Jun 29, 2018

VENDOR SPOTLIGHT | Sarah Erickson of Sarah Ann Design

sarah ann design wedding stationary and calligraphy

I am so excited to share with you my summer vendor spotlight series! I’ve had this idea in my head for a long time and maternity leave seemed like the perfect time to do it. Over the next few months, you’ll be meeting some of my favorite Dallas and Fort Worth wedding planners, florists, makeup artists, and calligraphers. I’ve loved getting to know and work with all of these talented women and I’m so thankful to call them friends! These gals are at the top of my recommended vendor list to my clients because I trust them 100% to be professional, fun, and amazing at what they do.

Today we’ve got Sarah of Sarah Ann Design. Sarah is as sweet and bubbly as they come. We worked together on the Trinity boudoir editorial last fall but I’ve been obsessed with Sarah’s work long before that. If you don’t follow her on Instagram, you should. Not only is work stunning but her business has a heart similar to mine — advocates of strong marriages. I love how she weaves in marital anecdotes and encouragement throughout her posts. Oh, and she’s also one heck of a writer! Without further ado, here is Sarah!

Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got into the business.

Hello, sweet friends. I’m Sarah—a designer and calligrapher in a long-term love affair with letterform. I am wife to my high school sweetheart, mama to a dozen plant babies, and lover of all things greige.

My formal education in Graphic Design set the foundation for my entry into wedding invitation design; a love for heirloom quality is what propels my business forward on a daily basis.

I believe your invitations are a tangible heirloom from your most sacred wedding day. It’s an honor for me to craft suites that reflect a couple’s distinctive love story—tangible heirlooms that will preserve their love story for generations to come.

What is your favorite part of your job? Why do you do what you do? What gets you up in the morning?

There is something transcendent about the items we can hold and connect back to a sacred event in our lives… a palpable connection to an untouchable transformation within ourselves. Carefully crafted wedding stationery is a tangible connection to your distinctive love story. And that’s what I love most about my job: creating heirlooms.

In the more practical sense, my favorite part of the design process is the very beginning of a project: when all the images of your love story are still dancing around in my head, barely coming to life within the pages of my sketchbook. At this point, the suite is nothing more than unintelligible pencil scratches and a sea of creative possibility. I love watching your love story come to life on paper, one pencil mark at a time.

As much as I love custom design, there’s also something so therapeutic about envelope calligraphy. I love to work on envelope orders in the evening, with a glass of wine nearby and Netflix in the background.

As I calligraph names, I love to offer up a prayer for each recipient. I don’t know their story, but our lives have intertwined in this fleeting and tangential way. It is an honor to be entrusted with their name, and a joy to help ask them to join such a special celebration.

What do you wish people knew about your job?

I often get inquiries (from brides and, more often, from photographers) asking if I can create “just one suite” for styled photos on their special day. I understand why brides and photographers would love to have one picture-perfect heirloom suite… but I don’t think they realize how much they’re asking for.

A custom invitation design takes the same amount of time and skill for me to design, whether I print one copy or 100 copies.

Beyond that, I truly value the heirloom aspect of the custom designs I create. I believe your invitations will represent your love story for a lifetime—that you (and your guests) will look at it and be reminded of the sacred vows exchanged on that most special day. It’s hard for me to imagine creating a pretend suite for photographs … a suite that wasn’t actually part of this couple’s sacred wedding day.

I know most people inquire about “just one suite” with the best intentions, but unfortunately it really devalues a designer’s work. We put the same time and effort into “just one suite” that we would put into a fully custom invitation design … we just change the quantity when we hit the print button. You can read more about my thoughts right here.

And lastly… I’m on a mission to spread the word: Stationery (meaning paper goods) is spelled with an E … not an A! 💌 Stationary with an A means “not moving.” Stationery with an E refers to paper goods. Just remember: E for Envelope!

It’s a super common misspelling, but it makes a huge difference in Google searches and hashtags for us designers.

Why do you think hiring a professional graphic designer is so important on your wedding day?

Paper goods can be a beautiful component of your wedding photos, but their true value runs so much deeper than that. To start, they are the opening act of your wedding day: a guest’s very first impression of the most significant day of your life. It sets the tone for the entire celebration.

If you take time to make these little envelopes a true joy and an undeniable reflection of your big day, they will absolutely be treasured—even after the wedding day is long gone.

Any memorable stories from a wedding day you’d like to share? 

As a designer, I am not usually present on the day of the wedding! But I have encountered some memorable love stories along the way…

One sweet bride in particular stands out: we had designed a custom illustration of her church, featured on her ceremony program design.

She asked me to leave one page of the program blank, for a special note she was writing to her guests.

When she finally sent me the words she had written, I couldn’t stop the tears streaming down my face.

The note was in honor of her brother, who had recently passed away. His memorial service had been celebrated at the same church. She drew a beautiful parallel between her walk down the aisle, splendid in white, and his final procession down the funeral aisle, covered in black.

It was such a heartbreaking letter, but also one filled with love and hope and a heartfelt understanding of a lifelong marriage. Her words were authentic, vulnerable, and wise beyond her years.

I just couldn’t stop thinking to myself: “It is such an honor to know this bride.”

Even now, I think of that little church illustration. Knowing her family’s story – the profound heartache and resounding joys they have experienced inside this church – makes that little drawing so much more significant.

And that’s what I love about what I do. Layered with the couple’s story, a small creation of mine became a meaningful symbol for the bride and her family—a piece of their special heritage for generations to follow.

If you weren’t doing what you’re currently doing, what would you want to do instead?

I can’t imagine doing anything in the world but this! My husband and I have often posed this question to each other, and we’re both stumped. I guess it’s a sign—we’re doing exactly what we should be!

Where are some of the places on your travel bucket list?

Rome! It’s a lifelong dream of mine to visit Italy—Rome in particular. Maybe one day? In the meantime, I’ll have to live vicariously through my little invitation suites as their envelopes are mailed all over the world!

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Is it odd to say a little more quiet time?

The past few years have held big milestones for us (getting married, launching Sarah Ann Design…)

This year, I’m looking forward to a little more time to slow down and savor the everyday.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?

1. In middle school, I won the state championship for Dictionary Skills. It was literally a competition to see who could flip through the dictionary to find answers the fastest. Yep, that’s right.

2. On my own wedding day, my “Something Old” was my mom’s own wedding rosary, which she carried down the aisle herself. My “Something Blue” was a monogrammed handkerchief that my late grandfather had made out of his blue dress shirt before he passed away.

3. Nothing in the world makes me laugh as hard as my husband’s car karaoke.

Where are your favorite local hangouts and things to do when you’re not working?

Most nights, you can find me cuddled up on the couch with my husband, watching whatever show is our latest binge. We’re complete homebodies, and we love it that way.

On the rare occasion that we venture out, we probably won’t go much farther than our local Taco Diner ($5 mambo taxis!)

Otherwise, I’ll likely be brewing a cup of tea, reading, tending to my plants (they’re taking over!), brunching over a bloody Mary and eggs Benedict, or scrolling through Pinterest collecting inspiration for my next project.

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