2013 Trends: Printed Pieces with Olivia San Mateo of Olive Route

They say that first impressions are everything, and Olivia San Matoe of Olive-Route would be the first to agree.  She always keeps this in mind when designing and creating her beautiful printed pieces for weddings and special events.  As save-the-dates and invitations are the guests’ first impression of the celebration to come, it’s important that the pieces be memorable and unique to the couple.  In this interview, Olivia shares her expertise on the various options and processes that go along with creating specialty paper goods.
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Please tell us a bit about your company, Olive-Route. How did you come up with the name and logo?

Olive-Route is a custom design and letterpress studio that I started in 2005 after purchasing my first letterpress machine. My portfolio is a collection of wedding paper goods, small business collateral, and art collaborations. My company name is a combination of the latin meaning of my name: “Olivia” means olive tree and my nickname “Via” means route. The logo was something I developed when I was still in design school and I just carried it through my professional career.

When it comes to creating invitations and other printed pieces for couples planning their wedding, what’s your specialty?  

I specialize mainly in letterpress printed pieces – that’s where my heart is. But besides being a printer I’m also a designer, and will specify other types of printing (digital, foil, etc.) if it makes sense for the design and budget.

What makes you stand out from other design studios?

I’d like to think my designs help me stand out from other studios. Everything I do is custom, so every project is unique and I rarely reprint a design. I always make variations and like to experiment with different styles.

In your opinion, why are printed pieces so important in the grand scheme of the wedding?

Invites and Save-the-Dates help set the tone of the wedding. And since they’re sent out early, the first design decisions have to be made when they get sent out (the color palette, the motifs, the overall look and feel, etc). The day of pieces such as programs, menus, placecards, etc. become wonderful keepsakes and takeaways for the guests.  Not only are they functional, they’re also fun and unique. Here are a few samples that have a variety of paper goods in the set, the first set from a Stacy McCain Event Planning wedding for Rachel and Blake, at Cavallo Point.

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude and Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude & Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude and Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude & Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude and Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude & Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude and Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude & Mabel

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude & Mabel

Second Set:

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Third Set:

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Fourth Set:

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

At what point during the planning process do engaged couples come your way?

I encourage them to come very early on, usually about a year out, since save-the-dates are typically sent out at least 6 months from the wedding date.

What’s the best time frame for the creative process to begin, and what is the typical turnaround?

My process is broken down into two phases: design and production.  Each takes about 4 weeks, so 8 weeks total from start to finish.

How do you begin the process of creating custom wedding suites for your couples?

We usually start with a phone conversation or a meet and greet. I like to get to know my clients and understand their aesthetic and style choices so I can better customize the design for them. Then I ask them for any inspiration they may have collected or take a peek at their Pinterest board if they have one. Once I get a better understanding of who they are and what they like, I put together my own style board featuring all the details of their paper goods. The board will consist of color, typography, image, and material inspirations.

Keeping in mind that each couple and wedding is different, how much should couples plan to spend on their printed pieces?

There’s a huge range when it comes to the amount spent on paper goods. It really depends on how important it is to the couple and how they want it printed.  Digital printing is always less expensive than letterpress.

Which components of a suite would you say are most necessary?

I think that when working within a budget, it’s nice to have the invite card printed letterpress and maybe opt for the enclosures to be digital. I always encourage having the addresses done in calligraphy, but if it’s not in the budget, ask someone you know who has nice handwriting to do it for you. Finding some vintage stamps also adds a nice touch. I think whatever you can do to make it look more personalized is worth the effort.

Can you explain the differences in paper weight?

In simplest terms, I always refer to cardstock in 1ply vs. 2ply. Letterpress is always best on thicker 2ply stock, but that also adds to the cost. So if you want to save some money but want to stick with letterpress, going 1ply is a good alternative.

In your experience, what are the most common printing practices?

I mainly provide letterpress and digital services. I’ll also use foil, which is similar to letterpress but instead of ink we use foil.  This works best for metallic colors like gold or silver. Here are some examples:

Letterpress has a nice textural quality to the printing:

Calligraphy by Nancy Hopkins

Photo by Olivia San Mateo; Calligraphy by Nancy Hopkins

Digital is flat printing and works great with saturated colors such as this example:

Photo by Angie Silvy Photography

Photo by Angie Silvy Photography

Here’s an example of foil printing on cloth and wood paper:

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Photo by Olivia San Mateo

What concepts did we see a lot of in 2012, that we are seeing less in 2013?

I would say patterns have been big and are still running strong, which I love!

Can you tell us about some exciting new concepts you’ve rolled out in 2013?

I’ve integrated some bookbinding into some of my 2013 custom projects like these custom folios with wax seals:

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Photo by Olivia San Mateo

I love lots of texture, so anywhere I can mix and match materials is great. I love the liner on this design as well as the wallpaper backing we used for the invite:

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Photo by Olivia San Mateo

I also love pops of color as seen on these bright edge-painted cards:

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Photo by Olivia San Mateo

Thanks for all the inspiration, Olivia!

Follow Olivia on Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram

In case you missed it, be sure to read our September installment of Trends, featuring Wedding Ceremonies with Lisa Francesca

Special Offer from Wedding Paper Divas!

We’re very excited to announce that we’re partnering with Wedding Paper Divas who have a very special treat exclusively for our readers. Today through June 1, enjoy a generous 25% discount at Wedding Paper Divas. (See bottom of post for fine print.) Who are Wedding Paper Divas? Read on to learn more and check out their beautiful work.

About Us:

Wedding Paper Divas is a stationery haven with an affinity for beautiful paper and fresh design. Today, Wedding Paper Divas is a member of the Shutterfly family of brands, which also includes Shutterfly, Tiny Prints and Treat.

We stand for high-quality stationery products and provide an abundance of exclusive beautiful designs that reflect a couple’s unique aesthetic. With a team of etiquette experts on-hand, Wedding Paper Divas offers advice and tips for all occasions, ensuring that the message is touching and tasteful every time.



What’s the concept behind Wedding Paper Divas?
Laura Ching co-founded Wedding Paper Divas in 2006. A more than frustrating experience trying to find her perfect wedding stationary in an antiquated stationery store in San Francisco inspired a marriage between her and two close friends in hopes of finding a more convenient, stylish and enjoyable way to shop for wedding stationery online. In her current role as VP of Merchandising and Chief Design Officer for Wedding Paper Divas, Laura’s mission is to bring fresh designs and style to customers through both the products and the overall look and feel of the website.  She brings fresh designs, etiquette advice, and style to customers through both the products and the website whether you’re planning your wedding “today” or “someday.” She looks to fashion, fabrics, interior design, travel and international cultures for inspiration, every day.


What sets you apart from other companies?

Unlike many other stationery companies, which simply provide an extensive, something-for-anyone offering, Wedding Paper Divas works with talented artists all over the country to translate the hottest new trends into perfectly unique products. We are proud to offer products from both seasoned veterans in the industry, as well as younger, fabulously talented designers. We have 60 different designers we work with at Wedding Paper Divas. Many of these up-and-coming designers are even making their debuts into online boutiques with us! Our designers have created stationery for many celebrity customers. We currently offer over 750 wedding invites.
– Created by top designers, every design is exclusive and cannot be found elsewhere
– Each product allows for extensive personalization, including wording, layout, font, size and color
– Continually releases new designs and collections – sometimes as many as 100 each month
– Process orders in as little as 2-3 business days
– More than invitations – including save-the-dates, place cards, menus, thank you cards and more
– Every order is reviewed and proofread by a client specialist, created a retouched by an in-house designer, and    reviewed by the quality assurance team, offering a true white-glove experience



How does the process work, start to finish?
We have a very easy personalization and preview process. It’s important to us that you get the chance to personalize and preview your invitations before ordering. You can let our suggested wording and layout guide you, or you can create a card entirely from scratch with the font types, sizes and colors of your choice. Either way, we’ll make sure your invitations are flawless, and you’ll be able to preview and approve the exact look prior to placing your order. With our powerful and easy-to-use tools, we’ve managed to make the personalization process just as carefree as it is convenient.



Social stationery can and should reflect your personal taste, so it may take a little time and effort for a discriminating customer to find the right design. We are committed to ensuring that you have all the information and support needed to help you pick the perfect design. That’s why so many of our products include professional photography, design descriptions and all of the intricate details you need to know about our luxurious, high quality paper.



{Image Details: Kraft Arrow/Marigold/Designed by Petite Alma; Signature White Textured Wedding Invitations/Floral Watercolor/Raspberry/Designed by Lady Jae; Signature Ecru Wedding Invitations/All the Roads/Black/Designed by Sycamore Street Press; Signature Ecru Wedding Invitations/Dappled Glade/Spring Green/Designed by: Lady Jae;
Signature White Textured Wedding Invitations/Indian Summer/Sunny Yellow/Designed by: Petite Alma}


Special Offer Details:  To redeem the exclusive 25% discount, please email Stacy@stacymccain.com for the code. This offer excludes letterpress, thermography and 3rd party products (i.e. custom stamps, embossers, photo books, gift certificates and calendars).  There is no minimum purchase required. Cannot be combined with any other offers. One time use per customer. Offer expires June 1, 2012 at 11:59 PM.

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!