All About Dossiers

Representing the theme, color scheme, and scale of an event, these hyper-curated documents provide guests with an amazing reference guide to plan the perfect outfit for a special occasion.

What’s A Dossier?

Dossiers are lookbooks, used for attire purposes, that inspire guests to dress in accordance with an event theme.

They’re typically presented on an event website, or as an enclosure card of an invitation suite. They can also be sent several weeks out from an event, when attire is more top of mind for guests.

When Should I Use it?

When a theme is hyper-specific, dossiers are the way to go.

Perhaps the desired dress code is difficult to interpret from the attire specified on the invitation alone. It’s not as simple as ‘Formal,’ or ‘Cocktail Attire.’

Think: Resort Chic, Wild Wild West, or Shine Bright, which was the theme of a past Knot Gala that requested guests dress in all white with metallic accents… View the Knot Gala 2019 Pinterest board that was shared with guests here.

Dossiers are extremely useful for events that span across a weekend, especially wedding weekends. If a wedding client is hosting a welcome party on the Thursday prior to the wedding, a rehearsal dinner on Friday, wedding on Saturday, and post-wedding brunch on Sunday, and each event has a specific theme, dossiers can serve as the perfect tool to communicate what guests should wear. It’s a huge asset during their packing process!

Where Do I Start?

Pick a few words that exemplify the scope and scale of the event, aesthetic, and vibe.

Is it chic, effortless and vibrant, or is it more black tie, sophisticated and refined? Consider including colors, locations, or phrases – it’s completely up to your interpretation of the event.

Use those words as checks and balances when deciding if an image is the right fit to include in the dossier. As always, reference Event Goals to make sure these words support exactly what the event looks to achieve.

Source and file inspiration images from magazines, online articles, designers, characters from movies, the event venue… inspiration is everywhere!

When it comes to dossiers, less is definitely more. Limit the final selection to the top photos or phrases that best represent the look for each event.

How Does It Come Together?

Dossiers can be illustrations on printed material, such as a trifold card stock that’s enclosed in the invitation. They can also be digital, included on a website for the event or a stand-alone site, or presented via Pinterest.

Pro-Tip: Consider hiring a watercolorist to hand paint the dossier, or a graphic designer to digitally create each look. Working with a professional gives you the flexibility to completely customize the dossier, and produce something that’s visually stunning!

Some illustrators will handle the design only, and share the graphics with the client for them to print. Others will supply the printed or digital materials. Pricing is usually billed on an hourly basis, and varies depending on the number of revisions.

Once the dossier is complete, watch your vision come to life on the event day. If you’re Type-A like me, you’ll love how cohesive guests look as they move throughout the event environment. It looks impeccable in photos!

Have a question about something specific? Ask it on my Q&A page!

Read more Event Planning advice.

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