Double Trouble

During a wedding invitation consultation, there is one question I always remember to ask: “Would you like an inner and outer envelope, or is a single outer envelope good for you?” There are two basic approaches to the answer:

Camp 1 —I’ll call them the Shock and Horror Camp

“I’d rather die than have a single envelope. Inner and Outer are essential. Is it even truly a wedding invitation without an inner and outer envelope?!”

Camp 2—I’ll call them the Speak My Language, Please Camp

“What do you mean? Literally… what’s an inner envelope?”

You probably find yourself in one of these camps. I have learned the hard way (16 years in business) that the people in Camp 1 will be very upset without a double envelope, no matter how gorgeous the invitation. Here’s a typical conversation:

Me: Thank you for meeting today. I love everything that you selected. I can tell that you are drawn to a classic and timeless invitation.
Bride: Yes. I’m sorry that my mom can’t be here. She really loves this stuff.
Me: Would you like an inner and outer envelope, or is a single outer envelope good?
Bride: Oh, I don’t care about that. A single outer will be fine!
Me: Are you sure? Would you mind checking with your mom before we go to print since she is passionate about paper goods?
Bride: It’s fine. She won’t care.

Let me tell you: she cares. It turns out that she cares a lot. This scenario has happened more times than I can count. Invitations are picked up, swooned over, and then we get a phone call from horrified (Camp 1) mom. “Where are the inner envelopes?” 

Today, I’m going to demystify the inner and outer envelope, also called “double envelope” and even explain a little bit of interesting history about the origin of the inner and outer envelope set. I’m also going to talk through the practical applications of your wedding and whether you should ‘die on that hill’ or pass.

History

Let’s imagine Downton Abbey for a moment. Maybe early Downtown Abbey, before the automobile becomes prevalent (alas, poor Matthew!) All messages, correspondence, and invitations would be sent via horse and rider through the muddy streets. Any envelope would be addressed to the house itself. In other words, to which location should the rider deliver the envelope? In this case, the outer envelope would be addressed to Downton Manor. In theory, the rider would most likely deliver the envelope to a servant’s entrance, where Mrs. Hughes would receive it. Mrs. Hughes would take the envelope to the Head Butler, Mr. Carson, who would open the soiled outer envelope, revealing a pristine inner envelope.  This inner envelope indicates whom within the house is invited to this event.  The inner envelope would be addressed to:

Lord and Lady Grantham

Lady Mary, Lady Edith, Lady Sybil (sad face)

The younger ladies would receive their own invitation only once they ‘come out’ and are officially of marrying age. Prior to this, they would be included with their family.

The inner envelope (with enclosed invitation) would be placed on a small silver platter (of course) and Mr. Carson would hand deliver it to the master of the house, Lord Grantham.

One fun note: the inner envelope would be unsealed so that Lord Grantham literally doesn’t have to lift a finger to open the envelope… he removes the invitation with ease. No tearing necessary. And today, the inner envelope is ungummed in the same tradition.

Today

In today’s world, this means that the outer envelope is addressed to the Head of Household and their street address:

Mr. and Mrs. Ty Pattison

1234 Main Street

Knoxville, Tennessee 37919

The purpose of the inner envelope still stands: it indicates whom is actually invited to this event. Have you ever wondered if your children are invited to a wedding? Check the envelope! The inner envelope should clearly communicate whomever in your residence is (or isn’t) invited.

Inner envelopes can be more formal with titles, or more personal, with first names:

Sarah and Ty Pattison (yes! Lady’s name goes first when first names are used)

Esther and Nell Pattison (children go from oldest to youngest)

So, in the above example, my older girls are invited but the baby isn’t. This might be an event where they aren’t inviting children under 10, for example. Pay attention to the inner envelope and respect people’s wishes… they only get married once (we hope!) so let’s not drag along our 2-year old if they have hopes for a child-free event.

In today’s modern world, inner and outer envelopes are no longer a necessity. A double envelope incurs extra cost in both paper and calligraphy fees. Many people address a single outer envelope in any of the following ways: 

Mr. and Mrs. Ty Pattison and Family

Mr. and Mrs. Ty Pattison (no family invited)

Mr. and Mrs. Ty Pattison

Esther, Nell, and Eden

Mr. Everett Davidson and guest

Really, almost anything goes on a single outer envelope to indicate whom is invited. However, if you are hosting a formal wedding and you want to indicate to your guests that this is indeed a formal or even semi-formal slash dressy event, then I suggest selecting a very formal and classic invitation design and pairing it with an inner/outer envelope set, as this sets the tone.

However, if you are having a fun, casual event that’s in a barn outside… forgo a double envelope set. It’s just going to look pretentious and set the wrong tone for your personality-filled wedding. The invitation you send truly gives guests a heads-up on how to dress, and what to expect on level of formality. Your invitation is painting a picture of what’s to come, so don’t confuse them.

Hopefully, you know a bit more about invitation envelopes and etiquette now than you did five minutes ago. Mr. Carson would be proud.

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10 Things You Need This Summer

Summer Success versus Summer Failure… It all depends on your nail polish color. (Okay, that might not be entirely true, but I’ll let you be the judge after reading #6.)

We just got back from Hilton Head, SC and I’m already missing the sand between my toes and the salty air in my hair. Growing up in Rhode Island (a.k.a., “The Ocean State”), the beach was a forgone conclusion—a part of the landscape that I never considered being without. In high school, my friends and I would grab a coffee after school (at Dunkin’ Donuts, of course, because there is one on Every. Single. Corner) and meet on the beach to dish about our day. Once school was out for the summer, we brought towels and practically spent the season there. We drove our cars up to the edge of the parking lot at night and let the headlights illuminate the waves. The way that beach air smells is one of my favorite smells.  (I’ve met people around Knoxville who tell me that they feel this way about the mountains, and I laugh. That’s preposterous. We’re talking about THE BEACH, people.)

Now I’m back in landlocked Tennessee and staring down the ocean-less summer ahead of me. I’m feeling a bit hemmed in. Also, as you know from previous posts, we currently have five people all day under our little roof: two adults working from the dining room table and three kids with little to no organized summer activities in sight. On further thought, perhaps that’s what’s actually making me feel a bit unnerved. 

Regardless, in the spirit of pursuing contentment and gratitude this summer, I’ve taken the liberty of preparing a list of some of my summer delights. These are not really in any particular order, but each and every one is worth sharing. It’s a mix: a few favorite products that I’m loving, a local shop you need to visit, a show I’m addicted to, and even an event I’m looking forward to… I do hope that you’ll drink them in slowly and perhaps find a few that can thrill you over the coming months. Sometimes, a little facial oil is all it takes!

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10. VIRGINIA JANE

This one is for local peeps. I recently popped in to Meagan Puckett’s glorious shop on Northshore and was delightfully surprised by the boho summer style I found inside. A cute little scalloped, rattan clutch immediately grabbed my eye and almost forced me to buck my self-imposed “no more tiny purses” rule to secure it, but never fear: I stayed strong. I did, however, come home with a blonde wooden necklace that goes with just about everything. Summery vibes run high here with embroidery, woven textures, and plenty of splashes of color in the right places. With price points across the board, there’s truly something for everyone. (9430 S. Northshore Drive, Knoxville, Tennessee 37922)

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9. THE DURRELLS IN CORFU

If Downton Abbey and the Cohen Brothers had a love child, it would be The Durrells. This PBS Masterpiece Theatre program has had me giggling and grinning from Episode 1, and with multiple seasons under wraps, I have the entire summer to look forward to marathoning the rest! Set in 1930’s, frazzled widow, Louisa Durrell moves her four children from England to Corfu, Greece for a supposed simpler, more cost-effective way of life. Her practically adult children are insufferable idiots, until they charm their way into your heart with every episode. Quirky and dry British humor will delight all summer long and beyond. And the gorgeous Greek Isle scenery may just carry me until my next beach trip.

8. THE PATTISON

– Prosecco (chilled)
– St. Germaine
– Luxardo cherries

Serve in a champagne flute. Prosecco with a heavy splash of St. Germaine. Two Luxardo cherries dropped in and sink to the bottom, with just a single splash of Luxardo cherry juice. Sip on a front porch somewhere really wonderful, or perhaps with toes in sand—even better. Chilled, bubbly, sweet… all the right things. (Clearly from the fairly uninspired name, I made this up but I’m sure there is some kind of real cocktail with a classic name in this same spirit—let me know!)

7. WW

In the words of a friend, “Hello, Weight Watchers. We meet again.”

This past fall, I signed up for the online Weight Watchers program, rebranded as “WW” (probably to take the unfriendly “weight” word out of it). This revamped version has enabled me to lose the post-baby pounds I wanted to shed, while maintaining a very normal life of eating. I’ve focused much more on a healthy lifestyle than just losing a few pounds.  I keep track of my choices throughout the day on their easy-to-use app, and I have a weekly coaching session via phone with Eleanor out of Florida who lost 75 pounds TWENTY YEARS AGO and has kept it all off. Go, Eleanor! Sometimes it feels like two steps forward and one step back, but then I look at my journey over the last six months and I’m floored. Summer is a lot more fun when you can fit into those sundresses again.

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6. PUT IT IN NEUTRAL

I have an on-again, off-again affair with gel nails. The shine, the finished, polished look (pun intended): love, love, love. The time it takes to get them done, and the cost to do it basically twice a month: hate, hate, hate. That feeling that I’m trapped once the first nail starts to peel or crack… like the countdown has begun and I now have to find my way into a nail salon in the next 24 hours or everything will fall apart around me—the worst.  Perhaps I’m the only one, but somehow if my nails look great, my life feels just the tiniest bit more under control. Welcome to the perfect summer shade, Put It In Neutral by OPI. It’s basically like a clear gloss, but richer, so when one goes to pot, you can barely even tell.  Short, neutral nails for the garden, the pool, the beach, the lake?  Put It In Neutral is your new best friend.

 You Can Purchase here

5. BOOK CLUB

On social media recently, I’ve seen the same desperate cry for help again and again: “Leaving for a trip: what are some good, easy to read books I should take with me?!” I’ve always got a few recommendations up my sleeve, and then I pause and think, “What would I do without my book club?!” I love reading, but with a full-time business to run and 3 kids to raise, who’s got time? Thanks to Book Club, at least I know that I’m going to have one good book per month. Book Club forces me to read. And not only that: it forces me to read things outside of my normal comfort zone, and if that weren’t enough, I then actually discuss those books with other people! AMAZING. Our Book Club has been meeting for around ten years, since our kids were all tiny. We share hosting responsibilities, we do dinner and drinks, and we have a full hour of discussion on every book we read. We’ve had members leave, and others join in. There’s been an ebb and flow over the years. It’s open and friendly and energetic— a divine evening and one I’ll consistently make time for. May I make a summer suggestion? Start a book club! With neighbors, friends, girls from church or other school moms… just make sure that someone is ready to lead a discussion, or else it will digress into a supper club, which is not at all the same. Go get your reading on!


4. TOWEL CLIPS

My sister in law had these at the beach. At first sight, I thought they looked like a dumb, informercial product, but my distain shifted into jealousy as I was fixing my slouching towel *again* and hers was perfectly straight and unwrinkled. Pool chairs, I’ve finally got your number. These are on their way from Amazon and going straight into my pool bag.

You can purchase them here

3. ORCHID OIL

A friend told me about this facial oil that she uses. I ordered it. I’m obsessed. My skin stays soft all night long, and the beautiful, subtle floral scent is just enough. I’m envisioning myself this summer, surrounded by two teenage girls who are *maybe* yelling and arguing amongst themselves, and one toddler baby who is climbing my leg, saying, “up, up, up peeeze, up, mommy, up, up, peeeze,” and I’m all zen and calm because I feel soft and smell ever so slightly of tropical flowers. It will all be fine.

You can purchase them here

T.H.E. Notepads - Click image to purchase

T.H.E. Notepads - Click image to purchase

2. LIST PADS

We come home from vacation. I open our refrigerator, and a blast of hot air and unmentionable fumes descend upon me. It was a lovely conclusion to a 7-hour drive with aforementioned toddler and teenage girls. So, fridge repair is top on our list.

In the meantime, we had to throw it all away. Everything. Every condiment that had been lurking in the door compartment for the last two years, hidden behind the maraschino cherries (although yes, those do get used up, and often… see above paragraph on WW).

I put my grocery list out on our counter where we keep it. It’s one of our own products, and I’m going to toot my own horn here and say that unequivocally, our list pads are the best I’ve found. They’re slightly wider than other list pads, and I think that the lines are perfectly placed for a readable grocery list that still maximizes the page. The thickness of the paper is just right. Oh, and of course, they’re all pretty.

Our grocery list is about to be very, very full, and I’ve got to bring a few more home from the studio. In the spirit of an organized and pretty summer grocery list, use the code FRIDGEFIX for 30% off all of our list pads this week only. And say a prayer for our fridge while you’re at it.

You can purchase them here

You can purchase tickets by clicking the image.

You can purchase tickets by clicking the image.

1. THE GATHERING

RT Lodge, just up the road from Knoxville, is one of our very favorite date night places. Also, it’s one of our favorite places for weddings! We work with a lot of brides getting married there, and I always tell them that they are lucky… it’s a beautiful place with a lot to offer. Chef Trevor Stockton knocks it out of the park every single time with specialties like house-cured meats,  homemade pickles, and fresh fried chicken.

Ty’s 40th birthday is this summer, and we’re celebrating together by going to a fantastic weekend event at The Lodge in August. Chefs, drinks, tours, pottery, workshops… it’s going to be AMAZING and I’ll be looking forward to it all summer. See details below and I hope that maybe a few of you will purchase tickets and join in the weekend!

You can purchase tickets here

That’s my list of 10 things that will make your summer better. While none are miracles, there’s a lot to love here. Happy Summering!

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Half Full Watering Can

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As you know from recent posts, I’ve been working from my dining room table these past few weeks while our city building permits are being reviewed and (hopefully!) construction begins. And here’s what I’ve found out about being at home:

Ladies who wear athletic clothing all day, I finally get you. I used to judge you… I did. But now, I get you.  It’s just so easy.

I’ve become obsessed with my garden. I’ve become a bit of a gardener this spring. (Believe me: I use that term loosely). My grit and determination were high one day and I planted a bare bed up by my mailbox with Creeping Jenny, Peonies, and some kind of pretty ground-crawling succulent. I think that because my yard is currently in my line of vision, I’m totally preoccupied with these plants’ growth and progress.

I remind myself to take a break from the screen every few hours. My favorite task while ‘on break’ is to water the plants outside.


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When she’s home, Eden likes to help me water. She’s 22 months old, so you can imagine all the helping. There are two watering cans that we use: a large and a small. Eden likes to carry a watering can, so I fill the small one up about a quarter full for her, and fill the large one up to the brim for me.

Eden doesn’t like this. She wants her watering can filled to the brim, like mine. She may not have complete sentences yet, but she is a clear communicator: Fill it to the brim, Mom. I want to carry it full. I want it all.

You and I both know that she can’t carry a full watering can. She can’t even lift a full watering can. She can actually barely carry the amount that I give her. But here we are, demanding more. We are in full temper tantrum mode—forcefully communicating that this quarter-full watering can is not meeting her expectations.

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A few years ago, I came across this super weird verse in Deuteronomy that stuck with me. Moses is talking to his people, the Israelites, who are about to cross over into their Promised Land. He says,

“Do not be terrified by {your enemies}, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God. The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.”

Little by little? Wild animals will multiply around me? You’re going to do this whole “overcoming my enemies” thing slowly?

I’ve been at the helm of The Happy Envelope for sixteen years. Like anything that you’ve poured your heart and soul into, I have a vision for what I want it to look like. This new space is one part of seeing that vision realized. If this had been a reality even, say, twelve years ago, I can unequivocally tell you that we wouldn’t be in business. There are a lot of responsibilities that come with growth: leadership skills that need to be fostered, understanding of your market that needs to be grasped, learning curves on everything from hiring to manufacturing, to working well with a spouse so that you can stay married and still like one another…

So. Many. Learning. Curves.   

Sixteen years seems like a long time to learn these lessons. But the crazy thing is, there’s still so much more to this vision that goes well beyond a new space. I feel like my watering can is about half full. There’s more that I want to do! There’s more that I think I can carry! But clearly, I have not been able to eliminate all my challenges at once, which tells me that I must have more to learn.

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Someday, Eden will be able to pick up a full watering can and carry it all over the yard with her. She will grow in strength and grow in experience. But right now, she needs me to help her carry the water. Otherwise, the water won’t get to any of my plants.  We won’t make any progress at all. It will be too much for her.

May we relish the grace in ‘little by little’… I guess sometimes it’s exactly what we need.

PS In the spirit of my newfound inner gardener, we’re offering 30% off any of our brand new Secret Garden wall prints ordered online. Use code “littlebylittle” at checkout! Click Here For Link.

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Be kind to your future self

Today I’m delighted to share with you a post that I wrote for my friends at Help You Dwell a few weeks ago. Help You Dwell is an incredible local company specializing in organization, which is pretty much the primary thing that I lack in my life, so I appreciate them all the more. It takes all kinds to make the world go ‘round!

When the ladies of Help You Dwell reached out about writing  a guest blog for them, I was just a week or so away from having to box up our whole studio and move it into our garage slash onto our dining room table. It was actually the perfect time to write about organization, or chaos, or something in the middle, because I was staring into the face of it.

Yes, this is our garage, and yes this is only half the madness.

Yes, this is our garage, and yes this is only half the madness.

Now, it’s a few weeks later and we’re no longer facing the chaos, we’re living in it. We are making the best of it, and actually trying to enjoy it.

May you find ways to show your future self kindness and grace. Enjoy!


“The only difference between a mob and a trained army is organization.” –Calvin Coolidge

A friend once told me about her mantra to make choices that would be “kind to her future self.” When taking off your jacket, for example, you can hang the jacket on the hanger in the closet, or on the hook by the door. You can also just throw that jacket over the arm of the chair as you walk into your home, or set it down across the kitchen table. You can wear it up to your bedroom and crumple it onto the chair there, or hang it up in your bedroom closet. Which decision is kind to your future self? Placing your jacket where you know to look for it when you need it next: that’s kind to your future self. It may take five seconds more energy now—from your present self—but it will potentially save many minutes of wandering around the house asking aloud, “Has anyone seen my jacket?” as everyone in your family is becoming more and more annoyed with how late we’ll all be because Mom can’t find her daggum jacket. (Perhaps this scenario has happened before… with jacket, keys, sunglasses, regular glasses, a purse, diaper bag? Maybe it’s just an example: you decide.)

Creative people are often stereotyped as disorganized, harried, and discombobulated. I wish that I could defy the stereotype, but unfortunately, I elevate it. I don’t like to be surrounded by chaos, and I actually love when everything is clean and peaceful and beautiful. I’m visual and I care about aesthetics. I’m just not kind to my future self, and things can get out of control quickly. And within just a day or so, even putting the clothes away is no longer a one-basket job, but now a three-basket job and I begin to feel overwhelmed.

At home, I can get away with this. It’s not like we live in a pigsty; it’s just not as organized and tidy as I’d like, and it’s my own fault. But translate this character flaw to work and it’s an entirely different matter. Clients depend on me. Organization of proofs, time-frames, delivery dates, checklists… these things are crucial to timely deliveries and happy customers. Organization is actually critical for business success.

This past year at the studio, we’ve implemented a few wonderful tools that help us all stay more organized and on-track together as a team. We’re working on a Training Manual. We’ve started using Adobe Sign for all proof approval contracts. We’re trying to clean up our Dropbox. But my favorite is Basecamp, a project management online software. While each project used to feel like herding cats, now the entire project scope from start to finished is filled with checklists, due dates, people held accountable, job tracking, and even file organization. It really has been a game-changer for our entire staff. So, I’m growing. Baby steps.

We’re getting ready to move our studio again, sort of quickly.  As I look around my desk area and bookshelves, I’m already starting to feel the dread. The temptation for me is always going to take the easy, kind-to-present-self way: literally throw everything into one big box, label it, “Sarah’s desk” and tape it up. Out of sight, out of mind! But how will my future self feel later this summer when she’s trying to get her new studio set up and she’s opening up disorganized piles of junk thrown into boxes any old way? I’ll tell you: Future Sarah is gonna be overwhelmed and stressed and she’s gonna cry a lot. I don’t want that for her.

Instead, I’m planning to actually make decisions as I go: do I really need this book of paper samples from 2004?  No? Then it doesn’t come with me.  Hopefully, when all of our construction and build-out is finished later this summer, Future Sarah will open up a few clearly labeled, simply organized boxes and get her desk set up with a smile on her face.

Read to original blog for Help you Dwell Here

Xoxo,

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PS We’re moving to 5605 Kingston Pike right around the corner in Bearden. We’ll be nestled in between Grow Salon and Firestone Tires. Please come pop in to our much bigger space once it’s finished later this summer… you can watch the presses in action through windows, just like the taffy-makers in Gatlinburg! In the meantime, find us online and at the Market Square Saturday Farmer’s markets.

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