by Morton D. Rosenbaum | September 01, 2004

Glass of red wineThe Greek philosopher Heraclitus was no doubt speaking of event design when he said nothing endures but change. The wow tactics of recent years have lost nearly all of their pizzazz, and staying on the cutting edge requires asking not just what’s new, but what’s next. To throw a truly impressive soiree, planners must chart, meet and anticipate trends in everything from fashionable meats to invitation design. For the latest ways to impress, M&C interviewed some of the industry’s premier players about what’s hot and what’s not. Their responses reveal a growing awareness of attendees’ improving and expanding tastes, a timeless regard for classic elegance and a rejuvenated enthusiasm for the future.

An invitation shaped like a high heelThe Invite
Paper is for notebooks.
“Plain paper isn’t enough anymore,” claims the eponymous founder of Hollywood, Calif.-based Kira Evans Designs. Evans advises mounting paper invites on more substantial materials or exploring more fashionable printing media, like plastics, acrylic and metal. One caveat from alternative media champion Gregory Homs, founder of New York City-based design firm Wink: Metallic mail can be dangerous. Make sure there are no sharp edges.

Put away the vellum. It might still be called for in specific circumstances, but designers insist vellum for vellum’s sake is passé. Similarly dated: organza invites and waxy opaque paper.

When to fold ’em. Invitations are opening and closing at unique points. Better to forgo any opening action, however, than to send one whose four corners fold inward and meet at the middle.

The e-vite has arrived. Electronic invitations are no longer just for friends; they can be as formal and/or splashy as the client desires. Rely on the e-vite only as a supplementary message, however, to be sent a few days prior to the event.

Keep them waiting. Much to the chagrin of invitation designers everywhere, planners are sending attendees official invites with specific details as late as two weeks before the event. Such tardiness is compensated for, however, with a more punctual (and now popular) save-the-date.

Make a splash, not a mess. Stuffing multicolored confetti into an envelope leaves recipients feeling furious, not festive.

What’s black, white, red and over? Kira Evans happily notes a newly courageous commitment to color. An invite might pop with a shock of bright yellow or seduce with a darker look, but the former safety zone of black, white and red officially has been roped off.