The Tenth of May: Michelle + Kevin’s Vintage Movie Poster Inspired Wedding Invitation

Wedding season is nigh, so I’ve had a few wedding, save-the-date, and bridal shower designs on my plate in the last fews months. My sister Michelle and her fiancé Kevin are only about two months away from their Brooklyn nuptials and as all invites have been signed, sealed and delivered by yours truly already, I figure I can safely share them here now.

Kevin is a film-maker (his most recent short film, Every Word Handwritten made in collaboration with the Gaslight Anthem, recently premiered in NYC and on RollingStone.com) and Michelle and he share a love of all things old-timey, so we went with a vintage movie poster inspired design, with a reference to the food trucks that will be serving dinner at their reception (which does include a waffle truck. Mmmmm.)

I made a Pinterest board for movie poster inspiration. Casablanca was the strongest influence on the final layout and the image of Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine on a poster for The Apartment very clearly served as a point of reference for a small portrait of Michelle and Kevin at the center of the invitation and on the RSVP card. The NYC photograph with the Chrysler Building at the center was used with kind permission from Tom Fletcher. The couples portraits of Michelle and Kevin were all culled straight from Facebook and my own iPhoto gallery. Initially, I was just looking for photo references to draw from, but when I realized just how many shots they’ve taken with their heads pressed together since the beginning of their courtship four years ago, I thought it might be sweet to make a collage.

The Tenth of May: Wedding Invitations for Kevin + Michelle by She Can Lift a Horse

Below are sketches I sent them. Option D will see some action when it’s reformatted as a menu for their reception.

The Tenth of May: sketches for Michelle + Kevin's wedding invitations by She Can Lift a Horse

The silhouette, hearts, and text on the back and front of the invitation were printed with spot gloss over a matte finish to give them a bit of sheen, which isn’t super common for wedding invitations, but fits nicely with the movie poster theme.

The Tenth of May: Kevin + Michelle's wedding invitations by She Can Lift a Horse

In just ten days the wedding festivities kick off here in Michigan, with a bachelorette party and shower for Michelle and I will get to give my sister a hug for the first time since I last saw her at my own wedding, almost a year and a half ago. Eeeeee!

Rock N’ Roll Bride

Almost exactly eight months ago Ben & I were married! Today our October wedding is featured on one of my favorite wedding blogs, Rock N’ Roll Bride. The site is such a great source for unique and fun wedding inspiration, so it’s definitely exciting to be amongst such stellar company. Click here to read the feature, which includes lots of photos by This is a Love (and with pinning buttons built right into the layout — how clever of you, RNRB!)

Thanks to Lizz Kuehl for submitting and Rock N’ Roll Bride for the feature. I’m just pleased as punch over here!

Our Wedding Invitations

It’s time for part three in the ongoing internet saga that is my wedding documentation! Today I’m sharing some of our printed matter, including our save-the-dates, bridal shower invites, and wedding invitations and response cards. A healthy dose of DIY character was really important to us in planning our wedding, and I knew right away that I’d be taking on all invitation design myself. Initially I had my heart set on letterpress stationary, but in the end, I didn’t want to simplify my four-color palette, nor did I want to pay a small fortune to have that many colors printed by press. So, with the help of a friend and former print shop worker, we had them printed locally in full color on white linen, at a fraction of the price. I was thrilled with the results. They’re crisp and textured with only the slightest bit of sheen, and all of my details, down to the thinnest lines, came out exactly as intended. So, brides, heed these words: letterpress is beautiful, but if you can’t afford it, don’t try to. (pictured: leftover twine from our candy favor bags and some paper flowers, which I made into a bouquet for tossin’)

I liked the old school formality of glassine tissue, even if I didn’t actually need it for protection purposes. Using tracing paper, I cut out two sizes of hearts to insert into the envelopes over the invitations.

The invitations measured 5″x7″. The butterflies are a nod to the insect bell jar centerpieces at our reception, the ghosts were echoed in our cook book favors, pumpkins are not only a fall staple, but one of my favorite things, and reading side-by-side is often how we can be found :)

I made the numbers using fabric, cereal box cardboard, and spray adhesive for our tables (but more on that later). I keep a couple of them propped up around the house, on bookshelves and atop picture frames.

Response cards were 4"x6" postcards. (also pictured: I kept the ribbon from my bridal bouquet. Now it's tied around a vase in our living room)

Lettering digitally was probably the most time consuming design aspect, for me. Achieving a neat and readable yet imperfectly perfect handmade look isn’t quick work for me, especially on a tablet. I actually worked out a new upper and lowercase alpabet in cursive specifically for our response cards, and I’m really glad I put as much thought into as I did because I utilize it in typography elements, and just in addressing my snail mail now, all the time and it’s really satisfying to enjoy your own handwriting the way you do a favorite font.

In retrospect, if I were to change anything, I would have opted for v-shaped envelop flaps (not the lack of proper address, which has only been stamped out). I’m not losin’ sleep over it or anythang though.

I shared a glimpse at our save-the-date postcards way back when, but here they are again along with an example of other ways I used the silhouette to fancy up some of the printed materials at my bridal shower. It was perfect atop print outs of a quiz game we played at my bridal shower, and had it printed on the menus as well. I found a little personalization goes a long way in making an event look special, and all I had to do was e-mail a jpeg to the restaurant owner. The save-the-dates were glossy postcards with rounded corners and measured 5″x7″.

My bridal shower invites were also postcards, 4″x6″ with spot gloss on the front, so that the noodles and fork appeared glossy while the pink background was matte. It was at Ben’s cousin’s Italian restaurant, Pepperoni Grille, in Saint Clair Shores, MI, which, by the way, serves the greatest cheese ravioli IN THE WORLD.


And a few sketches :) And that about covers it! For more of our wedding details check out these posts:

Centerpieces by Alfred & Alma’s Insect Shoppe

Get ready, it’s time for PART II in the NICOLE BLOGS ABOUT HER WEDDING TOO SLOWLY series. Today I’m sharing one of my favorite wedding details: our centerpieces. Before I even knew what season or state I wanted to be married in, I knew one thing: there would be bugs on our tables. And my sister, Michelle Johnston, would be responsible for getting ’em there.

While working as a photographer and assistant in the entomology department of Soho’s destination natural history store, Evolution, Michelle (who also takes beautiful landscape and documentary photographs, founded the Uganda-based non-profit Focus on Change, helps find homes for rescue dogs, AND finds time to be a sweet lil’ baker) was falling oddly and deeply in love with creepy crawlies, namely beetles. In addition to bringing them home as pets, her entomological interest and artistic eye led her into creating insect displays, which she makes by commission and sells at Kanibal Home in Jersey City under the name of Alfred & Alma’s Insect Shoppe. Available in a variety of arrangments (frames, pails, terrariums, etc), her insect displays are perfect for home decor, weddings (clearly), and other special occasions too.

For our wedding, Michelle created 17 original pieces using glass domes of various sizes (everything from about 3″ for side tables, to 14″ for guests tables), which were perfect for 360-viewing on the round dinner tables. Not wanting to put any bug-haters off their meal, we mostly stuck to butterflies, with a few beetles (who could hate a rhino beetle? and scarabs are like little jewels) on select tables. The greater the variety of species and colors, the greater the interest was the way my husband Ben & I saw it, so we told Michelle not to limit herself to a specific color palate. Giving her that freedom really paid off. We loved the fall-inspired (our wedding was in October, after all) monochromatic and dried leaf dome she made just as much as the colorful mossy domes with purple flora. After the wedding, they made great gifts for our families and wedding party. And of course, Ben & I didn’t mind keeping our favorites for ourselves. Now they’re beautiful and interesting art pieces in our home as well as happy reminders of our wedding day.

I’m aching to see how our wedding photographer, Lizz Kuehl of This is a Love, captured all of our day-of decor and details, but for now, here are some images of our wedding domes sitting solo, as well as a few of Michelle’s commissioned works.

All photos by Michelle Johnston. An Alfred & Alma’s Insect Shoppe website is in the works. For now, follow the shop on Facebook and Twitter.