Between the food, the music, the personal touches, the dancing, and all the love, your wedding is a night that’s designed for making memories. But one way to stack the deck in your (wedding) favor is to send guests home with a parting gift that will bring all those good times back to mind whenever they see it.
We love a good edible favor—from expertly frosted cookies to a slice of your favorite late-night pizza—but sometimes you want a wedding favor with a little more staying power, one that will bring about some awww-inducing nostalgia. Enter: Playing cards. What’s more nostalgic than a deck of playing cards? Yes, the stuff of rainy summer camp afternoons and epic family games of B.S. has found its way into the wedding world, and we’re here for it. The decks we’re eyeing are, natch, a far cry from those dollar store decks tucked in your junk drawer. They’re heirloom quality, artfully designed, and as personal as 52 petite pieces of paper could possibly be.
LouLou Baker, the artist and designer behind these playful favors, is an expert on all things favor-related, so we asked her to give us the scoop on her custom cards and share how couples can create decks of their own. And, yes, she says, "These cards are meant to be played with!"
Why playing cards?
“Favors can be pricey, so it's important to think really hard about choosing something your guests will remember and actually use," LouLou advises. "I had a friend create exquisite monogrammed candles for her wedding in France, and half of the candles were left behind at the end of the night. They looked gorgeous, but they didn’t fit into the guests’ day-to-day lives. I feel that playing cards are a great choice because they fit into all lifestyles, whether you’re on the beach, snowed in at home with your kids, or at the airport waiting for a flight. They get used and bring back great memories without feeling out of place. And you’ll be pleasantly surprised yourself when you arrive at a guest’s house for dinner and they pull out your deck of cards for a game once dessert has been cleared!”
What's the creation process like?
“I always make a point to get to know my clients as personally as possible, whether it’s in person or on the phone, to talk through their vision and get a sense of what they’re looking for." she says. "From there, they’ll send inspiration images for the graphics they’d like me to create, and then I start painting! Every graphic is hand-painted, then scanned, and printed along with text and flourishes to make each piece unique. Most of my clients contact me closer to a year out, though I’ve also done rush projects in two to three weeks!”
What's included in each set?
“I create anywhere from one to 16 custom images (enough for an entire suit) for each deck. I always encourage my clients to include something that will be specifically reminiscent of the wedding and its location—that way, anytime someone pulls the deck out, they’ll be reminded of the wedding weekend they spent in Tulum or Martha’s Vineyard or Napa," LouLou adds. "Each deck is so unique, so even if you’re ‘also’ giving playing cards, they’re totally personal to your own celebration. My favorite thing is to see Instagram posts of people traveling around the world using the cards months after the wedding is over.”
How can couples get creative?
“My clients have the best ideas! Many come to me with a vision—or even a storyboard!—of what they want illustrated in the deck," she says. "I’ve illustrated everything from horses in black tie to Benjamin Franklin at a rave, as well as more formal illustrations of the universities where couples met or the facade of their wedding venue.”
Now, you're probably wondering, "how can I order cards of my own?" Of course, you can contact LouLou directly or shop her ready-made cards on Over The Moon for more affordable options. But if you're looking for an even more budget-friendly buy, here's a secret: You can create your own! To do this, you can hire an artist like LouLou to create a custom crest or other image—you can use this pic throughout your stationery suite!—or simply pick out a favorite engagement photo. Then, have the image printed on the back of a deck of cards on ShuffledInk (starting at $10.90 per pack, volume discounts available) or Zazzle (starting at $9.44 per pack, volume discounts available). And there you have it! Feel free to thank us later!