Grooms Trifon and David both work in the interior design field, so it was no surprise that when it came to their wedding invitation (and we’re guessing every other aspect of their wedding), they came with a discriminating eye. “We wanted something simple and classic, but with a touch of spirit,” they said of their invitation. Here the couple and their stationer talk to us about using color, the ever-important question of “when is your wedding?” and why a proof is so very important.
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Yale
The Couple: Trifon and David
Tell me about the proposal.
For David’s birthday, I surprised him with a trip to Blue Hill at Stone Barns upstate. I had the rings in my pocket and was going to propose in one of the old silos after dinner (this was pre-arranged, of course). We took a walk around the farm, looking at the animals and greenhouses and ended up on a bluff overlooking the property as the sun was setting. I had a panic-induced change of heart and decided to propose then and there. He was shocked, and it was perfect! I gave him two rings. One is a simple gold band I designed with three sapphires, which were taken from my mother’s favorite ring (she passed away and never got to meet David. I wanted him to have something special of hers). I also designed the other ring, which has five round diamonds and milgrain detailing.
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Yale
We then went inside for one of the most amazing meals we’ve ever had and ended with a tour of the kitchen and a private moment in said silo with desserts and champagne. We then drove back into Manhattan and went to a favorite bar in Tribeca. I had all of David’s friends waiting there, under the impression that they were there to surprise David for his birthday. David did not know they were there, and they did not know I’d just proposed. When we walked in, he screamed in surprise at seeing them and instinctively threw his hand up, showing the rings. They all erupted in congratulations and converged on us for hugs and hand shakes. It was amazing!
Who did you use to order your invitations, and tell me about the process of choosing your wedding invitations—did you have something in mind going into your first appointment and did that change?
We worked with Joy Agodon at the Papyrus on Third Avenue, between 73rd and 74th Street. She was very patient, as we had tons of questions and weren’t absolutely sure what direction we wanted to head in. We wanted something simple and classic, but with a touch of spirit. It couldn’t be too feminine, either. We decided to go with a simple design, but to use color for the font. Originally, we had chosen to do a border in a contrasting color, but it ended up looking too much like an invitation for a baby shower, so we nixed the border in favor of a tonal, beaded border.
Describe the invitation suite you ended up with and why you fell in love with that design.
We chose the Pearl White Beaded Frame with a French Blue scripted font. We fell in love with the font style first and then chose the border to compliment. I think we appreciated that the invitation was totally suitable for two men getting married—not too sweet, but simple and elegant. The French Blue was the perfect punch of added personality that it needed (and blue was a recurring theme in our wedding, from the save the date to the invitations to our navy tuxedos).
Was there anything about the process of choosing your invitations that you weren’t expecting?
Not really. I’d say the only surprise was how the first proof came out when we were doing the French Blue font with a Sage Green border. We both work in the interior design industry, so I’d say we’re pretty good with picking colors and having the foresight to know how they are going to turn out. But when we got the proof, we immediately knew it was not going to work. It was at that point that we decided to keep it simple, switch the border to a tonal one and just go with the French Blue.
Do you have any advice for couples on the invitation process?
Ask for a proof! I think we ended up having three or four proofs when all was said and done. It is important to see how the final product will look, and it is worth it to pay the nominal fee!
Tell me about your wedding! What was your favorite moment?
We got married at The First Presbyterian Church on Fifth Avenue at 12th Street. It is, by far, one of the most beautiful churches we’ve ever seen. We wanted the service to be very formal and traditional. I think we accomplished that with the music (played by our church’s organist), the songs sung by a soloist with the voice of an angel (the organist’s wife!) and the readings (one from the Bible, the other from Pablo Neruda). Our minister, Barbara Senecal-Davis, gave the most touching and personal homily, explaining to the guests that we had brought them there for a reason and asking them to act as our support system in the years ahead. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house as we walked down the aisle as husbands.
After the ceremony, we walked to the venue through the streets of Manhattan. It was pretty special. Our amazing photographer, Rebecca Yale, photographed us all along the way—and we ended up with some fantastic shots. The reception was a brunch at One if by Land, Two if by Sea, an old New York restaurant. It is housed in Aaron Burr’s old carriage house in Greenwich Village, and it is absolutely stunning. We arrived while everyone was having cocktails and a jazz trio was playing live. We ate a delicious three-course meal and drank something called the French Assistance, which was our signature cocktail, involving champagne, pink peppercorn and tarragon.
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Yale
David and I enjoyed our first dance to “Come Rain or Come Shine” by Ray Charles. He danced with his mother, and I did the same with my grandmother. After the meal was over, we put on the music, which David organized. It was a selection of Motown hits, and the guests loved it. Right before we left, we put on a Greek song (as a nod to my heritage) and performed a traditional Greek dance. I think that every guest, Greek or not, got up for that one! It was a great way to end the reception. We’d had so much fun dancing we forgot to cut the cake! So as we were standing in the front of house saying goodbye to our departing guests, we cut the cake and took a quick bite. (For the record, it was a strawberry crepe cake from Lady M, and it was delicious).
For those guests who wanted to keep the party going (including David and I), we headed over to the Hotel Hugo to watch the sun set over the Hudson from their rooftop bar. We all lounged on their banquettes with a few more cocktails, reliving our favorite moments from the reception only a few hours before. It was the perfect way to end the day.
As for the favorite moment, we loved it all! The formal ceremony, being photographed walking through the streets, the dancing at the reception, being surrounded by guests full of such love and happiness! But if we had to pick one moment, I’d say when Barbara delivered her homily. It was the moment when the magnitude of the day came into sharp focus—that this was for real, and that we would be spending the rest of our lives together. The moment was so personal to us, but also involved all of the family, relatives and friends we’d invited to the wedding. We think it was the most special moment of the day.
The Stationer: Joy Agodon, Papyrus
From the initial visit from the couple Trifon and David, the couple had different views on what they wanted their invitations to look like. They wanted a traditional feel but still with a modern flair. They were contemplating several border and color options and wanted a type style that was both whimsy and modern. We went through several proofs and finally narrowed the decision down to a white embassy card with an embossed border. Because the type style they chose was a little larger in scale and not so traditional, an embossed border was the viable option so it did not take away from the type and look of the invite.
What questions do you always ask at that first meeting with a couple?
I always try and ask open-ended questions from the start so I can gauge what type or style of invite they are looking for. I ask for when the date of the wedding is and how much time they have to get their invitations out. This narrows down what printing options I can offer the couple. Are their tastes more classic and traditional, modern or whimsical? Is the wedding informal or formal? There are so many options out there these days—I do not want to overwhelm the client from the start so that they leave frustrated or feeling even more overwhelmed. My goal is to make this part of the wedding planning fun and ultimately happy with the choices they have made.
What are some of the big invitation design trends you’re seeing these days?
Bright, bold pattern designs are definitely big this year. Chevron patterns are still popular with my clientele. My clients are still very traditional here on the Upper East Side, so a beveled, engraved or letterpress invite is what I see trending here. Lace applique and laser cut invites are also very popular.
What advice do you have for brides who are ready to make their first invitation appointment?
When potential clients first call or walk in, first and foremost I always ask when the wedding is. I do not want the client to have their heart set on an engraved or letterpress invite and they are under a time constraint to get their invitations out. I also ask what kind of budget they have set aside for their invites so when they come in initially, I am showing them types and styles of invites that fit in their budget.
When it comes to choosing wedding invitations, how is today’s couple different from those five years ago?
I still have a very traditional clientele here on the Upper East Side. They still seem to gravitate toward the engraved royalty ecru invite, however, letterpress invites seem to be the more popular trend now. The current couple still likes the traditional look, but prefers the softer look of the letterpress options. They are definitely choosing brighter ink options, foil stamping as well and more whimsical and calligraphic type styles, so even though the invite is traditional in the heavier card stock option, the look and feel is modern.
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