Invitation Inspiration and some styling thoughts

I am working on putting together a couple editorials in the next few months so I have had paper and invitation suites on the brain. I have also been considering how to style them. It’s so interesting to look at a photograph that seems so effortless, but as a stylist I KNOW there is actually a ton of thought and work that went on behind the scenes of each photo. I’m going to brain dump some styling thoughts here…meant to help you if you are struggling with this, but mostly for me to think through all the details (even the tiniest ones) of the shoots I am planning.

1. What is the backdrop of each photo? Fabric? A styling board? Is it simple, does it have texture or a slight pattern? You want the paper to be the main focus, but sometimes having a little interest in the background is a good thing. A piece of slightly textured fabric, a painted piece of wood, a slab of marble or stone are all pretty options depending on what is going on with the rest of the shoot.

Invitation Inspiration | Jennifer Laura Design | Texas Wedding Planner

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Invitation Inspiration | Jennifer Laura Design | Texas Wedding Planner

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2. What are the props? Bring along a few items that tie in with the colors and vibe of the shoot. Vintage stamps, trays, little ring dishes or boxes, wax seals, ribbon, string, etc. Also pull in some florals or fruit as props, florals immediately add in some life to the photo, even just pulling some petals or leaves in can help. Or for a botanical look bringing in an entire flower facing upward can help. I used to just look around the shoot to pull in items, which can work, but for even more thought and intention I have started purchasing items to go in these shots- searching online for small details like a vintage tin can make all the difference. Look on etsy and ebay or in thrift shops.

Invitation Inspiration | Jennifer Laura Design | Texas Wedding Planner

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Invitation Inspiration | Jennifer Laura Design | Texas Wedding Planner

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3. Think about the actual pieces. I personally like photos with several pieces, can you pull in a place card, program, or coordinating menu? These aren’t necessarily invitation pieces, but can add to a much fuller looking photo. Also bring multiples of each piece. Does the invitation have a beautiful back? Does the envelope have a great liner, but also beautiful calligraphy on the front? Having multiples of the same pieces can help you show off all of those details.

Invitation Inspiration | Jennifer Laura Design | Texas Wedding Planner

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Invitation Inspiration | Jennifer Laura Design | Texas Wedding Planner

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4. Plan it out ahead of time. For whatever reason shooting can always feel a little stressful or rushed. Whether it’s because we only have 2 hours at the venue or we’re losing the best light of the day, or it’s an actual wedding and I have a bajillion other things to do, it always helps me to have everything planned out so I’m not trying to come up with some amazing concept on the spot.

Invitation Inspiration | Jennifer Laura Design | Texas Wedding Planner

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Invitation Inspiration | Jennifer Laura Design | Texas Wedding Planner

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5. EDIT. I have taken so many styling photos that I go back and look at later that had WAY too much going on. The best way I have found to do this is pull out my phone and snap a quick photo. Something about seeing it through the lens (and constrained within those borders) can start to help see exactly what’s happening in the photo. Is the ribbon too overpowering or laying weird (laying ribbon in a natural looking way is wildly harder than it should be)? Is something crooked? Is it too cluttered? Keep in mind you still want the paper to be the focus, if that awesome tin you purchased on ebay is stealing the spotlight maybe it needs to come out.

Invitation Inspiration | Jennifer Laura Design | Texas Wedding Planner

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Here’s to styling paper! It’s one of my favorite things to shoot, all of these images I pulled are SERIOUSLY inspiring me right now. Not only is the paper gorgeous, but the simple and thoughtful way they are styled is exactly what I am hoping to accomplish with these upcoming editorials!

kelly wearstler for paperless post

Paperless Post is a really cool place. What was once a place where you could find super chic online invitations now also prints all of their designs onto paper if sending a web invite is not your thing. And I don’t mean cutesy web invitations with a bunny either…I don’t know why, but it seems like I’ve gotten some really bad e-vites in the past and they may or may not have included a furry friend…or three. Paperless post is anything but. So when I found out that my favorite interior designer Kelly Wearstler did a line of products for them I was stoked. I am mentally planning the next occasion I could send any one of these out.

Kelly Wearstler for Paperless Post

Kelly Wearstler for Paperless Post

Kelly Wearstler for Paperless Post

I think this one is my favorite. Marbleized anything is just exactly my cup of tea right now.

Kelly Wearstler for Paperless Post

Kelly Wearstler for Paperless Post

Although I could easily be persuaded that I need some new stationary that doesn’t reflect my branding whatsoever.

Kelly Wearstler for Paperless Post

Kelly Wearstler for Paperless Post

Anyone recognize this one? Have you seen Kelly’s foyer in which the entire space is wallpapered in this pattern? It’s outrageous and quintessentially Kelly.

Kelly Wearstler for Paperless Post

Kelly Wearstler for Paperless Post

So good right? Paperless Post also has lines by other designers like Kate Spade, Johnathan Adler, and Oscar De La Renta, in case Kdub doesn’t get you all hot and bothered.

Happy Friday!

{Image Credits: Paperless Post}

styling your invitations

Unless you have an awesome photographer who also happens to have some styling chops chances are you may end up missing out on getting some amazing photographs of your invitations. I actually don’t even have a professional photograph of my wedding invitations…it’s just not something I thought to bring to my wedding and give to my photographer (who was awesome btdubs). Trust me, there are a thousand other things to be concerned with on your wedding day- making sure your photographer gets an amazing shot of your invitations is probably not going to be very high on your list. BUT I can also say that if you don’t get a good shot of your invitations you will regret it. Take it from me- the girl with no invitation picture.

This is something I try to make sure I take care of for my brides. And for the past year I simply made sure I got their invitation and passed it along to the photographer…this approach has left me disappointed on more than one occasion. Several times I ended up with strange backgrounds, a weird arrangement, and one time I had photographers who completely forgot to get the shot at all.

how to style your invitations | Jennifer Laura Design

This is one of my favorite set of styled invitations EVER. These are Amanda’s, who just so happens to be one of the co-owners of 100 Layer Cake, so it shouldn’t be shocking that everything about her invitations is perfection. What is actually most interesting to me about this is that if I single out and just look at her invitation I don’t love it…but by the time you add in all of the other components, the hot pink background, the gold confetti, it’s pretty much my favorite thing ever. So here is my advice to make sure that you end up with a perfectly styled invitation photo that will forever memorialize those invitations you spent a lot of time and money on.

1. Tell your photographer. Mention to your photographer ahead of time how important getting a great photo of your invitations is. Tell them, e-mail them, call them, send a telegram, make sure they know! Most photographers will ask you for a must-have photo list. Put this on the list.

how to style invitations | Jennifer Laura Design

2. Do the leg work for them. Play with your invitation before your wedding day- get all of the pieces- the invitation, inner envelope, outer envelope, RSVP, program, menu, etc. Also get some props- anything that looks good with your invitation or goes along with the decor or theme of your wedding day. Play around with different configurations- look on Pinterest for styled invitations that you like and emulate that. Take Iphone pictures of your top 3 or 4 favorite configurations.

3. Get Creative. Even if you didn’t hire a calligrapher to do every invitation- maybe have them just do one for the photograph. Or ask an artsy friend with cool handwriting. Go to a coin and stamp store to find some cool vintage stamps to put on the envelope. In a perfect world you would have all of your invitations looking like perfection, but even if it’s just not in the cards for all of them you can make that one be extra special. I won’t tell anyone. As for props…anything can be a prop- a cool rock, a ball of yarn, a leaf, a hankie….you get the idea.

how to style your invitations | Jennifer Laura Design

3. Make a packet. Pack all of the photos of your favorite configurations, the paper components, the props into a little box and ship that sucker off to your photographer. This will allow them to take the photos of your invitations whenever they want- there is always a lot going on during the wedding day and the photographer has to constantly make sure they are at the center of all the action. Having everything they need to photograph your invitations before the wedding means that they can take their time and get it just the way you want. 

Here are some different configurations Paige and I played around with when we shot the invitations for the beach boho shoot. We did this on a separate day so we weren’t frazzled and could really enjoy it. I know I’m a total weirdo, but this was such a blast for me. #dontjudge

how to style your invitations | Jennifer Laura Design

how to style your invitations | Jennifer Laura Design

how to style your invitations | Jennifer Laura Design

how to style your invitations | Jennifer Laura Design

It’s all about options, options, and more options. You never know what will look best in the photograph so just play and have fun. And here’s my favorite…

Beachy Boho | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

I also really love how the styling of Phoenix’s birthday invitations came out. We did these about five minutes before the party started so not quite as relaxed, but lucky for me my family runs about 30 minutes late to everything so we had plenty of time.

how to style your invitations | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

This second one is actually my favorite. I worked on the invitations before I had nailed down all of the details for the party so I had no idea the color scheme of the party was going to be so much turquoise and obviously the invitations have NO turquoise in them. It was an easy fix by adding in a napkin and some of the painted army men…makes it a lot less obvious that the invitations are all earth tones.

View More: http://awake.pass.us/beachchic

Happy styling!

{Image Credits: 1 100 Layer Cake, 2 The Paper Paramour, 3 Lucky Luxe, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 Jennifer Laura Design, Awake Photography, and Lil Rhino Paper Co.}

The Modern Day Invitation

The wedding invitation has come a long way and they are getting quite elaborate! I am completely on board for going all out with your invitations if you can squeeze it into your budget. There are so many talented vendors out there who will make some truly beautiful and personal invites, programs, menus, table numbers, you name it! Here are some of the invitations I am drooling over at the moment.

Happy Friday everyone!

{Photo Credits: Avery House 2 Kymera Studio 3 Paper and Thread 4 Erin Jang 5 Momental Designs}