It’s been said so often, but it’s still such an unexpected feeling on your wedding day when the day just zips by and before you know it, it’s over, and you hope everyone had an enjoyable time and left feeling like an important and valuable part of your life. I’ve seen couples try to make sure and personally welcome their guests in a variety of ways—sometimes, they will address the guests as a whole after the toasts, sometimes they will make the rounds and visit each table one by one during dinner and take photos. These have always felt like a nice gesture, but seldom have reached the level of personalization as one of my recent couples achieved through of all things, their wedding place cards.
Brooke and Lee approached me with a beautiful idea that I don’t see done often—they wanted to include a personalized, hand crafted note at each guest’s place setting. This idea is such a sweet and personal way to make each and every guest feel so welcomed and appreciated, and I was so excited to make this happen for them! We quickly realized it was totally out of budget (and not entirely practical) for their original request to have each note completely calligraphed by hand in its entirety.
One of the things I pride myself on is finding solutions when possible within a client’s budget to help bring their vision to life. I understood the importance they extended to having some portion of it in calligraphy, some of it hand-calligraphed, and I also knew they weren’t the kind that wanted to tackle printing and cutting these on their own, in preparation to hand off to me as a way to reduce labor costs on my end. I offered them a unique solution—they digitally prepared the notes, then I formatted each and every one of them into a template I designed, which included guidelines outside of the cut area so I could line it up evenly when using pointed dip pen to calligraph names. I also printed each guest’s name outside the cut area so I could easily distinguish what to calligraph. I sent these off to a printer (they gave me looks like I was crazy when I sent them 100+ files), then calligraphed each guest name onto the notes.
The trickiest part was next—my printing sources within budget didn’t have circle die so they wouldn’t cut them into the circles for me. It was important to Brooke and Lee to have these in a circle shape so they would fit onto each guest’s charger at their place setting, so I built into the cost my labor to essentially cut these all by hand. I calculated how long it would take for me to run each of these through my Silhouette cutting machine, and determined it would be faster and more efficient to cut these by hand using a Fiskars circle cutter.
The final product was just as beautiful as I could’ve hoped for, despite the very manual process, and while I read through the notes during formatting, I couldn’t help but feel the honest emotion and love through the words. I felt so honored that Brooke and Lee trusted me with these notes, and I was so touched when I saw the professional photos—I could just see the pure surprise, delight, and raw emotion on guests’ faces as they discovered they each received a personalized note. Every single guest received a note, event the children and the plus ones they didn’t know particularly well! They were so kind and generous in their words, and it really added to the overall feeling of the special day.
This is by far one of the most special ways to personalize a wedding, and because of the work involved, it’s not an inexpensive option. BUT—there are many ways I can make this work within many budgets and styles, so please send me a message if this is something you’d like to do for your wedding or special event, I’d love to help create this special moment for you!
(Professional on-site photos by Mandi Lynn Photography)