View Posts By:




#SMPWedding101 – Invitation Language Etiquette

While there’s no denying how fun it is to find your perfect invites, the proper wording can be a bit confusing. Proclaiming “I do” in a church or outside? How to introduce the reception that follows? Fret no longer friends, we have Mrs. John L. Strong here to help; with 85+ years of experience, they know a thing or two on the do’s and don’ts of the oh so important invitation language!

1. What is the appropriate wording for getting married in a place of worship vs elsewhere?

If you’re getting married in a place of worship, we use the term “honor of your presence” instead of “pleasure of your company”. It has nothing to do with the formality of the wedding itself (i.e. cocktail or black tie), strictly the venue.

2. Do you write honor (the American English way) or honour (the old English spelling) on wedding invitations? What about favor vs favour?

Both ways are grammatically correct. The decision is up to you and comes down to personal preference. At Mrs. John L. Strong, we prefer the American English version, unless you are English.

3. What is the appropriate verbiage when it comes to the reception?

There are a few different options, including “dinner and dancing to follow,” “reception to follow,” “reception immediately following,” “and afterwards at the reception” – the choice is up to you!

4. What is the etiquette when it comes to monograms on invitations?

If clients use a monogram on the invitation it should be the first initials of the bride and groom. Since invitations are sent out before the actual ceremony, they have not been united in holy matrimony yet so it’s improper to use the groom’s surname initial (assuming the bride takes his name). You can use the full married monogram on menu cards, escort cards and place cards (since these are all used after the actual ceremony).

5. What’s the etiquette for a traditional wedding suite?

In a traditional wedding suite, an invitation and RSVP are included. A reception card is only included if the reception is taking place at a location other than the location of the ceremony. Typically and traditionally, wedding invitations are assembled in size order, with each card face-up, starting with the invitation. There are of course deviations depending on the size, orientation and number of items. With engraving, we have a tissue overlay on top of each engraved item to protect it. When the invitation goes through USPS, the invitation can be jostled which can cause friction on the ink and paper, so we always require tissue overlays with our engraving. Another way to avoid damaging your invitations is to take your envelopes to the post office and request hand cancel. This helps preserve the integrity of the envelope and its contents!

In the mood for more invitationsThis way!

Gold Invitation Suites
View Slideshow
Gold Invitation Suites
View Slideshow


Barn & Willow

We’re excited to share that Shine invitations is currently offering FREE SHIPPING on orders over $500 (US orders only) as well as a free sample kit featuring the invitation of your choice, color charts, paper samples, and an example Save the Date! Don’t miss out!


For our California Brides… Discounts from The Ranch at Laguna Beach and Weddings by Susan Dunne!

For our Destination Brides… Discount from Hitch’d Weddings & Events

For our Tri-state Brides… Discount from Femina Photo + Design and giveaway from OLLI STUDIO!


Congratulations to our Doie Lounge winner Katie!

Vault CTA

Vault CTA

Stationery Advice: Mrs. John L. Strong

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
From the pages of the
{ The latest from our most exclusive, hand-picked list of vendors }
See What Unlikely Source Inspired This Wedding

Chris and Alice are innovators. Reason being? Their big day was inspired by mustard seeds. That’s right, and if that doesn’t make you think twice about your average spice then maybe a talented vendor team like A Good Affair Wedding & Event ProductionTEAM Hair and MakeupElevated Pulse ProductionsFound Vintage RentalsLittle Hill Floral Designs and Brandon Kidd Photography will. Watch dreams become reality in The Vault!



From A Good Affair Wedding & Event ProductionFrom the moment I spoke to Alice on the phone I knew we were a perfect match for one another. She wanted someone who would help her find the perfect venue for her Southern California destination wedding and someone who would give her a personal experience during the planning process. We clicked right away and I knew I was in for a really amazing time with Alice and Chris! When it came to designing their wedding I wanted to incorporate personal details that had meaning for them and capture Alice’s eclectic style into the design. Going for an All Saints meets Romance vibe I set out to create an outdoor ceremony and reception at Montage Laguna Beach that was romantic but relaxed. Their intimate wedding had guests from all over the world, all first timers to California so we wanted them to experience what SoCal is all about. From the CA cookies to the In-N-Out truck for late night snacks, we created surprises throughout the day for them to enjoy. What I loved most about Alice and Chris’s wedding was the custom lighting canopy at dinner and the gorgeous ceremony, it truly was the perfect oceanfront destination wedding.

From the Bride… Chris and I met in 2008 at Washington University in St. Louis while pursuing our MBA degrees. Prior to orientation, I had sent him a Facebook friend request with the intention of getting to know ALL my new classmates but Chris will stand by that I made the “first move!” Our class was split into two groups, Chris and I were in the opposite groups, so, I didn’t get to know him until a few months later into our program. I remember one of the first times I saw him in the hallway, I tried to high-five him, but instead, I hit him in the eye! Over the next several months, Chris and I began to have classes together and of course, that led to “study dates”. Chris and I never had a “first date” – our relationship evolved from friendship to love little by little. I truly believe this is what makes our connection so strong.

Mustard seeds have a very special meaning in Chris’ life. Inspired by his Mom and taken from the scripture, it is symbolic of faith. We filled small apothecary bottles with mustard seeds and used it as place card holders by tying our guests’ table assignment with a leather band. We love to travel and our guests travelled from all over the world to share in our special day. Rather than a traditional guest book, we asked our guests to sign our globe (found at Anthropologie). Chris and I wrote on our vows and it was really special to recite our own written words in front of family and friends. True to my personality and an ode to our favorite show, I quoted Cam Tucker from Modern Family.

Even though Chris and I met in St. Louis and were living there at the time, it was not our hometown. Since almost all of our guests would have had to travel, we thought it would be more fun to visit a destination with beautiful landscape and amazing weather. Chris and I love California and immediately, the vision of warm sun, crashing waves and cool breeze appeared. We wanted a venue that would put you at ease the moment you stepped onto the property, a venue that embodied nature and simply put you at peace. When we stepped through the grand entrance of Montage Laguna Beach and stood at the balcony, we literally gasped and it took our breath away. We knew then it was the perfect venue.

Every wedding is unique, take the time to research and set priorities early with your fiancé. Always come back to these priorities when decisions become tough. It’ll help guide the way!
For the bride – even with a designer/planner, your life will be consumed with wedding planning because you find it fun but your partner likely won’t! Set aside time to talk about the wedding rather than letting it dominate every conversation and meal. My approach with Chris was that I would set aside 30 minutes each week to share with him all the progress that had been made and where I needed his input. Rather than asking him to help come up with a concept, I often asked him to pick between 2-3 options. Another quick tip: when he says he doesn’t care, he genuinely doesn’t care, don’t push him, go with what you like!Hire the best photographer and videographer your budget allows. The love, joy and touching moments of the day captured will last a lifetime.

Photography: Brandon Kidd Photography | Cinematography: Good Time Productions | Floral Design: Little Hill Floral Designs | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang, Beverly Hills | Invitations: Darla Marie Designs | Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Hair + Makeup: TEAM Hair and Makeup | Band: The VIP's | Favors: Melissa Barbakoff | Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss Red Label | Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux | Officiant: Rev. Dr. Mike Decker | Bride's Veil: Vera Wang, Beverly Hills | Bridesmaid Dress: Amsale | Bridesmaid Dress: Adrianna Papell | Bridesmaid Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Ceremony Musician: Denny White | DJ + Photobooth + Lighting: Elevated Pulse Productions | Event Planning + Event Design: A Good Affair Wedding & Event Production | Late Night Catering: In n' Out | Renals: Found Vintage Rentals

From mustard seeds to rosé, get inspired below! 

Yes Way Rosé Wedding Details
View Slideshow
Yes Way Rosé Wedding Details
View Slideshow

Vault CTA

Vault CTA

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
A Teenage Love Story with a Surprise Twist 58 Year Later!

When Audrey and Elvie married at just 17 and 18 years old, they knew they love was the real deal. 58 years later, their children and grandchildren helped throw the surprise of their life. Their event planner granddaughter, who works with Alluring Events & Design organized a backyard vow renewal officiated by their son with three generations of family in attendance. Wendy Warrick photographed, and it’s a true testament to the beauty of marriage.

From Alluring Events + DesignAt the ages of 15 and 16 Audrey and Elvie met in church and started dating, it didn’t take long for them to realize their love for each other. At the time, Elvie drove a black 1950 Mercury that he kept in pristine condition (a very cool car for a 16 year old boy). One day he decided he’d use orange paint and paint “Audrey” across the passenger door so the world would know that Audrey was his girl. Just a few short years later, on June 21, 1958, at the ages of 17 and 18, Audrey and Elvie were married in Porterville California.

Fast-forward 58 years, 2 children, 4 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren later to June 21, 2016 and you get an unforgettable anniversary surprise. Their grand daughter, Rachele, a planner with Alluring Events + Design, along with the help of her family, designed and planned a surprise 58th anniversary vow renewal for their ‘Nana and Papa’.

“Earlier in the day we arrived at Nana and Papa’s house and got them ready for the big day, it was hard to keep the secret and get them all dolled up in dress clothes on a 95 degree day, but they went along with the surprise and trusted our excited (and mysterious) expressions.”

The first surprise of the day was a styled photo shoot just for the two of them. Next they were whisked off to a second location and kept inside until the reveal of the next big surprise was ready; the vow renewal in the backyard of their daughter’s home. It was an evening filled with tears and laughter as they walked down the aisle and recommitted their love and lives to each other. Their son officiated the intimate ceremony and their 3 generations of family watched in the seats behind them. Audrey and Elvie were absolutely surprised by the events of the day; each moment was a rush of emotion and joy.

“We wanted the evening to be just like Nana and Papa; Sweet, simple and a little bit country. The details and décor we chose were intentional and thought through; each piece had a purpose and represented them. Nana’s favorite shades of blue adorned the table and fruit picking baskets were used in the centerpieces to reflect their newlywed years when they spent hours each day working in the fields and orchards picking fruit together to support their young family. Vintage china, antique chairs, galvanized elements and shabby accents helped bring in the ‘country cottage’ feel that Nana and Papa love. Even the dinner we chose was a meal full of their favorite foods; fried chicken, honey cornbread, chicken and dumplings, fried okra and bacon green beans, with sweet tea and lemonade to drink plus peach, apple and strawberry rhubarb pies for dessert, yum!”

The love was palpable and it was clear that Audrey and Elvie had created a legacy of love and people who adored them in every way. They are a shinning example of unconditional love and devotion. It was a magical evening with memories that will be cherished forever. “Grow old with me, the best is yet to be”.

Vault CTA

Vault CTA

Photography: Weddings by Wendy Warrick | Floral Design: Alluring Events & Design | Venue: At Home | Dessert Cookies: Yellow Kitchen Cakes | Event Planning, Design, Styling + Coordination: Alluring Events & Design | Linen Rentals: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Signage: Throne | Tabletop Rentals: Botanica Events by Audrey Chaney

A Mykonos Wedding That’ll Kick Your Wanderlust Into Overdrive

Pack your bags pretties because we’re headed across the world to a little place called Mykonos. It’s the Greek island that brings all your Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants travel dreams to life plus backdrop to this INSANELY dreamy wedding day. MykonosWedding by Aikaterini planned, Anna Roussos photographed, and you might never convince me to leave all that’s waiting in The Vault.


From Mykonos WeddingTom & Kylene chose Mykonos as the island that suits them both best for their happy and original spirit. They flew their friends and family from the US and from Athens, Greece, to make this dream come true.

It was a warm day and for a May wedding it couldn’t have been a better weather situation. Kylene and her bridesmaids were prepared in the private villa where the couple was staying during all their stay on Mykonos island. Tom and his groomsmen were prepared in a luxury suites hotel near by. A small chapel with magnificent views to the sea, provided the perfect scene for their Christian Orthodox ceremony.

All guests upon arrival found their seats on the outdoor space of the chapel, around the orthodox ceremony table waiting for the couple to make their entrance. Traditional musicians lead the way for the arrival of the groom first and later of the bride. All Greek Christian Orthodox ceremony customs took place. The two large beautifully decorated candles symbolizing the light preceding each one of the couple for all their life together. The ‘koufeta’, the sugar covered almonds, that symbolize the joys and sorrows of marriage as well as fertility. The rice and the rose petals that were thrown to the couple during the ceremony which symbolize abundance and a life strewn with rose petals and the single glass filled with red wine that sealed their love and union. ‘The two that became one for the rest of their lives’.

Kylene’s parents and sisters, were beaming watching her marry the love of her life, and wishing them well. The bride’s so cute little dog pet starred during her entrance and ceremony, wearing bows that matched the whole wedding concept.

Following the ceremony, guests arrived to Nammos Beach Restaurant for the reception and were invited to enjoy a cocktail on the beach lounge especially prepared, with carpets covering the sand, making it a convenient floor to the ladies with high heels. Signature cocktails and drinks were served and while guests where relaxing after the overwhelming ceremony, another overwhelming event was about to happen. The couple arrived by sea, standing on the bow of a stylish polished motorboat, decorated with flowers. None of the guests was expecting anything like this, everyone stood amazed watching the couple as the boat was approaching.

The dinner was delicious as expected, followed by speeches from the family and guests and a few hours of energetic music and dancing. Food, music, champagne, and exquisite sweet surprises to keep the guests entertained through out. The bride, wore a lovely open back dress, embellished with shining elements, custom made by a friend. The groom wore a Hugo Boss tux as well as his groomsmen, showcasing the groom’s style and personality. The flowers chosen to match the classic style, were white and pink roses with olive leaves that made a lovely statement in the bridal and bridesmaids bouquets and in the table centerpieces.

From The Bride…A few months into dating, my Greek-American boyfriend and I went on our first trip together to Greece. It was during that trip that we said our first ‘I love you’s’, wrote our names in the white volcanic rock in Santorini, and he brought me to see the church where he said he someday would like to get married.

It was a magical trip trip where I fell in love with not only my future husband, but Greece itself. Fast-forward three years and I was back in Mykonos, Greece with all of our close friends and family walking up to that same church to meet my awaiting fiance.

Planning our wedding, however, was not quite as magical as that first trip to Greece. Of course I had my Pinterest boards full of inspiration, bookmarked wedding blogs, and dogeared magazine pages, but I quickly learned that planning a wedding in Greece would not be as easy as I had imagined. Coming from the US, I was not accustomed to the slower pace of life that Greece operates under,as well as different legal requirements for the ceremony and lack of resources on the island.

I was lucky enough to schedule my dream photographer from Greece, Anna Roussos, found a fantastic florist (Studio 7) who was just opening a shop on Mykonos, and hired an excellent wedding planner (MykonosWedding by Aikaterini) to help with all the details, who knew everyone involved and coordinated everything in such a way I never had to worry about anything.

In the end, we had the most beautiful Greek Island wedding I could have hoped for. The weekend started out with a welcome party at our villa with traditional Greek food catered from one of our favorite little restaurants. This was a great night for our extended families to meet for the first time.

The next day was our Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony at a small church atop a hill overlooking the Aegean Sea, complete with traditional Greek musicians to accompany us up the path. Our reception followed at Nammos Restaurant on Psarrou Beach with the most delicious dinner and even some Greek dancing which continued late into the night. The weekend wrapped up with a wooden boat sailing trip to the Island of Delos where we explored the ancient ruins, then returned to Mykonos in time to watch the sunset over the famous windmills.

Vault CTA

Vault CTA

Photography: Anna Roussos | Event Planning + Design: MykonosWedding by Aikaterini | Floral Design: Studio 7 | Invitations: Aerialist Press | Ceremony Venue: Orthodox Church | Reception Venue: Nammos | Bride's Shoes: Louboutin | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Monique Lhuillier | Hair + Makeup: BeautyWorld Mykonos | Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss Red Label | Groomsmen Attire: Hugo Boss Red Label | Hotel: Greco Philia

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here