HTME – September :: Bespoke Wedding Calligraphy

Welcome to the Happiness Through My Eyes blog circle founded by some seriously talented photographers I met one year ago in Amsterdam. Each month we pour out our happiness to you and link to each other to allow you a fantastic glimpse of bright happiness spots around the world. Let me tell you, it is fascinating! This month I link to Rebecca at Rebecca Spencer Photography based in Little Brickhill, Milton Keynes, England. Rebecca is an award winning photographer who manages to capture such emotion in her photographs! I always love her use of a shallow DOF. Be sure to check out her happiness for the month of September HERE!

I am so very excited to be introducing Bespoke Wedding Calligraphy to the design half of Kirsten Ashley Photography & Design! What exactly is a bespoke suite? The word bespoke comes from the  Old English word besprecan meaning “made to individual order or tailor-made”. One of the business foundations of KAPD is to create a tailor-made experience for every single client, so naturally this design idea feels right at home here! The month of September has been dedicated to the creation of a Bespoke Save-the-Date suite for Jen, a beautifuly stunning and talented 2015 bride. It is my joy to share the design process of this elegant suite customized to match her wedding colors and style.

It all starts on Pinterest. I know, right? You’re shocked… Pinterest is the best visual bulletin board for brides to give me an idea of their desired colors schemes and style. Everything from the florals, to the dress, to the shoes, cake, reception decor etc. The more information I have the easier it is for me to create a design that will fit in seamlessly with the days celebration. Here is a mood board that I used to culminate Jen’s vision for the day she says “I do!”. From this collage we agreed she is going to have predominately peach color scheme with hints of mint, sage, cream, and berry.

Next up is the design discussion. The bride sends me invite designs that she likes or element designs she wants to match. We talk fonts and style. Then it’s time for me to break out the pencils and watercolors to come up with a mock up. In some designs I will watercolor the complete design, but for most invitations, all of the design elements get painted separately, scanned in, and the put together in Photoshop. You can see below the different elements that went in to create the final proof and printed design.

The envelope design is by FAR my favorite part. My obsession with pretty mail {#longliveprettymail} is what helps my clients know they are in good hands. The scripts used for the addresses on the exterior usually match the invitation inside, so it is a matter of deciding on a composition that is both unique and stylish. Color mixing is a common daily activity here at KAPD, as most invitations require custom ink colors. Once the final color is mixed and the calligraphy is complete, the mock up of the exterior is sent to the client for review. Once the mock up has been approved, I mix a large batch of the custom ink color to be used on all invitations.

Kirsten Ashley Photography | Bespoke Wedding Invitations

One of the important steps of the process is creating a grid on each of the invitations so that the calligraphy is centered and evenly spaced. Depending on the type of envelope, I can sometimes use a light table to “see through” the envelopes so that the pencil line grid step is not necessary. Also, depending on the type of calligraphy, I will sketch an outline of names and address onto each invitation. It makes it easier so I don’t have to keep referencing my microscopic spreadsheet. You can see the pencil lines on the image below. These lines are erased once the ink is dry.

Kirsten Ashley Photography & Design | Bespoke Wedding Invitations

I really love to finish off invitations with a little bit of extra “oomph” that make them stand out among the standard mail. Stamps are one way to do this. I adore stamps because they last forever, even though the price of sending a one ounce piece of mail through the system is constantly rising. Some clients will opt for a spread of vintage stamps that add up to the correct postage. Either way it’s another way to coordinate colors, style, and the unique custom-made feel. Also, there are many ways to seal the back of the envelope. My favorite and a more traditional way is to use sealing wax and a custom seal. This bride’s style was a bit more vintage folk so we opted for a delicate lace cream and gold washi-tape closure. Other types of sealing include stickers, string ties with brads, etc. The sky is the limit on creativity.

Kirsten Ashley Photography | Bespoke Wedding Invitations

I am beyond thrilled with the finished save the date suite! Every piece added in is crucial to making the invitations “totally Jen” and perfectly tailor-made for her wedding! I want to thank her for allowing me the opportunity to make her shine on the days leading up to her wedding. I can hardly wait for her to receive them in the mail! Stay tuned as I am designing the wedding invitation suite and reception chalkboards as well! The finished images below show the invitations in all of their lovely detail.

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I’d like to thank Jen again for bringing me such happiness and reason to celebrate through the month of September! If you are interested in having me design YOUR bespoke wedding, bridal shower, baby announcement, graduation, birthday party or tea party invitation suite, please visit my contact page or email me at I look forward to hearing your stories and working to create something spectacular to celebrate your day!

Don’t forget to follow the blog circle around the world! Visit Rebecca’s blog in England and see her happiness HERE.

Until next month’s happiness… Wishing everyone a lovely October!

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