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Smock Design Contest – Custom Letterpress Birthday Party Invitations

Once upon a time we shared with you a whole bunch of gorgeous letterpress designs that we recently honored in our Smock Design Contest. Today we’re back with our first runner up! This design is a custom letterpress birthday party invitation based on our Graham design brought to us by Luxe Expressions in Atlanta. They are printed in bright hues of custom deep pink and green and feature our roxen pattern on the back. Created for an 80s theme 40th birthday party, our guest judge Kristen Magee of Paper Crave says, “The vibrant colors and bold pattern make this such a fun invitation, and the “40” emblem graphic gives the invite a bit of a funky edge. The design is versatile and could be used for so many different types of occasions, but I love it as a 40th birthday party invite. The message it sends is, ‘I’m turning 40, I am completely fabulous, and you are going to have an absolute blast at my party!'” We couldn’t agree more.

Announcing Our Smock Design Contest Winners

Today we’re excited to announce the winners of our most recent Smock Design Contest! Our friend and paper blogger extraordinaire Kristen from Paper Crave did the honor of selecting our first place winner and runner-ups from among our favorite recent customizations, sent to us by our beloved Smock dealers. Over the next few weeks we will be sharing full details and photos of all our honorees here on our blog so don’t miss it. In the meantime, a big thank you to all of our awesome Smock dealers!

FIRST PLACE WINNER – Salutations in Charlotte, North Carolina

Brought to us by Salutations in Charlotte, guest judge Kristen says, “I love that it’s feminine without being too feminine,” about our winning design, a stunning customization of our Kurai wedding invitation.

FIRST RUNNER UP – Luxe Expressions in Atlanta

Saying that “…the vibrant colors and bold pattern make this such a fun invitation” we loved Kristens’s pick for first runner up, a custom 40th birthday party invitation design for our friends at Luxe Expressions in Atlanta.

SECOND RUNNER UP – Judy Paulen Designs in Manhattan

Kristen’s choice for second runner up is a custom letterpress wedding invitation brough to us by Judy Paulen Designs at Bloomingdale’s in Manhattan. She loved it because “the fantastic color choices and patterns give it a very modern feel.”


In addition to our three winners, we’re recognizing seven additional designs that inspired us to no end. We extend a heartfelt thank you to our friends at the following stores – we are continually awed by all you do!

Houston Invitation Service in Houston

Salutations in Charlotte

Details in Philadelphia

Perfectly Personal by Jen in Chappaqua, New York

Epitome Papers in Edina, Minnesota

Social Graces in Nashville

Byrd + Bleecker in Fort Worth

Destination Wedding Letterpress Invitations

It’s a bit ironic that we have sun and summer on the brain today given the blinding snow currently falling over Central New York, but our dreams of sunshine can’t be deterred – we can’t wait for spring to get here! This time of year we start to get a lot of inquiries about invitation designs particularly well-suited to waterfront, beach or destination weddings so we thought we’d dig up some of our favorites from last year to share with you. There’s nothing like the promise of warm summer breezes to get you inspired, snow or no snow.

Lashar Letterpress Wedding Invitation by Smock

Lashar Letterpress Invitation with Patterned Backing

This first invitation is our Lashar design printed in pewter ink using our Smock Spencerian calligraphy font. The back of the letterpress invitation features gorgeous patterned backing printed in sea mist in our lesina pattern.

Palm Tree Letterpress Wedding Invitation by Smock

This invitation was a beautiful custom version of our Haddington design, printed in espresso ink and blind deboss. The palm tree motif was a custom addition to the design, making it perfect for an elegant destination wedding.

Vettore Letterpress Wedding Invitation

Brought to us by our friends at Peabody Papers in Columbus, Ohio, this version of our popular Vettore design was printed in midnight and seamist inks. The flourishes from the Vettore design were modified in such a way that they remind us of water and waves without being literal.

Engadine Letterpress Wedding Invitation by Smock

Beach Wedding Letterpress Invitations by Smock

This custom version of our Engadine design was printed for the folks at Luxe Expressions in Atlanta. It’s a letterpress reply postcard printed in midnight and seamist that features pretty ocean-themed motifs. The card also includes space for guests to reply to multiple weekend events, which is a great option when designing your stationery for a destination wedding.

Custom Letterpress Birthday Party Invitations

A while back we featured Cydney’s first birthday party and today we wanted to share a few more photos of the custom letterpress birthday party invitations we created with Debra Saba of Luxe Expressions for Cydney’s party. The invitation itself was a 2-color letterpress card printed in custom shades of fuchsia and navy with pretty fuchsia edge painting. It featured custom patterned backing paired with a matching envelope liner and came enclosed with a 1-color letterpress directions card. We love this invitation set!

Custom Letterpress Birthday Party Invitation by Smock

Custom Letterpress Birthday Party Invitation by Smock

Custom Letterpress Birthday Party Invitation by Smock

Custom Letterpress Birthday Party Invitation by Smock

Summer Romance Tablescape Inspiration from StudioWed

Featuring beautiful letterpress details by Smock in our Rhon design, calligraphy from our master calligrapher Debi Zeinert, and the beautiful styling of Lemiga Events, this tablescape is undeniably beautiful. Once again sent to us by the lovely Debra Saba of Luxe Expressions, Debra and the other talented professionals of StudioWed in Atlanta pulled together this tablescape design that has us totally inspired. (And the photos, taken by Blue World Studios, are just as beautiful!)

Summer Romance Tablescape from StudioWed featuring Smock

From the amazing linens from I Do Linens, to the adorable place cards poking out of pretty peaches, to the breathtaking flowers from Tulip, the details are so fresh and so pretty. It would make for a beautiful wedding, but would be equally as brilliant for a great anniversary or engagement party. The possibilities are endless!

Summer Romance Tablescape from StudioWed featuring Smock

We are completely charmed by how lovely our Smock letterpress menus and place cards look nestled in among such fabulous details. And how amazing is that cake from Sweet Sensations? Even the fresh lemons and adorable bottles of lemonade are incredibly sweet – we’re so thrilled to have our Smock letterpress included in such an inspiring design!

A big thank you to Debra for all of the incredible inspiration this week – it’s such a pleasure to share it with everyone!

Smock Store Spotlight – Luxe Expressions in Atlanta

Residing at StudioWed in Atlanta, an exclusive gathering of Atlanta’s finest wedding professionals, Luxe Expressions is the inspired stationery boutique of Debra Saba. (The same Debra Saba who sent us this fabulous birthday party we shared earlier this week!) Having grown up in the small Illinois town of Joliet, with fond memories of the local dime store and visiting Orange Julius with her grandmother, Debra was inspired early on to take great care in customer service. While attending college and majoring in journalism and communications with a focus in graphic design, Debra always envisioned herself moving to Chicago and working for an advertising agency or a magazine. However, after several summers spent working at a golf course and having met a number of professionals, she found herself working for the next decade as a computer consultant in the corporate world. Though not in keeping with her education or her love for design, her career afforded her the opportunity to grow tremendously as a professional and do quite a bit of traveling, leading to her meeting her husband. Soon, all of the travel began to feel like too much, and with her husband’s support Debra decided to make the leap and go into business for herself, hoping to spread her love for design through her own stationery boutique and design studio. And with that, Luxe Expressions was born.

Smock Store Spotlight - Luxe Expressions at Studio Wed

Debra figured that with her experience in building out technology centers for large corporations in her life as a computer consultant, it wouldn’t be hard to build her own business. She quickly found out just how wrong she was, but with the constant support of her husband she was able to make it work. She was inspired by her passion for stationery and her desire to work with happy people for a living, people who were celebrating life and the most meaningful of occasions. After so many years spent fixing problems, she longed for a career where she could work with people who were excited and optimistic. As she says today, “I love being around sunny happy people now.”

Smock Store Spotlight - Luxe Expressions at Studio Wed

A typical day in the life of Luxe Expressions involves Debra or one of the other in-house designers working with clients on their projects and keeping in close contact with design studios such as Smock to track progress on client orders. As Luxe Expressions is not a traditional stationery store, consultations are scheduled by appointment only either at StudioWed or wherever else a design client may like to meet up over coffee to discuss their vision and ideas. StudioWed offers fabulous industry experts in everything from stationery and photography to floral design, event planning and catering. Couples are able to visit the studio, which is exquisitely designed, and have the vendors cater to them while providing endless inspiration for their event.

Debra and her team take great care in dealing with their clients, bringing a true consultative approach when dealing with brides and corporate clients alike. From the initial consultation to the final packaging, everything that involves Luxe Expressions is thoughtful and rich in personal detail. The running joke around StudioWed is that even Debra’s invoices come neatly packaged in cute envelopes topped with pretty ribbons. The great pride of Luxe Expressions is making clients friends for life – hopefully if they work with Luxe Expressions for wedding invitations, they’ll be back to design at-home cards, holiday cards and, of course, baby announcements.

Smock Store Spotlight - Luxe Expressions at Studio Wed

If you could describe your personality in letterpress, which Smock invitation would you be and why?
I love them all but there are two that match my personality for completely different reasons. I love pattern and just a hint of the unexpected so I would say Lashar in blind deboss and eggplant. It has a bit of an ethnic flair to it and the pattern reminds me a bit of Damascus, Syria – my husband’s hometown. I also would have to have an inner envelope lined as I like to be very neat and the thought of ripping open an outer envelope and tearing the gorgeous liner makes me sad. I also love Haddington with the Smock Clermont calligraphy font and the names done by hand by Smock’s master calligrapher, Debi Zeinert.

What’s your favorite part about your job?
One of my favorite things is to collaborate with Lindsy and Beth Ann and everyone at Smock. You truly make my day enjoyable when we are working on a project together. I also love love love my clients, listening to their needs, and translating that into a design for them. I had a client that Smock did for us and when she saw her printed invitations, she cried. Those are the best part of my days for sure. I also love to “make it happen” so whatever the client needs, we’ll figure it out. I have a great team both internally and in the team of my extended vendor and partnership family.

What’s your favorite city to visit?
There are two. Internationally would be Damascus, Syria where my husband is from. I love everything from the people, to the smells of falafel cooking on the streets, to the sounds throughout the day. It’s amazing there and if I could talk my husband into moving back, I’d be there! Domestically I would have to say Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida where I lived right out of college. It was perfectly manicured and not fussy at all. It’s gorgeous and a few minutes from St. Augustine which is another favorite.

What do you think will be the next big thing in weddings?
I get a lot of requests to incorporate my client’s custom linen selections for their event into their stationery. I think bringing in a textile feel to things will take off. I would love to layer the invitations that are perfectly letterpress printed with some fabulous organic fabric.

Where are your favorite places to shop?

I am a huge Zappos fan for shoes! They by far have the best customer service for an online company. I also do quite a bit of shopping for fun things on Etsy. Locally I go to Lenox Sqaure Mall in Buckhead or The Avenue at West Cobb where I live out in Acworth, GA.

What’s your top pick destinations for first time travelers to Atlanta?
You must go to The World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium, and the Atlanta Botanical Gardens as they all appeal to kids and adults. Piedmont Park is also quite lovely. Outside of Atlanta, if you take a drive up 75 north heading towards Tennessee…the view are gorgeous!

Thank you, Debra, for indulging us with the inside scoop on Luxe Expressions – you can plan on a visit from Smock the next time we make it to Atlanta! Also, a big thank you to Ross Oscar Knight, the photographer at StudioWed for the amazing photosincluding some great shots of Smock’s letterpress wedding invitations!

Stay tuned because we have some more fabulous inspiration from the professionals at StudioWed later today!

Smock Real Party – Cydney’s First Birthday Party

Today’s Smock Real Party feature is another fabulous first birthday party. And we mean truly truly fabulous! Sent to us by Debra Saba of Luxe Expressions and taken by Andrea Taylor Studio, the photos of this party have us completely inspired to find any excuse we can to throw a really exquisite celebration of our own.

Smock Real Party - Beautiful Birthday Party from Luxe Expressions and StudioWed

Working with Debra from Luxe Expressions, Smock created these beautiful letterpress invitations for Cydney’s birthday, featuring the monogram that was incorporated throughout all of the event details. The custom navy and fuchsia inks were matched to the colors of the decor and flowers, for a beautifully coordinated effect.
Smock Real Party - Beautiful Birthday Party from Luxe Expressions and StudioWed

And, of course, any daughter of an NFL player needs her own personalized jersey to serve as a guest book at her first birthday party! We love how the colors of the linens, stationery and flowers were so perfectly girly and fun, but still really sophisticated. The theme of the day was all things sugar and spice, which we completely adore.

Smock Real Party - Beautiful Birthday Party from Luxe Expressions and StudioWed
From the letterpress invitations, to the monogrammed cake, to the personalized cotton candy sticks and the luxurious satin and tulle linens, this birthday party was an incredibly thoughtful and festive celebration. Thank you so much to Debra for sharing with us!

Custom Smock Letterpress Invitations for All Occasions

At Smock we are no strangers to printing incredible customizations of our letterpress wedding invitations brought to us by the great stores we work with, but recently we’ve also been lucky enough to print some fabulous customized invitations for a wide range of other occasions. We love the idea of adpating a wedding invitation design for other events because really, letterpress is gorgeous for any celebration, isn’t it?

Cherry Blossom Bat Mitzvah letterpress invitation - Smock

This version of our Kurai design, brought to us by RSVP Today in New York City, is updated in papaya and silver inks and includes Hebrew text for a result that is youthful and elegant. We love how a simple pop of bright color, along with our Beaumont serif font, changes the look of the design so dramatically and makes it so perfect for inviting loved ones to celebrate a Bat Mitzvah.

Blue and green letterpress baby announcement - Smock

We love this take on the original Helani letterpress design customized as a perfectly adorable baby announcement, a variation on the Helani reception card for a client of Kustom Kreations in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Printed in clover and lake inks, with the addition of the very sweet Etienne script font, it’s bright and fresh and the perfect way to celebrate the birth of a beloved little one.

Custom Pink and orange letterpress invitation - corporate - Smock
Printed for Luxe Expressions in Atlanta, this invitation is for a bridal showcase hosted by The Atlantan Brides, and boasts bright raspberry and pewter inks with tangerine edge painting in a custom design based on Helani. The cheerful envelope liner is our Oesa pattern in fun tangerine ink and together it makes for a truly festive invitation. We love this use of a bold and bright letterpress design for a coporate event.

Elephant baby shower invitation - letterpress by Smock
Sweetly printed on our Ellie note card from Smock’s social line, this baby shower invitation is truly adorable. We can think of no better way to invite guests to celebrate the upcoming birth of a new loved one.

Farewell party invitation - letterpress - Smock
This version of Nevis was printed in lake and midnight inks for a farewell brunch and features edge painting in gold, which we absolutely love. Printed at our Save the Date size, the invitation is perfect for inviting loved ones to celebrate good food and good cheer and was brought to us by Arabesque of Naples in Naples, Florida.