An invitation suite, including Save The Dates, the actual invitation, RSVP cards, directions, and more, is the first glimpse guests get into the aesthetic and design of a wedding. For some couples, the stationery is a subtle nod to their journey as a couple, and for others, it’s an artful depiction of the specific event ahead. Not sure where to start looking for inspiration with your own? We chatted with artist Carly Kuhn a.k.a The Cartorialist, who also recently got married, for advice on sourcing references and putting together an elegant suite that you’ll treasure forever.
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Carly, a native New Yorker and former producer on Chelsea Lately, turned to Instagram to share the doodles and drawings that she’d done in her spare time. “I went from drawing my own little characters to drawing things I saw on Instagram—fashion photography, bloggers, celebrities—and tagging the images I was inspired by,” she explains. Eventually a New York City icon, Sarah Jessica Parker, reposted one of her sketches, and it was affirmed that Carly was meant to pursue art full-time.
While today Carly works with mediums such as wallpaper, textiles, and jewelry, she does truly love pen on paper. “I love the control I have and the style I have developed over the years, which allows me to essentially weave lines together on a page that create a character or feeling,” she says. Now, she works out of her beautiful studio based in Los Angeles.
For her own micro-wedding, Carly created an illustration of her, her husband, and their dog and sent it out via Paperless Post. And “when designing for a wedding theme/invitation/menu, a starting point should be sourcing inspiration,” she says. Are you more of a minimal couple? Or do you love the English countryside look? Maybe you’re taking inspiration from the venue—like a golf course or the beach?
“The next step is to figure out if your inspiration will translate into a theme more literally or abstractly…For example, if you are getting married in the Italian countryside, you may want a literal depiction of your venue drawn onto the Save The Date, invite, or even the menus.” Or “you can sprinkle elements of Italy into the designs, like foods and beverages illustrated onto a menu or name card.”
If you don’t want to go super literal, there are ways to make references more subtle in an elegant way. “Perhaps the colors of the venue and surrounding areas are what you love,” Carly suggests. “You can bring that color palette into the design of the whole wedding, sprinkled throughout the weekend.”
Either way, make sure your invitations and stationery reflect you as a couple. No one is saying that you can’t have a little cheeky fun with it, and you certainly don’t have to sacrifice style or grace to let your personalities shine through.
Check out Carly’s website for more information on her artwork!