Mexican Traditions to Borrow!

Posted by on Aug 18, 2010 in Decor & Details | 5 Comments

A few years ago, (amazingly, two children ago!!) we flew to Mayra’s home town of California to work on and attend her brother’s wedding.  While we specialize in fusion celebrations, Mayra’s brother’s wedding was a traditional Mexican Wedding, punto. So, when I saw this lovely wedding on the Envelopments blog, I got a little misty eyed remembering Juan’s trip down the aisle, preparing for the nearly 500 guests that attended the reception and me, taking a late night  “nap”  after a few too many palomas and a hot day in the sun!

Maria, who works at Envelopments, and Carlos had a traditional Mexican ceremony, that included the laso, arras and of course, the sounds of Mariachi.

Screen shot 2010-08-18 at 10.27.28 AMScreen shot 2010-08-18 at 10.18.19 AMScreen shot 2010-08-18 at 9.12.46 AMA lot of the time, our clients seeking to infuse a Latino element to their wedding (or who just like the sound) will have us secure a Mariachi for their cocktail hour.  In traditional Mexican culture though, Mariachi are a major aspect of the ceremony.  In fact, ideally, the Mariachi come to where the bride is getting ready to serenade her before heading on to the ceremony.  Can you imagine how awesome those photo ops would be? Mariachi really make for fabulous ceremony music, and it is a great way to incorporate a cultural element into your day.

Another one of my favorite traditions from a Mexican wedding is a dance called La Vibora de la Mar. As far as cultural dances go, it is not as famous as the Horah or the Tarantella, but it is certainly as much fun!  The bride and groom stand on chairs and the groom holds the brides’ train or veil.  The guests, holding hands “snake” (vibora) through… it gets fast and furious and a little bit wild!

Obviously, since Maria works with Envelopments her invitations were just fantastic.  Here is a sneak peak, but you should DEFINITELY check out their website to see how they created this look as well as some of her other stationery pieces and more pics from her wedding.

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Language of Love: Bilingual Wedding Invites

Posted by on Aug 5, 2010 in Decor & Details | 2 Comments

The Q: My family predominantly speaks Spanish, but my fiance’s family doesn’t.  I don’t want to send out invitations that half the guests can’t understand, but I’m not sure how to best incorporate two languages into the invitation. Any ideas?

The A: It’s so fantastic how the world of stationery has responded to the increasing number of couples joining together who come from different backgrounds. When we started this business if you wanted bilingual it would literally have to look like the invites from My Big Fat Greek Wedding… Today, however, there are so many thoughtful solutions to the bilingual challenge.
Actually, earlier this year we worked with a fabulous couple where the bride was Chinese and the groom’s family pretty much Middle American WASP.  They really wanted an invitation that would incorporate both languages in a way that didn’t make one feel less a part of the invitation than the other.  Ultimately, we turned to Meredith at Regas New York for a custom design that reflected traditional Chinese wedding symbolism, but allowed us to incorporate the use of both languages into the design of the piece itself.   The result was a belly band engraved with chinese characters overlaid over a design created to reveal the English when the band was removed.  (Photos courtesy Karen Wise)



There is also the option of using the same page and playing with the layout. Bella Figura does a fabulous job with this as shown in the Vietnamese/ English invitation.
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Same “solution”, but totally different (and utterly delicious result) in this custom designed piece by Rob Ryan (via wedding bee pro). This was fabulous because it really reflected in it’s inherent design something about the culture that it was speaking to. It reads very “Mexican” via the use of “cut out” technique, and yet the silhouettes are so contemporary American wedding style.
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Another option is to offer up two-sided invitations. These Italian- English invites for a wedding in Italy were printed on both sides and designed by Lela New York.  I really love the idea of a two sided invitation. In case you can’t make it out in addition to one side being Italian and the reverse being in English, the left has the groom’s parents names announcing the marriage of their son and the right has the bride’s parents making the same announcement. This, by the way, also presents an awesome solution to the issue of how to incorporate BOTH SETS of parents names (a big issue when LOTS of couples who have MULTIPLE parents)

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Some couples though, find it easier to simply print two sets of invitations. Often, in Indian weddings, it is more customary for the GROOM’s name to appear first. I remember a few years ago this came up with a couple we worked with and the groom’s family insisted on his name being first. The bride, who was Latin and knew her family was NOT going to go for that since it was the complete OPPOSITE of their custom was very stressed out. So, the solution was printing two sets of invites. Sometimes, be it language, or custom, doing something separate it actually can help people come together. Here is an awesome example of an invite suite done in English and Spanish by Beast Pieces.
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Weddings and Dead Beat Dads (or Moms)

Posted by on Jul 12, 2010 in Blog | 5 Comments

The Q: My daughter is getting married in 6 mos. It’s time to purchase the invitations.  She wants’ her Bio Dad’s name on the invite and her Stepdad of 17 years and I are paying for the whole ceremony and reception. Her Bio Dad was hardly ever able to even pay me child support, while her stepdad has put her through college, and all expenses including rent, cars,insurance etc.  I tried to tell her that she is confusing the announcement in the paper, with the invitation.  The hosts of the wedding are listed ( including the Groom’s parents, because they have also contributed) on the invitation. Her Bio Dad is walking her down the isle, and dancing the first dance. His name is all over the program, but my husband and her real father of the last 17 years is not recognized except on the invitation- who is right? Her bio Dad’s family tell’s her that they won’t come to her wedding unless his name is on the invite! I say fine, they can sponsor him with half the expenses! Please help! Hopeless in Austin!

The A: WOW!  OK, that is A LOT to handle. Take a really nice deep breath for a moment, because I think that it’s likely so in the heat of it all right now that it’s hard to separate your emotions from rational discussion with your daughter (and with good reason).   Because I think it’s important to hear, I want to tell you that I agree with you.  From a purely etiquette standpoint, the host of the reception should have their names on the invite.  And, the knee jerk reaction in the Always a Bridesmaid offices are that you should encourage your daughter to call her dad’s family’s bluff and explain to her that you’re the ones paying for the wedding. However, we know that it’s much more complicated than that.

As I’m sure that you know, the love a child often has for their biological parents,  even when a parent neglects their responsibilities and even when they are largely absent, is so strong that it is very hard for them to even think of slighting that parents feelings.  Sometimes it is easier to take for granted the feelings of the parent (or in this case parents) that the child knows loves them unconditionally because they are afraid of displeasing or further alienating the parent that has been more absent.

When I got your email, it made me think of a personal anecdote that I will share.  Pardon me while I go the long way around the airport to bring this plane home.  When I was a senior in college, after a lifetime of not really knowing each other, my father got back in touch with me.  I was about to graduate from Brown and commencement there is a HUGE “to do”.  Despite not really being involved, he expressed a desire to be there because he was very proud.  To me at the time, it was a no-brainer. “OF COURSE!” It didn’t occur to me AT ALL that his presence might hurt my grandparents feelings who had raised me since the age of 3. They expressed their reservations when I let them know that he would be there, but they presented their case in a very practical matter:  where would he stay?  would he come and eat with us?  would he speak to my mother?  And I, thinking emotionally, felt that as my family who loved me, they could deal with a little bit of awkwardness so that I could have my long last dad around at graduation.

Many years after the episode later, the REAL root of the problem revealed itself to me:  it hurt the feelings of my real “parents” (my grandparents).  I don’t think, even after so many years of them taking care of things and being there, that it occurred to me that they might have feelings of resentment or anger at my father for not doing his job. And that my invitation put him in a place of honor alongside theirs. Did I, at 21 or 22, care that it would “look weird” to have him there?  Not at all .  But,  had I thought for a moment that I was hurting their feelings, then I may have played things differently.

I say ALL OF THIS to say that you are correct, but what is really happening is that you’re answering an emotional conflict of your daughters with practical tactics, and I suspect your daughter (like my younger self) doesn’t care too much about Peggy Post but DOES care about feelings.  She should know that her stepfather had always dreamed of dancing with her and walking her down the aisle, but is happy to step aside so that her biological father can do so.  But that said, while it’s your mutual pleasure to host this wedding for her, let her know that after all these years of taking care of her, in the respects of the invitation is hurts both of your feelings to see her father take credit for doing something that he didn’t really do- which is host the party.  The father- daughter dance and walking down the aisle are true honors that will be recognized by everyone there (btw, a fabulous retort for those ridiculous family members threatening to boycott- they will miss her Biological father experiencing these milestones with her over what?) but SO IS the invitation. It’s a different kind of honor and I think you are “asking” her to be as considerate that you and your husband have your moment as she is being with her biological father.

Even though weddings are a milestone of adulthood, they actually bring up TONS of emotional issues that are hard for younger adults to navigate.  I suspect that your daughter will really appreciate hearing about you and her stepfather’s feelings on the issue vs. concerns over how it might look.

If that appeal doesn’t work… then I guess you can go hardball and pull on the pursestrings, but I’d try this first.

Room for Sentiments: Blank RSVPs

Posted by on May 10, 2010 in Blog | 8 Comments

Currently, I’m in love with the idea of a blank RSVP card.  Too often people dumb down their guests and assume that if they don’t put a blank line with an M_______________  their guests will be too confused to know what to do.   However, recently, we sent out a formal invitation to over 350 guests for one of our clients weddings and opted to do a blank RSVP card with nothing but the notation of “The Favor of a Prompt Reply is Requested”.  I was AMAZED not only at the lack of CONFUSION, but of the bounty of warmly written, personal notes to the bride, groom and the bride’s parents (who issued the invite).  Still others opted for more creative and humorous responses (a giant YES in the middle of the card, for instance) as well as several, traditional, formal responses and declines to the invitation put forward.

picture-31Perhaps I’ve been reading too much Edith Wharton lately (which I have), but truthfully, there is something just absolutely lovely about written correspondence, especially as it pertains to your wedding.  Do you really want to keep a stack of generic RSVP cards w/ an M and a line for the rest of your days?  Probably not.  But a collection of handwritten notes from your friends and family on paper with your monogram on top… that is something exciting to receive and something nice to potentially keep.

Did you know, by the way, that in Ye Olden Days guests didn’t even receive an RSVP card? They were expected to send back a reply on their own personal stationery…. They then sent that note via carrier pigeon, but that’s neither here or there.

Lovely Laura Hooper's Stunning Stamps

Posted by on Dec 2, 2009 in Decor & Details | 3 Comments

If you haven’t heard, the USPS really is short on style.  You spend hours pouring over options for wedding invitations and then… suddenly they are besmirched by the AWFUL stamps that you are confronted with by the postal service.  The worst part is that they DO try… the wedding stamps that come in pairs in just the right postage (most of the time) have some years been ok, but most years… NOT SO OK.  I found the King and Queen stamp so much more useful for save the dates…. Anway, I know most of you readers will only be horrified by the postage options for your wedding invites once… but for us in this office it is a CONSTANT nagging problem.  Until now!  Thank you Laura Hooper! Not only will you now make my clients’ envelopes stunning, but you are a source for fabulous postage as well.   Laura designed these fantastic stamps that are so fabulous for save the dates, rsvp cards and more!!!

First of all, who doesn’t love the idea of sheeps kissing??? Secondly, Save the Whales, Save the date. Get it? Clever.  And Finally, these go sooo very well with Laura’s stationary and save the date line.  Here are some of them, and please check out this link to see the full collection.  Thanks so much to @Weddex for tipping me off to Laura’s latest offering.