Wedding Invitation 101, Part 5: Invitation Addressing & Mailing

Wedding Invitation 101: Invitation Addressing and Mailing / Fine Day Press for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Hi guys, Ashley from Fine Day Press here. We’ve finally come to the last post in our Invitation 101 series. Thank you for reading and learning along with me! Today’s post covers the last steps in getting your invitations out the door: invitation addressing and mailing.

Be sure to check out our previous posts:
• Where to Start
• When to Send
• Printing Methods
• Wording & Etiquette

Addressing and Mailing

You’ve spent countless hours picking out just the right invitation suite, and possibly months agonizing over every little detail from the wording to the printing. Take a few moments to plan using our invitation addressing and mailing tips below; I promise it will be well worth the effort!

Plan Ahead

First, leave some time to gather and organize your address list. You’ll want to provide your stationer (or calligrapher, or printer) with a clear, detailed list of names and addresses that includes appropriate titles like “Mr. & Mrs.” or “Dr.”  It’s commonplace to spell out in full the address line and state, for example, “123 Smith Street; New York, New York 10010”.  Additionally, if children under 18 are invited to the wedding, list their names individually on the line following the parents’ names — unless you are using inner envelopes (increasingly rare these days), in which case the names of any children should be listed here and not on the outside. Adult children should receive their own invitation.

Secondly, make sure you have extra envelopes in case of any addressing errors. About 10% over is a good rule of thumb, and many stationers (including Fine Day Press) will automatically include some extras with your order. If using a calligrapher, be sure to ask if more than that are needed. You’ll also want a few extra invitations on hand for last-minute guests, and just in case one gets lost in the mail (it happens).

Methods of Addressing

Traditionally, invitations are hand-addressed, usually by a professional calligrapher. There’s nothing quite like receiving a calligraphed envelope in your mailbox, and it’s most definitely high up on my happy list. And if it‘s in your budget, go for it! Check with your calligrapher to confirm how much time they’ll need to address your envelopes, but at minimum you’ll want to factor around 2-3 weeks for envelope calligraphy into your invitation mailing timeline.

If you are hand-addressing the envelopes yourself, a great option for the return address is to have a custom stamp created. We‘ve created many of these for our clients over the years. Provided you aren’t moving right after the wedding, the stamp can be used again on thank you notes, holiday cards, and other future mailings. Alternately, with the convenience and quality of digital printing, many stationers will print guest addresses directly onto the envelopes. You can even choose a calligraphy-style font.

Wedding Invitation 101: Invitation Addressing and Mailing / Fine Day Press for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Above: Custom return address stamp by Fine Day Press; calligraphed envelopes by Blue Eye Brown Eye

Adding Postage

Note the size of your invitation and compare it to the post office standard sizes. Square invitations require extra postage; the same goes for double-thick stock. If you’ve got extras like a reception card, list of wedding events, map and directions card, ribbons, bows, bells or whistles, that can push your overall weight up beyond the first class stamp zone. You’ll want to take a complete envelope suite to the post office for weighing. They can tell you the exact postage amount you’ll need, and help you find a stamp (or stamps) to match. Don’t forget to take into account any international guests. When addressing, put these in a separate pile and have the post office determine the correct postage for each.

Beautiful postage is the last thoughtful touch to complete your invitation. USPS has definitely stepped up their stamp design game in the last few years, so you can easily achieve a beautiful envelope just by browsing the available stamp selections online. The post office also usually has a few different love-themed options, like these Louise Fili stunners. Custom stamps can be created to match your invitation design (for example, via zazzle.com), from personalized stamps with a custom monogram to vintage-inspired designs. Vintage postage is a beautiful detail for wedding invitation envelopes, but can be difficult to find and sometimes costs more than the face value of the stamp – you can read all about finding vintage postage here. And remember that your reply envelopes will also need a first class stamp – don’t leave your guests hunting for postage to send their reply.

Let ‘em fly

You’ve done your homework. Time to send those beautiful babies out into the world, and wait for the excitement that follows!

One last pro tip: Request hand-canceling. There can be an extra charge for this beyond 50 pieces, but it’s worth it to not have that bummer of a barcode printed along the bottom of all of your gorgeous envelopes.

Happy Mailing!

Wedding Invitation 101, Part 4: Wedding Invitation Wording and Etiquette

Wedding Invitation Wording and Etiquette / Fine Day Press for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Hi guys, Ashley from Fine Day Press here! Welcome back to our Wedding Invitation 101 series, all about wedding invitations. Today’s post covers wedding invitation wording and etiquette. Be sure to check out our previous posts covering how to get started, when to send, and printing methods for lots more helpful information.

Wording and Etiquette (and When to Break the Rules)
What information do you need to have on your wedding invitation? Whose names do you need to include? What order do you put them in? Fear not, we have all the answers to your invitation wording and etiquette questions right here!

Simply put, your invitation wording style should match the tone of your wedding ceremony. Will your wedding be traditional, formal, religious, secular, casual, fun, laid-back, modern? Whatever adjectives describe your big day, those can be your guide when you’re crafting the language of your invitation. Of course, your stationer (Fine Day Press included!) will be adept at providing insight as well as grammatical and logistical know-how.

Grammar and Punctuation
Bad grammar is never ok! Neither is incorrect spelling. Be sure your apostrophes, pronouns and spellings are all up to par. Apostrophes indicate possession and should not be used with plural names, for example, “The Smiths invite you…” NOT  “The Smith’s invite you…”  Punctuation, such as commas and periods, are generally not included — but in less formal invitations, an exclamation point for emphasis is totally fine if it jives with your wedding style!

What to Include
The information you’ll want to include will generally be in the order listed below:

Who’s Hosting
This is typically the very first thing listed on the invitation. It may be the parents of the bride, parents of the groom, the couple, or the couple with their families. This can be specific: “Mr. & Mrs. Robert Cannon invite you…” — or vague: “Together with their parents.” If the couple is hosting, you can start off with your names: “Emma and Robert invite you to celebrate their marriage…”  For divorced parents, you may choose to list their names on separate lines to indicate them as individuals. In the case of remarried parents, you can list them on the same line, separated by the word “and.”

The words “Mr. & Mrs.” and the middle initials of parents (if including) should be the only abbreviations on your invitation. If someone is a Doctor or Reverend, spell those titles out fully. When including a deceased family member on the invitation, precede their name with “the late.” For example, “Emma Jane, daughter of Mrs. June Cannon and the late Mr. Robert Cannon.” If that feels too impersonal, perhaps add a line in memory of loved ones you’d like to remember on your ceremony day.

Request Line
Are you asking people to celebrate with you as you exchange vows? Party with you as you tie the knot? Witness your love and commitment? There are a number of ways to say essentially the same thing, but each wording carries a different tone. Traditionally, religious ceremonies always request the honor of your presence., while secular events request the pleasure of your company.

Names of the Couple
This is pretty straightforward: first names only (casual), first + middle if listed with parents’ names, or first, middle, last (formal). See our wedding invitation wording cheat sheet for examples. The bride’s name is always listed before the groom’s. For two brides or two grooms, you can defer to alphabetical order or whatever looks best in the design.

Date and Time
For traditional invitations, you’ll spell out dates and times in full (i.e. two thousand sixteen NOT 2016 and four o’clock not 4:00). However, occasionally a design will call for bold, modern typography that calls out the dates in numbers rather than words, and this is A-ok in my book. Generally, times will include a reference to time of day — such as “half past three in the afternoon” or “six o’clock in the evening”.

Location
This includes the full venue name on one line, with the city and state on the following line. Listing the full address is optional and often not included. For private addresses however, such as family homes, the full address should be listed.

Wedding Invitation Wording Cheat Sheet / Fine Day Press for Oh So Beautiful Paper
Above: Fine Day Press created this handy wedding invitation wording cheat sheet you can use to get started! Download it here.

Dress Code
You don’t have to list a dress code, but this can be a very helpful guide for your guests, and is absolutely required if your ceremony is black tie. Dress code should be listed on a line following the location. You can get creative here too, with a phrase like, “colorful island chic” for an oceanside destination wedding. If your wedding has a theme, like a Great Gatsby-inspired garden party, you can suggest similar dress, but worded in a way that makes sure guests know it’s okay to not fit the theme exactly: “Dress code: Semiformal /1920s-inspired attire encouraged but not required”.  Remember, dress codes are meant to be encouraged, not enforced.

Lastly, keep in mind the environment and potential weather issues. For example, if your wedding is on grass or sand, you may want to say ”Stilettos not advised” or “Pack your flip flops for the ceremony” to give your guests a heads up on what’s appropriate. Likewise, if you are having an outdoor ceremony in potentially chilly weather, suggest bringing a wrap or sweater.

Post-ceremony details
Think about what your guests need to know about the reception or any other post-ceremony festivities. A standard one would be, “Reception immediately following / Venue name.” However, you can have fun and show your personality here, too. For example: “Tequila shots and bad dance moves to follow” or “Cocktails, revelry and dancing to follow.”  This information can also be printed on a separate card, smaller than the invitation.

Saying No Children

“Can we say we don’t want children at my wedding?”

I get this question a lot – and yes, it’s totally ok to say “no kids, please!”  Your guests will understand.

The most subtle way to do this is to address the invitation to the parents only. By not including the kiddos’ names on the envelopes, it’s implied that they are not invited. But this may be too subtle an approach that many guests might ignore. I suggest more direct wording included on the invitation to be sure you get the point across.

To do this, add the line, “This invitation is extended to adults only” or, more briefly, “Adults only” at the bottom of the invitation. Some couples like to differentiate the ceremony from the reception. “Your children are welcome at our ceremony. The reception is for guests 16 and up. Thanks for understanding”  or simply “Our reception is for adults only” will suffice.

Wedding Invitation Wording Examples

Above: Which route will you go? A traditional wording example, on the left, from Fine Day Press; On the right, a creative wording example from Odd Daughter Paper Co.

It’s Okay to Have Fun
It’s totally okay to throw out all of the above rules (except for the grammar and spelling, of course!) —  as long as your invitation contains the necessary information (who, when and where), you can get as creative and personal as you like.

Want to work in your beloved pup’s name on the invitation? Do it! Want to include your shared love of wine or travel, or even the story of how you met? Go for it! After all, this is your special day , and the invitation will be something you can treasure and keep forever.

Every family and couple is unique; ultimately, you and your families will decide what’s best for your event.

Stay tuned for our fifth and final post, about mailing your invitations! (Hint: it’s not as simple as you think.)

Wedding Invitation 101, Part 3: Printing Methods

Wedding Invitation 101, Part 3: Wedding Invitation Printing Methods / Fine Day Press for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Hi guys, Ashley from Fine Day Press  here! Welcome back to our Invitation 101 series, all about wedding invitations. Today’s post covers the different wedding invitation printing methods. Be sure to check out our first post, about how to get started, and the second post, about when to send.

When it comes to printing wedding invitations, the options really are endless. Your budget will likely play a role in what printing method(s) you choose. If your stationery budget is on the smaller side, digital or 1-color letterpress could be the best option. For a no-holds-barred affair, on the other hand, you might combine a few different printing methods, like letterpress, foil stamping, and edge painting. If these terms have you scratching your head in confusion, read on!

FLAT PRINTING

These days, the vast majority of invitations are flat – or digitally – printed. Digital printing has revolutionized the way we print invitations. It’s much more affordable, and the technology has come so far that the quality is very high. Plus, you can print with an endless amount of colors! You can even print on cotton stocks and heavier papers. Personally, I love the unlimited color capabilities that flat printing allows – it’s what gives our watercolor invitations their textural details. This look wouldn’t be possible with letterpress printing or screen printing. You can find examples of beautiful real wedding invitations that use digital printing here.

LETTERPRESS PRINTING

It’s hard to beat letterpress printing for sheer beauty; it has an amazing tactile quality that no other method conveys. Letterpress printing is a centuries-old technique in which ink is applied to a raised plate design and then pressed into paper – today often a thick cotton stock – resulting a wonderfully textured impression. Blind letterpress printing, or de-bossing, is created by stamping the impression onto the paper without using any ink and can be incredibly stunning. However, letterpress printing can be limiting in some ways. Because a new plate and press run is required for each color in the design, adding a second or third ink color can make already pricey letterpress printing exponentially more expensive. And because the design must be created from line art, you won’t get the subtle color changes and design variations that you can achieve with digital printing. You can read more about the letterpress printing process here.

Wedding Invitation 101, Part 3: Wedding Invitation Printing Methods / Fine Day Press for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Clockwise from top left: Marble watercolor invitations by Fine Day Press; Two-color letterpress by Cheree Berry Paper; Gold foil on navy stock by Megan Wright Design Co.; Blind letterpress designed by Kate Holgate via this post; Edge painting by Ladyfingers Letterpress; Screen printed foldout map by Jessica Roush via this post.

SCREEN PRINTING

Screen printing is one of the oldest printing techniques and involves pushing thick, opaque ink through a fine mesh screen, resulting in a bright, tactile design that sits on the surface of paper.This method is great for using special inks like fluorescents and metallics, or for printing with opaque white ink onto a dark background color. As a result, screen printing can be a wonderful choice for vibrant and colorful modern wedding invitations. Screen printing also allows for printing on a variety of surfaces – like fabric or super-thick chipboard – so the possibilities for creativity run high. Budget-wise, it’s comparable to letterpress printing but can vary widely depending on the size of the screen and the number of inks. Each color requires its own separate screen so, like letterpress printing, a more colorful design means a higher overall cost. You can read more about the screen printing process here.

ENGRAVING

Engraving is the most classic of all wedding invitation printing methods – and most likely the method that your parents and grandparents used to print their wedding invitations! Engraving has fallen somewhat out of favor in recent years with the return of letterpress printing and improvements in digital printing, but it’s still one of the best options for a classic invitation design or black tie affair. Like letterpress printing, the engraving process transfers ink from a metal plate to paper by using intense pressure. However, unlike letterpress printing, with engraving the type and graphics are raised and create an embossed result. Engraving requires two metal plates etched with an image or text, which are then aligned on the press. Once aligned, ink is applied to the top plate and each piece of paper is then hand-fed through the press, receiving two tons of pressure and creating an embossed image with startling clarity, color purity and depth. You can read more about the engraving process here.

FOIL STAMPING, DIE CUTS, EDGE PAINTING, AND MORE!

Special printing and finishing techniques include things like foil stamping, die cutting, perforations, edge painting, and duplexing. Foil-stamping adds a high shine factor and adds a super special touch – it can be used on its own to beautiful effect or combined with digital printing for an extra shine. Want your invitations in the shape of a heart or another funky shape? You’ll be needing a custom die cut. Duplexing is when 2 sheets of thick stock are glued together to give a double-thick result. If you are printing on a double-thick stock, consider edge-painting to add a bright or metallic color to the edges of the card. So pretty! You can also use duplexing to combine a two different colors of card stock, like ecru and navy, to create major impact on both the front and back of an invitation. You can read about edge painting here, die cutting here, and foil stamping here.

DIY

Yes, it’s possible to print your invitations by your own bad self! Going this route takes some gumption, design savvy, and a willingness to be hands on. If you and your fiancé are both crafty, this could be a really fun project to tackle together. For example, you might take a letterpress printing class and then rent time at a studio to print your design. Or you could have screens made and silkscreen the cards yourself. Keep in mind that, with these options, you’ll need to supply your own paper stock and take care of trimming the paper as well. You can take your printed invitations to a local print shop for trimming if you don’t own a paper cutter.

I’ll be back soon with a post about Wording & Etiquette – stay tuned and happy printing!

Modern Calligraphy Summit 2.0!

The original Modern Calligraphy Summit was easily one of the most exciting things to happen in 2016. Seven of the most respected calligraphers in the biz offering insider tips and tricks in an online calligraphy extravaganza? Yes, please! Well, the Modern Calligraphy Summit was such an awesome success that the organizers have been busy planning a second installment – called the Modern Calligraphy Summit 2.0!

Modern Calligraphy Summit 2.0 / Script Merchant

Image via Script Merchant

The Modern Calligraphy Summit 2.0 will take place February 20 – March 8, 2017 and will bring you a 2.5 week online calligraphy party with over 7 hours of video lessons from some super talented instructors (including more than a few familiar faces from here at OSBP), including Katherine Ross of Script Merchant, Lauren Saylor of A Fabulous Fete, Jenna Rainey of Mon Voir, Karla Lim of Written Word Calligraphy, Sharisse DeLeon of Pieces Calligraphy, Younghae Chung of Logos Calligraphy, and Molly Knabel of Poppy and Mint Design. Summit courses include Watercolor Illustration and Digitizing, Invitation Design, Brush Calligraphy, Classic Copperplate, Writing on Everything but Paper, and more! Oh, and there’s a bonus session on photography and styling! The Modern Calligraphy Summit 2.0 also includes live office hours for Q + A, handouts and templates, a private Facebook community to support you as you learn, and LIFETIME ACCESS to all the amazing content.

Modern Calligraphy Summit 2.0 / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Modern Calligraphy Summit 2.0 Instructors / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Early bird enrollment is currently open for the Modern Calligraphy Summit 2.0 for just a few days – you can sign up here at the special Early Bird rate through Tuesday (tomorrow!) August 30!

p.s. If you missed the original Modern Calligraphy Summit – don’t worry, you can still sign up for lifetime access to all the original video instruction, worksheets, and templates right here!

This post contains affiliate links. By clicking on these links, you’ll help support Oh So Beautiful Paper while also learning the beautiful art of calligraphy! I only recommend products that I truly love and trust that you’ll love, too. My full disclosure policy can be found here.

How to Style Stationery for Photography

Hi kids, it’s Nichole from Coral Pheasant bringing you some tips on how to style stationery like a boss. Beautifully styled stationery images are important details when telling the full wedding day story. And for submitting them for publication on sites like Oh So Beautiful Paper!

How to Style Stationery for Photography / Coral Pheasant for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by Kat Harris Photography

The first, most essential tip is to plan. Planning is vital for the smooth running of a photo shoot – and will ensure that you have a road map in place to capture the most significant details. The day before the shoot, I gather all the invitation components (multiple sets are very helpful to have), a variety of backgrounds and styling props. I have a dedicated space in my studio where I keep most of my props so they are all within arm’s reach. Having them close by gives me lots of options. Options are major key!

With everything gathered, I start to lay out compositions. My goal is to tell the whole paper story through a series of images. I  start big picture, laying out the main pieces of the suite. This typically includes the invitation, reply card, coordinating envelopes and any enclosures. When you compose an image, consider why you are taking the photograph. What is the story? What are you trying to convey? Is the print method stunning? Maybe the colors are unique or the design is out-of-the-box.

I experiment adding and subtracting different props until I arrive at a configuration that I am happy with – both a vertical and a horizontal layout – and take quick pictures using my iPhone. I then move on to smaller vignettes where I highlight details of the suite. None of these arrangements are 100% perfect, they are simply there to reference for the actual photo shoot. Think of them as a rough draft. Once I’ve got all the compositions planned out, I upload the photos to my computer and create a visual shot list.

How to Style Stationery for Photography / Coral Pheasant for Oh So Beautiful Paper

I find this to be immensely helpful! I personally do not excel at doing multiple things at once – like talking and styling – and having a visual cheat sheet keeps me on track. I’ve already been super thoughtful about the arrangements in the quiet of my studio the day prior. This allows me to obsess over the details of spacing and alignment on the day of the shoot. And of course there is always room to free style because you’ve done your homework and you have a solid sense of what you want to accomplish that day.

On to the actual styling! Below are some essential “tools” for getting started.

How to Style Stationery for Photography / Coral Pheasant for Oh So Beautiful Paper

SUGGESTED TOOLS

• Erasers, staples, washi tape
Stationery photos are more interesting when items are on different levels. Flat cards on a flat background = boring. You need to vary the height of the cards to create depth. Items that vary in thickness and have large flat surfaces are what you’re looking for. Staples are great because they are cheap and can be broken into different lengths. Erasers and rolls of washi tape work well, too, and are taller than staples giving you a mix of heights.

• Poster tack
This pliable tack keeps round objects from rolling, helps envelope flaps lay flat and can be used to add additional height to lightweight items.

• Paint brushes
Paint brushes are great for wiping away rogue dust particles and pet hairs. (I should mention that I have 2 dogs. Pet hair is a constant at my studio!)

• Tweezers
You have everything laid out just so when you notice one card is not quite straight. Ugh! Tweezers (or the pointed end of your paint brush) can be used to delicately move that one card 1/36″ to get it perfect without disrupting the other pieces. Anal retentive, OCD who me??

• Backdrops
Get creative! I keep a mix of different colored, large sheet papers on hand. You could also get sheets of plywood and paint them to coordinate with your paper story. Or you could be baller and get yourself styling boards from Heirloom Bindery.

• Foam core
White foam core can be used as a reflector to bounce light onto your layout and to soften harsh shadows.

• Diffuser
Another way to soften strong shadows. I have one similar to this that can be used as a reflector and a diffuser.

How to Style Stationery for Photography / Coral Pheasant for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photos by Charlotte Jenks Lewis

In the beginning I mentioned props – and how having them is major key when styling stationery photos. I am constantly collecting items to add to my prop closet. Having a variety of items on hand makes it so much easier to style. Some will work, some will be a flop, but it’s all good because you will have options! Look for items that are smaller in scale. You want a mix of sizes but you also want to mindful of how their proportions relate to the paper. Consider items with great color, patina and texture.

How to Style Stationery for Photography / Coral Pheasant for Oh So Beautiful Paper

How to Style Stationery for Photography / Coral Pheasant for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Having multiples of things, once again, gives you options. Are you noticing a constant here? Hint: OPTIONS.  A particular pair of scissors might be too small for your setup or not the right color, but you’re not stressed, you have OPTIONS!

How to Style Stationery for Photography / Coral Pheasant for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Petite dishes are great for corralling other smaller props. They help to give those small things a sense of place and also add dimension and texture to the overall image.How to Style Stationery for Photography / Coral Pheasant for Oh So Beautiful Paper How to Style Stationery for Photography / Coral Pheasant for Oh So Beautiful Paper

I use vintage postage a LOT when styling. As in Every. Single. Time. They’re mini pieces of art and bring delightful color to the composition. Nole did an awesome write-up about vintage postage and where to find it. I strongly encourage you to give that a read if you are on the hunt!

How to Style Stationery for Photography / Coral Pheasant for Oh So Beautiful Paper

I also like adding bits of vintage paper ephemera when styling. The dog-eared edges, interesting typography, and varying colors are yet another way to add interest to your composition.

How to Style Stationery for Photography / Coral Pheasant for Oh So Beautiful Paper

How to Style Stationery for Photography / Coral Pheasant for Oh So Beautiful Paper

I think it goes without saying that bringing natural elements to your styling sesh can be a real game changer. But I just said it. So there, take note.

You’re now equipped with the tools and the props and you’ve got your beautifully designed stationery. That doesn’t automatically spell success. You must also be thoughtful how you compose your image.

COMPOSITION TIPS

• Balance
Your image should be balanced. I don’t mean that the composition needs to be symmetrical, but the selection of props should relate to one another and not compete. And remember, your goal here is for your stationery shine!

• Negative space
Be mindful of the spacing between each element and how they relate to each other. Is it even? Is everything straight? It’s much harder to retouch these things in post-processing!

• Alignment
If there is too much going on, it will feel cluttered and your eye won’t know where to land. Consider carving out negative space.

How to Style Stationery for Photography / Coral Pheasant for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by Carla Ten Eyck Photography

That’s a wrap! I would love to hear some of your tried and true tips for perfect paper pics!

Photo and Styling Credits: Coral Pheasant (except where noted)Save