Who made the rule that ivory lilies and embossed doves should adorn wedding invitations? Well, someone formal and traditional, of course. There are beautiful cards in every catalog from Hallmark to JC Penney, but if your special day calls for something a little, well, out of the ordinary, here are some ideas to get your creative card juices flowing.

VEGAS BABY

If you and your fiancée are game for a wedding in Vegas – or just a friendly wager on who’ll RSVP first – why not print up invites on playing cards? A deck of invitations (on all hearts, perhaps) is a fun and memorable way to call on friends and family. Plus, it’s only fitting that your RSVP notes will be post-cards, so you’ll save on postage! Create your own at www.card-press.com.

PAINTING THE TOWN

Art aficionados might want a memorable painting or drawing on their invitations. One person to turn to is Marie Versailles, an artist who works in oil, acrylic, pastel and ink to design paintings that are then printed on wedding invitations. To view choices like bicycling newlyweds, skiing newlyweds or a tropical wedding, visit www.mvsweddinginvitations.com.

TRULY AN ORIGINAL

Emma Smith, a San Francisco bride, envisioned original artwork on her invitations, so she turned to her cousin Antonia Walker, a New York artist and designer, for inspiration. Antonia sketched Emma and her husband, Alex, then scanned the drawing into a computer and added color. Printed on high-quality cards, the invitation was just as Emma had hoped for – lovely and personalized. The couple even ended up using the sketch as a label on wine bottles at their reception! For more information, e-mail Walker at [email protected]

PERSONALITY AT ITS FINEST

Graphic designer Joan Lockhart, of Rockport, Massachusetts, used her artistic talents to create her wedding invites. “I attached four pages with two side-by-side grommets and a ribbon,” she explains. “The top layer was transparent vellum with large type that read ‘Love, Romance, Commitment,’ and it showed through to an image of my husband Alan Brickman and I kissing. The following pages showed the usual time and place information.” Lockhart now makes wedding invitations for other couples – you can check out her designs online at www.gumboarts.com.

HELD AT RANSOM

Another imaginative bride – whose wedding was held on a mountaintop in Bluemount, Virginia – decided on a somewhat quirky invitation format. Alyson Browett, of Washington, D.C., and her fiancé, John, created a ransom note with cut-out letters that read, “This is your last chance to see them single.” Inside were the specifics. “It was truly meaningful. Everyone loved the invitations!” Browett says.

IN TUNE WITH NATURE

If out-there originality isn’t what you’re looking for, you can find something more traditional at www.somethingnewinvitations.com. The site features invitations with delicate leaves and nature-inspired accents, bound by light-colored ribbons for a fanciful touch.

TAKING IT HIGH TECH

The next wave in wedding invitations may be virtual. With the ease of sites like www.evite.com, couples can design a Web page where guests can register for gifts, RSVP and view other guest responses. The best part? It’s free!

However you envision your invitation, design gurus and brides alike agree that it’s okay to break tradition in favor of an innovative idea.


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