Monday, November 16, 2015

A Very Vineyard Invitation

Being that I'm from Long Island, the fall always means time to head out east to pick pumpkins and apples, buy delicious farm stand homemade pies and visit the vineyards to taste/drink local wines. So, during this beautiful fall season, while the leaves are changing colors in the northeast, I wanted to share this very vineyard invitation suite.

Heather contacted me to discuss invitations for her upcoming wedding to David at Raphael Vineyard on the East End of Long Island. If you haven't been there, I'll just say that it's an absolutely breathtaking spot to be married! The couple wanted an invitation that would be rustic looking and vineyard-esque, while still formal and elegant. 

During our first design meeting, I had the pleasure of meeting with Heather, her mom and her aunt. We had a few ideas for creative layouts, but ultimately they chose the layout of an enclosure invitation to keep all of the information that they needed to convey to their guests organized. We decided to use a natural kraft paper (not a grocery kraft however, a more subtle variety) to give just a touch of rustic. 
We then combined the natural kraft with striking black ink printing in gorgeous elegant typefaces to maintain the formality of their black tie optional wedding. We also added a black and white tab closure with the couple's names stylized to finish off the look. 
As we were working on these, I happened to be in the Post Office one day and saw the most beautiful stamps in both regular and 2oz. mail denominations. Black and white letterpress flowers with a teeny tiny red heart would be perfect to finish off these invites! I showed them to Heather and her mom and we all agreed that they matched the set perfectly.
Of course when Heather asked me to create escort cards to nestle nicely in wine corks from their vineyard, I was happy to devise a solution. The solution... slightly longer on the back to make sure that the cards sat up tall for guests to find. 
I'm so happy for Heather, David and their families, we wish them all the best for a beautiful future!

This invitation suite is available for purchase and customization on our Etsy Site.

Hopefully your fall is filled with tons of seasonal goodness!  Have any questions, comments, or suggestions? Leave them below, we look forward to hearing from you!

In case you're missing out on some visual fun... Find and follow us!

Sparkle On!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Everything You Need to Know About Invitation Postage - Perfect Envelopes Part 2

Postage, postage, postage... When you're sending out specialty mail such as invitations, this is an unexpected, but extremely important part of the process. You definitely want to avoid having your lovely mail pieces returned due to an error in mailing! When was the last time that you went to the Post Office to mail something that was irregular, or cost more to mail because of its weight? This tends to be uncharted waters for many, so rest easy, I'm here to help! You can thank me later. 

Once you've addressed your envelopes (info on that in Perfect Envelopes Part 1), you will need to figure out the perfect postage to complete the package.

Here are the factors that you must take into consideration when choosing postage:

1. Envelope Size
2. Envelope Shape
3. Package Weight
4. The look you want 
(this is listed last, but honestly, It's REALLY important in my opinion)
Note the matching wrap around labels (available for sale in our Etsy Shop) and love stamp? The USPS online has a ton of stamp options in many denominations so that you can design your mail piece even down to the stamp. 
Here's how pricing postage works...
A standard sized envelope (here are the USPS guidelines for standard) costs the "regular" postage rate. At the time that this post was written, the "regular" postage rate is $.49

If your envelope is larger than the standard size,  or does not have the correct proportions, then there will be added charges (you can find the other charges in the guidelines here). 

Now, there is also a surcharge for certain things that make a parcel more difficult for the USPS to process. At the time of writing this, the surcharge is $.22. However this can change as well. But for now, let's use $.22. So... Anytime that your parcel is not flat (has a bump from a ribbon or other element) or is oddly shaped (square), a $.22 surcharge will be added.
*** That's right, square envelopes are more to mail, so keep that in mind when you design your invitations!

This envelope is a standard size, and the contents were not heavy, so it bears a "regular" postage stamp.
As you can see in the photo below, this "regular" proportioned, small envelope has a stamp of $.66 on it. The rates were different when this was mailed, but it was bumped up from a standard stamp due to it's bulk (there was quite a little explosion of invitation when you opened that tiny envelope). 
"Good Things Come in Small Packages" invitation available in our Etsy Shop
On the envelope below, which invited guests to an engagement party, we used a very custom stamp with a silhouette of the couple. Zazzle offers custom postage in just about any denomination that you could possibly need. They have many pre-created designs, or you can upload your own. I've used them for a ton of jobs. The quality is great, the stamps look amazing on the mail pieces, and I highly recommend their site! 
(I was not paid or compensated at all for that endorsement, FYI)
If you'd like a custom silhouette image, contact us!
Here's another example of using a Bar Mitzvah boy's logo on his custom postage from Zazzle
This mail package had lots of enclosures, so it required $.91 which was available through Zazzle
Now, if you don't want to go the Zazzle and custom postage route, you can find some lovely USPS stamps to match your mail pieces. The example below shows how we used a Vintage Rose Forever stamp set from the USPS to tie in the black and white details of this invitation suite. 
You can see that we purchased the Two-Ounce stamp for the main envelope (the bulk required more postage) and the regular forever stamp for the RSVP envelope.

A note on postcards...
Postcards do not require as much postage as a regular envelope. This is a good way to save a little money on the RSVP. Many times we have customers choose an RSVP postcard. However, you MUST make sure that your postcard meets the USPS guidelines found here. 

A note on boxed invitations...
When you get into sending an invitation in a box, it is then shipped as a package. These must be calculated by the post office based on size and weight. 

Now, let's create some amazing custom invitations to mail and send them on their way! Check us out on Instagram where we have a load of photos of various postage designs that we've created and other mail lovelies. 
Follow us, leave a comment, or say hello, we love to connect! 

What are you sending out next? 

Sparkle On!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Crisp, White, Crystal, Sparkling Invitations for Taylor and Steven

Hello from Belgium! We have waited and saved and Blayne and I are finally taking our honeymoon! It's been two weeks of non stop traveling and exploring through Spain and now visiting with great friends in Belgium. I've been busy soaking in all of the amazing sites, enjoying my time with Blayne and being overall inspired by everything around me. Check in on us via #Gelbmoon on Twitter and Instagram.

Now for this week's invitation suite... Simple elegance.  That was what Taylor and her mom Janice described to me when we first met to discuss her invitations. With a focus on the beautiful blue/purple orchids that she would be using in her wedding, we worked together to create a simple, elegant design with clean lines and a gorgeous touch of sparkle.

This suite was just that... From the glitter border to the touch of sparkle with the single crystal on the rear of the invitation, it's not fussy and it's beautiful in every way, just like the bride herself.
Not only are these invitations stunning, but they are a great keepsake as well with the Mother of the Bride's own artwork! We wanted to coordinate the RSVP postcard with an orchid similar to the one on the main card, one that would make a statement amidst the otherwise all white and crystal back. Being that she is an artist herself, 
Taylor's mom created the watercolor orchid for the face of the response.
And then that single crystal on the pocket... Just a touch of elegance to make it shine. 
Black digital calligraphy on the Crane's white envelope completed the suite in perfect style.
I love to see how each client's vision culminates in such unique beauty. Working with Taylor and Janice was fantastic and their creativity (and artistic talents) resulted in a beautiful invitation suite. 

I love to appreciate how different everything looks when you travel. You don't have to go to a different country, even when you just go a short distance, life looks different, doesn't it? Or maybe that's just my crazy creative brain? Where are you gathering inspiration and ideas this week? Your backyard, the beach, a garage sale? Share with us in the comments? We LOVE to hear from our readers!

Share and pin away, and follow us on Social Media for constant updates of what's going on around here.
Sparkle On!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Addressing the Situation 1,2,3... How to Compile the Perfect Guest List, and Address Perfect Envelopes!

~Perfect Envelopes Part One~
So you've decided to plan an event... YOU NEED GUESTS! Whether it's a Wedding, Bar Mitzvah, Sweet Sixteen, 60th Surprise Party, Anniversary Party or Oscar Night Soiree, what's a party without the peeps, right?

Once you've created the guest list for your event, or even while you're in the process, you're going to want to start compiling the guest's addresses (so that you can send them some amazing invitations created by Sparkle and Ink ;)

Here are our guidelines for successful addressing:

1) Download our MS Excel address template available for download from our website under RESOURCES
(if we are doing your addressing, this is all that you'll need to send us once it's complete)!
*** This is a basic template, feel free to add any columns that will help you,
such as RSVP info, gifts, etc,...
Our Address Template with samples is available on our website (just click here)
2) Begin to list the names of your guests in the Title and Name columns of the spreadsheet. If you know the addresses now, then go ahead and fill those in as well, but you can always fill in missing info later. 

Notice in the sample above that the first names (when used) go into the TITLE column. This is so that if you'd like to alphabetize your list at any point, you will be able to alphabetize the NAME column by last name. Alphabetizing is important for escort cards and sorting your list. So, just remember that the first thing that should go into the name column should be a last name, then it can also have a guest name if needed as shown in row 4 above. 
3) Once you have the names and maybe some addresses filled in, it's time to get to the nitty gritty of addressing issues... Thanks to our Facebook Friends who volunteered some suggestions of what gave them trouble so that we could "address these for you". Let's start with the Names:

General Titles - Ok, first of all. The following all customarily get a period after their ABBREVIATIONS:
**But Miss does not require a period, because it is not an abbreviation

And, and, or &? - Ok, so there's only 1 wrong answer here... no capital A in "and". You can choose to say Mr. & Mrs. Smith or Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Both are acceptable, both are beautiful, totally up to you. (Not Mr. And Mrs. Smith)

Putting Together the Name
*** These rules are basically the same for same sex and heterosexual couples as described

Married Couple - Mr. and Mrs. John Smith, Mr. and Mr. Bill Smith, Mrs. and Mrs. Sally Smith
*One person took the other person's last name. The one whose last name it was originally has their name listed. 
Other variations: Dr. and Mrs., Mr. and Dr., The Doctors (if both are doctors). 

Informal Version  - John and Sally Smith, Bob and John Smith, Sally and Sue Smith
 Listing both first names and the last name that they both use. 
(Hetero couples, the male's name goes first, SS couples you can list the names alphabetically)

Married Couple with Different Names - Mr. John Smith and Mrs. Sally Brown, 
Mr. Bob Brown and Mr. John Smith, Mrs. Sally Smith and Mrs. Tanya Tollon
(Hetero couples, the male's name goes first, SS couples you can list the names alphabetically)
Inviting parents and children - The Smith Family or Mr. and Mrs. John Smith, Katie, Sue and Jim
John and Cindy are the parents, Katie Sue and Jim are the kids. 

Informal Family -  John and Cindy Smith, Katie, Sue and Jim
John and Cindy are the parents, Katie Sue and Jim are the kids. 

Parents are invited with one child - "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith and Sue Smith". 
Sue is the kid. Maybe 2 younger children are not invited. 
This format also works for a couple with any additional straggler.
*** If children are invited that do not live at home, then you should send them their own invitation at their own address. Everyone loves to get mail!

Non-married couples who are living together (hetero or SS) - Mr. John Smith and Ms. Sally Brown, 
Mr. Bob Brown and Mr. John Smith, Mrs. Sally Smith and Mrs. Tanya Tollon
The person that you are friends with or related to goes first, then the "guest" and if you are equally friends with both, then alphabetize. If informal, then leave off the Mr./Ms.
** If they do not live together, then address it to the person that you are primarily friends with.

Single People with Guests - Mr. Bill Black and Guest, Ms. Gertrude Smith and Guest
Bill and Gertrude are your friends and they are each invited with a guest. 

There are a zillion varieties of family situations that require thought when addressing invitations, if you have one that you'd like me to address (ha ha, like that pun?), leave it in the comments and I'll get back to you right away, and even update the blog to include that case if it's a common one.
4) Once you've figured out how to list the guest's names, it's time to input their addresses. Here are some rules of thumb:
SPELL OUT EVERYTHING!!! "Road" looks so much nicer than "Rd."

1) Write out the word "Apartment" and yes, the "A" gets capitalized.
2) You can choose to use a # or not. Your call.
3) Be specific, if there are dashes like 65-78, then include that. Don't take shortcuts, because the post office will be confused, and confusion leads to delayed mail, and no one wants that!

City and State: 
City is easy. As for State, you can choose to write it out or use the abbreviation. I personally love to see a state's name written out on envelopes. Again, up to you, but on formal invitations, I definitely recommend spelling out the state.

Now, the one issue that I tend to encounter with the zip code is that some start with a 0. If you use our template, it's already set to include the 0. However, if you need to adapt your own spreadsheet. Choose to format your cells in the zip code column as text cells. That way the cells will include the 0 in the front of the number and not delete it.

***The Most Important Overall Fact***
What you give, is what you get!
 If you capitalize everything, then you will get all capitalized addresses, if you use the & sign, then you will have that in your addresses (which is beautiful, but if you don't want it, then don't use it). If you choose to put a "." after Mr. and Mrs. then that's how it will look. If you leave off the "." then it won't be there.

So there you have it, the nuts and bolts of invitation addressing. As you get to work on your list, you will surely encounter some unique questions, so PLEASE don't hesitate to ask! Leave a comment below and I promise to get you an answer ASAP.

Don't forget to check back next week for Part Two - Perfect Postage!

Sparkle On!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Kisses for the Mr. and Mrs. ~ Joe and Bettina's Sparkling Wedding

Joe and Bettina are a ton of fun to work with. You may remember the really awesome shower that Joe planned for Bettina back in March (Bettina Loves Her Joe), if not you can read about it here.  It was evident from the shower, and shows through in the wedding details that Joe is amazing with word play. He's my favorite pun-sultant (his word, not mine), and I actually asked him to come up with the headline for this post. So, thanks Joe! Yes, he's perfectly suited for his job as a newspaper editor and headline writer. And Bettina, she's quite crafty with language herself! So we had lots of fun coming up with great wedding details and elegant, fun touches. 

We started with the creation of the invitations. The couple wanted a classic look with elegant scripts, a black and white color scheme, and a pop of their gorgeous teal accent color.

We worked together to choose the perfect monogram script and then went about creating the rest of the set. We decided to complete the suite with a beautiful Swarovski crystal just kissing one end of the "M" on the front of the enclosure band. 
While we were discussing the invitation design, they mentioned wanting to do something different and creative with their escort cards and table numbers, but that they didn't know what exactly. A few days later, after a little thought and research, they let me know that they wanted to use sayings about love as the table names. At that point I began to brainstorm ideas about how to display their escort cards that would be fun and different. 

Meanwhile, during a meeting with their floral designer Sheryl from Black Dahlia (who had initially referred Joe and Bettina to us), they had noticed our silver sparkling Mr. And Mrs. Sign. They sent me a text saying that they would like to display the sign on their escort card table. Ultimately, they decided to use this piece as a welcome for guests as they arrived (along with adorable pictures), and again as an accent piece on their sweetheart table. 
Look how fantastic the teal in those orchids ties in the accents from the invitations, and also matched the bridesmaids dresses. LOVE!
Combining their ideas for the love sayings, and wanting to mix in their colors with the silver from the Mr. And Mrs. Sign, I thought of an idea to use silver Hershey kisses as the stands for heart shaped escort cards. What could be better than combining kisses, hearts and sayings of love? Nothing, period. 
I sent them a sample pic and it was "love at first sight". So obviously we decided to run with it. 
Here's how it looked on wedding day...
To incorporate their teal accent color, we used the same luscious silk teal paper from the invitation as a border for the hearts on the escort cards. View our Hearts and Kisses Escort Cards in our Etsy Shop!
For the table numbers, we utilized giant sized Hershey kisses to create a larger version of the escort cards.  Joe and Bettina came up with the most amazing love sayings to fit each of the tables and even worked the numbers into the words in some cases. These are available in our Etsy Shop as well.
Here are a few other examples of their incredible creativity:
Table 2 - You're Just Two Good to Be True
Table 4 - Always and Four-Ever
Table 9 - On Cloud Nine
Table 11 - Happi11y Ever After
Table 12 - Dozen Get Better Than This
And... How lovely are those centerpieces that Black Dahlia created?!?

Now that we had the escort cards and centerpieces decided on, there were a few final details.
Bettina had gotten white flip-flops for her guests to ease their dancin' feet, so we created matching signage for their baskets. Again, Joe and Bettina supplied the wording. 

The final detail was a thank you message in gift frames, explaining that the newlyweds had made donations to Make A Wish and the North Shore Animal League in honor of their guests. Joe and Bettina got the frames, and asked that I create the insert for them, so we kept the typography the same as other wedding elements, and used the accent teal to highlight favor-ite charities.
  All of the little details that we created for Joe and Bettina were based around love and kisses which was completely fitting for a Mr. and Mrs. so "head over heels" in love!

We love to hear your comments so feel free to leave a one below... We ALWAYS respond to our amazing and loyal readers :) Enter your email in the space above (right) to receive email updates from the Sparkle and Ink Blog. Share and pin away, and follow us on Social Media for constant updates of what's going on around here. 
Sparkle On!

Friday, July 3, 2015

What's Sparkly, White and Blue, Has a Baltimore Skyline and A Love Crab? Sherri and Curt's Invitations, That's What!

The Fourth of July has always been a special holiday to me. For many of the same reasons that I love Thanksgiving, this holiday is a great, non gift related and family filled reason to celebrate the lives that we are able to live freely.

So, on that note, welcome to Fourth of July weekend! Hopefully you are reading this while heading off to somewhere fun, or getting ready to pack up for some fun firework festivities in the next few days.

Whatever your plans may be, in celebration of this red, white and blue occasion, we wanted to share with you one of our blue, white and sparkle creations!

Sherri and Curt got married last year at the Historic Star Spangled Banner Flag House in Baltimore, MD. They are an amazing couple, full of adventure and caring. I've known Sherri for quite a while and I was thrilled when they contacted me to create their invitations. This creative pair pretty much knew exactly what they wanted. They requested a blue backing, a border of sparkle, and then for the main invitation layout, they had hopes of alluding to the baltimore location. They wanted to include a hint of the Baltimore skyline, and "if possible" a crab. Well, of course it was possible!
One of the first elements that we designed was the crab logo, that not only uses a heart shape for the body, but also incorporates the couple's initials and the year of their wedding. It's crabby love!
If you love this crab logo, we have a few varieties that are customizable in our Etsy shop!
Photo Courtesy of Megan Brodie Photography
Aren't their rings lovely? 
Sherri and Curt wanted to keep things current and convenient for their guests, and included a hashtag along with their logo on the back of the invitation. We love hashtags for weddings, it's so much fun for the couple, and guests to be able to follow along during the day, and then look back and reminisce!
Photo Courtesy of Megan Brodie Photography
We used the couple's logo as part of their return address on the back flap of the main envelope as well. How perfect is this shot? Captured by the very talented Megan Brodie Photography.
It's so much fun to personalize an invitation set with a true touch of the couple's personality and event location. We also love a good skyline!

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Fourth of July and a fun, relaxing weekend! We love to hear your comments so feel free to leave a one below... We ALWAYS respond to our amazing and loyal readers :) Share and pin away, and follow us on Social Media for constant updates of what's going on around here.
Sparkle On!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Shabby Chic, Find Your Seat! Bringing a Seating Board Vision to Life.

Wow! I'm actually posting twice this month. I'm working on my goal of once a week and I'm almost afraid to do a happy dance too early. Next week will be the real test to see if I can keep it up. Things have been really busy at Sparkle and Ink, but I'm trying extra hard to keep my awesome internet friends up to date on what's new and exciting around here. Today it's a new rental... so read on! If you'd like to receive Sparkle and Ink Blog updates by mail please enter your email on the right--->

It's always really exciting when I get a request for a rental that Sparkle and Ink does not yet offer. It's especially exciting when what the customer is asking for is a perfect piece to add to our repertoire of rentals! In this case, a bride who was working with Black Dahlia, Inc. was looking for a vintage looking frame and a beautiful paper creation to adorn it with for her seating board. I had a blast working with Nicole to fit the look that she wanted and her wedding colors to a perfect vintage seating chart. 

My first mission when I learned of this request was to go in search of a frame. Luckily I have worked with a woman in the past named Vicki of Vicki's Vintage. She's fabulous at having great vintage pieces that either she will fix up for you, or you can buy and then re-furb yourself. I chose to redo this one on my own. Here's the frame that I selected. It had lots of nice vintage elements and I liked the light weight as well!
After a coat or two of chalk paint, a layer of glaze and a little weathering, the gold was gone, and the vintage look was starting to take shape. 
Before                                           After
Now I wanted to find the perfect backing paper to set the stage for the name pieces that I was creating. I needed something with a little pizzaz, but nothing too busy that it would take away from the names and the gorgeous font that I planned to use. I found this at Paper Source (a favorite of mine for specialty, hand made or elegant papers). I'm so lucky to have one nearby! 
Nicole was using a deep violet for her accent color (along with white and silver) so we chose a violet  silk border paper that made the white name pieces really pop! Of course throughout the entire process we sent Nicole pictures so that she could see the progress 
and approve colors and other details. 
We used a few stand out pieces on the top of the board to highlight the couple's names, the wedding date and side pieces to name the bridal party. As you can see below, it all came together beautifully. 
When all was said and done, Nicole was ecstatic. 
Together we had created exactly what she had in mind for her wedding. 

I always love making a new piece based on a customer's inspiration. It gives me a chance to design something new, and also to work with the customer to coordinate their look with a completely custom creation. 

We love to hear your comments so feel free to leave a one below... We ALWAYS respond to our amazing and loyal readers :) Share and pin away, and follow us on Social Media for constant updates of what's going on around here.
Sparkle On!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

VIP style Bar Mitzvah Invitations - All Guests are VIP at This Party!

Bar and Bat Mitzvah invitations are so much fun to design! These parties present the unique opportunity to take a theme and really run wild with it. If you love them, you can find them in our Etsy Shop here!

The mom of this Bar Mitzvah boy found me on Etsy (from our graffiti invitation) and asked if I could design a custom VIP Pass style invitation for her son's Bar Mitzvah. Of course I jumped at the opportunity! 

We worked together to create the perfect blend of classy and fun with some specialty printing mixed right in. 

When I first thought about this creation, I knew that we had to do something special so that it wasn't just a plain card. We went with a spot UV process and that's what created the awesome glossy version of Avi's logo in the tone-on-tone glossy look. On the information side of the pass the "All Access Pass" bar, and the bottom matching bar are also UV printed to add some emphasis to these elements. 
The matching response post card and invitation to the dance party keep the event ticket theme going and stand out from run of the mill invitations. 
Instead of traditional addressing, we chose a sleek, black envelope and used a wrap around label for the addressing and return address on the back. Love the simple but stylized logo that they chose because it worked so nicely on all of the invitation elements. 
Wrap around labels are available in our Etsy shop here. 
Authentic lanyards completed the look and made these invitations so fun to receive! 
Every invitation should be like getting a little gift in the mail, and this one certainly was!
We have also created a similar VIP Pass recently for clients who are looking for a less expensive version without the specialty spot gloss printing (these are actually glossy all over). 
These lovelies can be found in our Etsy Shop here.
I am very fortunate to work with such creative and inspiring clients who trust my designs and ideas!
I'm so lucky that this wonderful Georgia family found me on Etsy and chose to work with Sparkle and Ink to create their invitations. 

We love to hear your comments so feel free to leave a one below... We ALWAYS respond to our amazing and loyal readers :) Share and pin away, and follow us on Social Media for constant updates of what's going on around here.
Sparkle On!