Please note that the address is our venue's address and not the personal address of anyone! We had our calligrapher do this specifically for photography purposes.
Virginia Suite by Dogwood Hill
15% off all orders of $50 or more using code BIRTHDAYBASH2021 (now through 10/25)
So now that we have sent these invitations out TWICE, I'm pretty darn familiar with it all, ha!! We did the same exact thing for the first go-round and the second! This probably no longer applies to anyone (thank goodness), but I will mention it just in case. Since we had already sent out our first batch in February 2020 and there was well over a year between our dates, Dogwood Hill recommended that we re-send everything again and I totally agreed. No one remembered over a year ago, so we proceeded basically as if the first never happened!
We worked with Dogwood Hill for all of our wedding suite and they absolutely nailed everything. They were so knowledgeable and so easy to work with. They knew all of the answers to etiquette questions and more. I would highly recommend working with them if you are planning a wedding or event. They do paper for things like children's birthday parties to retirement parties, and even personalized stationery!
One of the first things I did when planning our wedding was choosing a wedding suite so we could get started on save-the-dates! We ended up choosing the Virginia Suite. At first, I thought I wanted something super traditional like the Signature, but I really liked that the Virginia Suite felt very spring-like (LOL to that considering our postponed date happened in the height of summer, but it still worked). Also, if you've been following along in all of the wedding content, then you know my dream for a winter wedding was never going to come to fruition, however, if you are having a winter wedding, PLEASE use this Burnett suite, it's absolute perfection.
Anyway, with the wedding suites that Dogwood Hill offers, you can customize them in any way. So when you click on the suite that we chose, it looks quite different from our end product. We changed the blue shade to match directly with our linens and Wedgwood jasperware. We also changed the font to an elegant script as our wedding was black tie so I felt that had a more formal feel to it. We played around with how many pieces of the invitation we would need, paper thickness, envelope liners, and that kind of thing. It was such a fun process.
Once you nail down the look of everything, then you can work on the text. It was so nice to have the Dogwood Hill team oversee all of this as they knew how to properly address things when I had questions. Coming up with all of the text seemed daunting at first, especially the program, but looking back now, it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be!
My #1 note for all brides and grooms send out your invitations MUCH sooner than you think. They usually say 6 weeks for local and 8-12 weeks for a destination or lots of out-of-town guests. Now, I'd suggest sending things out with at least an 8-week lead time if local and a smaller number of invites. If you have 100+ invites (so 200-250ish people), I'd suggest doing it at least 10 weeks out. If it were me, I'd seriously do it 12 weeks out.
We were in a tricky/unique position. We wanted to wait to go to print until we got the all-clear to be able to actually have our wedding. Pittsburgh was still very much shut down in May and with the restrictions that were in place, our wedding would have really not been able to take place. I was basically holding my breath all spring and literally sobbed once it was announced that all restrictions were going to be lifted!!! The announcement did not come until mid/late May. So once everything was printed and delivered, we did not send them out until early June which was cutting it close in a normal year, but in 2021, it was WAY too close. I noticed mail not being delivered, RSVPs taking weeks to get to us in the mail, it was a mess, and believe me, we did it ALL correctly. I'm so thankful we only invited close family and friends and under 100 people so it was manageable to keep track of but if you are sending out 200++, I am not joking when I say plan ahead!!!!
Dogwood Hill is doing their big annual sale so that's why I wanted to time this post so you all can take advantage! You can take 15% off all orders of $50 or more using code BIRTHDAYBASH2021 (now through 10/25). This includes their wedding suites!!!
Our menu cards were just beautiful. I love that Dogwood Hill was able to create a space for our calligrapher, Judith Browne, to do everyone's name so these also acted as place cards at each table. So I have this thing where I create nicknames for a large majority of my family and friends. This is my brother-in-law's place setting and his name is Timmy and I call him Timbo. I call my cousins Michael and Paige Miki and Piki respectively, my friend Peyton is Pastey (actually, I have a lot of nicknames for Peyton), and so on. My husband's best man is nicknamed Blake (it's his last name) and for the first year we were dating, I truly thought Blake was his actual first name. Turns out it is Andrew and their friends call my husband and his best man by their last names to differentiate, ha!! Some of these have caught on to where other people refer to these people as the nicknames I have given them and my husband's friends all call each other by nicknames. Anyway, since it was black tie and formal and all of that, I felt like this was not only one way to create a personal moment but another way to create a more laidback environment, too.
I will say, if you have 200+ people, Godspeed. Doing place cards at individual seats requires some serious logistical prowess. At just under 100 people, this was doable for me without a planner and just our venue's event coordinator.
We tied ribbon at the spine of our church programs, I loved the final product. I think it just made them look so much more substantial! We had an assembly line going, and thank goodness, because it was VERY time-consuming. Between this and the welcome bags, my mom, dad, sister, and husband and I were at our house for hours doing all of this. We got takeout and watched My Big Fat Greek wedding while we worked away.
The amount of ribbon we went through was crazy. I majorly underestimated the need. I got it from Hobby Lobby and bought so many rolls. I went back to Hobby Lobby and had to get more. We ran out a third time and I went back and this was like the week before the wedding. Our local Hobby Lobby didn't have any more in stock. The woman told me they wouldn't be able to get it to me until after the wedding. I was a little panicked (but not that much because it's just ribbon...). So I went on their website and they had no expedited shipping option. So, I ended up calling and the nicest woman helped me out and was able to ship a box of ribbon overnight! So learn from my lesson, Hobby Lobby DOES do expedited shipping but you have to call their customer service line! It arrived on 7/28 and our wedding was 7/31. Fun times!
As a side note from wedding things, I already picked out our Christmas cards for this year. I picked out the wording and photo, too! I am patting myself on the back for taking care of that quickly, ha! They have so many choices it's really hard to choose. I sat there for a good hour just pouring over all of the options.
I am SO EXCITED. I was truly so bummed out last year that we weren't able to use a wedding photo and the same last name and all of that. The fact that we can finally say 'The Snyders' brings me immense JOY!!!! I really think we are going to send out our cards the week of Thanksgiving this year. This is truly probably the earliest I have ever sent anything out but after sending out our wedding invitations, I really do think the early route is the way to go! If you think about it, it's only 4 weeks before Christmas.
And another side note... Someone asked me on Instagram how I display our Christmas cards and I definitely don't. WAY too much clutter for me. I look at them, read them over, etc. and then I keep them stored in a ziplock bag by year so we can go back and look through them each year! I never hang up any piece of mail or put anything on the refrigerator. If we get an invitation or save the date or anything, it goes into a drawer where I can pull it out and reference it if need be. Before I throw it away, I usually take a photo of it and label it in my phone so I can refer back to it if need be (you can do this in the notes section of your phone! I will say, I thought about doing that with the Christmas cards- scanning them and store them virtually by year. But there is something about having the physical copy when it comes to a Christmas card!
Calligraphy was done by Judith Browne
Local Pittsburgh Hand Calligrapher
I met Judith Browne at a calligraphy workshop that she hosted years ago. My girlfriend found it online and signed us up and it was SUCH a cool experience. Calligraphy is a true work of art and something I really admire. Judith's work is just beautiful and she is very thorough, responsive, and easy to work with.
I had Judith do our invitations (just the inner and outer envelopes), the escort cards, the menu cards, and place cards for our Pittsburgh cookie table. However, the world is your oyster when it comes to calligraphy. You can use it for anything and on anything!
Dogwood Hill does do printing, too, so had we not used Judith, Dogwood Hill could have done this all printed!