Paper, Please | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Paper, Please

These days, most brides go for “classic with an update” invitations.

These days, most brides go for “classic with an update” invitations. Photo by Courtesy Fresh Ink

In an age when most written communication has gone digital, the wedding invitation stands stalwart as a physical, mailable item. In fact, if anything, the world of wedding paper is only growing, as now brides plan entire stationary packages, from Save the Dates to menus to thank-you cards.

Elizabeth Upchurch, owner of local paper and design boutique Fresh Ink, says she breaks it down into two lists when working with brides: the essentials and the extras. Within all that, though, is a myriad of choices based on budget and personal style. "It is so much fun because it just really runs the gamut and every bride that you sit down and work with is different," Upchurch says.

"Brides can express themselves a little more than they used to. The moms come in and they say, gosh, when I got married the choice was white or ivory," she adds. "But its fun, it can be a marriage--'classic with an update' is where most people here seem to land. They want it a little different but they still want it to be pretty and elegant 
and timeless."

These days, Upchurch says, more trend-forward brides are seeing sparkles. "We see a lot of metallic inks, gold and silver engraving," she says. "A lot of our brides are starting to appreciate foil, which is kind of like engraving, but a little bit sparklier and can be found in a wide variety of colors. It's a really hot trend--foil accents with printing or embellishments. Any kind of metallic is a really big trend, which I guess ties in with people loving sequins and glitter and all that kind of stuff."

Other popular trends right now include chevron designs, shots of neon and a vintage look. Hand-drawn maps, portraits of the couple or other elements are sought-after as well. Custom monograms of the couple's initials have been around for decades and are still popular, although these days lettering is becoming more graphic and bold. Embossing, or raised lettering, is a classic technique, but the slightly more retro look of letterpress--stamped-in lettering--is trendier these days.

Upchurch says that though individual styles vary, a focus on quality is important to the brides she works with. "I think people know when they receive a good paper stock and a really pretty printing method," she says. "It's just really great to see people appreciate the way the paper is crafted. A lot of our customers are paper people--that's why they are sitting there for three hours looking at paper."

Fresh Ink works with several well-known designers, such as Crane, but they also have in-house designers that can do custom work for a bride who can't seem to find the perfect template.

"Brides now have so much exposure to lots of different things, and sometimes they really just need our help pulling it all together to figure out what's within their budget and what's most important to them out of the lots of things they probably like," Upchurch says.

"The best thing is when they come and pick them up and see them for the first time, because everything is getting really real when they see it on paper. A lot of time, it happens before the bridesmaids' dresses come in and the wedding dress comes in, so the invitations are the first real thing you see."

For Upchurch, it's a meaningful time to be a part of someone's life. "I have a 3-year-old daughter, so its special to see mothers and daughters come in and to work with them, share that experience with them," she says. "I know that my friends' kids are going to be getting married before we know it, and then my kids. It's really just fun to have a part in that cycle.

Fresh Ink's Wedding Paper Checklist:

Although some might argue all you really need is an invitation, the sheer number of paper pieces you can actually order for a wedding is dizzying. Be sure to consider your individual budget and desires.

the essentials

• save the date cards

• bride's stationary

• mother of the bride's stationary

• wedding invitations

• personalized napkins

• personalized cups

• wedding programs

the extras

before the big day

a. bridesmaids

• will you be my bridesmaid cards

• note to tie on their dress when they pick them up

b. web site

• custom wedding web site graphics

• custom email communications

c. engagement party:

• invitations

• custom napkins & cups

• hostess gifts

• tags for hostess gifts

d. bridal shower

• invitations

• custom napkins & cups

• hostess gifts

• thank you notes

d. wedding invitation

• custom postage

• calligraphy (referrals)

the Week of

f. welcome baskets

• custom bags or labels

• mad libs

• welcome card

• itinerary

• map & contact info card

g. rehearsal dinner

• invitations

• custom napkins & cups

• menus

• custom placecards, table cards

• mad libs

• post-toast invitations

h. wedding day brunch

• thank you notes

i. gifts

• hostess gifts

• custom napkins & cups

• bridesmaids gifts

• groomsman's gifts

• gift for your groom

the big day

j. ceremony & reception

• wedding guest book & pen

• wedding programs

• maps to reception

• table cards

• placecards

• stickers or gift cards for favors

• favors

• notes from guests

• food signs for buffet

• cocktail and beverage signs

• other custom signage

• custom yard signage to venue

• custom guest towels for powder room

• custom drink stir sticks

• custom food or cupcake toppers

• custom koozies

• custom matchbooks

after the big day

k. a few more things

• more thank you notes!

• wedding announcements

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