A save-the-date or invitation is your guests’ first glimpse of the wedding you worked so hard to make perfect and the first chance to establish the atmosphere for your big day. Wow your well-wishers at the opening of an envelope. Here are five ways to set your wedding stationery apart from the rest with distinctive details, chosen by Siuleth Rivera of Eleven Note (handcrafted invitations & event stationery design).
“One of the key elements of my design approach with each new custom stationery project is incorporating a touch of hand for a more personal feel,” says Rivera. “For the most part, custom stationery is a design and print-filled process, but for me, adding a detail that is done by hand in an artistic ‘perfectly imperfect’ way just takes the design to another level – one that is much more memorable and builds a unique anticipation for the guests as they look forward to the main event.”
Some popular examples of these handmade touches that Rivera includes in her work are hand-painted watercolor details (“truly hand-painted, not just printed as a background, so that each invite is unique,” Rivera says), invitation wraps that are custom-cut in shapes reminiscent of a clutch purse, and glamorous gold leafing.
“Gold leafing is a great out-of-the-box alternative to high-end printed metallics like foil stamping, which is luxurious in its own right but more commonly seen,” Rivera says.
Monograms have been around for a long time – but rather than limiting them to one place, couples are starting to use their shared initials in multiple unique applications. Rivera’s monogram designs have been projected on dance floors and cakes, incorporated into place setting details in wax seals on menus, embossed on a handcrafted, hand-bound guest book, and more.
“Recently, one of my couples branded a piece of leather with their custom monogram during their ceremony as a symbolic unity moment,” Rivera says. “The branding iron was custom shaped to the monogram I designed and sat in a bed of fired coals until it was used to press into and brand the piece of leather, which is framed as a beautiful keepsake.”
Another luxurious detail on the rise in wedding stationery is the custom wax seal, a perfect finishing touch for any stationery suite. According to Rivera, the wax seal stamp can be engraved with the couple’s initials, logo icon, or a free-hand design for a more artistic look. Rivera also says square-shaped wax seals are becoming more popular, bringing a more modern look to this old world detail.
Adding a touch of nature by featuring sprigs of plants, flowers, or other organic elements in the stationery suite is a whimsical, delicate detail that’s sure to impress.
“I’ve created designs that incorporate dried flower confetti, olive leaves and dried rosemary sprigs, baby’s breath braided along twin to wrap the invite, seed and leaf embedded paper for enclosure cards…hand-torn edges on natural watercolor textured paper, hand-dyed and hand-torn silk ribbons and natural fabrics,” Rivera says. “This is also a beautiful way to support other artisans [such as wood carvers, book makers, jewelry artists, wild flower farms, etc.] that specialize in hand-crafting and growing these unique elements which can make an invitation design truly memorable for the guests as they open the envelope,” she adds.
Another way Rivera makes her stationery suites exceptional is by including special details inspired specifically by the couple.
“I use the couple’s love story as inspiration,” Rivera says. “Many times I will be doodling in my sketchbook, letting the crazy ideas flow and I’ll pick one or two more ‘feasible’ ones to share with the couple. It’s truly wonderful working with clients that allow me to dream big and are open to my crazy ideas!”
Some surprise elements that Rivera has incorporated into recent stationery designs include custom shaped wire wraps, engraved wood details to serve as keepsakes, engraved vows for one couple to exchange as gifts, and custom designed gift packaging for bridal party gifts that coordinate with the stationery design. She has also created personalized menus, map art in the invitation suite that can be framed afterwards, and much more.