Vendor Spotlight: A Day In May

We love what we do, but none of it would be possible without amazing vendors. We’re truly honored to work with some of the most incredible vendors around, and we’ve been dying to tell you all about them. So we decided to do a Vendor Spotlight series, where we gush about one fabulous vendor every few weeks. Please note: We are not compensated to endorse these vendors. We just really love their work and want to share the love!

…………………………………………………….

In the spirit of our recent paper post, as this month’s Vendor Spotlight, we’d love to share the beautiful work of the lovely ladies over at A Day in May. Enjoy!

What is A Day in May?
A Day in May is a graphic design studio specializing in letterpress invitations. As trained graphic designers, we bring our extensive design experience to each and every printed wedding element we create.

How did it all begin and what was your inspiration for “A Day in May”?
We (Eve Weinsheimer and Lesley Hathaway, the owners of A Day in May) met in San Francisco as graphic designers working in the corporate world. We had been hearing complaints from our friends about the quality of interesting, creative wedding invitations on the market. We immediately connected over our vision of the ideal design studio and letterpress invitation line. We took a leap of faith and started A Day in May Design. That was 11 years ago and we’ve now added a studio in New York City. A truly bi-coastal venture!

The name did not come as easily to us as the concept of the business did. We tossed around several ideas before settling on “A Day in May Design”. We started our business in the month of May 2001, and of course many of our clients have gotten married on “a day in May”, but mainly there was just something hopeful and promising about the sound of the name. And eleven years later we are happy to say that we were right. Our business has been a very fruitful endeavor. It doesn’t seem like work to us, but a wonderfully creative outlet which magically provides us with a paycheck at the end of each month.

What inspires you?
Everyday inspiration comes from all sort of outstanding cultural & interesting outlets around NYC and San Francisco. Recent trips to the Neue Museum and The Metropolitan Opera in NYC were wonderfully inspiring for Lesley, but inspiration in NYC tends to hit just riding the subway and checking out fashion on the street! Lesley and her husband, and Argentine native, also do a lot of traveling and have recently been to Madrid, Miami, Colorado and Buenos Aires. Of course, there is nothing like travel to really get the creative juices flowing.

Eve spends many of her days running around after her 3 beautiful, young daughters; Greta, Tessa and Esme. Eve is constantly inspired as she sees the world through their open, accepting and creative little eyes. Eve also loves hunting through flea markets and vintage stores and fine art is a true passion for her. She has started a wonderful art collection right in her own home and she’s always on the search for new and innovative artists who inspire her graphic design and life.

Ideally, when should a bride reach out to you?
Ideally brides should contact us about 7 or 8 weeks before they want to mail their piece, whether it be a save the date or an invitation. We ballpark design and printing at about 3 weeks each, and then the client will need to either address the envelopes themselves for give a calligrapher about 2 weeks to address the envelopes for them. Save the dates tend to go out anywhere from 1 year to 6 months before the couple’s wedding date, and invitations are typically mailed 2 months before the wedding date.

What is the general process in working with A Day In May?
A Day in May has clients all over the globe (the most recent one being in Dubai!), so if brides and grooms are not in New York City or San Francisco, they should not worry. We easily work remotely. We can either set up a meeting in one of our studios or send a package of samples out to prospective clients and then set up a conference call. Once we have nailed down the design vision, we provide the potential client with an estimate. If they would like to move forward, they email their text (of course we can help with this too), we take a 30% deposit on the overall project, and get the ball rolling! We provide the client with 3 design rounds via PDF. The final PDF is approved by the client and then sent to print. We ship directly from our print shop to the clients (or to their calligraphers), whatever the client wishes.

 

What are the basic stationery pieces that a bride should include in her invitations?
A basic invitation set will include a main envelope, invitation, reply card, and reply envelope. However, as weddings become more involved, it is also very common to include a “detail card” in the main invitation packet. That card would serve to highlight the weekend events, times and locations so that the guests can plan accordingly.

What other add-ons do you recommend?
We love adding an envelope liner to invitations in either a fun and fabulous color, or even one that’s the same color as the envelope, either way it gives the piece an extra special richness and weight.

Recently, we have been digitally printing a lot of vellum overlays and folders. They are a great way to pull in a full spectrum of color (digital printing is produced in 4-color so we can print any color under the sun for no additional cost) and texture to an already stunning letterpress piece.

What is the average cost of a basic stationery suite? About how much are we looking at in terms of costs for add-ons?
Our invitation suites start around $1300 for a quantity of 75 and move up from there based on the level of custom design work, add-ons such as envelope liners, maps, second ink colors, belly bands, decorative folders, weekend event cards, etc. Most of our clients spend between $2000 and $4000 with us.

What other types of pieces can be printed? (save the date, menu, program, escort card, etc)
If a client comes to us and orders “the works” that would consist of the following; save the date, wedding invitation, thank you note set, welcome to the weekend piece (waiting for guests in their hotel room), wedding programs, dinner menus, coasters, seating cards and place cards.
Of course we can create anything under the sun and have also designed and produced; cocktail napkins, bar menus, custom wine labels, olive oil labels, wedding ceremony fans, maps of the wedding location, custom wooden boxes with logos branded on the lid, individual stationery for the bride and groom, etc, etc. We love brainstorming new and exciting pieces for weddings. No project is out of the question at A Day in May, we are most assuredly up for anything.

What are your favorite types of pieces to work on?
That would definitely be a custom wedding project where the client comes to us to create several pieces with a beautiful design language that shifts and changes a bit (not the same logo stamped on each piece), but overall has a very tight and consistent look and feel.

Do you charge for consultations? Can we see examples of different styles of printing in person?
We do not charge for the initial consultation whether it be a meeting in person or a phone consultation. If the client meets us in our studio, we will show them a wide variety of our work and we are also more than happy to ship a big sampling of our work to clients who live outside of SF or NYC.

Frequently asked questions that you wish brides knew before meeting with you?
I would say the most frequently asked questions are “how much will it cost?” and “how long will it take?!” Beyond that each client really comes to us with a host of different circumstances and questions which we are more than happy to answer for them. There are no wrong questions at A Day in May.

What trends are you seeing in paper goods for 2012?
A hot palette right now is gray & pink, ranging in depth of color. For instance right now we are working with charcoals, very soft warm grays, heathery mid-range cool grays, hot pinks, deep raspberries, soft petal pinks, fuschia and deep cranberry. They work wonderfully together since it’s a great cool/hot combination.

…………………………………………………….

Eve Weinsheimer & Lesley Hathaway

…………………………………………………….
………………………………………………
A Day in May Design NYC
195 Chrystie Street, Studio 809F
New York, NY 10002
TEL 917.592.2661
………………………………………………
A Day in May Design SF
1850 Union Street, Studio 4
San Francisco, CA 94123
TEL 415.614.0005
{all images via A Day in May Design}


Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Etiquette of Invitations

Now that you’ve set your date and decided on a wedding style, let’s talk a little about etiquette. No, this isn’t the table manners post, but the etiquette of save the dates, invitations, addressing envelopes, and all that good stuff! We’re all about planning and staying on top of our timeline, right? So make sure you give your guests plenty of time to plan for your wedding, especially if there is travel involved. Timing isn’t the only thing we want to discuss in terms of etiquette, but also what to write, how to write it, and how to address it. All these things are really important and fun, too, so let’s begin!

{Who to invite and how}

First of all, do you have your guest list ready to go? Make sure you’re keeping your budget in mind when putting together your guest list. While putting together your list, you probably gotten stumped by a few sticky situations…ie. When and how to invite those “plus one’s”? Do you invite children, and what about teenagers? And do you invite co-workers or not? Check out some tips, here. Once you have the names of everyone you need to invite, be sure to get correct addresses for everyone, which might take some time!

{What’s the deal with Save the Dates?}

In a nutshell, a save-the-date is a good idea as it gives your guests a heads up about your wedding plans and location (esp. if it’s a destination wedding, a full wedding weekend, or if it’s during a high travel/holiday time). Some quick tips:

-Send them out 6 months prior to the wedding.
-There are so many creative new save-the-date ideas out there, so have fun with it!
-Send them only to people you definitely want to attend.
-If inviting a plus-one, try to include the name so it’s clear who is being invited.

For more details, see here.

Now let’s get down to the business of the invitations!

{Timing}

Send out your wedding invitations 6-8 weeks before the wedding, allowing your guests adequate time to respond (especially if they need to book flights) and ensuring that you will get a reliable head count a week or two before the event. If you’re having a calligrapher address your envelopes, you’ll need to give them (and the addresses!) to your calligrapher 2-3 weeks before they are to be sent out. So, put on your math hat…that means you need to have a guest list AND all the addresses no more than 10 weeks before the wedding.

{The invitation, deconstructed}

Though it’s not mandatory, you can use an inner and outer envelope. All that means is there’s a main envelope that includes all the address info and stamp, then there’s another envelope inside that actually contains the invitation and all other components. This is a nice touch in the case that the outer envelope gets soiled or torn in the mail, ensuring that the invitation arrives in pristine shape.

Here’s the order of all components of an invitation:

Invitation, on the bottom, with print side up. All other inserts, such as a map, reception card, and reply card, on the invitation in order of size (smallest on top).The reply card should be under its envelope’s flap; this envelope should be pre-printed with the mailing address, and should be stamped as well.

{Anatomy of an invitation…the wording}

Basically, your invitation should include the following: the host line, request line, bride and groom line, date and time lines, location line, and reception and R.S.V.P. lines. Whether your wording is formal or informal is up to you, and will probably depend on your wedding style. Check out the specifics, here, or but we suggest talking to your paper designer for help with this.

{Addressing Envelopes}

According to Martha Stewart Weddings (in our opinion, they know their stuff!): “The address on a wedding invitation should be handwritten; printed labels are not appropriate”.

Your guests’ names should be written in full on outer envelopes — no nicknames or initials. Check out more tips, here.

Now, what if a married couple has different last names? What about a same-sex couple? And what do you do about special titles, like Dr.? Find out here.

Now you’re probably ready to run out and start looking for a paper design company. But what type of printing will you go for? There are SO many beautiful options out there to create the perfect look for you, so check back for our upcoming post about all the different types of printing. And, as a special treat, we’ll be showcasing one of our favorite paper designers in our upcoming Vendor Spotlight series. They’ll have some great tips to share, of course along with their beautiful work. See you soon!