Pushing the Envelope


Today’s brides and grooms want to put their personal stamp on their nuptials, and for many couples that means a wedding invitation that’s novel or even a bit quirky.

Take the groom who used a fortune cookie to ask the bride out on their first date, for instance. Lisa Bardot of The Goodness, a Sacramento company that specializes in designing custom invitations and other wedding services, played up the couple’s courtship story by designing a save-the-date fortune cookie that was mailed to guests in a small box.

It was a challenging project, but one that set a playful tone for the event from the get-go. “I thought I could just have the cookie company put my little slip of paper in, but it doesn’t work that way,” explains Bardot. “I had to pull the original message out and figure out how to get mine in there.” The labor-intensive project is one of her favorites to date. “Being a guest receiving that must have been really fun.”

Bardot says that when it comes to wedding invitations, individuality trumps tradition for many modern couples. “They don’t want something that you can just buy off of a website,” says Bardot, who hand-paints many of her designs. “The couples who come to us are looking for something that showcases their personalities and their interests. The trend now is that couples are striving for more authenticity in their weddings, and that will push things to be more and more different.”

Bardot believes there is still a place for classic stationery—the no-frills sort with an elegant black font on thick ivory paper, like the invitations to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s May wedding. But “those are for a specific type of person and a specific type of wedding,” she says. “That formality communicates that it’s a more formal event, but not all weddings are like that.”

Bardot begins each project by learning who the couple is and how they want to celebrate their union, then conveying that through custom illustrations, eye-catching fonts and unique color schemes. “It’s really important to me that I’m designing something that’s not just something to please myself but that they can have an emotional reaction to as well,” says the designer.

As Bardot puts it, the invitation is more than “just a piece of paper that tells you where to go.” It sets the tone for the entire event. “My intention is that when guests open the invitation, they can already feel what the day is going to be like without even showing up.”