To DIY or Not to DIY….

Recently, I have had several brides come to me as “do it yourselfers.” I have to admit though I am hesitant sometimes because I like to maintain control of what I do and produce, I love this spirit and the great ideas they have! It’s so fun to be injected with new passion for what I do because too often it’s easy to get complacent and do only what’s asked of you or “go with the trends.”

Sometimes though it’s not such a positive experience. I will give them great advice, etiquette tips, and only for them to turn around decide they would rather save money and do it alone. I have to say that it’s saddening at first. I lament their decision and am always said when something slips from my grasp, especially when I know I can give them something even better than what they imagine. This is what inspires today’s post: When to DIY and When NOT to DIY.

When to Do-it-Yourself

1. If you are on a seriously strict budget.

2. When you have lots of time. If you’ve got plenty of time before your mailing date then it’s fine to experiment. Don’t expect to experiment when you are working close to your deadline because mistakes are guaranteed to happen. Often a printer will require 10-20% extra of the total in paper stock because even the large presses make mistakes. Customers simply never see the mistakes and therefore aren’t aware that they occur every time.

3. When you have a lot of patience. If you have the time and patience to sit and watch your printer print each and everyone piece then DIY. It takes a great deal of patience to work carefully with your printer’s alignment and the design layout. Even graphic design programs such as InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop don’t always help with the printing of custom, non-standard size pieces.

4. When you can account to buy for more than you need.  It’s crucial that you overplan when doing it yourself. Whether the paper misfeeds or ink runs out there are always problems.

When NOT to Do-It-Yourself

1. If you are less than computer savvy. If you don’t understand how to format and custom design items it is better to trust a professional.

2. You have high expectations and desire high quality results. Being that your invitation is the very first impression of your event, guests will (for lack of better words) judge by how this piece looks. If you want everything to come out right the first time then don’t print it off your home printer. Awhile agoI helped a bride design, format and print items she purchased from a local craft store. It was a pretty nice set for a great price, but the quality proved to be lacking as the project went on. The box contained uneven numbers of items, the papers were perforated and came apart easily, and items in the same set where of different dye lots and thus varied in colors.

3. You don’t have the time nor patience to complete the job.

4. You really just don’t know what you’re doing. If you understand computers, printing, and design, and etiquette by all means you should do it yourself.  But there are so many aspects that you can overlook that a professional is used to dealing with – from quantity to typefaces to measurements and even proper assembly.

In the end, it can often cost as much as to do it yourself as it can to hire a professional. From the ink to your valuable time, it’s sometimes the best choice to go with someone who has experience! The benefits of hiring a professional (especially this one!) and purchasing from high quality stationery lines:

1. Choosing something offered by a printer means your work is guaranteed to be printed with high quality print presses

2. We can advise you on proper etiquette from addressing to wording 

3. Custom designing and one-of-a-kind pieces (including helping you precisely execute your vision)

4. Access to variety of papers, pockets, and more that you won’t see in other places or on the shelves of a craft store.

5. A Professional can be your advocate. Working with authorized retailers from print and stationery lines means that they are often trained in the products they work with. I make it my goal to deliver my clients the products they purchased. I always advocate for my clients if a print job returns to me that may not be up to par or comes out different than the client had imagined and would never produce something that I did not meet my own standards.

So, choose wisely my dear readers because your invitation sets the tone for your entire event. I applaud the people that try it and do it themselves! But remember, you can always seek the advice of a professional before jumping in. Just as a wedding dress and a venue help convey the mood, your invite sets the stage and introduces guests to what they can anticipate from your event. It sets the stage for the event you have been working so hard on so make every selection count!


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A DIVINE Vendor: APictureLife Photography

Whether it is planning an event or a even preparing for a new addition to the family capturing all the details of your life are so important. I for one am always carrying around my point and shoot trusty digital camera, but honestly nothing is like hiring an exceptional professional to capture each and every detail. Let me tell you my darling readers, Ashley Concolino of APictureLife Photography is a rare talent. Ashley is not only a beautiful person from the inside out, she is blessed with immeasurable talent for capturing the best of life’s moments. She is so talented and sees the most beautiful things through that lens! Ashley and her additional photographers shoot everything from family shoots to you guessed it: weddings! APictureLife Photography offers not only the highest quality in photography, but unique images, affordability, professionalism, and reliability. Owner Ashley is a gem and that’s why we’re spotilghting this one as a DIVINE Vendor! Check out her work! (Click on an image to enlarge)

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A DIVINE Vendor at The Knot Party

Not too long ago I was introduced to Christina Patton, an incredibly talented party planner and florist. Christina started a unique company, Cereal Killer Buffets which offers “personalized dessert buffet services offering cupcakes, candy, ice cream, cookies, cake pops, whoopie pies, cotton candy stands, and chocolate dipped sweets for weddings, special events, and all of your Orange County party needs!”  She’s a true talent, whose personality and smile shine just like her work does! As a Preferred Vendor of The Knot, Christina is professional, thorough, organized, and so creative.  She approached me quite some time ago about designing tags for her custom treat buffet she was asked to design for  The Knot’s Vendor Party. The Knot, the premiere Web reference for all things wedding related, hosts a party each year allowing vendors to network and view each other’s work, in a fun social setting. It’s quite the honor that Christina was able to feauture her work, and I am so grateful that she chose to work with me as well! It was fun to work with someone who trusted me in the design process.  I enjoyed working with Christina and coming up with 3 adorable versions of the tags, displayed in different color palates through her buffet.  

Special thanks to photographer Troy Grover who shared his talents as well. Thanks for capturing all of the details of the day. (Check out his work too!)

Thanks so much Christina for featuring my work. Oh and did I mention this  DIVINE Vendor also owns a floral design company Pretty Witty Petals.  Stay tuned because we’re going to feature her again. She really is talented!

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A Little Q & A

Being in the wedding and events business is pretty unique – I meet scores of interesting and amazing people that sometimes really excite me and definitely challenge me. With any event I am working on I get asked a lot of questions that I answer time and time again. So it dawned on me – let’s do a Frequentyly Asked Questions Series! Yeah! So I thought it’d be great to put together the top questions for you lovely readers:

Q: How much do invitations cost?

A: Asking how much an invitation costs is like asking “how much is  a car or a house?” It always depends on the things you select! Just like a Ferrari is higher priced than a Ford, you’re getting something different at a different price point. As with any purchase, if you have a budget in mind it’s best to be mindful of that and communicate your needs up front. My best advice is never to blow your budget on anything because it’s never worth regretting something, especially with weddings. You’re not just planning a wedding here- it’s a marriage and a future. Believe me, there’s no shame in telling a vendor how much you are able to spend – helps us do our job better!

Q: What influences the price of invitations and paper goods?

A: When selecting invitations, programs, or any item for your event consider first your quantity needed then the quality and details. Upon determining how many you need, then you can dive into the design. Obviously a custom design requires a set up and artwork. The printing style you select will also influence price. For example, digital printing is typically far less expensive than thermography, letterpress, or engraving. Having more than 1 ink color or special color-matched inks will also change the price. When selecting papers its important to keep in mind that more paper can mean more money. If a client chose a pocket invitation with two or three layers of paper versues a flat traditional card, the price would probably increase. Additionally, sometimes specialty papers such as recycled papers, specialty linens, or shimmer papers can influence the cost of an item. Lastly, embellishments such as ribbons, rhinestones, or trims can influence cost, but also makes your pieces unique.

Q: How quickly can I receive my invitation?

A: This question is tough because again, it depends on what a client chooses! I like to say atleast 2-3 weeks. Yes items can be rushed, but with rushing comes added expense and the risk of error. When working with a company outside of California (the majority of well-known invitationers are not local) it poses a challenge because of time difference, shipping, and the fact that I am unable to walk into the press area to see what’s going on! When dealing with some of the invitation companies out there such as Inviting Company, Carlson Craft, and Encore, I prefer to allow plenty of time to ensure a high-quality result and no rush fees. On the other hand, custom designs, though seemingly more expensive and can sometimes require a special set-up, can actually be turned around quicker. Working with my fav local printers to produce the same high quality item allows me to check on the design, visit press rooms, and sreduce shipping costs.

Q: What’s your design style?

A: I have been asked this question time and time again, and I really have a hard time answering this one. (Just ask my husband when trying to pick stuff out for our house I change my mind by the minute!) When desiging invitations, I first let the client’s personality and preferences guide me. Obviously color schemes and inspiration for an event are the best way for me to come up with a great design to compliment. But, overall I notice I tend to be drawn to lots of color, unique designs, and definitely a touch of traditional. Especially when it comes to weddings, I like to design pieces that I know a client will look back on ten years from now and still love it. You know – looking back at your mom’s or grandmother’s stuff and saying wow that was so 60’s or 70’s! I don’t want someone to be embarassed by a bizarre color choice or something too trendy. I am also a huge proponent of quality work. I am constantly impressed by beautiful papers, unique textures, and embellishments. I love exceptional quality and timeless designs (like Encore) because the final product will be unlike anything you’ve seen before and arrive in pristine condition.

So… that’s the top 4 most frequently asked. Stay tuned for the next round!

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What we have been up to…

We have had an amazing summer so far… so busy and very excited about all the great things we’re doing. Trends of the summer: colorful designs and pockets! Each bride, though unique, is after that one-of-a-kind look with the benefit of an organized, clean look. I love the different papers and flourish designs my clients are drawn to.  I am so grateful to have the greatest clients who trust me and push me to try new designs. Check out the following pictures (edited for client’s privacy)!

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Aww shucks…..

Well March 1, 2010 marked the official Second Birthday of the Divine Invitation! It’s been up and down but thank God it’s mostly up! Starting a business right as the economy changed was so challenging, but with the loving support of new clients, family, and friends we’ve been happy to progress!

I truthfully hadn’t thought about it but last week this little package came in the mail…. I opened this unexpected delivery and found this:

Really? Me? Aww thanks! It’s our first “real” award marking our sales for 2009! Carlson Craft noted that it’s for exceptional sales and service in the past year. Well I was surprised and thankful. So now I guess The Divine Invitation is a “Distinguished Dealer.”

It made me pause and appreciate the last two years. I am so thankful that God has put me in a place where I can do what I love and work with people during joyous times in their lives.

Hey, thanks for letting me brag for a minute!

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Getting inspired!

So some time has passed and yes, I am a bad blogger. There I said it! We’ve been so busy around here that I really have just dropped the ball. But, I promise I will pick it up again and try to juggle! So on to the post…. getting inspired!

Q: Where do you draw inspiration from? How do you pick colors, style, and theme for an event?

A: Evaluate your personal style. Look around.. what’s your taste? How do you dress and decorate your home? Are you a glam girl? Do you favor clean, classic, simple lines? Or maybe you like vintage chic. Jot down your ideas and make an inspiration folder. Save pictures and tear-outs of anything that draws your eye. It takes time of course,  but in the mean time, a great place to start is looking through magazines and of course blogs. So on that note, I thought I would compile my all-time favorite event-planning and inspiring blogs and pass on my addiction.

 Style Me Pretty  is the best blog featuring DIY tips, real weddings, and vendor references.  I love the photos submitted for this and ideas they feauture.

The Wedding Chicks is another amazing blog with beautiful photography, DIY ideas, downloads, and planning tips.

Green Wedding Shoes is full of galleries and real wedding features drawing from inspiration from all over for bridres right here in Southern California.

Ruffled is a beautiful blog featuring vintage weddings. I simply love the unique, Anthropologie-esque styles they feauture.

I also love the following sites for inspiration for showers and parties:

Hostess with the Mostess is amazing for real party inspiration for showers and parties.  I love love love this site for party ideas and great decor finds!

The Celebration Shoppe Blog, The Party Dress,  and The Creative Party Place are also great resources for the hostess of all of life’s celebrations.

So stay tuned for more of my ideas on how to determine your personal style! Thanks for reading!

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Thank You Notes

Truth be told, I always complained about writing thank you notes as a kid. I hated that I had to sit down and write something… whether it was Christmas or a birthday my mom always “encouraged” me to do it. Largely I dreaded it because I didn’t know what to say or I would much rather have just said it when I saw the person. But now as an adult, I realize how truly special it makes someone feel when you send them a handwritten thank you note. That expression of gratitude and the time it took to just acknowledge someone’s generosity is truly important.

Be it a wedding, a birthday, or even a simple dinner party acknowledging someone else’s efforts go a long way! Showing you are gracious person, appreciative of others is so important. As Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette says, “Whatever the gift, whether a place setting or a gift of time or talent, it must be acknowledged.”

Unfortunately so often people for-go thank you notes to reduce the cost of their stationery. It’s silly because it really can be so affordable! Afterall a gift from someone is as Emily Post puts it, “a tangible representation of love and support, a generous offering.” Expressing your gratitude is necessary.

I recently had the lovely opportunity to work with Maggi, a bride whose wedding was shot by my talented friend Joel Austell.  When I met Maggi, I loved her energy and her excitement. She came to me with the unique idea to design a thank you card comprised of snapshots of her entire wedding. Because many of her guests couldn’t be present at the wedding, Maggi really wanted to provide them with a glimpse of the entire day. We worked together to design a beautiful piece and I am grateful for the artistic liberties she allowed me to take on this piece!


I just love the photo thank you cards because the items also work as a keepsake. For Maggi I designed the front of the card and the back of the card so that the recipient could cut it apart and frame it. I just love the idea that someone has another token of your appreciation. And not to mention, I always love seeing how the photos turned out!

Here are some inexpensive options from Carlson Craft. Adorable, affordable folding cards as well as postcards!

 (Sorry the quality is a little poor, it’s hard to take a picture of a picture!)

Remember that saying thank you is so critical. Here are some tips on saying thanks:

1. Be prompt! Traditionally a bride and groom have up to a full year to send a thank you from the date of their wedding. But really, it’s awfully inconsiderate to take that long to let someone know their gift arrived and/or was received.

2. A separate, handwritten thank you note should be sent for each present you receive. If you decide to have pre-printed thank you cards, try to write a personal message or sign the card.

3. If the bride writes the thank you, she should mention the groom as well. But also remember that the groom can write them too!

4. Follow a guideline to help you complete the note. Remember to address the gift giver, thank them for their specific contribution and why it is meaningful. And remember that even gifts of time and acts of kindness are often the best gifts, not just tangible items.

Many thanks dear readers for tuning in and reading my post!

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Engagement Party Invitation

I am excited to show you this item because we recently featured it on an Inspiration Board for an upcoming wedding. We were priveleged to be asked to design an engagemnt party invitation for a great couple, my cousin Andy & Taylor’s. We chose the letterpress and thermography combination. It’s a fresh, classic choice clearing conveying the casual yet elegant tone of the event. I also liked that the simplistic word choices we made here.

Tip: We also included a direction card with registry note at the bottom. Though most often a Web address is listed which details the registry or directions to an event it is a courtesy to include that information. Especially in cases where guests may be less than computer-savvy (or even elderly) you can prevent confusion and a lot of phone calls by clearly telling your guests such information. Such small cards are affordable and practical!

(For privacy reasons, portions of the invitation have been changed or removed)

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New: Crane & Co. Chloe B


I am truly excited because today I received the new Crane & Co. album feauturing Chloe B. designs. This brand new album is a design exclusive, only available to a limited number of retailers – and thankfully we are on of them! This beautiful album features the best of both worlds: high-quality papers and unique design features with an affordable price. Yes readers you read that right! I love the gorgeous embellishments (see the pictures below? yep those are pearls and crystals!) numerous pocket choices, and the colors.  I am predicting with my designer crystal ball that color is very popular this year! Oh and did I mention, we have new program designs and menu cards?

Here’s a sneak peek at some of our new offerings:


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