Formatting Your List

You've booked your calligrapher and now it's time to get your list together. When formatting your list, it is important check your calligrapher's policies. I list mine on the FAQs page of my website and again on my order form to ensure that every client is aware of the formatting guidelines. Regardless of this, I often get lists that are formatted incorrectly.

The number one request is that you send your list in MS Word format. I know, I know, Excel is so easy and convenient but which would you rather look at if you had to sit down for several hours to address envelopes? This:

Or This??:

That's what I thought. {The correct answer just to be clear is option 2} Just to explain, when you send your list in Excel, the addresses are written ACROSS the page and they are all very close together. This makes it very easy to put the wrong address with the wrong guest or the wrong zip code with the wrong address. You get the picture. But when your addresses are in word, they are so neatly stacked on top of each other, just as you would write the addresses out. {No cheating and copy/pasting your list into Word, that's still a spreadsheet and it defeats the purpose of having the list in Word.}

If you already have your addresses laid out in Excel, it is very simple to do a mail merge. In the tools drop down menu on the toolbar in Word there is a function listed under Letters and Mailings called Mail Merge Wizard that will walk you through an easy mail merge.

Once your list is in Word, the next step is to number it. Frequently, there are additions and corrections to the list after the fact. It is extremely time consuming to have to read through every name on the list to find the guest address that needs correcting. If your lists are numbered and alphabetized, it makes this a snap and we can certainly take care of it for you.

Finally, write your list EXACTLY as you want to see it written on the envelopes. If you want everything spelled out formally, then do not abbreviate state names, street, avenue, etc. {there are some words it is considered "appropriate" to abbreviate, you should inquire with your calligrapher if you have questions}. Why is this important? Because when your calligrapher looks at an envelope he/she determines the spacing of each line in their head. If you abbreviate California, it may throw the last line off balance from the top two lines. I tend to look at the second line in relation to where the first line is and the third in relation to the second. That is why it is so important to spell out everything. This also leaves absolutely no room for interpretation, discrepancies, confusion, and misunderstanding. {This is also why some calligraphers charge more for centering, because it takes longer to write each envelope if you have to figure out the spacing first}

Just remember, your calligrapher is performing a service for you, and it is impossible for him/her to complete their job to the best of their abilities if you do not supply them with the proper tools. Each calligrapher has their own set of policies in place that they have determined will help them deliver the most gorgeous possible product. It is also possible that if you submit your list incorrectly you will be asked to resubmit the list, so it's best to just do it right the first time. For that reason, please take the time to read the contracts you are signing and familiarize yourself with the policies.


Spotlight on Elegant Occasions

If you are planning a destination wedding, then JoAnn Grigoli of Elegant Occasions is the expert you want to talk to. One of only 16 Master Bridal Consultants in the Association of Bridal Consultants, she specializes in unforgettable events in exotic locations like Jamaica, Rome, the Caribbean and Mexico, as well as large tent events and huge big city events.
With offices in New York, New Jersey, and Rome, JoAnn and her team can pull your destination wedding together in any location in the world. Her luxurious events are suitable for the most discerning of brides, and you can count on an event you will never forget.


Simply Stated, Nearlyweds: A Blog by RealSimple.com

Yesterday afternoon I was delighted to receive an email from Xochitl Gonzalez, coordinator extraordinaire of Always A Bridesmaid. Turns out, she is the new blogger for RealSimple.com's blog Simply Stated: NearlyWeds and she has written a lovely post about our fab new line of couture Save the Dates that incorporate the designer maps.
She has featured our cute postcards and also the elaborate tri-folds, but these fantastic Save the Dates are also available in other formats to fit every budget.

Top 100 Wedding Blogs

I was thrilled to hear that A Lucky Orchid Wedding made the cut for this site's top 100 Wedding Blogs list along of some of my favorites such as Snippet & Ink, Elizabeth Anne Designs, Ritzy Bee, and Style Me Pretty.

We all know wedding blogs are an excellent resource, so be sure to check out this post to see who made the top cut!


Tabletop design by Kelly Oshiro Events

Even if you don’t have a huge budget to spend on décor, you can always add style to your tabletop by choosing a unique combination of china and flatware. Here are some of my favorite combinations:

This combination was used for a stylish Christmas party I planned in just three weeks. The tabletop design was finished with a runner of moss, tons of candles, and gold ornaments.

This design was for this wedding was based on the concept of “Zen Glamour.”

The result is a sophisticated look that incorporates reflective surfaces, damask, green silk, and succulents in the floral arrangements.

[photo by Harper Smith Photography]

You can always go to your rental company and play with you setup until you find just the right combination. And if you coordinate with your florist you might be able to take the floral mockup to your tabletop design session.

Here’s but a small sample of the tons of china, glassware and flatware options available to rent for your wedding. All rental photos from Town and Country Event rentals, based in Los Angeles

From basic white, to clear to ornate, china comes in just about any style you can think of.

Chargers are another great way to add a pop of color or texture to your table, especially if you are using a simple linen on the tables.

Similarly flatware can range the gamut from basic, to modern, to ornate.

Glassware is another way to dress up the table and take it to the next level.

Colored glassware is also available, though it was a little bit over used a few years ago. Personally, I like to use it at the bar serving the signature drink. All the glasses lined up on the bar in the same color looks pretty and creates instant drama at the bar.

{Note from Laura: Thanks so much Kelly for those 2 very informative posts. It's been such a pleasure to read them and I hope you will come blog again soon! Also, be sure to check out my guest blog today on Kelly Oshiro's site for some useful info about the calligraphy process.}


Picking colors/finding your inspiration

Hi everyone, my name is Kelly Oshiro and I’m a wedding planner and event designer based in Santa Barbara. I’m a big fan of Laura’s work and I’m excited to share some ideas and advice. Thanks Laura for inviting me to your neck of the woods!

So now let’s talk about my favorite part of wedding planning—design, design, design…

[photo by Harper Smith Photography]

So you’ve picked your location, have a date, found the dress (or at least know if you want a ballroom gown or a sheath), and have an idea on how formal the event will be (sit-down or casual buffet?) – you have, haven’t you? If not, I would wait a little while to start on the design process because those three elements will help guide you and make choosing colors and the design elements a whole lot easier.

Once you’ve got those three pieces figured out its time to start collecting images of weddings you love, pieces of art, or anything that you find inspiring. I particularly like non-wedding related magazines like Elle Décor as the color palates and design elements showcased are something you don’t find in a regular wedding magazine.

On the flip side you should also collect some images that you don’t like. Sometimes is easier to formulate a design by starting with what you don’t like and then working towards what you do like. Its also helpful to keep these photos on hand when you meet with your florist, event designer, and your cake person—think of these photos as the equivalent to the “do not play list” you give your DJ.

So now with your big stack-o-photos its time to compare and contrast the images. Is there a common element that keeps popping up? For instance, do you have tons of photos of peonies? The color aqua? Monochromatic design?

[flowers by Artfool, via Style Me Pretty]

Grab a sheet of paper and write down all the words that would describe your group of images. Common words I use when I work with brides are:


I would also recommend putting together an “Inspiration board” to help you continue to focus and hone in on what you really love. Check out Style Me Pretty or Snippet & Ink for examples.

[inspiration board from Snippet & Ink]

So now you’ve got some ideas for color and the “look.” Now, it’s time to work on the details. Think about how you met, your favorite date night, food you both love, family traditions, and so on. This process is a great time to get your fiancé involved—you never know; he may come up with the best detail ever (my husband suggested doing challah and nutella, his favorite snack, in lieu of plain old bread and butter. Needless to say the nutella was a huge, huge, hit.).

Don’t worry if you don’t have every last detail worked out 6 months before the wedding. Design is an organic process and changing your mind, revising, reconsidering, throwing all your ideas out the window and starting afresh is completely normal.

[photos by Harper Smith Photography]

If you’re totally clueless about design here’s a tip to make anything look good: find three elements and repeat them. Here I used rocks as part of a sign holder, to hold down seating cards and the invitation to the post-wedding brunch, and to line the ceremony aisle. Happy designing!!!


Introducing: Guest Blogger Kelly Oshiro Events

Well it's a late start to the week but I am here to introduce my new guest blogger, Kelly Oshiro of Kelly Oshiro Events. Kelly is a couture event designer in the Santa Barbara, California area. She offers luxury full service event planning for California brides and destination weddings, but also a variety of other packages as well, one of which is a location scout service in which she will go out to your proposed site and walk you though any logistical challenges you may encounter based on her 7 years of expertise as an event coordinator. This is a stand alone services mainly for couples who don't have the need or budget for a full service wedding coordinator but do want to know if a particular venue will fit in their budget and any unforeseen costs that may accompany that site. Check back tomorrow and Thursday for two great posts from Kelly!


Gorgeous Ginkos

I just love this wonderful set from Eszter at Emma Rose Papery in SF. Its a beautiful orange and chartreuse design pairing birds and ginkos leaves. For more beautiful invitations like these, please have a look at her website to see her signature and custom invitations, and more.


Invitations by Abby Jean {Continued}

As promised, please see these gorgeous images from Abby Jean's line featuring the entire suite of Tiffany Blue and white with the matching maps.


Reception Item Special at Lucky Paperie

My charming friend Melanie over at Lucky Paperie emailed late last night to inform me of a special she is running on her beautiful designs for reception items. Once you order, she will print them, and if you want calligraphy, she will send them to me directly to put the names on.

This offer is for any of her designs in flat printing, and like all custom orders, you should order early, at least 2-3 weeks in advance.


Luxe Expressions -- A New Georgia Find

Thank you so much Debra Saba for notifying me of Luxe Expressions, a custom design studio for all things wedding, baby, and social. Most of these designs are inked on the letterpress for an exquisite impression. Luxe Expressions is physically located in Georgia, however can work with clients all over the country.

Shown here is the “dots and flowers” design which is a bit of wrapped around a modern edge invitation for that bride that just feels they are in between styles. It is beautifully inked by the letterpress and then wrapped in a holder and tied together with a belly band. This is Luxe Expressions' newest designs and can be customized in any ink colors. You can tell even in the photos that the textured paper is of a high quality, and there is a nice deep impression from the press. Don't hesitate to visit their new website today!

ABCDesigns Paper Cupp

I am loving these simply fabulous designs from ABCDragoo aka ABCDesigns Paper Cupp in NYC. They are some of the most unique invitations I have seen to date. Whats best, she creates bespoke stationery for all events, not just weddings. Here I have just a few examples, but the website has so many more. Even better, she has a great card line with really cool semi-custom designs to suit all your needs! You don't have to be in NYC to order, ABCD takes orders from all over the country and uses her vast experience of event styling to completely tailor your invitation to meet all your wildest expectations.


When Blue is Green

Now this is a darling Save the Date set, and the best part about it is that not only is it 100% recycled paper, but it is also 100% post consumer waste paper as well. Each Save the Date is 3 layers thick of natural colored cardstock with a beautiful soft blue colored back to match the border and the envelope. The blue envelopes are lined with the couple's monogram, a PS with love stamp designed to mimic a stamp one might see in their passport or travel visas. We even used that logo on custom postage stamps.
This Save the Date was designed with a Mexico destination in mind, however can also be customized in different color combinations and locations as well. It's very unique, and I was thrilled to show it off to the clients who picked them up from the studio last week.


Laura Hooper on Kelly Oshiro Events

Thank you so much Kelly Oshiro {of Kelly Oshiro Events} for your very thorough post on our calligraphy! I was so pleased to get an email from her this morning saying there was a comprehensive review of all the calligraphy and the new Lucky Orchid Invitations line up on her blog. Much to my delight, Kelly Oshiro will be one of our new guest bloggers debuting this month. I am excited to hear what she has to say about wedding planning, since I work on such a small facet of my client's weddings, sometimes I can be quite clueless about the overall process. I can't wait to hear what she has to say!

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