Invitations Inspired by Nature

Martha Stewart Weddings, Spring 2004

Opening the envelope to a wedding invitation is like opening a window to the promise of that day; it provides a glimpse of the celebration to come. Adorn the stationery with images from nature -- stately pine trees, plump harvest vegetables, or delicately flowering vines-and the vista you send your guests can be a welcoming landscape rich with meaning.

Whether you look to the wedding's setting, the scenery of your hometown, or a site that holds fond memories, the world outdoors offers unlimited inspiration for an invitation's design. Even a favorite flower -- perhaps the first bloom exchanged in courtship -- will create a wonderful motif.

Try adding a floral detail for a twist on the classic monogram, or choose a bold pattern of blossoms to energize any background. Each part of the invitation can also have a modified version of the image, such as the peach bough, which appears in different forms throughout. Whatever you decide, the design should reflect the tone of the celebration -- naturally.

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Single Symbols
One plant alone -- used once or in repetition -- will make an impact. Clockwise from top left: An orange bloom in a variety of sizes packs a graphic punch. The aspen leaves atop this invitation are perfect for a Colorado wedding. Pine trees silhouetted in bronze are displayed on both invitation and reply card. A flowering vine grows from top and bottom. An elegant white lily-of-the-valley is engraved on green stock for a formal affair.

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Monograms
Add botanical details to your initials to update a classic invitation embellishment. Clockwise from top: Tiny leaves sprout sweetly from the letters of this design, engraved in green to match the lining of the envelope. The rustic logs that shape the bride's and groom's initials fit the event's casual lodge setting. In this monogram, the letter O doubles as a gold-and-chestnut colored wreath; the opulent color scheme is echoed in a burnt-sienna jacket and brown silk ribbon. Against a crisp white background, the stylized floral vine encircling the letter H looks contemporary and clean; the foliage trails onto the reception and reply cards in different forms.

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Patterns
Masses of botanicals create a stunning effect. Clockwise from top: Blossoms float on the sewn-on origami-paper backing of this invitation and reply card. A stippled floral pattern is a soft backdrop for cranberry text. Foliage turns a functional band into a beautiful accent. Letter-pressed pink flowers saturate the backs of the invitation and reply card, as well as the envelope lining.

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Evolving Motifs
Nature is constantly changing -- just like the designs on these invitations. Clockwise from top left: As a symbol of wish-making, a dandelion puffball is blown away in wisps in the images on this invitation, travel insert, and reply card. Curved or linear, partial borders of pink flowers are a winsome addition to this invitation, reply card, and seal; a matching envelope lining and orange typeface contribute to the cheery look. Sheaves of wheat, a pumpkin, and a raspberry, each in its own color, make for a cornucopia on the stationery for a fall wedding.

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