The Importance of an Invitation

TOAST talks to expert stationers about the importance of an invitation

We are all familiar with paper invitations to a wedding or milestone birthday but what about the occasional dinner party or smaller do? Do they really make a difference or will a quick text message suffice? Toast Life and several invitation experts explore the importance of paper in the digital age, and what to consider when choosing your next invites…

Email, Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, to name just a few. There is no denying that we live in a digital age, but what does this mean for invitations? The sense of excitement I get returning home to find an actual, physical invitation on my doormat is actually quite embarrassing. I relish opening the envelope, feeling the paper, reading every last word and then proudly displaying it on my mantelpiece, as a little reminder of something to look forward. You can hardly say the same for an email, can you?

Even after the event, as the digital invitations slip away in to the internet ether never to be seen again, I can’t bear to throw a physical invitation away. To me, they are memories.

Historically, invitations to social events were limited to the upper echelons of high society; hand written announcements would be delivered to guests as a formal request of their attendance - writing was a mark of education, and those who could read and write also had excellent penmanship. The quill was the writing instrument of choice, dipped with ink it produced a sharp stroke and produced beautiful results, making the invitations themselves works of art.

Back then invitations set the scene which un-surprisingly is still the case today. You may be able to casually invite friends with a quick text, but for that special occasion or one-off event, nothing comes close to an invitation in the post. 

Now I am not damming digital entirely – it has its place in many forms. Paperless Post  allows you to digitally distribute super chic invitations that cover a variety of events. Wedding websites such as The Knot  and GettingMarried.co.uk will even manage your guest list for you, including dietary requirements and song requests. We at Toast are also huge advocates of Doodle - a simple online tool which allows everyone to plug in their availability, making it easier to find that elusive date that everyone can actually do.

These digital methods are as convenient for you as they are for your guests; no need to find a stamp, get to a post box, etc. For the host, no compiling information from various invitations, just log in, click print and you’re done. In a time when time itself is a precious and often limited commodity, anything that gives you a few extra minutes is to be embraced!

So yes, it is perfectly acceptable to send a digital invitation, especially if the budget for the party doesn’t quite stretch to print and postage, but if you’re already going to the effort of getting everyone together, creating a theme and coordinating décor, food, drinks and entertainment, then why not make a suitably strong first impression?

Paper invitations are a tradition that lives on and provides nostalgic joy for both the sender and the recipient. TOAST spoke to a few leading experts of the invite world and got their tips on what to consider when you’re planning your next invitation creations…

Go bespoke

Jennifer of Jennifer's Paper spent over ten years working in the design and branding industry in New York City, where she quickly discovered that her favorite projects were the ones where she got to create invitations and specialty paper goods – the pieces that still require a stamp and are sent ‘snail-mail’. These days she is based in London and runs Jennifer’s Paper, specialising in bespoke event invitations and designs, as well as some beautiful social stationery.

‘When it comes to sending an invitation is there anything more satisfying than putting beautiful pieces of paper inside of gorgeous envelopes, then placing on the stamps, sealing said envelopes and getting a tiny rush as you drop them in the mailbox? I think not. And on the recipients' end, I think in this day of digital everything, there is nothing more exhilarating than receiving a well-designed, thoughtfully planned and perfect invitation in the post!

'I have a two year old and he's had two small birthday parties which required only six invites for each - and yes, I designed and printed them and watched his little face light up as he popped envelopes in the post box! He also has the beginning of what I hope to be a collection of his invites through the years in a scrapbook - can you do that with digital?’

www.jenniferspaper.com check her out on our Little Black Book

Jennifers Paper

Jennifers Paper Colour

The art of letterpress

Wolf & Ink is a boutique letterpress design and print studio, based in East London. Letterpress is a traditional printing process that creates a luxurious and beautifully textured finish and Wolf & Ink combine this traditional hand-craft process with contemporary graphics and colours. Their top tips?

‘Personalise, personalise, personalise! Invitations have come a long way from the traditional folded script designs that used to line everyone’s mantelpiece. Our big tip whether using a designer, friend or making them yourself, is to make sure they reflect you as a couple or individual. And that doesn’t mean you have to go bespoke, maybe adding ribbon or twine to reflect your circus theme, or simply closing them with a bespoke wax seal.

'In the world of emails, pokes, tweets and follows we are increasingly appreciative of more unique and personal means of communication. Physical letters and interesting post have become a treat.’

Visit them at www.wolfandink.co.uk and see their listing in our Little Black Book

Wolfink Set

Laser cut loveliness

Intricate, romantic and nostalgic style

The Hummingbird Card Company, based in Leicestershire, was born out of a love for stationery and a desire to design their own using the intricate technique of laser-cutting.

‘A handwritten invitation is a rather romantic and nostalgic pastime that we should indulge in more, surely!’ says Sally Ann.  

‘Online invites are good if the budget is key as they are cheaper and immediate, but not everyone has Facebook or the internet; everyone does has an address. It’s the perfect excuse to send something that not only announces your event but puts a smile on the face of the receiver! What could be better?  

'Before you start the search for the perfect invite decide on the type or theme of the event you're throwing, then make a statement with eye-catching invitations by finding a stationery technique that reflects the spirit, style and formality of your event. If you want to amaze your guests with something stunning and eye catching, and you love paper cut or lacey designs then laser cutting is for you’

Visit them at www.hummingbirdcards.co.uk and on the Little Black Book

Hummingbird Cards Ex

Beautifully crafted chic design

Another laser cut specialist is Sketch, based in South East London, who not only work with paper but with unusual materials such as wood, plastics and leather too.  

‘Taking the time to pick up a pen and put it to a page encourages the writer to really consider and put heart into their words’ explains Chloe. 

‘This won't go unnoticed by the recipient. A beautifully crafted invitation, whether it be to an extravagant wedding or a simple dinner party really sets the tone of the event. Quirky and fun, simple classic chic, outrageous and daring; all of these themes can be highlighted through colour, texture and even scent on a page. The same emotional response cannot be garnered in quite the same way from text on a screen when fewer senses come into play.

'That being said, the need for digital communication can't go unnoticed, with plans often being made (or changed) last minute, instant contact is frequently necessary. The two don't have to be mutually exclusive - a paper invitation to an event can point to further online information, a gift list or a quick way to RSVP. A email 'save the date' can quickly get that important day noted in the diary, whilst the formal invitation follows...’

You can see more of their work at www.sketchlasercutting.co.uk and on our Little Black Book


All about that ink

The suitably named Ink Lover London specialises in event invitations featuring beautiful calligraphy plus written envelopes, menus, signs and place cards.

‘Growing up I would write letters to my Nana and get a thrill of excitement when a beautifully hand written reply would come through the letterbox! I still have these letters and cherish them dearly and it actually was the love of my Nana's letters that made me want to learn calligraphy and design beautiful stationery.’ explains Michelle. 

'There is nothing more satisfying than getting a beautiful printed or hand written invitation addressed to you. It is a memory, it's something that can be treasured’

Follow InkLover London on Instagram: @inkloverlondon or take a look at them on our Little Black Book

Ink Lover London is offering a 10% discount for TOAST readers, between 1st October - 30th November 2016. 

Inklover London

When it comes to weddings…

French Chic and Romantic Elegance

Lucy Ledger is an award winning design studio based in Sheffield, specialising in wedding stationery design, as well as greeting cards and branding.

‘In the digital age we live in, we can be forgiven for thinking that the tradition of sending tangible wedding invitations would be somewhat obsolete, however I think if anything, the importance of that special touch is more important than ever!’ says Lucy.

‘We still celebrate many traditions on the big day that may be seen as outdated i.e. the white dress - but it’s these very things that make the day so special. Tradition is wonderful, nostalgia is everything and the attention to detail to get the day just perfect takes months or even years of planning. This event deserves an introduction that can only be achieved by a tangible wedding invitation, something a guest can open with anticipation and get the first glance of what is to come…’

You can view more of her work and get in touch via www.lucyledger.com and take a look at our listing in the Little Black Book.

Lucy Ledger

Coutoure style and beautiful typography

Emily & Jo offer beautifully designed and executed couture wedding and social stationery from their design studio in Kent.

‘Nothing beats the 'thud' of a sumptuous envelope landing on your doormat or the excitement of opening a stunning invitation! There are lots of ways to make your invitation stand out. Good design and considered typography is where we start, but it’s the combination of exquisite printing techniques and carefully considered paper stock that really makes the difference. The 'pop' of a coloured foil can really have a impact, as can the deep impression of a gorgeous, tactile, letter pressed invitation. When you get this right you can create something special’

View their website for more designs www.emilyandjo.co.uk and take a look at their profile on our Little Black Book

Emily And Jo

Luxurious elegance

And finally, based in the heart of the Cotswolds, you will find Kate and her bespoke luxury wedding invitation business – Retro Press.

‘With regards to paper invitations over digital ones; it's a no brainer. It's like receiving a postcard- it creates a sense of anticipation and excitement among your guest. It's like comparing an actual book to a Kindle... A Kindle might be more convenient and eco friendly but where is the satisfaction in it? Microwave meal vs home cooked...the home cooked might take longer but much more delicious!’

Visit them at www.retropress.org and on our Little Black Book. 

Retro Press

For more ideas and inspiration or to find our talented Stationers, take a look at TOAST's Little Black Book to find your perfect style.

If that's got you excited about creating your own designs, read on for TOAST's tips on how to create the perfect invitation over on theEdit.


Posted in Inspire Me

by Sophie Farrah
on on 07 October 2016

  invitation, invite, paperless post

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