This is definitely not a big-day requirement, but if you want to create a custom design, we have some tips.

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Creating a personalized logo for your wedding is an elegant way to tie together everything from your paper suite to your cake topper, and a crest that was custom-designed to represent you and your partner adds an exclusive touch that simple monograms can't equal. But are they really necessary on the wedding day? Despite how popular they have become, there's absolutely no rule that says you need a personalized crest in order to have a successful, memorable event. That said, if you are looking for ways to make your day a little more unique, they are a great option.

If you do decide to commission a custom crest, here's what you need to know.

Monograms vs. Crests

A traditional monogram is a design based on the couple's initials—either their first, soon-to-be shared, or both—but a crest represents many more facets of a family or couple's personality, says designer Robyn Platoni, owner of Chick Invitations. "Crests were originally created to showcase an individual's achievements, so when we make a crest, we tend to dive deeper into the interests or background of the couple to incorporate elements that are special to them." Just as Meghan Markle's coat of arms includes a the California state flower and the Middleton version includes three acorns representing Kate, Pippa, and James, you can fill your crest with symbolic and sentimental elements.

Include flowers or a plant that's part of your wedding décor, a favorite animal, or geographic clues to the country, state, or town where you and your partner grew up or plan to wed. "Crests typically have more design elements," says wedding planner Susan Norcross of The Styled Bride. "Couples may incorporate actual family coats of arms, or more modern elements such as hobbies, common interests, or even shared pets."

Choosing a Style

Though crests offer more opportunities than monograms for incorporating a variety of color, you can create one that coordinates with any décor style. If you're planning a more minimalist wedding, choose a single color for the crest, or go with a graphic look that uses only black and white. Something more rustic can call for an abstract watercolor; a black-tie affair can skew elegant and ornamental. "Not all crests are hand-drawn or in full color," says Platoni. "They can be computer generated, or in one color if the couple prefers a more traditional or clean approach. Full-color, hand-painted watercolors tend to work best with a more natural environment surrounding the wedding celebration—I love a full color crest for a beach or nautical wedding."

wedding invitation suite with custom monogram

Finding a Designer

The key to creating a crest you love is finding a designer who understands your style, taste, and vision. When meeting with potential designers, Platoni suggests, come prepared with ideas of elements you'd like to include and the overall feeling you want the crest to have. Couples should also ask three important questions: If the designer feels more comfortable with any specific styles; what the design process and timeline will be; and the method the designer will use–whether that's watercolor, pen and ink, or another medium. Seeing finished examples can also help you decide if a designer's style is a match for your taste. "I think asking to see the depth of their work will guide you into determining if a designer is right for you," says Platoni. "A lot of artists and designers can do many different styles, so if you feel a  personal connection with your designer, it really helps to bring the vision to life."

Incorporating a Crest

At your wedding, use a crest anywhere you'd use a monogram: On your menus, as a wax seal, or on your invitations. And then think bigger, says Norcross: "We love to see these on pillows for lounge vignettes or on chair backs. We also like to see it as a laser cut piece that we can hang over a bar or escort card display—it also looks pretty on a wedding cake!" But while you can get creative, don't over do it. "It should be purposeful," Norcross says, "so while it can be carried throughout the wedding, choose a few key places to highlight it. Think of it as pop of color: It can look great but when it's everywhere, it gets to be overwhelming."

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