see who will be the first couple married at their flagship store. Brides and grooms can enter at: https://www.tacobell.com/loveandtacos. They even have their own hashtag: #LoveandTacos. Voting begins March 1, 2017.

This is taking Taco Tuesdays to a whole new level!

For more information about Taco Bell’s contest, listen to the story posted here: https://www.aol.com/article/lifestyle/2017/02/20/married-wedding-taco-bell/21717957/

Making Sure Your Guests Know Who the Party is For

Who Is This Bride and Why Am I Invited to Her Shower?

I had a client a few weeks ago who shared an interesting situation with me. She received an invitation to a wedding shower but did not know who the bride was, nor did she recognize the names of any of the hostesses. Her husband has a rather large family so she assumed the bridal shower was for the fiancé of a nephew, but she wasn’t sure. Given how uncomfortable this made her feel, now that she is creating a bridal shower invitation for the daughter of one of her closest friends, she wants to make sure this doesn’t happen to her. Here is some advice I gave my client to help her avoid the same issue.

Include Pertinent Details on the Invitation

The best way to ensure that each guest knows who the party is for is to include as much information as possible on the shower invitation. This is especially important if the guest list includes extended friends and family (as opposed to close friends and family), or people the bride has never met. Include the bride’s last name, as well as the full names of each host/hostess. You can even include the groom’s full name for added clarity. That way, each guest knows exactly who the honoree is and who is planning the party.

Limit the Guest List

A wedding shower should be more intimate and casual than the wedding and really should include just the bride’s closest friends and relatives. So while it’s true that all shower guests should be invited to the wedding, that doesn’t mean everyone who is invited to the wedding has to be invited to the bridal shower. Unless the bride has a truly close relationship with someone, she shouldn’t feel obligated to invite her to her wedding shower, so if the bride or one of the hostesses doesn’t personally know someone on the guest list, perhaps that person doesn’t need to be included.  This especially goes for the significant others of the groomsmen, friends of the bride’s or groom’s siblings, and extended relatives and their spouses.

Making Sure Guests Feel Welcome

Since bridal showers are typically more intimate affairs, guests who don’t know the bride well, or who don’t know any of the other guests may feel uncomfortable attending a bridal shower. Perhaps it’s best not to include them.

Don’t Invite People Just for the Gifts

If a guest is not particularly close to the bride or groom, or if they’ve never met, it may feel like she’s being invited just for the gift. That’s never a good feeling, so perhaps that guest does not need to be included on the shower guest list. This goes back to just including people who are close to the bride and groom.

The bottom line is a wedding shower should be a time when the guests can spend quality time with the bride before her big day. A smaller guest list will result in a more intimate event, and in the end will be more memorable not only for the bride, but for her guests as well.

 

Letterpress Still the Best Printing Method for a Formal Event

There really is nothing like the look and feel of an old-school letterpress invitation. It involves taking a metal plate or metal type with raised surfaces, running ink over those surfaces, pressing the inked plate onto a piece of paper, and transferring the image or text to the paper. The feel of the imprints left behind from the plate pressing into the rich cotton or textured papers simply cannot be duplicated by a digital press. And it speaks to the formality of the event.

While this printing technique is almost as old as the printing press itself, modern technology allows for amazing flexibility in design. One need not set individual metal type letters into a printing block anymore. Instead, you can create a printing plate from artwork you design on your computer. But that’s the only part of this art form that’s been modernized. The printing part is still done by hand, one invitation at a time, which is the main thing that gives a letterpress invitation its appeal.

I designed a custom letterpress invitation a few years ago featuring artwork hand drawn by my client’s daughter. It was an invitation for her son and daughter’s b’nai mitzvah. The party later that evening was at one of Los Angeles’ fanciest hotels: The Four Seasons.

For the ceremony invitation, the teenage artist drew pomegranates and grapes, two fruits common in Judaic art. She also included a hand drawn fox and owl, the nicknames the family uses to refer to the kids. I then added in a quote from scripture to further add to the meaning of the invitation. The finished result was a completely unique and custom work of art. It was stunning. And it could not have been produced using a digital press. The letterpress invitation for the evening party was equally dramatic, and was befitting of the formality of the event. It, too, featured a graphic hand-drawn by the bat mitzvah girl, along with matching text and ink colors.

If you are interesting in creating a unique, custom, letterpress invitation for your next event, contact The Invitation Maven.

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A Unique Bridal Registry

I attended a wedding shower a few weeks ago. It was for the daughter of a very good friend of mine. I can’t believe I’m old enough to be attending the weddings of my friends’ children, but I digress.

This wasn’t a typical wedding shower. The bride and groom live out of state so the bride’s mom is planning the wedding for her daughter. The bride and groom would not be able to lug a bunch of china and other typical wedding gifts back home (which is half way across the country), so the bride registered on a site called Honey Fund (www.HoneyFund.com).

Honey Fund is a virtual bridal registry that allows the bride and groom to register for things they need and want. However, they don’t receive an actual gift. The website tracks the gifts received but the giver provides cash or check instead for the selected amount. The money is earmarked to pay for a specific item on the registry, but the bride and groom have the flexibility to purchase the items themselves at their convenience.

Couples can register for traditional gifts such as toasters, mixers, and other house wares, but the site is more often used to register for non-traditional wedding gifts such as airfare, hotel stays, dinners and drinks at the honeymoon destination as well as excursions and spa treatments.

The funds can essentially be used to help the couple pay for their honeymoon. They can also be collected to help pay for the down payment on a house. For couples who have already established a home or who don’t need “things,” this is a wonderful way for their guests to help them start their married life in grand style.

It’s also very convenient for the guests. They can do everything from their home computer, even as late as the day of the shower or wedding!

I highly recommend this convenient and easy to use tool for new brides.

#HoneyFund
#WeddingGifts
#BridalRegistry
#WeddingInvitations
#Honeymoon
#WeddingShower
#InvitationMaven