Details, Details, Details: Minding the little things for the Big Day


Reserved cutoutWhen I got married, I was excited about the to-do list. As an employee of the wedding industry, I relished in designing my own tablescapes. I couldn’t wait to select the perfect drape to swoop across our dance floor or plan the most envied, gluten-free dinner menu for our guests.

That’s the thing about working inside the industry — you delve into the nitty-gritty that many brides never even know exists. Now that Pinterest has exploded, every bride with a computer expects industry-level custom detail. Much like I preferred to select the specific brand of bourbon we’d be using in the signature cocktails, Grace Ormond- and Style Me Pretty-inspired brides can dig into what they truly want on their big day, whether that includes tiny personal touches that will ultimately qualify their design boards for publication or simply spur someone to say, “I never even thought to do that!”

Amidst the infinite possibilities of new discernible details, the most exciting trends make their presence known very early in the process — at the stationer’s desk. Not just something for a refrigerator door, now each and every piece of paper is a keepsake, a memento and something to frame because they’re just that pretty.

According to local industry experts, they’re also that impressive.

honeycomb invitation_courtney khailAISLE-INSPIRED ARTWORK
As I pushed paper back and forth with some of the city’s coolest stationery companies, I learned about business owners that kick-started their careers by creating what wasn’t available when they tied their own knots. The results are a bevy of suites that have carved a different path (whether by X-ACTO knife or metaphorical trend) for brides to make their paper something of an art form.

“Watercolors are really having a moment right now,” said Courtney Khail, owner of Courtney Khail Watercolors. “Not only are they adaptable to any style from romantic to modern, they also bring a human touch.”

Khail’s work channels her belief that each couple is special and the story they share is distinctly theirs. In fact, instead of offering pre-made design packages, she begins with a custom watercolor painted exclusively for them.

“This allows me to ensure that I capture their personalities as well as provide 100-percent custom work,” she said. “In fact, I feel the artwork is so important and meaningful that I gift my clients an 8-inch by 10-inch painting of their custom artwork to frame in their home after the big day.”


“No matter what budget you’re working with, my clients are always happiest when we work together to create details that are personal to them.”

– SCOTTI CLINE, Scotti Cline Designs

A newcomer to the industry, Scotti Cline, owner of Scotti Cline Designs said, “A few years ago, I had a bride request a sketch of her actual venue on her wedding invitation. I had never seen or thought to do that myself, but it turned out to be a really beautiful design element as well as something very personal to the couple.”

That one sketch has grown into an impressive portfolio of venues around the South, and something completely different for her clients. As an added bonus, custom artwork doesn’t necessarily break the bank for brides eyeing the idea.

“No matter what budget you’re working with, my clients are always happiest when we work together to create details that are personal to them,” Cline said. “Whether it’s a sketch, a silhouette of the couple or an image of their dog, special design details are a wonderful, yet cost-effective, addition to any suite.”



“I love incorporating texture into my paper products,” said Sarah Sorrentino of Foglio Press when describing her own ideas. “I use unique handmade papers or different styles of ribbons that reflect the style of the wedding day, like raw silk for a more outdoorsy ceremony versus a more refined silk-satin for a black-tie affair. I also encourage brides to think outside the box within the printing method itself, using letterpress or foil stamping.”

Foglio Press, which tackled my specific ideas as a bride several years ago, has pushed the envelope in the last few seasons. As the industry has evolved and brides become more creatively inspired, Sorrentino has delivered a springboard for fresh ideas.

“I’ve been known to use paper and ribbon as a sculptural element, to create unexpected details like tiny handcrafted crepe-paper flowers for drink stirrers, or miniature grosgrain ribbon bow ties. Using unexpected materials like leather, wood and wire can take a classic style and add personality and fun.”

Blending those non-traditional materials with a stationery suite is something of a specialty for the team behind Hi Note. A husband and wife team, the Palermos jumped into the industry after designing their own wedding suite.

“We are really big on unique materials that aren’t actually paper,” Erin said. “We have used everything in the way of fabrics, from linen to leather, to various types of wood veneers. There is nothing that makes us more excited than a juxtaposition of materials – the challenge to ‘make oil and water mix’ really gets our creative juices flowing.”

My favorite example is the company’s recent revamp of their own collateral. They created business cards of laser-etched walnut wood veneer with the Hi Note logo stamped in copper foil — two mediums that wouldn’t normally go together, but quickly garner attention and strike conversation.

“Weddings are abundant, especially during certain milestones in a person’s life,” she said. “It’s important that your event is as memorable as your own and custom graphics and stationery are a great way to stand out from the rest.”

Mia Maria Design_Gold Seating Chart_Aaron and Jillian PhotographyGRAB BAG OF IDEAS
Lisa Hladish, owner of Poppy Gray Designs credits her ability to differentiate to her brides’ and grooms’ ideas. “[That’s who] inspires us,” she said. “They come into the design studio and request some of the best stuff.”

Some of those elements include experimenting with different color combinations and calligraphy styles, custom, hand-painted designs on different materials used as table numbers, ceremony signage and reception décor. Hladish has even printed seating charts on wood, acrylic and several types of fabric, replacing the traditional table of endless folded escort cards.

Maria “Mia” Alsup and Maria “Mia” Bond — co-founders, brand designers and visionaries with the same name — are the duo behind Mia Maria Designs. They second the notion to incorporate fun, pretty seating charts into your reception décor, as it not only cuts down on the amount of paper you’re producing (and paying for), it also can serve as a focal point to welcome guests.

“At a reception, when you’re already running short on space, it eliminates the need for a separate escort card table and adds another fun piece of décor, all while [maintaining] your wedding brand,” Alsup said.

They also suggested letting your stationer create a custom wedding logo for your suite. “While we love designing each and every piece of a suite from top to bottom, a custom logo can [bring everything together] while still being cost effective,” Bond added.

Those wedding logos are used to personalize the event in small, but bold ways, like on photo booth props, stamps and stickers for the welcome bags, wine labels and cork coasters. In fact, the only thing I am left wondering is if it is too soon to renew my vows so that I can use these new ideas for myself?

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