Starting a business is a huge decision. It takes time and money and a lot of both. I always wanted to be my own boss but was too afraid to jump in and do it. I went back to school and earned my MBA. That made me want to start my own business even more.
I began to soul search and see where my passion was. In order to know that I would keep myself motivated it needed to be something I could give all of myself to. I had done wedding invitations for friends and family after doing my own and loved it. I love weddings and really loved the design process of wedding invitations and knew that was the business for me. But I still was too scared to jump in.
Then on June 21, 2016 it all changed. My normal 40-50-minute commute home from work turned into over 3 hours. That gave me the time to finally come to the conclusion that I had had enough of the 9-5 life and the commute that went along with it. My husband had already put our kids to bed by the time I got home which meant I didn’t see them at all that day because I left before they had woken up that morning. I walked in and said to my husband “we need to talk.” I explained to him that I had been thinking about it and was so frustrated with my commute that day. My awesome husband said “I love you. I support you. Do it.” So I was going to start my custom wedding stationery business.
Luckily, I had a friend that had been a wedding photographer for 7 years. The next day I texted her and told her I needed to pick her brain. We got together a few days later and she passed on some wonderful information about starting a business, how to determine pricing, networking, marketing and how it won’t be easy. I was lucky to have my own Obi-Wan to help get me started.
So I was on my way! I had what I wanted to do, why I wanted to do it, but I needed to know who I was going to be? My business needed a name. I knew I wanted “Printing” in the name so people would have a better idea of what I did. I decided I wanted to use a tree in the name because paper comes from trees. Apparently, a lot of people had the same idea! I had the hardest time finding a name that wasn’t already in use. I have always been intrigued by bonsai tree pruning so I thought it would be cool to use that. My favorite color is blue. So Blue Bonsai Printing LLC it was!
Now that the major decisions had been made it was time to get on the roller coaster of business ownership. While it has had its ups and downs I have been loving every minute of it. I am happy to say that on June 14, 2018 (less than 2 years from when I started my business) I moved to being full time self-employed! It was super scary but it is what I had been working towards. So excited to say I made it. Now I am a year into doing my business as my full time job and I am loving every minute of it.
Keywords: wedding, wedding business, invitations, invitations designs, my wedding
When addressing your wedding invitations there are some etiquette rules one should follow. Addressing your envelopes will be a time-consuming venture. It is a necessary evil and you will want to get started sooner rather than later. Instead of sitting down and doing them all in one sitting plan on doing 10-20 per day to avoid hand cramps. Here are a few things to remember when addressing your envelopes.
Photo by Marina Goktas Photography https://marinagoktas.com/
There is a lot of talk about card stocks when discussing wedding invitation design. A heavier card stock is always recommended but there are also double thick card stocks available. Here are some of the most common card stock weights. All weights mentioned are cover weight, not text (it makes a big difference).
Keywords: wedding, wedding budget, wedding invitations, invitation design, invitation, save the date, card stock
I will be honest… whenever I hear someone is going to use Vistaprint for their wedding invitations or save the dates I cringe. Don’t get me wrong, Vistaprint is a good company and creates some good products. I have ordered business items from them. But wedding items are not some of the things they do well. There are a few reasons for that.
Before I go all Debbie Downer let’s acknowledge the good qualities of Vistaprint.
1) Their customer service is impeccable. If there is a problem with your order they will reprint or offer you a refund, no questions asked.
2) Generally their quality is good on business printing products other than business cards. I have used them when I ordered a banner and I was satisfied.
3) They run sales all the time, so you can get their already cheap items even cheaper. But doesn’t that make you wonder how they can offer things so cheap?
Now for the reasons why you shouldn’t use Vistaprint for your wedding items. It is not just about “they are my competition and you should use me.” (I do think that but there is more to it… Lol).
Keywords: wedding, wedding invitations, save the dates, wedding budget, invitation design, card stock, cheap wedding invitations
There are a few different types of printing available to use on wedding stationery. You will see them all over wedding invitation websites and Pinterest. All the printing types give a different look and feel. The same design will look very different depending on the type of printing used. Take a look at different printing types:
Keywords: wedding, wedding invitations, thermography, letterpress, hand lettering, digital printing, foil wedding invitations, wedding budget, invitation design, Pinterest
The 2019 Portland Bridal Show is in the books! This year was the 40th year of the show. Amazing! It was also the first year with new owners. Al, the creator of The Portland Bridal Show and did invitations as well, has earned his retirement and Tom and Barbie Howard have taken the reigns and will continue to bring a wonderful show every year. The show is the largest in the Portland Metro Area. Over 150 vendors and over 7000 people attend every year. Every vendor you could need for your wedding is all in one place. Including wedding stationery!
The show started with a bang for me. I was one of only 3 vendors asked to represent the Portland Bridal Show on Fox12 Good Day Oregon in the "On the Go with Joe" segment of the show. Me?! On TV?! This was going to go really well or epicly bad. There was no middle of the road on this one. Check out the link below and decide for yourself which one! Lol
Not too shabby! If I do say so myself. I was super nervous but the show must go on and I did my best. High five for me! It helps that Joe and Daryl (his cameraman) were super nice to work with.
Each day (the show ran Saturday 10-8:30 and Sunday 10-5) was a long day but it didn't feel long because there were so many wonderful brides and grooms to talk to about wedding invitations and save the dates. The vow booklets Joe mentions in the piece were a huge conversation starter too. Like the saying goes... "Time flies when you are having fun!" I was able to see the fashion show from my booth (there were 3 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday) so that was a nice bonus. Wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, and tuxedos.... oh my! (Excuse my Wizard of Oz reference...) So many engaged couples were surprised to learn there was a local option for getting their invitations.
Some of the common questions I got were (and the answers I gave)...
"Can you change the color on this?" Absolutely!!
"Did you do all of these?" Yup! Love 'em or leave 'em but they are all designed and printed by me.
"Do you do the designing only or you do the printing too?" Both! I make the design perfect for you and then print them.
"Can you do bilingual invitations?" Sure thing! I don't speak any other languages but I can copy and paste like a beast!
"Can we meet in person to go over everything? The websites stress me out." Definitely! No stress allowed. Let me take care of everything for you. You just say "I love it!"
Some of my best friends in the wedding industry were at the show as well as some new faces. Here is a link to all the vendors (https://portlandbridalshow.com/exhibitor-list/) and be sure to check out:
Photos by Orion
Ambient Sky Studios
The Mobile Scoop Shop
Silver Falls Lodge & Conference Center
NW Mobile DJ Service
Lady and a Harp
The Little Photo Bus
Next Dimension Bakery
Photography by Cambrae
Overall the show was exhausting, fun, great for engaged couples, and great for my business. I had over 170 people say they wanted to follow up and hear more! That is a great number! I am excited to get to work with so many wonderful couples. Thank you Portland Bridal Show for making these connections possible!
Until next year.... happy wedding planning!
Many people decide to DIY their wedding invitations thinking they are going to be cheaper than ordering them. That can be the case but very rarely is that the case. There are many factors to consider when DIYing. Read this list to help you decide if DIY is really for you.
I know I am writing this as an invitation designer, but I know first hand how frustrating DIYing your invitations can be because I DIYed my own wedding invitations (10 years before I started my business). It was such a headache. Had I to do it all over again it would have been much less stressful and actually cheaper to just order them from a stationer.
Keywords: wedding, cheap wedding invitations, wedding budget, invitation design
One unavoidable cost of your wedding is postage for your wedding invitations, save the dates, and thank you notes. It is important to know the rules of postage so you can budget correctly and make sure you put the correct postage on the stationery so they don’t end up getting returned and end up costing you more. So while it can be inconvenient to get it right the first time it will be much cheaper and less stressful to get it right the first time.
Here are some things to be aware of when it comes to postage rates and requirements (disclaimer: postage rates mentioned in this blog are current as of the date of posting and are subject to change. Postage rates typically are updated the third Sunday in January each year):
I suggest putting together your invitations and taking a few of them to the post office to have them evaluate them and tell you the cost of the postage for them. If there is any question it is safer to add some extra postage to cover every possibility. And remember, these variables in postage rates are compounded so if you have a square, rigid, 3-ounce envelope they will cost $1.34 ($0.50+$0.21+$0.21+$0.21+$0.21) to mail each envelope.
Keywords: wedding, wedding invitation, wedding budget, postage, postage rate, stamp price, postage costs, invitation design, wedding invitation mailing
There are so many decisions to be made when planning a wedding. One thing you must figure out early in the wedding planning process is how many guests you are going to have. This is essential for venue searching and budget planning since catering and cake will require a close idea of guest count. You will need to decide if you are going to have kids at your wedding. If you choose not to, don’t feel guilty! There are many reasons why a couple chooses to not invite kids to their wedding. No matter the reason you choose to have a no kid wedding it is essential to let your guests know of your decision.
There are several ways to do that and I suggest doing all of them, so no one can say they hadn’t heard!
Now for the brutal truth- not everyone will be happy with your decision. News Flash: They don’t have to be. The only ones who must be happy are you and your fiancé. But you do need to be prepared to respond to those that aren’t happy. It is also important to have a united front- both of you as well as your wedding party and families should all be giving the same response.
Also, be understanding to those that cannot attend the wedding if their children cannot attend. This happened to me so I completely understand it. My husband’s cousin and his wife decided on a no kid wedding and our oldest son was only a few months old. The wedding was a four-hour drive away and we were not comfortable leaving our son overnight at that age. The option of getting a babysitter closer to the wedding was not possible because all the family we knew in the area were going to be attending the wedding. So unfortunately we had to make the decision to not attend. We explained to my husband’s cousin the predicament we were in. We understood their side and they understood ours. We did not ask for an exception and they did not offer one. We respected each other and each other’s viewpoints. So I highly recommend having an open mind if someone says they cannot attend and respect their decision.
Most importantly- enjoy your wedding! It will go so fast so make sure you enjoy every minute.
Keywords: wedding, no kid wedding, kid free wedding, wedding invitations, wedding planning, wedding budget
The royal wedding of Prince Harry & Meghan Markle was full of wedding traditions both old and new. One element of their wedding steeped in royal tradition was their wedding invitations. Royal wedding invitations have been the same basic design, with some very minor changes, since Queen Victoria's son was married in the mid 19th century. While picking out your invitation involves picking colors, fonts, and design elements royal couples have it quite easy. The decision is made for them.
The invitation is printed on a white card stock with black writing. The only element of color is the royal crest printed at the top which is gold foil. The foil was not added to royal invitations (wedding or otherwise) until the 1950's. Who's crest is to be printed on the invitation depends on who is hosting the wedding. They are always printed landscape.
The first line of the invitation is where the host is revealed. If the Queen is hosting the invitation will state "The Lord Chamberlain is commanded by the Queen to invite" while if another member of the royal family is hosting the line reads more traditionally as "requests the pleasure of the company." The hosting royal family member's name will be their full royal title while if the Queen is hosting it will read only "The Queen" or "Her Majesty."
The next two lines will be blank lines that the names of the invited guests will be written in before the invitations are mailed. The names will be written formally and will include all titles the guests may have. Traditionally there are no "plus 1s." Royal protocol follows the "no ring, no bring" mantra. That means that if you are not engaged or married it is expected that you will attend alone.
The names of the couple getting married will be listed based on aristocratic ranking. This means that the name of the royal getting married will be listed first and then the name of their fiance, regardless of gender. In non-royal tradition the bride's name is written first. So in this case the names were listed "His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales with Ms. Meghan Markle" indicating Prince Harry's formal name including the location since his father is the Prince of Wales.
As not customary by wedding etiquette but customary in royal etiquette the RSVP information is listed on the wedding invitation itself. This is more to do with the royal wedding following RSVP tradition customary for all royal events. Guests also don't RSVP to the couple but instead to the royal household secretary.
It is amazing to me that royal invitations have had the same design for well over a century. It shows that every detail in wedding planning is important and steeped in tradition.
Congrats to the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex!!!
keywords: wedding. royal wedding, wedding invitations, wedding traditions
In January 2017 I was asked to be involved in the 98.7 The Bull Piece of Cake Wedding contest. The contest was put on by 98.7 The Bull (a local radio station here in Portland) and the Oregon Wedding Showcase (a local wedding show producer). I sponsored the wedding stationery for the contest.
The contest involved listeners voting for which couple they wanted to win the wedding. The top 3 couples competed to find a ring in a piece of cake at the Oregon Wedding Showcase in Salem. Damon was very fast and made a wonderful mess to find the ring. Congrats! Chelsea and Damon won!!!
The wedding was to take place at the Skype Live Studio. Chelsea and Damon picked March 18, 2017 for their wedding. We did not have much time to get the invitations done! But I was up for the challenge. I spoke to Chelsea and her mom about what she wanted in her invitation design. Chelsea and Damon had decided on a camo theme for their wedding and wanted something with tree leaves and orange. I had never done a camo theme invitation before but I loved the idea.
Chelsea and Damon were limited on the number of guests in the Skype Live Studio so they decided to have a reception for those unable to attend the ceremony. They were going to need 2 invitation suites. While they were 2 different invitations we decided to use the same basic design for both so they coordinated since some guests were going to be getting invitations to both events. But they also needed to be different enough that people who received both realized they were different. I decided to do one vertical and one horizontal so it was easy to see they were different. This also made it easier for Chelsea and Damon when they were putting the invitations together.
Along with 2 invitation designs Chelsea and Damon were going to need 2 different RSVPs- 1 for those invited to the ceremony and the reception and 1 for those invited to the reception only. Chelsea and Damon decided to go very simple for the RSVPs to allow the invitations to stand out. There was also an information card with the website for people to be able to watch the ceremony live streaming along with registry information which was also a simple design similar to the RSVPs.
Chelsea and Damon chose to take advantage of guest addressing as well. Since their wedding was happening so close to the time they won the contest (about 7 weeks) they opted for the time saver of guest addressing so that they could get their invitations out ASAP.
I was surprised when I was asked to be involved with the contest but I was very excited to be involved. Chelsea and Damon were such a nice couple and I was honored to do their invitations.
Your complete wedding invitation timeline.
There are so many pieces to planning a wedding. One part of your wedding that has many pieces is your wedding stationery. Here is a guide to what should be done and when.
9-12 months before the wedding: The most important (and most difficult) of the wedding stationery timeline involves your guests- collecting addresses. Make your guest list as soon as you get engaged and start getting the addresses. This will be tedious and it is best to start as soon as possible.
If you are having a destination wedding, a lot of your guests will be travelling to come to your wedding, your wedding is in June or on a holiday weekend now is the time to send your save the dates. Make sure your venue is booked and then send save the dates to all invited guests.
6-9 months before the wedding: If you haven't already, now is the time to send save the dates. If you are unsure if someone will make the final invite list, take them off your save the date list. Only those guests that are for certain going ot be invited to the wedding should get a save the date.
4-6 months before the wedding: Start looking for ideas for invitations that match your theme and colors. Your invitations are the first impression your guests get of your wedding. You want them to match your theme to avoid confusion. For a custom design you will want to allow 4-8 weeks for design and production for your invitation suite. If you are picking a premade template (from me or from another online site) you will want to allow 2-4 weeks to get your invitations.
3 months before the wedding: If you didn't choose to add on guest addressing when ordering your wedding invitations you will want to get them over to a calligrapher to start addressing them or you will want to sit down and get started. Word of advise: don't try and do them all in one night. Your hand will cramp. Make a plan to do it over a few nights. Your hand will thank me! Once they are all addressed take one (completed- all pieces in the envelope and the envelope is sealed) to the post office and have it weighed to find out the postage. The last thing you want is to have them all returned due to a postage problem. then buy the correct postage and get to stamping!
2 months before the wedding: Mail your invitations. If you didn't do save the dates you can send them a little earlier. Once those are in the mail, take a deep breath (maybe with a glass of wine) and start thinking about your wedding day stationery. Menus? Programs? Signs? Place cards? Escort cards? (yes, they are different) Table numbers? Now is the time to get started on those.
1 month before the wedding: Compile your RSVPs. They should be due 1 month before the wedding. Take note of those that have not responded and contact them to see if they are coming. If you are doing a seating chart now is the time to get started on that. Best to have the seating chart done 2 weeks before the wedding (save yourself some stress the closer it gets to the wedding). Allow at least 2 weeks for your wedding day stationery to be completed.
Wedding day!!!! Enjoy the day. Take it all in. Make sure you eat!
1-2 months after the wedding: Thank you notes should go out in this time frame. If you want to include a photo from the day be sure you get that back as soon as possible from you photographer (many will get you one picture ASAP for this purpose). Thank you notes should definitely go out by your 2 month anniversary.
Whew! That was a lot of info! If I didn't answer all your questions feel free to comment below and I am happy to answer them.
Congrats! You are engaged! Let the wedding planning begin!
First you will want to figure out an approximate number of guests and a budget for your venue. The next step is to find the perfect venue to accommodate your wedding. Once your venue it booked your wedding date is locked in. It's official! You have a wedding date!!!
Save the dates are a great way to get your wedding date on your guests calendars. But there are many questions about save the dates. Here are some answers to the most common save the date questions:
1) When should I send my save the dates?
Generally save the dates are mailed to your wedding guests 6-9 months before the wedding. This give your wedding guests ample time to make arrangements and plan on being there.
There are a few instances where you would want to send them 9-12 months before the wedding:
1) If you are having a destination wedding
2) If your wedding is in June
3) If your wedding is on a holiday weekend
4) If you have a lot of guests traveling to come to your wedding
2) Who should (and shouldn't) get save the dates?
Everyone who will be invited to the wedding should get a save the date. You want to get onto the calendars of all your guests. If you are unsure if someone will be invited them they should not get a save the date. Only those that are definitely invited should get a save the date.
3) What information should go on a save the date?
There are 4 things that you will want to put on your save the date:
1) Your names
2) Wedding date
3) Location (City, State is fine- details will go on the invitations)
4) Your wedding website (I highly recommend you have one for details for your wedding)
Also a statement that you are getting married (i.e. "save the date" or "we are getting married") and "Invitation to follow" is also important.
4) What should our save the date look like?
The short answer... whatever you want them to! There are so many options, limitless really. You can use a picture. You can use multiple pictures. You could use no pictures. It could be very formal or very casual. Odds are you will have a wedding theme and colors in mind by this point but it is still very early on in the planning process that the details are still being worked out. Your save the date does not need to match your theme or the eventual invitation. Save the dates also can take many forms. The most common being a postcard, a card in an envelope or a magnet. All are options and you just have to decide what you both like best.
5) Do I have to include a picture on my save the dates?
No. Many people choose to have a picture on their save the dates but they are not required. Many wedding guests will know you or your fiance but not necessarily both of you. So it can be fun to use a picture. About 75% of my clients use a picture on their save the dates. It is all about personal preference.
These are the most common questions I get about save the dates. Do you have any questions that I didn't answer? Comment below and I would be happy to answer them!
keywords: wedding, save the dates, save the date cards, wedding date