Making your wedding day your own can mean something different for every couple. For the couples among us who want to start off their wedding planning process on the right foot, they look to designers, calligraphers, and other professionals to make a statement with their invitations.
But here’s the thing, you are no long limited to cool invitations and that is it. Your designer can work with you to create a style for your whole day! From ceremony programs, to dinner menus, to seat assignments, and ring presentation, your day is yours to be crafted to your taste.
If marrying in Porto, the north of Portugal, or even further afield is in your plan consider working with one of these three incredible professionals that will ensure your day is unforgettable.
Patrícia Moutinho of Kitschnet
Patrícia is graphic designer by training and in her previous life worked in advertising agencies. But when the recession hit she became unemployed and that is when she says a window to a new opportunity opened. She began by designing the decor for kid’s parties, something she still does on occasion today. Things changed when, like many people in the wedding industry, Patrícia herself got married. After 8 years with her partner and a lovely 5 year old little girl, they though why not! Patrícia of course took care of all the details of her wedding and that is when her passion for weddings was sparked. All of that combined to set her on the path to helping others create their dream wedding.
When asked to describe her style, Patrícia says, “My style is the couple’s style. I ‘read’ each couple in order to reach and create what is their style.” Once a bride even told her “You are incredible, you can read our minds!” To which she sheepishly responded,”Well, I can’t actually read minds, but I can read people, and that is my magic!”
She does admit to really loving to work with craft paper, cotton paper, and custom made sealing wax. But if that isn’t right for a couple, she remains flexible and always manages to design what each couple desires.
To create that ideal invitation, sign, or decoration Patrícia sits down to talk with each couple. An initial talk helps her understand the signs and style of the couple. Since Patrícia works with many couples from outside of Portugal, she doesn’t let distance stop her and is always happy to sit down for a coffee over Skype or WhatsApp.
Once she meets with the couple she will start sending them sketches. From there she all makes the changes requested by the couple until they reach perfection. She is always surprised at the bond she forms with even the couples she only meets virtually. And that is also what she likes best about weddings. Because Patrícia always lets her heart guide her work, she puts her emotions into her creations. One of the many reason she now calls many of her couples friends.
Patrícia Silva Oliveira of Storytime Calligraphy & Design
After doing a tremendous amount of research for her wedding, wedding invites, and related materials, all of these elements continued to show up on Patrícia’s social media feeds. Patrícia’s imagination was sparked and she felt curious about how one makes these beautiful letters that she had been seeing for sometime. After searching on internet for the correct supplies and the basics of calligraphy, this electrical engineer by training, started to practice and never stopped! She says, “I love that feeling of writing with my own hand, to dip the pen onto the ink jar and to combine different ink colors and papers.”
This self-described cookie monster and chocolate lover, says it wasn’t just her own marriage that spurred on her venture into weddings. Instead it was something that has been with her since her childhood. Here in Portugal it’s tradition to have little girls carry the wedding rings and as Patrícia recalls, she was the ring bearer for about seven(!) weddings before she turned 7 years old. As a result, she has always loved the wedding vibe and getting all dress up for such a special occasion. For all these reasons the choice of working with couples for their wedding day was a pretty natural one.
Patrícia believes her style to be is a healthy mix of modern and vintage. She likes to use calligraphy for a more exclusive look because it ensures that the invitation is completely one of a kind. She also hand-draws elements, like monograms and florals, to enrich the design and make it more appealing. She aims for an overall aesthetic that is clean, romantic and smooth, with a little splash of color.
When asked about her work process, Patrícia says that her focus is on the couple – it is key to understand what they desire and how they picture their special day. The conversations can be in person, on skype or by email, whichever the couple prefers. When creating a wedding invitation suite, after speaking with the couple Patrícia produces a draft that the couple then provides feedback on until they reach perfection. Once perfect for the couple, the invitations are sent to the printer. For the day-of materials, like place cards and table numbers, since they are handmade by Patrícia, it is a much simpler process because it depends on on her. Overall, she always tries to find a way to simplify the couple’s life and find the means so that they all can have an enjoyable time creating a memorable wedding day.
Patrícia believes that the essence of a great wedding relies not on the big picture, but on the sum of all the tiny details. The details is where she steps forward to create paper goods that reflect the personalities and tastes of the couple. Since no two couples are alike, she adores that she always has the chance to create different materials that tell the couple’s love story. That is what she loves the most about weddings.
Mariana Bernardes of Invite Mi
Mariana’s love for brides and weddings started at a young age. She recounts, “I always loved staring at the storefronts of the bridal shops in Porto when I would stroll the streets with my mom.” She has always loved the idea of weddings, love, fairy tales and everything, since ever. Also since young age, Mariana loves to draw, paint, and everything else related to creativity. Her mom was a visual arts teacher so she always loved the arts, and initially she wanted to follow in her mom’s footsteps. However, when she needed to decide which field to pursue, she changed her focus to graphic design.
Putting her two loves together would only occur after her wedding photographer uncle, João Almeida, saw her graduation portfolio. While still studying for her masters degree in Communication Design, Mariana was encouraged by her uncle and her parents to start her own business creating stationery and invitations, with a strong focus on weddings. Mariana admits it isn’t easy having her own business, but she knows that the best part of it is being able to do something she loves for people who are in love.
In terms of design, Mariana does not like to pick one style. Instead, she customizes all her work to her clients tastes. Happy to offer ideas and opinions, as well as give her own twist to the design, nevertheless, she prefer to work as a team with the couple to create something that reflects their relationship, their tastes, and the wedding decor and color palette of their special day.
While Mariana is always focused on the couple, she also likes to add her “special touch” to wedding stationery. Her “special touch” usually consists of creating illustrations with watercolors that give a unique and artistic look to the final design. She also enjoys working with calligraphy and adores adding some handmade details when assembling the final pieces like: envelope liners, wax seals, painted details, etc. The idea for her business, since the beginning, was to give couples pieces that are unique and unrepeatable. She does not work with pre-made layouts, each work is a new blank sheet of paper for her.
When it comes to working with each couple, Mariana starts by asking couples to give her the general idea of what they actually want, and would love to have, in their wedding stationery. This is a very important part of the first contact because Mariana is starting to understand their tastes and preferences. After this initial information, Mariana sets up a personal meeting in her work space, or by Skype or Facetime if meeting in person isn’t possible, so her and the couple can meet and chat further. She thinks that knowing the couple’s story is key, as is seeing examples of things they like, as well as knowing the color palette of the day. After the meeting Mariana sets a timeline for her deliverables and sends the first proposal. After revisions are include, everything goes to be printed, after which she undertakes the final assembly. For the rest of the wedding needs, Mariana uses the same design theme to create all the pieces for the wedding ceremony and party.
When asked what she enjoys most about weddings, Mariana replies, “I really love the personal touch of this work. I love meeting lots of different people, hearing their love stories, and creating with them a special relationship.” And of course, it is a huge pleasure for her to be part of such a special day, creating something timeless and unforgettable for the couple and their guests, something that reflects them on paper. As Mariana likes to say, “I look forward to making all your ‘paper dreams’ come true!”