You’re invited…

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I am a sucker for fine stationery.  Saturdays, you’ll find me browsing the notecards in my favorite boutiques– heck, even my grocery store will suffice (they stock Crane’s paper after all!). 

And for me, the invitation is one of the most important factors when setting the scene for a big event.  In fact, my William Arthur invites inspired my entire design theme, from color to texture. 

Perhaps more importantly, the invitation tells your guests the kind of event they should expect.  So, if you’re a modern gal planning a city chic wedding, why send them something uber-traditional?  If, like me, you’re sentimental and a tad traditional, why send an ultra contemporary one? Here are a few of my favorite finds for brides looking for a little Asian inspiration.

Japanese Paper Invite

DIY Yuzen Red Flowers Booklet Invite from Paper Source

 For DIY brides who still want a high-end look, these printable invites made with Japanese paper from Paper Source do double duty. 

slate gray cherry blossom invites

5 x 7 Wedding Invitation with an hint of Oriental influence by FinishedWork

To be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of many of the cherry blossom invites out there and a lot of it has to do with the use of one of my least favorite color combinations: pink and brown.  That’s why I loved this minimalist design from FinishedWork on Etsy.com.  Although it borrows from the imagery traditional to Japanese weddings, it steers clear of overt girliness, making it a winning pick for an elegant evening affair.
Paper Lantern Invitation

Paper Lantern Wedding Invitation Set by jenniferraichman

Another fantastic Etsy find that would be perfect for a garden wedding, engagement party, bridal shower, or rehearsal.  One note of caution here– the paper is listed as “soft white,” which is a no-no in some Asian cultures.  So the best bet is to check with the fam before placing your order.  Otherwise you may end up with one very mad MOB or FMIL. 

kates paperie umbrella stationery

Imprintable Invitations, Bridal Shower Umbrella from Kate's Paperie

Because this one is for bridal showers, I am going to give the ok to pink and brown just this once.  And, who am I kidding?  The parasol design is just too cute.  Best of all, it comes in a money-saving  print-it-yourself kit.

contemporary japanese invite

Japanese Pattern by KembaCelebrations

This one may be my favorite of the bunch.  I love the contemporary take on the traditional Japanese print, the fresh colors, and the beautiful type faces.
peony invite

Abstracted Peony Invitation by Valie520

One of my favorite flowers in a design reminiscent of one of my favorite artists, Jo Smail.  It’s so pretty it kind of makes me want to renew my vows and invite all of you!

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Something Sweet for J-Pop Lovers

We’ve been seeing cupcakes at weddings for years now, but when was the last time you saw them in the guise of a Japanese cartoon?  These sweet little guys by Australian bakery Hello Naomi would make an adorable addition to a dessert bar and evoke the fun quirkiness of the works of Japanese contemporary artists like Takashi Murakami (of Louis Vuitton bag fame–or infamy, you choose) and the girlish charm of Hello Kitty.

japanese cartoon cupcakes

Better yet, why not send your guests home with one, individually wrapped in a translucent take-out box?  Who wouldn’t love the surprise of opening up their favor to discover one of these characters smiling back at them?

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Double Happiness Jewelry

One of my most treasured possessions is a double happiness necklace given to my by my lai-lai (mother-in-law) during our tea ceremony in Hong Kong. Not only is it a beautiful and unique piece of jewelry, it is a wearable reminder of the amazing time TBK and I had when we travelled to Asia for the second half of our wedding festivities.

Double Happiness Necklace

My double happiness necklace.

If you’re having a mostly Western wedding or reception, wearing a piece of Double Happiness jewelry can be an elegant and understated way to incorporate another culture or simply give yourself good luck!  And fortunately, you don’t have to travel all the way to Asia to find it:

 

24 Karat Gold Double Happiness Ring (unisex), $531.23

24 Karat Gold Double Happiness Ring (unisex), $531.23

 

 

18 karat white gold Double Happiness Diamond Earrings

18 Karat White Gold Double Happiness Diamond Earrings

 

 

Royal Crown  Jade and Gold Ring by Mudan

Royal Crown Jade and Gold Ring by Mudan, $420

This jade ring would make a bold, unusual choice for a wedding band or could be laced into a bridal bouquet for good luck. 

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Gorgeous Handmade Asian Wedding Favor Finds

When TBK and I tied the knot a few years ago, it was nearly impossible to find Asian wedding favors we liked.  Either they were too bold for our outdoor, tented reception, too tacky, or just not us.  So, in the end, I relented and made my own favors with a very non-Asian flair– little glass jars from Crate and Barrel filled with herbes de provence, tied with a satin blue ribbon and a little card with our names on one side and a recipe on the other.  They were a hit, but I certainly paid the price with achey hands and blurred vision for days! I don’t even want to tell you how long they took to make.

But, now, with sites like Etsy.com, you can get that custom, handmade look without having to make yourself crazy on the couch at night.  So, here are a few unique finds I made recently:

Dragon Soap Wedding Favor

Dragon Soap Wedding Favor from "pepperapothecary," 25 for $50

This handmade, carved soap comes in a number of scents, including this intriguing blend: The Waxed Dragon, “With warming notes of amber, incense, Madagascar vanilla and patchouli, lightened up with layers of romantic notes such as rose, jasmine and lilac. Topped off with the colorful, light touches of blood orange and grapefruit.”

Fan pillow boxes

Fan Pillow Boxes from "fieldandsea, " $10 for a 4 pack (comes with tissue paper and note cards)

These adorable little pillow boxes can be stuffed with anything from dried red dates to notes indicating you made a donation to charity in the guests’ names and are decorated with a contemporary fan pattern that evokes the far east.

sushi candles wedding favor

Beeswax Sushi Tealights from "doublebrush," $2.75 each

TBK and my first date was actually sushi, so this would have been a sweet favor if it had fit in with our decor.  Super cute.

Bird Tin Wedding Favors

Bird Print Gift Tins from "gamiworks," 10 for $22.50

Funky little tin with a contemporary print that’s perfect for holding loose tea leaves or herbs.  (And for brides who love Twitter, it’s a wink to their social media savvy!)

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A Few East Meets West Wedding Dresses We Love

Looking for a modern wedding dress with a hint of Asian flair?  Or, perhaps you want a contemporary spin on traditional Asian wedding garb? 

Here are a few of our favorites, available online:

Silk dupioni Gwendolyn gown from J Crew.  (Item 10806)

Silk dupioni Gwendolyn gown from J Crew. (Item 10806)

 

Silk "Double Fish" Cap Sleeve Long Qi Pao from Shanghai Tang (Ref. 1F197K2). $465.

Silk "Double Fish" Cap Sleeve Long Qi Pao from Shanghai Tang (Ref. 1F197K2). $465.

 

Silk Qipao with Cloud from Shanghai Tang (Ref. 1F152B2). $665.

Silk Qipao with Cloud from Shanghai Tang (Ref. 1F152B2). $665.

Monique Lhuillier Ball Gown (Style No. 31212111) available at Kleinfeld.

Monique Lhuillier Ball Gown (Style No. 31212111) available at Kleinfeld.

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