Spice Up Your Invitations!

Wedding invitations have evolved into something so personal and unique that you can actually get a feel for the wedding itself just by seeing (and touching) the invitation. Whether you choose parchment, custom engraving or print the invitations yourself, there are dozens of things you can do to spice up your invitations without breaking the bank.

Photos – Consider incorporating your engagement photo into the invitation or save the date to make an impact.

Words – Using your own words, maybe some sort of prose, will add an artistic flair.

Be Creative – Use touches of your culture with color and font.

Sparkle – A little sparkle never hurt anyone, right? A touch of glitter, a rhinestone or iridescent ink is very exciting.

DO NOT  add confetti – no one likes opening an envelope with confetti in it.

Consider calligraphy instead of printed address labels, it really makes an impact.

Postage – Using a stamp with a specific theme is a nice idea. Take it a step further by using  custom photo stamps for all of your wedding postage. Also making sure you have the correct postage will save a ton of headaches. Can you  imagine having 150 invitations returned?

The most important thing to keep in mind when selecting your wedding invitations is that you don’t forget your personal style. Keep the event and location in mind and let that dictate the style of the paper, ink, font and wording.  With literally hundreds of choices, it can get very confusing but, don’t despair – there is a style out there just right for you. 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago





Invitation Etiquette – Mistakes, Mishaps and Missteps

Life is complicated. Weddings are even more complicated and proper etiquette is really, really complicated. Actually it’s not, it is really just common sense and it is not intended to make you feel better than other people, it is supposed to make other people feel comfortable with you. The most common etiquette mistakes are made with written correspondence.

When you begin to work your invitations, there are some fairly easy to remember tips:

-Save the Date cards, once reserved for only wealthy and important people, are almost standard fare these days. They should be sent 4 to 6 months prior to the wedding and only sent to people who will be invited to the wedding. Your wedding website ( if you have one) can and should be listed on the Save the Date.

-Never list any gift registries on your invitation. Save that for personal correspondences and your website. This is where a website comes in very handy for sharing information!

-Do not invite anyone to a pre-wedding event that you will not invite to the wedding. You can’t expect someone to come to your shower and give you a present if you’re not planning to invite them to the wedding. It would seem like they were good enough to give you a shower gift but not good enough to celebrate with you on the big day. The shower is meant to be a party for the women closest to the bride (and often her mom and the groom’s mom too). All these close female friends and relatives should also be invited to the wedding.

-Invitations with reply cards still need to have “RSVP” printed on them. This is just to remind them and it is a common courtesy. Many won’t send it back and someone will have to be delegated to make phone calls two weeks before the wedding to check on them. It’s a pain – but, there is one in every bunch… just be polite.

-Always add the right postage!!! Check and double check.

– It is not in bad manners to say ‘no children’ on the invitation. It would actually be bad to NOT mention it. Spell it out clearly and leave nothing to the imagination.

-Invitations should be sent out 6-8 weeks before the wedding. The RSVP date should be 2 weeks before the wedding date.

– Thank You cards should match the invitations and should be sent out as soon as you return from the honeymoon.

Invitation wording is trickier than ever; with blended families, multi-cultural parents, same-sex parents, all kinds of different combinations, it is hard to know where to draw the line. Your invitation specialist  should be able to help you with grammar, spelling and protocol. If you choose to DIY on the invitations, consult an etiquette handbook of some sort to walk you through the proper phraseology, you will not be sorry.

It’s a tough world out there, folks and etiquette makes it bearable for those of us who don’t answer the phone during dinner, who let old ladies sit on public transportation, who hold doors open for someone carrying a large package. It makes them feel more comfortable  and that’s the way it should be.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


The Infinite Possibilities of Wedding Invitations

Before there were 31 flavors, chunky monkey, cookie dough and all kinds of other things added to ice cream there was just vanilla. Vanilla in all it’s glory is still the #1 ice cream choice and hard to resist if it is really good but, from time to time isn’t it nice to indulge in something unique and wonderful just to stimulate your senses?

The same holds true for wedding invitations. The simple engraved wedding invitation is still classic, it is still considered the epitome of style and good taste. But, with so many choices  that it is difficult not to want to express yourself creatively. The good news is that now you don’t have to sacrifice quality to achieve the result you are looking for.

Since the print quality and technology of home printers has become so commonplace people are tempted to print their invitations at home. I strongly advise against it. There are a dozen things that can go wrong, from a crooked layout to accidental misspellings to incorrect grammar. With a professional you have some recourse when the invitations arrive but, when you decide to handle this yourself there is no other option but to start over and the money you saved is now taking up more time and money to correct a problem you could have avoided. In all fairness, some do-it-yourselfers have gone this route sans problem.

Decide what you want to include in your invitation. A response card and pre-addressed, stamped envelope is standard but some couples also include a  map and locations of area restaurants and hotels for out of town guests. If you have a wedding website it is perfeclty acceptable to include a small ‘business’ card with the web address printed on it. Never include any information about gift registries on the invitation.

Sit down with your invitation specialist and go over wording. They should be able to guide you through some tricky situations like how to include step-parents, avoid lengthy diatribes as well as handle proper capitalization, punctuation, etc. The absolute worst wedding invitation I ever received had nonsensical ramblings about love and family and actually named who was ‘hosting’  the event… and it wasn’t the parents.  Somebody dropped the ball and it doesn’t matter who it is, it made the couple look out of touch and  narcissistic. If either set of parents is paying for the wedding, or even contributing a significant portion, their names should be printed in some manner on the invitation. Your invitation professional will guide you through all of this, another good reason you should not do it yourself!

Now for the fun part… picking the actual invitation. This is the single best way to express the theme of the wedding. Use color, texture, do something really different and unique or go old school with calligraphy and simple, chic engraved invitations.

Some hot picks for 2011 are:

– Monograms. Adding the couple’s first initials is the #1 choice for monogrammed invites. Bold or simple, the  monogram adds a personal touch and if done properly can be visually stunning.















– Texture.Foil imprinted cards, laser cut papers,  organic, textured cardstock. There are as many options to add texture as there are color options.














– Theme.  If you are going green, hosting a Renaissance wedding or headed to the beach, use that as your starting point. Starting with the invitation, guests should know exactly what kind of event you have in store for them.








– Color. Use your wedding colors! Instead of white paper with colored ink, try the reverse – it can be stunning if done properly. If you go with white or cream paper, you can use colored borders, envelope liners or inserts to punch it up.









– Font and Spacing. Nothing has to be symmetrical. You can space the words out to fit the page, have everything aligned to the left or right to accommodate the design. However, make sure the font matches the overall theme. Large scroll letters do not indicate a simple, modern event just as clean, simple letters will not adequately express the Victorian Garden you have planned at the reception. Ask your invitation specialist to help you narrow down your choices.



– Photos. Photos on save the date cards  have been commonplace for some time but couples are now starting to add a photo to the invitation itself.  Make sure you ask for photo quality cardstock or the image may wind up looking like an aged newspaper article.



 – Extras.Don’t forget to order the matching thank you notes, placecards, menus, program  and any other printed material you will need for your wedding. Ordering everything from the same place will save time and aggravation. It will also ensure everything is printed in the same  batch so the  ink color, style, font will be an exact match and everything will arrive at the same time.

Bridal Expo Chicago boasts the dream of the crop when it comes to wedding invitation specialists. At every show you will be amazed at the stunning choices out vendors bring! Call 847-428-3320 today to order tickets to a show in your area!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago