Love in Color: Our 2016 Workshop in Burgundy Featured in Flutter Magazine

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Workshops and styled shoots are a way for us to flex our creative muscles, to explore new ideas and collaborate with exciting vendors and industry professionals. They’re a joy to be a part of no matter the setting, but when a workshop takes us to a chateau in France? That takes the cake.

Jesse Tombs headed to Chateau de Varennes in Burgundy (one of the top 10 wedding venues in the world!) alongside Sylvie Gil, Yonder Design and Holly Flora, and let the breathtaking venue inspire the fashion-forward shoot, with luxe, fresh details, juicy colors, and couture styling that seemed to be straight Paris. We’re so thrilled to share that the shoot was featured in Flutter Magazine! Peruse the images below and immerse yourself in the elegant drama and one of the most stunning backdrops we’ve had the pleasure of working in, and see even more of the workshop on Sylvie’s blog!

Photography: Sylvie Gil // Venue: Chateau de Varennes // Styling: Jesse Tombs of Alison Events // Floral Design: Holly Flora // Stationery: Yonder Design // Wedding Gown: Vera Wang // Tuxedo: The Black Tux // Jewelry: Claire Pettibone for Trumpet & Horn // Hair & Makeup: Little Miss Makeup // Tabletop: The Tabletop Company // Decor: La Bohème // Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab // Lingerie: Girl With a Serious Dream // Knickers: BHLDN // Veil: Jannie Baltzer // Headpiece: Styled by TC

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Florist Spotlight: Kiana Underwood of Tulipina

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Photo by Corbin Gurkin

There are so many pieces that go into the design of an event: Choosing the perfect venue, selecting furniture and tableware, lighting, linens, and, of course, flowers. When it comes to lush, dramatic floral designs that will truly take your breath away, one of our favorite floral designers to turn to is Kiana Underwood, founder of San Francisco-based Tulipina. She has an eye for color and texture that can’t be beat, and we love having her on board to help transform a space into something totally breathtaking. We sat down with her to find out a little more about what she does and why she loves it.

How did you become interested in floral design?
As a little girl, I spent a lot of time in my grandfather’s gardens. He had a huge estate surrounded by gardens, and my mother always kept her own lovely garden – we always had fresh flowers in our home. In general, flowers are an integral part of Persian culture, and being surrounded by flowers was very much a part of my childhood.

What inspired you to start Tulipina? When did you start?
I earned my Master’s degree in International Relations and Economics from a prestigious school in Washington D.C., after which I returned to San Francisco. I began working at Stanford doing research and writing, but it was within a subject for which I had little passion. So when my first baby was born, I decided to stay home with her. But soon I found myself at home with 3 kids under the age of 5. While I absolutely loved having the privilege of staying home with my children, I always felt like I needed something more, something that was just for me – an outlet. That was when my husband suggested that I start Tulipina. For years I had been creating my own floral arrangements for my home and parties and friends and family would admire them, so with the encouragement of my husband, I launched Tulipina in April of 2011.

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Photo by Corbin Gurkin

What do you love about working with flowers?
One of my favorite parts of my business is the creative aspect. I love working with beauty of course, but the creativity that I’m allowed in doing so is a real blessing. I think of flowers as my painter’s palette, and every arrangement as an expression of who I am creatively.
The other favorite part of my work are my clients and students, especially those who truly appreciate my work and seek me out – they make my job very rewarding.

What makes your approach to floral design and arrangement different? What sets the weddings you design apart?
I think that my use of unexpected floral elements and approaches to color are what set me apart. I’m often approached by those who appreciate my work for what it is, and are not just looking for a “florist“ per se, but rather for someone who does what I do creatively.

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Photo by Corbin Gurkin

Do you have a favorite floral aspect to design? Why?
I love to incorporate elements from my own garden – they add a unique element and help the design stand out.

Is there a type of wedding (location, culture, style, etc.) that you’ve never worked on that you would love to be involved in?
In general, I love being involved in weddings/events that step outside the box. I’ve always had a fascination with the Japanese culture and I would love to incorporate my designs with their traditional wedding rituals.Tulipina_jakarta16-012

What are your favorite flowers to work with? Does this change seasonally?
I have many favorite flowers, and pretty much love all flowers and foliage. In autumn I love dahlias and zinnias. In the spring I love peonies and garden roses. Ranunculus and gardenias have to be my absolute favorite flowers, but for very different reasons. I love ranunculus because they are so beautiful and come in so many different shades and textures (and last for a very long time), and I love gardenias for how delicate and aromatic they are.

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Photo by Corbin Gurkin

What about non-floral elements? Are there details you love to include that are unexpected?
I love using fruit branches in my arrangements.

What inspires you?
I’m inspired by music, art, or just a simple walk around my neighborhood.

What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I love watching my children play their musical instruments, and I also love playing the piano when I have the time. I also thoroughly enjoy visiting nurseries and maintaining my garden.

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Photo by Sandra Fazzino Photography

What’s a fun fact about you that your clients might not know?
I can speak Farsi, English, Italian, and Japanese (in descending order of proficiency).

What do you wish couples knew before hiring a florist?
I wish couples understood just how expensive flowers are, and the labor that goes into the creation of floral art.

What should couples know about their event or be prepared with when they meet with you for the first time?
They should have a good sense of the overall theme of their event. I can fill in the gaps, but being able to express their likes, dislikes and overall theme is very important to ensuring a gorgeous final result.


In the Press: Sara and Shepard in Magnolia Rouge

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When Sara and Shepard decided to leave Portland behind and come to California for their wedding, we knew we needed to find the perfect place that would combine their modern and effortless aesthetic, their love of the outdoors, and the beauty that Wine Country is known for. Durham Ranch was the perfect spot, where the barn’s clean lines and the rolling hills set the scene for a celebration that was elegant and natural, with a contemporary twist.

 

We dressed up the sleek black and white color scheme with lots of greenery, hints of wood, pops of gold, and tons of candlelight. The bride loved the black and gold pendant lights strung over the kings’ tables so much, one of them now hangs in the couple’s home!

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The pair made the most of Durham Ranch’s open space, with a ceremony in the courtyard and lounge seating by the pool. They also made the most of the party — Sara started the day in a gorgeous Elizabeth Fillmore gown with a chic peplum, but changed into a lace Monique Lhuillier jumpsuit so she could dance all night!

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Congratulations, Sara and Shepard! Check out more of their wedding, featured in Magnolia Rouge.

Photography: Erich McVey // Event Planning and Design: Alison Events // Venue: Durham Ranch // Floral Design: Brown Paper Design // Stationery: Little Miss Press // Wedding Gown: Elizabeth Fillmore // Shoes: Aquazzura // Jewelry: Alexis Bittar // Hair: Sherri Long // Makeup: Priscilla Francine Makeup // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Zimmermann // Grooms’ Attire: Hugo Boss // Catering: Paula LeDuc Fine Catering // Cake: Perfect Endings // Videography: Joel VanZ // DJ: Josh Dukes // Band: Ground Control


In the Press: Ashley and Nick on Style Me Pretty

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We are so thrilled to see Ashley and Nick’s laid-back vineyard wedding on Style Me Pretty!

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There are so many gorgeously intimate venues nestled around Healdsburg, California, and we think Ashley and Nick might have found one of the best ones. They were on the hunt for a remote, off-the-beaten-path spot for their wedding, and Wallace Creek Vineyards was all that and more. From a ceremony beneath a hundred year old oak tree to dinner at a single table for 75 in the vineyard to a fun and rustic dance party in the barn, we made use of every inch of the property (with a few golf carts making the sprawling space feel a little less… sprawling!).

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The food was spectacular, a five-course feast surrounded by vines and served at a table eclectically set with bowls of nuts, seasonal fruits, and rich earth tones. The watercolor invitations and menus make our hearts flutter!

Head over to Style Me Pretty to see more of the berry-hued details, and to hear the story straight from the bride and groom!

Photography: Sally Pinera // Event Planning and Design: Alison Events // Venue: Wallace Creek Vineyards // Floral Design: Natalie Bowen Designs // Stationery: A Fabulous Fete // Wedding Dress: Oscar de la Renta // Reception Dress: Dolce & Gabbana // Makeup: Bianca Rubi // Hair: Jacqueline Duignan // Groom’s Attire: J.Crew // Rings: Kwiat // Catering: Sage Catering // Ceremony and Cocktail Music: San Francisco Conservatory of Music // DJ: DJ Funklor // Linen Rental: La Tavola Linen // Rentals and Lighting: Bright Event Rentals // Photo Booth: The Bus Booth // Transportation: California Wine Tours


Venues We Love from K Venues

We’ve had the opportunity to work in some truly amazing locations all around the world, from Hawaii and Tulum to San Francisco and Ravello. Our clients and our team take us far and wide, giving us the chance to find new and exciting venues around every corner. We never lose that yearning to discover a new incredible place to celebrate, and are lucky to have some amazing partners who help add destinations to our ever-growing list of places we would love to work. One such person is Kristen Stimpert of K Venues, who has connected our clients with some pretty amazing spaces. Below are three venues she represents that we cannot wait to transform.

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Photos by Rebecca Gosselin Photography

Petroni Vineyards

This brand new wedding venue is located on a mountaintop just minutes from the heart of Sonoma. Romantic wine caves and sweeping views of 37 acres of vines make it feel like you’re in Italian wine country, not an hour and a half north of San Francisco. It’s the perfect spot for an indulgent celebration where wine is the star.

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Photos by Megan Clouse Photography

Aventine Glen Ellen

Restaurants come with their own personality and atmosphere, and the vibe at Aventine Glen Ellen is one we’d love to put a spin on. Chef Adolfo Veronese has two other restaurants, in San Francisco and Hollywood, so you know his farm-to-table cooking is definitely crowd-pleasing. From a rehearsal dinner to an intimate wedding on the patio overlooking Sonoma Creek, the sophisticated comfort of this historic space sets the perfect tone for a wedding celebration.

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Photos by Julie Kay Kelly

Mountain House Estate

Located in Northern California wine region, this charming venue is a beautiful mix of rustic and modern. Barn styling, custom bars, and gorgeous outdoor spaces come together for a picture-perfect wedding venue, while a serene bridal suite will calm any pre-wedding jitters. We can just picture a first dance on the patio, spinning under the stars surrounded by family and friends.

 


Vendor Spotlight: Yonder Design

 

Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

The first thing your guests will see that truly represents your wedding is your invitation, but these days it’s so much more than a letterpressed card in a pretty envelope. Innovative ideas, unique mediums, and the desire to brand an event has led to a new crop of artisans who are taking traditional wedding paper goods to a new level. One of our all-time favorites? San Francisco-based Yonder Design, the brainchild of Chris and Julie Neubauer. They’ve helped us set the scene for some of the most incredible celebrations, telling a story that extends so far beyond the wedding day. We talked to Chris about why they do what they do, and what makes Yonder Design an event branding service that’s not to be missed. 

What inspired you to create Yonder?

My now-wife Julie and I created Yonder in 2011 as we sought to start a business together that fit both of our skill sets. My background is in print publishing, so paper, ink, and printing have always been very familiar to me. Julie formally studied fine arts and graphic design in college, but found herself in the finance world for almost ten years after graduation. After a few pivots and slight refocusing, we combined our skills and passions and Yonder became what you see today.

What makes Yonder Design different from other stationers?

We don’t actually think of ourselves as stationers. This might seem like a silly distinction, as we create a lot of stationery products, but we really identify ourselves with event branding. Changing the label from stationers to event branding helps get both our teams and our clients thinking in a more unique way, opening up the creative possibilities and removing the limitations of paper and ink.

Stationery is intrinsically linked to paper, but with our approach, the paper often comes second. We like to take inspiration from physical materials and natural elements, then weave them together with paper in a cohesive way throughout an event to represent a motif, place or style.

Thinking differently is made possible by our experience with a variety of production techniques using materials like wood, metal, leather, fabric, ceramics, and more. Like an event planner creates a mood board for the overall look of an event, we do the same thing to create an event’s brand. We believe that cohesiveness of materials, graphics and typography helps to leave a much larger impression on the overall guest experience.

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Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

What can a couple expect when they work with you?

A couple can expect a highly tailored experience that is unique to them throughout the process. We don’t start from templates or past designs, so everything we create is specific to each client and event.

What type of couple do you usually attract?

We generally attract couples who are looking to make a statement and set the tone for their special event to come. We don’t have a set design aesthetic, so the styles of our couples range dramatically.  

How does your work in branding influence your work as a wedding stationer?

Our branding work and process is like that of many other creative agencies helping the corporate world to build identities or brands, but what is unique is our ability to offer this expertise to our wedding and event clients. Our team is comprised of members formally trained in graphic, industrial, textile and packaging design, as well as marketing communication and copywriting. Because of these diverse backgrounds, we are able to offer our wedding and event clients the same professional quality service we offer for corporate clients on the branding side.  

Extensive research, group conceptualization, sample sourcing, prototyping and design boards may be more common for creative agencies exclusively working to build brand identities at the corporate level, but we bring these same processes and level of thought to our wedding and event clients.

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Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

What are three things a couple should keep in mind when they’re assembling a suite for their wedding?

  1. Just because it goes in the mail, doesn’t mean it needs to be paper.
  2. Less is more. Limit the amount of text and number of cards or inserts to 2 or 3.  Additional information can be presented to guests online in a far more efficient manner–and you can update minor details on short notice. This also allows more room in a budget to do unique things that get guests excited.
  3. Technology is wonderful… But we’ve found that not all guests appreciate email invitations. If you want people to attend your event and get excited about it, send something unique in the mail

What are the most important stationery vocabulary words that couples should know?

Stock: The paper being used.

#/LB: Paper terminology for the density of paper. When comparing papers of the same style (cover stock, for example) the higher the number, the denser (generally thicker) the paper.

Pantone Color: Digital proofs can be very misleading when it comes to color. Different monitors and displays show colors differently, so what we see on our end, might look entirely different to the customer. To avoid any confusion, we use the Pantone Matching System, which is the worldwide standard in the design and printing trades. You can generally get a Pantone book from your planner or order one online

Embossing/Debossing: Printing method used to raise or lower an image on paper, giving a three dimensional effect.

Die Cut: A die is like an industrial cookie cutter, which cuts paper into specific shapes.  This differs from straight edge trimming, where paper is stacked and trimmed along crop lines.

What should the couple already know about their wedding when they start working with you?

The couple should have a venue booked with the dates of their wedding set, as well as an idea of their budget range.

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Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

Which trends or details have been popular recently? Is there a color scheme or style that’s a go-to? What about one you’ve been surprised to see take off?

We’ve seen a large trend toward the use of non-paper materials in invitations. I believe we are seeing more of this because of the glut of online stores providing basic paper invitations. Our clients tend to want something that has a lot of finishing details that can’t be ordered online.

A lot of our clients have gravitated to neutral tones or black and white color schemes lately. I don’t know if this is a trend or more of a timeless style. However, most of our clients prefer an icon over a traditional monogram.

Is there a style or design element you’ve always wanted to incorporate into a wedding stationery suite?

We are always interested in working with new and unique materials. Recently, we’ve been really excited about mother of pearl, tortoise shell acrylic and rattan paper.

Describe your dream clients.

Our dream client is simply one that trusts us. They are able to articulate what they do and don’t like and aren’t afraid to say it. We’ll try to push the envelope and present a variety of unique concepts that haven’t been done before. It takes a lot of trust to make this happen.

Do you have any tips for couples to help them narrow down a design, or bring their inspiration to life?

Stop pinning pretty styled invitation suites that were created for other people or just for a photo shoot. Styled invitations may look great for a photo, but consider what the opening experience for your guests will be. Instead, pin isolated images of things that express your interests and taste. Pull from packaging, typography, interior design, works of art, architecture, nature, experiences, etc. Most importantly, look at elements from the venue and the local area. Styled images are great to capture a mood, but not what specific design elements you may care for or that best represents you.

Focus on what you do NOT like and make a list. Eliminating options is a powerful tool!

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Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

Is there one design you’ve created that made you say “I wish I was invited to this wedding!”? What was it about the stationery that got you so excited?

We worked on a project last year with Alison Events that incorporated moss, cork, acrylic, splatter paint, laser engraving, gold foil, screen-printing, lacquered boxes and much more. The design was unlike anything we’ve ever created for a wedding client. The amount of creativity involved and the challenge of creating production techniques to make it all happen was very rewarding.

What is something about you and Yonder Design that couples should know?

We love what we do and we love our clients. We understand that what we create is not for everyone, but we can create something unique for anyone. Our designs don’t get posted on the refrigerator. They are art pieces that provoke conversation and create excitement for the upcoming event.

When we aren’t in the office, we are most likely out chasing the next storm in search for snow.


Venue Spotlight: Annadel Gardens

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If you’re thinking of getting married in Sonoma, you have the pick of the litter when it comes to absolutely gorgeous vineyard venues. One of our favorites? Annadel Estate Winery. This Northern California estate has an elegant, turn-of-the-century feel, with the ruins of the 19th-century winery at the heart of it all. The open-air courtyard is surrounded by hand-hewn stone walls that are over 12 feet high, providing an intimate setting beneath the stars.

Annadel is also known for its flowers, producing lush garden roses and stunning hydrangeas that surround the wedding venue (and make up some of the incredible decor). Nearby, a rustic barn sits behind a sprawling oak tree. The barn is more than just a rain plan, with perfectly distressed beams that offer a more rustic backdrop. And a clapboard Bridal Cottage is the ideal spot to primp before the ceremony or set up a babysitter for younger guests. Annadel really has it all!

This historic estate has been given a new life, and it’s a spectacular place to begin yours.

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In the Press: Jesse and Matt on Style Me Pretty

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Style Me Pretty has just published a fantastic post about a wedding we did in Northern California last fall!

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Last October, we celebrated Jesse and Matt’s wedding with a stunning celebration at the Burlingame Country Club in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was full of personal touches (like the cocktail hour dim sum from the bride and groom’s favorite local Chinese restaurant!), and the cream and gold color scheme was the perfect complement to the dinner tent we erected around the club’s stone fountain. Head over to Style Me Pretty to see all the amazingly gorgeous photos, taken by Jose Villa!

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Photography: Jose Villa // Cinematography: Elysium Productions // Planning: Alison Events // Venue: Burlingame Country Club // Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier // Tailor: SewHeidi Wedding De-Tailor // Hair & Makeup: Kate Rodriguez // Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse // Invitations: Olive Route // Custom Signage: Yonder Design // Floral Design: Kathleen Deery Design // Oyster Bar: Hog Island Oyster Company // Entertainment: Elan Artists, The Hudson Project // Cake: Perfect Endings


Photographer Spotlight: Jesse Leake

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There’s no question that wedding days are incredibly beautiful. From the glowing bride and grinning groom to the flower-laden altar and impeccably set tables, there’s something gorgeous, emotional, and meaningful around every turn. It’s a feeling you’ll want to capture forever, and there’s no better way to do that than by hiring a truly talented photographer. One of our favorites? Jesse Leake. He’s been shooting weddings for almost 15 years, and is an expert at capturing those moments and details you’ll always remember.

Where are you based? I’m based in San Francisco. 

Why did you become a photographer? I’ve always loved taking pictures of the people and places in my life. After spending time traveling abroad and taking pictures during my journeys, I got a lot of positive feedback from others about my work. That inspired me to take my photography to the next level.

What do you love about it? With a camera in hand, I am totally immersed in the moment and encouraged to look for meaning and beauty in life.

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What makes your approach to shooting a wedding different? I approach a wedding as an open observer, there to seek out and document the beauty and feeling of the day in a natural way. I am sensitive to respecting the feelings and nature of my clients.

What medium do you work in? I shoot both with film and digitally. 

When did you start photographing weddings? I started shooting weddings in 2001. While in college, I spent my summers as a wedding videographer. At one of those weddings, I met Los Angeles-based photographer Joe Buissink. Watching him work, I was impressed by his easy-going nature and ability to capture candid moments. Later that night, I looked up his website and the inspiration for my career was born.

What is your favorite moment to photograph at a wedding? I enjoy all of it, but If I had to choose, I would say the couple’s portraits. I enjoy the collaborative process of working closely with my clients, implementing my creative vision and bringing out their natural beauty.

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What is your favorite location to shoot on the West Coast? Can’t beat the Napa Valley – Beaulieu Vineyard in Napa and Santa Lucia Preserve in Carmel are a few favorites.

Is there a type of wedding that you’ve never shot that you would love to shoot? I’d love to go to Europe and shoot a wedding in Italy or France.

Aside from weddings, what else do you like to photograph? I spend most winters doing travel photography, and am excited about my recent partnership with Pottery Barn, where my work is now available for purchase.

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What inspires you? Location, beauty and people inspire me.

What do you like to do when you’re not photographing? I love getting dinner with friends, doing yoga, antiquing, snowboarding, and traveling. 

What’s a fun fact about you that your clients might not know? I’m a juicer. Green juice is my coffee, and what you’ll find in my bag on wedding days.

What do you wish couples knew before hiring a wedding photographer? Take the time to get to know the photographer you want to hire. How much experience do they have? Are they good-natured? Is their work consistent? How good are they in low light? Are they passionate? Be sure to ask to see a full album or gallery from one wedding, not just a “best of” gallery. 

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What should couples know and be prepared with when they meet with you for the first time? Before meeting me, they should have a date and venue decided. They should have an idea of their photography budget and be familiar with my work.


How to Word Wedding Invitations

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Invitation by 48 Savvy Sailors, Photo by Elizabeth Messina

While your first thought when it comes to your wedding invitation might be what it will look like, what it says is just as important. The etiquette behind wording an invitation depends on a whole list of details, from who’s hosting (read: paying) to whether the ceremony is religious or secular to whether your parents are divorced and remarried. Who knew?

Thankfully, we’ve got the fabulous team over at Hello!Lucky to help you navigate all the options. Here are six of the most common variations, but if these don’t quite fit your situation, you can find even more in my All the Essentials Wedding Planner!

Who’s Hosting: The Bride’s Parents
Style: Formal
The Ceremony: Religious
The Reception: Separate Location

Mr. and Mrs. James Marshall
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter

Joan Evelyn
to
Adam James Walker

Saturday, the twenty-second of June
two thousand fourteen
at half past four in the afternoon

The First Presbyterian Church
1333 3rd Street
Cumberland Island, Georgia

and afterward at a reception
Greyfield Inn
4048 Bright Highway
Cumberland Island, Georgia

Who’s Hosting: The Bride’s Parents
Style: Formal
The Ceremony: Secular
The Reception: Same Location

Mr. and Mrs. James Marshall
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter

Joan Evelyn
to
Adam James Walker

Saturday, the twenty-second of June
two thousand fourteen
at half past four in the afternoon

Greyfield Inn
4048 Bright Highway
Cumberland Island, Georgia

Reception to follow

Who’s Hosting: The Bride’s Parents
Style: Informal
The Ceremony: Secular
The Reception: Same Location

Mr. and Mrs. James Marshall
invite you to share in the celebration
of the marriage of their daughter

Joan Evelyn
to
Adam James Walker

Saturday, the twenty-second of June
two thousand fourteen
at half past four in the afternoon

Greyfield Inn
4048 Bright Highway
Cumberland Island, Georgia

Dinner and dancing to follow

Who’s Hosting: The Couple
Style: Formal
The Ceremony: Secular
The Reception: Same Location

Joan Evelyn Marshall
and
Adam James Walker

invite you with great pleasure
to celebrate their marriage

Saturday, the twenty-second of June
two thousand fourteen
at half past four in the afternoon

Greyfield Inn
4048 Bright Highway
Cumberland Island, Georgia

Reception to follow

Who’s Hosting: The Couple
Style: Casual
The Ceremony: Secular
The Reception: Same Location

Together with their parents
Joan Evelyn Marshall
and
Adam James Walker

invite you to share in the joy
of their wedding day

Saturday, the twenty-second of June
two thousand fourteen
at half past four in the afternoon

Greyfield Inn
4048 Bright Highway
Cumberland Island, Georgia

Dinner and dancing to follow

Who’s Hosting: Same Sex Couple
Style: Formal
The Ceremony: Secular
The Reception: Same Location
(Note: Most sample wording can be adapted to same sex marriages.)

Patrick Edward McClellan
and
Adam James Walker

invite you to share our joy
and support our love
as we are united in
the commitment of marriage

Saturday, the twenty-second of June
two thousand fourteen
at half past four in the afternoon

Greyfield Inn
4048 Bright Highway
Cumberland Island, Georgia

Dinner and dancing to follow