Golden Hour Paper Calligraphy and Custom Wedding Invitation Design

fine art design for the modern sophisticated bride

Jewel-toned wedding inspiration

Madeline KellyComment

Okay, confession, I am growing more and more in love with jewel-colored tones being used in weddings. Some people also call these berry tones. Those deep colors, ranging from reds to purples just pop so well against a wedding dress and I feel like it is an elegant but still unique color scheme for a wedding.

When recently designing custom wedding invitations for an Oregon bride, she opened up my world to these colors and I love where her suite ended up. We combined a custom illustration of her venue with a vellum wrap that featured vintage peony illustrations. The wedding invitation design also included a beautiful wax seal, deep mauve envelopes, gold calligraphy addressing, and vintage postage. **insert heart eyes here**

Okay, I won't keep you imagining them, here are some photos of that suite:

 Such an elegant combination of colors and postage, don't you agree?!

Such an elegant combination of colors and postage, don't you agree?!

 vellum wraps with printed vintage peonies 

vellum wraps with printed vintage peonies 


I am especially in love with deep mauve colors, especially when combined with tones of cream and gold in the wedding design.

Like this shoot from Magnolia Rouge:

jewel-toned wedding inspiration.jpg

Jewel-tones can be used in so many different ways in wedding design and aesthetic and I would love to hear how you've seen them most cleverly used in wedding design!


Send me a message if you are interested in having wedding invitations designed to set the tone for your wedding!

Vintage Postage: How to source, use and mail your wedding invitations using vintage postage!

Madeline KellyComment

Hi everyone and welcome back to the blog! It's a busy season over here getting custom wedding invitations designed, envelopes addressed with calligraphy, and adorned with vintage postage - which is our topic today.

Vintage postage seems to be a growing trend in the wedding industry, as well as for all mailings - I've seen vintage stamps adorning baby shower invitations, Christmas cards, and even simple letters. They really make the envelope stand out and with so many options to choose from, it can be a fun way to pull the theme of your wedding invitations to the outside of the envelope.

I receive a lot of questions about vintage postage & today I wanted to answer a few! If I miss any please feel free to ask in the comments below or to shoot a message to me at - I would love to hear from you!


Can vintage postage be used to send wedding invitations?

Absolutely! But that postage has to be unhinged - which means it has never been canceled by the post office before. When postage is canceled it has either been run through a machine or hand-canceled. There will be a marking/stamp/date on the front of the stamp. That tells the post office that it's been used before and therefore no longer has value for sending letters.

When you are looking for vintage postage to use to adorn your wedding invitations, search unhinged vintage postage or MNH vintage postage (mnh means "Mint - Never Hinged" which is a term for stamp collectors). 


How many vintage stamps do I need to be able to send my wedding invitations?

You need as much postage as you would of regular postage! USPS changes rates every so often but the cost of sending mail is currently .50c for letters under 1 ounce, .71c for letters between 1-2 ounces, and .21c for each additional ounce. Larger sizes or special shaped envelopes are also subject to an additional charge.

You need to come up with a collection of vintage stamps that adds up to the current postage rate for the weight your letter is. I tend to look for a higher value vintage postage stamp (between .20-.35c) and then add from there.

Some of the vintage postage sets I've put together for my couple's have had 3 stamps and some have had 6! It's possible to have even more but you do want to make sure to have space on your envelope once they're all adhered ;) 

Vintage postage for wedding invitations


How do I adhere vintage postage to my envelopes?

First, I highly recommend playing around with your stamps to see different layouts until you come to a final decision. Then, address your envelopes (before adhering the stamps!), remembering where the stamps will be placed according to the layout you decide on. 

I always tell people to save adhering the vintage postage to envelopes until the envelopes have been addressed so that if there are any mistakes in the address, the envelope can be thrown out but you won't lose any stamps along with it!

A couple tools I recommend for adhering vintage postage are either an envelope moistener, like this one, or a glue stick. Vintage stamps were not all self-adhesive and were licked to get them ready for adhering - but we must remember that this glue is just as old as the stamps! And who knows where they've been!! 

One last tip is to be dedicated to where you place the stamp. I've tried to shift vintage postage before after placing a corner/edge down on an envelope addressed in calligraphy, and the glue can leave a sort of stain/mark on the envelope. 

Vintage stamps for wedding invitations

How can I ensure my envelopes are treated with care at the post office?

First, make sure you have the correct amount of postage for your wedding invitations - if they end up weighing more than you have postage for, you may have to return home and find a solution. I highly recommend you take a fully assembled wedding invitation suite into your local post office to have weighed (all invitation pieces, envelopes, ribbon, wax seals - whatever you are going to be mailing!). This will help you know how much postage to have.

Second, when you are all ready to ship them out, I recommend calling your local post office and asking if they will hand-cancel envelopes. Some will not because they are very busy, but others will or will hand their canceling stamp over to you to cancel the postage.

This means they/you take a stamp with the date and make sure each stamp has a marking on it (even if it's just a corner!). This cancels the vintage postage and gives your envelope more of a chance to not be run through the machines at the post office that tend to mark up envelopes more than simple hand-canceling. 


Whew! I feel like that was a lot! If you have any other questions, please drop them in the comments section below. If you are curious or want to find out more about my design and calligraphy services, please send me a message on my contact page, I would LOVE to hear from you! 

Curious about the other stamp options? Check out my blog post about the 3 different kinds of postage to decide what's best for you.


Want to inquire about my services? Click below and maybe one day we will work together to find the perfect vintage postage pairing for your wedding invitations!


All my best,

Maddy Kelly

Custom wedding invitation design Portland
vintage postage for wedding invitations
vintage postage 101
vintage postage for wedding invitations





Wedding invitation inspiration for a summer wedding

Madeline KellyComment

Summer wedding invitations

Engagement season is upon us and I have seen so many people getting engaged on Facebook! It's been so fun to see so many love stories blossom and it's making me so excited for the summer (AKA wedding season).

Wedding invitations I have custom-designed in the past for summer weddings have featured lovely watercolor illustrations, florals, and more color than most other seasons! People tend to get married outdoors more during the summer and featuring that in custom wedding invitations can tend to include the setting in which they are getting married, such as the beach, gardens, or courtyards.

Custom wedding invitations Portland


Custom illustration for summer wedding invitations

A great way to make your wedding invitations for your summer wedding pop is to include a custom illustration! I've illustrated venue architecture, maps of the surrounding area, florals that will be a part of the wedding day, and crests to be featured throughout your wedding paper.


floral wedding invitation


One unique custom invitation suite I designed for a summer wedding chose to have me curate vintage postage for them. Our final design included vintage florals, trees, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Why those stamps? Well, the couple was wed in the California hills, their colors were blues and greens, and they wanted to get their family and friends ready for a fun, colorful, outdoor party! If you are curious about vintage postage and if it would be a good option for you, I recommend heading here to read about the differences between all the kinds of postage available!

vintage postage for wedding invitations

Having a wedding in the fall? Here's a blog post on fall wedding inspiration and color scheme ideas. Or check out this page to view a shoot that took place in late October I designed invitations and day-of paper for! 


I would love to hear from you if you are getting married this summer! You can inquire about my services here! I would love to hear from you and see how we can make your dream custom wedding invitations a reality!


All my best,
Maddy Kelly

calligraphy and design portland




Fall color wedding shoot at Perkasie Covered Bridge

CalligraphyMadeline KellyComment

Calligraphy and design for a fall wedding shoot in Bucks County, Pennsylvania

This was my first styled shoot! It is so fun to look back and see how encouraged I was by this group of vendors & also to see how much my style has changed and grown over the past year!

Wedding calligraphy
Fall wedding inspiration
Handmade paper wedding invitations
Burgundy wedding table design
Watercolor Calligraphy wedding place cards
Handmade paper calligraphy
Calligraphy signage
Wedding cake
Portland wedding calligraphy
Portland Fall wedding

Event design and coordination: Hannah Bee Events

Calligraphy and design: Golden Hour Paper

Wedding beauty services: ReelStyle Bridal

Photography: Mily Photography

Floral and event design: Bloom flower co.

Sweets: Papa's Cupcakes

Stylist: Elizabeth Jones Personal Styling

Decor and Furniture: Heartwood Works

Fall Wedding Inspiration and Colors

Wedding PlanningMadeline KellyComment

Planning a Fall Wedding

As I write this post rain is falling outside for the first time in the Portland area for over a month! And it's 75 degrees out, a nice break from the heat (and smoke we've been having because of all the terrible fires). I am ready for Fall weddings and can't wait to share with you my favorite fall wedding trends and what to expect for Fall weddings in 2017.

Every Fall I find myself wishing summer could be just a little bit longer - but then I'm reminded of the wonderful routine the Fall always seems to bring, the immense combinations of sweaters and scarves to soon be created, and being one step closer to Christmas.


Fall Wedding Theme and Colors

Fall weddings also seem a little cozier to me. Of course, less chance of sunburn, layering jackets on the way to the wedding, and overall warmer color schemes. You don't have to get rid of color completely, I've seen some GORGEOUS Fall Weddings with blues, deep reds, and greens - just be ready to own it!

Some people can swing toward the total, all-out Fall theme - pumpkins, leaves, hay bales and all. That is one route you can go but I also want to give another perspective - that a fall wedding can be truly elegant and beautiful.

Below see a beautiful Fall bouquet from Bloom Flower Co. 

Fall wedding calligraphy

Marsala is a super popular color right now. These calligraphed vows were done on handmade marsala colored paper, perfect for a Fall wedding.

first anniversary gift calligraphy


Invitations for Fall Wedding

One of my favorite fall wedding invitation designs is below. Every wedding invitation created here at Golden Hour Paper can have a custom color ink (below the invitation was printed in the color Camel). Choosing a warm, Fall color for your wedding invitations can really help your guests get in the mood for Fall.

Have you already decided on a color scheme for your wedding? If so, picture it in any of our designs, reach out to me at and I would LOVE to send you a sample.

Fall wedding invitations

Vintage postage for fall weddings can also be a ton of fun to curate! Paired with the wedding invitation above you can see warm colors playing in with the colors of the invitation but also a few pops of color (hot pink and orange!) that could be pulled into your overall wedding color scheme. 

For vintage postage for wedding invitations in the Fall I recommend trees (which scream Fall wedding) to warm tones on the stamps...

Envelope addressing in calligraphy can take your wedding invitations one step further! One of my favorite colors to address Fall wedding invitations with is Walnut ink. It has a beautiful flow to it that changes the lettering from shades of lighter to darker browns.  The photos below show envelopes addressed in walnut ink with the second photo showing a little more detail!

portland calligraphy
Portland calligraphy

Fall Weddings in Portland

All in all, weddings in the Fall are usually some of my favorites! You're typically not sweltering under the sun, can enjoy both warm and cold drinks, and they are always so creative!

Here in Portland it is cooling down nicely and I am so excited to create some beautiful wedding invitations, calligraphy envelope addressing, and vintage postage for all my Fall brides!



Maddy Kelly

How to word your wedding invitations | Invitation Wording and Etiquette

Wedding PlanningMadeline KellyComment

Figuring out the wording for your wedding invitations can feel like a puzzle at times. Whose name goes where? Are guests going to know where to go? I've created the following list to help simplify the invitation wording process!

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide on the final wording and I recommend talking to your invitation designer for their advice as well. If you'd like to read more about how we can help with your wedding invitations, click here.


Here are my tips for how to word wedding invitations:

1. Who is hosting the wedding? (i.e. paying for the event) This is how you determine how to word the beginning of the wedding invitation

  • Invitation wording if bride's parents are hosting:

Mr. and Mrs. Travis Smith

  • Invitation wording if both sets of parents are hosting: 

Mr. and Mrs. Travis Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Steve Anderson

  • Invitation wording if the couple is hosting:

Linnea Anne Smith and Jordan Steve Anderson

  • Invitation wording if the couple and their parents are hosting:

Together with their Parents Linnea Anne Smith and Jordan Steve Anderson

  • Invitation wording if the host is widowed:

    • If the parent is not remarried: 
      • Mrs. Deana Smith and the late Mr. Travis Smith
    • If the parent is remarried:
      • Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Jones (new wedded name)
      • You can mention your father or mother after you and your fiance's names are written on the wedding invitation like this: "daughter of the late Mr. Travis Smith/Mrs. Deana Smith")


  • Invitation wording if parents are divorced:

    • Put names on separate lines. An "and" between names signifies that they are married
    • Usually, parents are only listed on wedding invitations but you can include step-parents if you want to honor them in that way or have a close relationship with them
    • The mother is always listed first, even if remarried. Use Ms. if single, Mrs. if remarried
    • The following are examples, case by case:


  • Divorced with neither parent remarried, invitation wording:

Ms. Deana Smith

Mr. Travis Smith

  • Divorced, remarried invitation wording, not including step-parents:

Mrs. Jacob Jones (Mother, new married name)

Mr. Travis Smith (Father)

*make sure to include the bride's last name in invitation

  • Divorced, remarried invitation wording, including step-parents:

Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Jones (Mother and Step-Father)

Mr. and Mrs. Travis Smith (Father and Step-Mother)

*make sure to include the bride's last name in invitation


 Photo by Niki Rhodes

Photo by Niki Rhodes


2. Where are you getting married? This is how you determine how to word the location portion of the wedding invitation. 

  • In a place of worship

request the honor of your company

  • In any other place

request the pleasure of your company

*the text that follows this line depends on the wording of who is hosting the wedding.

  • If it is the bride's parents:
    • at the marriage of their daughter
  • If it is the couple:
    • at the celebration of their marriage


3. When are you getting married? This is how you determine how to word the date and time portion of the wedding invitation. 

  • The date and time of the wedding are typically written out on wedding invitations. Obviously, if you are having your wedding invitations custom designed, it is up to you to choose how you will ultimately word your wedding invites.
  • Here are some examples of how to write the date and time of your wedding invitation:

Saturday the twenty-seventh of June, two thousand seventeen at three o'clock

Saturday the thirtieth of August, two thousand eighteen at half after two o'clock


Example of How to Word Wedding Invitations


More tips on wedding time wording for your invitations:

  • You do not need to write out "in the afternoon" or "in the evening" unless the wedding is between 9:00 and 11:00.

  • Only capitalize proper nouns, places, and new thoughts, such as "Dinner and dancing to follow" 

  • It is proper to write "half after" rather than "half past" when wording your wedding invitation.


4. Where are you getting married? This is how you determine how to word the location portion of the wedding invitation. 

  • Some choose to include only the city where the wedding is being held (then including the address on an insert card).

Lake Oswego

  • Others include the name of the wedding venue and city

The Foundry

Lake Oswego, Oregon

  • Lastly, some include the name of the wedding venue, street address, and city

The Foundry

320 Oswego Pointe Drive

Lake Oswego, Oregon

More tips on wedding location wording for your invitations:

  • Zip codes are typically not included
  • Always spell out the name of the state in which you are hosting your wedding

5. How to word what guests can expect after the wedding ceremony

  • Capitalize the first word of the phrase and don't use any punctuation
  • Include events for guests to expect and feel free to get a little creative here!
    • Popular:
      • Dinner and dancing to follow
      • Reception immediately following
    • More creative:
      • Merriment to follow
      • Dancing under the stars to follow
      • etc.

Whew! Wedding invitation wording can sure be complicated. I hope this list helps you simply word your wedding invitations.

If you have further questions I would love to hear from you! This is something I work closely with each of my couple's to create wording for their invitations that is perfect for their event and personalities.



Maddy Kelly

Golden Hour Paper



How to Word Wedding Invitations




Moving a small calligraphy business across the country

Running a small businessMadeline Kelly15 Comments

Moving a Business

I am no expert but am here to offer an honest testimony of what it's been like so far to drive 3,800 miles across the country (Philadelphia to Portland) to a new home.

As I am writing this, I am sitting in the cozy dining room of some dear friends after returning from a short sledding trip. It was dry and 60 degrees when we arrived on Sunday night but the sky decided to drop some flakes down through Monday night. My husband is out snowboarding with one of his closest friends and I am responding to emails between battleship games with their youngest son. No complaints here.

Also, my birthday was yesterday (which thankfully we were not driving during!) and my husband gave me a drone! What a hilarious gift...I've wanted one for so long but had never actually thought I would own one. We are working on sharing our roadtrip through various videos and photos, so that has made the trip more fun.

Goodbyes and looking ahead to Portland

Getting ready to leave Philadelphia was hard! Starting this business 6 months ago and making so many friends in the wedding business, along with some who are my biggest cheerleaders and advocates, was sad, to say the least. Going to my last Rising Tide meeting and saying goodbye to the women who encouraged me to get me work out there, be proud of the things I am making, and other practical things like when taxes are due, what it looks like to outsource jobs, and the dreaded topic of pricing...was also sad. I am so grateful for social media and that I will be able to keep up with so many wonderful ladies!

I also began to research what the calligraphy market looks like in Portland. At first, it seemed as though there weren't many calligraphers or wedding invitation designers but then, after a "#portlandcalligraphy" search I realized the market may be oversaturated. Despair is a little dramatic of an adjective to describe how I felt but I have thought from time to time, "How is this going to work when there are so many talented people that are going to be around me?".

Of course, remembering that Portland is a much more artistic city and that freelancing there is uber popular, I reminded myself that the fact that there are such talented calligraphers and artists really shouldn't surprise me. I took a deep breath, shared my worries with my husband and a few close friends, and reminded myself that my work and my creativity is worthy of being shared with the world, even if there are people out there more famous than I. 

Reminding myself of why I named this business Golden Hour Paper was something that also brought comfort as I wonder what it will look like to reestablish my business and make all new connections on the West Coast. The Golden Hour is the last hour of sunlight each day. You've seen those gorgeous pictures of this last hour - long cast shadows, glowing light, and surroundings framed with a gold that is indescribable, changing color by the moment. It's my favorite time of day. My desire is to create calligraphy and paper goods that elicit a similar feeling of warmth, wonder, and delight when received. 

The Golden Hour is always consistent - there is always a final hour of daylight each day - but it can come in many shapes and forms. Whether it be overcast, snowing, or that perfect day with the high-sitting clouds, waiting to dance in the last light of the day. What I hope to be in my business is also consistent, creating and expanding my abilities while knowing that some days are going to be different than others. Moving to Portland might be a short season of days similar to overcast days - when my work might not be as recognizable or there are other things that people are paying attention to. I hope to work hard, be as consistent as the sun, and that one day the work created shines through and that I can share some of this beauty with this fun, new city.

Legal aspects of moving a business across the country

There are also legal things to come...things like changing my business license over to the state of Oregon. Making sure to move all my accounts, like Yelp, Facebook, etc. over to the new address (once we find a place to live! That's a whole other story!).

And SEO...that is probably the biggest monster I have to battle in the coming weeks as I work to change over my website to be recognizable in my new area and to ensure popping up as people search for calligraphers and wedding invitation designers.

Taxes will also be interesting next year as some of my work was done in the state of Pennsylvania before making our trek out to Oregon. I am trying to keep my Quickbooks account as clear as possible as to avoid hitting any snags come next tax season.

Questions and Advice for moving a business

As I said above, I am not by any means an expert but I would love to try and answer any questions you may have (whether you are moving your small business across the country or just starting out!). 

I also welcome any advice you may have for moving a business across the country or any connections you may have in the greater Portland area.

Below is the photo my husband and I used to announce our move to our friends and family on social media - all outfitted with my Newberg Script lettering.




 Photo by Char Beck Shoots

Photo by Char Beck Shoots