As you may already know, a lot of planning goes into the wedding stationery with choosing the perfect save the date cards and invitation suites to set the tone for your Washington DC area wedding. But what about the day-of paper pretties? We’re talking about everything your guests will see and use all day long from the ceremony programs and escort cards to the menus and favor tags. As always, we’re here to bring you a little wedding inspiration, so we turned to some of our favorite wedding stationers and calligraphers and rounded up a few of our favorite ideas!
Don't forget to dress up the wedding bar! An elegant calligraphy sign, like this pretty one by Laura Hooper Calligraphy, is an easy (and pretty!) way to show off your signature drinks. Photo Credit: The Observatory
Choosing the right wedding invitation is only the beginning! If you are planning on sending out invitations for your wedding, we have you some advice from the best wedding invitation designers and calligraphers in the Washington DC area. This time, though, we aren’t telling you what to do, we are telling you what not to do! The designers and calligraphers gave us some the common mistakes that they see couples making in their wedding invitations. So, lucky for you, you can learn from others’ mistakes! Best of all, they are giving you some tips for how to avoid these problems too. Here we go with the most common mistakes in wedding stationery…
“One of the biggest mistakes we see couples making has to do with their timeline. There are so many creative, unique, and beautiful wedding invitation ideas available, but it takes plenty of time to create such individual and hand-created items. Some couples come in with little lead time, and end up having to settle for an invitation that is absolutely gorgeous, but does not truly show their personal style. We love when couples come in months in advance, because then we can pull together and create a one-of-a kind design for them and their options are not limited. Our advice to couples: make an appointment at least six months before your wedding to start looking at invitations and 10 months before for save the dates.” — Heidi, owner of The Dandelion Patch
“A common mistake is not ordering enough invitations. It’s 100 times easier to do an order of 80 invitations originally, than it is to do 75 and then add 5 more after the initial print run. If you anticipate sending to additional guests as replies come in, or even if you’re unsure about your total when you order, it’s always better to overestimate by a bit than to underestimate and not have enough. This is especially true if you’re getting letterpress or foil stamped invitations since the turnaround time is longer to begin with. Also, there is always a chance that the colors may not print exactly the same on the second print-run, so it’s better to do it all at the same time.” — Jenna and Elizabeth at Little Bit Heart
“The most common mistakes that I see couples make when selecting and ordering their wedding invitations generally revolve around not planning far enough ahead – if you want to have a calligrapher address your envelopes, you’ll need to make sure you have a two to three (or more!) week gap between when your invitations will be ready to pick up from your stationer and when you want to actually mail them out. Along those same lines, go ahead and contact your preferred calligrapher around the same time you are ordering the invitations – at that point you are much more likely to be able to book your preferred timeframe for calligraphy and the calligrapher can also let you know of any specific requirements they may have. For instance, I always ask my clients to provide additional envelopes beyond the number that needs to be addressed, ideally 20 percent. When clients chat with me in advance of ordering their invitations, they go into the ordering process knowing to include that buffer in their envelope count.” — Michelle, owner of Meant to Be Calligraphy
“A common mistake made with wedding invitations has to do with envelope addressing. Always order extra envelopes! It does not matter who is addressing your envelopes – a calligrapher, a printing company, or handwriting them yourself – mistakes happen. There will be cases where a name is spelled wrong, or a friend moves to a new house right before you are ready to send out your invitations. When that happens, you will need to re-print the envelope. Calligraphers and printing companies usually require 10 percent more envelopes then needed because of situations like this. Therefore, many invitation vendors will automatically include extra envelopes, but make sure to ask!” – Heidi, owner of The Dandelion Patch
“A mistake that we see is not having correct addresses or having an incomplete address list. We know the address list is right up there with the seating arrangement as far as level of difficulty, but it’s so so important to have this be complete and correct before you send it off to your designer. We see this a lot because we offer a mailing service and often send out the invitations directly to guests, so it’s really important for the list to be right when we receive it. There’s a few reasons for this: incorrect addresses can cause your invitations to be returned to you (that’s the worst case), misspellings or incorrect titles can slip by uncorrected (no one knows your list as well as you do, and your list will be printed as it’s written), and questions about errors or inconsistencies can add time to your turnaround since it will can hold up printing.” – Jenna and Elizabeth at Little Bit Heart
“Not using proper etiquette is a very common mistake. One of the primary reasons couples love using The Dandelion Patch is because we are experts in invitation etiquette. Did you know that the request line on the invitations is determined by if you are having a religious ceremony or not? Or that when writing “and guest” on an envelope the “g” is lowercase? There are many small details about etiquette that are easily overlooked and many websites give incorrect information. So, make sure to do your research on proper wedding etiquette or come to The Dandelion Patch and make your life easy!” – Heidi, owner of The Dandelion Patch
Ladies and gents, get ready for all the handmade goodness from Mattie and Justin’s wedding Maryland. Inspired by their love of the outdoors, every pretty detail was truly personal, all beautifully captured by Amber Wilkie Photography. (Be sure to check out their outdoor wedding ceremony too!) Their crafty families got in on the DIY action from the map banners and favor tags to the table cards named after their favorite national parks! This nature-loving duo and their guests even ended the day with a campfire celebration later that night—so much fun!
From Mattie: Our families are creative masterminds. Almost everything was handmade – but not by me! My mother designed a logo based on the U.S. Forest Service logo with our initials – M&J – that appeared throughout the wedding. She made banners, table tents, and favor tags out of maps of Mendocino County, California, and St. Lawrence County, New York – where Justin and I were born. She also made the table cards – each table named after a national park or other recreational area – and a beautiful collage of our visits to the areas the tables were named after.
Justin’s family made so very many wonderful things: his family runs a bakery (Touch of Icing in Waddington, New York) and made our cake, as well as: the polished wood cake plate, a pair of customized cornhole boards with California and New York drawn on them, the directions signs to various important locations in our lives, a beautiful bar menu sign, and so much more!
Mattie’s wedding planning advice for other DC-area couples:
Be willing to consider professionals who are not “wedding-specific” professionals. Although everyone we hired had experience with weddings, many had more flexibility and better prices because their businesses are not entirely dependent on weddings – important especially if you are getting married on a peak date.
Thank you so much Mattie and Justin for sharing your wedding ceremony with us! The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
If you’re a fan of rustic weddings, then today’s Maryland wedding will perk you right up this Tuesday morning! Mattie and Justin were inspired their love of the outdoors for their relaxed celebration, and Thorpewood made for the perfect location, with Amber Wilkie Photography on hand to capture every pretty detail. Uninterrupted skies, gorgeous spring weather and an intimate woodland setting—could you ask for a more perfect day? I think not. Don’t forget to come back later this morning and see all the handmade pretties from their reception!
From Mattie: Since so many of our best memories come from time spent outside, we knew we wanted to be married in a woodland or mountain-type venue. Thorpewood fit the bill perfectly – and sits in the midst of Catoctin Mountain Park and Cunningham Falls state park – two great hiking destinations. We also knew we wanted a springtime wedding – the woods are so beautiful in the spring! The venue and the time of year directed most of the style and color choices. White, pale pink, and green are all colors naturally found in the Maryland woods in May.
Thank you so much Mattie and Justin for sharing your wedding ceremony with us! Come back later this morning to see their reception. The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
This, my friends, is how you start the work week! A little whimsy, a little rustic elegance and you have yourself a beautiful wedding in Virginia that will have you smiling all afternoon. Lily and Tony designed and crafted many of the pretty DIY details you’re about to see from the pretty paper goods to the stringed lights around the photo booth, all captured by Emily Chastain Photography. (Be sure you check out their wedding ceremony before you go on!) I absolutely love that they sent guests home with a choice in jarred spices and with a recipe! Talk about a practical wedding favor!
From Lily: We wanted neutral colors, to embrace the butcher block tables at Trummer’s on Main, and a rustic/whimsical feel to the wedding with subtle elegance.
We are most proud of the decorations since we designed and made everything ourselves. It was a lot of fun preparing for the wedding. We handmade our invitations, escort cards, wrote the chalkboard sign ourselves, made the string of lights around the photobooth, all of the signs
We are big on cooking, so we decided to give different spices as our favors. We made thank you tags for each of the bottles/jars we put them in and included a description of how the spices could be used.
Lily’s wedding planning advice for other DC-area couples:
Take the time to meet with vendors. We began to get vendor fatigue, and after reviewing things endlessly online, we would only meet with one vendor and go with them as long as they were normal. We were happy with all of our vendors, but things are expensive here and I wish we would have taken more time to weigh our options/costs by interviewing more vendors.
Thank you so much Lily and Tony for sharing your wedding reception with us! The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
Charming, intimate and full of love—it’s hard not to look at this wedding in Virginia and not be overcome with joy. With Emily Chastain Photography behind the camera, Lily and Tony pulled off a day that’s got fun and whimsy written all over it! And can we discuss that sweet ride the ring bearer came down the aisle on? I can’t handle the cuteness! Be sure to join us later this morning to see their DIY detail filled celebration!
From Lily: We wanted a whimsical, intimate, and easy going wedding. It was important for us to decorate elegantly, but simply because we didn’t want everything to look overdone. We also wanted everything to be just right for our guests. It was important for us to feel like they were more than wedding guests, but rather as family.
My nephew (ring bearer) rode down the aisle in the white car, but we wanted him to go back to get my niece (flower girl) so that she wouldn’t be scared going down by herself. He went back to get her, and they threw a flew flowers, put the basket down and then proceeded down the aisle holding hands! Apparently they then went back to the basket to clean up the flowers they threw. I had no idea what was going on, but the music changed so it was time for my dad and I to go down the aisle. When we got there, we saw our niece and nephew in the aisle cleaning up the flowers. It ended up that they walked right in front of me and my dad. I absolutely loved having them there. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
We also bought the white car on Craigslist. It was originally a yellow and red roadster with a red flame, but we took it apart, spray painted it white, and polished the metals to make it look nice for the ring bearer to ride in on.
Thank you so much Lily and Tony for sharing your wedding ceremony with us! Come back later this morning to see their reception. The following Washington DC area wedding professionals contributed to their wedding:
Good morning DC area wedding lovers! Are you ready for another installment of our Sunday Brunch feature?! This week we are profiling Sweet Tea Photography, a lifestyle and and event photography studio based in Northwest DC. They incorporate southern charm coupled with urban sophistication in creating timeless and telling images. There is nothing they love more than capturing the excitement and joy of a bride and groom on their wedding day! Owner and lead photographer Lisa Marie O’Quinn, has been recognized nationwide for her fresh approach to wedding photography. Her approach can be described as a combination of fine art, editorial, and photojournalism. Her minimalistic style and her passion for creating unique images have brought her back to shooting film. Incorporating a variety of film cameras along with digital, allows her to feel more involved in the creative process. Originally from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, southern belle Lisa Marie now considers Washington, DC her home. For more from Sweet Tea Photography, be sure to check out their website or check out all their past features on United With Love.
We hope that you’ll check out Sweet Tea Photography as a wedding photographer the Washington DC area. Join us again next weekend for Sunday brunch with another fantastic supporter of United With Love! We’ll see you back here bright and early Monday morning! If you are interested in joining us for brunch on United With Love, please send us an email.
I hope you’re having a great summer so far! Any awesome weekend plans? It’s about that time of year when everyone trades the DC-area heat for cooler temps. I know I’ll be heading to Ocean City in a few, so let the countdown begin! Whatever you do and wherever you go, I hope that you and yours have a great weekend! And, don’t forget to check the blog this weekend for more wedding inspiration!
Some links for your weekend…
Do not miss this advice post on saving money on your wedding!
We’re sending you off into the weekend with this beautiful Virginia engagement session set in the heart of Middleburg. Jennifer and Josh chose the first week in May for their shoot, and boy, did they pick a great time (and location!) of the year! Flowers were literally blooming everywhere they turned and Ellis Photo Studio was on hand to capture every dreamy moment. And, since this bride-to-be is an avid horseback rider the barns, rolling hills and quaint atmosphere made Middleburg a perfect choice!