Last week photographer Lissa Gotwals came to my studio to help me photograph three new invitation suites. And this time, I decided to try my hand at styling the images by myself.
While watching stylist Michelle Smith at my first photo shoot, I realized how important a background is to creating an interesting layered image. Michelle did not start each image by laying down my cards. Instead, she played with fabrics, textures, painted boards, etc until she was satisfied with the “canvas.” Sometimes props would be laid in before the cards, too. I have been practicing this and find it hugely helpful, because my inclination to lay out all the cards first and style around them was making my images flat and boring. Not to say that all styled images need a busy or layered background (we used some simple set-ups, too), but I liked how it created and mood and set off my cards. Not to mention that trying to fix your background once the props and cards are set is not easy.
My first step in styling the images was to make private Pinterest boards for each, with screen shots of the design files, style, and prop inspiration. That’s “Lima’s” board above. It helped me clarify the look I was going for and edit out images that didn’t fit with the others. Once I had my themes, I set out looking for props and backgrounds, referencing my Pinterest boards regularly to make sure I stayed on track.
Of the three new designs, I had the most fun gathering materials for Lima. I purchased a yard of beautiful (and expensive) blue-gray silk and stapled it to a big piece of cardboard to make a background (see image below), but in the end, the cheap dark gray foam core I already owned was a more dramatic background. Figures. I raided friends houses for props. I had way more shells, dried plants, seeds, books, and old wood than I could possibly need. Having a ton of props to choose from is so helpful… you never know what will be the right thing until you play around a bit. Once I had my props gathered, the styling came together pretty quickly. You can watch a time lapse video of me styling in real time at the top of this post.
Here’s the blue versus gray background:
For me, looking at the set-up through a camera lens is key. I don’t know why everything seems so much clearer that way, but it really does. After watching the video, I realized the book needed to be open. But otherwise, I was pretty happy with it, and on photo shoot day we recreated this exact set-up.
Lissa is working on the photos she took, and this suite and the two others will be in the shop SOON. Follow me on instagram for more videos and new design peeks!
I was thrilled to collaborate with one of my favorite local companies, NC Made, on a new collection of wedding favor boxes. These little boxes are filled with handcrafted NC foods, and are perfect for wedding favors, bridal party, or welcome gifts. Choose from NC sea salt or bean-to-bar chocolate, pick one of 5 label designs in your favorite color option, and customize with your name and wedding date.
It was a pleasure to work on a custom invitation set for Laura and Blair’s North Carolina wedding, and I was thrilled to see their wedding photos posted on The Knot recently! Click over to The Knot for full details. Here are some of my favorites, shot by Connection Photography. Isn’t the gold magnolia leaf backdrop amazing? Laura made it herself!
I was so happy with invitations and reply cards I made for Laura and Blair that I turned them into a full invitation suite, now available as part of the Hello Tenfold collection.
In May I made a last minute decision to fly to New York to walk the National Stationery Show. Once I got there, though, I spent more time wandering around New York, and less time actually walking the show. I especially loved walking Surtex, the surface design trade show that always happens alongside NSS. I got to meet/see some stationery friends — always a blast — and I spent hours and hours at The Met, a whole evening browsing design books at The Strand (carrying a heavy and expensive bag of books all through the NY subway late at night, not recommended), and a few hours in the Garment District. Needless to say, it was a hugely inspirational trip. I came home excited about work and ready to dig in. Practically as soon as I walked through my door back home, I started redesigning my website.
Sometimes running a small business feels like treading water. There are always so many things on the to-do list, a million things I know I could be doing better, and so little time. It wasn’t that long ago that I spruced up the website, but I knew it needed a complete overhaul. Some early business advice — “have everything available to purchase directly online” has always stuck with me (even though it’s not exactly industry standard, and I’ve been so resistant). I spent a lot of time on my trip thinking about my customers and the questions I get asked over and over. I thought about the ways I was unintentionally making things complicated, or confusing, for my customers and myself, and how I could fix that. I’ve struggled with the amount of precious time I spend sending quotes, when I’m sure my customers would prefer to have that information at their fingertips. The last straw was when I visited my website on my phone and realized it was all broken and buggy (even though it worked just fine on my desktop).
The new site was a bigger project that I meant to bite off, taking hours of every day (and nights. and weekends.) for 6 weeks. Finally I found some much needed part-time help and we wrapped that baby up. And you guys, it’s live!!! I’m so proud of it. I took a ton of new photos, so that you can see Flora’s menus now, for example, as well as Wildflower’s table numbers, and Nora’s mini cards, and Gatsby’s place cards… you get the idea. Everything. (Except the ones I haven’t finished yet, but let’s not talk about those.) That means there are hundreds of products (oh the hours).
You can also find most of the pricing information for each suite in three printing methods, unless you want something completely different, in which case you can email me and I am so happy to help. But you can get a ballpark idea, and you can play with adding something to your cart and then deleting it to get your total to the right amount.
There are also printables in the shop! Perfect for crafty couples, or couples who are working within a tighter budget or short time frame, printables allow for the same one-on-one design time I give to all projects, but without the costs of printing (learn more). You can print your customized PDFs at home or with the digital printing company of your choice. I love printables!
The new site has information on etiquette, card wording ideas, a wedding stationery timeline, and even explains what all those different wedding cards are so you can decide what you need, and maybe what you don’t.
There are case studies, design archives, a gallery, and a whole section with possible customizations you can add to your suite. Ordering samples? So easy.
As with all business projects, there’s more to do; my wishlist is long. But for now I’m basking in the glow of a functioning, mobile-friendly website, which I hope you’ll find easy to use and perfectly informative.
Thanks as always for reading, and visiting! (And for giving me a head’s up if you visit and find a bug. I’m grateful for every pair of eyes I can get.)
When I designed the “Dot” wedding invitation suite I wanted it to feature my hand drawn polka dot pattern, but not be cutesy, too casual, or child-like. Combined with black, white, neutrals, and formal fonts, this wedding invitation suite is the right amount of fun, modern, and sophisticated. See more polka dot wedding inspiration.
Invitations by Hello Tenfold | Invitation photos styled by Michelle Smith and photographed by Lissa Gotwals | dress via intimate weddings photo by Svetlana Batura | paper lanterns via one wed as seen on Cecilies Lykke | anemone bouquet via style me pretty photographed by j. anne photography | shoes by BHLDN via the perfect palette