Adventures of a Bride-to-Be

Adventures of a (Second Time) Bride-to-Be

February 8, 2011

As I began to plan, and following my own rules about prioritizing important things that I talked about last week, I decided that my MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS were, in order, my invitations, my dress, and that I would have an insane number of flowers on that day.

So, with that, first I started on invitations. I knew I didn’t want “the ordinary”, I wanted extraordinary. I have already been effusive about Laura, her team at LHC, and their work…but I’ll do it again… After looking through many websites, and finding everything but what I wanted, I finally found Laura Hooper Calligraphy and was IN LOVE! I scoured Laura’s website for photos and the web for even more (thank you, Yahoo Images!); the more I saw, the more my jaw just kept dropping.
One word: AMAZING!

As you already know, I chose Laura and her amazing team to work with and I could NOT have been more excited! Her “Lucky Orchid” invitation suite was the inspiration for my colors, fuchsia and a watermelon-coral. We began working on the map & design immediately, right after I returned from Los Angeles to Chicago. Lawrence & I decided on a Key West wedding, with both the whimsical design and the colors of the “Lucky Orchid” design being perfect for it...festive & tropical...but also conveying the tasteful, informal elegance of our anticipated wedding on a pier overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

Since this was all back in September of last year, though, I’m now quite a bit further along in my planning than your typical new Bride to Be, even a second-timer, so we’ve been hard at work for MONTHS on my many requests.
This is the photo from Laura’s website that started it all:

There have been so many things I’ve done since then, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

So, with dreams of a wedding on a pier facing the ocean, I started booking locations, vendors, services, and all the details I mentioned last week MUST be done immediately. Having had a friend wed in the Keys a few years ago was also a timesaver for me as I used a lot of her same vendors, just a different location for the wedding. If you are planning a destination wedding and have a friend (or even an acquaintance) that has planned an event in the same locale before, beg, borrow, or steal any information you can get. My friend did a scouting trip and met with these people in person, a luxury I could not afford timewise…but I also knew her taste, style, and trusted her judgment implicitly, so I knew using her list wouldn’t be a mistake. It was planning “made easy”…at least for a while.
This very winding story gets oh-so-more-complicated as the weeks pass, but I’ll save that for a few posts down the road. Stay tuned!
Until next time…
“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”
~ Aristotle


Honoring Memorial Day

On this Memorial Day, we remember those who have died honorably serving the United States military. While we have become accustomed to celebrating this holiday with BBQs, shopping and sales, and spending time with our families, it is important to always remember the significance of the day. So we offer our sincere "thank you" to all those who serve!

Enjoy this sneak peek of a beautifully red, white and blue Santa Barbara wedding - we'll post the full wedding later this week!


Tips: Don't Forget Your VIPs!

You've spent months and months planning the details for your special day, and that likely includes a procession of very important people walking down the isle before your big moment. Don't forget to save them front row seats for the ceremony!

Aside from your parents and grandparents who customarily sit in the front row on each side, it is also nice to consider saving seats for your immediate family (think your sibling's significant others) and ushers in the second rows. You can even personalized your reserved signs with each person's name to cut back on any confusion during ceremony seating.

Your reserved cards are just another way to incorporate your printed material theme, and using elegant calligraphy on card stock will ensure that you keep a consistent look through the entire celebration!


Maps: Montana

There's nothing quite like the great outdoors and Montana seems like it would be a picture perfect location for a summer wedding ~ and this couple will be having just that at Rainbow Ranch in the state recently referred to as "The Last Best Place"!

This adorable maps includes tourist hotspots and well as locations significant to the couple like Lambeau Field and San Diego to the southwest. It also includes the engagment spot ~ Lost Trail on Powder Mountain!
The icons include all our favorite outdoor animals, and the map itself serves as a print piece to their invitation suite directing guests to the wedding website {omitted for privacy}.


Creative Tip: Spanish Tiles

Looking for a unique way to guide your guests to their seats? Try our spanish tiles that come in an assortment of styles!

Our tiles work beautifully at destination affairs ~ Santa Barbara, Puerto Rico, Adamson House in Malibu ~ basically any location with a spanish hacienda feel! The tiles make excellent escort cards, place cards and double as a favor.

The tiles come in over 20 styles and can be calligraphed on either the front or the back...but we recommend the back so as not to disturb the beautifully artwork of each tile.

Please inquire for more information or visit our Etsy page.


Adventures of a Bride-to-Be

Adventures of a (Second Time) Bride-to-Be

February 1, 2011

Last week, I talked a bit about how Lawrence and I met and were “engaged to be engaged” within about 2 ½ months of knowing one another. I still didn’t have a formal proposal or an engagement ring, but why let those little details hold me back from planning a wedding? I HAD WORK TO DO!

Working in technology, I use the Internet for almost everything. If it can’t be had from the Internet, I don’t need it. I am not sure how single moms functioned before the Internet existed, but I’m pretty sure I’m glad I never had to find out.
Armed with my trusty laptop (yes, I am obsessed with all kinds of technogadgets!), I immediately went to the web to investigate the parts of the wedding that were important to me. Before I get into all of that, I want to start my story with the end in mind: SANITY by the time your wedding day comes around!

Ladies, PLEASE, take a few bits of advice from someone who has done this before.

1. Decide which elements of your wedding are MOST IMPORTANT to you. Every single area cannot be; there is no way you will be able to manage each & every detail of your day. Trust me on this (and, yes, I am Superwoman  ). You may want to…you may be a perfectionist…you may have dreamt of this day your entire life down to the very smallest detail. Throw all of that out the window and pick 3 or 4 areas you are personally going to spend the majority of your time on. You will thank me later.

2. Hire a wedding coordinator. I cannot stress a wedding coordinator enough. The benefit of a coordinator is that, not only will she be a lifesaver in the later stages of your planning, she has good relationships with many vendors, so you will work from a list of trusted professionals in your budget. When time is a precious commodity, it is tedious to interview multiple people; a coordinator will understand your “vision” and recommend one or two in various categories. As a single, working mom, I don’t have a lot of “free time” ; I trusted the people that were recommended to me and, if I liked them after one meeting, I didn’t look elsewhere. Bottom line: use your time wisely or you’ll use up ALL your time on your wedding planning.

3. Focus on booking, buying, or renting the BIG items first. Even if they are not your MOST IMPORTANT, they must be arranged, booked, confirmed, or deposits placed if you are going to have a wedding. These include, minimally, selecting a date, the venue for the ceremony, the officiant (if you are not being married in a church), the venue for the reception, the caterer, the music, the photographer, hotel blocks for out of town guests, and the florist. Your head will spin, because it all needs to happen pretty quickly to reserve your date for them all, but after that, you can slow down a bit if your wedding date is more than 6 to 9 months out.
4. Focus on the secondary items next. Choose a theme and pick “your colors”, decide if you want to wear white or ivory and look through magazines at dresses, think about events other than the wedding ceremony & reception (rehearsal dinner venue & guests, day-after brunch venue & guests, special events like cruises, etc.), choose your bridesmaids & maid/matron(s) of honor (especially if they have to travel), choose your invitations and/or calligrapher (I recommend Laura Hooper Calligraphy!  ), and determine when you want to complete a registry.

5. Focus on each element, vendor, or area in priority order. Sometimes you can do some of the items at the same time, but try to focus down your list in order (and make notes for those you need to follow-up with or will get to later).

If you follow these few things, and you WILL get a lot of advice from people along the way, you will feel more in control as the day approaches (and it does quickly!).

Until next time…

“You sweet moon beam, the smell of you in every single dream I dream.
I knew when we collided, you're the one I have decided, who's one of my kind.
Just in time, I'm so glad you have a one-track mind like me.
You see, I can be myself now finally, in fact there's nothing I can't be.”
~ Train


Creative Tip: Informational Signs

Most brides think about the basic printed materials ~ ceremony programs, escort and/or place cards and menus ~ but there are many more aspects of your reception that could use informational signs. Signs are an excellent way to showcase your cocktail hour drinks {especially if you are serving signature drinks}, hors d'oeuvres, sweetheart table, favors, guest book, petals to shower the happy couple...the list goes on and on!

Below are a few samples of signs at recent weddings and showers we've worked on!

As you can see, your signs can have lots of information {such as a bar menu} or simply just one sweet line! The possibilities are endless and they truly add an extra special touch to any event.


Maps: Venice, Italy

Do you ever want to take a jaunt to Europe? Well this weekend, an adorable map of Venice, Italy for a client in Germany will have to do!

Along with all of the tourist hotspots, this map also includes the many waterways that Venice is known for and of course the romantic gondolas!


In the Press: Occasions Magazine ~ Interview with Laura

Back in March we were approached by Occasions Magazine in Atlanta to answer a few questions to be used in an upcoming issue. Just this past week the Summer Issue with our advice popped up in my mailbox!

The story on stationery and calligraphy included small quotes, but we thought it would be fun to share the full interview here on the blog!

1. How does Calligraphy make stationary more intimate/personal? Anything that is hand-written shows the extra time and care that someone took to produce it, and stationery is no exception. It also lets the client set the mood for their entire event based on the style of calligraphy he or she chooses.

2. How do you decide what the perfect style is? Based on event or person? Normally our clients choose their own style, but for events I have done for friends and family, I usually think of the setting and design to decide what style will work best...and most often, the event design is based off the person's personality - so it all ties together!

3. How and when did you begin Calligraphy? At the age of 12 I was began using calligraphy at the shop I was working at. I am completely self taught and have just practiced various styles and tried new things. When I was 20, I penned my first set of envelopes for a close friend's wedding, and I've been doing it ever since.

4. What price range should our readers expect when choosing calligraphy? Envelope calligraphy generally runs from $2.50 - $4 per outer envelope depending on calligrapher and style (the more intricate the calligraphy style, the more time consuming and thus more expensive).

5. Are all Calligraphers the same? What makes them different/unique? Definitely not! Calligraphy is an art and just like other artists, no two are alike. In addition to inherent differences due to two unique hands, calligraphers use varying pens, which create different looks.

6. What pieces in an event can be handwritten (i.e. not just the envelope...signage, place cards, etc)? We have created signs for nearly all components of weddings and parties. In addition to the usual programs, menus, placecards and escort cards, we have also done signs for the bride and groom, thank you signs, restroom signs, calligraphy on mirrors, bar menus, directional signage, guestbooks - if there are words, we can calligraph them!


"S" is for Summer...and Sand Dollars!

Summer is quickly approaching which means sun, sand and of course, sand dollars! Our hand-calligraphed sand dollars are the perfect addition to your wedding, shower or any beach party.

Sand dollars can be used as place cards, escort cards or favors on their own. They work great for tropical destination weddings, themed parties or any event with a coastal vibe.


Adventures of a Bride-to-Be

Adventures of a (Second Time) Bride-to-Be

January 25, 2011

I should probably go back in time a bit and talk about how Lawrence and I met. In June of 2010, I was given an email address of a gentleman that a friend of mine thought I should send a note to. I had been divorced and dating for about a year by then, unfortunately without promise of a Prince Charming or anything close, and I was discouraged. I told her I would contact him, but I didn’t hold out much hope.

Well, the old adage of “when you least expect it, expect it” is true. My friend indicated that Lawrence lived out East, so I was pretty sure nothing significant was going to come of the “meeting”; he lived too far away and long distance relationships are difficult at best. I truly expected our “conversations” to last no longer than a week.

Alas, two weeks of emailing incessantly and one five-hour telephone conversation later, Lawrence traveled to Chicago for the weekend to meet me in person; it has been a whirlwind ever since. From the first email, we found we had many things in common, plenty to talk about (to the point where we joked about needing a “talking stick” so that one of us doesn’t monopolize the talking time!), and just an ease in our relationship I hadn’t felt in years. Handsome, a true “southern gentleman”, and just an all-around interesting person with adventurous life experiences I had not had, Lawrence had my heart from the weekend we first met. Our first date was to a Chicago Cubs game where the day was warm, the beer was cold, and the company was great. Oh, and the Cubs won! :) (For any of you long-suffering Cubs fans, we always enjoy flying the blue & white “W” flag!).

Soon thereafter, we spent a week together and talk gravitated towards us, as a couple, and being together permanently. His children were older & he was able to move to where I was; I was unable to relocate because my girls are young and their dad lives nearby. A mere six weeks after we began communicating, but unbeknownst to me, Lawrence actually wrote out his marriage proposal to me.

A wedding was a topic of conversation by August, but not wholly serious because his desire was to first talk my dad and get his permission to ask me to marry him. Southern through-and-through, and the first man to ever do so, Lawrence asked him at the beginning of a Los Angeles Dodgers game on September 3, 2010. This is a photo of the two of us from that game; see how silly we are together?

My dad said yes, but Lawrence didn’t instantly propose to me (and thank god, nothing on the JumboTron, either…not my style and definitely not his). I didn’t mind; he wanted to do so in an “event” and I wanted a story to tell all my girlfriends anyway…

However, was a proposal coming soon? Was I engaged by default? I had a wedding to plan! Alas, it didn’t matter, now all I could think about was…


Even without a ring & a story (yet!), that same weekend I looked for wedding invitations on any site that came up in my Yahoo search results… (Sorry Google, this “old girl” is still “old school”.) Thankfully, I came across Laura Hooper Calligraphy’s website and was instantly DUMBSTRUCK & SPEECHLESS, an occurrence that does not happen often let me assure you. :)

After a few email exchanges with Laura, who is as sweet as she looks!, about my wedding & working with someone who lives 1800 miles away, I hired her & her team of wonderful people to design my UNBELIEVABLY EXTENSIVE (right, Laura?) wedding suite before we even left Los Angeles.
Yes, some parts of wedding planning ARE just that easy!

More to come. Until next time…
“Just in time, I'm so glad you have a one-track mind like me.
You see, I can be myself now finally, in fact there's nothing I can't be.”
~ Train



Real Wedding: Bali

Back in January we shared this super sweet rose invitation set, and last week we were so thrilled to see the awesome wedding weekend featured on Style Me Pretty!

{photo by Steve Steinhardt}

Coordinated by Bali-based Elite Events and captured on film and cinema by Johnny Productions, the weekend-long celebration included a welcome dinner at Sarong with a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, and the beautiful wedding and farewell brunch were both set with the gorgeous backdrop of the Balinese coastline.

We were honored to be a part of this charming affair by creating a custom map and totes in addition to the invitation set that set the mood for the entire fete!

Everything was picture perfect and I especially love the floral dresses worn by the bridesmaids!

Congratulations to the happy couple!

For more details and amazing photos, check out last week's feature on Style Me Pretty!


Maps: Highlands, North Carolina

We often feature maps of islands and ocean bordered states, but we do complete many maps that feature no ocean to be seen ~ and this charming map of the town of Highlands, North Carolina is one such map!

Becoming a golfing mecca in the 1930s when Bobby Jones founded the Highlands Country Club, the small town emulates Southern charm and character. Filled with antique shops, Higlahnds is also known for its hiking and fishing adventures.


Adventures of a Bride-to-Be

We asked our next bride-to-be to chronicle the adventures of her wedding planning for us back in January, and to keep the integrity of her story, we have back dated them as such!

Adventures of a (Second Time) Bride-to-Be

January 18, 2011

When Laura asked me to be the newest “Bride to Be”, I was truly honored. Having your wedding planning and ceremony profiled for brides around the world to see is an overwhelming feeling; I am humbled that she asked, and I accepted without hesitation. I hope my story is something that you all enjoy reading every week.

First, I know I’m not the typical bride you may have read posts from on this blog in the past. In eight days, I turn the magical age of 40 and have been married once before. From that marriage, I have two beautiful young daughters and they are the loves of my life.

My fiancĂ©’, Lawrence, also has a gorgeous teenage daughter and a very handsome almost-teenage son from his previous marriage. Our children will be a big part of our wedding day and that makes this opportunity to write about the events leading up to July 22, 2011 all that much more special to me.

So, for anyone that is getting married for a second time, or even the first-time brides that want some advice from someone who has done this once before, I hope you enjoy reading about planning a wedding from someone with my perspective.
Brevity is not a strong suit of mine, so I’ll try to keep my posts short, but no guarantees (although I’m sure Laura will keep me in line!). I look forward to sharing my story with all of you.

Until next time…

"They came to sit
& dangle their feet
off the edge of the world
and after a while
they forgot
but the good
and true things
they would do
~ Brian Andreas



A Very Special Wedding Day

Last weekend Laura of Laura Hooper Calligraphy married the man of her dreams at a gorgeous private home in Kona, Hawaii! She was joined by a small group of family and friends for an intimate affair and was so happy to work on all of the paper goods for her big day!

We don't want to give away too many details from the day, but here is a picture of the gorgeous bride waiting to walk down the aisle!

The rehearsal and wedding were both stunners by Beth Helmstetter and photographed by Steve Steinhardt, and we can't wait to share all of the amazing details!

{posted by Alyssa of LHC}


Creative Tip: Coordinating Thank You Cards

After all the planning, vowing, feasting, toasting and dancing, you still have one last wedding task other than living happily ever after ~ to send your guests "thank you" notes!

So why not finish off a sweet suite with perfectly coordinating thank you cards?

We can create a coordinating finishing touch to match any of our designs and are perfect for weddings, showers and birthday parties too! Cards can be created in a variety of sizes, with matching envelopes and either folded or flat.


Maps: Key West

We often share our maps with you, but we don't always show how they are designed as a cohesive set with other information. Here a Key West map is used in an adorable welcome tri-fold!

The first page of the tri-fold is a welcome letter from the bride and groom. This is a great place to let your guests know why you have chosen this destination for your wedding and to highlight the important places to visit and eat while they share your weekend {we've omitted this piece as it portrays a personal message from the couple}. The next page is the map itself, followed by the details for the weekend!

This is such a fun way to greet your guests and to let them know all the details for your wedding weekend! Plus it lets you incorporate a custom map while also conveying pertinent and useful information.


Adventures of a Bride-to-Be

The day has come and gone and now I am a married girl, and go by the name "Mrs. Colgan". The day was absolutely the most perfect day for a wedding. I want to do it all over again ~ it could not have been more perfect!

Always with love,
Mrs. Colgan

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