Providing Peace of Mind

Lately, Ty and I have been doing a lot of thinking, reviewing, and finessing our Vision and Mission statements. As a Creative, it’s tempting to launch into business with a motivation of, “I want to make beautiful things!” but that’s actually not best practice. It took me (honestly) probably ten years to realize that ‘me making beautiful things’ is all about, well, me. A good business isn’t about me—it’s about you, the client, customer, audience, community.

Over the last few years, I’ve been more intent on listening, and learning. The truth is this: name any product you want to purchase and you can probably also name at least four places where you can purchase it. Invitations are no different. We create beautiful invitations, but so do other artists and stationers all over the country. I sit across the consultation table from clients all the time, and I’m listening: What do they really need? Why are they here? And the answer may surprise you: it isn’t that they want invitations.  What we are actually offering here at The Happy Envelope is Peace of Mind.


We take the confusion out of ordering invitations. We are your guide so that you can move forward with confidence: in the beauty of the finished product, in the wording, in proper etiquette, in clarity of pricing and budget, in the manner of printing… I am literally holding your hand and walking side by side as your guide. Yesterday, a bride picked up her invitations and said, “I love them! And this was so much easier than I thought it would be.” That’s my job, and I love it. Nothing makes me happier than a stress-free bride.

So, I’ve been tackling this role of Guide. A good guide leads—not by charging ahead as you scurry to keep up. A good guide explains as they lead. They are imparting understanding and education as they go. If you take a guided tour through Paris, you’d want to enjoy the journey and leave with a better understanding of Paris, its history, culture, and what it offers today.

It is in this spirit that I’ve tapped in to just a few of my favorite Knoxville guides in the wedding industry. These people are experienced folks, and for those of you currently planning a wedding or thinking that you’ll be involved in that process soon enough, these are nuggets of gold for you. I asked just one question of these guides:

And if you’re in the season of pulling together a rock star wedding team, look no further than these experts!


I wish that couples knew before and during the planning process that the wedding is about the two of them and their families joining together. It’s a celebration of all your loved ones from all walks of life getting together, and you get to be creative and enjoy hosting everyone you love in one place! If you keep it light and tune out the buzz of everyone else’s ideas of what you SHOULD be doing, you won’t lose sight of the fun and joy of your wedding weekend. Above all else, be present.

Katherine Stinnett
Group Sales & Marketing Manager
RT Lodge


As a planner, of course I wish the couple knew from the start that they shouldn’t “go it alone” when planning their wedding. Having an experienced planner they can trust with their vision and the details will allow them to enjoy the process and focus on what is most important: their relationship and the marriage they are entering into!

Eileen Sommi
Event Designer
Windsor and Willow Events


I’d like brides to be focused on making a real connection with their vendors. When it comes to the beauty team (hair + makeup), make sure that your vision is truly heard and understood, rather than being overly concerned with details like the methods of application, pricing, or specific brands that might be used. Yes, details are important, but a unified vision and trust level should be established first and foremost. If a makeup artist uses a brand of makeup that you like, but you can’t connect with her or she can’t execute your vision, those details won’t matter. If an artist is inexpensive and fits your budget but doesn’t connect well with you or your vision, it’s simply not going to work. You want your end result to be beyond what you expected!

Claire Balest
Makeup Artist


I wish that brides would think about how they are going to address their envelopes before they actually need them addressed. Book your calligrapher at the same time you begin ordering your invitations. Calligraphers book quickly and early… and we only have one writing hand! Your stationer and calligrapher can work together to create a cohesive presentation for your guest’s first exposure to your wedding.

Katherine Michalik


One thing a couple needs to know before they can begin planning their wedding would be… THEIR BUDGET.
Vendors are able to guide couples through their wedding planning much easier if they know their budget. As a florist, we can direct them in the things they NEED, and not what they WANT to keep them in the budget. We can substitute more cost-effective flowers to get the look they love for less money to keep them in budget if we know it going into the first consultation.

Lisa Foster
Lisa Foster Floral Design


Brides may not realize how much time they will spend with their vendors. Thus, they not only need to work with people whose product/service they enjoy but also who they connect with on a personal level. Weddings can be stressful and they need someone in their lives who is constant, organized, and who brings out the best in them. At the end of the day, your vendors’ first priority should be to serve you and help set you up for a wonderful marriage!

Ben Finch

Your friend and guide,


Working Backward for the Perfect Save the Date

Nearly 40 percent of engagements occur between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, and if you’re one of those people, I say, “Congrats!” But also, “Hold your horses on that save the date.”

It makes sense that you want to announce your new engagement to the world—and make sure all your friends and family know to start planning ahead for you wedding. Time and time again though, brides come into the studio months after they sent out their save the date. They fall in love with an invitation look and feel, but it doesn’t flow at all with what they sent for their save the date. They want a branded, cohesive look, but that proverbial ship has sailed. With just a little bit of patience and planning, this could have been a different scenario.

Your save the date should not define the look of your invitation. It should be the other way around.

Most brides also want to coordinate all the other paper products at their wedding: the menus, programs, place cards and welcome notes they leave their guests. Creating consistency between all these products has a lovely design appeal but creating consistency between your save the date and invitation can also be a major favor to your guests.

When the ink, paper, font and colors—and especially the formality—of your invitation and save the date are consistent, it helps brand the wedding in your guests’ minds. They’ll have a better understanding of whether it’s a formal or casual event and what type of couple you are.

With a funny engagement photo; open san-serif font; bright color scheme and a reply post card, your guests will know they’re in for a casual affair. If your save the date is low-key and informal, but your invitation traditional and very classic, guests might have a hard time knowing exactly what you mean by ‘Semi-formal Attire’ or even what kind of gift to give. 

Coordinating these pieces really does show concern for your guests and that you want to help them be as comfortable as possible. After all, in the words of Brene Brown, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

If you really want a perfect save the date, I recommend making design decisions regarding your invitations even before your engagement photo session. Engagement photos are wonderful, but most people get them for their save the date cards. So why wouldn’t you want to know ahead of time whether your card is going to be vertically or horizontally oriented, how much white space you need at the top or bottom and what color clothes to wear?

Typically, I like to have a clear vision of where we’re going in terms of style, colors, fonts and overall design of invitation before anything else. Then we work backward towards a save the date: applying those design elements to create a coordinating save the date. I’ll ask clients to email me their top three to five favorite photos from their engagement session, and I’ll design the save the date using their fonts and inks, integrating the photo into the mood/feel that works best.

Just another helpful hint: here are some timelines and the basic information you’ll need to start the design work on your invitation and save the date (You’ll need much more info to finish the invitation!).

Save the Date

Mail by: 6 months to a year before wedding (no more than 1 year before, at least 2 months before invitation)

Design time: 2 weeks
Print time: 1 week
What info you need:
·      Date
·      Location (at least city and state)
·      Engagement photo session scheduled (ideally soon after we meet or even prior to meeting)
·      An idea of the wedding formality

When to start designing: 7 months to a year before the wedding


Mail by: 8-10 weeks before wedding (mail is unreliable, give more than the 3 weeks for reply!)

Design time: 1 month
Print time: 2 weeks
What info you need:
·      Date
·      Location (at least city and state)
·      Idea of the wedding formality
·      Idea of number of invitations you’ll need  
·      Whether you’re doing buffet or seated dinner

When to start designing: 4-7 months before the wedding

If you’re a bit behind schedule, that’s okay. Click here to schedule an appointment with us, and we’ll help get you back on track. We are currently working on late spring and summer weddings, along with a few fall…let’s get rolling together!