Wedding invitations

Category: Uncategorized

Gift Registries and Wishing Wells – Yay or nay?

When I got married 9 years ago, my then fiance and I said that we wanted to have a gift registry to assist those guests who prefer giving gifts in making their selection. We figured it would be a win-win situation – they don’t have to think about what to buy and we get the items we want. We didn’t count on the fact that it would not be so well received by our parents…

Despite having attended many weddings where a gift registry was included, they still felt as though it was rude to ask for a gift. I wasn’t prepared to back down and I stomped my little bridezilla foot and said that it was to stay. To keep the peace, we did agree to pick and choose which invitations the gift registry card went in to. Needless to say, the older relatives and those whom we felt potentially would be offended did not get one. After the fuss, we ended up receiving pretty much everything on our registry, money and maybe 2 gifts that never saw the light of day in our house.

Fast forward to today and the debate about asking for gifts and money is still very relevant and a hot topic of discussion. The gift registry has become accepted but asking for money is still taboo.  After visiting numerous wedding websites, blogs and bridal discussion boards, the general consensus is that it is ‘rude’, ‘tacky’, ‘poor etiquette’ and ‘offensive’  but brides are still happy to do it anway. In traditional wedding invitation etiquette, it is considered rude to make mention of any kind of gift on the invitation. If we take this literally then is it ok to have the gift registry/wishing well printed on a seperate card? Despite what tradition says, the majority of our couples will use either a gift registry, wishing well or both.


There are a few ways you can word a gift registry/wishing well. Some of  our couples have chosen to compose their own personal message to their guests whereas other couples choose to use one of the many poems that can easily be found online such as:


If you were thinking of giving a gift
To help us on our way,
There are two special things
that would pave the way,
The path you choose is listed below,
Though any gift you give will help us grow.
A gift of money in our Wishing Well
Bridal Registry at Myer 123456


Because we’ve been together for a little while now,
we’ve collected all our household things, before we took our vows.
If you were thinking of giving a gift to help us on our way,
A gift of cash in our ‘Wishing Well’
would really make our day

We have not come across many couples who have been straight forward in asking for money. We have been fortunate to not have had to print the words – ‘cash please’ or bank details for direct deposit (don’t laugh as it may well get to this point in the future). The more polite forms we have seen include:

If we are honoured to receive a gift from you
as we celebrate our marriage
May we respectfully request the gift of money


In the place of a gift with traditional style, a paper gift would bring many a smile

As we always say, the choice is up to each individual couple. They need to do what is right for them and their family and friends. What may offend one family may well be accepted by others. The most important thing to remember when planning a wedding is that you will NEVER please everyone!



Wedding Invitation Etiquette

I don’t claim by any means to be an ‘etiquette expert’ but I have learnt a few things over the years. We are often asked about the best way to handle certain issues related to the invitations and we do our best to check with etiquette experts, research what others have done in the past and what we feel is the best way to handle the tricky question. Sometimes our personal opinions have clashed with what our clients would like and we respect their right to decide what is best for them and naturally, that is what we go with. I thought it might be helpful to others to run through some of the issues that can arise when organising your wedding invitations.

1. Who to invite?

The answer to this is going to come down to budget, size of venue and basically who YOU want to share your wedding day with. There are some general rules to follow though when writing your guest list. If you are going to invite family and friends to your bucks/hens/bridal shower, then be prepared that they then should also be invited to the wedding. It is poor form to invite every facebook friend you have to a girls night just for the sake of it but not consider them worthy enough to be guests at your wedding. Partners? If  they are in a serious relationship and you have met them then we think they should be included. Plus ones? This depends on your budget. If it stretches to allow a single friend to bring someone, go for it, if not, I am sure they will make friends on the night. Your Great aunt and third cousins whom you would not recognise if you bumped into them? This is where it can get tricky, especially if mum and dad are paying for the wedding and really want them there. Whilst we know it is your special day, if they are helping pay for the wedding then they are entitled to some say with the guest list and should be given the opportunity to invite some of their friends as well.

2. Who is doing the inviting?

Generally speaking, the names at the top of the invite imply that these are the people who are inviting you to the wedding. It also means that they are paying for the function or at least contributing to it. The most popular wording uses the bride and grooms parent’s names.

Mr & Mrs John Smith

together with

Mr & Mrs Ben Jones

request the pleasure of the company of


ImageAnother popular format is that it is a joint invitation coming from the couple and their parents.

Sally & Robert

together with their parents

wish to invite

Today, many couples are paying for the wedding on their own so the invitations come directly from them

Christine & Peter

cordially invite


If parents are divorced and have remarried or you have a parent who has passed away, there are ways to respectfully include everyone. We have seem every combination imaginable on the one invitation before!

3. How do we address the invitation?

In our opinion, this depends on how formal or informal you wish to be. You could choose to go with Mr and Mrs or just with first names – Jack & Lucy. If your wedding is a formal event then we do suggest going with titles as opposed to just names. Either way, you need to be consistent with the entire guest list. If there are some people for whom you do not know their first/last name such as for partners or plus ones, be sure to include space on the RSVP card for guests attending to write their full names.

4. Children at the wedding?

This is by far the most sensitive topic. If you wish to invite all children to the wedding, simply put ‘and family’ on the invitation. Done, no problem. If you do not wish to have children at your wedding, there are a few ways it can be done. The easiest option is to address the invitation as Mr & Mrs which implies only the 2 adults are invited. If you think this is not clear enough, we could include the words ‘adult reception’ which means they are welcome to the ceremony but not the reception or ‘by request of the venue, no children please’ – blame it on the venue gets you off the hook (cheeky we know) or ‘no children please’. You are never going to please everyone so just do what works for you. Try to be consistent though. Nothing would bother parents more than having left their kids at home with the babysitter only to see that others have brought theirs along.

5. Gift registry? Asking for money?

Back in the day, including a gift regsitry would have been considered offensive whilst asking for money was a crime punishable by death. Rest assured, both these options and others are used all the time now and no one bats an eyelid. Details of your preferred gift can be printed directly onto the invitation or on to seperate cards that are included in with the invitation. By doing the little cards, if there is anyone whom you think might be offended by the request then you have the option not to include it with their invitation. If you get a few gifts you don’t like it’s probably easier to deal with than upset friends and family. Gift registries and honeymoon registries are also very popular. If you preference is to receive money, wishing well poems soften the blow better than ‘no gifts, we request money’ (it does happen, believe me). If you truly do not wish to receive any gifts as perhaps your guests have had to travel or spend a little extra to attend your wedding, you can say ‘no gifts please, your presence is present enough’.

I hope this little blog has helped in some way.

Tina xxx

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The trend for Destination Weddings

My sister and I have often spoken about how much we would love to receive an invitation to a destination wedding. The excitement of not only attending the wedding but also being able to escape day to day life for a few days would be wonderful. Despite the fact that between us we have more than likely attended well over a hundred weddings, neither of us has been invited to a destination wedding. Given the current trend of couples choosing far away places to exchange vows, there may still be a chance we get to go to one.

Whilst we have not yet physically attended a destination wedding, we have been a part of quite a few through Paper Lily. We love being involved in all our couple’s weddings plans but there is no denying the special allure of a wedding somewhere other than the city. To date, we have created invitations for weddings in the Hunter Valley, on Hayman and Hamilton Islands, Hawaii, Fiji and this week we have a couple tying the knot in the picturesque seaside town of Positano on the Amalfi coast in Italy. I did suggest to the bride that I had my passport and luggage ready to go as only I knew how to place the menus and place cards correctly on the tables. I think I will have to settle for the photos.

So why do couples choose to have a destination wedding? It is a good choice if you have many friends and family that need to travel anyway to be at your wedding. It’s much more enticing for them to travel to an exotic location rather than to a hotel in the city. Destination weddings create a sense of relaxation as the wedding party and guests use the opportunity to have a holiday at the same time. It is also a good way to keep your wedding more intimate. I know for sure that the 270 guests we had at our wedding would not all have travelled to Tuscany (my chosen place if I was to have a destination wedding).

In terms of your wedding stationery, there are few differences between destination and local weddings. Save the date cards are a must. You need to give your guests advance notice of the date and where they will be travelling to so that they can make enquiries and decide if they are able to attend. In some cases, couples will also send information about accommodation and flights with the save the dates so that guests can plan their trip well in advance. The invitation becomes a formality as guests already know the date and location. Some couples choose to create a design for their invitations to match with the destination. This does not need to be taken too literally. A wedding in Hawaii does not mean you need to put a coconut on the invitation. Often flowers are used for tropical weddings. Another nice touch is to have welcome bags waiting for your guests. These could include local specialities and maps of the area but more importantly, a schedule of planned events for the wedding so that guests know where to be and when.

I eagerly wait for the next client planning a destination wedding. Will it be in Santorini? Paris? I can live my travel bug vicariously through them!



The making of an invitation

We have already talked about the importance of selecting the right invitation for your wedding and the process of placing an order with us. I thought it might be of interest to show you the making of an invitation from start to finish to give you an insight into the various stages of production.

While we are working on the layout and design of the inside of the invitation, many things are still happening. We like to have everything prepared, ready to assemble so this means that any embellishment that is going to be used is cut to size or made. For this design, we required metallic pebble paper cut to size, swing tags with the couple’s names and wedding date, strips of white ribbon and white bows tied to size.

Metallic Pebble Paper cut to size

Swing Tags featuring the couple's names and wedding date


ribbon cut to lengths and tied in bows


Once the layout has been approved and the client has sent the guest list through, printing begins. The first step is simple – printing our website on the back of the invitations. There is no better form of advertising that your product itself and when it has the potential to reach 100+ people for the majority of weddings, it is the easiest way to get your name out there.

website printed on the back of the invitation

The next step is usually to print the text on the inside of the invitation. For this design though, the client requested an insert. These are printed and cut to size.

Text printed on cards

Everything is now ready for assembly. The first step is to stick the insert into the invitation.

Inside the invitation

Now we work on the front cover design. The metallic pebble paper goes down first.

Metallic Pebble paper

Followed by the strip of white ribbon.

White ribbon band attached

The swing tag is then positioned and stuck down.

Swing Tag in position

The final touch is the bow.

The completed invitation

My work is done!


The last step is to stick all the address labels to the front of the envelopes and then we wrap everything up to keep them pristine and package them ready for collection.

Addressed envelopes ready for postage

Even though this was a relatively simple design, there were still so many steps involved from start to finish. Depending on the number of imvitations needed, it is easy to understand why stationers require weeks to complete a job. This process is then repeated if the client has ordered matching accessories such as menus, place cards and thank you cards.

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Bomboniere – meaning and ideas

Bomboniere (or favors as they are also known) are the small gifts that bride and grooms choose to give their guests at the reception. They are usually left on the table for the guests to take home with them at the end of the evening or sometimes the bride and groom will visit each table and give them out personally. Whilst they are by no means compulsory, most couples opt to give something to their guests as a way of saying thank you.

The term ‘bomboniere’ is Italian and refers to the tradition of giving five sugared almonds wrapped in tulle and tied with ribbon. Each almond represents one of the following hopes for the marriage:  Health, Happiness, Wealth, Fertility and Longevity. The almonds can be given on their own or as part of a gift. Many couples still give the sugared almonds, however, chocolates and other gifts are becoming increasingly popular.

Glass jar with 5 sugared almonds - a modern twist on the tulle and ribbon

Another trend is to have the bomboniere serve a double purpose. It is the thank you gift but it can also be a place card. We often personalise the bomboniere with the guest’s name which eliminates another object on an often crowded reception table. Candles and chocolates are small and great options for giving each guest a gift.

Candle decorated in the theme of the wedding with the guest's name on the tag


Sometimes couples like to keep an element of surprise about their bomboniere so they will put them in bags or boxes for their guests to take home and open. The choice of bomboniere is endless. Some of the more popular ones we have seen are coasters, bottle openers, candles, photo frames, mini bottles of wine/champagne, mini perfume bottles and sweets.

A mystery box bomboniere

 At Paper Lily, our favourite bomboniere idea for this season is the photo frame as pictured below. It is a contemporary, stylish and practical gift for your guests to receive. This couple chose to insert their thank you card but it could also be used as a place card. It is a lovely idea for guests to then insert a photo from the wedding as a permanent reminder of the event. If the gift is a little larger or more expensive, couples then give one gift per couple or per family.

Clear picture frame with thank you card inserted

Whether the bomboniere is big or small, wrapped or not, the purpose is still the same – to say thank you to your guests for being part of your wedding day. It is a token of appreciation that is well recieved.

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How involved is your groom-to-be?

A cute groom I've drawn.

Last night I was talking to my sister about a topic for my next blog and she suggested writing something about the grooms we meet at our invitation consultations. Immediately my head was filled with visions of past fiances who have come to appointments and the varying approaches they have taken. I laughed out loud, grimaced and squirmed at the mere thought of some of them and came to realise that future husbands attending wedding appointments with their brides-to-be more than likely will fall into one of the following 3 categories.

1. Mr ‘are we done yet?’

These men are easily spotted as they arrive at the door a good 10 steps behind their brides. They are reluctant to make eye contact and almost need to be lured in with the promise of a stiff alcoholic drink. Once inside, they stand back with their arms folded and heads down. When asked their opinion, they either grunt some sort of a reply or whisper to their brides as if I am the enemy and therefore should not listen in. I have tried various strategies to invlove these men and to try and interact with them but the best thing to do is to leave them alone. More often than not, they will say to their brides that they are happy with whatever they choose purely so they can get out quicker and the torture will end.

2. Mr ‘wedding planner extraordinaire’

Believe it or not, I have come across a few of these grooms over the years. They walk in ahead of their brides and do all of the talking. They have folders of wedding scrapbooking and ipads of images and some even take notes. I had one gentleman that made me feel as though I was making a police statement as he was literally writing down everything I said. Don’t get me wrong, enthusiasm and showing an interest in being involved in the wedding is fantastic but these guys take it to another level. They want perfection and will stay for hours until they (and their bride of course) are happy.

3.  Mr ‘teamwork’

My favourite groom of the lot. This is the guy who genuinely cares about what the invitation will look like and will voice his opinion, share his thoughts and communicates really well. He discusses things with his bride, asks relevant questions, listens to advice and is willing to compromise. By the end of the consultation, they have selected or designed an invitation that they are both happy with and they are looking forward to sending them out to their friends and family. This groom-to-be is a pleasure to deal with and makes my job so much easier.

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Wedding Stationery explained

When it comes to planning a wedding, the options are endless. There are so many choices for every single thing you need and it can be very overwhelming and confusing. I thought it might be useful to go through what options are available for the various stationery items and explain the differences.

1. The wedding invitation – this really comes down to personal choice and budget as there are so many different styles. You can narrow it down by deciding on the shape (DL or square), the size (standard or mini) and whether it will be a flat card or an opening invitation. Once these choice have been made, then it comes down to the embellishment. Will you choose lace, flowers, ribbon, feathers, textured papers, crystals, pearls or none of the above!

2. RSVP – the traditional format for the RSVP card is to have a seperate card with a return envelope. However, the postcard style RSVP with the return address printed on the reverse has become increasingly popular. If you wanted to save money or were a little short on time, you could include a phone number, e-mail or website to collect the RSVP’s.

3. Wishing well/Gift registry cards – these are small cards that are printed with the clients preference to have a wishing well at the wedding or with the details of the gift registry. Alternatively, this information can be printed directly on to the invitation.

4. Maps & Directions – with the increase in popularity of destination weddings, many couples are choosing to include a card with a map on one side and specific directions on the back. These cards are very helpful for out of town guests or if your ceremony and reception are not close by.

5. Order of service books – depending on the kind of ceremony you are having, these books can help your guests to follow the service and to participate by including the reponses to the readings etc. Some couples opt to print the entire service whilst some prefer just an outline of the ceremomy. For destination weddings, many couples provide their guests with an outline of the day’s events and locations and times of where they need to be.

6. Place cards – where do I start???? There are many more place cards choices than just the traditional format. Nowdays you can tie the guests’ name to the napkin ring, to the stem of the wine glass or even have a personalised mini menu for each guest. Also becoming popular are table charts whereby the names of the guests seated at the table are printed on one card. This allows the guests to choose their own seats at their allocated table.

7. Menus – the most common menu format is the tall opening menu one per table. Alternatively you can give each guest a small menu with their names printed to serve as a place card as well. To save money and space on the table, the 3 sided table charts are making a strong appearance. These have a welcome message on one side, the names of the guests and the table number on another and the menu printed on the third side. A very practical choice.

8. Thank you cards – it is proper etiquette to thank your guests for attending the wedding and for their gifts and best wishes. Most couples send thank you cards when they return from honeymoon. We have also done generic thank you cards that are included with a photo of the happy couple and sent off straight after the wedding. Time poor couples are also choosing to thank their guests with a thank you message printed on a small tag attached to their bombonniere.

9. Reception seating charts – this is a list with all your guests names printed with the number of the table they are sitting at. Ideal for any guests who might arrive late to the reception.

10. Table numbers/names – most venues would provide table numbers, however, we can make them to co-ordinate with the rest of the wedding stationery. Some couples choose to give their tables names after meaningful places or events in their lives.

All the above mentioned stationery items can be designed to match/compliment the invitation and the rest of the wedding theme. All items are optional and it is up to each and every couple whether they choose to include them or not. Visit our website for more information, images and prices. Be sure to like us on facebook at for updates and more tips.

Bridezillas – an exaggeration or reality?

If you have ever watched an episode of Bridezillas on Foxtel, you will probably be flinching as you read this. For those of you who haven’t, allow me to shed some light on this show. It follows brides in the lead up to their big day and on the day itself. Harmless right? Wrong. These women are fruit loops. We watch them scream and yell abuse at everyone, become violent, throw tantrums and basically turn into someone scarier than Freddie Kruger.


Here are some examples of what I have seen these women do. You tell me if this  behaviour is normal. The bride who expected everyone to refer to her as ‘the most beautiful bride in the world’ in the 5 days leading up to the wedding. She would ignore anyone who did not start their sentences in this way. Or the bride who had her bridesmaids humiliate themselves with a weekly weigh in. Mind you, she herself had obviously not seen a mirror in a while. These women use their bridesmaids as slaves, treat their mothers as personal assistants and their grooms as punching bags. I am convinced that the only reason they turn up at the altar is out of a fear for their lives.


The term ‘bridezilla’ has become synonymous with wedding planning. People assume that all brides will turn into crazed women at the sight of a wedding magazine. Not so. In fact, most brides that are labelled as bridezillas really don’t deserve this title at all. At Paper Lily, we have never come across a bride who would warrant being called a bridezilla. Brides are certainly very particular about what they want and will tell you if they want something changed. They have every right to be this way. They are paying for a service and should receive what they requested. They way in which they speak to you is what will determine if they are a bridezilla or not. Giving me a call to say ‘Hey, Tina, love the colour of the ribbon but do you think we can try a thinner ribbon instead?’ is normal. Leaving an abusive voice mail or sending a text filled with expletives is clearly not.

All brides deserve to have the wedding day of their dreams. Stress is to be expected and a lot of patience and understanding is needed during the planning process. Labelling the  bride-to be as a bridezilla will do nothing to help the situation. So, unless you are asked to join a boot camp, dye your hair or get Botox for their big day, chances are they are not true bridezillas.

New designs

We have designed a few new invitations in keeping with the black and ivory colour scheme. This combination looks unbelievable and stands out within our collection.

This first design uses a pearla card as the base with a double scalloped edged black lace across the centre. The bride and grooms names and wedding date are printed on matching pearla card and the design is finished with thin black satin ribbon and a bow.

In line with the increase in popularity of metallics, we have sourced this metallic pebbled paper and have created two new invitations. The first uses the pebbled paper to cover the entire front of the card with a large black bow as a feature. The second is more restrained and only has a strip of metallic paper in the centre and thin satin ribbon instead.



All designs at Paper Lily can be done in various colour combinations and we are happy to mix and match elements from a munber of invitations to create the perfect fit for our brides.







Ivory is the new white

As we have mentioned in previous posts, neutral colours have become increasingly popular choices for wedding invitations. White, ivory and latte were the colours of 2011 and we are already seeing a continuation of this trend as 2012 begins. Our most popular choice by far has been the use of black with ivory, irrespective of whether the bride is wearing white or ivory and in no way related to the colour of the bridesmaids.

Black & Ivory

This design is one of my favourites. It uses an ivory  matte  card with texture – a move away from the traditional metallic and shimmer cards. The lace at the bottom is ivory and the thin black satin ribbon is the perfect compliment to the design. An invitation like this is timeless and elegant.

Here is another example of the use of black and ivory. This invitation is a flat DL card in ivory with a black backing card. The lace and ribbon detail is featured at the top leaving ample room for the text. This ribbon is wide black grograin to add another textural element to the invitation.

We intend on designing more invitations in this color combination so keep an eye on the image gallery in our website