nine0nine creative | custom invitations


stationery 101

How to assemble wedding invitations | video tutorial

wedding, stationery 101Ryann JarrardComment

You know how when you’ve done something a thousand times you think EVERYONE knows how to do it? Yup, that’s how I felt about wedding invitation assembly until I was chatting with a wedding planner friend of mine who mentioned it would be super helpful to know the proper way to assemble them. So VOILA! I made a video tutorial about it! With a few other tidbits about envelope liners and belly bands thrown in. I hope y’all find it helpful - let me know if there is anything I’ve missed!

Save the Dates | Wedding Stationery 101

stationery 101, weddingRyann JarrardComment

So, you got engaged - HOORAY! Now all.the.planning. One of the first things you will probably do is pick your date and venue. After that you’ll probably book your photographer and take engagement photos. THEN COMES THE REALLY FUN PART - wedding paper! Save the dates have become pretty common but there is a wide variety of choices and so I thought I would break them down for you a little!

Printed vs. Digital

There are definitely advantages to both. Y’all aren’t surprised to hear that I lean towards the snail mail Save the Date ;) but I also know that in this day and age people are way more apt to send invitations electronically.

Ways to send digitally

There are several great web sites that you allow you to upload custom designs and track responses from guests. My personal favorites are Greenenvelope and Paperless Post. Of course you can also upload a .jpg in a regular email server and BCC all of your guests too.

digital save the date v2-01.jpg

Printed Formats Available


This is a popular option because then clients don’t have to pay extra for envelopes and the postage is slightly less as well.

Galveston Save the Date custom monogram.JPG


I love this choice because then guests can just stick them up on their fridge. I will say - these were much more popular about 5-7 years ago but I still get requests for them like the couple's save the date below.

rachel save the date styled shot-01.jpg

Traditional card

These can range from flat printing to foiled (like the example below) and vary in size although the most popular are typically 4x6 or 5x7.

megan save the date styled shot-01.jpg

Engagement photos a must?

Definitely not! While it is very common right now to see couples engagement photos on their save the date, its not a must have. In fact, there are some gorgeous non-photo save the dates options like the one below.

So, don’t feel pressured to take engagement photos JUST for the save the date!

brian and nora save the date.jpg

When to Send?

There are several schools of thought on this - but traditional etiquette dictates sending the save the date about 6 months prior to the wedding. It can go up to about 8 to 9 months if you are having a destination wedding or if you have a ton of out-of-town guests that will need to make travel arrangements or if your wedding falls on a holiday weekend.

Top 8 Font Pairings for Wedding Invitations

stationery 101, weddingRyann JarrardComment

Just as wedding invitations set the tone for your big day, so do the fonts you select for your wedding invitation suite! There are SO many fonts to choose from - how do you possibly narrow it down? By asking the following questions!

  1. Is your wedding formal? (see font pairing 1 below)
  2. Is your wedding rustic?
  3. Is your wedding traditional? (see font pairing 5 below)
  4. Is your wedding eclectic and unique? (maybe font pairing 6 or 7!)

I hope this got you thinking about how fonts can really change up the feel of an invitation! See below for a sampling of some of my fave font pairings! 

wedding invitation font pairing guide.jpg

Still here?! Awesome! Here are some blog posts that feature a few of these font pairings!

6 ways to preserve handwriting

stationery 101Ryann JarrardComment

I don't know about you, but my grandmother had beautiful handwriting (it was cursive, y'all) and so does my mom. I have very neat handwriting but its not stop-and-stare pretty like theirs is. So I've recently been on a mission to find ways to preserve their handwriting and I came up with the following list! I'd love to hear any other ideas y'all might have - share in the comments! 

Tea Towels

These tea towels would be so fun to use for old recipe cards that have been passed down from generation to generation! I love things that are both functional and meaningful! 

Image courtesy of  Nesting Project

Image courtesy of Nesting Project

Wedding Invitation Plaque

Well, y'all knew I couldn't include a blog post about preserving handwriting without including a unique way to preserve your wedding invitation! I love how personalized these plaques are!

Photo courtesy of  2 chic chicks

Photo courtesy of 2 chic chicks


Now here is something I'd like as a gift at some point - a necklace featuring my kids handwriting. If anyone happens to know my husband - feel free to send the message along! 

Christmas ornament 

In our family, Christmas ornaments are collected on every single trip we go on and its such a special keepsake and makes decorating our tree full of memories every year. So, of course I loved the idea of adding a handwritten ornament to our tree! 

Photo courtesy of  Make Things Lovely

Photo courtesy of Make Things Lovely

DIY serving platter 

This seems like a pretty easy DIY project to either use or display in your home. You can find the full tutorial over on the Reluctant Entertainer's blog! 

Photo courtesy of  Reluctant Entertainer

Photo courtesy of Reluctant Entertainer

Handwritten note

Now, I have saved the most important for last. These are what really spurred this post. Last November, I made a pledge to hand write a note every day to someone I was grateful for. Not only was it special for the recipient to receive but it allowed me a moment every day to reflect on how many people have touched my life. I also make my children write thank you notes because I want to instill in them a sense of gratitude. 

handwritten notes.JPG

Wedding Stationery 101 | Invitation Designer vs. Big Box Sites

stationery 101, weddingRyann JarrardComment

I will be the first to say that planning a wedding is INCREDIBLY overwhelming. There are so many decisions to be made that it can feel never ending. I'm hoping this blog post will help you decide what the right path is when selecting wedding invitations. 

The very first question you need to ask is: what kind of experience is important to you in working with a stationer? Do you want the personalized experience of working with an independent designer or a less personalized experience with a big-box store? There are advantages of each option.

wedding invitation books paper source.jpg

The Pros: Big Box

If having a custom wedding invitation that is designed especially for you isn't a high priority, you might consider a big-box store or site. One of the main advantages of choosing a bigger company is that you’ll be able to see your invitation the exact way it will be printed and sometimes the cost is less to have foiling because the store uses the same die (the plate that is used for foiling and letterpress) over and over again and so they will not have to charge you for a custom die.

The Cons: Big Box

However, there might be fewer options to customize your design, such as changing the colors and switching out fonts. For example, with companies like Minted, you can pick from a ton of design options, and it’s cheaper, but you may have to format the invitation yourself. The other potential downside is the lack of one-on-one personal attention like providing a sample of your invitation to your photographer to be sure its photographed on your wedding day. 

houston invitation designer.jpg

The Pros: Independent Stationer

With an independent stationer, you’re going to get much more of a personalized experience.

  • You’ll have consistent contact with one person throughout the whole process to address any questions or concerns that arise. 
  • You can feel the paper and explore the different print options.
  • The stationer will also work through what to order and when, design your wedding stationery, work with you on design edits and handle the printing of everything.
  • This kind of individualized experience creates a personal connection with how your wedding suite is going to be made.

Also, with a small company, you’ll have more options for customization, but—and here’s the potential downside—it may come with a slightly bigger price tag. That said, you might want an independent stationer even if you’re not creating a custom design just because you really want that personal experience in which you interact with a person and help a small business grow!

wedding invitations_big box vs. designer_pinterest.jpg

Stick around and check out some of my recent custom work below!

Wedding Stationery 101 | Foil stamping wedding invitations

stationery 101, weddingRyann JarrardComment

I thought y'all might be interested in what goes on behind the scenes of one of the fine print methods used for wedding invitations that's so popular right now, foiling. I currently offer a wide range of foil options: gold, silver, champagne, white, rose gold and holographic. 

Incorporating foil really takes invitations to the next level as it sets the tone for a luxe, intentional event. Foil is a great option if you'd like to use a dark paper, like navy or black, because the foil is completely opaque and no actual ink is used. Foiling provides a metallic shine that letterpress and engraving really can't deliver. 

I used champagne foil to complement the gorgeous lettering on this wedding invitation. 

I used champagne foil to complement the gorgeous lettering on this wedding invitation. 

I used holographic foil on this fun 30th birthday invitation.

I used holographic foil on this fun 30th birthday invitation.

Due to how labor intensive and custom this process is, foiling can get expensive. A custom die has to be made for every project I design - unlike the big box stores who can reuse a die over and over again because it doesn't have anything personal to the couple on it, like their names. Often, foiling is used in combination with flat printing which adds an extra step into the process. 

The custom crest, names and thistle were all foiled in this stunning suite. Photo by  Lindsey Larue Photography

The custom crest, names and thistle were all foiled in this stunning suite. Photo by Lindsey Larue Photography

My go-to foil stamper, Neal McEwan with McGraphics, shared this about the process of foil stamping. 

The basic concept behind foil stamping is simple. The process is achieved when a die is mounted on a plate and heated. Foil is then placed between the die and the material to be imprinted. When the die presses against the foil, the heat releases the coloring layer from the foil roll and binds it to the end product.

This video was created by Invitations by Ajalon. 

I'd love to visit with you about foiling your next big invitation! 

Wedding Stationery 101 | A guide to invitation wording

stationery 101, weddingRyann Jarrard6 Comments

One of my favorite things about being a wedding invitation designer is how creative I get to be in all facets of the design. From choosing the right color palette, to the right font, to the right number of pieces for your suite, to the print method used. We get to create something that is inexplicably “you" and that is one of the major differences between working with a designer versus ordering from a big box store.

Something that my clients don’t always realize is that the actual words on the invitation can and should be customized as well. There are so many options available, and the wording can really set the tone for your wedding day so guests have an idea of what to expect when they arrive.

There are some basics that you will want to include no matter what: the location of the ceremony, the date and time of ceremony, and where the reception will be. But there are so many different ways to introduce these details.

A few questions to consider:

  • Who is hosting? One set of parents or both? Or maybe it’s you, the couple.
  • Do you want to use your full names, including your middle names or just keep it simple?
  • Is the location difficult to get to? Do you want to use an enclosure card to share a map and directions?
  • Do you have a wedding web site? A good place to include this is also on the enclosure card. 
  • Are there any special details or instructions guests should know about your venue or the wedding itself? For example, is it an adults only event? We can totally work that in too!

Traditional invitations typically stick closely to the rules of etiquette. In this situation, the bride's parents may host and we would use language like "Mr. and Mrs. Edward Hunt request your presence at the marriage of ..." This type of invitation typically has the date and time spelled out rather than using numerals and the language is a bit more formal. These are perfect for your wedding if you're hoping for something elegant and classic.

I've also created invitations for more laid-back affairs, where the bride and groom just invited their guests however felt right to them. Maybe, "Together with their families" or "Please join Krista and Sam as they begin a joyous new chapter in their lives". Sometimes this is an easier way to write an invitation because it can be straight from your voice as a couple.

We can make something as formal as a dinner at the White House or as casual as a picnic in your backyard. There is no right or wrong way to do word your wedding invitation and I'm here to help along the way! 

Wedding Stationery 101 | Envelope Sizing

wedding, stationery 101Ryann JarrardComment

This is the second installment of Wedding Stationery 101 - the first was about the various invitation print methods.

This is the second installment of Wedding Stationery 101 - the first was about the various invitation print methods. Before I started designing wedding stationery, the only envelopes I knew anything about were the ones with a "privacy liner" that my mom used to mail bills. Fast forward a few years and now I am well versed in all things envelopes - which is what I'm going to talk about today!

Lettering by my colleague and friend, Jenny of  A Fine Flourish

Lettering by my colleague and friend, Jenny of A Fine Flourish

These are the main sizes of envelopes used in wedding stationery:

  • 4Bar - there are two options for response card envelopes, this is the smaller option that fits a 3.5x5 card
  • A2 - this is the other response card envelope, slightly bigger that fits 4.25x5.5 
  • A6 - this is the envelope I use for thank you notes, it fits a 4.5x6.25 card
  • A7 - fits a standard 5x7 invitation and is typically used for outer envelope
  • A9 - fits an oversized invitation or a folded piece of 8.5x11 paper
  • Square - the most common size is 6x6 and it requires extra postage

There are also two main types of envelopes flap, pictured below.

Square flap

Square flap

Square flap

Pointed flap 

Pointed flap 

European (pointed) flap

One envelope tradition that has seemed to become less and less common is the use of an outer AND inner envelope for even a formal invitation. Frankly, I'm totally fine with it as I think it was a little excessive. I'd much rather spend the money on beautiful calligraphy for the addressing! 

A guide to invitation printing

business, stationery 101, weddingRyann Jarrard1 Comment

A question I get asked a lot is what is the difference  between the various printing methods I use for invitation design. I thought I would take a minute and break it down for those of you who are curious! See below for the different methods with a quick description and photo of each. 

invitation print methods.jpg

FLAT PRINTING - this is sometimes referred to as "digital" printing as well. The name sort of gives away exactly what this is - flat! Typically this is what birthday and shower invitations are printed with. It is the least expensive of all the print methods and can still be VERY pretty and impactful with the right design {ahem, that would be my job}. 

This is a great example of flat printing on white card stock. There isn't any white ink used - it is simply the background from the paper. 

This is a great example of flat printing on white card stock. There isn't any white ink used - it is simply the background from the paper. 

THERMOGRAPHY PRINTING - this is "raised ink" printing and is sometimes called engraving. This is the beginning of the fine print methods I will explain, therefore the price goes up because it is a process to get such beautiful, expensive ink onto the page. A bonus of thermography printing is the ability to use white ink on a dark paper (black, navy, etc) - it truly is stunning.

Thermography is hard to really portray in a photograph but you can kind of see the think raised ink in this photo.

Thermography is hard to really portray in a photograph but you can kind of see the think raised ink in this photo.

FOIL PRINTING - this print method has become very popular is recent years and provides that extra wow factor when clients want to use a real metallic color in their design. Dies are required for this print method which not only adds to the price but also the turn around time. Just something to keep in mind. 

This one still takes my breath away!

This one still takes my breath away!

LETTERPRESS PRINTING - I consider this the most luxe of all the print methods. Letterpress is just so beautiful. It is imprinted into the paper so you can feel all of the design and because of this, the paper used is super thick. Letterpress is priced on the amount of colors used and also requires that a custom die is made. 

Obviously these are my business cards, which I get repeated compliments on. They were a splurge but so worth it. There is what is called blind embossing on the front underneath my logo to make that geometric pattern.

Obviously these are my business cards, which I get repeated compliments on. They were a splurge but so worth it. There is what is called blind embossing on the front underneath my logo to make that geometric pattern.

I'd love to hear from you about what YOUR favorite print method is and why! And if you have any questions about invitation printing, leave them below and I'm happy to answer!