It’s been a busy year for wedding projects, which means it’s been a terrible year for posting about them! One of the most popular projects in 2018 was save the date coasters featuring a custom venue sketch. It’s so fun to look back over a few of my favorites to see how my skills have improved and aesthetic has changed over the last 12 months. For each of these projects, I hand-drew the venue and supporting illustrations, designed the coaster and hand-printed the coasters on my antique letterpress.
Jessie got in touch in late 2017 about their destination wedding the following summer (smart bride!). She wanted their Belgian venue to feature prominently on both their save the date coasters and invitations, along with hops vines to give guests a head’s up about all the beer they would be drinking!
Rosie and Dan are getting married in just a few months at an amazing European castle. There were so many tiny details in their magnificent venue, the challenge here was simplifying the sketch to into outlines while keeping the spirit of the castle.
Mary and Joey are getting married at Milwaukee’s historic Pabst Brewery—so of course a coaster was the perfect way to tell guests to save the date! I love that they chose such a dynamic angle for their venue sketch—not only is it fun for me to do something a little different, it shows off the unique architecture of the structure. They had seen the hops design on Jack & Jessie’s coasters and wanted to incorporate that as well. I’m also completely obsessed with the pointed pen calligraphy font I used to typeset their names!
And finally, I just finished printing Will & Jubilee’s festive coasters for their Pennsylvania wedding next year. They are getting hitched at the historic Phoenixville Foundry, a truly statuesque venue. Will asked if I could eliminate some of the extraneous details to focus on the building itself, to which I happily obliged!
Usually when I’m designing for a client, I create a few options that are exactly what they’ve asked for, and one or two that are what I would do if given carte blanche to finish the project however I wanted. Every once in a while the client chooses my preferred design—this is one of those cases!
I love the ethereal watercolor background, the reverse over-sized script paired with simple all-caps typography, and that we incorporated the venue sketch from their save the dates to tie the stationery suite together. They are my perfect invite!
Can I declare these my favorite invites of 2018 even though we’re barely three weeks in? The bride, Sam, described her big day as a modern but cozy event, full of white flowers, candles and grey and gold accents. They had wisely chosen a single venue for the entire schedule (it is January in Wisconsin after all!) which was a historic mansion overlooking a snow-covered lake, and Sam was going with a nontraditional wedding dress.
I translated these ideas into both design and materials: Pointed pen calligraphy pairs with modern typography and an abstract swash element while luxurious gold foil and white ink accent textured charcoal paper and gold envelopes.
Brittani and Peter got married today in rural Montana and I could not be more excited to share their invitations! Inspired by a previous custom project of mine, Brittani and I incorporated details specific to the couple to create a suite that truly represented them and their big day.
My favorite details are the unique watercolor touches, especially on the reverse of the main invitation card (it’s the first thing guests will see when they take them out of the envelope) and the RSVP. How great is that cow?!
Bride-to-be Krista came to me last fall with some pretty fabulous ideas for her save the date coasters. Inspired by the couple’s love of nature and subtly beer-themed big day, she wanted to focus on stylized leafy laurels. She also knew she wanted to avoid a super-swashy wedding script, opting instead for modern hand-drawn typography.
I spent some time working on each element in my sketchbook before creating vector elements from my sketches on my computer. When I started printing her coasters with sage-grey ink on my antique letterpress, I knew all that work had been worth it.
When we started talking invitations at the beginning of the year, we both wanted to keep the main design elements the same. I imbued a bit more formality into the invitations by switching out the script typeface from her save the dates for a calligraphy inspired font and lightening up the handwritten typography. I’m absolutely in love with it—especially in white ink on her envelopes!
Just before the big day, Krista got in touch for a few more projects, including a super creative guest book idea:
“Often times at weddings we find that people write the same thing over and over again in the guest book. We wanted our guest book to be fun and interactive, and the mad libs idea was the perfect fit for this! Almost all of our guests filled it out, some people even filled out two. The best part was that no two were the same. We were able to make the guest book entertaining for people to fill out, and our guests left us some hilarious advice at the end of the mad libs as well. We plan to make a book out of all the response and leave it on our coffee table to reminisce over for years to come!”
Love and laughter for years to come—I’ll cheers to that!
All professional photos by Sara Smile Photography