A Wedding to Remember

By Sara Ballenger Town Crier Staff Writer

The trend in invitations has gone from being more formal and engraved to more of an expression of the bride's personality and the venue

In Print founder, Elli Bernacchi shows examples of her creations that include wedding, party, graduation invitations, announcements, stationary, and placecards, many of which are hand written. Photo by Joe Hu.

The graceful lines and letters of calligraphy rest upon fine paper tucked into a bejeweled box inviting guests to the wedding of a lifetime. This is just one of Elli Bernacchi's many creations made in her Los Altos studio for clients on their special day.

Bernacchi, a former elementary school teacher, followed her passion 25 years ago and took a class in calligraphy at the Mountain View-Los Altos Adult School. After trying her hand at making place cards, flyers and invitations for friends, Bernacchi decided to work as a full-time artist and opened her own studio, in Print.

"The business blossomed from doing personal stationery to customized stationery for weddings, fund-raisers, parties and custom events," Bernacchi said. "The trend in invitations has gone from being more formal and engraved to more of an expression of the bride's personality and the venue."

Brides are choosing to use more natural papers, imported papers and embellishments like dried flowers and ribbons for a more personal feel, Bernacchi added.

Trends in shapes and styles of invitations have also changed.

"All invitations used to be a 5-by-7 rectangle. Now, invitations are often square or longer and we seem to be getting away from inner and outer envelopes which is sometimes a function of wanting to use less paper or budget." Bernacchi offers a wide range of choices from traditional engraved invitations, letter-press or all hand lettering, depending on the bride and groom's budget.

"It's really gratifying to sit down with someone and pull ideas together in a collaborative effort," Bernacchi said. "I generally create a rough sample in the studio so the client walks away seeing what the invitation will look like. I have thousands of paper samples in my studio so people can come in and touch and feel whatever it is that they want. We can take a standard invitation and embellish it."

Aside from creating the wedding invitation ensemble, which includes the invitation, response cards and reception cards, Bernacchi and her three person staff, which includes her daughter, also print "save-the-date cards," rehearsal dinner invitations, place cards, guest books, albums, programs, maps and accessories.

"We also do theme invitations. We have done a large number of winery weddings, so we have brass grape clusters we attach to invitations," Bernacchi said. "For ethnic weddings, we have done Chinese or Japanese calligraphy and incorporate those into the invitations. We have brass charms that we use on invitations and can create blind embossing or dye cut appliques."

Bernacchi recommends couples begin thinking about designing their invitations four months before the wedding, and sending out "save-the-date cards" up to a year in advance.

A prospective couple may schedule an appointment with Bernacchi or her staff by calling in Print at (650) 948-1040, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.