Ahhhhhh. Wedding planning. I have had a few conversations with brides just this week about how deeply overwhelming it can be and how much pressure wedding planning can include. Those sorts of feelings just confirm why I wanted to do this blog series on wedding planning. The two things I tell brides over and over again are this; 1. Remember what it’s about (you’re getting MARRIED!!) and 2. Hire great vendors.
You have most likely never done this before, admittedly it’s a lot, people are asking you all sorts of questions you don’t know the answers to and you’re expected to somehow figure it all out. Having the right wedding vendors in place allows you to hand your vision to people who will be able to communicate that vision into reality. And hopefully, and maybe even more importantly you’ll have a blast doing it.
So in my third chatting with the experts’ blog, (if you missed them you can find all you need to know about working with a wedding planner here and the importance of video film here) I’m turning a bit of a corner. Today I’m chatting with Corey of Ink Letter Love who is a hand-lettering guru and another very dear friend of mine.
I thought it would be fun to hear from more of the custom detail side of planning a wedding. Once the big rocks are in place, i.e. the planner, photographer, and venue which are usually first to be picked and secured, then comes the never-ending tasks of bringing your vision to life. As a wedding photographer, I am used to having the honor of spending sometimes years with my brides before their wedding days and getting to know them on a deep level. One of the things I enjoy most is seeing the details that showcase their personality as a couple on their wedding day. I love seeing everything brought to life. So who better to talk to than an artist who helps brides make that happen on a daily basis? 😉
Hey love!! So to start how long have you lived in Palm Beach and what do you love about it? I have lived in the area for almost my whole life – I am originally from Michigan but would actually freeze to death if I lived there now, ha! We moved to Florida when I was six and I live for the sunshine! My mood is so dependent on weather and I love driving in my car with all the windows down, music blaring while I sing at the top of my lungs (loud and terrible is my favorite kind of singing). The Florida sunshine means I get to do this almost daily and it’s like free therapy.
What made you start hand lettering and get into this industry at all? Were you hand lettering from birth?? 😉 I started lettering when I was in middle school – mostly because I really loved words. Back then I didn’t even know what to call it, but I covered notebooks and page margins with doodles of angsty teen poetry and the deeply moving lyrics of dashboard confessional or the backstreet boys, oh teen life haha! I just liked to draw and words happened to be the subject of choice. Fast forward to now, where I’ve been doing this professionally for nearly 3 years and it became my job by accident, really. I have a BA and an MA in Writing – as in writing novels – and I had left my full-time job with a publishing company to write and edit full time when some friends of mine asked if I would write out their place cards, and the rest just sort of happened! I just naturally love weddings (cake, pretty dresses, lots of dancing – how could you not like weddings?) so doing lettering for big celebrations was the initial focus when I started the business, and now I can’t imagine life without it. I freaking love my job.
What’s the difference between hand lettering and calligraphy? The main difference between the two is the style and the tools – calligraphy uses a pen with a nib and ink that you dip the pen in to, it is super amazing and I have so much respect for people who have mastered it because it is no easy feat! There are also specific guidelines and rules associated with calligraphy, so the style is more traditional and fancy in my opinion. I don’t love rules so much, so I practice hand-lettering – which is a super broad term that basically means drawing letters. It can be any style font and each artist sort of can set their own rules for their fonts. Of course, the rules of good design are always a good idea to be aware of, but lettering is really just drawing letters. One big thing people always assume is that I have good handwriting – which is NOT the case. When I am lettering I am thinking more in terms of shape, rather than just using my natural handwriting. A script lettering font is not what you learned in 3rd grade cursive and the hardest part about lettering is learning to think of the forms rather than the letter.
What is your favorite thing about what you do? Oh gosh, there are so many fun things about my job! I love that I get to be creative every day and try new things. No two days are ever the same and I have gotten to meet some really amazing people doing this. I’m constantly amazed that my job is to make things that make people smile on one of the most important days of their lives – like, that’s so unreal to me! It is honestly the best and I have days where I just look around like, “no way this is real life”.
Tell me the funniest moment you’ve ever had with a bride? Funny moment, hmm. Most of the funniest moments involve me tripping over something or doing something ridiculous for a laugh. My brides thankfully find my embarrassing antics endearing, so we usually have a good laugh at my expense.
How about a stand out I’m-so-thankful-I-do-this one? Uhhm, can I say all of them? No? Ok cool. Ha, I’ll go with the most recent since it just happened this past weekend. I lettered a bunch of totally unique details for this amazing couple and they had the wedding logo I made for them projected in light on the dance floor during their first dance. I totally crashed the wedding reception to see it in person and they danced while everyone held sparklers and I for sure cried over how completely perfect it was. Every time I get to see all of the pieces come together on the big day is magical, but this one really got me and I had one of those “holy cow, I’m lucky” moments.
Every bride has a budget where they’re comfortable, what would you tell a bride who’s just starting out and trying to figure out how to spend that budget well and have the wedding of her dreams? I would say sit down as a couple – just the two of you without all the extra family input – and decide what really matters most. Because in 20 years, you won’t remember what things cost, but you will remember those pieces that were super important and you will be glad you splurged on the ones that matter. If dancing is your thing – spend more on the band because it will totally make the night a party. Or if you are a sucker for personalized and unique details, hire a totally cool letterer to make every part of the day perfect, wink wink. Make it about what you really love and you can’t go wrong.
Is there anything you’d like to educate brides on as they’re planning and choosing custom touches for their wedding day? I know that lettering is not exactly on the top of the to-do list next to photographer or venue – but I think people sometimes forget that I have to physically design, draw, and make things with my two hands that are custom and unique for each client and that takes time. It also isn’t cheap for that same reason. So if lettering and custom details are important to you, plan for it. Make space for it in the budget and start reaching out sooner than later – nothing breaks my heart more than telling someone excited to hire me that I’m booked, or to hear that the budget ran out before they could think to focus on lettered details. The pieces I create bring the couple’s personality to the day and if that is important, plan ahead!
What would you say is lacking in the wedding industry, or what would you shout from the rooftops if you could? I think this is becoming more of a thing now, but I think couples should break some rules on their wedding day! Just because something has been done a certain way forever doesn’t mean you have to do it that way! Get creative – bring your style and personality into the day and make it the most “you” day ever! I love couples that want to do unconventional things and switch it up – it makes my job super fun and interesting, and it makes the day truly about them. Be different! Break some rules and keep it interesting!
What about a recently engaged bride, where would you point her towards first steps? I would say to start thinking about the overall feel and style you want for the day, and start thinking about what you can’t live without. Wedding planning gets a bad rap for being stressful, so definitely hire a planner that has experience and that you click with and remember to have fun! Your wedding should be about you and you should love every part of it and actually enjoy the process of planning it.
And lastly, and only because one of my favorite podcasts does this and I think it’s so much fun… tell me what 3 food items are that you can’t get enough of you’ll never be without? I don’t drink coffee.. gasp! I know! I love coffee, it just doesn’t love me.. so I can’t live without chai tea. I really love a good piece of cake – like coconut cake is the way to my heart! And mac & cheese – not super fancy stuff, like cheap box stuff – is my go-to comfort food and can cure any heartbreak or bad day.
Corey is one of those humans who would give you the shirt off her back simply because she heard you liked the color. Not only is she a wonderful friend but a fantastic and professional wedding vendor. Check out her website here and her social media hilariousness here. And enjoy a small sampling of her um, amazing work below. Enjoy.