Timeless or modern? Double-sided or single? Satin or shimmer? Technicolour or monochrome?
The world of wedding stationery is filled with endless options. And, according, to Suzi Waters, founder and designer of stationery company Alannah Rose, it’s important to choose the right invitations for your wedding as they set the tone for the celebrations to come.
“It’s the first thing that guests get from the couple when they’re organising their wedding. There might be an engagement invitation or save the date card, but it’s the first formal announcement that a couple’s friends and family receive,” says Suzi, whose company designs all kinds of wedding stationery, from paper and digital invitations to menus, placecard holders and custom items such as stickers and boxes.
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“The invitations set the look and feel for the day, so if it arrives on a scrappy piece of paper bunched up in the mail, then guests will be wondering what the reception and event will be like. But if it’s a nicely designed, put-together piece, the guests will get excited, and it’s a nice way to build their excitement up for the wedding.”
Suzi adds that for your guests, the style of the invitation will also serve as a key indicator of the general vibe of your wedding. If it’s got a fun and quirky font, then they will understand it’s likely to be a casual affair, while invitations that are a bit more sophisticated let them know to expect a more formal, black-tie event.
The designer, who has been in the wedding industry for a decade, has seen many trends come and go in that time. But lately, she’s noticed that couples are starting to get more creative and adventurous with their wedding stationery.
“People are getting a bit bolder in terms of their pattern and colour,” she says. “Stationery trends closely follow the fashion and interiors world, so for example, there’s a lot of navy in homewares and fashion, which is huge in stationery. Weddings do tend to flow with fashion trends and it does change from season to season, but the classics always remain strong.”
Here, Suzi shares the most current popular invitation trends.
For many years, navy was somewhat of an underrated colour, one which no-one really considered for wedding stationery. But this year, it’s been extremely popular with Suzi’s clients.
“The colour for this year has definitely been navy – in any mix of patterns and designs,” she says. “It’s been used in a modern way, like in the watercolour pattern we do, or in a classic way. It’s a nice change from black and white and people are looking for something that’s elegant and formal, but not black-tie.”
It also lends itself to the current vogue for cocktail receptions, which are enjoying a bit of a renaissance. Since they aren’t as formal as traditional sit-down dinners, navy serves as a perfect colour choice for wedding stationery.
If you haven’t quite decided on a colour palette, or you just don’t want to be tied down to any particular colours and patterns, stylish monogrammed invitations offer a great alternative.
“Not every couple wants a theme for their wedding and they don’t always want to choose a colour or a pattern. They just want something that’s simple and elegant, but also personal,” Suzi says. “In days gone by, it was about the surname letter. But the monograms that we now use feature the bride and groom’s first initials.”
A spin-off from the popularity of monograms is statement typography, and Suzi has been thrilled to see some truly creative fonts come into play.
“To modernise the monogram, we’ve been using lots of nice fonts when blending the bride’s and groom’s names to create a logo,” she says. “One of our popular fonts is called Simplicity, which is a modern mix of fonts, and the other is Swirls and Twirls, which is all about the typography. They veer away from the traditional kind of monogram, but still create a generic invitation, so the bride and groom don’t have to be locked into a particular theme or colour.”
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It’s fair to say that nothing adds glamour and glitz to an invitation quite like a shiny metallic foil – and it’s something more and more brides are opting for. Whether it’s a sprinkle of gold or a sleek silver font, metallics are a great way to amp up the occasion.
“We do a graphic print of a glitter pattern that has been very popular,” Suzie explains. “It’s a photo of glitter printed on to the invitation. It’s great, because it’s not a gold or true metallic, but it gives that same shiny illusion and it’s easy to style in with gold ribbons and extra added touches to the ceremony.”
When Suzi first began working in the wedding industry, florals were very popular, and of late she’s started to see more orders for them again. However, this time around, couples are putting a modern twist on the colours.
“I’m doing a lovely one at the moment mixing tiffany blue with peach, as couples are getting adventurous with colour schemes,” she says. “The floral is like a graphic tapestry print, but we’re modernising it a lot with the colours that we’re doing, like latte and green, or blues and peaches, or black with a brighter colour or a navy with brighter colours. People are taking colours to new levels.”
There’s also been a rise in recent requests for watercolour florals, which have a soft, romantic and handpainted look. Suzi says these are perfect for something like a country wedding.
Timeless black and white
This never-fail classic combo remains a perennial favourite, and it works for both casual receptions and formal occasions.
“It’s still popular, because it’s a neutral combination which can go with anything,” Suzi explains. “If the bride decides she wants yellow dresses, for example, it doesn’t matter if she’s a had a black and white invitation.” The colour palette will still work beautifully.
Three tips for wedding stationery
To avoid stress and tricky last-minute decisions, here is some helpful advice from Suzi on how to work best with your wedding stationer.
Plan in advance. “Don’t leave it too late to order your wedding stationery. I’ve had a lot of calls from brides wanting placecards for menus where their wedding is in two weeks’ time. Timing is important. We use high-end printing, so we can’t just churn it out of a printer and have it ready the next day. In an ideal world, you should order the invites four weeks before you want to post them, so about 12-16 weeks before the wedding.”
Order samples. “There are so many variations in card stocks and finishes, it’s hard to get an idea of what they’re like by looking at a computer screen. Not every card stock is the same. If you’re comparing vendors, it’s important to get samples so you know what you’re looking at ordering and you’re comparing things correctly.”
Get the text right. “A lot of couples supply us with the text for the invitation but haven’t run it by the other parties who are involved in the planning. Quite often Mum and Dad and the in-laws will be listed on the invitation, but the first time they see the wording is when the invitation is actually printed. That results in a lot of changes which can delay things because they’re having debates between themselves. Run your wording past anyone who wants to have a say in it before going to your stationer. Last-minute changes can cause a lot of stress for the couple.”
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