2u Creative — Amy Morelli — Illustration — Branding — Graphic Design

Wedding

New Ready Made Stationery in the Store!

Amy MorelliComment

As you know, we launched our new brand and website in December, and since then we have been working hard to add new designs to our Ready Made Line, Paper Couture Stationery. And soon we will be adding Digital Downloads to this line, pretty soon you will be able to choose from specific designs and purchase a Printable PDF, to take to the printer of your choice. These will be ready April 1st, and we will post a blog announcing those designs.

In the meantime, here are some of the new stationery designs in the store. Don't forget we can change the colors and you can choose your favorite paper. Visit the Store to see all our great designs.

046a. Delicate Romance Wedding Invitation Suite - Set of 25
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002a. Traditional Monogram Wedding Invitation Suite - Set of 25
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Are you looking for cute stationery gifts for your friends or wedding party? Try these great gift sets. Visit the Store to see all our great designs.

07a. Monogram Stationery Blue Frill Design - set of 20
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Custom Stationery — Explained!

Custom — Explained, KnowledgeAmy MorelliComment
TOP LEFT IMAGE COURTESY OF  KATHY THOMAS PHOTOGRAPHY        |   TOP & BOTTOM CENTER IMAGES COURTESY OF  SHIRA WEINBERGER PHOTOGRAPHY      |   TOP & BOTTOM RIGHT, BOTTOM LEFT IMAGES COURTESY OF  L  IGA PHOTOGRAPHY

TOP LEFT IMAGE COURTESY OF KATHY THOMAS PHOTOGRAPHY    |  TOP & BOTTOM CENTER IMAGES COURTESY OF SHIRA WEINBERGER PHOTOGRAPHY  |  TOP & BOTTOM RIGHT, BOTTOM LEFT IMAGES COURTESY OF LIGA PHOTOGRAPHY

I am asked all of the time, Why are Custom Invitations More Expensive?  I have been asked this question so much lately by inquiring brides, and fellow industry vendors, I decided to update a blog I wrote in 2010 on the topic!  My hope is to answer any questions out there, as well share with you why we should value hard work and talent!

READY-MADE VS CUSTOM: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

Ready Made invitations are printed in the thousands as Templates. The Main design is printed in BULK in the thousands, stored and then distributed around the country to different invitation vendors, who put them in a book. And then brides go in, search through the books and choose the invitation they like. When that order is placed, a smaller less expensive printer, usually digital or laser, is used to print your name and personal information on the DESIGN TEMPLATE. So that the cost is less, they aren't having to set up and order supplies everytime an order comes in. They did this initially in the beginning and printed in BULK. 

Custom Designed Invitations are more expensive because you are printing something unique and different in smaller numbers. They usually also include embellishments such as ribbon, crystals, brooches, etc. Which adds hand labor to the process. The above invitations have Lace Accents, ribbon, crystals, etc and no machine can do accents such as these. I always try and educate my brides that it makes more sense to purchase a package if you want something custom. Then we can make use of all the supply minimums we've had to order. (Keep reading for further explanation of minimums and labor)

Why should I choose custom instead of trying to DIY them?  I get asked this question all time, not just by brides but by many industry vendors as well. My answer is simple, and I say this in the nicest way possible: YOU HAVE NO EXPERIENCE AND WON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING :) Because you don't do this on a daily basis, or have multiple projects like this under your belt, the quality of your final product will suffer. Our team has over 8 years of event industry experience, and over 20 years of design and printing experience. We have developed systems and methods over the years to produce our designs and creations — giving you an amazing quality. 

Lot's of Brides, vendors and even friends have told me, they thought they would "Save Money" by doing their own stationery projects for their wedding. In the end, they ended up spending MORE MONEY AND TIME because they have never done this before, and end up with a lot of waste, mistakes and overspending on supplies. What does this mean? Here's an example, you and your bridesmaids gather around a table, for gossip and DIY. Well unfortunately, this means you will end up with 100 pieces, that all look different. Some of them may even have glue mistakes, crooked embellishments, and lopsided bows. 

When you seek out a professional you are ensuring your stationery will be beautiful and of high production value. Because we have so much experience we have developed systems and procedures over the years to ensure that when we have to glue a total of 4,000 crystals — the very first crystal glued has the same look and placement as the very last crystal we glue. We also have quality control procedures in place to ensure that every guest receives the very best of our creations! As professionals completing multiple weddings a year, my staff and I have tested and used many different products over the years (i.e. glue, paper, ink, etc). Taking Glue as an example: Not all glue is created equally! :)  We know what glue is best and won't bleed through to the other side of the paper, or what glue is the strongest or is easiest to clean up if a mistake as made.

Another reason to choose a trusted professional is relationships. Over the years relationships are built with the various vendors we work with. Because of this, you will probably get better pricing on supplies going through a professional than purchasing them yourself. For example, If there is more than one wedding on the books using Linen Paper, then paper for both wedding projects can be ordered at the same time - this sometimes can help save cost. Or if you have more than one wedding using the same paper, you might be able to print them together on a larger sheet- therefore saving money on set up fees. Your stationer can negotiate with the paper and printing vendor and get a better pricing than you could as an a la carte customer. 

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against DIY, but if you are looking for high quality stationery and reception creations that will WOW your guests, chances are you won't get that when you try to do it yourself. I know Pinterest and Etsy make it seem so easy, but take it from a professional you get what you pay for — creating custom designs that WOW takes talent, experience and a practiced steady hand.

ONE EXAMPLE OF LABOR — ESCORT CARD DISPLAY:
PROJECT TIME FROM CONCEPT TO COMPLETION, 20 HOURS

(images in the above gallery courtesy of Root Photorgraphy and Amy Morelli)

TO START THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS OF THIS ESCORT CARD DISPLAY, THE FRAME NEEDED TO BE
ORDERED AND PAINTED. STEP TWO: RESEARCH AND PROCUREMENT OF THE BASE, AS WELL AS MOSS APPLICATION TO A CARDBOARD INSERT WAS COMPLETED. GUEST NAMES WERE DESIGNED AND ALPHABETIZED IN AN OMBRE DESIGN. ESCORT CARDS WERE THEN PRINTED AND DIE CUT INTO CIRCLES. IN THE FINAL STAGE, WE USED STRAIGHT PINS TO AFFIX THE CARDS TO THE MOSS, MEASURING ALONG THE WAY TO ENSURE PROPER SPACING AND PLACEMENT.  AS YOU CAN SEE THE END RESULT WAS WELL
WORTH THE TIME INVOLVED, BONUS: IT WAS A BIG HIT WITH THE GUESTS AT THE EVENT.

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN CHOOSING CUSTOM

Why choose a Custom Invitation over a Ready Made Invitation?  I have found that the brides who seek me out for Custom Stationery do it because they want to add a personal and unique, one of a kind flare to their wedding. I love getting to know my clients and developing stationery for their event. There is nothing more rewarding than creating something that reflects who they are as a couple, as well as setting the tone and design for the overall feeling of their event. 

Is a Custom Invitation for You? Do you want to set the tone for your wedding from the moment your guest receive their first communication from you? Do you want something unique and one of a kind that your guests have never seen before? Do you want your guests to feel your personal touch and love for them throughout the process of your event, from Save the Date, to Thank You Cards?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a Custom Designed Invitation is for you.

What will a Custom Invitation Cost?  Is a custom designed stationery package right for my budget?  The standard rule is to spend 4% of your wedding budget on stationery. With custom, the percentage is anywhere from 7 to 10% of your entire wedding budget. This formula will help you figure out if Custom Designed Invitation is right for you. Custom Designed Invitations usually start around $2,500 for approximately 100 invitations, and can go all the way to $15,000 for a full wedding package. Pricing is really dependent on embellishments and types of materials used.  An invitation with no hand work will be more modestly priced than an invitation that has silk fabric, a crystal brooch, etc.

Why is it more expensive?  You ask.  This question really has no short answer.  Printing in general is an expensive process unless you are printing in bulk, which is in quantities of 1,000 or more. The more you print the smaller the cost PER PIECE is. When you are only printing 100 of something- you have to pay the same cost to set up that printing press- whether you print 1 or 10,000.  Not to mention there are order minimums on supplies such as paper, crystals, ribbon, envelopes, etc.  Even if you need only 50 invitations you still have to buy supplies in the MINIMUMS they come in, and you still have to pay for the printing press set up.  For example you may only need 50 sheets of paper, but the fancy paper you like only sells it in reams of 250 sheets. This is the same for ribbon, fabric, crystals, wood and most other custom supplies and materials. 

As I mentioned earlier, The cost per goes down when you are printing in large numbers like 1,000 or more. But most weddings don't have a guest list that large. So you are having to divide the cost of set up, supplies and labor over your small number, making the price point per MUCH higher. And each design is set up on it's own. So if you have a menu and an invitation you are paying for set up of both of those because the artwork and printing plates are different.

Another thing that contributes to cost is labor, if you want ribbon, silk fabric, crystals, etc that can really raise the price, as all of these things are hand work. Depending on the complexity of hand work hours can really increase when you are adding embellishment to hundreds of stationery pieces. And if you are wanting some real WOW factor, like the above or below escort card display or the 3 Dimensional table numbers and place cards in the header image — this required us to be onsite the day of your wedding to stage and set up your stationery package, which again can increase labor cost.

We always recommend to our couples that we do a full stationery package instead of just invitations. This way we can utilize all the supplies we need to order (remember the paper minimums we discussed earlier). And if after reading this you've determined you don't have the budget for Custom, then please visit our Ready-Made, Limited Edition Line Paper Couture Stationery.

 

A CASE STUDY — FULL CUSTOM WEDDING EVENT PROJECT
SCOPE OF PROJECT : 6 MONTHS FROM START TO FINISH

(images in the above gallery courtesy of Liga Photography)

FOR THIS BRIDE, WE WERE ABLE TO UTILIZE ALL THE PAPER AND SUPPLY MINIMUMS, BY USING THEM ACROSS MULTIPLE WEDDING APPLICATIONS. AS YOU CAN SEE BY THE TOP TWO PHOTOS, WE WERE ABLE TO CREATE SIMILAR YET DIFFERENT INVITATION SUITES — ONE FOR HER BRIDAL SHOWER AND THE OTHER FOR HER WEDDING INVITATION & RECEPTION SUITE. WHILE GIVING EACH PIECE IT'S OWN UNIQUE FEEL, WE WERE ABLE TO CREATE A COHESIVE BRAND DEISGN TO CARRY OUT THROUGH ALL OF HER WEDDING EVENTS.

WITH LACE, PEARL AND RIBBON ACCENTS THIS CREATION INVOVLED EXTENSIVE HAND WORK AND LABOR. FROM THE GLASS VASES FILLED WITH PEARLS AND IRIDESCENT WOODEN TABLE NUMBERS TO THE ESCORT CANDLE DISPLAY DIRECTING THE GUEST TO THEIR TABLE.  (see me pictured above onsite alphabetizing and tying ribbons for over 300 candles for the guests) A CUSTOM COLORING BOOK WITH ILLUSTRATIONS TELLING THE COUPLES LOVE STORY WAS ALSO CREATED FOR THE CHILDREN ATTENDING THE EVENT. 

 

As you can see by the case study above, the stationery visual is pretty impactful. It took about 6 months of work prior to the wedding to prepare and create all pieces. This was a wedding for 300, remember number of guests will help determine the time needed and pricing of your project. 100 invitations with no embellishment will take less time and supplies than 300 invitations with embellishment on each piece.

I hope you have enjoyed this post, and increased your understanding of custom stationery. I you have any other questions you want answered- Comment and I will answer the best I can.



ONE LOVE: A Wedding for Everyone!

#memyselfandi, Branding, ONE LOVE: Workshop, Media CoverageAmy MorelliComment

ALL IMAGES ABOVE COURTESY OF KATHY THOMAS PHOTOGRAPHY    |  BOTTOM CENTER IMAGE OF KATHY COURTESY OF LEAH LANGLEY    |  IMAGES FROM ONE LOVE WORKSHOP 11-03-14


If you live in Florida or have been watching the news, you know that Florida made Same Sex Marriage legal on January 6th, 2015! YAY FLORIDA!  I am proud to say I have always been a supporter of #Equality!  Working in the Event Industry I am connected with vendors and couples from all walks of life, and I'm here to tell you PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE. In my opinion, the thing that separates us in society is how we treat each other — not who we are or who we love. It's whether or not we are there for each other as humans. This is what builds character. This is what makes us open to love and new life experiences. 

This past November I was asked to participate and sponsor ONE LOVE: a wedding for everyone, presented by Kathy Thomas of Kathy Thomas Photography.  Of course, I jumped at the chance! It was a great opportunity to work with some amazing vendors and to connect with vendors I had yet had the pleasure of working with — all while showing my support for the LGBTQ community.

A two-day experience at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, the workshop featured Bernadette Smith of the Gay Wedding Institute, as well as a styled shoot and education on same sex weddings, SEO and marketing language. The brain child of  Kathy Thomas, ONE LOVE: a wedding for everyone was a huge success, photography from the workshop will be used in the marketing materials of the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, and the workshop itself got a mention on the Channel 6 News! (watch here)

I loved working on this project! It was great working with Kathy creating the Branding and Stationery for take away's and the styled location shoots! She is a formidable force in the event industry and her vision oozed sophistication! 

"My goal is to help educate my community by fostering an environment that continues education, growth and support, so we can be experts in the wedding community. I am a believer in equality — I created my company in support of love and marriage and couldn't be happier that Florida has legalized it for all couples."   — KATHY THOMAS

Job well done! I know she poured her heart and soul into this workshop, and it was evident by the amazing experience she created! Jealous? :)  Experience it yourself with this great trailer by Key Moment Films.

Let's not forget Lisa Stoner of E-Events, she designed the styled shoots at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. A beautiful modern classic ballroom set, (complete with the ladies from Our DJ Rocks!) and an elegant outdoor farm experience at Whisper Creek Farm. Thank you Lisa, for always creating amazing environments to showcase my stationery! (I kid, I kid...it's not just about the stationery!) Tipping my hat to Raining Roses  and the Chalk Shop as well for creating her amazing vision! 

Drink in the beauty of both locations below!

For a full list of participants and sponsors of the workshop, scroll down to the end of this post. You will also find galleries for both locations below! (Photography courtesy of Kathy Thomas Photography)

For more information on our event stationery or brand development visit our site!
#memyselfandi #acreativelife

The 2u Collection, our Custom Stationery line contributed stationery designs, table numbers, brand design of the workshop as well as contributing a little photo styling of the sets with Lisa!

Photo Galleries by Kathy Thomas Photography

I know that something this wonderful takes the work of many. Below are these amazing vendors! And the good news they are all supporters of #Equality!!

List of participants and sponsors of the workshop

Venue:
The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes (and all their partner Marriott's)

Entertainment:
Our DJ Rocks (Kristin Hubbard)

Favors & Treats:
Florida Candy Buffets (Farida Wazir)

Planners & Designers:
E Events (Lisa Stoner)

Floral:
Raining Roses Productions (Jesus Rodriguez)

Stationery & Paperie:
2u Collection (Amy Morelli)

Lifestyle Design, Graphics, Illustration, Branding & Marketing:
2u Creative (Amy Morelli)

Photographers:
Kathy Thomas Photography (Kathy Thomas - Orlando & NYC)
Brandi Image Photography (Brandi Morris St. Pete)
Stephanie Dishman Photography (Stephanie Dishman - Orlando)
Rudy & Marta Photography (Rudy Montilla- Orlando)
Nick Edmundson Imaging (Nick Edmundson - Ohio available for travel)
Emily Millay Photography (Emily Cunningham - Ohio available for travel)
Jordan Weiland Photography (Jordan Weildan - Lakeland)
Banter Booth (photo booth Jason Weildan - Lakeland)

Video:
Key Moment Films (Mary Angelini)

Hair and Makeup:
Kristy's Artistry Design Team (Kristy Alonzo)