Real Weddings: Lisa and Tim’s Organic Elegance

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Bride, Groom and Flower Girl

Lisa and Tim envisioned a wedding that was elegant, romantic, relaxed and oh so Colorado. Lisa and Tim met and fell in love here and since 95% of their guests were coming from out of town, including uniquely Colorado details in their wedding celebration was a big priority.

They teamed up with Leah Colby of La Dolce Events to make their day a reality. While planning all the little details that would bring their gathering together, Lisa came to us to dream up their invitation.

“I felt you really got what I was going for, you understood my taste and ideas, and I trusted you from our very first meeting.”


We created their invitations to convey a sense of understated elegance, with Colorado mountains crowning the top and a sweeping script font that hinted at carefully handwritten notes. Subtle colors set the tone for a sophisticated and romantic event (with the blush of the mountains matching the flower girls’ dresses perfectly). Lisa purchased vintage Colorado State and Boulder Dam Stamps to adorn the envelopes and make the ensemble even more whimsical and beautiful. But our very favorite part about this invitation was how it was written. Rather than using traditional invitation wording, Lisa and Tim decided that their darling 2-year-old daughter Eva (who also starred as a flower girl) would be the one inviting guests to the celebration. How cute is that?

Flower Girls

“Our daughter was the biggest and best part of the whole thing! Loved that our invitations were from her! And that she was our flower girl. She is only 2 years old but she made it down the aisle and dropped petals the whole way while smiling at all of our guests. It was magical.”

Bride and Flower Girl

Their Colorado love permeated all things, becoming a theme as well as a location. All those out of town guests received canvas tote bags thoughtfully filled with local products such as Boulder Chips, Ozo Coffee, Rocky Mountain Salsa, Choco Love Candy Bars and Eldorado Springs water bottles. The bags had a cute illustration of the United States printed on them, complete with a small heart over Boulder.

Tim and Lisa are of different faiths, so they chose to have both a priest and rabbi marry them. “So many people commented on how beautiful the ceremony was…so rich and full of tradition…and the two officiants were fantastic together. It really made for a beautiful ceremony.”

Newgrass music played throughout the day. Lisa and Tim hired a band called Head for the Hills to play during the ceremony and their style conveyed the Colorado vibe perfectly.

Lavender and Tent

Additionally, they incorporated many beautiful details to reiterate the romantic and organic elegance of the invitations. We created matching blush and taupe letterpress programs as well as kraft brown CD sleeves for favors. Meanwhile, the tables featured unique Thai rosewood and bronze cutlery and vintage napkins, all carefully sourced by the bride. “I decided early on that I didn’t want typical sterling cutlery at our wedding. Our color scheme was blush, grey and lavender (with a little bit of bronze and gold) and I felt silver would be too stark against all of those warm tones…[the cutlery] was a beautiful addition to the table and everyone was talking about how gorgeous the flatware was.”

Table Setting

The couple also chose to serve a family style meal on long farm tables to maintain a sense of intimacy among the 90 guests “it was elegant and classy but still romantic and relaxed”. One thing that ended up being a surprise hit was the chef, Hosea Rosenberg from Blackbelly Catering, came out and announced each course. “The guests loved it too! We got comments about it for weeks after the wedding.”

Dinner Wedding Guests

To keep the festivities going, Lisa and Tim had the brilliant idea to host a coffee bar for everyone, complete with a couple of local baristas serving espresso and coffee from Ozo.

As guests left for the night they took home tiny succulents (which doubled as escort card table decor) and a CD filled with the bride and groom’s favorite music.

Escort Cards and Succulents

Lisa and Tim’s beautiful, casual, elegant and natural wedding was filled with personal touches that highlighted their love for Colorado, their daughter and each other. We loved working with them and are grateful we were able to contribute such a fitting ensemble to their incredible event.

The Details
Photographer | Ben Christensen, Mesa Arizona
Wedding Planner | Leah Colby, La Dolce Events
Florist | Fiori Flowers
Band | Head for the Hills
Invitations | SWEET letterpress & design
Catering | Blackbelly Catering

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Modern Hand-Lettered Ensemble

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Modern black and white letterpress invitation with custom calligraphy

Recently, we had the pleasure of working on a very special project with local calligrapher Kelle McCarter of DesignsGirl. I nearly melted when this man, Christopher, walked in the studio and said he was throwing a surprise 20th anniversary party for his wife. How sweet is that?! He was looking for a loose, even messy, hand-written style to be incorporated into an otherwise minimalistic design. We had so much fun collaborating with Kelle and Christopher to create this bold ensemble — save the dates, invitations and thank you notes — featuring jet black ink, chipboard and charcoal gray envelopes lined with a vintage wedding photo of the couple!


Custom calligraphy on chipboard save the date and vintage wedding photo envelope liner

Letterpress save the dates on chipboard, anniversary party, custom calligraphy

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Tis the Season

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Let it snow holiday photo card

Tired of the same old holiday cards?

Yep, us too. That’s why we’ve been on a mission for several years now to make holiday cards as beautiful and unique as possible. Browse our new holiday card collection for designs that will definitely stand out from the Christmas card crowd.

An Elegant New Spin on the Holiday Photo Card

This year we’ve launched something new: a high-end hybrid  photo card with a letterpress printed design that is customizable through added digital printing. You can use your favorite photo and print your own unique message on the card, just choose from our choices of colors and fonts to match your tastes. Now you can enjoy the unique texture and old world charm of letterpress with the ease and affordability of modern photographic printing –– for a better holiday photo card. Browse custom photo card designs.

Love peace joy holiday photo card with snowflake

You’ll also find folded Christmas card sets, garlands, ornaments and DIY “photo-ready” cards. Browse our entire holiday collection here.

Enjoy 20% Off

We’re offering Facebook fans 20% off all holiday cards (custom and ready-made) through November 20th. Click here to like us on Facebook and get the promo code.

Getting Married?

Holiday cards are also a great way to show off your engagement photos and start assembling your address list. Fall is a really beautiful time of year for an outdoor photo shoot, so if you haven’t taken your engagement photos yet now would be a good time!

And if you’re interested in exploring our wedding invitations, working on holiday cards is a  great way to get to know us and our process so you know what to expect when it’s time to order your save-the-dates, invitation suite and day-of stationery.

Getting married this winter? We just compiled a lovely Pinterest board full of winter wonderland wedding inspiration with hand-crafted touches for every little wedding detail.

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Real Weddings: Natasha and Rory’s Modern Woodland Mountain Wedding

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Wedding vows on the banks of Hallam Lake

Natasha and Rory first came to us for a custom letterpress save the date. Rory’s mom had illustrated a pair of owls which they wanted to incorporate into the piece and they knew they wanted to use the colors orange and grey. They also wanted to convey a woodsy feel because their autumn wedding was set to take place in the mountains of Aspen, Colorado surrounded by golden trees.

To compliment their vision, we created an original design that included the hand-drawn owls along with their signature phrase “Let’s fly away”.  The save the dates were letterpress printed on a gray chipboard paper with bold typography to create a rustic and modern feel. The save the dates were so well received that Natasha and Rory came back and asked us to create their invitations as well.

orange and gray woodgrain wedding invitations with illustrated owls and rustic fonts

We designed the ensemble to introduce the modern, whimsical feel to their event. We echoed the orange and grey hues of the save the date but on a crisp white paper, textured with a faux bois (wood grain) pattern. The long horizontal format and bold fonts gave it a modern feel while the whimsical brackets, vibrant orange and tear away RSVP card kept it  fun and playful. Our goal was to ensure that when guests opened the envelope, they would know that the wedding would be fun, modern, non-traditional and woodsy. These invitations were so much fun to create and perfectly captured the vision Natasha and Rory had for their wedding.

Log with illustrated owls

On their big day, owls were everywhere and the whole event was full of cute, modern details worthy of some serious DIY credentials. There were owls on woodcut tree slices, sewn into miniature pillows, printed onto favor labels, accenting the drink menu and there was even a real taxidermy owl at the reception! A giant orange wine cork heart was created with the couple’s initials to accent a side table, and the bouquets were full of orange and white sculptural flowers, succulents and grey-green leaves. Orange and grey paint chips served as escort cards and were hung from twine for guests to pin to their clothing (how fun, right?). A vintage typewriter was available for everyone to write notes to the bride and groom.

Name tags made with paint chips

Their vows were spoken on the shore of Hallam Lake, with the fall trees reflecting on the water. Natasha’s dress and the wedding rings were all of modern design. As the night wound down, even more sweet touches became apparent. Miniature painted wooden pegs served as the cake topper for a simple, minimal white cake and test tubes with loose leaf tea were given out as favors.

Natasha and Rory’s wedding was a beautiful and unique take on the rustic theme.  The personal touches were completely true to the couple, starting with the Save the Dates and carrying all the way through to the favors. We loved working with  Natasha and Rory and are so grateful to have been a part of their big day!

The details…

Photography | Ashleigh Miller Photography
Ceremony Venue | Hallam Lake
Reception Venue | The Sky Hotel
Music | The Parlor Pickers
Florals | Zephyros Farms
Cake | Kim and Jakes
Invitations | SWEET letterpress & design

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Boulder’s 100 Year Flood

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Almost exactly 3 years ago, we were praying for rain as the Four Mile Canyon Fire raged on the mountain side. Now we pray for continued dryness and receding flood waters. These forces of nature are incredibly humbling.

The last few days in Boulder have been surreal, to say the least. Shock and sadness at the suffering of those around us is mixed with relief and gratitude to have a dry house and studio, though the flood waters and debris came all the way up to our door.

SWEET letterpress studio after Boulder 100 year flood

The sun is bright and the sky a beautiful blue, but the National Guard helicopters flying over head are a constant reminder of our friends and neighbors in Lyons and other communities that are still in need.

After the threat to personal safety has passed, there is an overwhelming desire to help. And a helplessness in not knowing how we might go about doing that. We’ve offered our home to friends and offered to help neighbors with raw sewage clean up, but would love to do more.

Financial donations as well as donations of specific material things are being accepted by the following organizations:

Some people have even suggested going to certain neighborhoods with a shovel and offering a hand. I think we’ll be cleaning up for a long, long while.

There is also a wonderful organization that popped up on facebook called Save My Colorado Wedding – a group of dedicated wedding vendors, helping couples whose weddings are displaced by the Colorado floods. Their volunteers are ready to help save the wedding day by  finding alternate venues and wedding vendors.

It is amazing to see our community coming together to help each other through this disaster. Stay safe. Stay dry. Much love.


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Green Practices for Letterpress Printing

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Rubber based ink cans

Photo Credit: Sullivan Studios

Happy Summer! As the weather heats up we’re reminded of simple ways we can help the environment through things like turning off lights, using less water and being mindful of how we impact ecosystems. This inspired our topic for this post: eco-friendly elements of letterpress.

Here at SWEET letterpress & design we present our studio as eco-friendly, but what exactly does that mean? In an industry where the very methods used are antiquated and somewhat mysterious to the layperson, how do we try to respect the Earth? Let’s dive into the details.

Being environmentally friendly is definitely a trend, but we prefer to think of it as a series of ongoing decisions. Some of these decisions are simple and easy while others require some research and a little more effort. Here are some of the choices we have made to consciously reduce our impact on the environment.

Ink being applied to letterpress ink plate

Ink Choices

We hand-mix all of our inks for custom colors. Bridal suites, birth announcements, greeting cards, business cards, personal stationery… you name it and we have probably mixed a custom color for it. There are a few primary types of ink that letterpress printers use: oil-based, rubber-based and acrylic based ink. With few exceptions (metallics only come in an oil-base for example), we use rubber and acrylic inks for our pieces. Rubber based ink dries by absorbing into the paper, while oil based ink dries primarily through oxidation (air drying) so we try to reduce the VOCs in the atmosphere by minimizing our use of oil based inks.

Envelopes and paper supplies

Photo Credit: Sullivan Studios

Paper Choices

We print on sustainable paper whenever possible. Most of our jobs use 100% cotton tree-free paper but we also print on recycled papers, source FSC-certified paper products, and favor envelopes from vendors that have similar preferences. That’s just for finished pieces though, we also care about the paper that doesn’t get printed on. We donate our cotton scraps to a local paper-maker so they are reused. Finally, we compost or recycle every scrap we can no longer reuse.

Using Boxcar polymer letterpress plates

Photo Credit: Sullivan Studios

Plate Choices

Letterpress printing uses either handset type or printing plates. We print our projects by designing them and having plates made for us. There are two main options: plates made of magnesium mounted on wood or polymer plates that mount onto an aluminum base. We print primarily using our Boxcar Press base and  have our polymer plates made through Boxcar as well. We toured their facility and were impressed with the friendly people, their professionalism and their commitment to the environment. They have a wind powered facility and recycle polymer leftovers. In general, polymer plates are more eco-friendly because they are recyclable, use less material and the registration process is easier so it requires less make ready (practice paper used to adjust everything on the press until you start printing final versions)

Letterpress work bench with ink and cleaning supplies

Photo Credit: Sullivan Studios

Cleaning Product Choices

To clean the ink off a press after printing, most printers use solutions that have high VOCs. This is difficult to avoid entirely, because getting all traces of ink off the press and the rollers is critical to print quality but there are ways to reduce the use of high VOC cleaners. Solvents such as paint thinner and California Wash are commonly used, but as a general rule we clean initially with vegetable oil and then we go back over the press and rollers with solvent last. This allows us to maintain a clean printing press but significantly reduce the VOCs involved in our press cleaning process.

Biodegradeable packaging

Photo Credit: Sullivan Studios

General Practice Choices

In addition to the detailed elements of letterpress, we also adhere to some eco-friendly principles for the studio. We reuse, recycle and compost to the fullest extent possible (and cart everything  home to dispose of since our landlord doesn’t offer recycling or composting) and package our greeting cards in biodegradeable sleeves. We use repurposed packaging materials for our orders and always ship carbon neutral. Additionally, we have something called the “Sweet Tree” program. For every order over $1000, we plant a tree through American Forests.

There are lots of little ways people can be more environmentally conscious at home, but we extend that idea to our studio too. Letterpress is an eco-chic process with some adjustments to the standard workflow, and we plan to continue doing what we can to keep that up.

Do you have any eco-friendly practices for stationery or do you have a letterpress-specific tip that we could put into practice? We would love it if you would let us know in the comments below.

We would like to thank Sullivan Studios for the awesome studio photographs featured in this post.

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Real Weddings: The Classic Elegance of Kate & Matt

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bride and groom, veil streaming in the wind

Ready for a serious dose of class and beauty? Meet Kate and Matt Honea.

Kate and Matt were married under an old oak tree on Matt’s family vineyard in the hills of Santa Barbara. They met at the vineyard through Matt’s sister and knew they wanted to speak their vows where they had first spoken to each other. The details of this wedding bring to mind timeless, classic elegance and their invitations reflect that.


The invitations were letterpress printed on 220lb 100% cotton Crane’s Lettra in pearl white with sophisticated dark blue text and a subtle and beautiful background pattern of blush swirls. These swirls were also featured on the table numbers, which were custom labels for wine bottles that stood with the white floral centerpieces and candles on each table. The subtlety of the swirls lent a silent but noticeable element of grandeur to a classic invitation layout. Kate chose us to print her invitations because she “absolutely loves letterpress stationary and knew [she] wanted something unique.” We developed the design for the invitation suite together; seeing the reality of Kate’s vision through the pictures of her wedding day makes us smile and we know it was the perfect way to set the tone for such a gorgeous wedding.

wedding vows under an old oak tree

The aisle Kate walked down was strewn with white flower petals and she carried a bouquet of simple white peonies held together with an ivory silk ribbon and a vintage pin her mother gave to her. She wore a gorgeous dress designed by Monique Lhuiller, a designer known for “putting California elegance on a global stage” (C Magazine). It was only the second dress Kate tried on, but it was the perfect feature for such an elegant venue and event. The veil Kate chose was long and simply shaped, which allowed it to stream in the soft coastal winds.

Wedding reception in a vineyard

An evening reception was held between two blocks of vines with strings of lights above the groupings of tables. Their cake had multiple flavors but was frosted in white, and had three tiers covered with the simple beauty of white peonies. “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong was played during a sweet father-daughter dance, and the night ended with Kate and Matt driving away a vintage red car decorated in white flower petals and sent off with sparklers.

Getaway Sparklers

We were honored to set the tone for this incredibly gorgeous and meaningful day in their life together.

The Following Vendors Made the Honea Wedding Lovely:
Photography | Miki & Sonja Photography
Flowers and Lighting | Ambient Event Design
Stationery | SWEET letterpress & design

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Dress Up Your Invites: DIY Envelope Liners

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4 patterned envelope linersDress up the invites to you next event with DIY envelope liners!

Today  we’d like to share how you can quickly and easily create envelope liners for your invitations, RSVPs, thank you notes or general stationery and correspondence. While you can always just purchase pre-made envelope liners they can be surprisingly pricey and it’s easy to save money and add a more personal touch by putting in a small amount of time on your own. It’s quick, has a big impact and is much easier than you think!

We recently did this ourselves for our Calluna Events open studio invitations, but we’ve seen it with all sorts of things, including photographsantique wallpaper, maps, pages from books and even fabric. Whatever your liner style or envelope size and shape, this tutorial will help you break down the steps and create a beautiful accent for your envelopes.

The Tutorial

Envelope photocopyStep 1- Photocopy your envelope with the flap open at 90% of the original size.





Cutting out the envelope liner shapeStep 2- Cut out the shape you created. We found it helpful to trace the shape onto a stiff material — the back of a cereal box is a great free option that you probably have lying around the house.





Trace your envelope liner shape onto the paper you will useStep 3- Using that cut-out, trace the shape on top of the material you are using for your envelope liners.





Step 4- Cut out your envelope liners using scissors or an X-Acto knife.

Glue the liner into the envelope on the top flap onlyStep 5- Insert your cut-out liners into the envelope and use an adhesive to attach the liner to the envelope. A glue stick works and we love these. **Be sure to only adhere on the top flap of the envelope. If you glue the entire liner down inside the envelope you will not be able to fold the flap down when it’s time to mail it!




The finished envelope linerand viola!





We told you it was easy!

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Real Weddings: Tara & Pieter

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Pieter and Tara, who met in South Africa, wanted to get married traditionally in a Colorado church, but they also hoped for an “elegant South African bush” feel. Tying together South Africa and Colorado was a bold choice that required ingenuity, creative details and a whole lot of floral drama.

Tara and Pieter chose to use a tree in their invitation design, but not just any tree – a baobab tree. The baobab is an iconic symbol of Africa and has a sturdy trunk, a good foundation for building a marriage and family on.

Tara-and-Peter-Invite copy

The invitations were designed to be classy and traditional but still reflect the South African roots Tara and Pieter valued. A dark brown ink printed on ecru paper with classic and beautiful fonts was accented by a subtle background image of a baobab tree. The classy invitations introduced the formal feel of the occasion without losing the African theme.

One of Tara’s favorite aspects was that so many guests and members of the bridal party traveled to be a part of the celebration. Four out of the five bridesmaids and both the groomsmen were from outside the country! People traveled from all over, ranging from South Africa, New Zealand, Germany and Costa Rica.

Vows were declared in a traditional church ceremony with tile floors and giant wooden beams overlooking the event. Dark blue bridesmaid dresses added an elegant understatement to the exotic floral arrangements they carried down the aisle.


It wouldn’t be a Colorado wedding without photographs of the bride and groom in the mountains and among trees, and with the photogenic fall foliage a photo shoot was impossible to resist. The bright and sculptural bouquets stood out amongst the golden aspens and the couple was able to showcase the Colorado side of their relationship. They also offered bison as a meat choice.

Pieter and Tara chose a formal ballroom for their reception and flooded it with flower arrangements and smiling guests. Each floral piece was unique to cater to the couple’s desire to maintain a more natural and less arranged feel. The baobab tree from their invitations found itself on the groom’s cake, table & escort cards (also designed by yours truly), table runners made by Pieter’s mom and it was even made into an ice sculpture!  Soapstone animal carvings were brought from Africa and given as favors while a wishing tree where guests could hang sentiments was placed on a side table. Unique African desserts such as Melkterts and Malva Pudding were served to end the meal on an African note.

The fusion of South Africa and Colorado created an elegant and unexpected theme that we were excited to be a part of.

Tara and Pieter planned most of their wedding from South Africa(!) with the help of parents and vendors.

The following vendors made this event incredible:

Wedding Coordinator: Heather from Calluna Events
Photographers: Jason and Gina Grubb
Videographer: Neil from 303Motion
Invitations: SWEET letterpress & design
Flowers: Sturtz & Copeland
Cake:Tee & Cakes
DJ: George from Get Up and Dance
Dress: Little White Dress
Bridesmaids dresses, alterations, groom’s and groomsmen’s tux: Boulder Bridal
Ceremony Site: St. Mary Magdalene Church
Reception Venue: Omni Interlocken Resort

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Calluna Events Open House Party

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We are thrilled to welcome Calluna Events to our North Boulder neighborhood and were honored when they asked us to create the invitations for their open house party. After printing their new letterpress business cards earlier this year, we were excited to collaborate with Heather and her team once again.

We wanted to create invitations that would show off Calluna’s chic new brand as well as introduce some of the fun details that guests would see when they arrived. The custom die cut shape of the cards was inspired by a mirror in the space and prepared guests for some classy fun. The grey ink and envelopes lent the same air of modern sophistication which presents itself upon entering Calluna’s new office and the chevron envelope liners were a nod to the big tufted ottoman that sits in the center of the room.

Here is the finished invitation along with some shots of the space that inspired them:


calluna-chevron-ottoman-business-cards-sweet-letterpress   calluna-inspiration-board

Now, on to the party! Memorable events are often the effort of many people collaborating. While the event was Calluna’s, vendors from all over Colorado came to make it beautiful and let their collective hair down for some low-key, high-beauty congratulations and welcome.

As people arrived, they were greeted by round balloons, smiling faces and fresh styling by Mile High Style. Seasonal florals surprised from every surface thanks to Brighter Day Floral Design. Visitors were invited to sample savory food from Catering by Design and tempted by artistically rendered dessert from Tee & Cakes. Boulder Wine Merchant provided some bubbly refreshment to match the mood while Pekoe Sip House offered beautifully packaged tea with which to wash everything down.

As if the setting wasn’t beautiful enough, everything was accented by the multi-hued outfits guests wore. The kaleidoscope effect created by colorful dresses and various textures served to parallel the way in which so many vendors came together to make this event a fun, creative collaboration.

Connie Dai Photography was kind enough to take these beautiful photographs of the evening.  Take a look, be inspired, and get ready for the creative energy of Calluna Events to knock you off your feet.

(And a warm welcome to Calluna’s lovely neighbors: Tess Pace PhotographyK Hodge Films and One Hitched Lane. We look forward to collaborating with you all again soon!)


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