Professionally Printed Invitations and Why You Should Send Them…

I’ve been speaking with other Invitation Professionals and we’ve been pondering these discussions…

  1.  How much do invitations cost???  Very difficult question to answer as first, how many do you need?  Will there be reception cards and accommodations cards?   How about your thank you note cards, placecards, napkins, programs, etc?  Unique Invitations by Deborah carries all of these items along with cake toppers, flower girl baskets, ring bearer pillows and so much more.  Along with the pricing, do you require Letterpress, Foil, Shimmer paper, Thermography, Laser cut, Ribbon, Pockets?  All of these styles cost differently, depending on the printing method.  Ideally, you should make a consultation where you will be able to touch and feel and see in person the invitation you like and not be determined by a photograph on your computer.  Often, the photos look better and sometimes, worse than in person.  No surprises this way and you have a person you can communicate with, check for errors, advise you in the correct path.  In your experience, are Chevy/GM/Ford/Porsche/Cadillac/Benz the same cost?  Do you expect them to be the same?  Invitations aren’t either.
  2. “The Invitations Just Go In the Trash!”   First thing – the invitation is the first introduction to your special day!  It sets the tone of what your guests should expect.  Also, your guests will be looking at your invitation for 2 months beforehand so it’s not being trashed for quite a while.  It may also be saved for a momento, framed, photographed for your wedding photos.  You can put it into a shadow box with other wedding mementos from your wedding/event.  While talking about going in the trash, what about the flowers, leftover food, napkins, and everything left at the end of the fabulous event?  Your invitations actually get more bang for your buck as it’s cherished for much longer than anything else being used.

I hope that this article puts a light into some of your thoughts of your invitations.  I would be delighted to work with you on helping you get your special invitation if located in Philadelphia, Suburbs, South Jersey or Delaware.

Schedule your free consultation today!!  I look forward to hearing from you.

Deborah Carasso

Unique Invitations by Deborah


or text:  215-470-9911 – please put name and contact info.


How to Plan a Simple Engagement Party

Top 5 Invitation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Wedding invites or any occasion invites got you going crazy? Find out how to avoid these oh-so-stressful wedding planning snafus.

Glittered Bliss

Top 5 Invitation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them 
Whether you’re having your wedding invitations custom designed or even if you’ve decided to go it alone, purchasing invites can be an oh-so-trying process. Hopefully, you will not feel that way when working with Unique Invitations by Deborah.  Between the timing, cost calculations and diction, it’s hard not to lose track of something and make a mistake. Need some help? Here’s five things you definitely want to avoid:

1. Have Realistic Budget Expectations
Avoid wedding invitation “sticker shock” with planning and research. Before you get your heart set  on the “perfect” invite, determine your estimated number of guests as well as your bottom-line budget. Also, don’t forget to consider the cost of postage, addressing, and any additional stationary you may need (such as thank-you notes) when making calculations.  If you get the invitations addressed with your invitations, it will match perfectly (type and ink color) and if your list is correct, you will know exactly how many you need and not make mistakes.

2. Don’t Procrastinate!
A very common mistake in the wedding invitation process is not allowing enough time to choose, purchase AND print the stationary. Invitations should be mailed, ideally, eight weeks in advance, and printing often takes 3-4 weeks. So when should you order them? We say start the process no less than six months just to play it safe. Doing everything yourself? Take the amount of time you think you’ll need and triple it. (After all, you just never know if things will take much longer than expected.)  FYI…I was addressing envelopes years ago and NEVER had difficulty – this one time, my printed decided to constantly jam.  I needed to reprint everything and the new envelopes cost me $35.00.  That’s a lot of jams.

3. Order the Correct Quantity
“Correct quantity” not only means too few invitations, but also too many! When placing your order, be sure to account for late additions to the wedding, lost invites and keepsakes. It’s generally suggested that you order 10-15% more invites than you think you need. Quick tip: Avoid ordering too many invitations by organizing your guest list by couple and family rather than individually.

4. Avoid Typos (Duh!)
Proofread, proofread, proofread! Ask your grammatically-inclined family members and friends to read over your invitation proof a gazillion times, and even when they have given you the thumbs up, look over it one more time. How embarrassing would it be to send out an invitation with your mother-in-law’s name spelled incorrectly? (Can you say mortifying times ten?!?)  Remember the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding???   I highly recommend a proof of your invitation and Unique Invitations always gives you a proof of  your order before finalizing.  I had a client years ago who forgot to put “Dr.” for her father-in-law.  We had to reprint the order.  Expensive mistake.

5. Use the Right Postage
This one seems like a no-brainer, but don’t assume your invitations require the standard postage amount. Compile one complete invitation including any enclosures, and take it down to your local post office to have it weighed before placing postage on the envelope. Ask the post office to verify the size of the envelope.  Sometimes what seems like a standard size isn’t and you don’t want your envelopes returned.  You should also ask the post office about any upcoming postage increases as you may need to buy the Forever Stamp, which is good no matter how many increases are made through the U.S. Postal Service.

Please let me know if this was helpful.  I’d love to hear from you.

Deborah Carasso


Ask Rev. Jill: 3 Pieces of Advice to Reduce Wedding Planning Stress

You’ve spent months finding your wedding venue, you looked at hundreds of pictures to pick just the right photographer and your ears hurt from interviewing the DJ’s; that doesn’t even address your dwindling budget. Before that you spent most of your adult life finding just the right partner; no wonder you feel so stressed.


Photo credit:

Have you ever felt like completely abandoning your dream wedding in Philadelphia and just running away and eloping?  Well, there are less drastic ways to manage all the pressure and strain that planning a wedding can have on you, your partner and your relationship.

As a certified professional life coach and ordained non-denominational minister, I offer three pieces of advice for couples that are approaching their wedding to not only help manage the stress, but to make their wedding planning an experience to embrace and enjoy.  Your wedding should not be an end point, but the continuation of your life together and your public expression of your committed love for each other.

While everyone you know wants to give you advice, especially your future in-laws, you need to follow your own path and figure out what is best for the two of you.  Take what is offered and use what works and leave the rest.

1.      Stay connected.  Being with the one you love is why you are choosing to have a wedding, so don’t forget to spend time with your partner while planning your nuptials.  Be sure that time spent together is not only for going over seating arrangements and first dance music.  Be clear what is important to you both and focus your time together on really being with each other.  Plan a regular date night.  Go to your favorite restaurant, or revisit all the places you went when you were first dating.  Remind each other of stories from the early part of your relationship. This will help you stay connected to each other and to what all this crazy planning is for.

2.      Take care of yourself.  You always hear it on the plane, give yourself oxygen first, and then place the mask on your child.  Well, you aren’t flying anywhere, yet, but you do need to take care of yourself first, that way you are in a better place to take care of everyone and everything that needs attending to.  Some ideas to remember – eat properly, get lots of rest, exercise and treat yourself to some indulgences like a massage or facial.  You can even do some of these things as a couple.  At the very least, every once and a while, step away from all the planning.  Take a break.  It will still be there when you’re ready to return more refreshed and clear headed.

3.      Recruit the best for your team.  Just because you have the title of bride or groom, doesn’t mean that you have any training in event planning and all that goes into the details of throwing a big party.  It is completely normal to be overwhelmed with all the decisions, even the fun ones.  Find people who know you and love you who you can be completely honest with you about your feelings around the wedding plans.  Find people who will allow you to be mad, sad and disappointed.  This doesn’t make you a “bridezilla” or the groom equivalent, this is a way to release the pressure cooker so you don’t explode.  When it all really gets to you, be sure to delegate to trusted friends and family.  Hiring quality professionals to create your dream wedding is key to reducing your stress.  When I work with a couple designing their custom ceremony, I build in time for the couple to use me to vent frustrations about any aspect of their wedding since it all impacts the tone of the ceremony.

Whether you are planning a ballroom banquet for 300 or an intimate backyard wedding, planning this important event in your life will be stressful at times.  The key is to find ways to manage the stress and stay focused on your future with the one you love.

~ Jill Magerman, Wedding Officiant, Meaningful Milestones

Reposted Jill’s article by Unique Invitations by Deborah – Jill is a fantastic Officiant – Give her a call today!!

Easy Bridal Shower Games that are Actually Fun


Gift Bingo

The best thing about being the bride at a shower? All the swag, of course. Now you can benefit from the bride’s haul by playing a round of gift bingo. Each guest can fill out their own bingo cards with the gifts they think the bride is most likely to receive.

What’s In Your Purse?

When you need easy bridal shower games, this one should top the list. For once, you have an advantage to not cleaning out your purse! For those of us prone to carrying “Mary Poppins” bags with anything and everything contained inside, this game is an easy win. Provide a checklist and accompanying points and the gal with the highest tally wins a prize.


Mad Libs

A childhood favorite, Mad Libs are great for a bridal shower icebreaker, because they aren’t embarrassing or over-the-top. Partner with another guest, fill out the form, and the funniest result wins!

Mingle to Win!

Bridal showers often bring together groups of people who haven’t met before. Encourage work friends to get to know high school pals by playing this questionnaire-style game. Pretty soon everyone will be amazed by Aunt Jean’s lottery win and your mom’s thirty years of marriage. We bet you’ll even learn a thing or two about your own nearest and dearest!

Simple Icebreakers

For easy bridal shower games, don’t make things more complicated than they need to be. Rely on classic icebreakers like “Two Truths and a Lie” or create simple trivia questions about the bride.

The Newlywed Game

This version of “The Newlywed Game” requires the groom’s participation ahead of time on a questionnaire. Or, if you are hosting a co-ed shower, this can be a fun game for everyone to join in on together.

Lawn Games

When it’s a beautiful day, why not take the party outside? Spend the afternoon playing lawn games, sipping lemonade, and thoroughly dominating your opponents. You can make it casual, or turn it into a tournament-style competition, depending on your crowd.

All Heart - Bridal Shower Invitations

All Heart Bridal Shower Invitation

Bridal Shower Bingo.jpeg

Bridal Shower Bingo 

Shower Bingo

Shower Bingo – Different Version

Guess Who - Newly Wed Game

Guess Who – Newly Wed Game

Think Outside the Dessert Table: 23 Fresh Food Stations

Forget tallying chicken vs. beef or fretting over the cost of a sit-down dinner. Food stationsare a creative way to showcase the character of the new Mr. and Mrs. while wowing guests and pleasing an array of picky palates. Let guests feast their eyes and bellies on late-night nibbles, like French fries and sliders, or exquisite starters such as oysters and ceviche. If you hail from the South, why not amuse guests with shrimp and grits or barbecue sliders paired with a smoky bourbon. We’ve got 23 stylish, sophisticated and downright fabulous food stations to share with you and your guests’ taste buds.

1. Pancakes and Waffles: Have you ever thought about having your soiree in the morning? Or maybe you and the groom just absolutely love brunch? Picture this: A waffle bar complete with bowls of fresh fruit, dollops of whipped cream and a drizzling of local maple syrup. Add in mini quiches, piles of bacon and steamy hash browns. Do it! (via Weddings in Winnipeg)

2. Buttermilk Biscuits: Keeping on with the brunch wedding, now we look to the South for a little down-home inspiration. Marvel guests with an assortment of buttermilk biscuits filled with smoked turkey or honey ham and then pair them with your favorite sauces and jams. (via Andre Winfrye Events)

3. Shrimp and Grits: A homey Lowcountry fave sure to make anyone smile with each creamy, buttery and smoky bite. (via Kathy G. and Company)

4. Mimosas: Your wedding reception will surely pop with bright hues from fresh fruits and a little bubbly. This colorful mimosa station sets the stage for the perfect wedding toast. (via The Party Dress)

5. Charcuterie and Crostini: A feast for the eyes and the bellies of reveling guests — charcuterie, olives, dips, spreads and crusty bread… by now your mouth is watering. (via Heirloom LA)

6. Caprese Cones: A handheld spin on an Italian classic — charm guests with a delightful display of caprese salad, served inside of a savory, waffle cone. (via Luxirare)

7. Pizza: Good food, great drinks and amazing friends top the charts. Make everyone’s day with a slice of their favorite pie… pizza pie, that is. (via Style Me Pretty)

8. Pasta: A pasta station with assorted noodles, sauces and toppings ensure that everyone eats exactly what they want. Buon appetito! (via Sarah Whitmeyer)

9. Wine and Cheese Pairing: Who doesn’t love wine with cheese? Take this classic pairing a step further and set up a station that matches the bride and groom’s favorite fromage and vino combinations. (via Alchemy)

10. Short Rib Sliders and Bourbon: Speaking of perfect pairs, what’s not to love about a smoky barbecue slider and a swig of bourbon to wash it all down? Serve your fave barbecue in a mini slider alongside a shot of a smoky bourbon. (via The Bridal Circle)

11. Tacos and Tequila: Finger foods are nothing new but marrying them with a mini cocktail is! Say, salud to the bride and groom with tacos and tequila shooters. (via Love and Lobster)

12. Chicken and Waffles: Honey-drizzled buttermilk waffles, crispy fried chicken and sweet maple syrup make for an excellent late-night food station that will surely gratify your guests. (via Nonsense and Sensibility)

13. Sliders and Fries: Do you want fries with that? If your guests are going to be dancing well into the night, be sure to replenish them with this American staple: Mini sliders and fries. (via A Style Collective)

14. French Fry Bar: Speaking of fries, keep your wedding night fryin’ high with your favorite deep-fried combo. We’re not talking plain old French fries and ketchup. Bring on the crinkle cut, shoestring, wedge, sweet potato or regular potato fries, and don’t stop there. Complete your French fry station with toppings and dips like truffle oil, aioli, sea salt, blue cheese, gravy, chili and don’t forget to pass the ketchup! (via Southern Bells Wedding)

15. Grilled Cheese: One can never turn down comfort food, especially if it includes ooey gooey cheese. (via A Beautiful Mess)

16. Mini Bahn Mi: It’s everyone’s favorite sandwich, even if they don’t know it yet. (via Nonsense and Sensibility)

17. Pad Thai: Offer your guests a little bit of everything and spice things up with a slurp-worthy Asian noodle bar. (via Creative)

18. Sushi: Freshen up wedding food with a gorgeous display of hand rolls and nigiri. (via Wedding Window)

19. Seafood Ceviche: Residing seaside? Offer a local, seafood ceviche complete with the bride and groom’s favorite catch. If you happen to have a destination wedding in the tropics, showcase the location with fresh mango, avocado and crunchy corn chips. (via Pure Joy Catering)

20. Clambake: Just like a day at the beach — fun, flavorful and carefree. A clambake food station is sure to make a splash. (via Catherine Ray)

21. Oysters on the Half Shell: Delight guests with the decadence of raw oysters. The subtle meatiness and briny juice make it hard to have just a few! Complete your raw bar with a unique mignonette, granita or serve alongside individual bottles of Tabasco. (via Southern Weddings)

22. Whiskey Tasting: Some grooms have a cake but really distinguished grooms have a whiskey bar. Outfit yours with a bartender that knows their stuff and can offer little tastes to parched guests. (via Harwell Photography)

23. Champagne: What’s a wedding without a little bubbly? Toast to your day with a classy and fun bubbly station. This one is particularly effervescent. (via 100 Layer Cake)

Originally posted by Michelle Swift · 

Reposted by Unique Invitations by Deborah

How to Plan a Simple Engagement Party

Fabulous Finds from our Wedding Weekend! (at least to me)

As those who follow me on Social Media know, my husband and I attended 2 fabulous but totally different weddings this weekend, both 3 hour drives from starting point.

The first one was a great friend son’s wedding at the Four Season’s Baltimore.  Fabulous hotel, helpful staff everywhere to accommodate you.  Apparently, awesome labels are the latest thing so this article is sharing goodie bag suggestions along with their labels/tags.

At the wedding at the Four Seasons, there was a beautiful bag stuffed with goodies.  Not shown but always a plus is water bottles, Advil (which I used), Altoids, there were even plastic silverware and napkin for the bundt cake.  Beck goodies and more

Above is just a sampling of what was in there.  We didn’t want for anything before the wedding.

At the conclusion of the wedding, the wedding cake had these beautiful labels.   Thanks so much Sammi and Corey!

Corey's cake box

Off to the second wedding in Long Branch, New Jersey.  It was the wedding of my husband’s first cousin’s son and his lovely fiancee.   It’s a very beautiful quaint shore point.  One thing that really impressed us was this touch in their lovely bag…  I love the sand dollar and the salt water taffees were very cute.  Thank you Wendi and Evan!!

Evan and Wendi's goodies

On the outside of their bags was this adorable tag…

Evan's Tag

In their bag were the usual water bottles (which I greatly appreciate).  They had great goodies but my favorite was this little mesh bag with first aid items.  Great touch!

The favor bags at the wedding had M&M’s to match their red, black and white colors and these cute bags with tags.  Love is Sweet Label:favor

These weddings, like I said, very different but with very thoughtful touches even before the weddings.  We had a blast at both!   First with friends, the second with family whom we don’t see enough of.

Very tired and much to do so I’m going to say farewell.  I hope you enjoyed this blog post.

I’d love to hear from you with your thoughts, comments, to make an appointment….

Deborah Carasso

Unique Invitations by Deborah




To Professionally Address Your Envelopes or Not to Professionally Address them – That is the Question…


Recently we have been invited to numerous weddings/events and I have some envelopes from the past too.  Below shows an envelope printed by the Invitation company and looks lovely and totally matches the invitation.  It’s clear to read so that it will be delivered, the State is spelled out as etiquette advises – everything is done perfectly.


Lovely addressing in black with invitationThis envelope below was addressed on the computer and as you can see, it took a beating through the mail.  Didn’t look so fabulous when it arrived.  The State wasn’t spelled out either.   I also advise going for hand stamping from the post office and hopefully, it wouldn’t arrive so dirty.


Smudged addessGold lettering and invitationThe above envelope is quite lovely.  Only thing the printer wouldn’t do now (this was from a few years back) is they prefer not printing in gold or light inks so that it’s crisp and clear to read.   Notice that the addressing matches the invitation perfectly.


Clear LabelIf you don’t go the route of printing your envelopes, the above is the next best option (I always thought), using a clear label and printing it in a large, clear script font.  Again, the State is not spelled out and it was not hand stamped and arrived quite dirty.  If interested, this is a great reason why inside envelopes are a nice thing as it keeps your invitation clean.


These are the most convincing reasons to get your envelopes professionally addressed – The above came handwritten.  If handwriting your envelopes, I highly recommend purchasing a fine tip calligraphy pen, practicing printing on a 45 degree angle and write your addresses with this.  It’s won’t look professional, but will look a LOT nicer than a simple pen.  (I used to do calligraphy).  The one next to it is a  plain white small label, it isn’t centered, it’s not large print, it’s not in script, State is abbreviated and it looks like an advertisement or something like that – NOT a Wedding Invitation.

Here’s another thought I have – we received an e-vite for an event.  I highly DO NOT recommend this at all and would prefer any of the above envelopes with invitations to that.  With an e-vite, we do not have an address to send a present, we don’t have a printed copy to bring with so that we arrive at the correct location.  An e-vite may be ok for casual things, maybe, but the printed invitation is always BEST.

When planning your big day, there are expenses.  Some you can minimize and some, I, personally, do not recommend.  The company that I deal with has professional addressing which matches your ink color (unless light) and type and my favorite, the ink doesn’t smear.  The cost for the outer envelope, after discount, is only $1.12 each – not a lot of money.  I also have an awesome calligrapher who is only $1.50 each.

I hope that this is helpful.  Contact me to chat, schedule an appointment, pick my brain – I’d love to hear from you. While trying to watch your pennies, I also have a wide range of affordable, lovely invitations – We should talk!

Schedule your Free Consultation today!!  Have an awesome day!

Deborah Carasso

Unique Invitations by Deborah

As you can see from envelopes above, I’m located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  lol



Secrets to a Successful DIY Event

Please note…This was taken from my experiences and not all things were DIY but what I could, I did and I saved quite a lot doing it myself and I felt it was less stressful as I knew how it was made and if something was wrong, I knew how to fix it.

  1.   Plan Ahead – With anything, if you have the time, nothing is stressful.  If you do last minute, Everything is stressful. When I was doing centerpieces for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, I needed mylar in 3 colors.  The most economic way to purchase this was Christmas door covers in mylar and I purchased them after Christmas at a considerable savings.  I cut them out in the summer while watching tv.  You often have to think outside the box for the greatest ideas and savings.  For my son’s favors, his theme was Super Heroes so when I saw nice duffel bags at Old Navy for $3.95 each, I bought about 50 of them and because of the large purchase, we got a free shirt too.  I walked out of the mall with 7 shopping bags and the phone number for their other store in reading to purchase the rest.  This will age my son, but we even saw palm pilots which were originally $40.00 and slowly reduced till they were $1.00 each.  Again, I purchased 50 of them.
  2.    By having plenty of time, you find that things you hadn’t anticipated needed some brainstorming.  Like how to set-up something, having a large tote to carry your creations in alphabetical order for the tables or will your candles put white spots on the gentlemens’ suits while holding at the cocktail hour.
  3.    If you need to paint something like your centerpiece, foam base or other lovely items, take in mind that you need a warmer temperature for best results to paint and dry outside.  Again, plan ahead.
  4.    If you are using something that’s battery operated, I highly recommend opening up one, even if months ahead and putting batteries in and turning them on.  We opened them up shortly before and had to tweak all of them as they didn’t work and they made quite a lot of noise.  In the end, they worked about 20 minutes.  When I contacted the company, they said all refunds had to be within a short time after purchase.  Oh well – live and learn.
  5.    Just the other day I saw something on Facebook where they had these rhinestone wraps on vases, napkins, candles, chair covers, etc.  Very elegant.  They were selling the ribbon to DIY but were sold out.  Again, if you plan ahead, this wouldn’t be a catastrophe but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen similar items in craft stores and even Sam’s Club around Christmas time.  Purchase it at a great price and do your magic.  I’m sure there are instructions online.  Note…if you use it on chair covers, check to be sure it won’t pull on ladies outfits or be itchy.  That effect would be ruined on those guests whose clothing got ruined.
  6. Keep your eyes open – you may often see the perfect item for your event and think – way too soon – the savings may be worth it to purchase now.  Look in the Wedding idea isle of your crafting store.  Often at Michael’s Crafts, they have free instructions for some crafting ideas.   David Tutera has some great ideas as well as Martha Stewart.  Again, by doing it early, you have time to tweak it and make it your perfect design.
  7.    This one is close to my heart…If you want to DIY or online Save the Dates or Engagement Parties or even programs, go ahead.  If you want to DIY your invitations, I have a much better idea.  If you schedule your FREE Consultation, I will be happy to show you beautiful, elegant, simple, inexpensive invitations which would be printed beautifully and correctly.  You can then bling them up, place them in wraps, ribbons – you name it.  If you use your computer, you could incur costly jams in your printer, smeared ink, wording incorrect, printing off-centered, and not grammatically correct.  I had a client whose neighbor did this as his wedding present to her.  They were horrible but she kept her mouth shut and came to me for professional invitations.  She mailed her neighbors’ one to them and never said a word.  By having the simple, professional invitations, you are still having a diy invitation as you’re doing the cosmetic aspect of it and making a simple invitation stunning and saving a lot of money.  Another thing to consider – when you see the diy stationery – it seems really inexpensive but is it???  Look at how much, how many you get and normally, everything is ala carte too so you would need enough Invitations, envelopes, Response cards, Reception cards – do they all match??  In the end, what’s the total price and can you replace the items if your printer goes on the fritz?
  8.    I highly recommend your asking your friends and bridal attendants to help you as it would be faster and would probably be a lot of fun.  Make a party of it – food afterwards as you don’t want to ruin your hard work.  I had a client who was tying ribbons on her invitations.  To make a crisp bow, she measured the invitation and got a wine bottle with the same circumference  as the invite and tied around the bottle, slipped it off and back on the invitation.  You then have a crisp bow tied with no invitation buckling and a delicious bottle to drink afterwards.
  9.   Do your homework, look online at Pinterest and YouTube, Think Outside the Box, make trial samples to see how it looks and how easy it is.  Have fun!
  10.    Find out if you need a decorator to set-up your creations.  Often it’s an insurance thing and you should know ahead of time.  If using a decorator, have a clear sheet of instructions of how you’d like things.  Also, check with your venue to see if they have any limitations such as hanging things from the ceilings.
  11.    Walk around before event to see how everything looks.  Be prepared with a tool kit of scissors, stapler, tape, glue gun, first-aid kit (just in case) and anything else you used in your creations.  You may even need extras if you have them.

I would love to see what you’ve created and thoughts of my article.  I hope that I’ve been helpful.

Unique Invitations by Deborah