One of those things couples know is essential is wedding stationery, but don’t always put a lot of effort behind. “I’ll DIY my invites,” you’ll hear some people say, while others are a bit oblivious to the creation process and leave their designer with only a few weeks or days to produce something spectacular.

If you’re a graphic designer/calligrapher/artist, feel free to make your own wedding stationery suite. Otherwise, hand over your design dreams to the professionals and let them work their magic.

Wedding stationary displayed on a decorated table with fruit and flowers. Photographed by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen

Why should you choose paper wedding stationery over digital?

We don’t have anything against a digital wedding invitation, but there’s nothing like receiving something special in the mail, especially in this day and age. A paper save-the-date card or wedding invite is a welcome surprise, especially when it’s like a beautiful piece of art, carefully chosen and created.

A wedding invitation is where it all begins for the friends and family you want to see at your celebration. It acts as a starting point for your potential guests. When they open the envelope they’ll instantly get a feel for your wedding’s theme, colors, mood, and tone. And although the information printed on the invitation will give them the details, the design can express you and your partner’s love story.

The best part about wedding invitations is the endless design possibilities. No longer do you have to opt for a rectangular piece of cardstock with your wedding-day details printed in a “handwritten” computer font. Modern invitations can be anything you want them to be, from simple and sleek to colorful and three dimensional.

Related: 10 Ways to Include Calligraphy in Your Wedding

Today we’re chatting with two spectacular stationery design studios in the Austin, Texas area, Poppies + Ink, and Owl & Envelope. Read on for a peek behind the studio doors and how these creators are bringing beautiful pieces of paper artwork to the wedding world.

Tell us a little about yourself and your stationery business.

P+I: Poppies + Ink is an Austin based design studio specializing in hand-lettered wedding stationery, signage and floral.

O&E: After teaching piano and voice for eight years, I taught myself calligraphy and hand lettering as a hobby, and completely fell in love with paper design and lettering. I designed a handful of invitations for friends, and then my own wedding invitations in 2016. About a year later, I decided to open Owl & Envelope, and start designing for couples who couldn't quite find what they wanted in the traditional invitation designs found elsewhere. I love working with brides who want something timeless, but not traditional, and who really want to tell their unique love story through their paper details!

Wedding stationary and rings displayed on a decorated table with flowers and greenery. Photographed by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen

What do you love most about your wedding stationery?

P+I: I love getting to know each couple personally and creating something that reflects their personalities and love story. It is so special to present a client with an invitation suite or floral design plan that looks exactly like what they imagined, but didn't know how to put into words. I get especially stoked when a client has an idea that I've never tried before - lettering on a new surface, designing way outside the box - it's so exciting to work together with a client to create something so unique.

O&E: I absolutely love helping my couples bring their story to life on paper and create something that is entirely unique to their wedding and relationship. Working with soon-to-be newlyweds is such a joy, and getting to know them (and sometimes their pets!) is so inspiring to me as an artist. Probably my favorite moment in the process is when a client sees their design for the first time and responds with "They're so US!"

Is there anything you’d like clients to know before they come to you?

P+I: I believe that every couple should have the design elements of their dreams, despite their budget. Come to me with a clear budget and some good ideas and I bet we can make it work!

O&E: I pour a lot of heart into designing for my couples and want them to have the best quality possible, so their invitations can last as long as their photos. Because of the enormous variety of materials and printing methods available, budgets for invitations can vary widely. I recommend having a budget range you're comfortable with up front to help narrow down all those options, and then having an open mind about printing methods and styles. I also recommend having your guest list finalized, and a count of how many invitations you'll need. Typically, it will be one invite per couple/family, with additional invites for individuals over 18.

What can clients expect when working with you?

P+I: As of now, every single stationery suite I have ever designed has been customized to each couple - no designs have been duplicated! I want to work closely with your vision, inspired by your personalities, and with my creativity as an artistic collaboration.

O&E: Couples I work with love the process, and I try to make it as fun, easy, and creative as possible. The focus is always on them as a couple, and making sure that wedding stress doesn't overtake the future they are starting together. I believe that wedding planning should be as stress free as possible, so I take care of all of the logistics, from printing to assembly, and will work on everything involved in wedding stationery, starting with save-the-dates and invitations, and then on to day of details and even thank you cards after the wedding. All my couples have to do is seal and deliver!

Wedding dinner menus displayed on a decorated table with forks, knives, and water glasses. Photographed by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen

What goes into creating a couple's vision for their wedding stationery?

P+I: When working with Poppies + Ink you can anticipate a round of hand-sketching and drafting before we hone in on a finalized design for your invitations. I love working with the client to refine their general vision so I will pitch several variations to you, the couple, and revise from there, incorporating the elements you love and ditching the aspects that aren't your favorite in order to come up with a finalized design you'll be swooning over. And I always prefer going back in and adding a hand-painted element after printing, ensuring that no two invitations are the same!

O&E: I start the design process with a fun questionnaire/interview about my couples' story, likes, and dreams for their wedding and marriage. I think it's important to weave details in about how you met, your favorite moments together, (and of course, the fur babies!), into the design to make it truly unique to you as a couple. Colors and themes are helpful, but I think a wedding vision should really be about what makes each couple uniquely them.

How far in advance should a couple book with you?

P+I: Invitations should go out 8 to 10 weeks prior to your wedding, so you should book your stationery designer at least 3 months prior to your wedding or event. I'd recommend booking as early as possible so that you can incorporate elements of your stationery suite into all aspects of your big day, including favors, programs, signage and more!

O&E: From start to finish, design typically takes about 6-8 weeks, so for save-the-dates, you can book 10-12 months prior to your wedding date, and invitations I recommend booking 6 months ahead to guarantee your mailing date.

What stationery trends are you loving right now?

P+I: The big, gestural feel of some painted brush strokes, the amazing texture that emerges in layers of watercolor paints, the emotion behind a truly hand lettered font. I love that stationery is trending more towards art these days. Who says an invite has to be stuffy and formal with a serif font? Why can't we make it into a work of art if we want?!

O&E: I love the trend of using multiple colors of paper in an invitation suite, and the dusty, warm colors I've been seeing a lot lately, like terra cotta and sage.

Wedding dinner menu displayed on a place setting, decorated with flowers. Photographed by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen

Where do you find the most inspiration?

P+I: I draw most of my inspiration from nature. I love the way the tall grasses blow in the wind, how the ocean looks on a stormy day, the way the clouds roll through the sky. I want to incorporate those big, beautiful feelings into my designs.

O&E: I love looking at abstract art, interior design trends, and nature to pull inspiration.

What's your favorite part of working within the wedding industry?

P+I: I love seeing it all come together on the wedding day! A year's worth of planning (or more) all culminating for the happiest day of the couple's lives, especially when they incorporate their personalities into the little details. I love how an event can be such a representation of two people and their love.

O&E: I absolutely love working with couples and getting to know their stories. I also love that I get to work with some of the most kind, creative people as fellow wedding vendors, and am constantly inspired by their art!

What tips/advice can you give couples planning their big day?

P+I: Hire a planner! Even if you are the most organized person in the world, you still need someone for the big day. At the very least, opt into a month-of coordinator so you're not stressing come wedding week. I promise you, it is worth the money!

O&E: Keep the main thing the main thing. Your wedding isn't about a wedding, it's about you as a couple and the marriage and future you are building together. Don't let all the wedding planning stress keep you from spending time together. Make sure to schedule date nights, especially in the last couple months, and check in from time to time to make sure your wedding is really reflecting you as a couple.

Such good advice and inspiring details from these two Austin wedding stationery designers! Head on over to their respective websites and take a look at their galleries for even more inspiration.

Related: Plus One Wedding Etiquette

Looking for more incredible wedding vendors? I know many!

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