Golden Hour Paper Calligraphy and Custom Wedding Invitation Design

fine art design for the modern sophisticated bride

Philadelphia Calligraphy

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

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?

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. 

  • How do you want to bless your friends and family on your big day?

    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!

  • What do you want your wedding theme to be?

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.

  • Can you think of anything you must have/do at your wedding?!

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,


wedding calligraphy portland oregon

How to choose a calligrapher

CalligraphyMadeline KellyComment

Hi there, and thanks for visiting my blog! I have a bit of a sore throat I am fighting off and I am so excited to write this post while sipping tea and resting up! Anyone else out there fighting off a Fall bug? Anywho, let's skip the details of being sick & get on to the good, pretty, and practical stuff that you came here for.

When considering hiring a calligrapher you need to start by asking yourself a few things:

  • How personalized do you want your invitations/wedding to be?

I have seen invitations that are each hand calligraphed ($$$!) - which is doable but very pricey. You can have similar results with a calligrapher that can write out you invitation once & with master computer skills turn it into a file that can easily be printed, or even letterpressed and have a very similar look.

Custom illustration can also be included in your wedding invitations. I have illustrated maps of the event area, buildings in which the wedding was taking place, and even branches of foliage to adorn the invitation. Below is an example of wedding stationery that included watercolor florals pulled from the location of the wedding as well as a watercolor illustration of the famously colored buildings of Positano! This couple had a destination wedding in the gorgeous Positano, Italy and we created customized invitations to get their guests excited for what to expect at the wedding.

There are also endless colors of inks that can be mixed to your invitation desires, vintage postage stamps to adorn the outside of your envelopes, wax seals, gold foil... I could go on and on! All these details can come together to give your invitations a sneak peak into what your big day will be like and your guests will be thrilled to receive such a beautiful letter in the mail (isn't it such a joy when you receive gorgeous mail?!).

On the other hand, some people are fine with going into sites such as or and plugging in their event details, choosing fonts, and clicking order! That is a great option for people who know what they want, like to control the look and details themselves, and like the simplicity of the online ordering these websites offer.

  • I really want custom invitations but my timeline is short…what do I do?

The calligraphers you follow on Instagram (and drool over each and every one of their photos) are likely booked for the next 6 months! 

If you are desiring a calligrapher to design custom save the dates, invitations, escort cards, signage and everything else you can dream of I recommend reaching out to them a couple weeks after you get engaged (enjoy it and don't get stressed at the beginning of your engagement!). They will be excited to walk alongside you during your preparations and work together with you and your vendors to come up with gorgeous paper goods to match your vision and give your guests the first look at what to expect when they receive a beautiful calligraphed save the date!

Calligraphed envelopes typically take 2 weeks for a calligrapher to finish (for 100 envelopes). This turnaround is only if they are available to start your job the day you put your order in so make sure and reach out to them in advance and secure a spot on their calendar.

  • How much do customized wedding invitations cost and what are you willing to splurge on?

Do you value saving on your invitations so that you can spend a little more on your honeymoon or save for your first home? Good for you! That is a great thing to value and if you can't find a calligrapher within your budget, trust me there are ways to work around it! I would encourage you to still reach out to the calligrapher you are interested in hiring and see if the can be flexible on pricing or see if there is a way for them to cut costs. Maybe they can send you a digital file that you can then print at home or they could design something more simple, yet elegant, for your event.

Do you value small business and want to see creatives thrive? So many of us follow people on Instagram or pin their photos to our overpacked Pinterest boards (guilty!) yet never spend a penny on their work. One thing I did growing up was every time I received cash in a card (my grandma never failed to put $20 in my Christmas card each year accompanied by a ceramic animal...) I would turn it around and buy myself a piece of art on Etsy. A great way to not have that Christmas money disappear into your bank account but rather be converted into something you can see and be inspired by every day. Also, a great way to make someone's dream a reality: the creative entrepreneur! 

When it comes to calligraphy and you are shopping at the big name brands - ask yourself, "Would I rather spend $_____ to these big names who I won't get to know personally or would I rather take a little more time and shop around for a small shop where I would spend the same amount? The convenience of a big name invitation company lacks a personal touch, interaction with a designer, and the feeling that you supported a new business!

  • How much do you want to spend on your wedding stationery?

This is a tough subject! For one, it is so hard to know what something will cost you because there are so many variables when it comes to stationery! Most of the time a calligrapher doing hand-made, custom work will be more expensive than simply having someone throw together fonts that look nice together. But this doesn't always have to be the case! 

At times I will cross an invitation design that I know was made purely with fonts and it saddens me that so many people fall into the trap of paying big money for this. There are so many great artists out there and if there is an invitation you love but want to support a small business, send a photo of the work to them and see if they can do anything similar. 

Also, while custom may be more costly remind yourself of the impact of thoughtfulness your event paper will make on your guests. There is no feeling like receiving a beautiful envelope in your mailbox, nothing like the feel of letterpressed, cotton paper, and something they will look at often as they look forward to your special day. 

  • Ask yourself if a semi-custom suite could fit your stationery needs!

Semi-custom wedding invitations can help you save some money but still be personalized in special ways! You can see my semi-custom line here. Since these are pre-designed, there isn’t the custom design fee added to the cost and you are still able to choose the color they are printed in and envelope color!

From there you can add personalized details like envelope addressing, vintage postage, ribbon, etc.

Our  Olive Suite  printed in a warm gray ink

Our Olive Suite printed in a warm gray ink

Here at Golden Hour Paper I desire to serve my clients in all of their wedding/event needs! With custom calligraphy and illustration to match the feel of an event while using the highest quality papers, inks, and tools we promise to make your dreams a reality and make you happy that you chose a calligrapher.

If you have any questions about hiring a calligrapher send me a comment below! I would love to hear from you.