There are certain things your wedding invitations must include, like time, date, location, and RSVP information. As for the rest? It's up to you to add personal touches to really make them yours and for Chicago brides, that can be a custom map that points out where the wedding festivities and events will take place. For guests attending your Windy City nuptials, a personalized map is a visual treat that can help them plot their wedding-weekend moves — no matter if it's their first time in the city or they're Chicago natives. Here are five of our favorite Chicago illustrators to turn to for custom maps and other details that will make your invites shine.
This Chicago-based paper shop specializes in hand-painted details. Think: city skylines, save the dates depicting you and your groom, and pretty landscapes. You can meet with the uber-talented founder and illustrator Christine Bellagamba in person so she can get a feel for what you're looking for. Then, she'll work on the designs and give you the option to print them with her — or elsewhere. Her illustrations can even be added to your envelope liner — a stunning first impression when guests open your invite.
Liz, the owner of EJD Design, has lived in Chicago for the past 10 years, so she knows the highlights worthy of inclusion on your custom invite or map. The main job of the map, of course, is to be useful, but her custom watercolor creations combine beautiful form and function. Each one shows guests where to go for the ceremony, reception, next-day brunch, and whatever else you'd like to call out, all while serving as standalone pieces of art.
Lean on Sarah Drake Design to create your entire invitation suite as well as day-of details like place cards, escort cards, menus, table numbers, and programs. The team specializes in luxury weddings and custom invites, and their portfolio includes everything from invitations featuring custom silhouettes of the bride and groom to a hand-drawn map of Mexico for a destination wedding in Tulum. Read real brides' reviews here!
Each item from the Chicago-based Etsy shop is made to order, so feel free to let your imagination run wild. Share your ideas and wedding details with Hueynie and then talk illustration. She's well versed in marker, watercolor, and color pencil and can illustrate every style from cartoony to realistic. Look no further than her own wedding invitations for proof of how creative you can get: They featured illustrations of her and her groom and were printed onto fabric that was folded like a pocket square.
Artist Carol Woldhuis has years of experience creating custom Chicago maps out of her Grayslake studio, located northwest of the city. She can include up to 12 locations on each map, so you can plot your essential hometown destinations even beyond the church and hotel locations. Maybe you have a favorite brunch spot in the Loop that will inspire guests to grab a bite or a must-see view of the city that gives you butterflies every time. By adding them, the map serves as a mini guide for how guests should spend their time in Chicago.