You are cordially invited


    Of all of the decisions you have to make, getting the right look and message through your wedding invitations is important to set the tone for your special day.

    Unless you’re eloping, you’ll want to send out invitations. And even if you are eloping, maybe you’ll want to tell people you got married after getting back from the honeymoon.

    But the sheer volume of invite varieties can be overwhelming to the point of catatonia. For starters, you have to choose the color, texture, weight and size of the paper, and that’s just a small part of the entire process. You also have to throw in the style, the fonts, imagery, photos, embossing, foil, ribbon … You get the picture. Frankly, I always assumed invites would be fairly easy until I saw the multitude of displays, samples and catalogs.

    Right in the heart of the Gayborhood is The Papery (1219 Locust St., You’ve probably walked past it many times. (They describe their store as fabulous — how can you go wrong?) Owner Carolyn Brandhorst spent a little time educating me on the invitation process. She can help you breathe a sigh of relief at your first get-together.

    Brandhorst assured me that the invitation process is only as demanding as you make it. Set aside one to two hours for the initial sit-down and everything else can be done from home through emails. The Papery is LGBT-friendly and they have served many same-gender couples over the past few years. That’s important to note up front. (See sidebar.) 

    Start with what you know

    Is your wedding going to have a theme? Many times, a theme that ties the entire wedding and reception together can dictate the best options to you. A travel theme might mean a passport or map background. A shared hobby or passion might be how you tie in everything.

    Do you have a color palette? If you’re going big and using a wedding planner, you probably will. In that case, you already have a starting point that eliminates many colors, patterns and designs. Are your signature colors blush and bashful? Start there, Shelby!

    The size and formality of your event is a key part of your consideration. A low-key ceremony with close family and friends doesn’t require black and silver calligraphy on white cotton 110-pound stock. Perhaps something whimsical is more your style. No one says the invite must be a certain formality. It’s merely a conveyance of information.

    If, however, you are doing a large wedding with hundreds of guests in a castle with a massive flower budget and the whole shebang, you probably want to set the tone up front. You might consider an invitation designed with a laser-cut pattern including your initials over the front. Maybe your creative side goes toward something with ribbon or lace. One option that’s hot right now, according to Brandhorst, is rose-gold foil stamping that adds a little sparkle to your invites.

    Remember that invitations go out only a few months before the big day. You’ve pretty much planned the whole thing by then, so certain invitation and font styles might already be evident. Of course, if you’re planning a destination wedding or have many guests potentially coming from out of town, you’ll want to mail a save-the-date card about six months out. That too comes into play when ordering.

    If you’re more of a don’t-have-an-idea-show-me-stuff person, at least start checking out different looks from a variety of places online. Find stuff you don’t like. That’s right, you’re still narrowing down your choices by knowing what you don’t want. It’s also a good way to get acquainted with the terminology.

    Find something that catches your eye? Bookmark it. Keep a general list of the ones you do. Have you been invited to a wedding recently and like the idea that someone else used? Bring it along! Every style and option may not be available at every shop, but there’s only so many fonts and colors. Your stationer should have something close.

    The time you spend looking at how you want to announce your big day is worth every minute you spend on it. Make the most of that time.

    Most of all, make friends with the people you are hiring for whatever aspect of the wedding they are involved in. They’ll serve you better in the long run. 

    Your business sounds great! But are you LGBT-friendly?

    The last thing you need when planning a wedding is more stress. One good way is to ask everyone from the baker and the stationer to the caterer and band if they are LGBT-friendly. Don’t assume that because you live in a high-tolerance city that everyone is going to be pleased to work with you.

    Recent court cases aside, who would want to give their business to a homophobe, transphobe or other biased business owner? Seriously, wouldn’t you rather support the people who support you?

    Asking up front is the fastest, simplest way to keep from being blindsided by religious wackos who use their faith as a shield from acceptance and decency. One good place to start is with advertisers. It’s pretty obvious that someone who is advertising on an LGBT platform, spending and giving money to some LGBT person or persons, will be a good fit for you.

    Use social media and your friends to find places that are happy to be of service. Likewise, you can learn about those businesses that have not been as friendly or open as you’d like.