Letterlyn by Evelyn Cunningham

Letterlyn Blog

Working with vendors to make sure your wedding is well designed

Use your vendor relationships to help you create a well designed wedding.

I always infuse artistry into my work. But the team behind the example images here infused artistry into every detail of this shoot. The inspiration board was so perfect, so it was easy to complete the project. And, it speaks to having a carefully selected vendor team for your wedding or event. We hardly had to communicate, and all the pieces fell into place perfectly. The reason: planning, visual communication and picking the right vendors for the job. And Maggie Richards knocked it out of the park with this one. Here are some tips for you on how you can do the same:

Pick your wedding vendors like you would pick a tattoo artist

Like tattoo artists, wedding vendors are not one-company fits all. And sure, I can design for a wide range of audiences. BUT, I don't fit with everyone's vision of their wedding or styled shoot. I have my areas of expertise and my less favorite projects. So, don't try to make me fit everthing. I wouldn't ask Madewell to make me a pair of bondage pants. That would be weird, but now I am curious.

NikkiSanterre_DoverHallFineArtFilmEditorialwithMaggieRichard-183 copy.jpg

Work with someone to create a cohesive vision

Even if it is just your mom or your close friends. Get someone to help you edit that pinterest board. Like eyebrows, carefully shape and include only what you need. All the extra fluff gets those wedding vendors confused. And, I can't speak for everyone else, but many of us are happy to help you with narrowing things down.

Example: a client sends me an inspiration board and it has 5 paper goods inspirations. To me, they're all completely different. So, I start asking questions. And not just questions like "what do you like about this one" but more deep questions like "how does this paper product accentuate the feel of your event and promote that image." Sometimes, all the images stay, sometimes we delete them all and work from a more abstract inspiration source like hot springs and the texture of wool sweaters.

Don't worry, wedding vendors are here to help. We want your wedding to be successful too.


Communication is key: tell us about each other

Especially if you are working with vendors who operate near each other, we probably know one another. It can be helpful to know who you chose for various other vendors, because it helps me realize your style. Your photographer, venue, and florist tell me a lot about your wedding aesthetic.

And, it helps make sure that credit is given where credit is due.


Nikki Santerre  photographed this editorial at the Dover Hall Estate. The concept was created and realized by Maggie Richard  with florals by Photosynthesis Floral Design  and paper goods by yours truly,  LetterlynRent E Quip & Paisley and Jade provided rentals with linens and glasswear from Creme de la Creme . Model Alex Tenser  wore a Gossamer  dress and a veil from Tiffanys Bridal .  Transformations Artistry did hair and makeup. A Ribbon’s Nest & Silk & Willow  provided ribbons.

Many thanks to Adorn for publishing this shoot.

Thank you for reading!

On Trend: Blush Calligraphy Invitation and Save the Date Ideas

Happenning in wedding invitation design: floral (and other) motifs

To incorporate a motif effectively, have a designer create a motif such as a monogram, special drawing or detail that they will carry through your event. Do you have a wedding website? Ask for a digital-ready file too. You will likely have to pay for the permission. Your designer can create plenty of print products that coordinate using that motif. And it can act as a quick, reusable element that makes your wedding designs super cohesive! With this example, I created a small trumpet vine drawing, digitized it and included it on the invitation and RSVP.


Still making you blush

It seems that the blush and soft neutral trend is not ending anytime soon. It is very elegant, but also versatile. This suite looks sweet and classy with the color and calligraphy style. But, it also includes a secret weapon that is impossible to see in the photo.

You've gotta feel it.

Textures are a big deal in paper arts and in design. Although the edges of this paper are cut sharply, the blush paper has a delicate texture to it. And, the invitation is duplexed (glued to) a white paper with a smoother texture that matches the envelopes. Sometimes, you'll see these details in the photos, but it is really a treat for your guests. That often overlooked tactile element to design makes a difference.

More ideas for using texture in your wedding invitations:

  • different textured papers for the invitations, the envelopes, liners or other details: handmade papers, papers with leaf or flower inclusions, and machine-textured papers are great options
  • add vellum paper or a like-paper somewhere
  • use an alternative to paper like wood
  • use a wax seal somewhere
  • use ribbon, twine or fabric to wrap the invitaiton
  • use a printing process that creates texture: letterpress or foil pressing

Thanks for reading,


More Inspiration

Calligraphy Questions | Why won't my chalkboard erase?

I have had many people ask about this one. And, I once had someone complain because they intended to use the chalkboard for a styled shoot and then just return it. But, my work "damaged" it so it was unreturnable. (Um, I have questions.) The fact of the matter is, chalk markers will damage your chalkboard.


The calligrapher's love-hate relationship with a chalk marker

Oh chalk markers, I have a love-hate relationship with you. Chalk markers are supposed to be temporary They create very vibrant white on chalkboards, glass, plastics and more. They work GREAT for writing. They are more durable than traditional chalk. They are wonderful.


They aren't really temporary on chalkboards. I am sure you've seen it at your local coffee shop: the underlying sheen of last weeks special scone or latte. Part of the problem is that many of these surfaces are porous, so the pigment will seep into it a little (or a lot) making it impossible to wipe away. 

It's made worse by time. I just had to remove the chalk marker from a chalkboard that was written 2 years ago. And, by remove, I mean that I cleaned it and painted over it with chalkboard paint. It is a pain, but it kind of comes with the territory. Newer stuff can be easily taken of with magic eraser, nail polish remover and many other home-remedies for the ghosts of signage past. But, there is a problem with all of those solutions:

Those solutions take off the surface too.

One time, I had particular trouble with a design and had to redo it a few times. I took the finish right off. Of course, I just re-finished it myself and it wasn't a problem. As you can tell, I often end up re-painting in frustration.

What is a less destructive option?

There aren't other great options. If you want to use regular chalk, you have to be prepared for it to smudge, smear and erase. If you seal it with a workable fixative, you have to be prepared to scrub and use the other methods that take off the surface.

There simply isn't a perfect solution.

I do know some people who use black paper, give it a chalkboard treatment by rubbing the chalk on it, and frame it. Bonus points: you can recycle it. But, it won't always pass a discerning eye.

The bottom line: if you are getting a chalkboard sign done, or are doing it yourself, prepare to resurface it eventually.


Hey there:

ask more questions,

Is an animal-free wedding invitation possible?

I admit, I am not a vegan. The day I tried to give up cheese, I forgot and ate cheese 3 times. However, being a vegetarian for over a decade means you get a lot of questions about the difference between vegan and vegetarian. So, I've had to arm myself with that knowledge, and am very sympathetic to the plight of those living a life with only animal-free products. And, so, to all of you, here is some info on animal-free wedding paper:


A lot of calligraphy and wedding materials are not vegan/animal free. But, you do have options


Let's start with inks. Most inks use gelatin. In case you don't know, gelatin is collagen derived from animal bones and skin. It thickens things like marshmallows, jello, gravies, inks, and more.

Some pigments are not vegan either. So, you have to be careful. And a lot of companies do not say if they use animal products or not. Many of us know the plight of the carmine beetle popping up in everything from yogurt and ketchup to paint and lipstick. But, there is a lot more. I won't go into it, because it is very unpleasant. Just know that your watercolors, acrylics, and other art supplies aren't always animal-free.


Did you know that a lot of papers are not vegan? Yep! "Sized" papers mean papers that have been treated so that they won't completely break apart when wet, nor will the ink just run and feather out once it touches the page. Doing calligraphy on unsized paper is pretty much impossible. And, most sizing agents contain gelatin. There are synthetic options, but you have to make sure you are looking in the right places.


Vellum papers are often popular for embellishments. And, while the traditional paper is made from young animal skin, most modern vellums are not. I asked a company that I order from, and their answer was yes, but it seemed that they weren't completely certain. As many vegetarians and vegans can attest, people often don't quite understand what animal free, vegan or even vegetarian means. (Shout out to my memaw who will never understand why I won't eat green beans cooked with ham hock!! Love her, but I don't know if she'll ever get it.)

Handmade Paper

Most hand-made papers are not animal-free. They often use animal products in sizing after the paper sheet is formed, as I broght up earlier. I have yet to find a handmade paper that is vegan. So, if you are a paper maker who uses animal-free processes on paper that is suitable for calligraphy and/or letterpress printing, reach out to me so that I can edit this post!



Fun fact, Elmer's products are animal-free. Go Elmer's! PVA glues, like Elmer's are good to go because PVA means polyvinyl acetate. In other words, it is synthetic. But, other brands aren't always completely animal free.

Wax Seals

A lot of sealing waxes are not animal free, containing beeswax. But, I think there is an animal-free way to make sealing wax. This post has really got me thinking, so I am going to experiment with it in the coming weeks. I promise to keep you posted as I look into it.

Envelope Sealing

According to manufacturers, most envelope-glues are animal-free. US-made sealant is supposedly made out of corn (who knew!?).



A lot of printing methods are not animal-free. Some places do use soy-based inks for regular printing. If this is something you require, be sure to say so up front. And, be prepared to pay more.

For letterpress inks, the main concern isn't the ink substrate, but the pigment. For many companies, they want to guard this proprietary information. But, there are some that will give you a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Screenprinting also has animal-free ink options. And, foil stamping is animal-free.

Be aware that cleanup for screenprinting and letterpress often include animal products.

More animal-free art supplies

Are you an artist, too? I found this great list of animal free art supplies.

Thanks for reading



Evelyn CunninghamComment
You can't miss these calligraphy details on Southern Weddings

Vince and Rachel had a beautiful, classic aesthetic for their wedding. But, there were plenty of sweet, personal details throughout.

Their beautiful wedding was published on Southern Weddings! Here are the calligraphy details:

If you want to see more, head over to the Southern Weddings Blog.

What's your favorite detail?

I am a huge fan of the greenery throughout. But, my favorite calligraphy detail is the drink sign for sure.


Love and thanks to Vince, Rachel and the vendors

Calligraphy by Letterlyn, Photography by Shannon Moffit, Design and Coordination by Luxe and Luna.