Hand-Wrought Invitations

Here follow a few of the hand-wrought invitations that survived the hazards of the drawing table, as well as the input of the mother of the bride!

The image above was not only symbolic, showing the connecting of two people as one, but also showed the location of the wedding ceremony held at the park at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Here's another you won't find anywhere else. When something is designed from scratch the standard limitations of paper and envelope size are not a restriction. This vertical design was perfect for the way the text was to flow as well as mimicing the shape of the couple's long backyard pool where the wedding took place.
This monogram was an integral part of the invitation.

It interlocks when the invitation is closed and becomes the shape for the text when opened.

The monogram for this invitation shows the initials J and M inscribed in a simple circle. A line continues to the back of the invitation which connects with a complicated pattern."What could this mean?", you wonder.You very well might wonder, but the answer was visible if you looked carefully at the map which accompanied the invitation. I suspect that some of the less-observant guests (who didn't examine the map in detail) finally "got it" as they wandered out of the manor-house onto the formal gardens behind it.
By the way, before you go, do check out the maps designed for other weddings. You may find other images througout the website which may inspire something I might do for you.

I include a few of the non-wedding invitations here as well.

Even something as "simple" and elegant as a dcorative border can have meaning beyond the decoration. The border for this invitation was inspired by the very ornate sterling silver service used by the hostess for her swank affairs.

The matching placecard is shown below.

The geography of the location can be the backdrop for an invitation.

Invitations to events other than weddings can be seen here: Party Invitaions.

This invitation was created for a tech school graduation party. The young man was about to move into the real world as a carpenter, so the tools of his trade are shown in the chest emblazoned with his initials and the image of the decal seen on his favorite car. You open the lid to read the particulars of the party. The invitation was shaped as to appear like an architect's isometic perspective blue-print drawing. Pretty cool, huh?
This image was drawn for the top of a wedding shower dinner invitation.
The twenty-fifth anniversary of the Museum Council requested me to design save-the-date and invitation images for their Summer Event. You see the pair above.

Back to weddings. Here's a number of illustrations that I've drawn as decorations on wedding invitations, place cards or what have you. The style of rendering can be realistic, lively and sketchy or cartoon-like and even calligraphic. The doggies pictured below were printed on real postage stamps.

I'm not sure The US military's silly policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" includes a ban on communications that are blind embossed covered in gold foil.

Here we see a delightful invitation that tells a romantic story. These sailors met in Celestial Navigation 101 and the rest is history. You see the constillations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor at the top. The english translations soon became their nicknames for one another (Big Bear and Little Bear). At the center you see a compass rose surmounted by their names rivited to a round shield at the center of which is a hunky ampersand.

Following the ropes to the bottom we pass through the banner showing the location and time of the wedding in longitude and latitude, (Provincetown, Mass, at 6 pm for you landlubbers) then come to the knot, of course, symbolizing the union. They continue on and wrap themselves about the arms of a navigational divider which is measuring the magnitude of a new star. That was their wedding present to one another: their names officially designated (for a small fee) to a particular star in Orion.

Very sweet I think!

A close-up of the above.
A closerer-up.
With the advent of same-sex weddings finally taking place in Massachusetts (at any rate) the graphic designer can have great time designing something that isn't traditionally "all about the bride." After all, sometimes there isn't a bride anywhere to be seen, other times there are two of them.

So with that "equality" in mind, I thought that it might be interesting to design something where not even one name is listed before another. One of those ideas you see above.

Turning the card in a counter-clockwise manner you read the names of the grooms on the outer ring. Spiraling inward you read the place and location. The two interlocking rings in the center tell you that a wedding's going to take place. The color and design was inspired by their architectural professions and design aesthetic.

They eventually felt this was a bit hard to read, which it was, admittedly, and chose something that you didn't have work so hard at reading.

Before the invites go out, some couples have sent out a "save the date" card which gives a head's up your guests may need in this crowded over-scheduled world. Check back in a few months to see what the invites that match these examples above look like! Click here to see how these have evolved!

To see other examples of a complete suite from the save the date to the thank you note visit my Ensemble page.


Once the design is finalized I can send you the digital files so you can have them printed locally. Depending on your taste and budget they can be engraved, letterpressed or offset printed. You can even print them on your home computer! To see some actual examples of design costs, check out this page.

Or, if you prefer, I can manage their production using local Boston area print shops.


A recent client asked me to design an invitation based on botanical drawings of trees.
We decided a simple leaf or two would be great for the save the date postcard.

We saved the tree for the big event.

Later the invitation arrived in the mail...and it opened to reveal two trees, not one.
The "Mad Magazine" fold, as I call it, allows for a fun transformation of one image becoming a smaller part of a greater image.
The invitation included an RSVP card as well as a map in the shape of a leaf which, on the flip side, had lodging information.

The same map was used as part of the guest welcome basket. We changed the back to show a complete schedule of events.

The program included the "fused" tree on the spine. The back of the cover included a history of the venue and a lovely quote. The interior had the cast of characters and ceremony detailed.
Rather than using the same tree image shrunk way down, we went back to the simple leaf as the icon for the escort card and menu-place card. The escort card had a diagram of the three long banquet tables which showed the guests where to sit.
At their seat, they found a menu with their name calligraphed at the top.
Click here to see how these two "Mad Magazine" folded invitations morph into something special.
Here was a GREAT project that recently came my way.

It began rather modestly, but thankfully, we expanded it to something really grand.

The clients originally wanted a small image of the Boston Public Library to appear at the top of the invitation. That sort of design would be perfectly fine for any couple getting married at that location.

How could I design it differently to make it perfect for JUST them?

We came up with the plan showed above. The closed "gate-fold" card showed the elaborate entrance to the BPL: iron gates and bronze doors flanked by ornate gas lamps. (These beautiful architectural details would have been lost in the small icon originally planned.)

Upon reading the very concise wording of the invitation, I suggested we depict a cascade of open books which could contain the text. We also had extra covers and open pages to include numerous illustrations and icons meaningful to them. Science, mathematics, music and art were among their many interests.

The back of the invitation showed an image of the Library's courtyard, the location of the ceremony.

The aesthetic continued to the wedding day itself. The guests found an image of a book within the escort envelope which directed them to the correct "volume" (or table). The large table sign is shown as well.

Once at the table they found a place card shown above. In this case I drew a pile of books which contained titles and icons meaningful to ALL the guests attending. Family and friends from each of their long-past seperate lives recognized places visited or hobbies they shared with them. Fellow students at MIT idenified the Title "Principia Mathematica" and the icon of the school and the lamp of learning.

Each guest had their name calligraphed on the title page of the single open book. Below their name was written a "subtitle" composed especially for each person. The task of writing a short descriptor turned out to be a little more difficult than they had originally thought. They knew way too much about their guests to condense it....I offered a few suggestions including thinking of how they might briefly describe the guest to a complete stranger..."Oh, he's a perfectionist" or "She loves to laugh, often and loudly" became the new starting point.

These 5 by 7 inch cards were also the party favor for the event. A meaningful unique gift to each and every guest.

A lovely green panorama of the Ireland shows the location of a delightful destination wedding. We kept the info about transportation and hotels on a typeset card as not to clutter the bucolic coastline.

In Conclusion...

Though I can design more traditional ones, the invitations I show on this page are good examples of non-traditional design...or even thinking! I'd like you to consider the possibilities of having me design something that has NEVER been seen before. Something that is beautiful, creative, symbolic, individual, and, most importanly, has meaning.

Not tying the knot?

Party Invitations will show you many more examples of non-wedding invitations.

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