Monday, June 29, 2009


One final Gone Fishin' Edition of the Inspiration File. Unpacking is a nightmare.

This is a post from iDIYfruity centerpieces. Perfect for weddings or just an evening with friends.

Back to regular Shop posts on Wednesday.

Friday, June 26, 2009


A great resource for all things handmade is Etsy's ongoing, you guessed it, Handmade Wedding series. Great ideas for a completely handmade wedding or even if you want just small touches of handmade. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Today's Gone Fishin' Edition is dedicated to engagement photos. Styled, beautiful and completely enviable. Here, here and here from Style Me Pretty.

Monday, June 22, 2009


I'm at the lake this week but wanted to leave my {small} readership something to ponder while I'm gone. The Gone Fishin' Edition of the Inspiration File which usually posts only on Mondays will be chock full for a whole week of wedding ideas from other blogs in blog-land. Hope you like them. I'll be back on June 29th with a new post.

The first is from Apartment Therapy's The Kitchn. Cookie table before cake? Great idea in my book, especially if you have your favorite bakers contribute to the spread. Go here, here and here for more about this new trend.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Just a quick post to spotlight one of my favorite invitations designs. The Ginkgo invitation was designed for Donna & Rob's 2007 wedding and is now a part of my wedding collection.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Today I'm thinking about unique {and handmade, of course} thank you gifts to get your lovely bridesmaids. They range from things they can wear/carry at your wedding, to personalized gifts made just for them, to practical gifts they can use in their busy lives. Let's start with the personalized gifts because they are from Armato Design & Press {hey, it's my blog after all}.

Above are mini calling cards {and here is another design, with many more very soon to come}, letterpress printed on 100% cotton paper with name and contact information for that busy bridesmaid who is always meeting people. Choose the font and color that best represents your 'maid's personality.

And a great gift for the girl who wants to keep in touch with the people she meets is my personalized stationery. Letterpress printed with her name and a sweet little design. There are a couple different options {look here and here as well}.

Next are a couple of gifts that can be worn on your big day and after for her big and not so big days.

Limited edition clutch from Fiazco because who doesn't want a sweet clutch like this? But how often do we really buy it for ourselves? So buy it for her.

This necklace is perfect for a more casual wedding and so wearable for any day of the week. Little wood flower necklace by Yuki.

The next two are little gifts that are very practical but are also so unique that your girls are sure to think of you every time they use them.

On the face of it this may not look like the most practical gift ever but, who among us hasn't popped an apple in our tote while rushing out the door one late morning, only to find a bruised and mangled apple at lunch time? They may not realize it now, but your girls will consider this a must have. An added bonus: it's funny and just makes a person smile. Find the Wrapple Cozy Apple Fruit Sweater Jacket at Beautiful Bridget's Etsy shop.

I hate to think of how many trees have been sacrificed just to protect our hands from a hot cup of coffee. But since we are not giving up our morning caffeine, this is a perfect alternative to the ubiquitous and wasteful paper coffee sleeve. Cute and unique, just like your girls. Find it here from Laura Bucci.

Monday, June 15, 2009


A couple of days ago I saw this post at iDiY. Loving pattern as much as I do, the entire post made me swoon. That's right, a security envelope made me swoon. MANY security envelopes made me swoon. Oh, the things we take for granted.

When starting the custom design process, I encourage my bridal clients to think about what inspires them, what is meaningful to them in their relationship as a couple and as individuals, what do they just plainly like to look at? I like to look at patterns like these {found here}:

So, to illustrate my point, I thought I would create a sketch of an invitation for a bride who was really taken with security envelope patterns. Maybe she's an artist and he's an accountant and they wrote love letters to each other, and all of his letters came in security envelopes written at and sent from work. Feeling too shy about writing love letters at work and sending them from work, he wrote quick and slipped each note into an envelope with patterns such as these on the inside. And now, because of him, she associates these patterns with the pattern of their love story {which is way better than thinking of bills when seeing these patterns, in her opinion}. She wants them on their wedding invitations but, with an artistic twist, she wants to see them in sunflower yellow an steel grey. And can you imagine the fun she will have with envelope liners?

See? This is how an invitation can take shape if you dig deep and think inside the envelope {if you'll allow the very appropriate pun}. Here's a closer look:

Friday, June 12, 2009


If you're like me, you are sick and tired of hearing about how bad the economy is. Yes, it's bad but I'm a big believer in scarcity breeding creativity. A couple of my recent bridal clients were very creative where their invitations were concerned. They knew they wanted letterpress invitations but could not justify the whole of their wedding stationery to be letterpress, so they chose to be creative in their approach to their invitations. There is a common misconception out there that letterpress is nothing less than a luxury option for invitations. I would hate to think of a bride dismissing out of hand the opportunity to have a letterpress wedding invitation just because she thinks it's out of her budget. Yes, letterpress is often not a budget option, but there are ways of saving money and getting what you want. Here are a few tips:

  • Do your research. This is hinted at above but I'll say it as clearly as I can: Don't assume that letterpress is out of your budget. Talk to a few designers/printers and go through the entire estimating process with them. Be up front about what you want, what your budget is and be open to new ideas. Armato Design & Press {ADP} welcomes all opportunities to talk to brides about what they want their invitation to be. If you tell me what you want and what you can afford, I am happy to try to find solutions that fit. I, and a lot of businesses like mine, give free estimates. If I can't come up with something for you, the only thing you've spent is the time it takes to email me. That's it, no commitment. But what if I can come up with a solution that is creative, beautiful AND fits in your budget? The moral of the story: it doesn't hurt to ask.
  • Choose a semi-custom design rather than a custom design. Here are mine. The invitation above was created because the bride liked the bird design I had on one of my note card designs. Since the bird already existed, the only design time that was involved was the layout of the wording. If it's not from scratch you will save money but still stand to get a highly unique letterpress invitation.
  • Skip the reply card. This is what the two brides I refer to above chose to do. One put a reply line with a web site directly on the invitation. The other {above} chose to order pre-cut cards from me to print her own reply cards. She then asked if I would supply a digital file of the bird {which I was happy to do} so she could print it on her reply cards, favors, etc. Both brides not only got the invitation they wanted, but got a two color invitation at that.
  • Skimp on color without skimping on color. In letterpress, the more colors you have the more expensive the invitation is going to be. So go with one color for the invitation and a different color for the reply card. A great way to add another color is to have a coordinating or contrasting colored envelope for the invitation and another for the reply. It adds color without adding cost.
  • Two words: Reply postcard.
  • Skip the printed envelopes. Instead invest in a rubber stamp. Some brides are afraid that the stamp won't be completely straight on the envelope. To avoid this go all out and tilt the stamp so the "crooked-ness" looks purposeful. You could even place the stamp on the lower right corner of the envelope. You won't have to center it and it looks very artistic. Another note on the stamp: as your designer I would be happy to send you a digital file of your return address so you can have a stamp made. As long as it doesn't take a ton of time, this is an easy add-on.
  • Start early to avoid rush charges. Invitations should be sent 6-8 weeks before the wedding. I ask for 3 weeks from final art approval to delivery for printing time. If you are doing semi-custom invitations you will need another week or two for design time. So for a semi-custom design you should allow yourself 11 to 13 weeks before the wedding date. Yes, that's about 3 months. FYI, if you are doing custom design it's best to add another 4 weeks on to that.
And if all else fails,
  • Consider flat {offset} printing. No, it is not letterpress but, if you just can't find a way to fit letterpress into your budget, flat printing is a nice option. You can still have a beautiful design and gorgeous paper for your wedding stationery. And adding a metallic ink or a die cut can add unique qualities to your stationery while staying within your budget. More on this later.
There you have it. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about letterpress or the design process. I am always happy to figure out creative ways of getting my clients what they want for their wedding stationery. It's my job and I absolutely love it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Envelope liners even further tie together a wedding stationery system and make an already pretty package even prettier. It used to be that they were the mark of a true stationery lover as they took a special attention to detail and a lot of extra time. You would have to get a template, cut them out, score them, insert them and then adhere them to the envelope. But now Paper Source is offering many of their patterned papers as pre-cut, pre-scored envelope liners which take the most time consuming part out of the "from scratch" versions. NICE. And not too expensive. All the patterns below sell for $13.25 per 25 pack. These are cut to suit Paper Source envelopes, which is fine with me as these are the Armato Design and Press "house" envelopes.

So, when I was researching envelope liners I found another web site that is of particular interest to me as a wedding stationery designer: Enveloper Inc. They too offer many different patterns for envelope liners {which just by looking at them, seem like they would fit the Paper Source envelopes as well},

but they go one step further and offer custom printing on the liners so that you can have a photo or a pattern that matches your particular wedding stationery. I'm not a great fan of the photo option but the ability to have a motif that exactly matches {or coordinates} with a custom design is AWESOME. The cost here is reasonable as well. They are 20.75 per 25 pack with a $25 set up fee and a $5 proof fee. Not bad for the stationery lover in all of us.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I saw this story over at 100 Layer Cake last week and knew I had to post a link to it here. This is the story of a couple who decided to surprise their guests by getting married at what was supposed to be their engagement party.

This is dedicated to all the brides out there who choose to have the wedding of THEIR dreams and who choose not to get caught up in what everybody else wants their wedding to be. I love, love, love this story and hope you do too.


There are so many artists out there pushing the envelope, if you will, on style and authenticity with their unique calligraphy. One usually just thinks of using calligraphy for envelopes and return addresses, but how about using one of these artists for the design of an invitation itself and then using it right through on the envelopes, the escort cards, food labels, thank you cards, basically on all of the wedding stationery. I can see any of these letter forms letterpress printed on gorgeous cotton paper. In it's simplicity this would be an extravagant invitation and wedding suite.

Above: Modern and whimsical letters from Betsy Dunlap.

PERFECT flourishes. Calligraphy by Iowa 86.

Easy, simple and casual. Letter Girl also sells customized rubber stamps.

More lovely flourishes from Love Jenna.

Finally, vintage charm from Maybelle.

Friday, June 5, 2009


C&P Letterpress: 2 color job from Armato Design on Vimeo.

So many clients don't really know what goes into the creation of a letterpress invitation so we made this brief video illustrating the printing of a two color wedding invitation. Here you see close up the placement of the photopolymer plate on the base, inking the press and running paper through to get that beautiful impression that only letterpress can achieve.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I, very happily, got married five years ago and I loved my wedding through and through BUT if I were getting married today, these are the accessories that I would have to have both because they are so unique and beautiful, but also because they are pieces that I could use for special occasions down the road. Living keepsakes, if you will.

I don't know which one I like better. Both silk taffeta, both by the English Dept, both available here. Either would look great with a simple wedding dress and then later with a fun tank top, jeans and the sassiest pair of shoes you can think of.

This clutch is silk and embriodered perfection. So perfect for a wedding and then later a night out on the town on your honeymoon and then even later for a walk down the street to the wine bar. Find it at Ruby Red Rose.

Monday, June 1, 2009


CHANEL N* 5 (Extended) from Foro Dinastías on Vimeo.

These two GORGEOUS short films (the first from Channel, the second from Dior) are great inspiration for wedding stationery (both found via Poppytalk). I'm thinking Orient Express, east meets west and classic Channel from the first (pay special attention to the ornaments on the train door). And 40's noir France, Art Deco and interesting crops of the Eiffel Tower from the second.