5 Questions with... Ellen Black

The Lehr & Black co-owner talks about being a stationer to the stars and shares her best advice

What are some of your guidelines for creating invitations?

Invitations can get really elaborate, so I make sure that whatever we do totally reflects the bride's personality. If it doesn't reflect her then it becomes silly. If you are very simple, I would never let you do something outrageous. I also really emphasize that you have to keep in mind the venue and the time of year. But what is most important is that when your guests open up the invitation, they say, "Oh my gosh, that is so you!"

You have worked with stars such as Eva Longoria, Gwen Stefani, Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson. What is it like creating invitations for celebrities?

Part of the beauty of designing for celebrities is that you really get to know them. You already have an understanding of their essence and personality, so it's kind of like designing for a friend. They have this great clear vibe of what they want because they know their style really well.

What do you tell brides who are on a budget but still want amazing invitations?

My number one thing for brides on a budget is to put your money into the artwork. If you have beautiful drawings or motifs, your invitation can be a simple piece of paper. Most people can figure out how to glue on a second layer of cardstock or line an envelope themselves if they want to add to the piece.

What is your advice for wording invitations?

Be very careful with the “attire” line. A lot of brides like to come up with cute ways to express the dress code, but I like to be clear. I tell brides to get inside the head of their guests. You don't want them to have to ask what they should wear. Also, I tell brides to be loving. It wasn't always traditional to put the groom's parents on the invitation, but you should do it if it's going to keep the peace and make someone happy.

What is your favorite new invitation trend?

I love the idea of going back to engraving. Even though I love letterpress, engraving has a more modern feel while being clean and crisp. Hot stamps, beveled edges and thicker cards are also very popular now. It is all about being simple while incorporating unique details.

Bonus question: What celebrity invitation did you have the most fun creating?

I actually loved doing Gwen Stefani's invitation. She had a gorgeous logo with interlocking G's (for her and her husband, Gavin Rossdale). She let me be really creative, so we made it 3-D and used an extravagant gilded piece for the front. The rest was really simple. I also loved working with Adam Sandler and his wife, Jackie. We combined her lacy style and his humor, which I love.

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