In real life | Shayna + Justin's
woodland wedding paper

Remember Shayna + Justin's cozy woodland invitation suite? With the tiny fox? Well I also designed a bunch of day-of print material for them, which made it extra exciting to look through their spectacular wedding photos by Sean Cook. Custom design is all about highlighting the personality of the couple and the style of their event so I love to show how it all comes together. For this event I designed a fabric head table banner, escort cards, table numbers, cocktail menu, dessert signs and the favors, which were framed mini art prints. Shayna and Justin, thank you for your ideas and trust; I loved working with you and your wedding looks like a dream!

Sean Cook, photography | Viva La Diva Events, event consultant | Parsonage Events, floral

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in real life | Kate & Andy's custom print material

Remember my studio shots of Kate & Andy's custom wedding stationery? Well here are the professional photos from their wedding at Misty Farm in Ann Arbor, aren't they amazing? I love seeing how the custom print material blends with the other event details and it all points back to the Kate & Andy's romantic, rustic vision.

One of the challenges of designing custom wedding invitations is that they are often one of the first physical pieces to be created for an event. This means that I am usually designing to coordinate with bouquets yet to be created, decorations yet to be hung and venues yet to be transformed. The invitations play a large role in setting the unique tone for an event and informing the guests about what kind of an experience they can expect. In order for the designs to be successful, it is crucial that I spend the required amount of time learning about the overall wedding vision before I start designing anything. While working on the designs, there is a yet-to-exist future event in my mind, which I try to channel and translate into print. During the process, there are several checkpoints where I check back in with the client and event designer to make sure the design is on target and make any adjustments that are needed. It's always satisfying at the end when the final designs are approved, printed and delivered, but nothing compares to months later when I see the professional photos of  how it all comes together, and Kate and Andy's wedding is no exception.

 Also, can we give it up for Norman the ring bearer?! Adorable.


Viva La Diva Events, event design & planning | Heather Saunders, photography | The Parsonage, floral






First Year of Self-Employment: the good, the bad, and the ugly

You may have seen me mention on facebook or twitter that last month I celebrated my One-Year Freelanciversary. I've been reflecting a lot on the highs and lows of the last 12 months and thought it would be a good thing to share. Plus, I haven't updated this blog in forever so this is a step towards starting Year Two in good form. THE GOOD • Learning how to build and hand-code websites (thanks to this amazing online class and also my patient & generous friend Pete.) • Seeing my work featured on The Knot Live (skip to 12 minutes to watch it.) Thanks Viva La Diva! • Becoming a business owner and my own boss. • Building and designing my own website from scratch, which is a continual learning process and work in progress. • Meeting regularly with my design friends from my old job to support each other's creative and career pursuits and have cocktails. • Realizing that I really love Ellen DeGeneres and if I want to take a break in the morning to watch her show, I totally can.

THE BAD Honestly, I feel so lucky that there has not been a lot of bad. There certainly have been a lot of challenges, but I don't view those as bad and will probably write about them in a future post. Here is one development that is definitely not good: • My cat has become extremely co-dependent due to me working from home and developed an anxiety disorder that is triggered whenever he is we leave. It has made going out of town even for just a night very stressful and has also resulted in a lot of extraneous vet bills.

THE UGLY • Having an almost completely sedentary lifestyle for an entire year. When I started counting getting the mail as my cardio for the day, I knew that getting out of the house and away from the computer was definitely something I needed to prioritize more. I'm still working through the stages of Accepting Defeat in this area and expect to move into the Motivation stage very soon. • The full-blown, sobbing meltdown I had in the parking lot of the QuickBooks Pro tutor. If you ever want to push a graphic designer to their breaking point, put them in a room for 4 hours and make them watch a PC-user try to teach them QuickBooks on a Mac. I am having trouble finding words to describe this particular type of hell.

All things considered, this year has been really amazing, due in huge part to the support of my family, friends, clients, referrers, cheerleaders and especially Aaron. To all of you, a heartfelt thank you.

Full steam ahead!