How to Add Your Personal Touch to DIY Wedding Invitations

Over the years, we’ve put countless wedding invitation suites together. Whether they were for this DIY column, for a client or even for our own weddings, we’re always blown away by how different a design can look once a couple puts their own personal spin on the details. Today we’ll show you just how different one of our standard letterpress designs (our Old West Invitation) can look once we add in all of the special details that bring the suite together. Hopefully this column inspires you to think outside the box about your own invitations! Be sure to check out the bottom of the post where we share our favorite DIY resources! – Bailey and Emma of Antiquaria

How to Add Your Personal Touch to DIY Wedding Invitations by Antiquaria via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Bespoke design services are certainly available and a very popular option right now. It stands to reason that couples want a suite that reflects their personal style and the special day that they are planning. While they’re a great option for some, many budgets just can’t accommodate the high prices that come along with the custom design process. It’s not the only option to get something that suits you and also your budget. DIY-ing components of your suite and putting everything together with friends and family can really help the bottom line.

Maybe you want a letterpress invitation but also a vintage postcard reply. That’s when using a rubber stamp on a portion of your wedding invitation suite can come in really handy. Want envelope liners but the high price tag of having them installed blows the budget? Find fun patterned wrapping paper or scrapbooking paper and do it yourself. It will definitely take some extra time and effort but in the end offers the same custom look. The options for customizing your suite are endless (really, they are) so we’ll show you three designs and outline what it took to achieve each look. We’ll also give you some of our go-to resources for the fun stuff so that you can find exactly what you might need!

How to Add Your Personal Touch to DIY Wedding Invitations by Antiquaria via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Our first suite is a fun play on traditional western imagery. We brought in tonal shades of green with the envelopes and a cactus patterned paper. We used the letterpress wedding invitation as well as the coordinating reply card (our Old West Invitation and Old West Reply Card) to keep it simple. For this suite we splurged and used calligraphy addressing because it’s really the best way to get opaque white ink and to add more of a unique touch. Twine always looks great with western design, so we used a peach bakers twine over a belly band to tie the pieces together.

How to Add Your Personal Touch to DIY Wedding Invitations by Antiquaria via Oh So Beautiful Paper

For the second design, we wanted to illustrate just how pretty and feminine western design can be. We took the same Old West Invitation but paired it with pretty vintage postcard that featured a peach colored cactus flower and rubber stamped our reply info on the back. Adding in this imagery really helped us tie in the blush envelope and the coordinating chocolate and pink western liner. Of course, tying it together with a pretty Grecian Pink ribbon doesn’t hurt either. This suite was addressed using a digital addressing service. Just because you might not be able to afford a calligrapher doesn’t mean that you must resort to those tacky clear labels. There are many options for guest addressing with style selections to choose from.  There’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find something to coordinate with your suite.

How to Add Your Personal Touch to DIY Wedding Invitations by Antiquaria via Oh So Beautiful Paper

By far the most pricey and customized design of the group, this suite includes custom art and a box mailer. We still used the same Old West invitation design but brought in luxe details like the navajo patterned response card and vintage arrowheads – all enclosed in a little gift box. Thinking “out of the box” can be really fun if you have the time and budget to bring in special details like these (even if they’re actually in a box). Custom guest address labels were used on this design in lieu of calligraphy. We knew the box would need a lot of postage, especially if using vintage postage stamps, but hand lettering and calligraphy needs quite a bit of room to execute. The label is printed out with both your guest address as well as your return address and wraps onto the back of the envelope (or box). It’s especially appropriate for the box mailers since it seals one side of the box shut.

We hope that your mind is a-buzz with ideas of how to make your own wedding invitations custom and unique to you! There are many options out there and it pays off to spend a little time adding some DIY touches your your own invitations.

Resources

Designs used in the tutorial: Old West Letterpress Invitation, Old West Letterpress Reply Card, Old West Coral Patterned Paper

About Envelopes: Adding colored envelopes is always a great option. Often invitation companies will give you a credit if you elect not to use the envelope that they provide with the invitations. Our favorite envelope sources are Paper Source, Paper Presentation and Envelopes.com. Between the three, they offer a wide selection of colors and styles for your to choose from. There are many others out there too if you spend the time to search around.

About Addressing Options

Calligraphy: It’s not for every budget, but calligraphy is a great options for many couples. If you have time, you can even try to learn for yourself with our tutorials and supply kit. Otherwise, calligraphers are plentiful both online and locally. If you’d prefer to work with a local calligrapher, the best way to find a talented and reputable person is currently to go through your local calligraphy guild. Using a local calligrapher can make your life easier and can be less expensive since you can avoid shipping things back and forth. They also tend to accommodate rush jobs more easily. Some calligraphers may not have websites…don’t let this deter you, they can easily email samples to show you their skills!

Digital Addressing Services: Envelopes.com offers addressing on their huge selection of envelopes. It’s a great option for a professional look without hiring a professional calligraphy to hand letter each envelope. Etsy also has many, many sellers that offer this service as well. These vendors do not necessarily stock the envelopes so you’ll need to use the ones provided or find your own.

Guest Address Labels: Etsy is another great source for this service as well. You can also ask your designer or stationer if they offer addressing options to coordinate with the design that you choose. They might offer one or all of the options through their shop.

Our Favorite DIY Supply Resources

Pattterned papers for DIY envelope liners and bellybands: Antiquaria, Paper SourcePaper Mojo

Vintage Postage:  Our favorites source is Verde Studio Vintage Stamps, don’t hesitate to contact Virginia at Verde Studio: she is brilliant at currating a custom mix of vintage postage to suite your needs. Other resources for vintage postage include: Champion Stamp Co.Ebay – USA unused stamps 1901-nowThe Paper Nickel

Ribbon: We love the soft look of rayon taylor’s ribbon available at Antiquaria, for a more organic look check out the gorgeous italian cotton ribbons at Angela LiguoriM&J Trimming has a full assortment of ribbons and trimming to choose from.

Bakers Twine: Baker’s twine now comes in a variety of colors. Here are two great sources: Antiquaria &  The Twinery

Anti­quaria is a mem­ber of the Designer Rolodex – you can see more of their beau­ti­ful work right here or visit the real wedding invitations gallery for more wedding invitation ideas!

Photo Credits: Antiquaria for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Envelope Address Hand Lettering Tutorial from Ladyfingers Letterpress

Hi Everyone! The ladies of Ladyfingers Letterpress were kind enough to fill in during my summer vacation last year, and this post on Arley-Rose’s signature hand lettering was one of my favorite posts that week! So I jumped at the chance when Arley-Rose volunteered to stop by with some tips and tricks for adorning your envelopes with beautiful and whimsical hand lettered addresses. Take it away ladies! –Nole

With the majority of correspondence these days taking place in the digital realm, it’s always such a treat to get something real and tangible in the mail. Heck, even before e-mail dominated our lines of communication, you knew something was really special when it arrived through your mail slot all decked out with big, beautiful lettering that you knew someone took time to carefully create. Hopefully by the end of this post you will want to sit yourself down and experiment with some of the styles shown below to make your own beautifully styled envelope addresses. –Arley-Rose of Ladyfingers Letterpress

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I like to think of hand-lettering as more of an “illustration using letters” more than a “trained handwriting” kinda thing, so I choose pens that give me the most control as possible. People are doing beautiful things with pointed pens and modern calligraphy these days, and I encourage you to experiment with pointed pens if you like, but for now I am going to stick the tools that I know and love.

We’ll begin our journey into the world of lettering with familiarizing ourselves with a few different lettering styles that will act as our foundation and give us some variation in style that we can draw upon throughout our lettering endeavors! Personally, I like to combine different lettering styles, fluctuating between scripts, roman, and sans-serif characters to give the piece a lot of motion and personality. Not sure what a roman character is? Read on! Have questions about the etiquette and formality of addressing your envelopes? Martha Stewart has a terrific go-to tutorial about that!

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Roman lettering, which can also be called a “Serif,” has some of the earliest origins dating back to, well, the Romans! The word “Serif” is latin for “foot”, which makes sense when you look at the letters. See? They all have feet (except o’s)! Serifed typefaces such as Garamond or Baskerville look great as all caps and spaced out (which us type nerds refer to as “tracking”), or spelled out in both caps and lowercase with normal tracking. I sometimes like to make tall condensed roman letters if the address is really long and I need to make the most of my space. On capital As, Rs, Ns, Ys, Ks, Hs, and sometimes Gs, I like to add a little flourish, as you’ll notice on some of the envelope samples below.

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Now that you know that the word “Serif” means “foot”, naturally “Sans Serif” means “Without Feet!” Sans Serif letters were popularized in the mid twentieth century with the arrival of Helvetica, Gill Sans and Futura. I think they look great as all caps, tall and condensed! I also find that they’re easy to draw because they most closely resemble a clean, handwritten print style.

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Now the fun part begins! Getting the hang of lettering a script might take some time to get the hang of, but here’s a secret! Write in cursive as you normally would, and then darken the strokes that should have accents. Feel free to refer to other scripts with a quick google image search to see where those accents should be. Have some fun with your script: it’s not necessary to keep a straight baseline, in fact I tend to like scripts that dance around a little bit on the page. They have more character! Ha! Get it! Character? Typography? Joke? Uhhh….. Nevermind.

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My favorite go-to pen is the Pigma Micron from Sakura of America. I’ve been drawing with Micron pens since I was a wee young artist, and they continue to be my favorite pen for all types of uses, especially drawing on light-colored envelopes. My size of choice is an 08 but there was a time when all I used was the smaller 03s to get a really nice fine line.

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Keep it classy! Sometimes a white pen is all you need to do the trick, especially on dark or brightly colored envelopes. My go-to is the White Gelly Roll 08, which gives me a nice smooth line without any breaks or clogs. I’ve found that the Metallic Silver Gelly Roll pen is also super awesome! It’s not really too sparkly, but is super opaque which is exactly what I want. I also like the Moonlight pens for an extra burst of color.

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Sometimes I like the swift expression that can only be found with a brush pen. When I don’t have time to whip out the gouache and brushes, the Pigma Brush pens really do the trick. They also come in  a variety of colors, so if you’re not feeling like black ink is your thing that day, you can also choose from a variety of other colors that look great on white or light colored envelopes.

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The Do Not Open Lettering Project  by Erik Marinovich was recently brought to my attention by my amazing typographer friend Jeremy Mickel, and it blew my mind. It still does blow my mind. Every time I look at it. I thought I would refer to it here because it shows how creative you can be with large oversize envelopes. Besides, envelopes: they’re really just a canvas for beautiful lettering, right? Anyway, the Permapaque markers are incredible for this task. They’re nice and opaque like a paint marker without the nasty smell, and you get a huge variety of colors!

Now that you’ve seen some samples, I’d love to see what you come up with! Don’t forget to tag your work on Instagram with @beautifulpaper, @ladyfingersletterpress and @sakuraofamerica. Thanks and happy lettering!

Pens provided by Sakura of America, with awesome stamps provided by Pack & Post!

Photo Credits: Ladyfingers Letterpress

A New Year’s Eve Cocktail Dinner Party with St-Germain

Only a couple more weeks left in 2013! I always look forward to New Year’s Eve – both as an opportunity to celebrate with friends and as a chance to welcome change with open arms. Ever since I read The Night Circus earlier this year (so good!), I’ve been intrigued by the idea of formal midnight dinner parties. Invite a few close friends, give them an excuse to dress up in their best party clothes (something I don’t get to do nearly often enough), and have a wonderful evening full of great food and cocktails. And what better occasion for a midnight dinner than New Year’s Eve? So we’ve teamed up with our friends at St-Germain, Karson Butler Events, and Meant to Be Calligraphy to offer some inspiration for those of you planning some New Year’s Eve festivities: a cocktail dinner party!

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As always, let’s start with the invitations! Because we were aiming for something a bit more formal this time around, I decided to go with calligraphy from start to finish. Michele from Meant to Be Calligraphy created a stunning invitation in classic black ink on white paper and a calligraphy flourish on the back. We paired the invitations with slate gray envelopes (with a colorful DIY envelope liner) addressed in shimmery gold ink.

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We set up a side table as a makeshift bar to welcome guests with cocktails and appetizers – a little something to keep everyone happy through the countdown to midnight! We’ll be sharing the recipes a little bit later, but our menu included a cheese plate (a party requirement, yes?), a punch, a classic cocktail recipe, a champagne cocktail, and a mocktail for any designated drivers.

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Slate from Brooklyn Slate Company / Wood serving board from Target

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Vintage punch bowl set and ladle / Coasters from Linea Carta

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I’ve been obsessed with these constellation matchboxes for the longest time – they seemed like the perfect favors for a New Year’s Eve party! We paired them with gray and white striped favor bags from Shop Sweet Lulu with Michele’s calligraphy in gold ink.

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I found these heart shaped cards at Paper Source a while back (sadly no longer available in black), but wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. Michele came up with the brilliant idea of giving them to guests to inspire resolutions for the new year and conversations with fellow guests. Michele wrote out phrases on each card, again in gold ink – they’re now pretty much my favorite thing ever!

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After midnight, time for dinner! Amber and Emily from Karson Butler Events created a backdrop of white streamers and a mixture of tissue paper fans and honeycombs in various sizes for a really beautiful layered texture. It’s so pretty against the white brick wall!

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I had so much fun with the floral arrangements! I created a single centerpiece for the dinner table with peonies, garden roses, black and white anemones, paperwhites, silver brunia, white hypericum berries, and seeded eucalyptus. Smaller arrangements with the same flowers were sprinkled around the bar, along with a large bunch of seeded eucalyptus and bay leaves in an antique metal pitcher.

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I also did a simple swag of greenery down the center of the dinner table using small clippings of seeded eucalyptus, bay leaves, olive leaves, hypericum berries, and gold spray painted pepper berries (for a bit of extra sparkle) – all tucked around the centerpiece floral arrangement and small mercury glass votives. No floral wire necessary! We also created a table runner using layers of burlap – a plain loose weave burlap over silver polka dot burlap from Joann Fabrics.

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Our place settings included place cards with Michele’s calligraphy in silver ink on slate gray paper, metallic rimmed plates with gray linen napkins, and gold flatware.

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Full cocktail and mocktail recipes are coming up in just a bit!

Styling: Oh So Beautiful Paper and Karson Butler Events

Invitations and Calligraphy: Meant to Be Calligraphy

Floral Design: Oh So Beautiful Paper

Location: Karson Butler Events Design Studio

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Book Preview: Yellow Owl’s Little Prints

I grew up in a creative household. We made t-shirts at birthday parties, decorated the light switch plates in our bedrooms, among other crafty projects. I’m looking forward to creative projects with Sophie as she gets older, and I was so excited when Christine from Yellow Owl Workshop released her newest book – Yellow Owl’s Little Prints – dedicated entirely to handmade projects to make for (and eventually with) kids!

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Yellow Owl’s Little Prints features more than 25 creative projects ranging from DIY birth announcements and birthday party invitations to keepsake boxes, book plates, growth charts, rubber stamped bed linens, and nursery decorations. I’ve been in awe of Christine’s amazing creativity for years now and the incredible products she produces for Yellow Owl Workshop. Christine employes some of her favorite materials and techniques in Little Prints, including rubber stamps, stenciling, and hand printing techniques. Most projects can be done during an afternoon nap, and Christine was careful to exclude any projects that might require special equipment. Christine even includes a wonderful introduction with tips for teaching art to children and activity recommendations based on age and skill level. And of course, no craft book would be complete without a list of resources and templates (there’s a whole section of both in the back).

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My two favorite projects? A folk art wall mural using contact paper decals and a custom canvas name banner. So good!

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You can grab your own copy of Yellow Owl’s Little Prints right here!

Photo Credits: Laure Joilet for Potter Craft

Christine and Evan of Yellow Owl Workshop kindly sent me a copy of this book for review, but all words and opinions are my own.

Inspired By: Rose Gold

Since we’re already on the subject of beautiful metallic foil today, I couldn’t help but think of my current favorite metallic hue: rose gold! Don’t get me wrong, I still love gold, silver, and copper, but there’s something so soft and romantic about rose gold. I just can’t get enough, from jewelry to stationery to utensils. I’m looking forward to seeing lots, lots more beautiful rose gold over the coming months!

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1. Seesaw (sadly no longer available); 2. Re: Coco from New York; 3. Rose Gold Foil Coasters by For Your Party for the 2013 Paper Party, photo by Charlie Juliet Photography; 4. West Elm; 5. Smock; 6. Kate Spade

{images via their respective sources}