How do illustrated wedding map invitations work?

The magic behind creating our bespoke wedding invitations is no secret. If you are not sitting in our studio with us daily, there may be some mystery to creating custom stationery. I thought I would write a blog post to cover some of the more common questions we get asked and shine a light on these beautiful and unique invites.

Is my venue suitable? Where do we begin? What do you need? Can I have matching RSVPs? All these questions and countless more are fully justified when planning the stationery for your special day. After all, for the vast majority of your family and friends, the day the invitation drops through their letterbox is the day they start to get excited to join your celebrations. The invitation (or save the date) will set the tone for the wedding. It sets expectations of a day out of the norm, reflecting your life and values as a couple.

Illustrated Wedding Map Invite from Mustard and Gray


We have several illustrated invitations and wedding map designs at Mustard and Gray.

What is a wedding map invitation?
A wedding map, first and foremost, features the wedding locations (church, reception venue) or buildings that mean something to you as a couple (family homes, university, places of work, engagement location, favourite places). A subtle map (abstract in scale and detail) marked with road and place names featuring roads, rivers, lakes and oceans. We fill the map with trees and flowers, animals and suitable vehicles, boats and details. For example, if you have an option for your guests to camp, we will include a little tent and campfire on the map. If your hobby is cycling, we will add a little bike somewhere on the map. There are no rules; we take any information and details you share with us and bring them together. We don't always have space for everything. Still, we can pop extra illustrations on the back of the invite, on the envelope lining or other stationery (RSVP, information cards etc.). Your on the day stationery (table plan, table names, place cards, order of service and menus) can also feature themed illustrations.

What do you need to provide for an illustrated wedding map?

PHOTOS

Photos or wed links to any buildings or venues. The better quality of the images, the better the artwork. We can guess what is behind parked cars or heavy tree branches, but we sometimes lose some of the charm and detail.
  Oast House wedding invitation by Mustard and Gray

MAP / LOCATIONS

A wedding map helps get an idea of where the locations are concerning each other. If you can provide addresses and postcodes (zip codes) or a google map screenshot, we can work out the initial layout. The maps may not be too scale or detailed, but it is nice to at least have everything roughly in the right vicinity.

TEXT / WORDING
The wording helps you see the full invitation from the initial proofs and gives us some clues (autumn trees, snow, summer flowers, etc.), and the journey on the wedding day (where the ceremony is and where the reception is etc.)

FLOWERS, COLOURS, BIOGRAPHY AND DETAILS
If we have a colour pallet and floral style from the start, the artwork can reflect your chosen styles. If you have a theme or feel you want for your day, let us work with that. Share any details you like about the area, your hobbies or sports, and your jobs if they are meaningful to you. If you would like your dog or cat to feature, or if you know the venue has majestic deer in the park, let us know, as we will include them.

Wedding Map from Mustard and Gray


What happens when I have sent all the information?

We are a small team at Mustard and Gray, so either Zoe or I (Vicky) will be assigned your brief and work with you to create your perfect wedding invite.

The initial design comes together quickly when we receive your pictures, links, wording, and details.

First, I start on google maps. My geography isn't the worst but certainly won't win me any prizes. I do a bit of research looking at the photos of the surrounding area and use google street view to get a feel for the place.

Next, I take the screenshot of google maps and work out a simplified map that will work for all the locations my couples would like. The map will likely have two or three incarnations before you see it, but it helps not to stare at a blank white canvas.

Now for the arty part. I illustrate each building or location separately. I look at different angles and approaches for each place and settle on the aspect with the best architectural detail. I isolate the picture taking away any background, trees, foliage or unwanted element when I illustrate them and then I digitally remove the white canvas surrounding. I do this for all the buildings.


Next, I return to Adobe Illustrator and place the isolated building illustrations onto the map. It looks stark, but I can now manipulate the map to work with the buildings.

I soften the map with trees and bushes when I have all the buildings in position.

Next, I look again at the details brief. If you want flowers included on the front of the invitation, I will look at your styles and colours and put together a watercolour bouquet. Over time Zoe and I have gathered lots of illustrations, including many flowers, and we bring the bouquets together one stem at a time. Building it this way means we can easily change it if needs be.

We do the same, adding nods to your hobbies etc., weaving them into the scene on the map.

I copy the text to the front and back of the invite before saving the initial proof.

Custom watercolour wedding map invite from Mustard and Gray


The initial proof is emailed for your thoughts. You give feedback on what you do and don't like, and the map gets tweaked until you are 100% happy with the finished product. In addition to the invitation, we custom design the envelope liner to complement your invites. You can guide us to what you would like to include on your lined envelope.

We print all our illustrated invitations on Gesso cards. This card has a hammered texture (just like a thick watercolour paper). This beautifully textured paper compliments the style of these invitations.

In general, a wedding map takes around 2-3 weeks from brief to delivery of the finished product.

Save Wedding Map 20% off Wedding Map invitations with the code CWM20P