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hile there are a million details competing for every harried bride’s attention, one of the first things you need to get right is your invitation. Invitations are not just informative mailings full of logistical details—they offer your guests their first glimpse into your wedding’s aesthetic. Do them early and do them right, and the invitations can complement and enhance your overall theme. Because it can be difficult to follow the trends sweeping the industry, talked to some experts to find out what’s in vogue.

Make It All About You

Personalization is one of the industry’s hottest trends, says Saima Khan, owner of custom invitation company Saima Says Design. “The invitation should reflect the couple’s personal style and tone for their special day,” she says. Sisters Puneet Messler and Pavan Kochar of Alia Designs, a luxury correspondence company, agree. “We spend a significant amount of time in consultation with the bride and groom, learning their personalities and how they met. When we go through that process, we come up with something in line with who they are,” says Kochar.

Invitation from Saima Says Design.

Meet the Designer

Who: Saima Khan

What: Saima Says Design


Why: A graphic designer who worked on fashion accounts, Khan had a strong inclination toward textile design. She found that with invitations, she could incorporate her love of pattern, motif and textures.

How: Invitations run from $1,500 to $13,000, depending on the range of paper quality and format. Due to the highly customized nature of her work, Khan only accepts three to four orders per month and suggests contacting her five to six months prior to your event date.

Try Khan’s ideas for adding a unique touch to your invitations:

  • Incorporate a quotation or text from a song or poem into the invitation
  • Integrate beautifully-designed monograms into all your wedding stationery, including invitations, menu cards, programs and thank you cards
  • Use personalized photo stamps to mail your invitations. You can get a photo of the bride and groom or another image transformed into legal U.S. postage. Web sites and make it easy.
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    Stunning Tiffany blue and chocolate combination. Invite from Saima Says.
    Color Outside the Lines

    Gone are the days of the standard black and white invitation or even the traditional red and gold of Hindu weddings. Says Khan, “People are now more willing to do colors that are unexpected and fresh, not just your typical cherry red and gold. The colors I offer are different: They are still very eastern and indulgent and rich, but they have a fresher, fusion feel to them.” One of Khan’s recent wedding invitation creations featured “beautiful turquoise, parrot green and dull gold.”

    Follow these suggestions for color combinations that will dazzle:

  • Make a bold statement by using loud, dramatic colors like rich brown together with Tiffany blue or charcoal gray with celadon green, says Khan.
  • Take cues from what’s on fashion runways from around the world, suggests Kochar. “A lot of bold print, and brown is very big—still the new black.”
  • Have your invitations reflect the color scheme from other details in the wedding. “We’ve taken color from the bride’s dress, or ribbons of material, whether it’s from the dupatta or lengha or sari,” adds Messler.
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    Invitation from Alia Designs.
    Add Embellishment

    For Messler and Kochar, the little luxuries that add extra flair to an invitation are their stock-in-trade. “I don’t know anyone else who would use genuine pearls that are adorned on a silk folio to reveal an invitation,” says Messler. “The hottest trend right now is boxed invitations; silk boxes and silk folios. We create an ensemble—a silk box with pockets to house all of the separate events and the invitation appears in the base of the box. Another option is to have the invitation mounted on a silk cushion pillow board. On the back of the board is a pocket that will hold all of the other enclosures.”

    Meet the Designers

    Who: Puneet Messler and Pavan Kochar

    What: Alia Designs Luxury Correspondence


    Why: After fruitless searches for invitations for Messler’s wedding that went beyond simplistic paper, the two sisters designed and created an invitation that was completely unique. Years later, people were still asking the duo to consider creating distinctive invitations for their own celebrations, and the idea for Alia Designs was born.

    How: Alia Designs has a non-refundable consultation and design fee of $150, with a minimum order of $2,000. Due to the highly customized nature of their work, pricing is variable. Contact them within six months of your event.

    Pearls beyond your price? Try Khan’s suggestions for embellishments that won’t break the bank:

  • Use beautiful tissue papers.
  • Try metallic belly-band wraps that go around the invitations, either for decoration or to keep them closed
  • Add rhinestones for a little sparkle.
  • saima-says-4.jpg
    Tease the Location

    With destination weddings on the rise, adding elements of the location into your invitation is another way to create a distinctive feel to it as well as establish an ambience for your guests. “We’ve gone as far as to take wallpaper from a hotel and incorporate that into the actual invitation,” says Messler. “Elements that exist at that location will be incorporated, for instance, a starfish for a destination beach wedding.”

  • Use imagery and language. For instance, if your event is on the waterfront or even aboard a ship, incorporate images of boats or the shoreline. You could even use nautical language, but beware of crossing the line from cute to cheesy!
  • Try to incorporate actual elements of the setting. If your wedding is in a botanical garden, fill your invitation envelopes with flower petals.
  • Include local highlights. For a Bombay wedding, phrase the invitation like the plot summary of a Bollywood movie. If you’re worried about being too informal, you could use this theme for a save-the-date card instead. And if you have the resources, why not go all out and film a mini-Bollywood movie and send out DVD invitations? You could have a lot of fun parodying all the traditional elements: star-crossed lovers dancing in the rain, abrupt musical numbers and nonsensical fights with minimal violence. This theme could work even if your wedding was located in or near the entertainment capitals of New York and Los Angeles.
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    Silk orchid embellished invitation by Alia Designs.
    Keep the Costs Down

    When it comes to invitations, the possibilities are endless but the costs can definitely add up. But don’t run to Kinko’s just yet. Our experts have some ideas for getting the invitation you want without the price tag you don’t:

  • If your heart is set on an upscale invite, Messler and Kochar suggest eliminating the wedding favor and using your luxurious invitation as a gift to your guests. “You’re not just getting something in an envelope,” says Messler. “The invitation arrives in a gorgeous box and becomes a gift and a keepsake for the guest themselves.”
  • Cut down on the number of inks used on the paper, advises Khan.
  • Pay attention to the type of paper you select. “Metallic will always be more expensive than matte or colored,” says Khan. “You can always print color on a white sheet. Keep it simple—focus on design, motif and format.”
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    Invitation from Saima Says.
    Pay Attention to These Dos and Don’ts

    After years of experience, Khan, Messler and Kochar have amassed a wealth of knowledge. Follow their final suggestions for the little details that will make a difference:

  • Don’t use computer-printed address labels, “especially if you paid so much for custom invitations. It’s the first thing the guests see and it cheapens the formality of the invitation,” says Khan. “Find a local calligrapher who can accommodate your budget, or factor that cost in when ordering your cards.”
  • Don’t include your registry information with your invitations (doing so is tacky)—put it on your wedding Web site, instead. “It’s not such a heavy hint,” says Khan, “and people don’t get offended. It also saves costs, because it’s printing one less component for the wedding set.”
  • When choosing a stationer, do stick with one person for the whole thing, advises Kochar. “They can incorporate the design themes from the save the date cards and the thank you cards you send afterward.”
  • Do think about your invitations early in the planning process. Says Messler, “People don’t realize the amount of customization you can get if you start early.” n
  • Deepa Kamath sometimes likes invitations more than the parties themselves.
    Published on June 4, 2007.
    Photography: Courtesy of Saima Says Design and Alia Designs.

    More Information

    Saima Says Design
    Alia Designs

    Comments are closed.
    1. June 20, 2007, 11:12 am Silk Orchids

      This is very cool information – I love the invitation

    2. November 25, 2007, 12:15 pm Minu

      I wanna…have a bollywood themed sangeet for my wedding..pls suggest the content of the invitation letter !!