Custom invitations add elegance to events

by Cindy Hodnett



We text on our cell phones. We chat online. We post messages on Facebook. In the fast-paced society that is our 21st century lifestyle, electronic options for communication are almost endless. Yet despite the ease of talking via technology, many people are returning to a time-honored tradition when it comes to important occasions: printed invitations.


“Invitations show a degree of advanced planning for very special occasions,” says Valerie Sutton of Benjamin Craig Stationers Inc. in Greensboro.


“They say to the recipient, ‘You were important enough to me to plan a most memorable time for you,’ ” she adds. “The pendulum has swung so far to the impersonal side that many people are beginning to head back the other way.”


Gretchen Wright of Wright Choices in High Point agrees.


“Printed invitations are more personal than e-mail and are a keepsake for an event,” she says.


“While e-mail has changed the stationery environment, I think that people still like to receive a personalized invitation in the mail for special events, something that can be kept for years if they so desire.”


Something special

According to Sutton, the children of Baby Boomers are embracing several traditions when it comes to invitations but are adding their own contemporary twist.


“Graphics and wording are playful and colorful, whether it’s an engraved or imprinted invitation,” she says.


Ashleigh Marion of Ashleigh’s Fine Paper in Greensboro says bright colors and bold fonts are popular with clients. The addition of jewels and ribbons adds another layer of customization to both formal and casual invitations.


Ashleigh’s is one of three stationers in the state to offer C’est Papier.


“This line is about as custom as you can get,” Marion explains. “It takes a bit longer to receive the order, but it’s well worth it. Personally, it’s one of my favorites.”


At Ashleigh’s, customers can choose from among 3,000 fonts, and hundreds of patterns and prints.


“The selection gives you a chance to express your personality,” she says.


At Note Worthy — a family-owned fine paper and gift boutique that recently moved into larger space at Thruway Shopping Center in Winston-Salem — customers can choose their invitations among several brands, including Crane, Envelopments, Stacy Claire Boyd, Sweet Pea, Vera Wang and William Arthur.


“We’re seeing a lot of letter-pressed, pocketed and layered invitations,” says owner Jennifer Stern.


Unique works of art

For many, the first venture into the world of printed invitations occurs in conjunction with a wedding. However, even the most traditional bride and groom often will opt to design their own invitations with unexpected embellishments.


“A lot of our brides are choosing to incorporate their wedding colors into their invitations with textured and colored papers,” Stern says, adding that she’s also seeing the use of two lettering styles in a single invitation.


“Everything is possible with an invitation,” says Robyn Goslen of Invitations Only in Winston-Salem.


“Some people incorporate photographs, while others include original artwork.”


All area shops offer on-site printing, cutting down on turnaround time.


“Many invitations can be customized, so if you like a pattern but would like different colors we can do that,” Wright says.


According to Sutton, many of Benjamin Craig’s clients see the process of creating custom invitations as an integral part of the overall event.


“Our customers tell us that they come here whenever they need to feel good, and that’s our goal,” she says.


“We want you to feel special when you come through the door.”


Cindy Hodnett is a freelance writer based in Clemmons.