Vendor Highlight | Jill Elaine Designs
I met this lovely lady about a year ago at an industry event, but successfully stalked her and obsessed over her well before that. Her style floors me and her demeanor is just too easy to get along with.
Jill Elaine found her passion for the design industry while working as a wedding planner. It opened her eyes to the way design—from a single place card to an entire room—can change the way people feel, can set the tone for an event, can add a little magic to the everyday. That time gave her the ability to look at the whole picture while capturing the details that make each person and event so special. With that, she honed her creativity and started Jill Elaine Designs to help small businesses rebrand, create invitations for your wedding day, and create special touches for your event.
She's an absolute doll and gives you some pretty dang good advice on that wedding stationary 😉
Hi Lovey! Give me a little bit of background on how you got started with designing stationery and how your business came to fruition.
I found my passion for the design industry while working as a wedding planner. It opened my eyes to the proper way to design. A single place card to an entire room can change the way people feel, can set the tone for an event, and can add a little magic to the everyday. My time as a planner gave me the ability to look at the whole picture while capturing the details that make each person and event so special.
When I first moved to the Twin Cities I worked under some of the best in the industry before deciding to launch my own design studio. I pride myself on taking the time to educate all of my clients on the design process and products which helps create excitement and attention to detail with each of the events I work on. Whether you're planning a wedding, thinking of revamping your branding or looking for some custom gift ideas - I'm your gal!
What were some of the first projects you worked on when you started Jill Elaine Designs?
I have been in the wedding and event industry for close to 10 years. As most people do when they start a new career, my first projects were the basics with simple wedding stationery designs. I also worked on some smaller projects as well; custom cocktail napkins, event signage, custom menus, business stationery, etc. Really anything clients ask for, I made it happen! It’s pretty crazy to look back and see how far I’ve come and how much my design eye has grown.
Tell us a little bit about what goes into the process of creating the ideal wedding stationery?
It all starts with the couple! I love to hear their story and get to know them so I’m able to incorporate personal touches in their suite! The invitation is the first thing the guests will see so it should begin to tell the story of the couple. It’s never too early to start the creative process to begin to envision your dream invitation.
I love it when clients share their Pinterest board or bring inspiration. It is a great way for us to be able to connect on the overall style and design of their wedding. From there, we select the perfect papers, fonts, textures, layout, colors, print methods, and my all time favorite - packaging! Then it’s time for the proofing process. The invitation suite is laid out exactly how it will go to print. It allows the couple to really visualize their design coming to life!
What should a client have or know before meeting with you to start the design process?
As I mentioned earlier, sharing a Pinterest board or inspiration is very helpful. It allows us to be on the same page with the direction of the suite. In the world of custom there are SO many options! The process can sometimes be a bit overwhelming so having a clear direction for the wedding is key.
Wedding Tip: when Pinning think about color, texture, ribbon, flowers, patterns, home interior - anything that will inspire. A throw with the perfect shade of champagne OR wallpaper with the perfect pattern can be the perfect inspiration.
Having the wedding venue, gown, color palette or even flowers selected will help inspire the vision of the invitation suite. I can then guide the rest of the process.
In an ideal world, what does a stationery timeline look like when planning a wedding?
Ideally, I would love to begin the process early and start to look at designs and concepts anywhere from 8 to 10 months before the wedding, but don’t worry, I can still work my magic if you are later in the process.
If the client would like their Save the Date design to be consistent with the rest of the wedding stationery earlier is better as this piece should be in the mail anywhere from 6 to 12 months before the wedding date.
Here is a quick helpful guideline on when your stationery should be in the mail:
Save the Dates should go in the mail 6-10 months ahead of time.
Invitations - A general rule is to send them out 8 weeks before the wedding date. If it is a destination, it should be 3 months ahead.
Wedding Tip: Don’t forget to save a few days, maybe even a few weeks for assembly. It could be as simple as layering your pieces and putting in the mailing envelope but some suites might require more assembly. This is where the client can have a little fun - have an assembly party! Invite your family and friends, turn up the tunes and assemble away!
Day of items - a good rule of thumb is to start this progress when the wedding invitations are in production or when they are ready for pick up. The invitation suite is checked off the list, now move right onto the wedding day details that make an impression on the guests and carry the design throughout the day.
Pro Tip: Start to think about the wedding stationery early on- last minute invitations end up feeling more like a chore with tighter deadlines.
Is there anything you think a bride-to-be needs to know when ordering wedding stationery?
There is SO much! How much time do we have? :) Throughout the process I will go over the important items the clients will need to know: educating them on what pieces they will need, mail and production timelines, print methods, wording and addressing etiquette….the list goes on.
Because there are so many details in stationery, here are a few extra tips and friendly reminders:
- Make sure to add postage to the reply envelopes.
- To guarantee that the envelope is sealed securely, use an adhesive wet sealant or a permanent glue stick- this will give peace of mind that the invitation is arriving in pristine condition and will save you from licking hundreds of envelopes.
- Mail the invitations from the same Post Office where the sample suite is weighed. Since scale calibrations vary slightly from place-to-place, this will ensure that the postage is correct.
- Request that the invitations be hand-canceled when dropping them off at the post office- it prevents them from getting damaged by automated sorting machines.
- Don’t forget to save a few invitation suites! (Keepsakes and one for the photographer to shoot on the wedding day.)
Can you share with us some trends you are seeing in stationery for the 2018 wedding season and leading into the 2019 wedding season?
Ahh, such a good question! Specialty printing and paper - letterpress, foil stamping, embossing, handmade and colored paper are here to stay! Other fun design elements that I am seeing are die cutting, edge painting, duplexing, custom illustrations, wax seals - these are embellishments that can bring your invitation suite to the next level.
You’re getting married this year! How is it being on the other side of the coin? And do you have any special plans up your sleeve with your own stationery?
I am! We are so excited! September will be here before we know it!
To be honest, I thought for sure it would be a breeze as I have been in the industry for sometime now but that is not the case! All the little details and decisions add up quickly. I am your classic over-thinker, so naturally the wedding checklist is taking a little longer than it should. I probably should have had a shorter engagement.
As for our wedding stationery - I am planning something very classic and timeless with small embellishments throughout the suite. Designing my own suite was a hard one for me. There are so many beautiful elements that can be brought into stationery. When I thought about who we are as a couple and wanting to set the tone for our wedding, I kept going back to a very simple and elegant design. I can’t wait to share it!
What should we know about the Jill Elaine Designs experience and style?
Jill Elaine Designs is my creative studio where I get to foster my love for beautiful paper goods and conceptual design while building relationships with some of my favorite people. I believe everyone has a beautiful, unique story to tell and I’m here to help find the best way to present it to the world. Whether through branding your business, inviting loved ones to your wedding, sending a note with custom stationery, or small touches at a special event, whatever you’re looking for I want you to walk away with a custom package that embodies your personal style and vision. When it comes to stationery, it really is all about you.
Here are some of my favorite things:
- The search for the perfect font
- The glow of natural light
- Anything J. Crew
- My yoga mat
- Romantic comedies
- Americanos with a dash of cream