(Ex Libris means “from the books” in Latin. The phrase is also used to indicate ownership of a book, as in “from the library of…”)
Who doesn’t love a really good book? And who doesn’t love a really good wedding? I say merge the two for a fabulous & unforgettable union!
I asked my daughter Hannah to create an original drawing depicting a wedding couple in a library setting. She surprised me with this (wow!):
Ex Libris Wedding Couple
When I think of libraries, I think old-school. Vintage books and vast wooden tables. Tall wooden shelves and even taller windows. The soft light of a brass library lamp illuminating the pages of a classic novel. Can you smell the scent of old paper and furniture polish? Can you hear the “click click” of the librarian’s due-date stamp? I sure can. These are the very images that inspired me to create these “Ex Libris” wedding reception place cards, escort cards, favors, garlands, signage and envelopes.
Escort Cards - Library-Themed Wedding
I made the tented escort cards shown above using the pages of an old book I purchased for $1 at a used book store. I wanted to find a very small tome, and I did! These pages are only 3¾” x 5¾.” I removed the pages, leaving the paper edges rough. The gold-hued background paper is thick & textured (from the scrapbook store). The names and table numbers are written on lovely tan linen paper, each cut to size. I used a burnt umber watercolor marker to write the names in my “contempo” writing style. I affixed everything using a regular glue stick. I do believe Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy will enjoy locating their escort cards and sitting at Table 3 together. (If used for an actual wedding, the cards for each guest would be displayed alphabetically on a tabletop or pin board at the venue entrance.)
Table Number Signs - Library-Themed Wedding
For the table number signs above, I cut out table numbers free-handed out of heavy textured scrapbook paper. I stacked up books, and then affixed the top of the numbers with double-sided tape, so that the numbers hang loosely down the stack of books, creating shadows. A simple, yet unique, way to display numbers on a reception table. I really like the way the numbers look hanging in front of the fore-edge of the book, but I also made a sign with the numbers hanging over the book spines.
Table Name Sign - Library-Themed Wedding
I made the table name sign shown above (“Great Expectations”) using 12×12 scrapbook paper printed with a book motif. I folded the paper in half, to make a tented sign. I layered vintage-looking papers for the border. I wrote the name in burnt umber ink. Incredibly simple! I can imagine a beautiful assortment of book-title table names for a library-themed wedding, using a mix-match of different papers & ink colors. These signs are the perfect accompaniment to the library book pocket escort cards, presented below.
Library Book Pocket Escort Card
Detail - Library Book Pocket Escort Card
I love these adorable library book pocket escort cards! The guests’ names are written on the outside of the pocket. Their table assignment is written on the authentic library card tucked inside the pocket. In these examples, the tables aren’t issued numbers, but instead have names of famous books, modern & classic (the author’s name is written out as well!). I used a real date stamper from a local school supply store to stamp the wedding date on the card under “due date.” I wrote the guests’ names on the removable cards as well as on the outer pocket. The pockets looked a little plain after I’d written the names on them (in the burnt umber watercolor marker). So I stamped them with whimsical hearts (chocolate brown ink first, then copper ink on top of that, for a little depth).
Bookplate Place Card Favor - Library-Themed Wedding
For the place card favor above, I wrote the guest’s name on five (5) authentic “Ex Libris” bookplates, bundled them with twine, and attached a hand-written “thank you” tag, stamped with a heart. These bookplate bundles can be used as place cards (as shown in the above photo) or lined up alphabetically on a table top as a favor display. A lovely and useful favor for the wedding guests!
Bookplate Favors / Place Cards - Library-Themed Wedding
Bookplate Favor - Library-Themed Wedding
I made the bookmark place card favor (photo below) out of various vintage-looking scrapbook papers. I cut them 8”x2”, and rounded the edges (not perfectly, by design). I smudged some brown & copper inks on them to grunge them up & make them look old. I punched a hole at the top of each bookmark and looped gold-colored cloth ribbon through the holes. I found the ribbon at the local craft store (I love it!). I wrote the names in broad-nib calligraphy in traditional black ink. I *really* wanted to write the names directly on the bookmarks, but the writing did not show up very well, even on the paper with the most subtle designs. So I put the names on tan linen paper, cut to size, then rounded the edges & smudged them up. I mounted the names with double-sided tape. Pretty!
Bookmark Place Card - Library-Themed Wedding
I love the aura of intimacy invoked by a table set with first-name-only place cards (as opposed to place cards which include titles & last names as well).
Bookmark Place Card Favors - Library-Themed Wedding
I addressed this envelope (photo below) to mimic a typical book typeface. Clean lines & no flourishes…but it has pizzazz! I created the postage “stamps” from Googled images, which I re-sized, cut out, and affixed with a glue-stick.
Invitation Envelope - Library-Themed Wedding
And look at that gorgeous envelope liner! I think the extra cost of envelope liners is definitely money well spent. Liners add such personality to an invitation. Bold stripes, trendy chevrons, shabby-chic floral prints…the sky’s the limit. One of the coolest invitations I’ve ever addressed had envelopes lined with actual newspaper ads from the 1960s (purchased on Etsy by the bride).
Libary-Themed Wedding - invitation envelope
For the chair decoration below, I cut out various sizes of hearts from the pages of old books and also from Kraft paper. I found some very old books with lovely black & white illustrations for $2 & $3 each at a used book store. I cut out the hearts free-hand, without a template, so they wouldn’t look cookie-cutter uniform. I cut some of the smallest hearts out of wide, bronze-colored silk ribbon. I used double-sided tape to affix the hearts, and I rolled the edges for a 3-D effect. I used a hot glue gun to affix the button in the center. I used tiny bronze brads to connect the hearts. I punched a small hole at each end of the garland and looped twine. In addition to hanging on the backs of chairs, these garlands would be pretty hanging just about anywhere!
Garland - Library-Themed Wedding
Vintage Book Garland - Library-Themed Wedding
I’m sure someone is thinking, “Why didn’t you use ONLY love-story book titles for this blog post? You know, Pride & Prejudice….Wuthering Heights? This is for a wedding!” In addition to classic love-story literary works, some of the books I chose to use in this blog entry are about redemption (The Kite Runner, The Book Thief, Great Expectations, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Let the Great World Spin); they’re about someone changing, evolving, becoming a better person. I think true love is like that! When someone is with their true love, they want to be the best person they can be. When two people want to be the best for each other, their love can change the world. True story. That said – please be aware all you brides-to-be, you will wake up some mornings, glance over at your loving partner and think, “WHO THE HECK IS THIS PERSON?! WHAT HAVE I DONE?!” But those days will be few & far between, so don’t freak. (I got married 26 years ago, so I know what I’m talking about. Marriage is incredibly hard work, but I can think of nothing else in the world more worthy of the effort.)
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This was such a fun blog post to create. I hope you enjoyed it! Whew, I’m gonna go read a book now.
( A shout-out to Hannah for the photos!)