By Kelsea Russo
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Going to the chapel? Before you don something blue or narrow down cake flavors, don't overlook the importance of a chic invitation suite. We've called on Birmingham-based paper extraordinaire, Allison Banks to keep you up-to-date on the South's most stylish wedding invitation trends.

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1. Go for Grey

"Gone is the heavily scripted, black calligraphy look that many Southern traditionalists prefer. I recommend my brides opt for a soft shade of grey over the harsher black. It's a trendy color, and I think it's something they will look back on twenty years from now without regret."

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2. Tip-Top Shape

"Southern brides are starting to think outside of the box—literally. Rounded edges, circle cuts, and silhouette outlines on the invitation are huge right now. These are a great variation from the rectangular look because they bring some personality to the piece without going overboard."

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3. Two Not Three

"Convention states that before the ceremony, a bride shouldn't use her new last name --even in a monogram design. People often ignore this, but customized two-letter monograms (using the bride and groom's first names only) are making a comeback this year. It's exciting to see couples wanting to create their own spinoff on this old Southern tradition."

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4. Budget Friendly Alternatives

"Handwritten and letterpress invitations are still very popular, but brides in a budget crunch are choosing to flat print. Also called offset printing, this will save money without forfeiting the hand drawn look"

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5. Play Dress Up

"From patterned liners to custom mail stamps, there are endless ways to dress up an envelope and make it completely unique. A darker colored envelope (navy in particular) is a trendy option, especially for the bride who wants to keep her invitation primarily traditional."

Invitation Etiquette Tip: Make sure the invitation reads "pleasure of your company" if the ceremony is at a non-holy venue and "honor of your presence" if a holy one.

To see more of Allison's work, visit her website, allisonrbanksdesigns.com.