A Styled Shoot at Quarter Pine Tree Farm

Quarter Pine Holiday Shoot

It’s our family tradition to put a live tree in our home every Christmas season. For the past twelve years, we listen to Christmas carols on the journey to pick out the perfect tree at Quarter Pine Tree Farm in Smithfield, PA. This styled shoot is a really special shoot for me since I love the farm and it holds such sentimental memories for me. In the past twelve years we moved three times, adopted a puppy, got married, and had two sons. Our tree is decorated with ornaments I’ve collected over the years as we traveled and grew as a family. When I open the boxes filled with our decorations, my favorite thing to carefully unpack is the ornaments. This year I couldn’t wait to buy Reid his Baby’s First Christmas ornament. I also picked up a glass train ornament from our first trip on the Polar Express. Those little treasures tell our family story, a story that each year begins by picking out a Christmas tree at Quarter Pine.

If you’re looking for winter wedding inspiration or have a dinner party preparations to plan for, here’s some images by Jenn Luczko Photography at a Christmas themed styled shoot at Quarter Pine Tree Farm.

Vendors Involved with Shoot
Location: Quarter Pine Tree Farm
Photographers: Jenn Luczko Photography, In His Image Photography by Zoe, Angie Candell Photography
Vintage Decor: The Mustard Couch
Paper Goods: Paper Hearts Invitations
Dress: The Vow Boutique
Hair and Makeup: Brittany Ilene
Flowers: Thomasyard
White Wood Wall: Brittany Anne’s Rentals

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How To Make Your Last Name Plural

Paper Hearts Christmas Cards

Are you on the hunt for the perfect photo to use on your Christmas card this year? Whether you’ve scheduled a mini session with a professional photographer or snapped your own picture, family photo cards are the most popular type of holiday card to send to family and friends. Christmas cards are one of the most beloved holiday traditions of the season, but sometimes our beautiful cards are filled with grammatical errors and misplaced apostrophes. If you’re sending a Christmas card this year, here is a simple guide to making sure you’re following the rules.

If you can remember one thing from this post, never add an apostrophe to make your last name plural.

Paper Hearts Christmas Cards

Last Name NOT Ending in “s, x, z, ch, sh”

You do not place an apostrophe after the the last letter. Adding an apostrophe makes the name possessive. Just simply add an “s” to the end of the name.

The Smiths or The Smith Family
The Kotarskys or The Kotarsky Family

Last Name Ending in “s, x, z, ch, sh”

Add an “es” to the end of these names. There is an exception to this rule. If your last name ends in “ch” but is pronounced with a hard “k” sound, like the word monarch, add an “s” rather than “es.”

The Lucases or The Lucas Family
The Joneses or The Jones Family
The Archs or The Arch Family

Other Common Christmas Card Misspellings

Happy Holidays, not Happy Holiday’s

Season’s Greetings, not Seasons Greetings
This time it is possessive and needs an apostrophe because the greetings belong to the season.

You can shop my full collection of 2018 Christmas Cards on Etsy! Orders must be placed by December 10th.

Allison Kotarsky

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An Inside Look At My Top Five Favorite Materials

Barn at Fallingwater Pennsylvania Summer Wedding

All designers have their own creative style, their speciality, their niche. I like to consider myself as a clean white space dominate designer with soft and romantic details. Typography also plays a large part in my designs. I like to use clean serif and sans-serif fonts (those regular fonts), and carefully selected script fonts with glyphs (those swirly extras). Since starting my business in 2011, I’ve had the opportunity to use many many different materials to design and build my custom wedding suites. Here’s an inside look at my top five favorite materials to use.

photo by Jessica Fike Photography

1. Wedding White Card Stock
This cardstock is my favorite and my go-to stock choice. It is a soft white, not a stark white, and is thick and sturdy for invitations and enclosure cards. If you have a soft or natural color palette I will more than likely chose this paper for your invitations.

 

photo by Caitlin’s Living Photography

2. Envelope Liners
Envelope liners are a great way to add a pop of color or a pattern to your invitation. It’s another chance to use watercolor florals or place a wedding crest/monogram on the suite.

 

Paper Hearts Invitations Envelope Printing Morgantown

photo by Ashton Kelley Photography

3. Watercolor Florals
If you’ve been following my work or browsed my portfolio, you can see that I LOVE watercolor florals on my wedding invitation designs. The digital graphics come in many colors and designs to fit just about anyone’s wedding theme or colors. I have a few go-to websites to purchase my watercolor art from, including Creative Market and Etsy. I do not paint my own watercolor art, but I enjoy supporting other talented artists!

 

photo by Caitlin’s Living Photography

4. Belly Bands
Like envelope liners, belly bands are another way to add a pop of color, pattern or material to your invitation suite. I also love their practical purpose; holding all of the cards together! When brides are deciding which add-ons to keep and which they can live without, I always suggest keeping the belly band for practical and astheic purposes.

 

photo by Marcellaneous Photography

5. Moody Hues
Step aside blush pink, they moody hues are here! For a long time, like 5 years, shimmer blush pink was my go-to for envelope color. I loved how it matched just about every color scheme and my brides fell in love with the soft shimmer and elegance. Don’t get me wrong, it is still absolutely beautiful to use, but the wedding color trend is shifting to more moody colors like burgundy, navy, hunter green and black. I’m going to also throw it out there that dusty blues and dusty rose pinks are also becoming a trend. I consider these moody as well because they are an alternative to the traditional light blue and blush pink that we saw in weddings for many years. I’m loving a good dusty blue envelope.

If you have any questions about how you can incorporate these top five elements into your wedding suite you can contact me to discuss your options. I’m always happy to help and chat about my love of paper!

Allison Kotarsky

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Stamps Cost How Much? | Wedding Invitation Postage

Vintage Stamps

It’s Engagement Season! –

This week marks the start of engagement season. *happy dance* As a wedding professional, this is the most exciting time of the year! I love seeing friends and family get engaged and I love even more to hear all about how the proposal happened! The holidays are also one of the busiest times to sit around the table with your family and start to plan out the wedding budget. It’s that awkward conversation, but it has to be done. Here’s something you may forget to put in the wedding budget, postage stamps.

What Will I Be Mailing?

There’s more wedding stationery to budget for than most people realize. Here’s a run down of some of the wedding pieces you might send in the mail.

  • engagement announcement
  • save the date
  • bridal shower invitation
  • bridal shower thank you cards
  • rehearsal dinner invitation
  • wedding invitation
  • postage on RSVP card envelope
  • wedding thank you cards
Cost of Postage Stamps

Each piece of stationery you send to your guests requires a stamp. The United States Postal Service is still the most popular way to mail cards and letters in the US. You could use other shipping companies, but USPS really is the most cost effective choice. Here’s the 2018 pricing for the most common postage my brides use.

  • Postcards $.35
  • Letters (1 oz) $.50
  • Letters (2 oz) $.71
Things That Increase Postage

Odd size/Non-machinable surcharge – USPS charges $.21 per item for:

  • square envelopes
  • items that are too rigid (a bow or string with a knot would fall under this category)
  • items that don’t bend easily
  • items that have clasps, string closures, or any other non-standard way of sealing
Weigh Your Invitation

Once you have the completed invitation in hand, take it to the post office to be weighed. If you don’t have enough postage on the envelope, they will get returned to sender and you will have wasted a lot of time and money.

Average Cost To Mail Wedding Invitations

Most of my brides have wedding invitations that are 1oz or 2oz depending on if we use a pocketfold or have a lot of insert cards and embellishments. Here’s what most brides spend on postage.

  • Save the Date $.50
  • Wedding Invitation $.50-$.71
  • RSVP envelope inside of wedding invitation $.50
  • Thank you card $.50

Happy wedding planning! As always, if you have any questions about postage or wedding stationery I’m here to help! If you need help addressing your invitations properly, see this article about guest addressing.

Allison Kotarsky

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What It Means To Shop Small

Shopping Small – The Handcrafted Cooperative –

I’ll admit, shopping local is something that wasn’t always important to me. I didn’t truly understand the importance of the shopping small movement. It wasn’t until I became a entrepreneur myself that I knew how much hard work and love went into each small business and their products. The blood, sweat and tears are something we all know comes with any job, especially a small business, but what I didn’t realize came with the gig was the overwhelming support of the creative community. The friendships I’ve gained since becoming a small business owner is something I was surprised by and I’m incredibly grateful for. These business owners, these REAL PEOPLE, are so welcoming and kind. We all have struggles in our craft but at the end of the day we all love what we do and enjoying bringing joy to each person who makes a purchase from us. We love building other another up rather than tearing each other down to make our community stronger.

The Handcrafted Cooperative offers a seasonal retail market dedicated to handmade items created by the most talented independent makers in our area. We help improve our local economy, support small business, and keep our community unique.

I am so excited to be a part of the Holiday Market this year.

This week alone, I’ve worked with two other Handcrafted Cooperative vendors bouncing ideas off of each other about our booth set ups and chatting about last minute product additions. We are all excited. We want you to be excited. We want all of Morgantown to be excited. This Holiday Market is going to be the best yet and we can’t wait to see you there. Even if you stop by to browse, listen to the live music or grab some coffee, that means so much to our community of creatives. Your support of the event brings just as much joy as a making a purchase.

I can’t say enough good things about the coordinator of this whole shebang, Megan Ursic. Talk about an amazing, purpose driven gal. Megan’s positive energy and smile make you feel like old friends even if you’ve just met. She founded the Handcrafted Cooperative because there was a lack of markets in this area focused on makers and handmade goods. This market would not be successful without her ambitious goals to make this the best maker’s market in the area. Thank you, Megan, for your passion and bringing us creatives together for such an amazing event. The lineup of vendors is good, real good. Go check out the line up here!

The Handcrafted Cooperative
Saturday, November 17, 2018  |  10am – 2pm
413 Spruce Street, Morgantown, WV
Free Admission and Family Friendly
http://www.thehandcraftedcooperative.com

New Products

Here’s a preview of some of my new products making their debut at the event this Saturday. To say I love Christmas is an understatement. I had so much fun with these new designs!


Allison Kotarsky

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The Grayson House | New Uniontown Wedding Venue

The Grayson House
The Grayson House

Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with some very talented vendors at a new wedding venue in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, The Grayson House. Uniontown was long overdue for an new upscale wedding venue and I’m happy that Ashley and her family decided to build this unique barn in the rolling hills of the Laurel Highlands. I like to call the building a barn, but this elegant white building is more than just another barn wedding venue. It’s an upscale, chic wedding venue where it seems Ashley has thought of everything. From the adjacent house hosting the caterer’s quarters and a spacious bridal suite to the gorgeous wood sliding doors peeking out to the mountains, this venue has a welcoming feeling for you and your wedding guests.

The Owners

Funny story, I went months chatting back and forth with Ashley about her venue and the styled shoot we were putting together and when I arrived for the shoot we both realized that we went to high school together! She and her husband, Steve, really made myself and all of us feel welcome and comfortable during the shoot. They made the new friendship seem like we were a family and I really loved that about them. They are really excited about providing their couples with the best possible wedding experience and making the whole day seem effortless.

The Styled Shoot

The styled shoot was put together so that Ashley could showcase her collection of rentals and the gorgeous interior and exterior of the barn. I know as a vendor, I was especially excited to be there and get a sneak peek! Ashley wanted to use a neutral color palette to appeal to a wide range of future brides planning their wedding. We all had a wonderful afternoon making magic and enjoying what we we do best, creating and capturing beautiful, love-filled wedding celebrations.

Vendors Involved

Venue: The Grayson House
Photography: Jessica Fike Photography
Videography: MotionWorks
Invitations and Menus: Paper Hearts Invitations
Flowers: The Gypsy Annie
Gowns: The Vow Boutique
Makeup and Hair: Makeup and Hair by Claire
Jewelry: Joyce’s Jewelry
Models: Natalie Grote, Jo and Shane Daughterty

The Grayson House

Allison Kotarsky

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Why Paper Wedding Invitations Are Still Important

Deep Creek Lake Maryland Boho Wedding
Deep Creek Lake Maryland Boho Wedding
photo by Jessica Fike Photography

So you’re planning your wedding and getting advice from everyone in Facebook land on where to order. Many of them suggest discount places because “it’s just paper” and “they will end up in the trash anyways.” Well guess what else will? Leftover food, dead flowers, ripped apart wedding favors (you know, the little boxes with mints that get scattered all over the table), half empty beers, and so on. You see, you can’t make all aspects of your wedding live forever, so why skip on one of the only tangible items your guests will receive? Paper wedding invitations are still important.

When your friends and family members get that invitation suite in the mail they’re going to hold on to it and use it as their guide to book hotel rooms, plan their GPS route and know the name of who in the heck you are marrying. This little package you send them gives them everything they need to have the best possible experience at your wedding by being on time and in the right location. Sure, you could have them designed and printed at a discount place online but, unless you’re confident you know what needs included on the invitation, you might leave something off. You could also have an online wedding website to have people RSVP, but there are still so many people, like older relatives, that become overwhelmed with wedding websites. This is where the professional stationery designer comes in. I’ve designed hundreds of wedding invitations so I know how to word things properly and offer suggestions on what to include and what not to include. For instance, I bet you didn’t know it’s considered tacky to include your wedding registry on the printed invitation?

The form you fill out after booking gives me all information for all the possible scenarios of wording you need to include. Planning a wedding can be super overwhelming. I’ve heard it from brides time and time again. But hiring a trusted, local stationery designer is just like hiring a photographer or videographer. We shouldn’t be an afterthought. We need to be there from the beginning to guide you along the way and offer our professional advice. I love helping brides and learning all about you as a couple. Making your wedding day as special and as beautiful as I can is the best part of my job!

Ready for more information about custom invitations? Click here.

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When Should I Send Out Invitations?

Planning a wedding and sticking to a stationery ordering schedule can be a little confusing. Since there are so many different paper pieces to consider, I’ve created a wedding stationery timeline to make ordering your invitations and wedding day pieces a breeze. The timeline lists each item and tells you when your order should be placed with Paper Hearts and when to send them out to your guests.

You can download a printable version of the guide that has spaces for you to fill out your own dates.

Paper Hearts Wedding Stationery Timeline

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Elephant Baby Shower

As we are preparing for baby boy #2, I can’t help thinking about my beautiful elephant themed baby shower for Luka 3 years ago.

Fun fact: Luka didn’t officially have a name until 12 hours after he was born! We couldn’t agree (err…decide).

My brunch themed shower, complete with mimosas, was held at the Historic Stone House Inn in Farmington, Pennsylvania. It featured a delicious dessert bar and plenty of rustic, chic charm. We had so much cake leftover, that I actually saved the top of the cake to use for Luka’s first birthday smash cake! I am forever grateful for the talents of my friends and family and the beautiful work they did to pull off a shower better than I thought was possible.

Cookies: Kate and Cookies @kateandcookies
Flowers: Gypsie Annie @thegypsyannie
Paper Items: Paper Hearts Invitations @paperheartsinvitations
Buffet: Simply Sweet Shoppe

Allison Shower blue Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 3.52.53 PM DSC_0417DSC_0408DSC_0400DSC_0406

 

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Menu Card Inspiration

Paper Hearts Modern Farmhouse

Who said reception tables have to be boring? Why not add a pop of color and incorporate details into each guest’s place setting?! My standard size menu card is 4×9 and printed on cardstock to match your invitations, but they can come in all shapes and sizes. Below is a collection of images from various events to bring you inspiration and encourage you to use a dinner (or lunch, or brunch) menu at your wedding or next event. If you want to discuss how we can incorporate a menu into your next event, please email me at hello@paperheartsinvitations.com.

 Paper Hearts Modern FarmhouseSandie Narvaez Photography

Burgundy wedding menu with wax sealBritani Edwards Photography

Rustic Blush Navy WeddingJessica Fike Photography

Barn at Fallingwater Pennsylvania Wedding by Caitlins Living Photography and Paper Hearts InvitationsCaitlin’s Living Photography

http://michaelwillphotography.comMichael Will Photography

Portfolio_0035Britani Edwards Photography

Portfolio_0025Ashley Friend Photography

Portfolio_0018JB Gallery

Phipps Pittsburgh WeddingAshley Friend Photography

Deep Creek Lake Maryland Boho WeddingJessica Fike Photography

View More: http://carolynemilyphotography.pass.us/passion-to-profit-styled-shootCarolyn Emily Photography

View More: http://karaabbey.pass.us/styledshoot101616Kara Abbey Photography

2016-12-30_0012JB Gallery

WhiteBarn_1253
Brandi Linger Photographer

WhiteBarn_1254
Caitlin’s Living Photography

WhiteBarn_1255Ashton Kelley Photography

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