Golden Hour Paper Calligraphy and Custom Wedding Invitation Design

fine art design for the modern sophisticated bride

event calligraphy

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 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.


What to do with rush calligrapher orders...

Madeline Kelly

When you are a brand new business. And it is your first order. Here are 5 things I learned when I received my first order for my business and it was due the next day:


1. First, take the call! Talk with the prospective client, ask them what they are looking for, take notes so that you don't forget anything (!)  and kindly tell them you will send a quote their way. Ask things like "What kind of paper were you envisioning?", "What color ink would you like?",  and "Would you like your guests first and last names or just first?"...these can differ enormously depending on the job you are taking on. You CAN do it!

2. Take a deep breath because there are so many details to figure out, especially when your website isn't fully functioning yet, like mine. Ayo. My site is built with Squarespace which uses Stripe for payments and I didn't have this set up yet and saw this as an opportunity to work out the kinks so that the process would be seamless for my client. This included me going on my site as if I were a customer and seeing what would happen when I went to pay. I realized the sizing of my photo was off, that the state tax wasn't included (fixed that!), and what exactly Squarespace would have my client do. All good things to know.

3. The difficulties of pricing...I am friends with my first client and that made pricing especially difficult. You can't cut yourself, the value of your time, and your skill set short. Calculate the cost of materials, look at the market average for the goods you are curating for them, and come up with a number for your baseline. I thought about adding a percentage because of the rush factor but decided not to as this was my first job and I'd love for them to order again. 

4. Think about ways that you can go above and beyond your client's expectations. Go through the place cards you create and see if any could be better centered, more cleanly calligraphed, or improved in any other way. Remember to package the goods so that they are delightful to receive and organized for ease of your client's use. I also threw in a 10% coupon for their next order!

5. Know where to source materials. With this being a rush job I did what was easiest, quickest, and cheapest: I went to Staples. The paper ended up being moderately difficult to write on and I had to tear (they were perforated) and fold each card. Oh, and my nibs were all used and not in very good shape. Hey, I still finished the job! Now I am on the lookout for place cards I can easily order and trust the quality, am ordering lots of nibs so that I never run out, and hope to be better prepared for my next rush order.


Lastly, take good photos of your work! I so often forget this and then my work is long gone and I don't have anything to show for it!

Have you had a client yet? Who were they and do you have a story to share? How do you prepare for the inevitable rush jobs that come in?


Warmly, Maddy