Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

Seattle, WA


Calligraphy and Invitation Design


Filtering by Tag: wedding invitation

Flat-Lays: How to Style Wedding Invitation Suites

Kelsey Carpenter


You can't have a wedding without the guests receiving an invitation to the day, and unless that guest is being invited by email alone (relatively uncommon), the bride will likely have a paper copy of her invitation suite. A photographer should always make sure to photograph those details and the bride should always make sure to provide her paper goods to her photographer. The paper ephemera associated with a wedding can be as important as (and even as expensive as) a wedding dress or a wedding band. If you're shelling out for gorgeous scripting and pretty papers, it'd be a shame if a photographer missed this part of your big day. Invitations also set the tone for your event. To include the paper as book-ends to your wedding album and coverage is only natural.

But so often, an invitation suite is captured sloppily, or even worse, not captured at all. So here are a few tips on how to style invitation suites and how to make sure you get those pretty paper details captured!

Tools you'll need:

  • A camera (iPhone works fine for social media shares, but for any professional photographs you'll need a DSLR or film camera). I personally use a Canon T-series DSLR.
  • Styling board or neutral surface without a distracting background. My favorite styling board is the Heirloom Bindery 2-Color Styling board. I chose French Blue and Light Linen.
  • Vintage stamps or pretty Forever stamps. I love Verde Studio on Etsy.
  • Props! Silk ribbon, florals, greenery, or wax seals make lovely additions to an invitation suite. 
  • Natural lighting. Photograph in natural lighting, but not direct sunlight. Minimize shadows and deliver as much light as possible using reflectors or simply a white sheet of poster board/cardboard/or large white sheet of paper. No need to use flash!

Mistake #1: Crowding your image with too pieces

Don't fall prey to the idea that you need to capture every single piece in one photo. Simplicity helps draw the eye to individual pieces and can create an emotive image. A crowded image, like the one above, is so busy, that the eye doesn't know where to look. 

Mistake #2: Using too many props or props that don't make sense

This is similar to mistake number 1 (overcrowding), but applies specifically to prop usage. In the image above the following props were used: silk ribbon spool; vintage stamps; rings; petals, flowers, wax seal stick, wax sealer. Using each of these props doesn't make a lot of sense for the narrative of the image. A wax sealer is pretty, but the invite doesn't have any wax added to it so the wax seal feels out of place. The ribbon would be better used alone or tied around a piece. Vintage stamps make a lot of sense as the envelopes do feature vintage stamps. A flower always makes sense and is lovely but has more impact alone.

Mistake #3: Crooked paper goods

This is a big pet peeve of any OCD and Type A bride and calligrapher out there. Crooked pieces in the image makes everything look sloppy and unprofessional. use a ruler or a sheet of paper with a straight edge to make sure you're styling everything straight across the board. With your camera parallel to the styling board (held above it and held straight) you'll avoid a lot of angle issues that make paper appear crooked when it isn't.

Mistake #4: Covering up script or design with items like petals or rings

A bride's wedding dress is commonly hung and photographed on a beautiful hanger with gorgeous lighting for her wedding album. When a photographer photographs an invitation suite, often they lay rings over the invitation suite and petals and obscure the art. Calligraphy and invitation design are as much art as a wedding dress. Don't cover them up with other pieces! Let them shine.

how to style an invite suite flat lay

Tip #1: Keep it simple

Using less props and props that make sense makes everything stand out more! Make sure you're thinking about the flat lay as a story rather than just a last minute shot. Everything in the image should contribute to the story of the wedding and the invitation suite.

Tip #2: Evenly space out your styled goods

Evenly spaced goods makes each piece stand out (can you sense a theme). With the image above, my eye is drawn immediately to the invitation and pretty envelope addressing rather than scanning an overcrowded image, trying to find something to visually focus on.

Tip #3: Capture texture

Be sure to capture texture if the paper goods are textural. A lot of decision making, cost, and thought goes into the feel of a paper suite. Not capturing the texture is ignoring an entire piece of the invitation suite that was likely very important to the bride!

Tip #4: Capture all of the day-of goods in addition to the invitation suite

Don't forget to photograph: vow books, vows, place cards, programs and more! Each paper good contributes to the beautiful day and deserves to be photographed!

Want to practice? I sell practice suites in the shop!



Wedding Invitation Timing Etiquette

Kelsey Carpenter

When to send wedding invitations

There are two types of brides. Those that are ready to start on invitations a year or more from their wedding date, and those that are ready to start about 2 months prior to the big day. Any wedding vendor will tell you (and especially calligraphers!) that the former bride is the preferred bride. It takes time to design, script, order paper and mail. And between April and August, wedding vendors have schedules packed to the brim! Rush orders are often accommodated, but they aren’t the best route as they force a lot of shortcuts and add stress to your wedding day. There's nothing worse than worrying that your guests aren't going to actually get invited to your wedding! To avoid them, follow these wedding invitation etiquette tips:

When should I book my calligrapher or wedding invitation artist?

If you’re going the pre-made invite route, like Minted or Wedding Paper Divas, allow yourself a couple days to select invites and about a week for them to be processed and shipped to you. Assembly on your end will take a day or two, and voila - you can have invites out in a matter of one to two weeks.

If you’d like those pre-made invitation envelopes to be scripted, you’ll need to work with a calligrapher. Booking your calligrapher for this 3-4 months out is safe but can potentially be accommodated 2-4 weeks out from your desired mail date. This also means you’ll need to order invitations a bit earlier than last-minute. Contact your calligrapher about four months out to get on their calendar. Then be sure to order extra invitation envelopes (20% overages are industry standard), ship them to your calligrapher with about 2-4 weeks for scripting time depending on the time of year.

If you’re interested in completely custom invitation design, you’ll find that a lot of calligraphers only take on a select number of clients. Getting the process started one year prior to your wedding is smart, but up to 6 months prior should leave you enough time to get on their calendar. Invite design can take as long as 6-8 weeks, paper procurement, samples, printing and processing, and envelope scripting can take another 2-4 weeks. You’ll want a 3 month buffer between starting the process.

Are you working with a designer but going through a printing service to have your invites foiled or letterpressed? Give the designer 4-6 weeks and the printer another 4 weeks to avoid rush fees. Be sure to book with both early in the season.

Note: Be sure to add in enough buffer time with any vendor to account for proofreading for typos, errors, reprints, or out-of-stock snafus! Usually a week of extra time between receipt of your invitations and the date you’d like to mail them to your guests gives you a comfortable buffer.

When do my invitations need to go out?

There’s a Goldilocks timing to sending invites. You don’t want them there so early that the RSVP is forgotten, or so late that guests can’t make reservations. If your wedding is local to most of your guests (are 50% of your guests coming from the area?), 6-8 weeks is the sweet spot! If your wedding is a destination, but only requires domestic travel, be sure to give guests a save the date about 6-8 months prior to your wedding and an invite 8-12 weeks prior. Getting married abroad? Follow the same Save the Date etiquette and be sure to send invites out 3 months (or 12 weeks) prior to the wedding.

What is a good RSVP deadline?

Count backwards: when is your wedding? What date does catering need to know your guest count? What date does the venue need to know your guest count? How long will it take you to contact pesky non-responders? This time-frame usually lands you at about 2-4 weeks prior to the wedding. If venue and caterer need info 2 weeks before your big day, you can plan in a buffer of 1 week to call guests that declined to return their RSVP.