vintage letterpress wedding invites

As some LivLunatics know, I tied the knot on the beach in Mexico on 11 11 11, and now I’m finally getting around to sharing some of the tips and advice that I learned in the stressful process of planning a wedding (whilst bootstrapping a startup).

I’m a stationery nerd and always have been. Since I was a little girl, my favorite stores have always been stationary and book stores- I love to smell, touch and feel the paper, journals, pens, cards etc, and though I didn’t grow up dreaming of a white wedding, I did know as soon as my husband proposed that I wanted old school, vintage, original letterpress invitations. I went totally eco by sending out email save the dates, but for the invites I wanted to splurge and have something that was really personal, tangible, and delicious, and still not extravagant or out of my budget.

So I started researching. I went to Kate’s Paperie and Papyrus, and though I always imagined how fun it would be to be a bride and browse through those huge binders, I quickly realized that most of what was available was BORING and not at all what I had in mind. I needed to design my own. I decided to do what I do best- research online. And I found dozens of beautiful letterpress designers and printers here in the US. After sifting through many many sites and looking at the kind of invites they had created (both for weddings and other events), I fell in love with a boutique letterpress shop based in Charleston, South Carolina called Sideshow Press. I loved their story- three women who love paper, type, and handcrafting letterpress stationary plus one old ‘noisy, pony sized’ restored printer from 1926 – it sounded perfect!

Beyond the story, I loved their designs- they had one design on their site in particular that caught my fancy- it was an invite for a Dia de los Muertos Mexican themed party. It had certain design elements that made me think that this was THE ONE- this was the letterpress printer for me. I knew I wanted to have a vintage folkloric Mexican feeling to the invites and I knew that I wanted it to be a yummy vision of my favorite colors- coral red and hot pink. I also wanted to have vintage fonts, Mexican milagros symbols, and an off white eco friendly paper, and if they made such a funky party invite, maybe they could create something magical for me.

From the moment I contacted Sideshow, to the moment I received the printed invites, I can tell you, it was a match made in heaven. Virginia Gregg, the woman and multitasking mom who runs the print shop, was one of the most delightful people I’ve ever worked with over email and the phone. As soon as I started describing my design vision for the invites, she got it. I was frazzled, I was stressed, and I was all over the place, but I knew what I wanted- I had the vision in my head and she not only got it, she went above and beyond to make sure I was happy with every detail of the process. Sideshow Press manifested my vision in a way that still gives me chills everytime I look at the invites. Its as if they tapped into my brain while I was dreaming and created the design that I dreamed of.

Virginia helped me keep the costs down in various ingenious ways that didn’t make me feel like I was compromising on what I really wanted or settling for the cheaper version. During my research, I got quotes from at least 3 other letterpress designers, and Sideshow beat them all just on the pricing, nevermind their exceptional customer service and design! The Sideshow designers handdrew all the font, design, and the milagros icons that I wanted- from symbols that were personal and meaningful to us, such as the winged wood and metal Mexican hearts covered in milagros and handmade by artisans we have hanging above our bed, to the tiny versions of Caramela and Almaz, my mom’s two dogs, that we love so much, and wanted to immortalize and include in our wedding by having them on the invite.

The invites were printed on sustainable off white Crane paper with low impact rubber based ink- Green Since 1801 Pure cotton Crane papers are made from cotton linters— a byproduct of the cotton industry that is recognized by the EPA as recovered fiber. Not only are these fibers environmentally responsible, they make a paper of superior quality. In addition, the repeatedly reusable cotton in Crane’s can be recycled with traditional paper.



Sideshow also created printed envelopes with our address to accompany the invites, and versatile note cards that I’ve used as welcome cards for wedding guests to accompany the wedding favors as well as wedding gift thank you cards. And because they’re blank, besides for our winged hearts logo and initials, I can use them for other occasions. I am so ridiculously happy with the work they did- thank you Virginia & team- you are true artists!

So if you’re looking for a custom letterpress design, or want to browse some of their existing designs in their shop, I cannot recommend Sideshow Press more highly, and I am so looking forward to meeting them in person when we (fingers crossed) finally go on a roadtrip this spring.

Next wedding blog post will be on how I DIYed gorgeous handmade envelope liners from the handmade handprinted paper you can see in 2 of the pics above 😉

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