Unique Wedding Registry Ideas

Registries can be such a hassle. The online registry space is surprisingly old-school and extremely difficult to navigate. Plus, if you’re like me, you have all the pots and pans you’ll ever need. Luckily, you have options. Below are a few unique wedding registry ideas.

Instead of dishes, we opted for Paris for our honeymoon!

Instead of dishes,  go to Paris for your honeymoon!

1. Traveler’s Joy – There’s a lot of honeymoon registries out there, and a lot of them are solid. I actually used Traveler’s Joy to plan our honeymoon to Belgium, Germany and Paris. In my opinion, I could live without the crock pot. Sure, there’s a fee for every credit card transaction, but it was so easy for our guests to purchase a dinner for 2 in Belgium, or a ticket up the Eiffel Tower. If you choose this type of service, just be sure to plan out the details. The offer for 10-$100 increment options to help buy our plane tickets didn’t sell, but the dinner for 2 at a cozy restaurant (including a link to the menu) for $100 sold out immediately. Also be sure to include a lot of different increments. Bonus: All of the gifts go into your PayPal, so if you don’t end up actually going to that cozy restaurant you can still use it for a fancy lunch elsewhere. To get a few ideas, check out ours at http://www.travelersjoy.com/dustinanderica

2. Zola isn’t available to the public yet, but I’m excited about it. At it’s root, it’s taking wedding registry into an actual enjoyable experience. Instead of having to decide whether to register at Target, Macy’s or The Container Store, you can add items from all websites into one master registry. This isn’t the first time it’s been done, but the folks over at Zola have some pretty awesome ideas, which I expect to take off. Down the road they hope to add some pretty simple wedding websites (complete with your own URL like mikeandsara.com, for example) and a host of other options. Sounds pretty cool!

3. Think about your passions. If you’re really into wine, head over to www.wineenthusiast.com. If you’re super into outdoors, register at REI.com. There’s a ton of options here, just think about what you love and head to the site that you would die to go on a shopping spree. You can also think of things like “Dining Around Town”, where your guests can purchase you a dinner for two at one of the many restaurants in your town. A site like www.OurWishingWell.com is great for this!


Letterpress Coasters

I am slightly obsessed with coasters. I love them for a few reasons, but mainly because they’re just plain fun. During otherwise serious occasions, coasters are a great way to lighten up the mood.


For my wedding, I created 4 coasters: 1 mad libs, 1 serious/sentimental coaster, and 2 silly/funny ones. They were a huge hit. In fact, they were being flung around the room during our reception as my otherwise serious Father In Law grinned from ear to ear. It was pretty magical, and was probably one of my best memories of the day.

Coasters can also be inexpensive, especially if you don’t expect them to last for a long time. I prefer them this way, because then they can be silly and ridiculous. If you know they will be around for a long time, then you’ll need to think twice before putting Mad Libs game on it.

Letterpress coasters are also pretty classy hostess gifts, especially if you thought ahead to have their names printed on them. Even without their names, it can be a great way to thank someone for their hospitality.


I’m also a big fan of letterpress coasters for picnics, teacher’s gifts, and baby showers. It’s a great way to tie the theme together, and have some fun. Plus, as an added bonus, they’re pretty easy to print, so the price per piece tends to be super affordable.


When To Send Save The Dates

Save the dates are fun. While it’s nice if they stick to your entire theme, it really isn’t necessary. For super formal invitations, it’s okay to let loose and have fun with the pre-invites.


We get a lot of questions about when to send save the dates, and the stock answer is about 6 months before the wedding. If it’s a destination wedding, or during a holiday weekend, then shoot for 8 months prior to the big day.

The great thing about save the dates is typically you’re not totally overwhelmed with wedding details yet, and you have the newness factor on your side. I especially love creative save the dates, and really like when it incorporates a picture of the happy couple.

While save the dates do not need to match the rest of the your invitation suite, they should still reflect you as a couple. Typically, you’ll have an idea of your wedding colors as well, which you can begin to display in a cohesive look. If you have your wedding theme set, or a monogram, feel free to include it. Just don’t feel stressed out if you don’t have all of that info together yet – there’s plenty of time.

You’ll know when to send save the dates when you have your ceremony or reception booked. Contract in hand, you can feel pretty confident things will go as planned. I say “pretty confident”, because 2 weeks after I signed our reception hall, the organizer called nearly in tears saying that there was a mix-up. They had double booked us. I’m glad I didn’t jump the gun and get the save the dates ordered immediately :)

If you’re looking for ideas for your save the dates, look at individual pieces that you love. Do you love one of the photos from your engagement session? Are you obsessed with bakers twine? Gathering your ideas can give you (or us!) help with your total vision. Check out Scott & Carrie’s save the date!


Choosing A Wedding Theme

Choosing a wedding theme was one of the most stressful things of planning my wedding. I wanted a consistent look and feel, but didn’t want the theme to be too overpowering.  How do you find a theme that captures your vision? Read below to find out!

Decide on Your Venue

Deciding on theme before having a venue is pretty pointless. Your venue will either eliminate options or inspire new ones, so check this off your list first. For example, if you have your reception in a barn, then shabby chic is easy to pull off. Consequently, an ultra-modern, minimal theme will be off the table.

Write Down 5 Words That Describe You

Get out a sheet of paper, and pick the top 5 words that describe you as a couple. Are you playful? Sophisticated? Socialites? Here are a few others: traditional, unconventional, soul mates, nature, silly, passionate, resourceful, travelers, sports fanatics, NYC, country, quirky, nerdy, fancy, popular, etc. There’s a million others, or course, but try to pick about 5 and see if a theme develops.

Choose Your Colors

Often, you’ll want your invitations to reflect the colors of your wedding. Pinterest is an obvious place to start with this, but you can also think of the colors that are in your closet. What color is your go-to? Does your fiance have a favorite color? You may also want to look at what colors your favorite designer has, as you may be limited (or inspired) by your bridesmaids’ dress colors.

Ping Invitations That You Like

Again, Pinterest is a good choice, but bridal magazines work well for this too. Save anything that you like, even if you’re not sure why you like it. We will be able to see the theme between them, even if you can’t. Often times it’s the font, or the tone, that you’ll be drawn to. Other times, the theme will be a bit more obvious, such as a nature theme, shabby chic, or a distinct pattern.

Consider a Pattern

I’m a huge fan of using patterns in invitations, mainly because there are so many uses for them. In invitations, patterns are an obvious choice, and it’s easy for brides to extend that theme onto their napkins, chair covers or veil. Patterns are also a great way to show your unique personality without having to sacrifice traditions.

Consider a Monogram

A monogram wasn’t right for me, and I’ve always been leery of monograms. When Ashley showed me the monogram she made for Carrie and Scott, however, my attitude changed. It’s not your traditional, boring monogram!  If you think outside the traditional monogram box, it may be a good fit for you.


Remember To Use It After Your Nuptials

My girlfriend from high school had one of the best invitation suites I’ve ever seen. It was a nice invitation, but what I love the most is that even now when I receive a Christmas card, her return address has the same theme that her wedding invitations did. That’s a classy way to begin a marriage, and the theme still fits her and her hubby now, even with two children.

Still stumped? Creating themes is what we love. I love design, but truthfully Ashley excels at creating themes. Give us a call, and Ashley can walk you through our process!

Wedding Invitation Etiquette

Let me start by saying I am not an etiquette expert. My friends say I have tact, but it usually depends on my mood. When it was time to get married, I did some things by the book (we got married in a church), and other traditions I left by the wayside (we did an online registry for our honeymoon). Still, wedding invitation etiquette is something you can’t ignore, as your grandmother and BFF alike will be receiving them in the mail.

In a nutshell, most things go when it comes to wedding invitation etiquette. Use your judgement, and when in doubt, stick to tradition. Always include first and last names of both you and your fiance, and specifics such as ceremony and reception times and locations. Reply information should be on a separate card. Never, ever, include information about your registry.


If you and your fiance are forking over most of the bill, but your parents and the in-laws have contributed, it’s polite to include their names. My favorite wording for wedding invitations is:

Mr. and Mrs. Trotter [bride’s parents]


Mr. and Mrs. Hanlin [groom’s parents]

invite you to the wedding of their children…

Nobody gets their feelings hurt, nobody is left out, and in the end, everyone’s happy. Which will make you happy.

If your parents are hosting (read: footing the entire bill), then by all means, their name should be front and center. It is all about you, but without them your invitations may not have been printed in the first place.

Formal wedding invitation etiquette says that there should be no abbreviations, except for “Mr.” and “Mrs.”. Other salutations, such as “Doctor”, may be abbreviated if it is followed by a very long name. If your fiance is an M.D., or D.D.S., they are traditionally not included on the invitation, but I say include it if it will hurt his ego to leave it off. Nicknames, however, need to be left off. Even if nobody knows his name is “William”, do not include “Bill” on the invitation.

Some brides prefer “honour” and others prefer “honor”. In our experience, most use “honor”. Both are considered formal. If you’re having an outside wedding, and are worried about rain, then a separate (but small) card should be included with your invitation suite with the backup plan.

Informal wedding invitation etiquette is much more lax. Nicknames, abbreviations and excluding titles are the norm. Just because an invitation is informal doesn’t mean it doesn’t look special. The wedding invitation should still have the essentials, such as location, names and dates. And again, under no circumstances should the registry be mentioned in your invitation suite. Fun touches, such as the bride and groom’s thumbprints, can be included and still look chic.

You should send your save the dates six to eight months in advance. If you’re doing a destination wedding, get them out up to a year in advance. Vacations are typically scheduled far in advance, and their bank accounts will appreciate the head’s up. Your actual wedding invitations should go out eight weeks in advance. Some rules say six weeks, but unless all of your guests are in town, people will need the time to prepare to get to your locale.

Your RSVP deadline should be about two weeks before your wedding date.

Still confused? Every couple’s situation is unique, and we’ve seen it all. Let us help you with your wording and create your one of a kind piece!


Wedding Invitation Trends for 2014

2014 wedding dresses have hit the bridal runway, making high glam and total romantics giddy with excitement. Color also played a role, with Vera Wang and Oscar de la Renta showing off surprising colors. Below are the top trends in invitation designs for 2014.


1. Patterns still rule
Creating a theme for your wedding will always be in style, but the chic theme for 2014 includes bold, graphic prints that translate from your invitations to the ballroom. Couples will take the pattern and translate it to the tablecloths, their dress, or onto their menus.

2. Ditch the black ink
While the LBD will always rule, on your wedding day choose a classic grey for your invitations. The color is sophisticated and fresh, and isn’t as harsh as black.

3. Color, color, color
If Oscar de la Renta can create a pink or blue wedding dress, you can certainly add color into your invitations. Try a light pink paper to match your daring dress, or be bold and choose a fun inner envelope color to mix up your invitation suite. A navy blue envelope with grey lettering is sophisticated and embraces a bit of the trend.

4. Add a little glitz
High glam is definitely a trend for 2014, and nothing says glam like foil stamping. Used sparingly – for the couples name only, for example – this technique can make the words jump off the page.

5. Blind embossing
Blind embossing isn’t a new technique, but it’s definitely a winner in 2014. Blind embossing is when an image, pattern or text is pressed into the paper without using ink. The results can be dramatic, and fit well with the high glam theme. A thick, soft letterpress paper is a must for this technique.

Letterpress Wedding Printing

Letterpress is a very old form of printing, meaning it’s a highly inefficient form of getting the job done. The inefficiencies make each invitation unique, and create beautiful, crisp impressions. It also means each invitation is printed by hand, one-by-one. This labor of love is what causes the price per piece to be so high.

Letterpress doesn’t work well for large areas of solid color, however this form of printing does lend well to ornate script.

Letterpress printing is obviously a classic choice for invitations, but it also can create a modern wedding invite suite with funky fonts, unique patterns and blind embossing (not using ink to make an impression on the paper).

Historically, wooden type was placed together to create a “plate”, and then each paper was pressed into the type. Now, we usually use plastic molds to create some pretty awesome patterns, type and arrangements. Anything we can dream up in Photoshop can be transformed to your Letterpress Wedding Invitation.

Old-school printers scoff at the letterpress impression, as it was seen as the incorrect technique. We now prefer that deep impression, as it gives it the true “letterpress” look.

Choosing your paper is one of the most important aspects of your print job. Crane’s Lettra is a classic choice, but there are many more out there that offer the soft, luxurious touch that is essential to a deep impression. Choose a paper that stands well on it’s own. It should be both sturdy and soft. Most print shops will have samples they can show you in a 5×7. Paper will feel much more dense in a small chip, so it should be felt in the full size before choosing.

Letterpress Printing can also be done on envelopes, and is a nice way to tie in your entire wedding theme. Return addresses and your pattern, monogram or theme can be placed on the outside envelope, giving guests a feel for what’s to come. In the photo above, you can see the letterpress printing we did on Dustin and Erica’s wedding envelopes!

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