Three Emerging Trends In Custom Invitations

By Laura Paladino, All Rights Reserved.


There is an overwhelming demand for high quality, custom stationery that really reflects the bridal couple’s style, personality, and wedding. It doesn’t stop at the wedding invitation set anymore! It seems every modern bridal couple is opting to have their entire stationery ensemble done by a custom invitation house. As weddings become more sophisticated, the need for chic stationery quickly evolves into a necessity.  Here’s what I mean: We’ll often start at the engagement party invitations stage and later carry the style variations onto the Save-The-Date cards stage. Next, we do the bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, wedding invitations, ceremony programs, place cards and finally the ‘thank you cards’. Couples carry the consistency in design by inserting “their” colour, motif, or personalized monogram at each stage. Even table cards, menus, and announcement cards aren’t immune from the coordination. Couples are demanding it throughout their entire wedding stationery ensemble.





Monograms have become the quintessential accent to entire custom invitation stationery ensembles. I’m not talking about those drab traditional semi-scroll initials. These days, monograms are serious business. We’re seeing full names, original designs, mixed typefaces, and watermark additions to the monogram pattern. As always, some rules still govern. Traditional invitations will almost always look best with a traditional monogram; but you can always add an original design twist to add interest. Contemporary invitations often require a new reinterpretation of traditional monograms. If you think about it, it’s not so much a ‘radical’ evolution. Many women are opting not to change their names anymore, so more casual monogram designs can be created using only first names. That creates some interesting – if not, endless – options for today’s brides.





One of the hottest trends we’re seeing is the impact of the seasons in wedding stationery! Couples are having a lot more fun emphasizing natural seasonal colours and patterns into their invitations depending on the season their wedding is taking place in. After all, weddings aren’t just in the summer anymore. Fall has overtaken summer as the most popular wedding season for some time now. But we’re also seeing more winter weddings! Wrapping up our fall seasons orders, we’ve seen nearly every kind of motif from acorns, pine cones, leaves, and twigs to pumpkins incorporated into the invitation ensemble. Remember, motifs don’t have to be grand – repetition is the key for the optimum effect on all printed stationery. For winter, we’re seeing a lot of seasonal accents like snowflake seals, pattern watermarks, and cooler colours. Seals with stamped seasonal imprints are a hot way to incorporate the season on your entire invitation stationery ensemble and even as creative decorative accents on other items.


Pockets, Pockets, Pockets!



Pocket-style invitations are really hot! They’re popular for three main reasons: 1) Pocket invitations are aesthetically pleasing. They’re neat, tidy, and carry a sophisticated look; 2) They spell the end of the ‘dreaded scattering of inserts’ after opening; 3) They help couples’ stuff to their heart’s delight while helping guests stay organized. Much more content including cards for Directions, Accommodations, RSVP (and envelope), and Reception can easily be added together without making the invitation look like last year’s tax records. On the day of the wedding you can bet guests can easily retrieve all the required details for the day’s events!



Laura Paladino is an award-winning custom WEDDING & EVENT invitation designer, invitation, wedding, and event TRENDSETTER, and founder of Laura Paladino Invitation Design in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.  For more information on Laura Paladino Invitation DESIGN, boutique & STUDIO services, Visit or email:





10 Reason why your company needs custom invitations

By Laura Paladino, All Rights Reserved.


I am always amazed when I hear about companies who spend tens of thousands of dollars organizing a make-it-or-break-it company event designed to celebrate a company milestone and/or impress prospective customers. Sometimes these events have big contracts or sales at stake! Yet, often planners will fall short on the most critical aspect of planning the event—the invitations! After all, before a client steps foot into your venue, or even confirms attendance, the invitation sets the tone and leaves the first and most important (and lasting!) impression!


Have a look at this compelling list of “10 Reasons Why Your Company Needs Custom Invitations”. The information in this article may very well be worth thousands of dollars to your company!

  1. Double Exposure! – Before, during, and after the event, your invitation represents your company with guaranteed staying power to the date of the event. It’s better than an ad! It’s an ad with a useful purpose that MUST be reviewed, responded to, and kept securely for weeks or months to the event date (and even after!)

  2. The “U”-Factor (Ubiquitous Factor) – Simply put, stunning invitations get noticed—everywhere. They get tacked up in communal areas (bulletin boards, lunch rooms, reception areas, etc) or passed around your guest’s office, management, other potential clients or partners. How do you get “stunning” invitations? Through a custom designer!

  3. Stay Ahead of the Competition – If your company isn’t sending out excellent invitations, rest assured your competition is! More and more companies are using custom invitations to gain that competitive edge and “unique” distinction in respective industries.

  4. Image is Everything – A flimsy self-printed Times New Roman font invitation card with perforated edges leaves just as “strong” an impression as an elegantly shaped shimmering layered silver pocket-fold emblazoned with your company logo. Which “strong” impression would you have your company make?

  5. Create Buzz – What? Excitement over a company or corporate event? It’s true. I recently created gorgeous custom invitations carefully packaged and wrapped in the company’s foil stamped logo. They were labour-intensive but definitely memorable invitations. The actual event was a debate between two respected audio engineers – pretty dry by most standards. But the impact of the invitations alone made it one of the most talked about events in the industry!

  6. Cutting Edge, Modern, & Savvy – An invitation allows you to make a real statement about your company. Use this vehicle to reinforce your image or insert a more dramatic contemporary interpretation of your company image! It will get noticed!

  7. Establish a Relationship with a Custom Invitation Designer – Save time, money, and stress on your invitations! Develop a personal one-on-one relationship with the right invitation designer and you’ll never regret it. Your designer will be able to customize and anticipate your needs while avoiding or preventing potentially costly errors or miscommunications!

  8. Good Career Move! – We once had a client who was responsible for planning a significant corporate event. We helped him narrow down his choices to one custom invitation style and was truly impressive and original. Long after the event, he contacted us to thank us and explain that the custom invitations made such an impact that he believed they helped him gain notice within upper management circles which eventually lead to a promotion! We can’t guarantee that kind of success with all of our customers, but it does illustrate that… with the right invitations, anything can [and does] happen!

  9. Professional, Knowledgeable, & Your Resource – Don’t Sweat the Details! Outsourcing your invitations to a custom designer allows you to have better use of your time. Your Invitation Designer is a resource for formatting tips/guidelines, etiquette, invitation options, event-planning, and more! You’ll be confident you’re making the right choices and having the perfect sounding board for your ideas too!

  10. Invitations are just the Beginning – A custom Invitation Designer can help you make the right choices for all your other stationery requirements. Perhaps you need webcards, change-of-address cards, important Announcement cards etc. You can save a lot of money and hassle by making your Invitation Designer the one-stop-shop for stationery, accessories and even gifts and gift-related items.

Laura Paladino is an award-winning custom WEDDING & EVENT invitation designer, invitation, wedding, and event TRENDSETTER, and co-owner of the Laura Paladino Boutique & Studio in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.  For more information on Laura Paladino Invitation DESIGN, boutique &STUDIO services, Visit or email:




Five Amazing Tips For Finding The Perfect Invitation

By Laura Paladino, All Rights Reserved.


So you’re ready to look for that perfect invitation for your event. No problem, right? You may be thinking you’ll go to an invitation shop, flip through those over-sized catalogue books and SHAZAAM! the perfect invitation will jump out at you and another item is checked off of that “To Do” list. Unfortunately, invitations have come a long way in the past few years and it’s not quite that simple anymore.


The good news is that you literally have hundreds (if not thousands) of invitation options. The bad news is that you have to do a little bit of homework to figure out exactly what you need and how to get it. Not to worry, all it takes is a little introspection, a few tips and a lot of excitement! To help you get started, have a quick read of my 5 amazing tips:


TIP #1 - “It’s Never Too Early To Start Looking!”


Invitations have become their own industry. There are hundreds of invitations companies, custom boutiques, catalogues, stationery shops and designers out there marketing to the wedding, corporate, and event-based customers. Take the time get a good idea of the types of invitations available and the choices you have. By starting early, you’ll also save lots of $$$. If you wait too long, a custom invitation designer will likely have to rush in materials and rush the assembly process. This means a lot of additional and avoidable late fees. In addition to the added stress, your choices may also be limited by the practicality of getting your invitations out on time.


TIP #2 - “Be Realistic With Your Invitation Budget”


While your big dinner party with 12 guests may allow you to have stellar custom-designed invitations at $26 an invite, your wedding with 260 guests may need a much more affordable option. If you have a realistic budget, the best invitation designers can create something absolutely stunning within what you are prepared to spend. The key in this tip is to be realistic. If you cost-cut too much on your invitations, you may regret it later. Keep in mind that an invitation is really the only first and lasting tangible memory of your event that’s shared by ALL your friends, family, and guests.


TIP #3 - “First Impressions Do Count!”


Invitations are small but powerful teasers that bring a taste of the wedding or event celebration to your guest’s front door! Think about your invitations as the most important opportunity to personalize your event to every one of your guests all at the same time. That’s why we believe an invitation is a “gift”. It represents more than your event—it represents you the host also! While you don’t want to be riddled with indecisiveness, you don’t want to make your decision too lightly either.


TIP #4 - “Avoid The Big Mistake!”


The biggest mistake brides, event organizers, and invitation-seekers make is to pick an invitation without appropriate consideration to the nature, theme, colours, and style of the event itself. Remember, your invitation reflects you AND the actual event. If you don’t tie in your event to your invitations, you may end up sending the wrong message about your event. You don’t have to match it up exactly, but some elements should coordinate to keep the invitation and actual event in sync. A good invitation designer can really help you steer clear of this danger.


TIP #5 - “Watch The Danger Of Consensus-Building!”


Have you ever eaten a restaurant entrée highly recommended by a friend, only to find it not quite as good as your friend’s emphatic praise would suggest? We all have different opinions on food, fashion, style, music, and yes – even invitations. I can’t tell you how many brides get excited – after spending hours at a consultation – when they finally find the perfect invitation only to end up coming back with their fiancé, mother, mother-in-law, best friend, overseas relative, hair stylist (you get the picture!) who all have very different opinions about the “perfect” invitation. Choosing an invitation can be a fun and exhilarating shared experience, but you can avoid a lot of stress and aggravation if you limit the number of people involved in the actual choosing. Alternately, decide on 2 or 3 distinct invitation designs where you have no overpowering preference for one over the other. Next bring in your entire family for a ‘vote’ (of course make sure you have veto power over the final say!)


There are so many things to keep in mind when you begin searching for invitations. Whether you are deciding on wedding, personal event, or corporate event invitations, keep these amazing tips in mind and you’ll be sure to find the “perfect” invitation.

Laura Paladino is an award-winning custom WEDDING & EVENT invitation designer, invitation, wedding, and event TRENDSETTER, and co-owner of the Laura Paladino Boutique & Studio in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.  For more information on Laura Paladino Invitation DESIGN, boutique &STUDIO services, Visit or email:




To Every Wedding There Is A Season

By Laura Paladino, All Rights Reserved.


Setting the right tone for your wedding is largely all about the senses; think smell, sight, sound, taste, and touch. A fun and easy way to appeal to your guests’ senses is by incorporating the seasons’ natural riches into your wedding décor and theme. Don’t fight with your wedding season’s natural colours—embrace them and enjoy them!


There is an abundance of choice in the realm of nature. And it’s readily available if you take the time to understand the seasons! Read through some of my seasonal tips to get inspired and energized:


Spring Forward!


Revival, Rejuvenation, Rebirth! Think seasonal flowers like tulips, hyacinths, and hydrangeas. Not only will they complement the spring, you’ll also save a fortune by using seasonal flowers. Colours that are classically spring are fresh greens, pinks, violets, and white. Need inspiration? Just think “spring” and jot down every colour and word that comes to mind. For wedding favours, why not give out pots with buds in them? One of our best-selling products for spring showers and weddings is the scented, tulip and hyacinth candles. So amazingly lifelike, when these candles are all set up on a receiving line table, they look like an indoor garden! Guests can’t wait to get their hands on them! Finally, don’t forget to incorporate the spring colours and patterns into your wedding stationery!


Hot Summer!


More than a scorching sun and tanned bodies on the beach! Go bold and add bright colours! Weddings are no longer an all-white affair. Almost any colour is fine in the summer - just stay away from deeper jewel tones as they tend to remind people of the fall. Rich roses and peonies are wonderful timeless flowers at summertime weddings. Why not hand out colorful favours, like rose candles or miniature garden candle ornaments? Incorporate the summer into your wedding accessories! Nowadays, you can get various colours and season-appropriate adornment on ring pillows, guest books, place card holders, and even signing pens! A summertime hit is the “Beverly Clark English Garden Collection” ensemble, featuring stunning summer flowers atop the essential wedding items. Think Garden!


Autumn Romance!


The season of passion and intensity! Think rich, luxurious colours! Pumpkins, pine cones, and richly coloured leaves are just some of nature’s “free” gifts that you can incorporate into your wedding décor. Why not save a bundle and collect some beautifully coloured leaves and pine cones that have fallen and sprinkle them on the tables, or use carved out pumpkins as pots or vases on the table. How about pine cones as place cards? Pine cone candles also make great favours! Chocolates in the shape of leaves are great favours. Don’t forget lovely pumpkin place card holders. Another popular fall idea is having floating candles in the shape of leaves as a centerpiece? You are limited only by your imagination and creativity. Go for a walk and get inspired by nature!


Wedding Wonderland!


Old Jack Frost with his icicles, snowflakes, and winter crispness! Winter has to be the most beautiful season of the year. Don’t fight the winter, incorporate it into your wedding! Use crisp white linens, silver and crystal. How about sprinkling snowflake confetti on tables for added sparkle? Snowflake floating candles in a crystal or glass bowl adds drama and elegance to any room. Make a statement with little evergreen wedding favours. Or, if you’re doing a holiday-themed wedding, use seasonal candles as wedding favours. It’s classic and speaks beautiful winter wedding. Glass Christmas tree ornaments make wonderful place card holders and can also add a sense of delicate and artful sophistication. Place card holders shaped into Christmas trees, present boxes, snowflakes, miniature ornaments, and stars make wonderful favours or decorative table number holders. Remember too that winter is more than the seasonal holidays!


Use these ideas as a jumping off point to get your creativity going for whatever season you’ve decided to get married in. Keep your eyes and ears open as you wander around and get ideas in places you might not always think of. Browse our website for some inspiring ideas that reflect your season. And as always, have fun with your wedding planning, and stay inspired!

Laura Paladino is an award-winning custom WEDDING & EVENT invitation designer, invitation, wedding, and event TRENDSETTER, and co-owner of the Laura Paladino Boutique & Studio in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.  For more information on Laura Paladino Invitation DESIGN, boutique &STUDIO services, Visit or email:




Top 5 Myths About Custom Invitations

By Laura Paladino, All Rights Reserved.


It’s time to debunk a few common misconceptions or myths about custom designed invitations. These five myths are probably the most common I’ve come across that prevent a lot of bridal couples and people planning events from exploring the wonderful world of custom invitations. Once you decide custom designed invitations are right for you, I guarantee you’ll never look back...


MYTH #1 - Custom Invitations Are Too Expensive For Me!


Okay, so you’ve heard Oprah raving about her beautiful $84 US (each) custom invitations! Let me guess, you’re thinking “back to the catalogues for me!” Well, before you give up on custom invitations, consider the fact this type of invitation is rapidly becoming a more popular and accessible invitation option these days. Would it surprise you to know that you can get custom invitations for as low as $4 including envelope, printing, and assembly? Oh and that’s in Canadian currency! Sky is the limit when it comes to how much you can spend on custom invitations, but there are just as many ways you can cut the costs as well! Consider the following:


First, with custom shops you usually get the exact quantity you need. On the other hand, catalogues often have minimum quantity “sets” like 25, 50, or 100. Let’s say you only needed 54 invitations, but the catalogue company minimum is 50, 75, or 100. That means to you would have to order 75 invitations (which is 21 more than you really need)! With many custom shops, if you need 54, you’ll get 54, and what more, you’ll only get charged for 54!


Second, custom designers let you customize the components of your invitation package. For example, many catalogue companies ‘include’ double envelopes as a “value-added” service. You can’t split up the bundle price, so you’re paying for something you don’t necessarily need! Now if you need a directions card, you may not have the option and will be forced to spend more money getting them made elsewhere or struggle to do them up yourself.


Third, custom invitations are just that— custom. A designer can work within any reasonable budget. There are always ways to cut costs without compromising style. We’ve modified a few of our more expensive invitations for some clients to fit their budgets. They ended up saving lots of money and got a stellar custom invitation that was personalized and thrilled their guests!


MYTH #2 - Custom Invitations Take Way Too Long!


In most cases, custom and non-custom invitation companies have surprisingly similar timelines. We all expect you to start planning early, but that doesn’t mean you have to order your custom wedding invitations before you even get engaged! The official recommendation is to place your order at least 2 months before you need them. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean rush request can’t be accommodated if you’re in a crunch! Custom shops should have certain materials in stock that they can use to create your invitations on a tight schedule. If you have a good invitation designer who is willing to work within your timeline, it is possible to get custom invitations done even faster than catalogue companies! Alternately, the best custom shops will do everything possible to get your order done by your rushed deadline. At the end of the day, even if you think you’re too late, it can’t hurt to ask!


MYTH #3 - Custom Invitation Are Too Time-Consuming To Choose!


You’ve got a million and one things to do planning your company’s anniversary party. Custom invitations may be nice, but the quickest and easiest way to choose invitations is through a catalogue! Right? Wrong. Add up the time to request a catalogue, receive one, look through the options, pick an invitation, find the answers to your questions, not find the answers to your questions and call to get the answers to your questions, figure out how to fill in the order form that looks like the blackboard of a Quantum Mechanics professor, send it in, get the proofs, review the proofs, make corrections, get the revised proofs, and so on...


One of the advantages of working with a designer is the time and stress saved on your invitations. Often, with just a little effort you can get an original, stunning, masterpiece that will make a lasting impression! Your designer will help you narrow down your selections, review the options with you, and customize your invitation. You’re not alone in the process, or dealing with different call-centre representatives. It’s amazing how quick, painless, and easy the whole invitation ordering experience will seem to you with a custom designer!


MYTH #4 - Custom Invitations Are Too Elaborate - I want simple!


Because of the nature of custom invitations, designers can accommodate any style. If your style is simple and modern then you can have just that, but you’ll be able to choose from a wide variety of card stock, colours, textures, and embellishments. A good invitation designer won’t pressure you into going with an elaborate design if that’s not what you want. Custom invitations allow you to have a stunning simple invitation or a rich sophisticated multilayered design (and everything else in between of course!). Remember, we’re here to create your dream invitation!


MYTH #5 - Me Event Is Too Small For Custom Invitations!


If you’re going to go through the trouble of getting invitations made, your event is important enough for custom invitations! Remember, the best designers don’t enforce quantity minimums, consultation fees, or weigh in on the importance of your event. Our slogan is “an invitation is a gift”. And we truly believe it. Your invitations are gifts to your guests. They create excitement, anticipation, and joy amongst your guests. Any event whether a baby announcement, shower, anniversary, graduation, retirement, holiday party, annual meeting, tea party, dinner party, reunion, birthday, or any celebration is worthy of custom invitations. Make your invitations personal. Go Custom!

Laura Paladino is an award-winning custom WEDDING & EVENT invitation designer, invitation, wedding, and event TRENDSETTER, and co-owner of the Laura Paladino Boutique & Studio in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.  For more information on Laura Paladino Invitation DESIGN, boutique &STUDIO services, Visit or email:




Discover The Impact Of Custom Invitations

By Laura Paladino, All Rights Reserved.


While invitation options are now definitely more numerous and sophisticated, there is still a sense that invitations are a simple necessary prelude to actual “real” event planning. 


My corporate clients often rush through their invitation options without considering its full impact on the event planning and the event itself.  But getting the right invitations is more than ticking an item off a checklist.


To understand the full impact of your event invitations, let’s consider the role of the “invitation” in planning the event:

  1. An event is announced. Few detail are available at this time. Invitations are to follow. Some guests are aware of the event, many more are not (but will be on the list to receive invitations).

  2. Invitations with details of the event, time and date, RSVP information, and other pertinent event-related details (e.g. dress, bar, directions, parking, accompanying guest permitted, etc.) are developed and mailed.

  3. Guests receive invitations in the mail, digest them, and decide whether or not to attend.

  4. Guests RSVP with their intent to attend (or not).

  5. Guests keep their invitation in a prominent spot (e.g. bulletin board, fridge, etc.) until the date of the event.

  6. Guests who attend may take their invitation with them to the event itself (e.g. for directions, parking info)

  7. Guests leave the event with their memories (and even their invitation!). (While many people end up tossing out invitations after the event, surveys show that over 80% of respondents admit to keeping a “memorable invitation” for one year or longer after an event had passed).

It’s crucial to resist underestimating the importance of an invitation. Throughout the entire planning stages outlined above, the invitation plays a central role in almost every stage.


I often consider the invitations as your event’s advertising opportunity. Whether it is a corporate invitation or a wedding invitation makes little difference. A well-made and clearly memorable invitation will delight your guests and all but certainly assure their attendance.  In one survey, we asked respondents if a “memorable invitation” increased their desire to attend the event and a staggering 95% responded positively.


While sending out invitations for an event is not an uncommon act, creating a memorable invitation that maximizes its impact on the impressions of your guests is most definitely original and welcoming.

Often overlooked is the excitement the host or event coordinator has when knowing they hit the proverbial “bulls eye” invitation. Planning an event can be quite stressful – but nothing can energize and excite you quite as much through the experience as finding and sending a stunning invitation.


It’s always nice to have guests lavishing praise and compliments well-before the event itself!

Laura Paladino is an award-winning custom WEDDING & EVENT invitation designer, invitation, wedding, and event TRENDSETTER, and co-owner of the Laura Paladino Boutique & Studio in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.  For more information on Laura Paladino Invitation DESIGN, boutique &STUDIO services, Visit or email:




Essential Brainstorm To Find The Right Invitations

By Laura Paladino, All Rights Reserved.


Getting all the information together prior to searching, selecting, and sealing your order need not be a painful process. Your invitations will reflect you, those involved and/or honoured in your event, and the event itself. This is your opportunity to personalize your event to every one of your guest’s all at the same time. Nothing else in your wedding or event planning carries such an overwhelming initial impact and first impression.


So have fun with it!  Do your research!  Share your ideas!  Allow your invitations to speak for you and your event!  The best way to begin is to decide on what you need. To do that you need to brainstorm! Grab a pen and paper, a glass of water or wine, and a quiet, cozy space.


Try to jot down answers to as many of these questions as you can:

  • In 25 words or less, how would I describe my event?

  • What is the theme of my event?

  • What colours, shapes, styles, seasons, time periods reflect in my event?

  • How is my event structured?

  • What’s the one thing I DO NOT want my event to be?

  • Name one thing I will experience for each of my senses at my event (hear, taste, see, touch, smell).

  • Generally, what do I want my invitations to say?

  • What do I want my invitations to say without words? (Try to think of the visual impact you are striving for with your invitations if they were mailed completely blank)

  • What colours, sizes, styles do I NOT want reflected in my event?

  • What additional components do I want to include with the invitation and/or incorporate at the event (ie. matching or coordinating seating cards, table cards, directions cards, menus, programs etc.?)

  • What ‘look’ do I want for my invitation? How would I describe it in one word?

  • At most, how many invitations will I need? (Then, add about an extra 10% to that number)

  • Will I have my invitations printed or should I use a calligrapher?

  • Should I send out Save-The-Date-Cards or Announcement Cards?

  • How formal or casual will my event be? Do my invitations reflect this?

  • What is my maximum invitation budget?

  • What’s more important to me: Modern or Classic? The Text or The Stationery? Custom or Catalogue? Colour or Texture? Formal or Casual? Strict Match or Loose Coordinating? Elegant Simplicity or Finely Sophisticated?

  • Are all the details of my event finalized? (Who-What-When-Where-Why-How)? What details may still change?

  • How would I rank the priority of the invitations for this event?

  • While these are just a few questions to get you into that event planning and implementation mentality, the most important thing to remember is that this is your event. Small details may alter some small elements of your invitation, but you must feel comfortable with the overall look, style and feel of your invitations.


    If you are having trouble finding the ‘right’ invitation, consult an invitation designers that has invitation collections closest to the styles that appeal to you. Oftentimes, your invitation may be out there, you just may need a helping hand in scoping them out!

    Laura Paladino is an award-winning custom WEDDING & EVENT invitation designer, invitation, wedding, and event TRENDSETTER, and co-owner of the Laura Paladino Boutique & Studio in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.  For more information on Laura Paladino Invitation DESIGN, boutique &STUDIO services, Visit or email:




    Invitation Anatomy 101 - Typical Components

    By Laura Paladino, All Rights Reserved.


    “What am I supposed to have in my invitation?” This is one of the most common questions I get asked. The answer is quite simple: Anything! It’s true that convention doesn’t quite apply anymore with respect to what ‘goes’ for an invitation these days. That being said, there are a lot of components in the most common invitation styles. I should caution that there are literally thousands of options available – some a lot more unconventional and some are even bizarre. For the sake of brevity, I’ll keep my breakdown constrained to the more common components and options used in invitations today (as about 85-90% of invitation orders inevitably consist of these).


    I’ve broken down my Invitation Anatomy 101 into two lessons: Typical Components and Optional (or Additional

    Components). The first I’ll describe here:


    Typical Components

    1. The Outer Envelope

    • Anchors your ‘invitation package’. This is your guest’s first impression of your wedding at the mailbox!

    • It is a good idea to have your return address printed on the back flap of the envelope in the same lettering as your invitation.

    • Your guest’s address may be handwritten neatly or written using the services of a calligrapher.

    • Outer Envelopes should be reasonably sturdy and presented to your post office (fully stuffed) to determine exact postage prior to stamping and mailing.

    1. The Inner Envelope

  • Historically, inner envelopes were created to provide added protection to the contents of letters. That is, the outer envelope often suffered quite a bit of wear and tear between destinations, so the inner envelope would preserve the contents while identifying the recipient if the original address information wore away.

  • The need for an inner envelope no longer exists, but the romantic tradition remains. Nowadays, the inner envelope identifies only the invitees within the household (e.g. Mr. & Mrs. Wilhelm Schneider). No address is written on the inner envelope. All contents of your invitation package are placed inside the inner envelope. Usually the inner envelope back flap is left folded, but unsealed.

  • On a side note, I’ve found that amongst my clients only a small handful a year actually end up ordering inner envelopes. The decline in the use of Inner Envelopes is primarily due to the durability and material quality of custom invitation outer envelopes. This makes Inner Envelopes both expensive and redundant.

    1. The Invitation

    • Obviously, the most essential component of your invitation package. If your invitation is a folded card, all other components should be placed inside the invitation. If this is not possible, or your invitation consist of a one-sided card, place all other components on top of the invitation. The goal here is to make the invitation package as neat and tidy as possible.

    • As mentioned, anything goes when it comes to invitations. However, some typical features of a custom or custom-inspired invitation may include the following:

    • Outer Card – Heavier weighted stock that envelops or mattes the invitation contents. This is the foundation of your invitation. The outer card can be anything from a plain card backing, to a pocket-fold enclosure to a multi-panel pocketed fold-out!

    • Outer Embellishments – Known as the finishing touches on the ‘exterior’ of the invitation. This can be a ribbon tie, wax seal, monogram, matted graphic, pictures, foil stamped image, name, slogan, clasp, etc.

    • Inner Card(s) – Usually, an inner card contains your invitation wording. There are hundreds of inner card options including, vellums, vellum overlays, mounted card, bound card, embossed cards, imported stationeries, decorative papers, embellished card or paper, folded cards, loose cards, etc.

    1. The RSVP, Response, or Reply Card

    • Just as important as the invitation, the size and expense of your event is largely determined by the number of accepted/returned RSVP cards.

    • RSVP cards usually contain a blank line where the guest fills in his/her name and indicates the number of persons attending from his/her party. Usually an addressed and pre-stamped envelope is included to encourage your guest to respond as soon as possible.

    • RSVP cards can contain other information such as multiple dining options which must be chosen, or spaces for comments, requests, feedback etc.


    • TIP: Lightly number each RSVP card with a corresponding guest/invitation list. That way, if any RSVP card is returned blank without the sender’s information, you’ll know exactly which guest it is.


    • RSVP sizes are usually much smaller than invitations and contain an appropriately-sized return envelope. However, there is a trend towards more oversized RSVP cards (though still smaller than the invitation size)

    Congratulations, now that you’ve completed the first lesson, you’re ready for the “Invitation Anatomy 101—Optional Components” articles now.

    Laura Paladino is an award-winning custom WEDDING & EVENT invitation designer, invitation, wedding, and event TRENDSETTER, and co-owner of the Laura Paladino Boutique & Studio in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.  For more information on Laura Paladino Invitation DESIGN, boutique &STUDIO services, Visit or email:




    invitation Anatomy 101—Optional Components I

    By Laura Paladino, All Rights Reserved.



    Hopefully, you’ve read my prerequisite lesson “Invitation Anatomy 101 – Typical Components”. If not, I would highly recommend reviewing that article first. Now that you’ve been introduced to the main components of the most common invitation style/format, have a read of some of the Additional or Optional items you may want to add to your invitation.


    Here’s the breakdown of my Invitation Anatomy 101 into two lessons: Typical Components and Optional (or Additional Components). The latter I’ll describe here (in no particular order):


    Optional (or Additional Components)

    1. Reception Card

    • Often for weddings or events where the ceremony/formal event and reception are not at the same place, an additional card may be required to inform guests of the name and address of the reception hall.

    • This card may include information on parking, written directions, smoking rules, and the time of the event(s) (ie. Cocktails, greeting lines, abridged agenda, seating times etc.)

    • Usually this card is the size of the RSVP card.

    1. Directions Card

    • If your ceremony/formal event and reception are not well know to any or all of your guests, it is proper etiquette to provide detailed directions to and from the sites.

    • Directions cards may be as simple or as detailed as appropriate to the scale of the event celebration.

    • If you have out-of-town guests, you may wish to include hotel information/directions, suggestions on where to rent a car or call a taxi, maps or drawings in additional to written directions etc. This extra information often requires an addition card to the Directions card.

    • The information on this card is a service to your guests. Use your own common sense to determine what information should be included.

    • On a side note: I would say that about 98% of my invitation clients (regardless of the nature of the event) request a directions card. The current trend is to keep the format of the Directions card consistent with respect to typeface, style, etc. as the original invitation card.


      • TIP: For a more professional looking Directions card, ask you Invitation Designer for a quote on using the services of a professional cartographer. While much more expensive that an “in-house” map, cartographers can add features like a magnified sections of a map, landmark details, and customized routes.

    1. Program

    • Programs are one of the fastest growing components to general event planning.

    • A program reflects the chronology of happenings which will occur during the day of your event. Regardless of what formal and informal elements may or may not be included in your particular event day plans, a program adds a nice touch and air of sophistication to your event and/or celebration.

    • Programs offer a high degree of creativity that can really stun and impress your guests. You may wish to match or coordinate your programs with your event invitation colours/styles. You can present them as a scroll or booklet on the day of your event

    • Program information can include a chronology of happenings/events, speakers, locations, awards, recipient lists, donor lists, sponsors, greetings from company executives (if corporate) or family and/or bride and groom (if wedding). If there is special information, credits, or questionnaires, they can be easily incorporated into the program.

    1. Announcement Card (& Engagement Cards)

    • Usually wedding-related, the purpose of these cards is to ‘announce’ the joyous event of your marriage to absentee guests. Usually, guests who live far away or could not attend due to other reasons are sent announcement cards immediately after the wedding.

    • Announcement cards sent BEFORE a wedding are referred to as “Engagement Cards” (usually sent to announce a couple’s engagement). Engagements cards are a lot less common today.

    • Announcement cards are simple and elegant. They may consist of your names, the wedding date, the location, and a small quotation or greeting from you and your spouse.

    • Companies can also use Announcement cards to drum up excitement over the launch of a new product or significant milestone achievement. The rule of simplicity still applies in that very little except the basic information is placed on Announcement cards.

    1. Save-The-Date-Card

    • These – almost exclusively wedding-related – cards serve two purposes. The first is to announce your joint intent to marry and the second is to inform the guests to ‘save the [wedding] date’ on their calendars. In this way, Save-The-Date cards are similar to “Engagements Cards”.

    • These cards are a more recent addition to invitation components as engagement times are lasting longer and longer with many modern couples. It is important that these cards usually contain the wedding date, location, and hotel/transportation information for guests.

    • We get the most requests for Save-The-Date cards when a couple or a company is planning a destination wedding or event. In the reverse of a destination wedding or event, if your wedding is close to home (and most of your guests), but some of your guests are coming from out of province, state, or overseas, it is a wise idea to send Save-The-Dates to these guests to give them more time to plan.


      • TIP: Remember you can save some money by NOT ordering Save-The-Date cards for ALL of your guests. If most guests live within reasonable driving distance to your wedding venue then order Save The Date’s for the out-of-town guests only.


    • These cards are sent out well in advance to the invitations.

    • I’ve seen Save-The-Date cards used with companies wanting to inform key staff and strategic partners to keep a certain time-period free while securing reservations for a retreat-style focus group. In one case, specific details wouldn’t be available for some time, but the booking was made at a popular resort at considerable expense. Save-The-Date cards allowed guests to keep the dates free from other scheduling conflicts (ensuring desired attendance targets would be reached) while the formal details and eventual invitations were being hammered out.

    Way to go! Just one more lesson in “Invitation Anatomy 101—Optional Components”!  Finish up with Optional Components - Part II.

    Laura Paladino is an award-winning custom WEDDING & EVENT invitation designer, invitation, wedding, and event TRENDSETTER, and co-owner of the Laura Paladino Boutique & Studio in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.  For more information on Laura Paladino Invitation DESIGN, boutique &STUDIO services, Visit or email:




    Invitation Anatomy 101 - Optional Components II

    By Laura Paladino, All Rights Reserved.



    Almost there! This is the third lesson of my “Invitation Anatomy 101” list of articles. Remember, this article continues the listing of common Optional Components typically seen in invitations. While many examples are directly relevant to wedding invitations, I’ve tried to be broader to include the general invitation and corporate invitation components as well.


    If you haven’t already done so, I highly encourage reading my article “Invitation Anatomy 101 – Typical Components” first. This article continues from “Invitation Anatomy 101 – Optional Components I”:


    Optional (or Additional Components) CONTINUED:

    1. Seating Cards

  • Seating cards may be used to identify the proper spaces each guest should be seated at. These cards may be made for both the ceremony/formal event and reception. For weddings, ceremony cards are also known as ‘pew cards’, whereas reception cards are considered ‘place cards’.

  • There are many variations of seating cards. Some seating cards are simply number cards, while others may only discern ‘bride’s side’ and ‘groom’s side’, or main auditorium, balcony level (for annual meetings), etc. Some seating cards can even state each guest’s full name.

  • Seating cards are usually small in size and may be folded horizontally. They usually match the invitation style exactly or coordinate with the theme and colours of the event or company logo (for corporate events). There are countless style options and variations available.

    1. Thank You Cards

  • With respect to weddings, it is not only proper etiquette, but an expectation that the newlywed couple sends out Thank You cards. Your guests’ wedding or shower gifts should be acknowledged in this form (even in addition to other personalized expressions of gratitude).

  • Thank You cards have evolved over the years.  The traditional card used to be a small book-fold card no bigger than 3”x 5” containing a small handwritten expression of gratitude on one side, and a wallet-size wedding picture on the other side. 

  • Some modern alternatives include: Postcards that features a collage of wedding pictures on one side and a gratitude expression on the reverse; Cards that emulate the style and format of the invitation but contain the gratitude expression instead (picture may or may not be included); or the utilization of digital picture printing or even electronic Thank You cards. Note: Electronic Thank You cards should always follow in conjunction with printed cards.

  • Nowadays, less couples are opting for the inclusion of photographs in their Thank You cards. Since the trend is towards smaller more intimate weddings, supplying photographs has become a permissible omission.

  • Companies may also wish to send out “Acknowledgement cards” to express appreciation to their guests for attending their event. I have seen the use of Acknowledgement cards/Thank You cards for smaller, more elite VIP events where guest lists may include diplomats, industry leaders, top company executives, politicians, and other dignitaries. Besides being a great reminder and advertising opportunity, it’s also proper etiquette. Oftentimes, an appropriate gift accompanies the Acknowledgement/Thank You cards.

    1. Menu Cards

  • Menu cards can make a world of difference.  I can't stress enough how under-utilized menus are with respect to wedding and event planning. They not only greatly enhance your table setting(s),  they provide your guests with additional information and structure to the event festivities.


  • TIP: Menus look the best when they're one per place-setting.  However, if you're looking to cut costs somewhere  you can still make your table look stellar and serve your guests if you have 2-4 menu cards per table (rather than one per person). 


  • Typical Menu Card design consists of either self-standing book-fold cards or single panel open cards that rest flat on the place setting or affixed vertically by a decorative place-holder. 

  • Menu Cards can be coordinated to the theme of your event, colours, invitation pattern(s), etc.


  • TIP: If you're using a flat menu card, ask your hall/caterer to ensure the serviette/napkin is neatly wrapped around the menu card.  The effect is spectacular and ties in the table design with your stationery.

    1. Residence Cards (or Change of Address Cards)

  • For the post-wedding couple: Residence cards (also called “At Home Cards”) are an elegant way to communicate your new home or residence together to all your friends and family.

  • These are small cards that may be sent with invitations or shortly after the wedding. They should include your names, your new home or residence address, phone number, and move-in date.

  • For companies: Change of Address cards are critical to companies planning a major location change. Change of Address cards can stylishly inform your key business partners and clients of your new location. Address Cards have a better chance of getting noticed and acknowledged over common email, faxes, etc. They can easily save a lot of aggravation, time, and money - not to mention added exposure to clients and potential clients.

    1. Website Cards

  • First, a bit of background: Many companies offer ‘free web space’ on the internet where you can design a website using some generic templates. Some companies are wedding-themed and offer couples an easy and ‘low-tech’ way of constructing a “wedding website.” The advantages of a “wed site” are numerous. You can personalize a space on the internet that is accessible by anyone in the world. You can update it with pictures, wedding details, gift registry information, quotations, letters, stories, and even solicit creative contributions from family and friends.

  • Website cards are physical cards that can be included with your invitations directing your guests to your “wed site”. Essentially the cards contain your names, the website address (http://www.) and your email address(es).

  • For companies: By now, most companies have websites (those that don’t will surely get one to stay competitive). However, when companies first launch websites, a lot of money often gets thrown towards creative ways to market the website to the desired audience. Website cards – created much like miniature Announcement cards could be elegant and stylish and like Change of Address cards, they would get noticed. Nowadays, since most companies have a website and plaster it everywhere all over their letterheads, promotional items, and literatures, website cards have a role as a revived nostalgic marketing tool from the past.

    1. Electronic Cards

  • Theoretically, any of these components – including invitations – can be created and sent electronically. While the possibility of exploring electronic alternatives to physical cards is a tempting one, it is not recommended. The dreams of a “paperless society” remain just that. What I mean is that nothing appropriately replaces stationery and physical invitations.

  • Also, the proliferation of spam, unsolicited emails, virus email attachments, ad-ware, and spy-ware poses problems for the future of Electronic cards: 1) Filtering software may inadvertently delete an electronic card attachment or notice before its received, 2) Email is still not accepted as a ‘formal’ alternative to traditional invitations, 3) Given the ‘cyber-battle’ with spammers, email invitations suffer credibility and image problems, 4) Email screams frugality which undermines the nature of formal invitations.

  • Weddings are still considered formal and traditional events. Even if every one of your guests is an active user of the internet, electronic cards and greetings (if sent) should always be sent in conjunction with traditional invitations.

  • Acceptance of electronic cards as substitutes for invitations or invitation components is not yet a reality and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future.

    1. Registry Cards

  • Not just for weddings anymore – gift registries can be made for baby showers, graduations, retirements, anniversaries, house-warming parties, etc.

  • Many retail companies accustomed to registries print and offer their own special ‘registry cards’ that displays their logo. A registry card announces an active registry with a retailer.


  • TIP: There is still some controversy over whether information regarding gift registries is better communicated through word-of-mouth rather than through invitations. At present, gift registry cards are quite normal and ubiquitous in the wedding invitation world. Ultimately, it is a personal choice to make.

  • Again, the list could truly fill several more pages easily. New components are being created all the time to fill the need to communicate specific messages through an invitation method. Also, other factors such as religious and cultural traditions may be incorporated into these or additional component of your invitation. Remember, part of the uniqueness of custom invitations is the personalized elements that make your invitation – uniquely yours!


    Laura Paladino is an award-winning custom WEDDING & EVENT invitation designer, invitation, wedding, and event TRENDSETTER, and co-owner of the Laura Paladino Boutique & Studio in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.  For more information on Laura Paladino Invitation DESIGN, boutique &STUDIO services, Visit or email: