Expert Advice from Stationers

Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 2010

Erin Mulcahy & Nicole Michels, Stationers
Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Known for: Creating artisanal, whimsical stationery suites that put a premium on craftsmanship and creativity.

How to find them: Bird and Banner, 215-285-8055; birdandbanner.com

There must be brides who come to you with a very fuzzy idea of what they want. How do you help them hone their vision?
We start all of our client relationships with a "get to know you" chat. We get to hear the story of how they met, fell in love, and became engaged. Subtle details that the couple might not be able to envision as playing a role in their stationery can be some of the best places to start, especially since they tend to be the most personal and most unique. From there, it's our job to focus on how best to reflect the couple.

And then there are the brides who come to you with binders of inspiration... 
We love when brides bring inspiration to the first meeting. It never hurts to be able to talk about what "rustic," "vintage," or "casual elegance" means to them. Words that get used so often in wedding planning sometimes need to be explored visually so that everyone's on the same page. And sometimes the best hints about what they are looking for can come from the "stuff we don't want" section of the binder.

Any advice when it comes to the wording? 
Even if you see the need for more traditional wording, you can always experiment with a bit more playfulness on the RSVP. We love to use "Wouldn't miss it for the world" and "We'll be there in spirit" for the accepts/regrets. And there are always ways of adding a short-and-sweet line in unexpected places. We created an engagement announcement for a couple that in one simple line told their love story. On the envelope flap, we printed: "For five years he took the Chinatown bus to see her in New York."

Is it possible to have an invitation that feels contemporary and creative yet formal? 
Absolutely! The formal nature of an invitation can be relayed in so many ways -- classic typography, wording choices, using a professional calligrapher, as well as decisions about materials. For example, using a classic white invite but choosing a fluorescent ink can be a great way to mix formal with contemporary.

Top Tip 
"One of our favorite cost-cutting ideas that we offer clients is an option to assemble their invitations themselves. It's a great way for the couple to involve their wedding party or family members who really want to help with the planning. You can also save by combining items. For example, we recently created a favor/escort card in one: Recyclable glass jars held the specially made barbecue rub, while the labels on the jars doubled as escort cards."

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