How To Elevate Your Invitations With Jenny Sanders
For those of you who joined us last week, we hope you’ve been full of inspiration and stationery planning!
In keeping with last week’s theme, today we’re sitting down with Jenny Sanders, one of our favorite designers and the visionary behind our newest wax seal collection, to talk all about how to elevate your invitations at home!
Full of amazing tips and techniques for creating your own beautiful invitations at home, let’s get started!
Hi Jenny, it’s so nice to have you here! For those of our readers who don’t know you – can you start by telling us a little bit more about yourself?
Hello and thank you so much for having me! I am a stationer and designer specializing in custom wedding stationery and aesthetic brand design. I also love coaching and mentoring other stationers who are at an earlier stage in their business. I live in Portland, Oregon with my husband and almost 3-year-old daughter.
Inspired by her home and the nature around it, Jenny’s main source of inspiration comes from leaves, leading to many of the warm tones and subtle shades often used in her work.
As a girl who grew up in season-less Southern California, I am constantly in awe of the beauty of this part of the world – especially the trees! Whether crisp autumn leaves, or faded leaves that have fallen from fluttery summer branches – the textures, movement and colors they exhibit are a never-ending source of inspiration for me. I am also currently very inspired by warm, minimal interiors with lots of light and organic textures.
Now, before we talk about how to elevate your invitations at home – let’s talk really quick about why you would work with a professional designer vs. creating them yourself. If your budget allows, working with a professional stationer is ABSOLUTELY worth the investment! Not only have these artists spent their lives learning their craft and honing their expertise, but they also have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to planning, timing, etiquette and so much more – things we may not even know to think about when planning our stationery.
“While it is great to work with a professional designer to create a custom suite for you, it is a pricier option. It is true that a designer has the experience of expertly choosing typefaces and design elements, sourcing and working with the best products, however it may not be in the budget for everyone”
While working together on our Wax Seal Collection, we wanted to create not only a series of beautiful designs for you to embellish your wedding with – but also help you embrace your own personal style in an accessible way!
Like the start of any project – having a plan is the first step! Now, if you’re anything like me –brainstorming and coming up with a million-and-one ideas is the best part! This leads us to our first step: your inspiration board!
To guide us through, here’s a little peek at how Jenny uses moodboards in her creative process:
“My creative process begins with the client. I really try to understand who they are as well as the feelings that they wish to evoke with either their guests, or their potential clients. I will then create a simple moodboard – usually no more than 5 images – that are a visual representation of the adjectives that I glean from our consultation. I then start to imagine how I can bring those words and feelings to life.”
This process is something you can absolutely do at home – using Pinterest, Instagram, magazines – you name it!
Pulling pieces of imagery, text and color that you feel represent you and your partner is a great way to start your invitation process at-home, while helping you stay focused during the remainder of your planning.
Choosing Color For Your Invitations
Let’s jump in to the first question we typically receive (and our favorite): COLOR!
I’m not a designer, so where do I even start with choosing colors for my stationery? I love color but don’t know what is considered “acceptable” for a wedding palette? What about my wax seals? My invitations are [color here] – what wax color should I pick for those?
We love these questions – because we’ve all been there, haven’t we?
Whether it’s that emerald green dress you found in your favorite boutique or that blue velvet armchair you fell in love with at your local thrift shop – we are easily drawn to color but using those colors in a cohesive and polished way can sometimes be a challenge.
So where do you start?
“If you want to incorporate several colors and are unsure how to do it well, my advice would be to focus on one shade as the main color and to use others more subtly as accent colors. It is easier to have one more bold color and to have the other shades you pair with be more soft. And don’t forget that you have wonderful resources in Pinterest and Instagram where you can see the work of established designers to see how they incorporate color.
For the DIY bride or the designer that may not be as comfortable putting together a color palette, I would say choose one main color and then use various intensities of that tone. For example, if you love coral, perhaps use a deep coral ribbon and a medium coral envelope liner and a light coral wax seal. Of course, you will want to make sure that the color you choose is carried through in the rest of your wedding as well.“
- Jenny Sanders
For those of you who love visual examples and a more guided approach - we’ve got something launching this week to help you do just this, make sure to sign up here and we’ll email you as soon as it goes live!
Now that you’ve thought about your inspiration and your color palette, you’re ready to start choosing the stationery itself! Whether you create them online, make them yourself, or work with a local print shop – here are some super accessible ways that Jenny recommends that will take your printed invitations to the next level:
1. Keep It Simple:
“I would recommend keeping your invitation suite very simple in terms of design and layout of the pieces themselves. Unless you have particular skill with pairing fonts or choosing color palettes, I would keep things simple to avoid your pieces looking cluttered.”
2. Match Your Typeface with Your Wedding Style:
“If your wedding will have a more modern look, choose a sans serif typeface as your main lettering and go with a serif typeface for a more classic event.”
3. Choosing the Perfect Finishing Pieces:
“Adding a few carefully chosen elements to add to your suite can really elevate it and you can even do many yourself if you are not investing in a custom designer. I would suggest choosing two or three finishing pieces (a vellum band, vintage postage stamps, ribbon or fine twine, or wax seals) to keep your suite refined. If your style leans more towards maximalism – do as much as you feel suits you and your style.”
If you haven’t worked with these pieces before, there are tons of great online and YouTube tutorials that can help you through the assembly portion of this process based on the pieces you choose. For those of you wanting to add wax seals to your suite, here is our step-by-step guide to get you started.
Quick Tip: If you don’t have a ton of time or much experience making seals – our artisan-made wax seals are a great option! They are super quick and easy to use - and don't require any technique to use!
Finding The Right Finishing Pieces
It may come as no surprise that finishing pieces are our favorite parts of any suite so we couldn’t wait to hear some of Jenny’s must-haves on her embellishment list:
"I tend to keep my designs quite simple – are you seeing a trend here? – so I really love to add interest with texture and finishes. Of course, wax seals are a wonderful way to personalize a suite, especially when used in a more unexpected way than just sealing the envelope.
You can use a wax seal to seal a vellum wrap or tie a silk ribbon around your suite and place a wax seal where the ribbon crosses (using a piece of parchment in between so that it does not seal to the card). You can also use them as an element on other pieces for your event like on the top of a menu or place card, or to seal gift bags. There are so many possibilities to be creative!
My favorite finish is probably a wrap of some sort – whether that is paper, vellum, silk ribbon, or fine thread; whether it covers the entire invitation, a portion of it or even folds around it. There are so many options, all different textures and weights of paper, different ribbon wraps and endless shades of thread. Adding a wax seal as the way to secure the wrap, especially over ribbon or twine always looks lovely!"
At the end of the day, regardless of the paper you choose, the color of ink, the typography, or whether you use ribbon or a wax seal (or both!) – this is the most special day in your life together so far. Enjoy this time. Enjoy the process. And above all else, enjoy each other!
“Do not feel pressure to have your wedding look like the one that you saw in that magazine. Whether you have a large budget or a small one, do the best you can with the budget that you have and remember that simple can be beautiful.
And lastly, remember that your marriage is even more important than your wedding.”
- Jenny Sanders