Golden Hour Paper Calligraphy and Custom Wedding Invitation Design

fine art design for the modern sophisticated bride

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 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





Ask the Designer: Understanding Invitation Printing Options

Madeline Kelly20 Comments

 Want to skip the bulk of this post and get right to our free download of a pros and cons list for printing techniques? Click here!

Alright, so you are at the point in your wedding planning where you are starting to think about the paper goods... the list can seem to go on and on:

  • Save the dates
  • Invitations
  • RSVP cards
  • Detail cards
  • Map cards
  • Rehearsal dinner invitations
  • Envelopes
  • Escort cards
  • Place cards
  • Menus
  • Programs....

Do you see what I am saying?! It can be a little exhausting! But that is why there are calligraphers like me who work with brides to help them catch a vision for their wedding day and make it a reality.

Now take in the thought of all these things that you could need for your wedding day and add in all of the different ways you can have them printed! In the following sections, I am going to break down what the different printing processes are, how they are done, and give examples of what that printing could look like for your wedding stationery!

The processes are listed from most expensive printing technique to least expensive printing technique.


  • What is foil-stamped printing?

This type of printing leads to a gorgeous, metallic shine on everything it touches! Your wedding invitation designer will take your invitation design and have it etched into a copper plate which is run over foil (which is typically gold, silver, copper, or rose gold but can really be any color you dream up!) and heated. Then the plate is pressed onto your invitation paper and viola! Shiny, gorgeous wedding invitations.  This is the most expensive way to have your invitations printed but one way to cut down on cost is to have a small portion of your invitation foil printed (such as just having your names printed in foil) rather than the entire suite.

  • What is letterpress printing?

This printing technique was invented in the mid-15th century and naturally adds a classic, elegant feel to wedding invitations, especially when printing on thick, cotton paper. This is my personal favorite type of printing and I hope to own a letterpress machine someday (but that is out of the question now as they typically weigh over a ton))  Anyway, besides it being my favorite type of printing it is important to note that if you have your invitations letter-pressed you are limited in the area of color. You can add as many colors you want but as you add colors the price will go up because this require more plates to be added.

An example of letterpress printing on Silk and Willow handmade paper from a custom project - inquire here for pricing on custom invitations.

An example of letterpress printing on Silk and Willow handmade paper from a custom project - inquire here for pricing on custom invitations.

  • What is screen-printing?

For this technique your wedding invitation design is burned into a screen that is then placed over paper and ink is squeezed through the burned openings in the screen (I often tell people to picture a screen that you have in your homes window and then picture the openings being smaller and only having openings where your invitation design can then only come through those openings to be printed!) I hope that makes sense... This technique is also limited by color and a new screen is required for each color. What I love about this printing technique is that the color is extremely rich and vibrant. The samples for my semi-custom suite, Olive, are screenprinted! Also, screen-printing can be a great way to have your stationery designer address your RSVP envelopes. It is also great if you are would like your invitations to be on a dark paper (such as navy or black) as printing in white is an option.

An example of screen-printed wedding invitations from our semi-custom collection

An example of screen-printed wedding invitations from our semi-custom collection

  • What is digital printing?

This technique is more common and familiar. Digital printing is similar to what you do at home or in the office when you send something to the printer. A mix of inks from your printer come together and are printed onto paper. At Golden Hour Paper we send you invitation design files to our trusted printers who use high capacity printers, thicker stock of paper, and produce the best in quality with color matching. This is the most budget-friendly form of printing and doesn't have any limitations color-wise (although digitally printing white ink can be spendy!). 

Vintage Floral Wedding invitation


  • How can I combine printing techniques for wedding invitations?

Using the techniques listed above together can really set your invitations apart in your guests mailbox. Foil-stamping your names in gold while digitally printing the remaining details and design can save you some $ and when you choose a color that complements the gold it can make your invitations even more gorgeous than just foil printing could! Really, anything is possible when it comes to combining printing techniques. if you have further questions please comment below or reach out for a custom quote here!


Ready for a free download of all this content in a Pros and Cons list?

Click here to receive the free download!


All the Best,

Maddy Kelly


February wallpaper giveaway!

Madeline KellyComment

Wow,  January flew by! Now we enter into the shortest month of the year and soon it will be spring *happy dance*. Have you ever seen the Parks and Rec episode where April makes all of Ron's appointments on March 31st because she is under the impression that March doesn't have 31 days? Sometimes I picture putting things off until February 29th and then having 4 years of work to do on that day once a leap year comes!

Anyway, in preparation for the month of February and the upcoming Valentine's day holiday, I've created some iPhone lock screen backgrounds that you can download for free below!

Click on the image of the background you would like to download below & that image will lead you to the download page!

There are a couple different options for the continuous "love" background - one with red tones and one with purple tones!

I really love hearing from my visitors and those of you who use the wallpapers so please leave a comment! If you have suggestions for future wallpapers, please share! Sometimes coming up with an idea is the hardest part ;) 

Also, if you are recently engaged and would like to read my tips on wedding planning visit this past blog post or if you'd like to hear how Golden Hour Paper can help make your wedding invitation and design a dream click here to inquire!




4 vital questions to ask yourself when planning a wedding

Wedding PlanningMadeline KellyComment

So, hopefully, by now you have made the big announcement of your engagement, have started to dream up the details of your day, and are more in love with your fiance than ever before! If you are newly engaged you can visit my previous post on what to do RIGHT after you get engaged here! 

In this post, I am going to ask some practical questions that will help you focus in on what your wedding day will look like and how you can make that dream a reality! I recommend you take out a piece of paper and write down your answers to these specific questions. Share them with your fiance! They might not even be aware of all the things buzzing around in your mind and writing them down makes them more concrete. Let's get started!

  1. What is your budget? 
  2. How do you want to bless your friends and family on your big day? 
  3. What do you want your wedding theme to be? 
  4. Can you think of anything you must have/do at your wedding?! 

To start with the beloved topic of budget...Be honest here. This will have one of the biggest effects on your day because weddings can be expensive. If you're in a place where you are investing in your future, paying off student loans, or you are hoping to save up for a home then you might not want to spend as much on your wedding day. In that case, you need to be asking for help from your friends and family early on and often! If you have a bigger budget you still have to decide how you want to use that money! For all brides, it is good to write down a number to divvy it up into all your estimated expenses.

  • One tool I used when planning my wedding was WeddingWire's Budget Tool which you can visit here (you have to have a Wedding Wire account to view this page, they are free and this tool alone is worth the time to sign up!). They take your estimated budget and divide it into categories based on the average percentage of budget that goes to certain aspects of a wedding! As an added bonus, as you move things around, it will ask and update your budget to go to another area. 

After you've come up with this number you can think more clearly about the latter 3 questions I've asked. The question of how you want to bless your friends and family...since you are planning one of the biggest parties of your life and all your closest friends and family are going to be there! It is SUPER SPECIAL. And they are there to celebrate you and your fiance! From the simple things of making sure they are comfortable during the ceremony (is it going to be above 75 degrees? Set out bottled water! is their heavy rain in the forecast? find umbrellas or ponchos to make your outdoor ceremony a little more bearable!) to going all out having welcome baskets for guests that have travelled from afar at their hotel room. 

Knowing your budget will allow you to set realistic and creative ways to get your guests excited for your day and feel cared for with the thoughtful aspects of your wedding. Having a bottle of wine with local chocolates, coffee gift card, and letterpressed greeting card may not be in the budget! But if it is this could be a wonderful way to thank your guests for traveling to be a part of your wedding day. One business I just love is The Cotton Candy Confectionery. They offer homemade gourmet cotton candy that will blow your guests away (they carry classic flavors & 32 fun ones like coffee, buttered rum, mango...) You could include some of their cotton candy in your welcome bag (it's super affordable and fun!) or have it as your party favor at the wedding. The options are endless and you can be creative with how to make your wedding special for your closest friends and family!

Now, to my third question... do you picture your wedding theme being classic, rustic, or chic? Are there any color schemes that you love? I am going to write a whole post just on coming up with a theme/color scheme for your wedding. Pinterest can be overloaded and after all, you don't want to copy another bride but want your day to be unique and represent you and your fiance! To sign up and keep in the loop with future posts go here. 

Thinking about your overall scheme will help you as you make all those tiny decisions you never thought would cross your mind! "What shade of grey do I want my tablecloths to be?! And why are there 18 different shades of grey!" was one of my ridiculous questions. From tablecloths to your bridesmaids nail polish to your wedding programs... it will be really helpful to come up with a vision and base idea for your wedding day.

Lastly, the MUST HAVES! Is there anything you've dreamt of since you were a little girl? Or an inspiring photo you've seen that you want to make sure is incorporated into your day? These are super important & good to let your fiance know early in your planning process. I didn't share with my husband how important it was for me to have a videographer & that led to me getting really upset one night (2 weeks before the wedding!!!) and explaining how sad I was to not have one. We ended up scrambling and got an amazing videographer but it was stressful. Share early and often about these things!

Golden Hour Paper would love to be a part of your special day. Our wedding invitations and design can be custom-made to represent your day beautifully! From Save the Date design to Thank You cards, favor tags, escort cards - we do it all and can mix custom inks to match your day-of decor. Feel free to fill out our inquiry form here or to shoot me a message at:

Overall, just remember that you are going to be married at the end of all this planning. Some days are going to be stressful. Some days there will be way too many questions coming at you. But every day there is an opportunity to be reminded of your love for your fiance and the fact that you get to make vows before your closest friends and family on your wedding day! If you have any questions or would like to hear about other hilarious things that happened to me while I was planning my wedding please comment below!


All the best,