If ever a couple were to embody the unconventional joie de vivre of rebel stationer Vigilante Paper it would be Abigail and Nathaniel. The bride, Abigail, is a twin: it was her sister Rachael, who contacted Vigilante Paper and ordered two sets of invitations for her as an act of sisterly love (or perhaps to remove one less task from her plate). It occurred to me that only a twin, this sacred co-inhabitant of the womb, could possibly know a person well enough to select her wedding stationery. For two events! This weekend the couple was featured in the Chicago Sun Times’ Chicago SPLASH Magazine for both the unique story of their union and the cool, unfussy way they celebrated their marriage. The Chicago Sun Times piece says it best, but in brief, this is a real-life, hold-the-cliches story, which touches on the following topics in roughly this order: two young people living abroad in their twenties doing exciting work benefiting the others (she as a medical social worker and he as an English teacher), then fall in love in Vietnam, travel together more until Abigail must return to the States. She is quite sick. It turns out to be cancer. They remain together, she beats cancer (YES!), they become engaged (YES!) and together make a commitment to share a lifetime together in two joyous, unconventional celebrations in both Chicago and Madison, Wisconsin (they are both graduates of University of Wisconsin, Madison). The bride wore a stunning Mary Katrantzou dress which, does bear a likeness to Vigilante Paper’s Kaleidoscope suite (sample pictured below). My very best wishes to a lovely,original couple who had their wedding their own way! (Photography courtesy of the Chicago Sun Times.)
This winter I was approached by a bride asking if Vigilante Paper could provide her with custom Scottish-themed wedding invitations. She and her husband-to-be are of Scottish ancestry and had been remiss in finding any pre-designed wedding stationery. Most of what she found was “Brigadoon Hell” as she described it. So she showed me examples of their two family tartans and the location (a charming historic Inn in Raleigh, North Carolina) and asked me to come up with something summery but not too flouncy to combine the two aesthetics. It was going to be a somewhat understated wedding: not huge, groom in his kilt, bride in a seersucker wedding dress.
I focused on the tartans intertwined at the top of the invitation, and lush greenery on all the pieces to reference the Southern location. There is even a sly reference to kudzu in the envelope liner. I think they came out as crisp as a gin and tonic and elegant without being too girly. There is something so pure and refreshing about green and white in contrast to all the foil and glitter being hyped right now in the stationery arena. If I see another hand-lettered foil print I’m going to yak. I love that this couple wanted to celebrate their heritage – and stayed clear of all the design cliches that dominate the paper landscape right now.
(Sidenote: this project had a special place in my heart as I am part Scottish and have always loved the whole idea of Scottish warriors and their tartans. I haven’t worn a kilt since I was a kid, but I did recently upholster a chair in it. Seems to me the Scots are in general a rather Vigilante people.)
Courtesy of Scotweb Tartan Mill
My family’s tartan upholstered on a chair and window seat in our house.
Vigilante Paper was delighted to learn that our wedding invitations are featured in the August/September 2013 issue of BRIDES Magazine — a massive inch-thick tomb of wedding planning ideas for the bethrothed. They chose our Odorantes suite, our darkest, most sultry and mysterious invitation suite that features taxidermy birds, luminous moss green leaves and our beloved hand-lettered Caslon font which bespeaks a casualness, despite it being a classical serif. We’re in good company in BRIDES’ invitation round-up, which also features the work of Brooklyn’s hot stationery and paper goods company Paper + Cup Design, and the lauded Cheree Berry Paper of St. Louis (famous for designing Chelsea Clinton’s wedding invitations among many other high-profile gigs) ; both of these stationers have served as inspiration for Vigilante Paper prior to our founding in 2011 for being innovative, creative women-owned stationery design outfits. So we’re feeling good! And we all have a different take stylistically, don’t we? Go check out the issue now on newstands! We’ll keep you posted about new unusual, quirky, and luscious designs in the works for 2013. We’ve only gotten our feet wet folks… looking forward to swimming in outre wedding stationery in the year to come.
One of my favorite things about being an illustrator is getting requests for custom wedding invitations from photographers for a shoot. When it’s custom, it can be an exercise in trial and error. But sometimes you just meet someone with your own design sensibility and the process is a complete joy. In the case of this Vincent VanGogh-inspired shoot, the photographer Danielle Woodall of www.photosbydanyelle.com gave Vigilante Paper a palette and then set us free. What I love about Danielle’s photography is her embrace of the natural landscape — and capturing couples in the most graceful, unposed way possible. Her wedding photography avoids the ubiquitous shots that make me want to yak. No, Danielle’s gift is to see the light on a wooded hillside or a smile in the eyes of a subject and capture it — without a smidgeon of corny-ness. It’s been a pleasure working with her. While I went with the palette of VanGogh’s sunflowers, the end result is more kraft paper meets delicate white buds. In a world of floral overload in the wedding arena, this is a nice way to nod to tradition but works in a more autumnal mood. I also like the austere white invitation envelope, which, when opened offers a world of vibrant color.
What a momentous week! At Vigilante Paper, we have been jumping for joy ever since the Supreme Court announced the legalization of marriage for all people. We’ve been serving the gay community with pride since our founding in 2011. The prospect of all the forthcoming Vigilante weddings in America for lovebirds of all orientations makes us love what we do even more. Love is Love, dammit — and a marriage is a marriage. Our Lovebirds Suite, for example, was designed with two gorgeous Peacocks as a nod to beautiful gay couples out there, as luminous and colorful as two of nature’s regal birds. Sure, a straight couple could happily use our Lovebirds design too, as the design is delicate, lovely and lush. But like all good art, there is an undercurrent of radicalism here — those peacocks are TWO BOYS, people. Vigilante Paper’s Kaleidoscope Suite, is similarly inspired by gay marriages — the color bursts a riff off a deconstructed rainbow. So if any of you are preparing to marry given the Supreme Court’s new ruling, come on over to www.vigilantepaper.com and get your paper on! We would love to help you celebrate your nuptials in the most celebratory, fun, momentous way possible!
Years ago I saw a wonderful documentary about the English artist Andy Goldsworthy called Rivers and Tides. His work is breathtaking in the physical feats he accomplishes with raw materials he find in the wilderness: sticks, twigs, flowers, burned trees, rocks. He is the master of emphasizing the ephemeral moment in art — most of his work is meant to either be destroyed by natural erosion or the elements themselves. They sometimes last only seconds – although he captures their glory on film or in a photograph. His work inspired me to create a wedding invitation design in his honor. There are so many tired, saccharine designs in the wedding invitation world. Our Feathers Suite, which references Goldsworthyesque birds feathers, leaves and drewdrops in a hand-illustrated style, seeks to appeal to couples wanting poetry not tradition in their wedding stationery. It felt apropos, given that weddings are such ephemeral flashes in time — I have never met a couple who says “my wedding went slowly.” As momentous as weddings are, they pass in a beautiful instant, like cotton candy on your tongue.