Simply Jessica Marie

Creative designs for a lovely life

The Recipe for a Wedding Invitation Suite

Learning, WeddingsJessica ClinchComment

I'm back this week with another Custom Wedding Stationery 101 blog post! It's been a little while since we chatted about this topic, so feel free to browse through these previous blog posts if you want to catch up!

This week, I want to chat about another basic before we delve further into the specifics of wedding invitations. You likely know that you'll need an invitation, response card, and envelopes for each. But, what are the other common details that are included in an invitation suite, and what are the fun additional pieces you can add on to customize your suite even further? Well love, let's chat details and determine what mixtures will best concoct your unique invitation suite!

The recipe for a wedding invitation suite. What makes up an invitation suite? What details do I include in my wedding invitations? By Simply Jessica Marie

APERITIVO: TO SEND BEFORE INVITATIONS

SAVE THE DATES

Your save the dates are your first official announcement to your friends and family that y'all are engaged, and are getting married! They should include your names, wedding date, wedding city, and often times your wedding website so guests can learn more about your wedding weekend. Also include a sweet and short line that says, "formal invitation to follow." You'd think most people would guess that you'll be sending an invitation, but it's proper etiquette to let them know anyway ;) 

SAVE THE DATE ENVELOPES

If you're not sending a save the date postcard, you'll need an envelope for your save the dates! Feel free to adorn these with any of the add-on options listed below (envelope liners and calligraphy are some of my favorite choices!). Many couples choose to keep their save the date envelopes a tad more simplistic, so they can let their invitation envelopes be the star of the show!

The recipe for a wedding invitation suite. What makes up an invitation suite? What details do I include in my wedding invitations? By Simply Jessica Marie

SIGNATURE COCKTAIL: INVITATION SUITE

INVITATIONS

Your invitation is like the top shelf liquor at your favorite swanky bar. It's the star of your entire suite. It is the piece that cordially invites your loved ones to your wedding day! While there are many wording options to consider, you'll include who is hosting your wedding (whether that is your parents or you as a couple), your wedding date, time, and location, your reception location if it is different than your ceremony location, and potentially your wedding attire if you are hosting a black tie wedding.

RESPONSE CARDS

These cards are the tiniest pieces in your suite, but in my opinion they're the most fun! They are the cards that will allow your guests to let you know whether or not they can make it to your wedding weekend. They also are the perfect spot for you to ask for meal choices if you are having a plated dinner.

Pro tip: Include a fun interactive detail on the back of your response cards (such as, "what is your favorite city, and where do you love to visit there?" or a fun cocktail recipe card). Your guests will love filling out these details, and you'll get to display them at your wedding! Much better than simply counting the responses and tossing them, right? Right!

INFO CARDS

While many could argue that all you need is your invitation and response card to complete a signature suite, I am going to be bold and say that you also need an information card. All of my brides have included them, and for good reason! Info cards can serve multiple purposes. They can be accommodations cards to list hotel information, can be map cards to include a beautiful custom watercolor map of your wedding city, can be a reception and/or directions card if your ceremony and reception venues are in two different places, can be wedding weekend cards if you are hosting multiple events during your weekend (like a welcome party on Friday or brunch on Sunday), or can be a simple website card to direct your guests to find more details about your weekend.

Pro tip: I love suggesting using both sides of this card as well! I've often combined a custom map on one side with either directions or accommodations on the other, and have also paired a website card on one side with any of the above, too! Not to get too earthy crunchy, but save trees when you can, right?

ENVELOPES

Every invitation suite will need at least two envelopes - your invitation envelope and your response card envelope. Your response card envelope should have your address (or the address of the person collecting your responses, like a parent or wedding planner) along with postage already on it for easy mailing for your guests. Your invitation envelope should have your return address printed on the back flap, with your guest addresses either printed or calligraphed on the front paired with the wedding postage of your choice!

Want to get ultra fancy? You can even include inner and outer envelopes. What are these? Outer envelopes include the household name and address, and the inner envelopes simply include the names of each guest invited. This is a really traditional and formal option - most of my modern brides choose to forego it however it is a beautiful time-honored choice!

POSTAGE

This should go without saying, but if you want to have the post office deliver your invitations (if ooonly we could hand deliver them all, right?), you'll need to add postage stamps to both your invitation and response card envelopes. Read this helpful post about how to determine the right amount of postage for your wedding invitations, and this post about my three favorite sources for wedding postage!

The recipe for a wedding invitation suite. What makes up an invitation suite? What details do I include in my wedding invitations? By Simply Jessica Marie

GARNISHES: OPTIONAL ADD-ONS

ENVELOPE LINERS

Envelope liners are some of my favorite ways to add a new complementary pattern to your invitation suite! While not necessary, they surely help to finish the look of your suite - and are really fun for save the dates, too. They also add an extra layer of protection for your invitations inside your envelope.

BELLY BANDS

Belly bands are 1.5" strips of card stock that are often printed with a pattern or a solid color and your wedding crest. They wrap around your invitation suite, and hold all of the pieces together. They are a great alternative to ribbon if you are designing a more modern invitation suite!

RIBBON

Ribbon (my favorite ribbon to use is soft silk ribbon!) is a more delicate, romantic way to hold together your invitation suite. Whether you use ribbon or belly bands, I always recommend adding these on to quite literally tie together the look of your suite and make it feel finished!

WAX SEALS

Oooh wax seals, how I love you so. Wax seals can be custom designed to include your monogram, wedding crest, florals, or unique motif. They come in a variety of matte and metallic color options, and we can even custom color them to perfectly match your suite. They are most commonly used on the outside of your invitation envelope at the base of the flap, but can also be used inside your suite on top of your ribbon or a vellum sleeve. I also love using the seals in day-of design details, too!

GUEST ADDRESS PRINTING OR CALLIGRAPHY

You can absolutely address your own invitation envelopes if you prefer, and many of my brides like to do so to have a hand in their design process! However, if you want to save yourself time or would like your envelopes to be cohesive with the calligraphy and/or fonts in your suite, I would recommend having your designer print or calligraph your guest addresses. If you opt for envelope printing, we can incorporate some of your fun design elements (like your florals in a fun line-art version, or your wedding crest!) in addition to your guest names and addresses. There are always fun ways to get creative!

The recipe for a wedding invitation suite. What makes up an invitation suite? What details do I include in my wedding invitations? By Simply Jessica Marie

DIGESTIVO: TO SEND AFTER INVITATIONS

REHEARSAL DINNER INVITATIONS

If you are having a formal rehearsal dinner, it is always fun for you to coordinate with the person/people hosting it to design and send rehearsal dinner invitations! Since rehearsal dinners often have aesthetics all of their own, feel free to use separate design styles than you use in your invitations. Or if you'd love to carry all of your designs throughout your wedding stationery, you can absolutely do that, too!

BRIDAL SHOWER INVITATIONS

Depending on when you have your shower, these invitations should be sent before or after your invitations. Coordinate with the person/people hosting your shower too to design this piece. Or, send them directly to your stationer if you want the theme to be a surprise. And since these will be likely sent just to your ladies - don't be afraid to go ultra-feminine or a bit cheeky with the design!

THANK YOU CARDS

Goodness gracious girlie, please by all means send thank you cards to your loved ones after both your shower and your wedding. Your friends and family will be so happy to hear how much you love your new cheese platter or silverware set!

Pro tip: Opt for a design that is personalized to the two of you, but doesn't necessarily say "thank you" if you want a design that you can continue to use for correspondence throughout your married life! However, traditional "thank you" cards are super fun as well - that's what Zack and I chose to use!


So darling, I hope seeing all of the options in this wedding stationery menu will help you craft your perfect wedding stationery cocktail! Feel free to pick and choose what best suits the two of you and your personal tastes!

If you are interested in beginning your custom wedding stationery design process with me, I would love to hear more about you, your sweetie, and your wedding! Please complete the Custom Design Questionnaire on this page, and I will be in touch shortly after reviewing your responses. I can't wait to get to know you two better soon, and create beautiful heirloom wedding stationery for y'all to cherish for years to come!

Classic Paloma Cocktail Recipe

Recipes, SJM ShopJessica ClinchComment

It's officially March, and I cannot think of a better way to celebrate the "it's almost springtime!!" excitement than with a classic Paloma cocktail! This recipe has quickly become a favorite of mine to order when I'm out to eat (it pairs wonderfully with Mexican food!), and I cannot wait to try it out at home this month.

Classic Paloma cocktail recipe | Paloma watercolor art print by Simply Jessica Marie | SC Stockshop

photo by the SC Stockshop

CLASSIC PALOMA COCKTAIL RECIPE

serves 1

INGREDIENTS

  • kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup of fresh grapefruit juice
  • 2 fresh grapefruit wedges
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of tequila
  • 1/4 cup of club soda

DIRECTIONS

  1. Sprinkle the kosher salt on a plate, run a grapefruit wedge along the rim of your glass, and dip the rim of the glass in the salt.
  2. Combine the fresh grapefruit juice, lime juice, and sugar in a glass, and stir to combine until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Stir in the tequila, add ice, and top with the club soda
  4. Garnish with your second grapefruit wedge, and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Classic Paloma cocktail recipe | Paloma watercolor art print by Simply Jessica Marie | SC Stockshop

photo by the SC Stockshop

If you love making the ordinary days a bit more extraordinary like I do, why not bring a little bit of it into your home decor?

Each month, I am releasing an art print from the 2017 Cocktail, featuring the cocktail coordinating with that month from the calendar! The art prints will debut during the first week of each month, making it the perfect way to toast to the start of the month!

This Paloma watercolor cocktail art print would be the perfect addition to your kitchen or bar cart, darling! It will be right at home next to your colorful glassware and collection of gold foil coasters. These art prints are available in 8x10 and 11x14 sizes, perfect for apartments and homes alike.


Please note: This blog post contains affiliate links for the SC Stockshop. I absolutely adore using Shay's amazing styled stock images to enhance my brand aesthetic, and would 100% still do so without affiliate links!

The 2 Best Online Courses for Facebook Ads and Instagram Strategy

LearningJessica ClinchComment

Ohhhhh Facebook and Instagram. I have an interesting relationship with these darling platforms. Instagram has always been my best friend. It comes naturally to me, I love brainstorming strategies that are natural yet effective, and it is hands down my biggest referrer for my business. 

Facebook on the other hand is a bit of a confusing beast. In full transparency, I have lately just been sending my Insta posts to my business Facebook page, and using that platform mostly to engage in a handful of local networking groups and stationery communities. I understand the incredible power of Facebook ads, but for the longest time I just simply didn't understand how to use Facebook ads

The 2 best online courses for Facebook Ads and Instagram strategy

While Facebook is confusing for me, and Instagram comes naturally, I know the opposite flip side is true for many people! Or, maybe both platforms are equally confusing! That's why I would love to share my two favorite online courses for Facebook Ads and Instagram strategy with y'all today. To help take all of the guesswork and stress out of social media, and to help you see real results from using these platforms!

PS - I've got two exclusive discount codes for each course that I'm sharing below!

Social Leads Facebook Ads Course by Sarah Evans

Social Leads Facebook & Instagram Ads Course

DISCOUNT CODE: JESSICA FOR $50 OFF

discount code is valid through March 3, 2017, and applies to both
full payments and payment plan options!

Before taking Sarah's Social Leads Trial Course, I had searched through blog posts and short tutorials to try to make sense of the overwhelming yet truly valuable world of Facebook Ads. I attempted to take what I learned to create a couple of ads for both my online shop and my custom wedding stationery business, but each ad fell short with little to no results and lots of time and money wasted.

It wasn't until I took the time to invest in fully understanding the ins-and-outs of Facebook Ads and my Power Editor through Sarah's course that I realized how I could use them to make a real impact in my business!

I now have a handful of Facebook Ads prepared to launch to attract new clients to my newsletter for future course, product, and service launches; have pixels in place to capture potential leads for my online art school; and most importantly feel confident and in control of how my ads will directly impact my sales. 

When is the course, and when is enrollment live? The course enrollment is open now! It lasts until March 3, and the course will begin after that!

Who is this course for? Sarah made this course specifically for wedding professionals. So, if you are a photographer, wedding planner, videographer, DJ, venue, baker, caterer, or another wedding professional, this course is for you!

What do you receive? There are 9 video modules, a number of resources and a Facebook group for support any questions you may have. When running your Facebook + Instagram Ads, questions will come up. Sarah will be there in the course Facebook group to help you along the way. 

How long do you have access? You will have lifetime access to all of the course material!

Are there payment plans? There are! You can either pay $299 today or $119 over the next three months.

There is a money back guarantee.

Takeaways from Social Leads:
• The ins + outs of your Ads Manager
• Everything you need to know about the Facebook Pixel
• How to setup up a Facebook Campaign from start to finish
• How to use Standard Events and Custom Conversions to optimize your return on
investment
• What Custom Audiences are and how to leverage them to lower the cost of leads
for your business
• Why email marketing is important and secrets for creating leads from new website
visitors
• The process of creating a solid sales funnel, landing page anatomy, and how to
properly refine your processes
• How to use Facebook + Instagram ads strategically

The Action Classes by Megan Martin | Live Instagram Summit

THE ACTION CLASSES | LIVE INSTAGRAM SUMMIT

DISCOUNT CODE: JESSICA FOR $15 OFF

discount code is valid through March 7, 2017

My sweet friend Megan Martin is one of the most authentic (like....actually authentic, I'm not just using that word!) yet strategic Insta ladies I know. She is launching her Action Classes oh so soon, and is kicking them off with a live online Instagram Summit in just a couple weeks.

Megan has gathered ten amazing speakers to talk about using Instagram from every angle to effectively market your creative business and generate leads and sales from Styling & Shooting to create better images, Help with Copy, Finding Your Ideal Client, Using Insta Ads & Stories strategically, and a whole lot more! 

The wonderfully talented speakers include Kat Schmoyer, Shay Cochrane, Tyler McCall, Lauren Carnes, Alisha Johns, Meredith Staggers, Reina Pomeroy, Maghon Taylor, Sarah Evans (yup - the lady leading the Social Leads course!), and Jeff and Erin Youngren.

What are the details of the Summit?

  • Live online workshop
  • You will have access to the recordings! 
  • March 5-7, 2017
  • 11 speakers covering The 101, Finding Your Ideal Client, Shop Talk, Creating Compelling Images, Using IG Stories & Ads, Monetizing the Platform, Getting Real & a whole lot more! 

And don't worry, you will get access to the recordings if you can't make it live! But you must grab your spot before March 7th to tap into our amazing lineup of speakers and content! 

I hope y'all find these two resources to be incredibly useful!! I cannot wait to hear what you think and how the Social Leads course and Instagram summit directly impact your business. I have personally gone through the Social Leads course, and will be attending the summit live alongside y'all. So if you have any questions at all - feel free to let me know and I am happy to help!


This blog post contains affiliate links and codes. I will receive a small percentage of the sales made with my unique discount code. However - please note that I wholeheartedly believe in each of these educational resources, and would still share them with y'all even without an affiliate association!


How to Use Styled Stock Photography with Stationery Tutorial

Learning, DesignJessica Clinch1 Comment

Are you a stationery designer and are unsure of how to easily and professionally display your designs on stock images? If so, I have a fun treat for you today! 

How to use styled stock photography to showcase stationery designs | Styled stock photography tutorial by Simply Jessica Marie for SC Stockshop

photo by the sc stockshop

I've partnered with my sweet friends at the SC Stockshop to create a tutorial detailing how to use styled stock photography to showcase your custom stationery designs. Shay's beautiful desktop images are my absolute favorites to use when displaying my designs. She has such an incredible variety of colors and styles to uniquely fit your brand!

In this tutorial, I show you my step-by-step process of how I use SC Stockshop styled desktop photos to display my stationery designs on my Instagram, in my shop, in my portfolio, and on my blog.

I cover frequently asked questions from what file size and dimensions to use, how to layer and arrange stationery and envelopes to make them look natural, how to add drop shadows to your designs to make them look realistic and blend in seamlessly with the styled stock image, how to save your designs for web, and more.

How to use styled stock photography to showcase stationery designs | Styled stock photography tutorial by Simply Jessica Marie for SC Stockshop

photo by the sc stockshop

This darling photo showcasing custom thank you stationery paired with an envelope topped with address printing is the final product of the tutorial! I cannot wait to see what beautiful designs you choose to showcase after following along with the tips in this video!

I hope this tutorial is helpful for y'all! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below!


Please note: There are affiliate links in this blog post. However, I would still share this same post and recommend the SC Stockshop without being an affiliate - I truly believe in the business-changing power of her images!


Romantic Anthropologie Inspired Wedding Featured on 100 Layer Cake

Features, WeddingsJessica ClinchComment

Wedding details are often inspired by both your love story, your personalities, and your interests. I always love asking my couples where they love to shop - both for clothes and for their home - because it gives such a great insight into their personal style and design aesthetic.

This styled shoot for the Amy and Jordan Workshop was inspired by a preppy Anthropologie aesthetic, and all of us had such a fun time bringing that vision to life! My mind immediately leapt to Gossip Girl reading the Anthro catalogue, and I couldn't pick up my paintbrush quickly enough to start this design.

Thank you so much for featuring this beautiful styled shoot, 100 Layer Cake! I know we are all so excited to be able to share these gorgeous photos!

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Everything from the juxtaposition of soft yet wild horses paired with loose flowing lavender branches next to classic hydrangeas and garden roses, to the cool textured velvet blush ribbon topped with a crisp and traditional copper wax seal made for the perfect blend of these two aesthetics. 

I even not so subtly snuck in some Gossip Girl references - from the guest name "Van Der Woodsen" on the invitation envelope to "Parsons" as a hint to Parsons School of Design that Jenny attended. Kayla from Some Like it Classic and I had such a fun time brainstorming design ideas for this suite!

How gorgeous is this bright white venue? It's Clayton on the Park in Scottsdale, Arizona, and it officially has my heart! It was the perfect setting for this delectable pre-dinner cocktail hour. 

I fell in love with these acrylic bar cart accessories from the Oh Joy for Target collection, and immediately knew I wanted to calligraph some fun witty phrases on them! They were perfect for shaking up the couple's signature cocktail, lavender vodka lemonade. How fresh does that sound? Perfect for the Arizona heat!

PS - those coasters? I may have ordered a few extras to keep in my office because they're just too darn cute ;) 

Dinner was then served in the most incredibly beautiful, serene sea of lavender velvet with bold pops of purple and copper. I cannot stop swooning over those floral arrangements by Noir Floral and the rose gold glassware from BHLDN!

Notes from the team… Our stunning bride, Gabrielle, was glowing with upswept hair and natural makeup by Megan Dehann, and so ethereal in a BHLDN gown. This dress, which is the most delicate shade of ivory, was a perfect complement to the beautiful to rich colors in the bouquet. We chose soft garden roses, ranunculus, and anemones and to pop against the velvet rose linens and modern copper chairs. Overall, we created a light and airy look with a sense of subtle sophistication.

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And of course, after dinner you must have dessert! But why stop at a cake - even one as gorgeous as this copper foiled three-tiered beauty? 

My favorite detail of this entire shoot may have been the beautiful little watercolor floral heart-shaped cookies that were inspired by the pattern I painted for the invitation suite. What a fun way to literally carry the design details throughout your wedding day! Ruze Cake House, you are creative geniuses! Currently wishing I had a few of your tasty and beautiful cookies on this Valentine's Day!

The designs for the Amy and Jordan Workshop were such a fun artistic challenge, and I am so thankful to have been a part of this dreamy shoot! Thank you to all of the amazingly talented vendors who participated! 

Photographer: Amy & Jordan / Location: Clayton on the Park in Scottsdale, AZ / Design: Some Like It Classic / Floral: Noir Floral / Hair & Makeup: Megan Dehann / Desserts: Ruze Cake House / Stationery & Bar Rentals: Simply Jessica Marie / Copper Chairs, Bar Cart, & Linen: Petal Pusher / Lounge Furniture: Prim Rentals /  Dishes & Glassware: Anthropologie / Dress: BHLDN / Men’s Clothing: Magro Clothing


I would love to get to know more about you, your love story, personality, and your design interests! If you are interested in beginning your custom wedding stationery design process with me, I would love to hear more about you, your sweetie, and your wedding! Please complete the Custom Design Questionnaire on this page, and I will be in touch shortly after reviewing your responses. I can't wait to get to know you two better soon, and create beautiful heirloom wedding stationery for y'all to cherish for years to come!