Dan and Akasha’s custom letterpress wedding invitations were a dream to design and bring to life.
Inspired by their gorgeous wedding venues in Santa Barbara, we chose an elegant color palette of handmade paper in soft neutral tones as a nod to the understated luxury of weddings and lifestyle in California.
Incorporating a finishing touch of fine natural twine to delicately wrap each collection, the guest experience of opening their invitation envelope was nothing short of jaw-dropping.
Dan and Akasha were first introduced to me through their wedding planner – Mariah Burke of Laurel & Rose, a boutique wedding and event company who create lively, meaningful experiences that balance immutable substance and style.
Working with Mariah and the whole L&R team was a dream from the very beginning.
Custom Design Inspiration
The couple’s wedding day design exuded elegance and luxury with a soft neutral color palette and lots of texture.
Drawing inspiration from their Santa Barbara wedding venue, El Presidio Chapel, the rich tones of ivory, blush, terracotta, and stone were the starting point to their invitation design, with a nod to the textures and patterns quintessential to Santa Barbara.
Design Process for Letterpress
One of my favorite things to do early in the design process, before pencil hits paper, is to meet with the couple to hear their story and learn about what lights them up.
Even the smallest details of how they met, their favorite flower, or where they like to travel informs my design process.
Dan and Akasha told me a beautiful story of a blind date and how their connection was palpable from those first few moments.
When I asked Dan to describe his future Bride in a few words, he responded, “genuine, warm, kind, and high energy.” I could see the love in his eyes and the light in his smile.
They went on to explain their values of open-mindedness, deep conversations, and treasuring that they are both complex and silly.
I knew these two were going to be a blast to work with.
Letterpress was the star feature in this design, incorporating both a deep charcoal gray text and a tonal blind textural border, inspired by the tile patterns of their reception venue, Hotel Californian, also in Santa Barbara.
Dan and Akasha expressed to me they wished for “warmth, love, texture, and layers – traditional with a contemporary twist” for their wedding invitations.
I chose to pair my signature handwritten calligraphy with a modern font to deliver this vision.
Handmade paper was an easy early choice for the couple due to the beautiful texture and uniqueness of shape and edging on each piece of paper.
It presents certain challenges when it comes to letterpress printing because it isn’t uniform but that’s the beauty of a handmade product, each copy is a little different and has so much more character.
Handmade paper wedding invitations are such an art to behold and when paired with letterpress printing, you can just feel the history and the love that goes into each print.
Color was very important to Dan and Akasha.
Both of their venues – El Presidio Chapel and Hotel Californian – feature gorgeous white stucco architecture with accents of black and terracotta.
Because of this, the couple wanted to steer clear of too much white for their wedding invitations.
Instead, we went for a neutral color palette of ivory, sand, haze, and cream to balance out their vision.
Modern Envelope Calligraphy & Vintage Stamps
Envelope calligraphy is one of my specialties and I approach each envelope like a work of art.
Assessing the length of each name or word to center the composition takes a keen eye and many years of practice.
Anticipating which letters come after each other to know when to add in a flourish or two all while making sure the text is readable to the postmaster. It’s a delicate and precise art.
Pairing envelope calligraphy with vintage stamps? Talk about a gallery-worthy work of art.
I chose these particular stamps because of the moody, tonal color palette but also to further tie in the couple’s desire for “traditional with a contemporary twist.”
VIP Response Cards
We had a unique opportunity with this collection. The couple wished for separate VIP response cards with a dedicated website RSVP link.
I chose to incorporate a small piece of the tile texture border in tonal blind letterpress for these cards to communicate the significance.
The other guests certainly didn’t miss out, as they were playfully greeted with “Meet Us in Santa Barbara” on their response cards with their own RSVP link.
Finally, wrapping the whole collection in fine paper twine to create an experiential gift for their guests to unwrap was the perfect finishing touch.
We considered a paper belly band or silk ribbon, but both felt too polished and formal for the understated vibes we created with the collection.
These Santa Barbara wedding invitations for Dan and Akasha were a dream to design and bring to life through letterpress printing.