Premium Printing {and a Gold, Navy and White Invitation Suite}

First of all, I want to say how ecstatic I am to be back blogging for E&I. I had so much fun doing this when I was planning my own wedding last year. It’s great to be back now as both a married woman and a member of the wedding industry! When it comes to selecting your invitations, searching for designs and inspiration is a lot of fun. There are so many creative people out there who have created GORGEOUS designs in a million different styles.

While choosing your design might be the easy part, figuring out all the logistics and options for printing and production can get a little tricky. I'm here to share with you some different printing options, their pros and cons and everything you need to know before "hitting print" (figuratively speaking, of course). Full disclosure: I'm a designer and, while I do have an education in printing, I am not a printer. I have exposure to many forms of printing but always work closely with the experts and rely on their knowledge on specific projects. 

Today I'm going to start with some high-end printing methods: foil stamping and letterpress (and a fun star and moon suite to show you just what I'm talking about).

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Letterpress is a very popular method these days and rightfully so. The deep impressions in the paper are created by real craftspeople and have a timeless look with a lot of texture and personality in each piece. You really can't go wrong with a letterpressed invitation; however there are some limitations.

The biggest limiting factors are actually closely related: the number of ink colors and the price. Your invitation is going through the press one time for each color that is printed. There is one big roller that inks the printing plates (the things that make the actual printing impression). So for each additional color you have in your invitation, the time and labor required to print it increases and therefore the cost is going to go up. Most letterpress designs have 1 to 3 colors (though more is certainly possible if you have the budget for it). The graphics will usually be pretty simple with no shading or small details. So if you have your heart set on a vintage postcard or are using an engagement photo, letterpress isn't the way to go.

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Foil stamping is also a popular—and really stunning—option. Foil stamping is one of the best ways to achieve a metallic, shiny finish. It is also a great technique for printing white on to a dark, colored paper. I've used both white and metallic foil on this celestial invitation. Foil stamping also uses a big die to make its impressions, so you’ll have similar limitations as letterpress, such as fairly simple designs and few colors.

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While letterpress and foil stamping are total show-stoppers for an invitation suite or other paper goods, they can be quite expensive. For this suite, I combined both printing methods with some lower cost printing techniques and added some DIY embellishments.

I definitely think it is worthwhile to invest in some fabulous printing for your invitation. However, since RSVPs get mailed back to you and details cards often get stuffed in to bags when your guests are traveling to your wedding, letterpressing or foil stamping your invitation and flat printing the other pieces in your suite can be a great option. To get a few extra metallic touches on the flat printed designs, I hand drew them in with a shiny gold pen (gel pens are great, as are liquid gold leaf pens). Other touches to your suite, such as lining the envelopes or using metallic script for the addresses, can make your invitation look really special without breaking the bank.

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When it comes to printing, costs can vary significantly. Letterpress and foil stamping make a huge statement and are definitely worth the cost if you can afford it. But remember that there are lots of ways to make a big impact with your invitation suite no matter what your budget is. Check back next week for some budget friendly invitation printing ideas.

Photograher: Lili Durkin | Invitation Design: Bright Room Studio

{doable} Do It Yourself

This week has been full of crafting for me. Over the past few months I've realized I should outsource some of the projects (thank you etsy!) and other projects were simple enough to do myself. Here are some of the images that have inspired me to get my DIY on, followed by my personal tips to get the jobs done.

Lavender bunches with escort cards

7fcfdf074d7c4df73fe1e94ef84ea10cd5f0335e6f2e8fbe59da09639abd35c3-001 Sources: Top, Bottom 

Menus and a lace runner for the head table:

Wedding Crafts1 Sources: Left, Center, Right

Metallic assorted bottles for the welcome party:

Wedding Crafts29b5e911693dc542ba4402bcdf6251513-001 Sources: LeftRightBottom

This is how it went for me...

DIY No-Sew Table Runner: SUPPLIES: Lace Fabric | Fabric Scissors | Tape Measure

Wedding Crafts3

I bought the lace fabric at a discount fabric store for $23. I measured the fabric to make sure it would run the length of the table and have enough to hang down on either side. I then cut the fabric to the width I wanted. I realized if I gathered the fabric, as shown, the edges would be hidden and therefore don't need to be finished. I will be using the jute twine from the escort cards to tie each end like in my inspiration image. This project worked well for me because we only have one farm table as our head table. The other tables are round and will just have the standard linens. If you wanted to do this for more tables, you could easily get two runners out of the width - just make sure you get the length you need so you don't have breaks in the fabric.

DIY Stamped & Embossed Menus: SUPPLIES: Stamps | Stamp Pad | Kraft Paper | Embossing Powder | Embossing Tool

Wedding Crafts5

I used stamps and the heat embossing powder and tool for the top oval and 'Menu' part. For the rest, I used the white pen to write it out. It took me a couple tries to get the layout and spacing just right. To help myself from writing at a slant, I used a piece of thicker, contrasting paper and held that under the line I was writing. Then, as I wrote each item, I watched the space between my line and the other piece of paper. Slant avoided! I did enough for two per table.

DIY Metallic Bottles: SUPPLIES: Assorted Bottles | Primer Spray | Metallic Spray

Wedding Crafts4

For my welcome party, I knew I wanted something cost effective and related to wine since it will be held at a Springhouse Cellar - a tasting room in Hood River, OR. I found the images of gold and silver wine and champagne bottles and HAD to give it a try.

I left the labels on and used a primer and then metallic spray bottles - I just went to my local paint store and they helped me figure out what to buy. In addition to the bottles, I also sprayed some corks to sprinkle around the bottles and I called my florist who said she would provide the single stems of white and green flowers. Easy! And all-in it will come to under $90 to decorate about six tables. Not bad, right?! *Hint: take your engagement ring off and don't do this the week before your wedding - or use some gloves!

DIY Lavender Bunch Escort Cards: SUPPLIES: Lavender Sprig | Jute Twine | Cloth Pins | Small Cards (used business card sized paper from Paper Source) | Hole Punch | Pen

I haven't done this project yet, but my florist recommended grouping couples and families onto one card - that way you have less to do and the display at the wedding won't be overwhelming.

Happy crafting and happy Fourth of July to you all!


Invitation Design


Today I get to show off my invitations! I worked with graphic designer and E&I blogger alum, Kimberly Roth, to create my invitation suite. I love how they turned out.

Along the way, I feel that I really solidified the vision I had for my wedding. We pulled inspiration from the location - Mount Hood, Oregon - by featuring the mountain, the muted lavender color from the lavender fields in the area, and the overall whimsical feel.


BRSD-3Photo credit: Kimberly Roth

I also got a chance for some DIYing. Kimberly designed and coordinated having stamps made for our 'belly band' and return address. During a visit to Paper Source, I realized embossing with white would show up much better on the Kraft paper than just a white stamp. Embossing is really fun and easy (but time consuming when you are doing it for 100+ invitations).

Here's what I used:

- Stamp

- Stamp pad

Embossing powder

Heat tool

Once I got the hang of it, it went by pretty fast. I would stamp three at a time, apply the powder, lay them out on the table (until it filled the table) and then use the heat tool on all of those. Much faster than doing the whole process for one at a time. Two of my bridesmaids came over one night to help and that really speeded things up. Note to self: make sure cat doesn't get to them before you set the powder with the heat. :-)

After embossing, I folded each belly band around the invitation and secured it with a strip of double sided tape.

InvitationsPhoto credit: me

BRSD-4Photo credit: Kimberly Roth

Addressing the Invitations



For better or worse...I will be addressing my own invitations. I decided to take on the challenge because I want the handwritten look, but it's not in our budget to hire a professional calligrapher. I also thought it would be a fun project! While our invitations are being printed this week, I've been practicing my handwriting and trying to navigate the world of address wording etiquette. It's more complicated than I thought! And while our family and friends aren't sticklers for etiquette rules, it's one of those things - I like to know the rules before I decide which ones to break. :-)


Here are some of the most common rules.  We are just having the single envelope (no inner one).

- Spell out Post Office Box, Street, Avenue, the word 'and,' etc. Spell out the state name, unless it won't fit on the same line as the city. Put the zip code on its own line. Use Mr. and Mrs. abbreviated, but spell out Doctor.

- Married couples: names go on the same line, unless there's a fit issue. The traditional way would be to say Mr. and Mrs. John Smith. Another option I like is from the first image, above. I don't see it in the rule books, but I like that it includes both the husband and wife's name - Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Smith. If the woman has kept her maiden or professional name, her name goes first and the two names are on separate lines unless they fit easily on the same line. 

- Unmarried couples: The names go on two separate lines, with the name of the person you know first. If you know both, the woman's name comes first or some places say to do alphabetical order when you know them both. 

- Guests: try to find out the guest's name if you can. Many sources I'm reading say it's not good to put 'and guest,' but I think it makes sense in some cases. 

- Kids: Write the parents according the 'married couples' guidelines and then put the kids first names below in order of oldest to youngest. If you only put the couple's names and not their children, it is assumed that it will be an adults-only affair.

Source: The Wedding Book by Mindy Weiss

If you're like me and you want a visual of the different variations there are some great resource and other options: here, here, and here.

Addresses2Sources: left, right


In doing my research, I realized there are differing opinions about exactly how to address envelopes. I think the best thing to do is to pick your favorite style and then just be consistent.

Did you address your own envelopes? Do you have any tips for me?

Less than three months until the big day!!!

Take a Seat {Finding the Perfect Table Numbers}

Table numbers are one of those little things you don't start seriously thinking about until a lot of other things fall into place: place settings, china, glassware, dinner menu, flatware, centerpieces, rentals, color palettes, etc. As those little things are beginning to come together (5 month countdown like WHOA), I am finding my spare Pinterest time being spent increasingly on table numbers. And, man! There are some really cute and really crazy table numbers on Pinterest. I love simple, elegant, vintage, and nothing overly fussy. That being said, if you are looking for table numbers for your tropical-Winter-circus-themed wedding, surely they exist! Here are a few I'm loving right now: tables2



tables1Source: 1234567

Invitation Wording {it's in the details}

Invitation Wording4Source

A few weeks ago I decided to hire an E&I alumn to design my invitations! I remembered back when she posted about her own invitations, here, and I had to find out if she was still designing. Well, she was! And she has been the best, most helpful designer I could have asked for. Click here to visit Kimberly's website.

I wasn't sure I could do custom-designed invitations while staying within my budget. But with the few special things I wanted to incorporate on my invites, it was going to be hard to just order them through a template. So I reached out to Kim and she walked me through the process and quickly turned me from being totally overwhelmed with not knowing what to do, into being really excited about all of the options. She also helped navigate the printing process and recommend some different printers.

We are now collaborating about the design and figuring out the wording. With all the options, it can be tough to pick which direction to go you want them to be silly, funny, quirky, formal, religious, simple...the list goes on. I have been leaning in the direction of making them sweet and personal. Here are some I'm liking.

Invitation Wording1 Source

Like the wording on these - "...invite you to join them on a most spectacular day..." and "...invite you to share in their true love and marriage..."

Invitation Wording2 Source: left, right

The one on the right is sweet - "All the Roads led to you. You're invited to celebrate the start of a new path for..."

mint1 right

Invitation Wording Source: left, right

I like the ends of these: "dinner, dancing and revelry to follow!" and "Dancing, Drinks and fun to follow"

If you are trying to figure out the wording for your invitations, Invitation Consultants and Offbeat Bride are some great resources. The first has a TON of great ideas for different situations - eloping, destination weddings, how to include parents' names, etc. The second has some more quirky and funny ideas.

How did you pick your invitation wording?

Feeling Font-sy {choosing a wedding font}

As of last week, we are at the 6 month mark! Seriously crazy how fast the time flies. We're thisclose to choosing a save-the-date (we don't have many people traveling to our wedding, and already notified those who are traveling about accomodations), and we'll finalize invitations and paper goods by the end of February/early March. I've found choosing an invitation suite pretty daunting, if only for the fact that some brides use one font on everything--think wedding websites, save-the-dates, programs, escort cards, favors, seriously everything. I'd like to think I'm not that crazy, but with six months left, who really knows, right? That being said, there are a few general directions that I am leaning towards. As I've mentioned, our overarching wedding inspiration is Art Nouveau. Our font inspiration comes from an amazing restaurant in San Francisco, Boulevard:

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Here are some others that I'm loving right now:



Newlywed Holiday Cards

I absolutely love receiving all of the holiday cards in the mail this time of year.  There's something special about the bright & cheery smiles of my friends & their families, something I only feel when I receive snailmail.  I have to admit however, I am a bit sad that my fiance & I decided to hold off on sending out holiday cards until once we're married.  I guess that gives me plenty of time to look at all the designs & start planning next year's well in advance, right?!  {ha!} We'll likely use a picture taken at our August wedding for our card next year, but that doesn't mean I can't dream about the fantastic winter designs.  Some of my favorites include snow, which of course doesn't frequent the city of San Francisco.  Who knows, maybe come late November/early December 2013 we'll decide to forgo the obvious wedding picture & head up to Tahoe to take some snow-covered pictures of me & my Mr.


Sources (from top left) 1, 2, 3, 4



{Perfect Design} Letterpress Card Roundup

There was a point when I didn't understand the point of paying more than a few dollars for a card. Now I can't seem to spend less than $10! Perfect design is something I try to surround myself with each and every day, and this roundup of cards is no exception. Make someone's day a little brighter with these perfect ones.

You're My Favorite Person Ever, Hooray For You, Triangle Letterpress Card,  Happy Ever After Letterpress Card, Thank You Letterpress Card

Pretty Paper {Choosing Wedding Stationary}

This past week we worked on finalizing our stationary for the wedding. We used a stationary and wedding boutique in Tempe, Arizona for our invitations and LOVED working with the owner! Plus we loved the way our invitations turned out, so we knew we had to go back for the day of details!

If you live in the Arizona area, make sure to check out Definitely Debra.

Picking out our wedding invitations was actually quite simple! Once we started looking at the options, we loved the pocket invitations!  We went with an invitation suite that is similar to these beauties below!

Wedding Invitation Pocket


Pink Grey Pocket Invitation


Double Heart Invite


This week we designed our programs, place cards and other fun miscellaneous stationary for the big day! Here are some inspiration photos!

heart program


Tall wedding program


This is not our style but I LOVED the idea of showing the wedding party in the order they will stand. How clever!



I can't wait to see the finished project and to share it all with you!

Feel free to share with me your favorite wedding invitations and stationary!

Until Next Week!


Follow me on Twitter @jessdawnd and my wedding inspiration board on Pinterest