Just got engaged? Here's our timeline

Organized Sister here to help. First of all, congrats! Deep breath in and out. Everything will work out beautifully, your day will be magical. It "just" takes a little planning.

The above image outlines our wedding stationery timeline month by month. We are showing a 12 month scenario because this seems to be an average timeline for today's couples.

Save the Dates. Notice that we are suggesting sending out your save the dates up to 10 months in advance of your big day. However, we feel that save the dates can be mailed up to 5 months prior to your wedding date. After that point, you'll be sending them right on top of your invitations.

Invitations. Wedding invitations are mailed 6-8 weeks in advance of your wedding date, however the trend lately is sending them as early as 12 weeks from your wedding date. I don't want to give you the impression that you have all the time in the world. Talk to us or one of our retailers EARLY to start planning on your wedding stationery. Why? This is the first thing your guests will see. Planning your stationery early inspires all of the little and important details you'll use for that day.

For example, we worked with a lovely couture bride from Sioux Falls awhile back. She was settled on using a bright green for her ink color because the bridesmaids dresses were going to be green as well. Guess what happened? After our initial discussion and first proof, her stationery changed to a soft blush and chocolate and the love birds we created especially for her were used throughout her day of stationery and keepsakes.

Day of Items. Print some of your day of items at the same time as your invitations, such as your table cards, seating cards and gift tags. Doing this provides you with enough time to have any of these items sent to your calligrapher.

Other Helpful Tips:
  • allow at least two weeks for calligraphy, longer for in-demand calligraphers; consider digital calligraphy if you have less time or are on a budget.
  • order extra envelopes as most calligraphers require at least 20% extra envelopes.
  • we recommend save the dates for destination weddings and/or detailed invitations sent well in advance of your wedding date to allow guests ample time to make plans.
  • letterpress is an antiquated print method which is why we appreciate additional time to produce your wedding stationery.
  • order extra invitations for unexpected additions to your guest list or keepsakes, re-prints are costly! We sell our stationery in 25 qty increments.
  • the more custom your wedding stationery, the more time you should allow for design.
Best of luck to you and happy planning!

Why Wedding Stationery Matters

Valerie on Wedding Stationery in 2011

Oh how wedding stationery has evolved. I was married only seven years ago and I can't believe the changes that have taken place. Gorgeous, tactile, exciting, elaborate changes!

We didn't do Save the Dates for our wedding, but I did have invitations that still hold a special place in my heart. I also had lovely programs and place cards, embossed labels for our favor tins, and some special manzanita branches with individual cards handing from them instead of a traditional guest book. I paid attention to the details of our wedding while remaining mostly on budget. I will admit that I had four different lipsticks and three pairs of shoes by the day of our wedding because I became increasingly indecisive about these personal style details!

Even though I thought I was into the details, now that our new custom albums are out there I can't believe all that I missed out on. I'm not that into dwelling on how things could have been different for my wedding because what mattered most was being married at the end of the day. And now I have a new found passion for helping our clients make something truly special for their weddings.

We have couples who want something entirely all their own and we have people that get the designs as they are shown in our album because it fits their wedding day style. No matter what category you fall into, we developed our albums to help everyone find the right stationery for their event.

As I endlessly peruse wedding blogs, there are many showing gorgeous stationery and others that do not. Nothing makes me cringe more then when I see every other detail of the day attended to and yet the stationery is lackluster. Of course it bothers me in large part because I am a custom stationer, but what I've learned about stationery over the years is that even the smallest paper details can make an impact. Sometimes it is the quote from your favorite author on the tag of a gift you are bestowing upon each guest, or it could be the special thank you to your parents and remembrance of a loved one you've lost too soon on your program.

The paper goods you create for your special day are the first tangible item a guest receives and one of the few things about your wedding that your guests can hold in their hands and get up close and personal with. From a save the date through the thank you note - the paper, colors, printing, design, and words - they all come together to help convey emotion and make a personal connection between you and your guests.

I hope you will review that lengthy list of must-haves for your wedding day and make sure you have your paper goods accounted for. I know we'd love to help you make them special!

Celebrating the Holidays in Germany

Frohe Weihnachten! Happy Holidays!

We've lived in Germany now for over three months, and so far December has been full of fun experiences for our family. Our boys are doing well in German school, picking up the language much more quickly than we are. They have gone to the theater and sledding with their classmates, and spent a week making crafts for Christmas. They came home with bird feeders, ornaments, candle holders, masks and homemade cookies (see below). German public schools teach religion to all school children, so these past few weeks, our boys also took part in lighting an Advent candle wreath and each day one student had the chance to open a door on the classroom Advent calendar.

Advent calendars are sold here in all shapes and sizes, available at just about every store. Since our family celebrates Christmas, we purchased unique advent calendars for our boys. We are sure this is not something they would find at home...Alex's calendar is the ever so popular Playmobil.

We have enjoyed the Christmas markets here, as it is an opportunity to get out of doors in the cold and snow, visit the festively decorated wooden huts, selling mulled wine, bratwurst and crafts of all variety. Mostly, it is a great place to hang out with family and friends. The pictures above and below were taken in market here in Marburg. We arrived for the lighting up of the city, which was really beautiful.

A few weeks ago we took a trip to Munich. See the pictures below of their Christmas markets in the town center. I've also included a picture of my husband and me enjoying a good German beer at a local brew house. Cheers!

It is an amazing experience for our family to be here. It isn't always easy, but we have settled into life here as best we can. We are much healthier thanks to all of the walking we do on a daily basis. I know our boys are gaining a sense of independence as they are able to do things they wouldn't normally have the chance to do. And thanks to our very tiny apartment, we are all getting to know each other very well - like it or not!

Happy Holidays from our family to yours! Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

Promote your business with letterpress

Adorably modern business stationery for Leximedia, thanks to our retailer Kate's Paperie Soho of New York, NY.

Special event invitation for the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants,
thanks to our retailer Luxe Expressions of Atlanta, Georgia.

Letterpress photo bookmark announcing the grand re-opening of the Augustana Library, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Calling cards that capture the essence of the business.

Special event invitation, thanks to our retailer Paper Cafe of Raleigh, North Carolina.
Shown in the picture is the front and back of the invitation.

Ever thought of printing your business stationery letterpress? We've had a number of small business owners contact us over the years, because they wanted to provide their clients with something special - something out of the ordinary 4-color process we see everywhere.

Letterpress is already a trend in wedding stationery, so why not for business stationery as well? The initial conversations about printing something letterpress or not are much the same. "I don't know how much it will cost, but I really want something different." And, "I want this event to be timeless and set the tone." Or how about, "we really want to make a statement." Make a statement with whom? Guests, donors, clients, the in-laws...well whomever it is, let's make an impression.

Any business owner will tell you, you have a spend a buck to earn a buck. Right? Well, we can tell you to select where you spend your bucks wisely. Like many other letterpress printers, for example, we print business cards. Why? They stand out from the rest of the cards out there AND they are a great conversation starter. You're essentially saying, "business with you is important to me."

If you're planning a special event, think about who you hope to attend. If you're hoping for a stellar crowd, then maybe it's appropriate to throw a little letterpress love their way. The special event pieces shown above make everyone look and feel good. We like that.

Are you excited? We hope you are, so don't deflate when we have to talk price. For starters, our business cards are affordable yet luxurious. Our standard paper is 100% cotton, which for most people, is really nice. Order a higher quantity to get a better price per piece. Try to keep the information on one side of the card - there is no rule that you have to print on the backside!

If your budget is tight for an upcoming special event, consider sticking to one color letterpress. Dress up the invite with a letterpress envelope liner or maybe a stunning envelope design. Don't forget about our letterpress coasters, gift tags, bookmarks and programs as these pieces provide your clients with a special keepsake to remember your company.

Holiday cheer- 4 more pictures from our Holiday album

Another Great example of letterpressed photos- Lily and Lucia (Valerie and Jim's kids)
All wording, artwork, colors, papers- customize to your favorites! Add birds to fit the size of your family!
Metallic inks are really classy and fun during the holidays!
This card is BOLD using the font from our Amelie suite.

Please call Spark or a Spark retailer to place your Holiday card order today! Just yesterday we placed 2 orders already! Way to be on the ball!

Create Custom Stationery with our New Retailers!

Spark is excited to announce that the following stores have recently joined the Spark team to carry our custom wedding and stationery albums! We are featuring them here first as we await our retail store locator on our website to be updated.

So, when you are ready to create your custom invite with Spark, please visit our retail store locator on our website to find a retailer near you - and don't forget these new retailers below!

Welcome to:

Molly's Paperie, Little Rock, AR. mollyspaperie.com
Sweetpaper, La Jolla, CA. sweet-paper.com
Seaside Papery, Coronado, CA. seasidepapery.com
Wordshop, Denver, CO. wordshopdenver.com
Two Hands Paperie, Boulder, CO. twohandspaperie.com
Fabulously Yours, Trumbull, CT. fabinvitations.com
Paper Doll, Chicago, IL. paperdollchicago.com
The Monogram Shoppe, Fort Wayne, IN. monogramshoppe.com
Westwood Paper Company, Carmel, IN. westwoodpaper.com
Aberdeen Manor, Valparaiso, IN. aberdeenmanor.com
Paperista, Minneapolis, MN. paperista.com
Gus & Ruby Letterpress, Portsmouth, NH. gusandruby.com
Little Black Dress Paperie, Bernardsville, NJ. littleblackdresspaperie.com
Lion in the Sun of Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY. lioninthesunps.com
Petite Fete, Forest Hills, NY. petite-fete.com
Alpine Creative Group, New York, NY. alpinecreativegroup.com
Kate's Paperie, 57th Street Location, New York, NY. katespaperie.com
Kate's Paperie, Third Avenue Location, New York, NY. katespaperie.com
Kate's Paperie, Soho Location, New York, NY. katespaperie.com
Bloomingdale's, New York, NY. judypaulendesigns.com
The Paper Tiger, Woodmere, NY. thepapertigerny.com
You're Invited Gifts & Paper, Nashville, TN. yistationery.com
Needle In A Haystack, Dallas, TX. needleinahaystack.biz
Paper Place, Austin, TX. paperplaceaustin.com
The Write Image, Salt Lake City, UT. twio.com
Robin's Paperie, Cedarburg, WI. robinspaperie.com
The Paper Deli, Middleton, WI. thepaperdelistore.com

...and, additional stores to be announced soon!

Fun with our Complimentary Calling cards

Joy speaking (so blame her if you don't like the puns)

So last week I told you about the August/September deal here at Spark- order a 4-piece suite and receive complimentary calling cards (a.k.a. at home cards) in the same quantity. Just a reminder that our great die-cuts are not included in this offer, however, I am going to provide some advice on who should use these the standard rectangular calling card, the skinny calling card, and the square calling card.

Urban dictionary is fun people, let's go with it to determine how one should choose their calling card.

Square - "a person regarded as dull, rigidly conventional, and out of touch with current trends"
In my mind, using letterpress already means you are in with the trends, so that can't be right. Dull, huh. I think squares just provide comfort to those who like equal length sides.

Skinny - "the scoop, what's up?" "the low down"
So these are great for those who only want to share their information with a select group of people who they would like in their inner circle. But who knows.

The traditional rectangle - Neither rectangle or business card came up with a urban dictionary definition. Oh well. These are perfect for those who want their card to fit in with all the other cards in the Rolodex. Conforming is a word that keeps popping into my head here.

Ok, ok enough fun. In all reality, at home cards are a great way to share with your loved ones your new address, an updated email, website, social media pages (don't forget twitter and your youtube channel), and perhaps even a new house number (do people still get those?)

Or give all the wrong information and become a hermit or anonymous blogger after your big day.

If you have any real questions about this Spark deal, please email spark@letterpresslove.com or contact your nearest retailer.

Personal Stationery for Lindsey

The Lindsey design from the Stationery Love album features elegant orchids in a lavender ink on bright white cotton stock. Perfect for personal stationery, however you may select to use this artwork for any occasion.

The Lindsey calling cards are shown in a elegant circle and oval shapes as well as square, skinny and standard rectangular. Keep in mind that any of our die cut shapes featured in the Stationery Love album may be used at no additional charge other than our standard die cutting fee.

Our standard note cards come in a petite 4Bar, standard A2 as well as the skinny Monarch note - all available flat or folded. Our letterhead is ideal for those individuals who write serious correspondence for personal or business use.

Spark stationery products may be purchased at any of our retailers or through us directly if no retailer is available in your area. Contact Spark at spark@letterpresslove.com for more details.

And, more custom albums...

We know, you get it, right?

Thanks to our wonderful staff, we shipped more custom albums today. This may not be newsworthy, but since it took us months in the making, we figured it wouldn't hurt to post a picture from today. One of our pressman told us that a better picture would have been the UPS guy's surprise as he saw another large shipment from Spark. Poor guy, it was raining, too! Don't worry, we'll go easy on him the rest of the week...