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Remember that Photo Shoot?

I know it’s been ages since I mentioned the big wedding photo shoot we were involved in last April but I can finally share with you about it! It was so fun. My friend, Deb you see above, was a featured artist. She created this amazing painting that you see behind the bride and groom. (And now it’s on posters all around our old beach town so if you’re a local you’ve likely seen it.)

Many of these photos are by Bliss Blue Sky’s Photography.

Five Crowns in Corona Del Mar from Erik Thienes on Vimeo.

Her husband, Erik (and our good friend) created this really pretty video of the whole event. It’s long but peaceful and you’ll see Bug at about the 2:57 mark and a small glimpse of my part in this shoot. I created the invitations, place cards and menu signs. They weren’t featured very prominently but you know how it is with weddings, it takes a lot of small parts to make something big and beautiful. I was happy to be included!

Deb Allen Art

I always love watching Deb work. That’s how we met. She was pouring paint down a giant canvas when Bug and I happened to walk down the alley behind her house. Of course we were fascinated. She had twine tied onto the canvas in a leaf print pattern and the dripping green paint followed the twine to create this amazing abstract but organic feeling of a leaf. Someday I’m going to save up my money and buy a giant painting of hers. I love them and her!

I should have written about this way back when it happened because now I’m forgetting how everything went down. It was something like: Toby was supposed to watch Bug. I think they were going to do something fun together but then he had a terrible deadline he had to meet and Bug was stuck watching old videos on his couch and was pretty bored. She begged to come with me to meet everyone and say hi to our friends and I ended up letting her come along on one of my various trips between the shoot and Toby’s house. Of course all the photographers fell in love with her and she was invited to stay and model as an extra flower girl. She was over the moon.

Hair and make-up and hanging out with pretty girls in pretty dresses?! It was her dream come true.

Since I designed the wedding invitations and signage I knew that the colors of the wedding would be antique whites, grays and blues with an accent of bright orange. So on my lunch break (before the wedding procession part of the shoot where Bug would be modeling) Bug and I went and got our nails done for fun. There was a salon across the street and it was a great way to kill time. This was back when we still lived in the sticks.

Anyway, I made the mistake of telling Bug that orange was a special color in the wedding shoot and that we should get our nails done in that color. She happily obliged but what I didn’t realize was that she was dreaming up a matching tangerine dress in her mind that she would wear in the big photo shoot. So when we got there and they had a navy blue dress for her to wear she was very disappointed. She didn’t pitch an all out fit but tears were shed and everyone got involved.

I was so embarrassed. I had coached her that models don’t get a say about what they wear and how they wear it but apparently my coaching was not enough when it comes to Bug and her color preference. If you know anything from reading about her over the years you know how important color is to her. I really hope she grows up to be a fashion designer or a colorist or something someday so that all this hand-wringing I’ve done over the years will make a great story.

Thankfully the models and fashion people in the room had some tricks up their sleeve and someone kind coaxed her to try on the navy blue dress anyway, just to see what it would look like and then she could take it off and never see it again. I was about ready to pack her up and tell her her modeling career was over but they told me to give her a second chance. Tearfully she tried the dress on and then everyone went to town raving about how pretty she looked in it. How the dark color made her eyes sparkle and her tan glow…on and on they went much to my chagrin. I really don’t like to encourage diva behavior but it turned out some praise was all she needed to get her out of her funk. Shows you what I know. She thought she was the prettiest girl in the world and was all smiles after that.

But I’m glad it happened because modeling is not all pretty dresses and lovely smiles. I’ve seen enough behind the scenes to know that it is actually a lot of work and if you don’t have the stamina to keep a pleasant smile plastered on your face for hours on end even when you are in pain, then you really aren’t cut out for it.

We had a lot of fun and made a lot of new friends.

I made some business contacts which lead me to developing an invitation website which I’m really excited to announce is finally done!!!

Go ahead and click on through and check it out.

To tell you the truth, I’ve always been a little afraid to go public with my invitation design business because printing can be a bit trickier than web graphics. If you screw up (like make typos, which I often do) you’re out a lot of money and time. You can’t just upload a new graphic to a website and fix the problem in a matter of minutes. You have to go on press, schedules have to be moved, people have to be hired…typos can ruin a whole wedding. I guess that depends on your point of view but as a designer, it is a big risk for me. I don’t keep thousands of dollars in my bank account for reprints and I have to admit I’m a little terrified of bridezillas and their mothers.

That said, I’ve done a lot of invitation design over the years so with some encouragement from my friends, I’m finally going to make a business of it! I don’t have my prices listed on the website because every job will have to be quoted individually and it’s not cheap. I’m enlisting my friend Calee to help with quoting but we’re aiming for events that can afford $10-$20 per invite. That will probably seem crazy expensive to most of you but in Southern California that’s actually the going rate. In fact the really over-the-top weddings start at $20 an invitation—so you can see why I’ve been a little trepidatious.

Of course I’ll still be doing all the freelance jobs I’ve always been doing (at way lower prices) but this is a new niche I hope to go after. So if you know someone who wants a unique invitation, send them my way!

I’ll also be blogging over at too but I’ll mostly just share work-related things. I’ll probably double post here and there but keep all the personal stuff here. Check it out! I’ve been waiting a long time to share this all with you so I’m super excited and hope you like it!


  • Mrs. Wilson

    WOW! I’m so excited for you! As long as you have a good editor on your side (Calee!), you’ll be fine!! Spelling/grammar mistakes are so frustrating, and you are right, they’re not as easy to fix when things are printed on super-expensive paper.

    You photos are beautiful, as always.

    Excited for you!!

  • a chris

    Twenty bucks an invite?! At $20 per couple, the invitations alone for my wedding would have run…twenty bucks. Could have afforded it, I guess. Heehee. I’m just imagining what those people are spending on other stuff for their weddings. Ack.

    Nice British phone box they have there in California…is there a phone inside? In related news, I’m going to a wedding at Trinity College, Cambridge, this weekend. I think you get a discount on the venue if you’re a member.

    That’s kind of an exciting venture. Sounds like the kind of market where you need to price for prestige. Seems like a great idea to have Calee on board to help you keep your nerve on the pricing.

    Argh. Baby crying. Off I go.

  • A different Elizabeth

    I’m very happy for you! And your invitation website looks wonderful. Good luck with this new venture — I really admire your entrepeneurial spirit.

    On another note, I was very happy the other day to see that you are really working on the SAJ in Paris book. I can’t wait to see that (and buy copies of it!).

  • Amy

    CONGRATS Brenda! You will do a wonderful job with your creative soul! Gorgeous post, the pictures and video just beautiful. And of course the Bug a Star :)

  • Emmaline E.

    I’ve officially been a lurker for over a year now, but I’m delurking to just say I’m so excited for you. I’ve read your entire archive from beginning to end, love your pictures and your art and your writing, and am thrilled that you’re seizing this opportunity. You probably have many people who know you better than I do telling you this, but I think one can never hear encouragement too many times, so… You’ll do great! I love the new website, and if I had the money to spend I would think up a party just to ask you to do the invites :)

    On a side note, I can’t wait till I have kids so I can buy all the SAJ books and flash cards. They’re so fun! You have such a gift for fun, whimsical art that adults can enjoy too.

  • bethany actually

    All those photos you’ve been taking all these years are coming in so handy now! :-) The new website looks GREAT and I’m really excited for you! I hope this leads to many good things!