The Art of Wedding Invitations

Lisa Moran of Bilancia Designs reminds us that first impressions are everything.

By Sarah Emily Gilbert 

Lisa Moran has mastered the art of a first impression. Through her northern New Jersey event design company, Bilancia Designs, she creates visually impactful decorative pieces that shape a celebration. In addition to crafting topiaries made of jewels or favor boxes adorned with seashells, Moran designs wedding invitations for “the oh so different bride.” Often featuring natural materials like pinecones, feathers, or flowers, Moran’s custom invitations play with texture, color, and most importantly, expectations. Her repertoire includes whimsical cards that ask “Whale you be our guest?” to vintage invitations complete with lace and calligraphy. No matter the theme, Moran’s invitations are a welcomed surprise in the mailboxes of party guests. With 15 years of experience under her belt, Moran understands that wedding invitations are the first style statement you make as a couple. Here, she shares her tips and tricks on how to make a lasting impression even before you get the chance to say, “I do.”

How can brides-to-be add an untraditional twist to their wedding invitations?

Brides looking for that wow factor or a cherished keepsake should consider a designer who prefers to create invitations like they’re creating a work of art. I love making designs using a myriad of unique embellishments: vintage jewelry, buttons, lace, antique maps, and bountiful gifts from Mother Nature herself.

 Hand scribed invitations add such beauty and creativity to otherwise traditional invitations and fonts. To keep costs down, a master copy can be used. You can also choose different shapes and sizes, beautiful colors, or go for a more modern twist rather than the standard, white, rectangular card.

What are your thoughts on digital e-vites versus paper invitations?

That’s like comparing grape juice to wine. A flat image without texture is not my style, but it is a great choice for those on a strict budget. Just remember to experiment with color and fonts.

In your opinion, what are the biggest “dos” and the biggest “don’ts” of wedding invitations?

  1. Do define your style!

Don’t opt for a casual style invitation if your wedding is clearly formal and vice versa. If you’re having a chic, rustic affair, you need to combine both styles in the design of your invitation.

  1. Don’t let guests RSVP by email.

No matter how informal your invitation is, it’s dangerously unpredictable when compiling your final count.

  1. Don’t succumb to the horror of an address label.

If you can’t afford to have your wedding envelopes addressed in calligraphy, there are other options available such as personalized stamps.

  1. Do take the time to know your guests.

My biggest pet peeve is when a bride gives me a wedding list with “and guest” and expects me to address the outside envelope as such (it makes me cringe).

  1. Do be clear.

Be wary of the “calligrapher” with hard-to-read-fonts that have an overly scripted typeface. Your guests with thank you and so will the mail carrier.

  1. Do consider hand-canceling your invitations.

It’s free and could possibly save your invitations from being ruined if they have extra embellishments. There’s no guarantee that they won’t go through the processing machines unless you offer to pay a non-machinable fee to have them hand-processed. It’s worth it.

Remember: your wedding invitations set the tone for your wedding! Your guests will often choose their attire based on the formality of the invitation. Choose wisely!