This is a featured guest blog Q&A with Kelly Heuss, Owner of InviGAYtions.
InviGAYtions specializes in wedding invitations for same-sex couples. What inspired you to start the company?
InviGAYtions started as an off-shoot from Puttin’ On The Glitz, a brick and mortar shop that my mother and I own in Perrysburg, Ohio. For the past 6 years, I’ve been handling all of our custom wedding invitations both in-store and online. Being active in our local LGBT community and a member of our local pride board, I thought starting a website focusing on same-sex wedding invitations was a perfect way to blend two things I was passionate about. In Ohio, we still have a state constitutional ban on gay marriage, but there have been so many other states recently passing marriage equality laws and striking down bans. You hear stories about couples having issues with unsupportive wedding vendors, even in states where it is legal. I thought it was important to give couples an invitation ordering option where they could feel 100% accepted and get exactly what they want.
What design principles do you keep in mind when creating same-sex wedding invitations?
There are two sets of same-sex wedding clients. Some really want to celebrate the marriage equality/pride aspects of their wedding with rainbows and equal signs. Others want invitations to reflect their wedding theme, colors or location. For me, it’s great getting to come up with custom designs that really reflect the couple I’m working with. There are challenges to working with a rainbow color scheme and having them still look like wedding invitations. Rainbow designs can very easily slip into the territory of looking like a kid’s birthday party invitation, so it’s all about striking that fine balance between fun and elegant.
Do you find that your same-sex clients have different concerns or focuses for their invites than your heterosexual clients?
Not really. Pretty much all couples have the same concerns: how to word their invitations, whether or not to include parents’ names, how to handle meal choices and accommodations info, etc. With heterosexual weddings, there are literally hundreds of years of etiquette guidelines and formatting that are still pretty much followed to this day. With same-sex ceremonies there is, at best, only about a decade of history. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to take some of the traditional elements and make them work in a more modern context.
A destination wedding is usually spread over the course of a few days and therefore involves more instructions (be it for accommodations or group excursions/events). How can couples include details to help their guests plan and get excited without cluttering the invitation?
There are a couple of good ways to do that. Wedding websites are a great way to convey a lot of guest information. There are several providers of free websites that are simple to set up, and they can be personalized with everything from stories of how the couple met, photos, maps, directions, accommodations, registry info and so much more. You can then include a line on the reception card, a small insert card or even a line right on the bottom of the invitation itself that says something like, “For more information, please visit…” or “For maps, travel information and more, please visit…”
Pocket-style invitations are also a great option for couples including a lot of information. These types of invitations fold out and have a pocket on one side that can generally hold 3-5 insert cards. That gives you a lot of room for anything your guests might need to know. They can usually be customized in a myriad of designs and colors. They do tend to be on the higher end of the price scale.
For a budget-friendly option, some printers (like our Val-Style invitations by Carlson Craft) offer double-sided invitations. They would have all of your ceremony information on the front. The backs can then be printed with all of the extra information your guests need to know, without the need for multiple insert cards.
How far in advance do you typically recommend sending save-the-dates and invitations for a destination wedding?
Generally speaking, you want to send save the dates about 4-6 months before the wedding and invitations get mailed about 6-8 weeks before. Timing can depend on a lot of other factors for a destination wedding. Some destination weddings are more complicated for guests to arrange than others. If it’s peak season in a resort area and hotel rooms might be difficult to come by, your guests may need extra time to book. I’ve worked on a few cruise ship weddings where invitations were sent several months early to give people time to arrange time off work and travel plans and to book staterooms. It’s best to check with your on-site event coordinator to see if they have recommendations and how much advance notice they’ll need as well.
Also, don’t forget to account for production time for save-the-dates and invitations. Generally, it can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks to get everything ordered, finalized, printed and shipped. I usually recommend ordering save the dates anywhere from 5-7 months before the wedding and invitations 4-5 months before. That will give you ample time to get everything assembled, addressed and mailed on time.
What are some of your favorite wedding invitation trends, and what designs have you been most excited to create? (Esp. those that might work for a destination wedding)
As a designer, my favorite trend is super-personalized weddings. Over the past couple of years there has been a real shift from “This is a wedding and this is how it’s done,” to “This is your wedding. Do what you want!” People no longer feel such a need to be boxed in by convention. If you want something elegant and traditional, that great. If you want two brides riding a motorcycle, I’ll make it happen. If you want Harry Potter-themed invitations, zombies and bloody hand prints for a Halloween wedding, or rainbow flip flops in the sand for a same-sex destination wedding, go for it!
For more same-sex inspired wedding invitations, visit InviGAYtions at their Etsy storefront!