(Location: Vintners Inn – Santa Rosa, CA || Photography: Emily Jean Images)
Planning your wedding these days is not just about the day itself. From the moment you say “yes!” there will be engagement parties, wedding showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, save the dates, and invitations going out in the mail… A lot happens before the wedding which provides many opportunities to engage and get your guests feeling excited too! A great way to achieve this is by creating a cohesive experience leading up to the big day.
1. Create your wedding hashtag
In today’s day of social media, a wedding hashtag is a great place to start – after all, it’s one of the best ways to document everything that takes place between now and the wedding day! We came up with the hashtag #LiveLaughLaPrad. There are a lot of wedding hashtag generators out there to help you come up with something creative (ewedding, wedding hashtag wall, wedding wire, to name a few). The Marketing gal in me got inspired to incorporate our hashtag a wedding logo I designed to be used on everything we would send our guests, like the Save the Date, our wedding website, and invitations, to the pieces we’d have on the wedding day. Along with effectively setting our wedding “brand”, we wanted to set the tone of romance with soft colors, lace, and art deco designs.
Here’s our logo!
2. Setup your wedding website
There are many existing platforms for wedding websites, such as The Knot, Wedding Wire, Minted – or you can even choose to build your own. We decided to go with The Knot as it not only provided a platform for our site but also has other features such as budgeting, task organization, etc. They also have some great templates to work with. We chose the “White Lace – Coral Rose” theme as it matched our wedding colors beautifully and was simple yet had a romantic touch with the lace.
3. You created a beautiful website – direct your guests to it with your Save the Dates!
Instead of sending Save the Dates in the mail, we decided to send them electronically via PaperlessPost. It was a great way to save some money but also helped direct our guests to our wedding website where they could learn more about the wedding as new details unfolded (crucial for out of town guests!). We googled some Save the Date ideas and really liked those that had a mini calendar with the date circled, so we designed our own version to align with our wedding website. We met in San Francisco, and everyone was coming out here for it, so it was only fitting we use photos with typical SF backdrops – ps. my mother took our engagement photos and I edited them (#momanddaughterduo).
4. Make your own high-end formal invitations
We loved the laser-cut invitations we kept finding. They matched the lace of our wedding website and provided a high-end look, but the cost of getting these made was also high (eep!). My husband is constantly researching suppliers for his job so with that mindset, he thought of looking into how much these materials cost when buying directly from the manufacturers. It was shocking to find out inexpensive they were when not yet customized. This is when we decided to go the #DIY route. We found Wishmade made a good number of these laser-cut pieces and we ordered a beautiful floral design in ivory from them via Amazon. They came with blank sheet inserts (in gold/champagne!) and ivory envelopes, so it was just up to us to customize the content of the invitation, then print and put the invitations together.
Believe it or not, we designed most of our stationary (including the Save the Dates) on PowerPoint. We downloaded fonts that were used on our wedding website and incorporated them into the invitation for consistency. We searched for borders on Google images and decided on a floral and lace border that would go well with the laser-cut holder.
Once we completed the design, we grabbed a bottle of wine, turned on some music and set ourselves to work :). We created a little assembly line and started printing and pasting the inserts onto the laser-cut holder. Once all the invitations were made, we used the same fonts and printed addresses on the envelopes and stuffed the invitations inside.
5. Design and print the remainder of your stationary the same way
Now that you’ve designed the invitations, you can keep it simple by printing your wedding ceremony programs and placecards in the same style! We found very similar blank gold inserts in long-form from small ivory cards from LCI Paper. Both had a subtle sparkly shimmer which looked so pretty on our wedding ceremony handouts and Thank You cards in our party favors.
6. Select signage for your wedding day
My incredibly creative and artistic bridesmaid made the gorgeous “Live Laugh LaPrad” sign in the first photo for my bridal shower. It was so sweet and beautiful, we had to have it at the entrance of our ceremony too!
We contracted both our floral and wedding coordinator services through Bertoli Bridal. It was nice to have one contract for both, but another advantage we had is that Leah Bertoli had an entire inventory of cute wedding props and signage we could borrow from her studio for our wedding day, and a lot of what she had was perfect for our theme. This was a huge cost savings for us and we wouldn’t need to worry about carrying these to and from the wedding venue! We selected a few pieces from Leah’s studio for the ceremony, guestbook table, reception tables, and cake.
7. Use your wedding logo on your menus
Our wedding venue was helpful in keeping our theme consistent by printing the menus (drinks, food, etc.) with our wedding logo. Everyone recognized it from our save the dates, website, invitations, etc. These little details made the experience extra personal, not to mention, the “his and hers” signature drinks we had too!
Letting your personality shine through via careful attention to detail and some level of “branding”, so to speak, will go a long way with your guests. It will be cute and memorable. The extra detail will create a sense of recognition and familiarity, engaging your guests from the beginning. It’s easy to do when creating consistency with your wedding theme & colors, hashtag and/or logo, and make sure to repeat it on every major thing your guests will read.
Have any tips you can share in this area from either your own wedding or weddings you’ve attended? If so, don’t be shy – comment below!
Read other posts for Planning Your Wine Country Wedding:
- Series Intro
- Budget and Timeline
- The Guest List
- The Venue
- The Bride’s Dress
- Dressing Your Wedding Party
- Flowers and Decor