In the four years I have been married, some of the most frustrating moments for me have been the most rewarding. Moments of strife and disagreeing slowly shape me into a more patient, humble and loving wife - if I allow them to.Read More
When working with brides on their custom wedding stationery, I start by always asking about their budget. Not surprisingly, I'm often met with "ums" and "I'm not even sure what to budget for wedding invitations."
Usually, brides look through Minted to find designs that they like and get an idea of pricing for their invitation budget. Then, they decide Minted doesn't have exactly what they want. So, they call me - a custom invitation designer, one who can give them exactly what they want and more.
Custom Provides Relationship and Endless Possibilities
Although Minted offers a very large selection of beautiful options and good paper stock - the fact is that you are still limited. And you are limited by no one to call, email, dream with, design with and develop a relationship with. You get a quick and easy ordering process, but if you are looking for a truly custom experience - that you don't get.
But We Still Need Minted
I love how Minted teams up with graphic designers across the nation to provide trendy and gorgeous quality invitations for weddings and small events. Their business model is smart. We need a Minted for those with lower wedding budgets and want a no hassle, quick experience. We also need Minted for those who might need more affordable, beautiful stationery for their graduation party, holiday cards or birthday party.
I'll admit, as an invitation designer myself, I love Minted. I love scrolling through the designs for inspiration and joy. Often I find myself wanting to purchase their stuff too, because they are cute and it's easy, no hassle.
So, what is the price difference?
Pricing is a very gray area, but hopefully I can help give you a general idea. If your budget is under $1,000 for 150 invitations and RSVP cards, Minted or a custom designer can help you. However with this budget, your options are limited on amount of and types of revisions to the design, paper choice, envelopes, and "bells and whistles," like belly bands, invite backings, assembly and calligraphy addressing.
With this budget, you can still get a very beautiful invitation. (I don't ever want to bash Minted or make anyone feel bad for having a lower budget to work with).
With a higher budget for your wedding stationary, you can afford the luxury items and services, like calligraphy, letterpress, a sit down relationship with your designer to allow them to get to know you and your dream designs, unique, high-quality envelopes, assembly so you don't have to do any work, and much more.
Every Bride is Different
In the end, there is no right or wrong choice. Honestly. Be smart with your wedding finances. Put the most cash to those items that matter the most to you. And do what you can afford.
I always tell brides, never make the wedding planning more important than the marriage preparation.
Everyone has a different budget and cares about different aspects of the wedding. Go with the option that makes you the happiest, and you feel will make your guests feel special when they are invited to the best day of your life. :)
My Goal For You
My goal for all my brides is to give them stationery and calligraphy that will make their guests feel loved and special. My goal is for us, together, to create statioeary and hand-lettering that you keep as an heirloom and reminder of the day you said "I do."
Why You Should Hire Help When Wedding Planning
Expert help should be arranged for well in advance to avoid last-minute confusion. Otherwise father may be irritated, mother jittery, the bride in tears, and the groom cross. - Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette, 1956
This quote from my grandmother's etiquette book makes me laugh every time I read it. But really, it is still so true today in 2015.
Weddings, big or small, can be stressful. There are so many moving parts and emotions flying around. It's a big day - lives are changing, a last name is dropping off, two families are merging together, parents are giving away their young daughter and two love birds are vowing before God and family their commitment to one another.
Your wedding day is a big deal, and this day deserves expert help in at least some areas of the planning process for a smooth and happy experience.
Sometimes with so many close relatives involved and emotions flying around, it can be difficult to make decisions. It can be difficult to actually enjoy your engagement season and not feel stressed with so many decisions to make and things to do. And of course, you want it to be flawless and beautiful.
Hiring wedding professionals to do the time-consuming work and research for you while also giving you an unbiased opinion on what will look best, will alleviate much of the stress and tension. Professionals from photographers to planners to invitation designers know exactly what will look best for your wedding, because they do this kind of thing for a living on a regular basis.
They know what they are doing, and they are good at it. Trust them, lean on them and just enjoy your engaged time with your spouse and the day that you will one day tell your kids and grandkids about.
Low on wedding cash?
Determine a couple aspects of the wedding planning that are most important to you or give you the most stress when you think about having to do them Set aside the budget to hire professionals for those couple areas.
Maybe the idea of you or your mother dealing with all the set up, decorating and coordination on the wedding day makes you cringe, and you don't want coordination to to get in the way of enjoying your day. So, set aside some extra money in the budget to hire a wedding planner or day-of coordinator.
Maybe sending out beautiful, classic invitations that give your guests an exciting first glimpse into your special celebration is important to you. Leave the designing, paper selection, printing, assembly and envelope addressing up to a professional who has the time and experience to give you an amazing product and less stress.
Professionals I Recommend
Of course for wedding invitations for calligraphy, I would love for you to come to me. However here in Oklahoma there are other amazing options as well like Paper N' More or Chirps and Cheers in Oklahoma City.
For photography, Erin Goodrich Photography located in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Magnolia Adams Photography in OKC are both amazing. Erin shot a lot of the beautiful photos on my website!
For wedding planners and floral design, I would definitely recommend Talia Morgan of Inspire Events and Design or Forever Cole Events both in OKC. Erin Goodrich Photography also offers day-of-coordination.
If you are not in the Oklahoma area, there are so many wonderful professionals all over the country. Meet with them, get to know them, grab coffee with them, read reviews and go with your gut! :)
For all the married couples out there who have already gone through the wedding planning, what is one part of your wedding you wish you would have hired expert help for and why? What do you wish you would have just spent an extra few hundred dollars on just to alleviate stress? Comment below! :)
Honour or Honor on Your Wedding Invitation?
For the longest time, I assumed using "request the honour of your presence" was just the fancier version of the word. Although it is, there is also actual reason behind why you might choose to use the spelling "honour" over "honor" on the request line of your invitation besides the fact that it just looks pretty.
It is customary to use "honour" if you are saying "i do" in a church or religious house of worship. According to Crane and Co., the word "honour" is used to show respect and deference to God when your ceremony is held in a place of worship on sanctified ground.
As one of faith, I love that one word, just by spelling it a smidge differently, can show enormous respect and submission to the God of the universe. However, I believe that God is everywhere, and even if the ground you stand on to say your vows before the Lord is in your parent's backyard or at a garden wedding venue, it is sanctified, because He is present.
For other venue locations outside of a religious location, using the word "honor" is equally beautiful and acceptable. Also, using "request the pleasure of your company" is equally acceptable as well. Determining which one to use just comes down to your personal preference.
For more casual weddings and invitations, you might choose to use the wording "invite you to celebrate the marriage of," which implies this will be a beautiful, but casual celebration. Maybe the wedding is a small and cozy event as opposed to a large and elaborate ceremony.
Remember, etiquette is just a guide to follow. Sixty years ago, etiquette was like some sort of unspoken law among women. (and maybe it still is with some) Nowadays, is it completely acceptable to word your invitation and plan your wedding to what fits you and your partner's personality while using modern etiquette as a guide. Although etiquette is not an much law as it used to be, the main rule of thumb is to ensure whatever you do or say does not offend your guests. Just put yourself in their shoes.
You can also check out the modern version of Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette book to help you.
Show who you are as a couple in every aspect of your wedding, and that will be timeless. :)
Stationary and Design Brands That Inspire
As a member of the Rising Tide Society, an organization that educates and empowers creatives to thrive in the spirit of community over competition, we are encouraged to highlight and collaborate with other creatives locally and nationally. I love this group of creatives and learn new things from them every day.
So in the spirit of highlighting other creatives, I wanted to share some of my favorite stationary and design brands that inspire me to do what I do here in Oklahoma.
Rifle Paper Co. has taken off in the last few years with their vintage floral designs on iPhone cases, stationary, gift wrapping and more. I see their stuff everywhere, and I love it. I'm drawn to the muted vintage, yet simple colors, florals and typography. A lot of their inspiration for design comes from Europe and their travels around the world and the U.S.
I also love the fact that just five years ago Rifle was started by co-founders and married couple Anna and Nathan Bond in their garage apartment. What a fun husband and wife team. They also share the same believe I have that life's sweet messages and encouragements are best shared through a hand-written letter or hand-picked card.
I am one that saves all my birthday, anniversary and holiday cards to look back on them and feel loved. Do you? :)
I have also used Rifle's paper before as envelope inserts for my wedding invitations. They are amazing and make any invitation suite look beautiful with a pop of color.
Another brand that inspires me is Crane and Co., which was started by Stephen Crane in 1770. That fact alone draws me to the brand, because I LOVE history. I love antique shopping, documentaries, old films and all the stories behind them.
If you read about Crane's history on their website, you will learn super fun facts like Paul Revere engraved bank notes on Crane paper which helped finance the Revolution. The Queen of England announced the celebration of her 100th birthday on Crane paper. And, our paper money is made from Crane paper!
Another thing I love about Crane (among the many things) is the fact that they are a library of knowledge when it comes to stationary and invitation etiquette. And they would know the proper way to say something when they have been around for so long.
Not only are they a wealth of etiquette knowledge, they share their stationary etiquette tidbits and best practices on their website and even published a paperback book, which I own.
Regardless of the time and trends, Crane stays true to the classic and traditional ways . They truly believe that paper and stationary, when done right, is timeless and altogether lovely. And I do too.
These are just two of the brands that inspire me to love paper, learn about the printing process and design stationary items that will make your loved ones feel adored for a lifetime. :)
Cinderella Inspired Wedding Invite Set
After I saw the new movie Cinderella in theaters this year, I was immediately inspired to design a super girly and enchanting wedding invitation set. The big sparkly blue ball gown, the shoes (those shoes!) and the overall magical feel of the movie put me in the romantic spirit. This invite is a modern take on a wedding invitation fit for a royal bride.
The cream and light pink envelopes and inserts are slightly shimmery to give a magical, fairy tale feel to the paper.
The reply card is given the same amount of detail as the rest of the suite. Perfect for all your royal guests.
The black, romantic calligraphy is written with a modern hint.
If you love this blog post and the photos, please share with your friends!
Photos by Erin Goodrich Photography.
RSVP or Regrets Only?
Which one is best to put on your invitation? More and more and I am seeing "regrets only" used on shower invitations for smaller events. Why is that?
Most of the time you will have more guests who are able to attend as opposed those handful who cannot. As a host, it is easier to wait for a handful of "can't make it" phone calls rather than hoping that 20-30 guests will let you know they are coming (when mostly likely they are).
As a guest myself, I always appreciate a shower invitation that allows "regrets only." I am much more likely to remember and make it a priority to let the host know I am not able to make it. When I am planning on attending an event, I usually mark my calendar, set the invite aside and move on with my day.
For larger events like weddings, I always recommend the request for an RSVP. As the one planning the event, you will need to know a more concrete guest count for food, planning, etc. And guests typically make it a priority to pay more attention to an RSVP for a large event.
So, is it better to use "regrets only"? There is really no wrong answer. It is all preference!
As a host, you know your guests better than anyone. Decide which direction you feel comfortable with in order to make your event a success!
Patience in Letters
When I took a calligraphy class with Frameworthy Designs in Norman, Oklahoma, Tara Forth, owner and designer, began the class talking about the importance of patience when you are learning calligraphy. What she said has really stuck with me through my journey of learning and practicing my hand lettering.
I have not by any means mastered calligraphy, but I do feel that it is an art that has come naturally to me. I love the feeling of stroking the ink-filled nib up and down on smooth creamy white paper. I love making flourishes on my letters, and I love the end result. It's beautiful, and it's my own.
Tara reminded us in the class that our handwriting is unique to us. We should embrace our own hand lettering, and not try to make it look exactly like someone else's handwriting.
Although I strive to make my calligraphy look streamline and overall flawless, it wouldn't look like true handwriting without little bits of imperfections throughout. It wouldn't be unique to me without tiny pieces of imperfections that no one else's handwriting would have.
So when I have been practicing for hours trying to make it perfect and getting frustrated over a flaw, a little voice inside me whispers the word patience.
Be patience with yourself, I hear. There are beautiful and wonderful things for those with patience.
There is strength in patience.
Learning calligraphy is teaching me and reminding me of the importance of patience. I know It will shape me into a stronger woman - exactly the kind of woman I want to be.
Designs Made for Your Personal Events
So many of my designs can be swapped out and used for many types of events. Many wedding invitation designs would also be super cute as a bridal shower invitation or maybe even a birthday invite! It's all up to you! That's the best part: You choose the design that best fits your personal event.
Please remember if you see something you love, let me know and we can customize it just for your event. Whether it's for your daughter's 5th birthday party or you are hosting an engagement party, designs can fit many different types of celebrations.
Or, if you don't see what you are looking for, I can create something brand new and special just for you. Invitation design is an endless world of possibilities!
Chad and Kimberly are Married!
I'm so happy for this couple. From the moment Kimberly and I started discussing her wedding on the phone, she reiterated to me how she and Chad wanted to keep their wedding simple and focused on Jesus. Even before they said "I do," Kimberly and Chad knew the importance of keeping God at the center of their marriage.
Most of Kimberly and I's correspondence was over the phone since she works a busy job during the week in Stillwater, OK. She did a great job of communicating her vision for her invitations and programs. When designing the stationary, I wanted to coordinate the "look" of both the invitation and the program. I made sure that both elements complimented each other well, but were still unique elements.
Kimberly described her wedding day as simple, rustic and small decorated with burlap, hints of sage green and white flowers throughout. The ceremony would be held in a quaint, old church in Stillwater on a hot summer afternoon. We both agreed the kraft brown paper paired with white linen paper and accents conveyed the wedding day she envisioned quite well. A crisp bright white kept the look simple and clean, while the brown kraft brought in the rustic element.
I love how Chad and Kimberly's wedding stationary turned out. I look at this stationary, and I can't help but think about how sweet and selfless they are as a couple.
Chad and Kimberly,
Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your special day! I had so much fun designing and creating your wedding stationary as a set. I hope you keep this invitation and program as a reminder of your beautiful day celebrating your love.
I pray that you continually keep the Lord at the center of your marriage. When marriage seems hard, know that He is right there with you. Turn to Him for help. Include him in all areas of your love for He is your biggest fan. When life seems hard, "be Jesus" to each other for He will bless you for loving each other like He loves you.
The Most Important Thing During Wedding Season
While practicing my calligraphy the other day, I wrote this quote and framed it in our master bathroom as a reminder of how we can keep our marriage great.
As we are right smack in the middle of wedding season, months that are full of fluffy white tulle, bouquets of flowers, sparkling objects, invitations and all the beautiful details that make up one romantic day for a wedding, my mind is on the things that matter the most in a marriage.
Isaac and I are celebrating three years of marriage this month. It seems like yesterday that I was picking out my invitations, floral arrangements and planning my wedding day. These details are all so much fun. In fact, I love the planning so much that I decided to get into the wedding business myself with this invitation business.
But whether you are a bride planning your wedding or a newlywed, I want you to know one thing that is more important than choosing the right color of bridesmaid dresses, flowers or even your invitations (which I would love to design!). Marriage, a real marriage that will last, is not build on how romantic your wedding day is or how well written your vows are, but it is build on learning to forgive each other, keep no record of wrongs and choosing to loving each other through the every up and down of life.
Even if you just got engaged, it may not feel like it now, but marriage will be hard sometimes. Once you get back from your honeymoon (maybe even on your honeymoon!), you will need to forgive and learn to be patient with each other. Real love and a real marriage that will last is based on patience, kindness, forgiveness and self-control.
Have fun when planning your wedding and the festivities the day of, because it is an unforgettable experience, but don't lose sight of the details of a marriage that are the most important and will make your love story last a lifetime. ;)
Ashton and Brent are Getting Married!
A couple months ago, these beautiful watercolor invitations that were printed on cream linen paper were sent out to 200 guests for the wedding of Ashton Thomas and Brent Sheik. And the day is finally here. Today, on this beautiful, warm summer day, Ashton and Brent will say I do in Stillwater, Oklahoma and become man and wife. Their guests will finally get to see the wedding day that they only had a glimpse of on the invitation.
Back in February, when the air was bitterly cold and snow was still on the ground, I first met with Ashton and Brent at Panera Bread to discuss their wedding invitations. So graciously, they paid for my drink and then Brent took a drive around town with their French Bulldog so that Ashton and I could chat about the girly details of weddings that make women giggle.
As I listened to Ashton gush over her vision and the details for the special day, my mind was spinning with my own vision for their invitations.
Over the next several months, we began to see the pieces put together, and when the final set arrived I couldn't wait to see the smile on Ashton's face when she could see and feel the first detail of her wedding day.
I had mixed emotions when I handed the invitations over to Ashton and Brent. I was just a little bit sad to see them all go, because they were so beautiful. I could just stare at them all day. But most importantly, I was so so happy to hand them over to their owners so that they could be dispersed out to all their loved ones.
Ashton and Brent, I am so happy for you guys. Enjoy your day from the moment you wake up to the second you close your eyes to sleep. It will go by in a flash and soon be only a memory. But it will become one of the most important memories you will ever make. Always look back on this memory during the hard times, and there will be hard times, and remember the sweet vows you made to one another to love, honor and respect each other to the end of time.