This Buffalo Check + Mustard Yellow Styled Shoot Will Make You Want a Fall Wedding

A couple years ago I had the amazing opportunity to get in front of Jessica Fike‘s camera to do a little modeling for a fall wedding shoot. The black and white buffalo check and mustard yellow accents paired beautifully with the green and white pumpkins and the overall organic feel for Jessica’s vision. We had some pretty awesome vendors participate because we wanted to showcase as many local talents as we could. After the shoot we all sat in the wood-fire warmed cabin and sipped on wine. Pretty fun day in my books!

If you love what you see, here’s the team that put it all together…

Photography: Jessica Fike Photography@jessicafike
Venue and Florals: Petal Branch@trishyoder
Vintage Rentals and Design: The Mustard Couch / @themustardcouch
Handcrafted Woodwork and Decor: Iron Grove / @iron_grove
Hair and Makeup: Ondrea Parsons at M Salon / @ondip
Dress: The Vow Boutique / @thevowboutique
Invitations and Paper Goods: Paper Hearts Invitations / @paperheartsinvitations
Handlettered Signs: Whoa Hannah Creative / @whoahannahcreative
Cheese:  Firefly Farms / @fireflycheese
Wine: Kisha at Traveling Vineyard / @kisha_plus_wine
Desserts: Mountain Flour Baking Company
Soup + Crackers: Meadow Mountain Catering
Shoot Assistant: Theresa at Bridesmaids Confession / @bridesmaidsconfession

Buffalo Check Fall Wedding





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Hey Alexa, Order My Wedding Invitations

Hey Alexa, order my wedding invitations

If you’re anything like me and millions of other shoppers across the world, you love Amazon Prime. It’s hands down the best subscription I have and well worth the yearly fee to have those must have items at my doorstep in two days with free shipping! Who doesn’t love fast and free? And while I’m obsessed with this convenience, I do realize the amount of employees and logistics that go into getting that one small item across the country to my little house in West Virginia.

Amazon is a HUGE company, my self-run small business is not. Turning around custom designs or full print orders in just two days is usually not possible. Custom. Designs. Take. Time. The whole process isn’t just clicking buttons on my computer. While I may be efficient at my job after many weddings under my belt, there is a long thought process that goes into any creative work. When I initially meet with couples I like to discuss not only their wedding plans but their lives together. I like to know about how they met, how they got engaged and where they plan to honeymoon. I want your wedding stationery to feel like you and reflect your whole wedding vision. This doesn’t happen with a few clicks of a mouse.


The Custom Invitation Process

While asking Alexa to order your custom wedding invitations isn’t possible, I’ve made the process super easy for you. Wondering how it all works here at Paper Hearts? Here’s what a normal custom wedding invitation process looks like from start to finish.


Initial inquiry email

Fill out that little form on my website the best that you can. The more info you can give me, the better! This only helps you get a more accurate estimate sent back to you.


Estimate approval + retainer fee

You click yes that you want to move forward, pay that retainer, and then we’re off to design land!


The details form

I have a very detailed form that you fill out with all of your wedding details. It includes spaces to list your name how you want it to appear and wording choices based on the style of wedding you are having. The whole form is simple and easy to go through. This form helps structure your custom design and is essential to my design process.


In person meeting

I love to chat and show you color swatches in person if you’re local! I could talk about paper for hours. This is a real hands on experience where you get to see and touch the paper and printing processes. Can’t meet in person? No big deal! I’m happy to send you samples of things if you request it!


First design proof

After you fill out the wedding invitation details form and we have a meeting, then I begin your custom design. I take everything you’ve told me and use my creativity to design something unique just for you. This proof is sent via email with a space to leave comments.


Second + third proofs

If needed, we can go back and forth a couple times to tweak wording and design a bit. These proofs come via email and include a space to leave comments.


Final proof approval

After we’ve gone back and forth and have everything exactly how you want it, I send over the final proof. This proof is sent via email and includes a very detailed checklist to make sure all of the wording and spelling is 100% accurate.


Final count + guest addresses

Before the invoice is sent over, I will need your final count of invitations and your guest list sent to me (if I am printing your envelopes.) Often times your final count has changed since our initial estimate so I like to make sure you are ordering enough. I always recommend ordering around 10 extra invitations.


Balance is due

After you sign off on the final proof and send your addresses, the balance is due. The invoice is sent via email and can be conveniently paid online following the link I provide.



After you sign off on the proof and pay the balance, your design is invitation status officially considered “Printing in Progress.“ You cannot make changes at this point without a fee.


Shipping + Delivery

If I can hand deliver your invitations I prefer that so I know your invitations are safe and secure. If I am shipping them, I use USPS priority mail and pack them with lots of bubble wrap and love.


Happy Dance Time

Feel free to do a little happy dance when you see your finished invitations for the first time! I love hearing all about your tears of joy and compliments from your family members. Don’t forget to leave me a 5-star review to share your experience with other future couples!



If you’re wondering when you should contact me about custom wedding invitations, here’s a handy timeline!


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Giving Back: Teaching a Styling Class in Deep Creek, MD

I recently had the amazing opportunity to teach a flat lay styling class to a group of eight wedding professionals in Deep Creek, Maryland. The class was an equal mix of instruction and hands-on learning. We met at The Cornucopia Cafe, which also has amazing coffee, desserts, full dinner menu and even a craft beer on tap brewed specially for the restaurant.

Flat lay definition: A flat lay is a picture taken from a birds eye view of a collection of items laid out on a flat surface. Usually there will be one item that is the main focus of the shot known as the hero, all the other items in the flat lay are there to complement the hero piece.

The attendees were asked to bring items related to their business to photograph and we saw a great mix of materials! As a perk for attending the class, each student got a handout listing the sources from which I order my styling supplies, as well as a little run down on how to make your own fabric styling board. They also got to dive into my stash of styling ribbons, ring dishes, wax seals and fresh flowers ( to create a flay lay of their own during the class.

As a blog reader, if you would like a copy of my little tip sheet you can download it here!

A special thanks to the Garrett County Wedding Professionals and The Deep Creek Wedding for inviting me to teach at this unique event. I look forward to hopefully teaching another class in the future!

Photos by Jessica Fike Photography


Dusty Blue + Copper Wedding Inspiration

The Grayson House is one of my favorite places to visit! This dusty blue styled shoot with some of my Uniontown vendor friends was nothing short of beautiful! We wanted to incorporate modern copper, clear acrylic signs and blue ombre hues to show how the gable roof barn could be decorated with this trending color palette. The white wood walls and the dark wood accents drowning in abundant natural light made elegant venue the perfect location for our vision of effortless boho beauty to come to life.

Venue The Grayson House
Photographer Alexa George Photography
Styling + Decor Simply Sweet Candy Buffet
Paper Goods, Name Cards + Signs Paper Hearts Invitations
Flowers + Decor Twisted Rose Company
Cakes + Desserts Frosted Occasions

Paper Hearts InvitationsPaper Hearts InvitationsPaper Hearts Invitations

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Paper Hearts on a Podcast!

So You Said Yes – The Dos and Don’ts of Wedding Planning is a podcast by Brittany Anne‘s and it covers topics such as finding the perfect wedding dress, the appropriate venue and now it answers important questions about your wedding invitations! Brittany met with me in my studio where we chatted all things paper. Some hot topics discussed were the contents wedding invitation suite, how much postage you may need, plus my tips and tricks for staying within your stationery budget while still having a beautiful design!

If you’re just beginning to plan your wedding and want more information about invitations, start by downloading my printable wedding stationery timeline and filling out this form to tell me all about your wedding.

You can hear the whole episode by following the link below (it also includes helpful information from Haley of Studio Lane Calligraphy about watercolor designs) and don’t forget to subscribe to listen to all of Brittany’s Wedding Planning topics!

Episode 6: Save the Dates, Invitations, & More!

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Elizabeth + Seth | Real Wedding | Hilton Head, SC

Elizabeth and Seth were married in June 2018 in Hilton Head, South Carolina on a rainy day, but you wouldn’t even be able to tell that from the smiles on their faces! I’ve know the couple for a long time and I was really excited to design their wedding invitations. Seth was my neighbor growing up so we’ve been friends since skinned knees and riding bikes around the neighborhood. My first official wedding meeting with the couple was about 6 months before the big day and they were both equally excited as I was about the stationery design process. I could tell Liz knew her vision for their wedding day long before anything was put onto paper! Her wedding theme had an overall clean and effortless look with dusty blue, blush pink and eucalyptus accents. The bridesmaids wore long dusty blue chiffon gowns while the groomsmen wore ties and vests. The flowers were a loose bouquet of pink and peach rose, ranunculus and lots of greenery. The church and the reception venue were both gorgeous and their friends and family had a great evening eating thousands of cookies (Pittsburgh tradition) and dancing the night away! Congrats Liz + Seth!

Photographer: Jenna Lindsey
Venue: Shipyard Beach Club
Invitation Suite: Paper Hearts Invitations

Allison Kotarsky

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The blog post I look forward to every year…

Well, we’ve made it to the end of another year! 2018 was so good to me in many ways. I love looking back at my year and focusing on the positive wins and this year was filled with little victories. My business is moving forward and I met most of my goals like blogging regularly and getting organized with my client management software Dubsado.


RTS Leader Retreat

In January, I traveled with Rebecca of MotionWorks Weddings to the annual Rising Tide Society leader retreat held in New Orleans. This conference really kicked off the new year with good vibes and I look forward to the attending retreat again in 2019. The energy from the other leaders and the sense of community made me feel like we are really doing good things with our group in Morgantown. If you’re a creative entrepreneur in the Morgantown area, email me for more information about our group meetings!

Madison Short Photography


New Office Space

In June, we renovated our basement and I gained a beautiful new office and studio space. The office move also helped me to organize my paper samples and overflowing craft supplies. The office is perfectly pink and gold, my own little oasis for creativity.


Holiday Market

In November, I was part of the biggest and best Handcrafted Cooperative event yet! The Holiday Market in downtown Morgantown was so successful for all of the makers and I look forward to selling my prints and pillows at future markets.


Welcome Baby Boy

Along with the business wins also came the birth of our sweet baby boy, Reid. He arrived in August and is by far my biggest accomplishment of 2018 and completes our family of 4. I never thought I would be a boy mom, but here I am raising little gentlemen and loving every slobbery minute. I took a much needed maternity leave from August until November with only light work between November and the end of the year. Starting January 2 I will begin normal office hours, but I am adjusting my production schedule to account for my new life chasing two littles. You the customer won’t really see any changes, but I will be giving myself a few more days to complete projects.

Amberlee Christey Photography


2018 Design Projects

Speaking of projects, In 2018 I created…

30 Wedding Invitation Suites
6 Baby Shower Invitations
2 Bridal Shower Invitations
3 Baptism Invitations
2 Birth Announcements
6 Birthday Party Invitations
7 Christmas Cards
1 Human Baby
+ many wedding day stationery orders and branding projects!

I can’t thank my brides and customers enough for letting me create these beautiful pieces for their most important day.

Here’s a look at a few wedding invitation designs of 2018.

Kathryn Hyslopp Photography


Megan Lee Photography


Jenna Lindsey Photography


Danielle Durbin Film and Photo


Kuirsta and Seth


Steven Dray Photography


I hope you and your loved ones have a joyous and prosperous new year, and to quote Ellen, “be kind to one another.”


Allison Kotarsky

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A Styled Shoot at Quarter Pine Tree Farm

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

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

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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