The Stationer

Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

Lisa Hedge, founder of Venamour Stationery & Ephemera

How did you start designing invitations?
My fridge is covered with save-the-dates that all look pretty similar. I don’t come from the weddings industry—I have a full-time job at the graphic design firm Partners & Spade, and I have done freelance art direction for clients like J.Crew and Warby Parker—but I noticed a real homogenization happening when it comes to invites. So I designed a collection of wedding stationery for my friend in 2012, and my business evolved as more and more friends asked me to make their invitations.

What do you make of the invitation market so far?
What’s lacking is this nuanced space between sweet and serious. Invitations are either extremely ornate, with wildly elaborate typefaces, or they’re obvious DIYs. Everything looks similar in terms of typography, layout, and even illustrations. I’m trying to create a happy medium that’s soft and expressive but also sophisticated. I do that with clean typography, clipped floral images, and simple laurel wreaths.

What’s your most requested item?
A lot of my design requests are for save-the-dates, actually. Because they’re a couple’s first interaction with friends and family, it’s a fun opportunity for me to make something memorable and personal. It’s also a chance for the bride and groom to be a little lighthearted. I have a split-leaf philodendron in my living room now from a recent job.

Any big trends in wedding stationery?
Everyone wants something that feels unique. The first question I get is “Do you make custom stationery?” I do, but that’s not my vision. You don’t buy a chair from a furniture designer and suggest he lower the height of the arms. A bride doesn’t need her own personalized typeface. That’s an arbitrary way to make something feel compelling. I’d rather focus on a few highly designed collections that supplant the need for custom fonts and colors.

Are you pro or con the piece of tissue paper that comes with some wedding invites?
Con! I like packaging to be very minimal and functional, not overtly ornate. You have to think about the entire experience of receiving this thing. Every addition should be deliberate. Your invitation will look a lot more sophisticated if you make the decision to forgo fussy tissue paper. And a double envelope feels like a waste of paper to me. It’s like opening a present and finding another box inside.

Thoughts on the e-vite?
Digital invitations are super-economical, but unfortunately when you try to make something formal online, it tends to look corny. E-vites feel like a missed opportunity to show the romance of your wedding.

Illustration by Aiko Fukawa

“I recommend that couples ask guests to RSVP online. There are so many pieces of paper that go into your wedding­—it’s nice to have everyone’s entrée stored in one place.”

The Stationer