Weddings 2012 Planning Guide: Invitations
CARTE BLANCHE DESIGN
Customized invitations allow the bride and groom to show off their personal style, but if clients haven’t got a clue what style they prefer, graphic designer M.J. Fontaine has prototypes on hand to get the creative juices flowing. Fontaine specializes in creating a specific look to be used throughout the special day. For an art deco wedding, she created a period monogram, a font and all the printed materials (including seating board and gift tags). She employs time-honoured styles, too, like thermal engraving. From $7 per custom invitation set. By appointment. 35 Collahie St. (at Gladstone Ave.), 416-885-5399.
CLASSIC ELEGANCE INVITATIONS
Owner and designer April Ware prides herself on her listening skills. “The clients really do have good ideas,” she says, and points to a recent client’s stroke of genius: for a beach wedding, the program was printed on long strips of stiff paper that folded out into a fan, so that overheating guests could whip up their own tropical breeze. Ware’s own aesthetic is a mix of modern and traditional (examples include new-wave paisleys and abstract flowers), and, for the self-proclaimed diva bride, there’s enough gold foiling and rhinestone embellishment for a paper (hold the bag) princess. Catalogue orders are available from $1.25 per invitation, and a custom design set, including invitations, self-addressed envelopes and RSVPs, runs $6 to $8. By appointment. 416-836-9882.
CRY IF I WANT TO
Sisters Rochelle and Allison Straker have been offering stylish alternatives to folding chairs and plastic tablecloths for three years. Their Leslieville storefront carries everything you need (or just really want to have) to throw a memorable and intimate wedding. Eco-chic stationery (printed on 100 per cent post-consumer waste paper and embedded with seeds, such as bird’s eye, clarkia, coreopsis, poppy, catchfly and snapdragon) is a specialty and comes in a range of colours and styles, including layered and photo invitations. Once the wedding ends, the invitation can be planted in a wildflower garden that will be a colourful tribute to the couple. An invitation with a reply card starts at $7. Closed Monday and Tuesday. 1175 Queen St. E. (at Jones Ave.), 416-466-2797.
Co-owner Marla Kamin has been assisting brides and society doyennes in selecting the perfect party parchment for 15 years. Good news for those “we’re getting married in a month” daredevils: Kamin and her partner, Renee Brill, can ship invites within a week to 10 days, though a month’s lead time is recommended. They’ll take care of the whole wedding, from save-the-date cards to thank you notes. Kamin sources from a well-curated selection of Canadian stationers, handling every type of affair, from a black tie dinner at the Park Hyatt to a Muskoka barbecue. She also provides a personal touch, addressing invites by hand in smart calligraphy. From $100 per 100-invitation set. By appointment. 128 Invermay Ave. (at Faywood Blvd.), 416-631-0366.
If the invitation is to the wedding as the trailer is to the movie, a Greet invitation tells guests to expect Shrek rather than Father of the Bride. Owner Ali Hand is of the opinion that a wedding should be laid-back and, above all, fun. From the first invitation she made for friends four years ago—a graphic repetition of the couple’s names stamped across a white background—to a gingham-fringed assemblage (including jam jar labels) for a country wedding this summer, Hand has shown an eye for kinetic yet clean designs. Her contemporary style extends to the consultation process, which can all be done by email. Casual, however, doesn’t mean tossed-off: couples should still contact Hand 10 to 12 weeks in advance and should expect to pay between $7 and $11 per invitation set. By appointment. 416-839-2496.
Sarah Spano’s work reflects a range of inspiration: one captures the rocky shores of the Muskoka Lakes, while another references Frank Lloyd Wright’s stained glass. Busy brides will appreciate her full-service option, which includes assembling, stuffing, stamping and mailing (starting at $150 for 100 invitations, plus the cost of postage). Custom invitations with reply cards and matching envelopes start at $500 for 100 invitations. By appointment. 2209 Bluegrass Lane, Burlington, 905-541-7573.
Presiding over one of Toronto’s oldest upscale stationery outfits, owner and designer Terry Kirshenbaum ensures quality is high, using cotton, linen and brocade paper, and paying close attention to detail. Special touches include deckle-edged paper, foil stamping, copperplate engraving, offset printing, calligraphy, custom die-cutting and blind embossing. Computer printing is verboten; Kirshenbaum is faithful to the tactile charm of letterpress. You can expect creativity amid the splendour: Kirshenbaum once fashioned an engagement party invitation from a cocktail napkin. Order three to four weeks ahead, allowing additional time for custom jobs. A set of 100 invitations starts at $800. By appointment. 453 Eglinton Ave. W. (at Duncannon Dr.), 416-593-0519.
Letterpress, movie passes and comic books are just a few sources of inspiration for Keemika’s clever and inventive invites. The small team set up shop in 2008, and works closely with each couple to create highly personalized invitation packages. Guests at destination beach weddings have received 10-page passport invitations, complete with the couple’s proposal story, wedding party biographies and details about the venue. Average price for a package of 100 invitations is $2,000. By appointment. 28 Sommerset Way (at Doris Ave.), 416-557-7424.
Owners Bianca Bickmore and Michael Viglione have been designing and silkscreening wedding invitations since 2007 in their tiny workshop and retail space in the heart of Kensington Market. Their work is handmade, whimsical and deeply cool. Offering a plethora of papers, inks and envelopes to choose from, the two encourage couples to add their own design inspiration. From $4 for a postcard invitation and RSVP card. Closed Monday. 75 Nassau St. (at Augusta Ave.), 416-977-7236.
LAURA K DESIGN
Keep it simple—that’s the mantra of owner and designer Laura K Beauparlant, who specializes in clean, contemporary invitations with bold colour schemes. That said, Beauparlant is flexible, styling stationery to suit clients’ personalities, the venue and the occasion. For a wedding held at the Eglinton Grand, she created an art deco invitation; for a spring wedding, cherry blossoms were the inspiration. From $700 for a set of 100 invitations; custom invitations from $1,225 per set of 100. Order four to six months ahead; minimum two weeks’ notice for rush orders. By appointment. 45 Winnifred Ave. (at Queen), 416-461-2309.
LOVE THE DESIGN
Christine Flynn is a design phenomenon, producing photography, furniture and stationery for celebrities like Juliette Lewis, Douglas Coupland, The Society co-founder Ashleigh Dempster, Cecily Eaton and George Stroumboulopoulos. Her invitation designs are bold, graphic and modern and can be printed using digital, letterpress or thermography, depending on the client’s budget. One of her most popular designs includes an illustration of the wedding venue with a vintage map of Toronto used as the envelope lining. Invitation sets run between $9 and $15 each. Custom design is an additional $600. Order four to six weeks in advance. 1362 Queen St. E. (at Greenwood Ave.), 416-408-1727.
The name Palettera is a combination of palette, letter and era. These words define graphic designer Deborah Lau-Yu’s vision for creating her customized correspondence. Lau-Yu specializes in translating her clients’ love stories into beautiful art. A vintage letterpress from 1905 and hand-drawn designs make for one-of-a-kind invitations that come in myriad formats, including layered, pocket folds, Lucite box and cheque book. From $1,100 for 100 invitations. By appointment. Closed Sunday. 548 Carlton Rd., Unionville, 647-727-0220.
PANTRY PRESS INC.
Pantry Press’s creations have received multiple mentions in Martha Stewart Weddings, and it’s little wonder. Graphic designers Julie Gibb and Christian Morrison ensure that each item is a miniature work of art. From typeface to choice of paper stock, everything is customized. The paper is hand fed into a vintage letterpress; even the ink is mixed by hand and can be matched to any colour swatch. The finishing touch: completed orders (wait time is four to six weeks) are wrapped like Christmas gifts and adorned with ribbons from Mokuba and Masterstroke Canada. From $15 per invitation set with a minimum order of 100. Order three to four months ahead. By appointment. 148 Pearson Ave. (at Roncesvalles Ave.), 416-537-9977.
In a multicultural city like Toronto, a traditional wedding doesn’t always mean cake and a white dress. Mississauga-based Michelle Sciberras, Paper Damsels’ designer and owner, has become adept at creating updated, stylish versions of the om symbol, as well as double-duty invitation cards with facing pages in English and Cantonese. Sciberras can also accommodate couples with less traditional tastes: a recent hockey-themed invitation set is surprisingly elegant; who knew the Detroit Red Wings logo could be so romantic? Sciberras also carries catalogue cards and offers a budget-friendly DIY assembly option: she does the design, your bridal buddies throw a glue-and-stuff party. A standard set, including invitation, RSVP, map and two envelopes, starts at $6. Order roughly eight months in advance. By appointment. 6155 Tomken Rd., Unit 19, Mississauga, 905-877-5970.
THE PAPER PLACE
You can’t beat DIY for charm, and this Queen West shop is a trove of versatile Japanese paper. Silkscreened and tissue-thin sheets are handmade from kozo, mitsumata and gampi (Japanese fibres known for their durability). The store also offers unique Nepalese varieties, handmade cotton rag paper from Quebec’s Saint-Armand paper mill and marbled Brazilian sheets. Staff will counsel on how to design and layer invitations; you can also draw ideas from a binder full of inspiration. Buy some embellishments or make your own with the help of a book on origami. Pick up crafting tools (cutters, punches and the like), pens, pencils and even brushes for traditional Japanese ink painting. Materials are roughly $2–$7 per invitation. 887 Queen St. W. (at Walnut Ave.), 416-703-0089.
PULP AND PEARL
Natalie Trudel’s gorgeous creations are as much tiny artistic offerings as they are parcels bearing invitations. Each small rectangular or square box (they come in various sizes) contains a wedding invite and RSVP paraphernalia wrapped in sumptuous ribbons and accented with flowers or a tiny rhinestone encrusted broach. Basic packages from $6.50 per set (including invitation box, addressee label, invitation, RSVP card and labelled envelope). By appointment. 416-356-2707.
SWEET PEONY PRESS
When Shelley Weir, an OCAD graduate and graphic designer, produced her own wedding invitations in 2004, she didn’t anticipate the consequences: overwhelming demand for her creations. A year later, equipped with a 1916 foot-treadle letterpress and a portfolio of elegant designs, Weir opened Sweet Peony. Reflecting the care and attention to detail required in letterpressing, her unique invitations incorporate vintage handiwork, like swooping calligraphy. She will produce custom creations for weddings, and offers couples complimentary consultations. From $10 per invitation set. By appointment. 647-292-3017.