We asked one of our favorite vendors, Ivory Isle Designs, to provide some tips on designing and picking out wedding stationery. After reading, make sure to contact Josie to start working on yours today!
Your wedding stationery is the first glimpse of your big day that your guests will get. It’s important to choose stationery that sets the right tone, while also getting across the important information your guests will need (and the information you will need to get back from them!) Sounds like a big job? Overwhelming maybe? It can be, but we’re happy to help break it down with these 7 tips to wedding stationery success:
Define your Style and Color Story:
When getting started, think about your wedding and the venue that you have chosen. Is it elegant or casual, traditional or modern? Whichever it is, let your stationery match the feel of the day, to paint the best picture for your guests of what they can expect from the experience. Then pick a stationery that offers designs in that style, designs that speak to you. Your stationery should feel how you want to feel on your wedding day, so make sure to work with a designer who gets you and can put your personal vision to paper. Discuss the color story for your wedding and find design options that can include those shades. Carry those colors throughout your wedding in the linens, florals and other stationery pieces such as programs and menus, to create a cohesive look.
Know What To Say, And How To Say It:
Wording a wedding invitation can be a fine art. There are some basic rules, such as all words should be spelled out and not abbreviated, the year should be written out without containing the word “and” after “two thousand” among others.
Traditionally, the first people listed on the wedding invitation are those who are hosting the event. It’s a good idea to check with parents to see if they have strong feelings about their names appearing or not appearing on the invitations, and how they might want them listed.
If you are having a ceremony and reception at the same location, it is acceptable to mention “reception to immediately follow” at the bottom of the invitation and forgo a separate reception insert, but I always do recommend mentioning some brief detail about the reception if at all possible. Stating something as simple as “please join us for cocktails, dinner and dancing following the ceremony” will let your guests know what to expect from the day. They can then know how late to book a sitter for, or if they should eat a large meal ahead of time, or if there is time to run home and let the dog out between the ceremony and reception or not. It’s these little details that help your guests feel comfortable about the event.
Wedding websites are a wonderful invention. They are most often free and can be set up to include all of the detail that you otherwise would have to print on additional insert cards. Use the website to list out accommodations, directions and things to do in the area. You can fill in some personal backstory on your relationship and share your engagement photos as extra bonus material. The website is also the correct place to mention your registry information, instead of printed anywhere on the actual invitation suite. Then, you simply include a smaller sized insert in your invitation suite that says “For additional wedding details, please visit www.ourwebsite.com” .
When should this all be done? Save the Dates are sent 6-12 months before the wedding. Invitations are customarily sent about 8 weeks before the big day. Production times can vary by company, but for Ivory Isle Designs, we need 2-3 weeks for production of most invitation jobs, and we like a few weeks before that to really delve into design with you, and revise art/files based on your input and feedback. Then leave a week for shipping to be safe. Therefore, starting an invitation order six weeks before you need it in hand is about as short of a time frame as we recommend, just to avoid feeling rushed during this process, which should ideally be stress-free and fun!
Another question we often get is when to request Response Cards back. Most caterers want your final guest count two weeks before your event. You want to give yourself one solid week to call anyone who hasn’t RSVPed on time, so I suggest an RSVP date three weeks before your wedding (up to four weeks is also acceptable). I like to pick a day that might stick out for people, so the first or fifteenth of a month, a holiday, or even a day like tax day – April 15th; something that will stay front of mind with the guests.
Keep Costs in Mind:
I’m a sucker for a gorgeous foil and letterpress card, no doubt! However, stunning designs can also be produced by printing beautiful artwork with digital offset printing at a fraction of the cost. There are high-quality production options at almost all budget levels so I suggest starting with a budget in mind that you feel comfortable with, and then letting a trusted stationer show you what is possible within those numbers. We have had clients fall in love with a suite that was just outside of their comfortable budget. If that happens to you, ask what you can do to make it work. We’ve let the client handle some light assembly, like tying on the last ribbon, to bring production costs down for them and make an out-of-reach invitation suite possible within their budget.
At an initial consultation, we will ask how many invitations a couple will be needing and many times, we get an answer in the number of people. Keep in mind you only need one invitation per household, not per person. Adult children living at the same home as their parents would traditionally get their own invitation. Minor children are invited with their parents.
Speaking of children, we are often asked how to let families know if kids are invited or not. Technically, the people who are invited to the wedding are the people whose names appear on the invitation envelope. If the envelope is addressed to Mr. and Mrs. John Doe, then no children are invited. If the invitation is addressed to Mr. and Mrs. John Doe, Amelia and Sam, then the two children are included. The most open-ended way to address the envelope would be to The John Doe Family, in which case you are giving free rein to John Doe to bring with him whichever family he chooses.
The Importance of Response Cards:
So how do you know how many people are coming? This is where the response card plays its part. They can be sent as post cards (most cost effective) or cards with envelopes. Often you see a response card with an M line (where guests will fill in their name, starting with their title that begins with M: Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms.) Then you will see a check box for Accepts and another for Declines. If you choose to go this way, I suggest also include a _ of _ guests attending line, where you will fill in the second box with the number of guests invited and they will fill in the first line with how many will attend. This limits your guests from adding additional attendees and it also gives you a very clear answer as to how many of the family will be joining you.
Last thing to note on a response card is if your guests need to select an entrée for their meal. If so, remember to have them initial an entrée choice, not just write how many of each entrée are wanted, because you’ll need to know which guest is having which entrée when you make your place cards.
Posting Your Invitations:
When your invitations are complete and all envelopes are addressed, they are ready for mailing. It is etiquette to stamp your response card or postcard with postage before sending your invitations out to you guests so remember to do that before you seal up those envelopes!
When selecting stamps for your invitations, it’s a good idea to take a full set to the post office to be weighed to ensure you purchase the correct amount of postage for their weight, keeping in mind that square envelopes or envelopes that are extra thick will need additional postage.
I hope these tips help to take away any fear from the process of creating your wedding stationery. It should be a fun process of deciding what design elements speak your language, and then building stationery that says what it needs to say, within that language. Work with a professional team who you trust to cover all the necessary bases for you, so they can take care of the technicalities while you just focus on the beauty and emotion of the printed pieces, which will forever be a part of your happily ever after.
*** Do you have your own questions for Josie? She’s always happy to help with technical questions or complimentary design consultations. She can be reached directly at (612) 425-5567 or firstname.lastname@example.org ***
Wedding Season is a upon us and as the invites start pouring into your mailbox, you're probably wondering again how much to gift. I think we've all been there. It's confusing! It can get expensive! Do I have to bring a gift to each wedding event, like the engagement party, bridal shower AND wedding?!
The short answer is yes, you do. Here is a general guideline:
Try not to spend less than $50 no matter who the wedding is for. Remember that the Bride & Groom are spending money to have you attend.
Are you bringing a date? Maybe up the total budget a bit, but don't go overboard. Make sure to still spend what you can afford.
Wondering how to divvy that up? Here is a good ratio:
I hope these tips help you plan for all the weddings you are attending this year! Do you have any other tips? Feel free to comment on this post!
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a Wedding Photographer? We asked Mel Mahonen with Mahonen Photography to give us some juicy details about being in the business!
Q: In the day or two before a wedding , what do you do to get prepared?
A: "I usually double check all of the information that I've received from the bride and groom at this time and start charging batteries! We have a lot of batteries..."
Q: It's the day of! When does your day typically start?
A: "This really depends on the wedding. Most of the time the ceremony is in the late afternoon/evening and we will start in the late morning/early afternoon with getting ready photos. We've found over the years that we just get in the way if we get there way too early, but if we come as the bride is putting her finishing touches on, its perfect timing for me to capture details, getting ready photos and the bride getting into her dress. Ari hangs out with the groomsmen at this time photographing their prep. On the other hand, we have had a few early morning ceremonies where we were completely done by 3 pm!"
Q: Do you Always have two shooters? Why is that helpful?
A: "YES! Ari and I are really more of a team than "lead" and "2nd". On my end, it makes the day much easier to split the weight of all of our gear between the two of us! He can also be setting up light stands and capturing candid moments of cocktail hour while I'm shooting the details. For the clients, they get two perspectives of their day, we always try to be in a different spot from each other (unless Ari is assisting me with something) capturing different moments! With two of us, the groomsmen really get the adequate coverage that they deserve for their getting ready photos as well."
Q: What equipment do you bring for each shoot?
A: "Uffda, let's get technical! We each carry a canon 5D MKIII and share a set of lenses that include; 17-40mm, 24-105mm, 70-200mm, 85mm, 100mm macro. For lighting we tote along 6 flashes, 4 light stands, 2 flash snoots, and 2 small soft boxes, a light reflector, and a diffuser. One time we even brought a thermos of boiling water when it was -10 and we wanted to create a cook effect in the background." (see photo)
Sidebar: WOW! That's A LOT of STUFF!
Q: What are the 3-5 items that you always carry with you/have to have while shooting a wedding?
1. "A pharmacy of tylenol, ibuprofen, ranitidine, zofran, and band-aids. We usually only have to tap into the tylenol, but just in case something hits us, we want to be prepared!
2. Granola bars!
3. A change of shoes!"
Q: What are your favorite wedding poses to photograph?
A: "I love to find what feels natural for each couple and let them enjoy each other. A lot of our couples say that the bride and groom portrait portion of their wedding day felt like a break where they just got to enjoy each other. I just love to capture the connection that they share with each other!"
Q: What is your photography style?
A: "We're kind of a blend of lifestyle, photojournalism, and traditional. We like our photos to look natural and to capture who you are and the story of your day.
Along with our aesthetic style, clients that we've worked with in the past tell us that they love our working style. We like to bring the calm to the wedding day and keep things relaxed!"
Q: Is it important to have a timeline and to be organized on who is being photographed at what time? Why?
A: "YES! Things just go more smoothly when everyone knows what's going on and where. Share your timeline with everyone involved with your wedding day so that they know when and where they need to be ready and what you want them to do."
Q: Favorite season to shoot a wedding?
A: "They all have their own beauty but, from a practical standpoint, fall is probably the easiest season to work a wedding. Beautiful colors everywhere, not too hot, not too cold, etc."
Q: Do you have any funny "behind the scenes" moments you could share?
A: "Mostly me tripping over things and Ari laughing at me..."
Q: How did you get started as a wedding photographer?
A: "I took a few photography courses while I was in college to learn the basics, while Ari scoured the internet for every scrap of information that led him to be self taught. By the time we met, we both had a love of photography, but it wasn't the main thing in our lives yet. When my son was born I naturally picked up my camera more and more, I became the "mom with camera". But it soon turned into much more than that as I educated myself further and people began to pay me for portraits. I put it out there with some friends and family that I was interested in branching out into weddings. Friends put my name out there and people came to me. Ari was a easy choice to bring along as my 2nd as he was a camera junkie too. Over the years we've become more like a team and developed the style and way of working together that we use today."
Q: What's your favorite part about your job?
A: "There are so many things! I love the flexibility that working for myself brings to my weekdays. I also really love getting to meet and work with all of the people that we've had the opportunity to photograph over the years. New friendships have been forged with people we never would have met before. People we haven't talked to in years come to us when they get engaged or start a family. People that we used to vaguely know through other people have now become great friends after photographing their weddings. It's amazing!"
Q: Favorite wedding venue so far?
A: "I love a lot of venues, one of the great parts of this job is that we get to go to all different kinds of places. Farm venues like Furber Farms, Legacy Hills, Somerset Farm, family hobby farms and backyard weddings. I also loved working at the Radisson Blu and The St. Paul Hotel. But, I do have a wish-list of venues that I would LOVE to work at; Hutton House, Round Barn, Gale Woods Farm, The Machine Shop, The Lumber Exchange... You know, all those drool worthy locales."
If you are looking for a Wedding Photographer, make sure to check out Mahonen Photography!
One of the most exciting parts after getting engaged is the hunt for the perfect wedding venue! But, It can also be very overwhelming. We've come up with some tips and questions to ask the venues to help your search go a lot smoother.
1. Get Organized
Before you go out and start touring every venue within a 25 mile radius, you should already be able to answer a few questions. First of all, figure out what you like! Do some research online and see what your options are. Or, maybe you already know that your heart belongs to that restored barn look and you would never be caught dead getting married in a museum. Seriously...things to consider!
Next, you should have a rough estimate of a guest list. This is a working list and can change over time, but if you know beforehand that you already need space for 200 people, cross off those smaller venues that only hold 100. Some of those places may be perfect on paper, but if you're not willing to shrink your guest list, then you shouldn't waste any time on it. Move on!
What else? Budget! So many people are wishy washy about their budget and believe it's highly classified. Of course, there is no need to broadcast it to every person you pass by on the streets, but it's imperative that you have a good estimate and are vocal and honest about it to the venues AND your Wedding Planner. It's part of your Wedding Planners' job to make sure you stay within budget. If you don't have a Planner, then you really need to pay attention and don't keep it as an afterthought. If your budget is $15,000 and your guest list estimate is 200 people, you shouldn't sign a contract for a venue that is $8,000. It's not going to work unless you plan on starving your guests (Ok, I'm exaggerating here, but for real, don't do it).
Lastly, have an idea of WHEN you want to get married! Do you have a specific date that you HAVE to have or are you super flexible? Remember that if you want to get married on the anniversary that you and your Hubby-To-Be had your first date 5 years ago, your pool of available venues has already drastically shrunk.
Once you figure all this out, it's time to start the tours!
2. Be Prepared - Have Questions Ready!
It's easy to get caught up in the excitement and just want to see all these beautiful places. But, having questions off the bat will save you time (and maybe even money!) down the road. Here are a few to get you started.
Availability & Details
I hope these questions send you off on a good start. Remember, if you've hired a Planner, they can accompany you to these venue tours and make sure the questions are being asked. If you go alone, bring a notebook and pencil! You will get so much information it will be hard to keep it straight later.
This post is WAAAAAAY overdue, but better late than never, right?
Back in December I was given the opportunity to be the designer and planner of a Forever Bride Styled Shoot. I was excited and nervous! It was an amazing opportunity that I learned a lot from...and had tons of fun with! I thought I'd talk about some of the "behind the scenes" things that went on as well as showcasing the final products.
Much like an actual wedding, there are many, many details that go into a Styled Shoot. Working with Forever Bride was great as they were able to secure all the vendors! In the 4-6 weeks prior to the actual shoot, I was working with all the vendors to hammer out all the details from start times, to the vision of our shoot, colors, and timeline!
Fast forward to the morning of the shoot and of course there was a huge snow storm. Considering that all the vendors involved in the shoot are from all over the metro area, it was definitely hard on everyone to get to the venue (Projects in Person) which is located in Hopkins. Luckily, everyone made it safely!
The setup started around 9 am that morning. We had to unload furniture, decor, desserts, dresses...the list goes on and on! The makeup artist and hair stylist set up in front, while we got to work in the back to create a gorgeous tablescape and sitting area. There were 4 models who were to be our Bridesmaids. They started getting ready 10 am. It was really exciting to see their look coming together with the hair, makeup and dresses. Everything and everyone was ready to go a few hours later!
We had a main photographer, videographer and also a behind the scenes photographer. I loved that aspect so you could see a little bit of everything. What fun surprise did we have? A little puppy joined the shoot and the photographers got some of the most adorable pictures EVER.
The shoot was completed around 2:30 pm. That was it!
I can't get enough of the AMAZING photos. Check them out below.
Here are all the vendors that participated in the Boho Bridesmaids Brunch Styled Shoot and links to their pages:
Organizer Forever Bride
Photography + Video Flow Event Group
Photography RaeLyn Nicole Photography
Styling SunKissed Events, LLC
Makeup JAK Beauty
Floral Design Artemisia Studios
Stationery Ivory Isle Designs
Brunch food, place settings Sterling Catering & Events
Venue Projects in Person - PIP
Gowns Kennedy Blue
Hair ACCOLADES SALON SPA
Jewelry Poppy Stella Rose
Cake & Macaroons Sugardust & Sprinkles
Chargers + Chivari Chairs Nalias Events
Macrame Backdrop, Plant Hangers, Table Runner @ohhellotextiles
Models(follow them on Instagram!!):
Sarah Riley Rose
University of Cupcakes