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5 Ways to Make Your Wedding Invitations Look Custom Made


Hi all! I’m Christina McLeod Caruso, calligrapher, graphic designer, owner and art director at McLeod Caruso Design Co. based in Houston, Texas.  MC Design Co. specializes in unique hand-lettered calligraphy and graphic design for weddings and events, businesses, and individuals. Capturing the beauty of a bygone era and pairing it with innovative, meaningful design and modern techniques assures that each of my clients receives a truly custom final product that reflects their exclusive vision and purpose. Many brides come to me looking for help in making sense of the wedding paper world. It can be a daunting place! Here are a few simple techniques to make choosing your wedding invitations and wedding details a breeze.



1. Be true to your style 

Choose something meaningful and in keeping with your vision for your event. Your paper suite is often the first thing guests receive about your wedding. Opening your invitation gives each guest their own glimpse of the excitement to come. The senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and surprisingly sometimes even taste, can all play a role in their perception of your upcoming celebration. Imagine what a surprise receiving a bottle of champagne with a calligraphed label as a wedding invitation would be! Right away your guest would know to expect the unexpected at your wedding. A unique presentation will give that little spark of mystery and excitement, all from an invitation. Each design selection that a couple makes speaks volumes. A petite invitation with soft colors, pictorial illustrations and a whimsical script, announces a more informal wedding, most likely during the day. A thick, oversized card with neutral or metallic colors and traditional scripts promises a formal and often evening event.



2. Choose a focal point

When in doubt, less is more. Select a single focal motif such as a hand lettered or vintage monogram or calligraphed names. Your motif is an invaluable asset, which can be reiterated throughout your event. It will serve to pull each aspect of the overall wedding together and will create an interest point for your guests. A well executed focal point can also work wonders for your budget. When choosing decor, instead of feeling the need to fill empty space on tables or in large rooms, your guests’ focus will automatically be drawn to your unique design. A perfect example is this romantic monogram added to the wedding cake at a stunning countryside wedding.  Finely created details are an infinitely better choice than piling on more and more decor simply to fill space.



 3. Make your ready-made invitation truly unique

Ordering wedding invitations can be extremely overwhelming, especially if being a paper aficionado really just isn’t your thing. Starting with pre-made designs like the lovely ones here on Basic Invite is ideal! That doesn’t mean you have to forgo originality, however. Along with the abundant customization choices Basic Invite has to offer, adding a wax seal, family crest, custom monogram, or meaningful symbol can be the perfect handmade finishing touch. You achieve a custom look with the ease of ready-made ordering.



4. Choose your wording wisely

Invitation wording can make a world of difference.  Adding beautiful and thoughtful wording to your wedding invitation creates a sense of endearment and warmth. I know a lot of couples, especially in more modern times, cringe when they hear the word etiquette. Unfortunately, the “E-word" has gotten a bad rap in recent years and in some cases, understandably so. However, there is a common modern misconception that etiquette is simply snobbery run amok. When in fact the opposite is true. The true purpose of etiquette is about setting a foundation of comfort and respect for your guests. Having a set of guidelines assures that all parties know what to expect and how to navigate every scenario. It comes down to being considerate of others. Using accurate wording on your invitation lets your guests know the formality of your event, who is graciously hosting them, and whether or not they should expect a meal to be served. No matter the formality of the event, your guests’ comfort should be a top priority. It is a graceful way of saying thank you for their attendance. In the modern era many traditional practices have been set aside, and that’s okay in many cases. Etiquette is not “steadfast”. It is an evolving and ever-changing part of culture. Many times that means knowing the rules and knowing when to bend them. Certainly no rule of etiquette is worth causing a rift with your family members or friends. The key is knowing the rules in the first place and making well-informed and respectful choices.




5. Your budget doesn’t have to limit your style

If over-the-top luxury isn’t an option for your budget, you can still add meaningful, purposefully-selected touches. Something as simple as having your invitations hand calligraphed adds a level of beauty, texture and personality to any invitation. Budget isn’t the end-all be-all for breathtaking invitations. I’ve seen many a couple spend thousands of dollars on invitations only to let meaningful detail fall to the wayside, leading to invitations that cost a ton, but don’t meet their expectations. I remember reading an article in Martha Stewart Weddings  when I was first starting out in the wedding design world. It gave the sage advise that it’s not about how expensive or big your wedding is, it’s about the attention to fine detail and the appreciation for good design choices. This advise crystalized what I had already learned while earning my design degree and related it directly to my business niche. A stunning wedding isn’t about the budget, it’s about using the budget you have in the right places.

Helping couples create beauty that celebrates their love and excitement is truly an honor for me. It is my hope that the joy, love and passion put into each of my projects can truly be felt by each client and their guests. Discover your perfect invitation and receive an exclusive 30% off + free shipping discount code by clicking here.

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Best Wishes and Happy Designing!

Christina M. Caruso


Cake Photo Credit: Robin Rowell Photography

Black envelope pre-printed pattern by Atelier Isabey

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