Hello! Are you a bride? And are you wondering how it works if you want to work with me?
Well, here is the whole process spelled out for you through the story of this lovely couple...
Meet Kelly of Winifred Paper's and my imaginary friends Caroline and Andrew! They got engaged last year on a sustainable organic Christmas Tree farm on Christmas Eve, which happens to also be both their birthdays. So naturally, they wanted to have a Christmas Eve wedding. And because they devoted a year to volunteer in disaster relief areas in the third world they just now got around to setting their date for 2016 and asked Kelly and me to come to their aid for all things paper.
We began with the above commissioned illustration. Caroline wrote into my site to inquire about working together approximately 4 to 6 weeks before she needed to send the artwork into production. We talked about how Andrew proposed. She told me all the beautiful little sentimental details and together we arrived at this concept for the composition.
Because Andrew is super supportive and understanding, he agreed to pose with Caroline for a picture posed like the sketch above, recreating the moment for me to work from. Caroline then emailed me this shot with directions to "dress them" in something bridal instead of the outerwear they were actually wearing on the tree farm to add to the romance of the moment, as imagined through the magic of illustration.
Within our four week agreed upon window of time I worked on Caroline's piece and then sent it back over for approval. She loved it so I popped this original painting in the mail to her to frame for Andrew as a surprise on their engagement anniversary.
Next step - we looped in talented designer and paper magician Kelly to begin the design process. Kelly took the high resolution file of my art and worked her magic on a beautiful digital suite of Save The Date proof options for Caroline and Andrew to choose from.
They elected to go with a soft gray for their text and cranberry red painted edges on cotton stock - a theme they then carried throughout all the paper for their wedding.
And for the Save The Date, they added that little extra touch of brilliance with some gold foiled "snowflakes" floating down around the artwork and a custom envelope liner done in some of my seasonally appropriate botanical watercolors - the amaryllis.
Kelly got to work producing the Save The Date's while Caroline and Andrew compiled their list/argued with their parents about whether or not Mrs. Caldwell could invite her ENTIRE tennis team to the rehearsal dinner and wedding.
Nine months before the wedding date, Caroline and Andrew sent out these beautiful cards to give their guests plenty of time to plan to travel to the big event.
Next step, they met with Kelly for a second planning session to design the formal wedding suite. For those of you who do not know yet about the nuances and complexities of the Wedding Suite, let me just say this - it is a concept that is as complicated and open ended as any printed correspondence can possibly be.
If you're wondering why you've met with several different printers or wedding planners or designers and they've all sighed and given you vague explanations about the wedding suite, it is because there is no one right answer to how you should proceed.
The Wedding Suite is riddled with a minefield of opportunities for faux pas as you make decisions like double thick flat card with a beveled painted edge vs. a soft cotton with a fold and deckled edge or to emboss or to engrave, or to emboss AND engrave.
Like I said, it essentially IS rocket science. So, here's what I recommend. Take a cue from Caroline and Andrew and schedule a meeting with us and we'll set you on the path to Wedding Suite Winning.
For this particular suite, Kelly used a single card of heavy stock with the painted edge, which carried over from the Save The Date design, and brought in the same text and ink color. She did a gold foil press of the calligraphed names of the couple, created by the same calligrapher who will ultimately hand-address each guest's envelope.
The main envelope which will contain all the suite components has the sweetest little tiding of joy letter pressed on the exterior "From wedding bells to jingle bells" above their return address. This is the kind of creative genius that you need Kelly for. I mean, come on. How good is that?!
Inside this envelope the guests will find all the components of the suite*
*Some brides elect to have a second Inner Envelope that follows this exterior envelope and contains the remainder of the elements, this adds a level of formality and tradition. But Caroline and Andrew feel strongly about sustainable Tree use and did not want to compromise any more leafy friends in the act of creating their suite.
The interior elements include:
The formal invitation which we just discussed above, the reply card, and the invitation to the wedding reception.
Notice how adorable their reply card is, requesting a reply by Thanksgiving. This couple is all about holidays!
And how beautiful is the petite reception invitation in it's own botanical illustrated envelope.
True to form, this super organized couple popped these bad boys in the mail eight weeks before the big day, giving their guests plenty of time to receive and respond to these elegant invitations.
They walked down the aisle after saying their vows in St. John's Episcopal Church into the soft newly fallen snow as the December dusk settled over a quiet city and embraced one another, their hearts filled with great joy and lived happily ever after, always with a stack of perfectly designed correspondence paper nearby to write notes to their family and friends.
Want to embark upon your wedding journey with the same grace and ease that Caroline and Andrew enjoyed? Here is a list of things you can do to emulate their amazingness by employing Kelly and me:
- Use the custom illustration I create for you on your wedding website
- Consider having Kelly create stationery for you to use after the wedding with your new name on it for all those thank you notes
- Use custom illustration botanicals on your ceremony program, which Kelly can create for you
- Use custom illustration botanicals on your menus, which... you guessed it... Kelly can create for you
- Consider the need for "wedding swag" - matchbooks, water bottles, welcome packets, custom gift bags. All of these things are legitimate things you might very well need for your big day. And yes, you're right again, Kelly and I can adorn all of these most necessary elements with our art and design.
- Think about bridesmaid gifts. Giving each girl a custom fashion illustration of their likeness is a unique and jaw-dropingly-impressive gift for the girls.
- Think about the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom. They're going to be sobbing the entire weekend. Come to their aid by enlisting our partner in crime Cece DuPraz for custom embroidered handkerchiefs
- Prints! Prints are easy and affordable gifts for these sweet, weeping MOB and MOGs also. Inquire with me about turning your custom illustration into prints for the parents as a perfect gift to frame.
- And final call to action, and most important of all, plan ahead. Plan way ahead. All of these beautiful, custom elements take tender love and care, and most importantly TIME to grow into full readiness.
Well, there you have it you fancy engaged little thing! Now you should be very well educated in the process of our impending collaboration on the most magnificent day of your life. We can't wait to work with you!
PS. Buy the new issue of BRIDES and you can see this project featured!