There are so many choices when it comes to the big invitation decision. Whether planning a wedding, bar or bat mitzvah or other event, you can decide to do-it-yourself (DIY), make it semi-homemade, buy engraved, thermography, letterpress, OY -- are you getting a headache yet? Most of us want some customization and creative input but don’t want to completely do it alone, at home without support or expert resources.
Where to Start: DIY or Hire a Pro?
The majority of invitation “shoppers” want to be able to do some research on their own before actually meeting with an invitation professional or deciding to go it alone. Ideally, once we have a sense of what we like, don’t like and/or what type of event we’re planning, we want to connect with a company or individual that can walk us through the process. When working with an invitation professional, here are some things to look for:
- Ask to see current samples of their work
- Get references from friends/acquaintances
- What is the turnaround time?
- How quickly can you get an appointment for one-on-one service?
- Do they carry a variety of styles and brands?
- Does their personality align with yours?
- Are there products in your price range?
- Can they handle the addressing and calligraphy?
Dana Ishbia, owner of The Write Stuff, always tells her customers “to get organized, don’t try to keep up with what others are doing, and to relax…this is a fun, exciting time!” For the past 18 years, Ishbia has helped turn dreams into reality with her full service invitation business.
Trends: What’s hot?
Colors: This year the hot Pantone color is Tangerine Tango (Spring 2012)
Style: Letterpress and other techniques that deliver texture. Vintage is also very popular.
RSVP: More people are moving to email vs. snail mail especially for Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
Paper: Natural materials with an eco-conscious approach.
Design: Couples are getting custom monograms designed and then building their invitation from there; vintage design, silhouettes and botanical are leading the way for wedding invites.
Choosing the Right Wording: blended families, encore weddings and more
You’ve set the date, found a venue and even selected the perfect invitation. Now, comes the hard part. How do you find just the right words to include step parents, siblings, significant others, deceased parents and more? This is one of the questions that invitation gurus ask most often.
Fortunately, there is no right way anymore to extend your invitation, via a printed gesture, to guests on behalf of yourself or others. Many formalities have gone by the wayside in lieu of more modern approaches that tend to be inclusive rather than exclusive and accommodate blended families, as is often the case.
Whether you are planning a wedding for yourself or your daughter, celebrating a Bar Mitzvah or throwing a bridal shower, the invitation experts can help you craft just the right message.
Criteria to consider when choosing or writing your wedding invitation message:
- How formal is the affair?
- Are parents throwing the wedding?
- Are the parents of the bride and groom involved?
- Are there step parents to consider?
- How do you include parents if you and your fiancé are planning/paying for your own wedding?
- What if a parent is deceased? Does his/her name appear on the invitation?
- Is the ceremony going to be held in a religious sanctuary or a reception/banquet space?
According to Terri Trepeck, owner of Invites Ink!, “there are very few rules about Bar/Bat invitation wording.” There are several popular options that can be tailored to your specific mitzvah and personal preference. Most of the time, the invitation is extended by the parents of the child who is becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. Once in awhile, it is the child who is doing the inviting.
Here are several ideas for you to try out. You can also include your son/daughter’s Hebrew name in the invitation wording. Remember, this is not something to stress over. “You are preparing for a joyous occasion and the invitation should be a reflection of the joy, happiness and pride you are feeling about this milestone event,” reminds Trepeck.
Bar/Bat Mitzvah Wording Options:
Happy occasions when shared with
Family and friends become life’s cherished memories
Please join us when our son
Is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah
It would be our pleasure to have you join us
In worship and celebration
When our daughter
Becomes a Bat Mitzvah
Wedding Wording Options:
Bride and Groom’s parents sharing in the wedding planning/expense equally
Mr. and Mrs. David Green
Mr. and Mrs. John Rosenberg
Request the honour of your presence
At the marriage of their children
Amy Lynn Green
Steven Andrew Rosenberg
Bride and Groom giving the wedding
Amy Lynn Green
Steven Andrew Rosenberg
Request the pleasure of your company
At their wedding
The Timeline: the 9 month countdown
This at-a-glance timeline will get you started. For more details, you can go to www.invitesink.com.
7 to 12 months: Send a save-the-date card
6 to 9 months: Start browsing invitation styles
5 to 6 months: Write the wording, order invitations
2 to 4 months: Get hotel information, plan weekend itinerary, address, stuff, seal, stamp
8 weeks: Mail invitations
4 weeks: Order place cards, napkins, kippot
2-3 weeks: Print place cards with names of guests
1 week: Complete seating chart
Day of: Mazel Tov! Enjoy.
Dispelling the Myths: The Perfect Invitation Can Be Yours
It will be too expensive. Not true. A good invitation specialist can work with just about any budget and will advise you as to which manufacturers are best suited for your wallet and taste.
I won’t get a unique product. Not true. Experts like Terri Trepeck utilize their creative abilities to offer custom solutions, even with a stock item. There are a number of “tricks of the trade” that can be applied to add that unique, personalized detail. “My fine arts background gives me a perspective that a traditional invitation retailer may not provide. This unique point of difference means that each family that I work with walks away feeling that they just ordered the perfect invitation.”
It’s easier to order from an online company. Not true. When you work with a local vendor, you get personal, one-on-one attention. Usually, after an initial meeting, everything else can be done over the phone or via email; this eliminates the impersonal customer service department and generally reduces anxiety.
Working with a specialist is efficient; you can check off multiple items from your list with one visit. Invitations, announcements, save the dates, and thank you cards. It the best of circumstances, you can even order favors, kippot, wearables, hostess gifts and more.
On a Final Note:
Our community is blessed to have a party professional to suit every personality, taste and budget. As you get started shopping for invitations, the internet can be a convenient way to browse and gather ideas. When you are ready to actually sit down with an invitation consultant, remember to shop local. There’s nothing like personal service, one-stop shopping and professional advice from an expert who’s seen it all.