We're Pushing Rubber Even If It's "Wrong" (We Don't Wanna Be Right)

This post is 1 part promotion and 10 parts education. Mix well until there are no lumps. Pour into a springform pan and bake for 45-55 minutes. Okay sorry, let's keep going....

Talk to any wedding vendor about how they view etiquette. Chances are, they'll say something like, "I know that's how it's supposed to be done, but it just doesn't make sense anymore."

You might hear this while talking to your photographer about a "first look." Tradition says the bride and groom see each other for the first time as they come down the aisle. But does that make the most sense for your wedding? And where are the wedding police to come and arrest you if you don't do it the old way?

You could hear this from your hair stylist when asking her if you should get an updo. Yea, it seems like that's more formal. It's totally what you did that time you were a flower girl and then again before senior prom. But this is your wedding! Shouldn't you choose what makes the most sense for YOU?

There is lots of etiquette concerned with stationery. Truth be told, this is the area of a wedding where I actually prefer to be more proper. Paper doesn't have to be sexy like your long, beachy hair or spicy like your Mexican food truck catering. Paper can be classic AND cool. Gosh, maybe that's why I love it so much (I mean I work on a 100 year old letterpress, right?). But the one thing I'm willing to throw out the window is printing addresses. That seems really specific and weird, right? Kinda. Let me explain...

When you set up a letterpress, it takes a lot of work. You have to attach your plate to a base. Secure that on your machine. Mix ink. Ink up your rollers. Scrub a layer of skin off your hands to get them clean enough to touch paper. Run a couple of test sheets. Make sure your registration is solid. Gauge the depth of your impression and see if it's too shallow or too deep. Adjust your rollers. Wash your hands again, probably. Grab your stack of paper. Start printing. Arrange your printed pieces so they can breathe and don't smudge. Take a Larabar break cause you forgot to eat lunch. Set your prints somewhere clean, dry and safe. Clean your plate. Remove the base. Detach the rollers. Grab some nasty chemicals and soak everything. Grab some old rags and start scrubbing. Walk outside so you don't pass out from the fumes. Come back in. Keep scrubbing. Re-assemble your press. Take a scrubbrush and say goodbye to two more layers of skin as you wash off all that gunk. Wait until tomorrow to fiddle with your printed pieces cause they need the night to dry. Finish your Larabar.

WHEW. That's the process, y'all! It's not rocket science, but it's also pretty labor intensive. Did you catch the part where I didn't talk about what kind of paper I was printing? Or what piece of an invitation suite? That's because it doesn't matter! It takes that much work to print anything. So yes, that includes your (drumroll please) envelopes!

I don't have a problem printing envelopes. I like envelopes NO I LOVE ENVELOPES. But if you're wondering why it costs almost as much to print envelopes as it does to print your invitations it's because, well, it does. So let's talk about etiquette vs. money conservation. It might be totes worth it to print your wedding invitation because it's beautiful and it'll be on everyone's fridge and your grandma is gonna frame it or modpodge it with some dried flowers inside an old jewelry box and we are so into all of that. But your envelope is gonna get thrown away. Poor, unappreciated envelopes. Someone pour one out for envelopes, please.

So how about you do the MOST effective and LEAST expensive thing for your envelopes? Curious about what that might be? A RUBBER STAMP!

Rubber stamps are so easy. We design them and send them to our buddies at the stamp-making factory. We pick them up and give them to you and you grab an ink pad from anywhere and start going to town on your blank envelopes. Not just your outer envelopes, either, because they work for the front of your response envelopes. And then the back of your thank you notes, and your bills and your Christmas cards and - you get it. You can order one for your mom and dad (use those on your invites) and another one for yourself (use those on your thank you notes).

We like our stamps because they're pretty, custom, and some are handwritten. The normal person will get a calligraphy stamped envelope and not even notice that it's not real calligraphy - isn't that sneaky!? You'll be able to order blank envelopes with your wedding suite for cheeeeap and get your aunt who is dying to help you to stamp them. It's just too good.

So think about it! A lot of times, ordering stamps make a kind-of borderline stationery budget fall right back into possibility. We've got three styles in the shop now, but geeze - have you heard me raving about them? I think we'll just have to keep on coming up with more!

Putting Together The Sweetest Suite

For five years, I've been helping couples put together their dream wedding stationery... choosing paper, inks, printing methods, envelopes, etc. The whole process can be equally exciting and daunting. Unlike other areas of wedding planning (like attire, food and music), most people rarely consider what their preferences might be when it comes to paper. We live in a digital age - you know which Google theme you like best for your Gmail, but I probably shouldn't ask you if you prefer your stationery to be on 32# kid finish letter half-sheets or 110# vellum cover A2 cards.

I lost you, didn't I?

Other sources have also muddied the waters when it comes to expectations: your grandma has an opinion. Pinterest showed you a bunch of cute ideas. Your friend did something different last summer for her wedding.

How much are you supposed to spend? What's too fancy and what's not fancy enough? What do you do about the rehearsal dinner and reception? Why did your cousin's invitation have a sheet of tissue paper shoved in the envelope? Is it bad if you write the addresses yourself? Times infinity questions.

Here's a few general answers we can provide:

1. Method: 
Our invitations are press printed. That means every design gets made into a plate, that plate is used with a "press" (machine) to apply ink to the surface of a sheet of paper. It allows us to use thick paper (on a letterpress) and dark paper (with foil stamping). It gives the print some texture: either raised (thermography) or pressed down into the sheet (letterpress). This makes our invitations ideal for lots of different kinds of weddings: casual to super fancy. Let us know how formal your wedding is, and we can make a suggestion about which suite and print method to use. If you're having the most elegantly planned evening soiree, we know you want your invitations to match. We can match that, girl. We do fancy.

I've also learned after dozens and dozens of meetings that we're pretty good at anticipating what you want. We're like paper detectives: all we need is a couple of clues and then we can come up with something you'll love. Those clues are usually: budget, venue, style/theme and color. If you're having a high-budget wedding at a beautiful estate and the style is elegant/european and your colors are grey and gold? We got your suite:

We can skip the part where we show you 100 paper samples and a Pantone book of one bazillion colors and expect you to choose something from everything. We know what paper to print this suite on (thick, luxurious). We've picked a sampling of current, beautiful colors to stock as our house inks. We're not bad at this. Let us help you.

2. Budget:
Speaking of budget, pricing can get scary for wedding invitations. Most people think they should be much less expensive then they are - but we find that's mostly because the average person never buys this much paper at once. 

Think about it. If you went to FedEx and printed one sheet of cardstock and bought one envelope to mail it, that might cost you about $1.50. Probably about 15 minutes of time as well. So multiply that by 150. That's $225 and lots of time (on normal paper, with a laser print and your own stress/effort). If that sounds manageable to you, I seriously encourage you to DIY. For real! I did everything for my own wedding and it was an incredibly special and heartwarming process. If you're looking for something a little more polished or a little less stressful: that's our job!

Our suites range in price from $450 to $2000. That's a big range. We suggest invitations and insert cards take up about 3% of your total wedding budget (Programs, place cards and accessories should take up another 4%, by the way). So, if you're an average bride with a $25K budget, you can responsibly spend about $750 in our shop. For 100 guests? That means you could get this letterpress suite:

The Aviation Invitation: 100 letterpressed (custom calligraphy for names). Aviation Response: 100 letterpressed. 100 blank response envelopes. 125 blank invitation envelopes. The Let Me Know rubber stamp.
Total: $748

If you're not crazy about letterpress or you have a larger guest list, you could switch the printing to thermography to hit your target price. 

The fancy foil pressed invitations? They might not make sense for wedding budgets under 50K. But they're so pretty! If you're in love with them - splurge for it and go a little more conservative on another part of the wedding!

3. Customization:
Every template in our bridal shop is fully customizable. That means you can change the paper color. The print method. The body text font. The style of calligraphy. And all calligraphy is hand-written, meaning it will be 100% unique to your order. You'd be surprised how different some of these suites look when you change up a couple of components (I mean, really different).

If you're having a hard time visualizing, send us an email. Tell us your clues (remember? they're budget, venue, style/theme and color). We'll make some suggestions. Once you place your order, you'll get a PDF proof of the invitation with your specifications - that's where you'll see it all come together. And if you hate it? We'll give you a second chance to change your specs. If you want to switch to another template, we'll charge you a $20 reproofing fee. If something sounds crazy when you place your order, we'll let you know before we make any proofs so you don't waste precious time on a bad proof.

All in all, we're real people who really pay attention.

This shop allows us to provide you with mostly custom invitations without forcing you to fly to Atlanta to sit down with us. We're excited about that, and we hope you are too!

Do you have more questions? We're okay with that.

Send us an email. Ask away. We'll answer all your questions before you buy a suite so you can be sure you're making the right move. We're here, ready to help!

Grand Opening

Hello, and welcome to the new Ashley Buzzy Lettering + Press website, complete with a paper shop!

I (Ashley) and we (more people than just me) have worked really hard to create this small but powerful little line of paper goods. I have handled all of the design and concept - and letterpress. Our trusty printers have helped us out with the thermography and foil. My friend and coworker and assistant and helpful boss-lady Laura has come to the studio countless times to co-design some pieces (and offer encouragement). The amazing Haley Sheffield has shot all of the pictures for the shop at my last-minute demand, which has been a game-changer. And my intern/assistant Lauren has been around 2-3 times a week to haul stuff and pick up letterpress plates and do all the things nobody wants to do. I seriously needed every bit of their help or else I would be buried under a sea of folded notecards (and we still kind of are).

As with any endeavor, at a certain point you just have to rip off the bandaid and try. Expect to see changes, improvements and new products OFTEN. Probably lots of changes. I am human and I'm sure I've made typos like a human.

But, I hope you see the heart of this new line: it's paper for everyone. It's paper for someone who doesn't really know how to say what they want to say. For awkward people. People who have gotten nowhere trying to be sweet. People who need a way to just tell it like it is. 

And, of course, brides. Brides who are ready for something beautiful and simple. Something mostly custom and gorgeously printed, but for those (like most of us) who have too many emails in their inbox and project deadlines to come chat with me about custom invites for hours and hours. I feel you girl. Come get your stuff and let's get this show on the road.

Thanks for stopping by - there will be more to come!

xoxo, buzz