The LAURA ANN custom illustration and stationery design process is a close collaboration between client and artist. LAURA ANN aims to bring the client's vision to life, incorporating as many personal and destination architectural details as possible to help the host bring grace, joy, and anticipation to any special occasion or painting. The process generally begins with a coffee or a phone chat with Laura Elbogen to brainstorm the concept. The client often provides a favorite image of inspiration to kick off the visual research. An initial watercolor and ink illustration can be transformed into a branded design suite, from invitations to event signage, to stationery and beyond. Designs can be delivered digitally for online communication, or produced by LAURA ANN.

Pricing varies depending on if the design is “something borrowed,” customized from an existing LAURA ANN design and printed digitally to LAURA ANN’s standard sizes and paper specs, or designed "bespoke" from scratch. Visit the LAURA ANN Collections and Products  pages to view samples available for customization. Contact LAURA ANN for a custom quote.

The Custom Process

Landmark Art

At LAURA ANN we believe that landmark places shape our experiences and inspire our relationships, from the everyday to the special days. Landmark artwork can be commissioned in its own right, or framed as a keepsake as a special bonus of the destination invitation and stationery process. Artist Laura Elbogen’s New York City career in the cultural realms of fashion, architecture, and design comes through in her watercolor and ink specialty: her range of architectural scenes varies from university campuses and chapels to historic landmarks, hotels, clubs, private homes, vineyards, ranches, gardens, and resorts.

Standard painting sizes are as follows: 5”x7”, 5.5”x8.5”, 8”x10”, and 9”x12.” If you are planning ahead for a special gift, or commissioning a custom painting in conjunction with an invitation, the farther ahead the better. Standard turnaround is 4-6 weeks from receipt of the inspiration image and deposit. Let us know your deadline, and sooner may be possible.

Destination invitations

LAURA ANN aims to bring your love to life. By incorporating LAURA ANN landmark art into stationery and invitations, the host extends a personal touch of hospitality from the get-go, sharing the excitement and giving a glimpse of the destination to come. Our standard customizable invitation suite design is exemplified in the silhouettes, calligraphy styles, border styles, paper types, and artful accents of the LAURA ANN Ivy Campus and Chapel series. Visit the Collections webpage to view samples.

Invitation silhouette: Choose from a Flat or Gatefold style invitation, in the standard but stately size of 8.5”x5.5”. LAURA ANN is known for its unique gatefold silhouette, which is especially stunning when revealing an artwork insert of a chapel entrance or aisle. Choose from a standard Gothic pointed arch or Romanesque rounded “entrance gate,” or commission custom art of arches or gates specific to the destination.

Calligraphy: Choose from 6 old world calligraphy styles in Laura Elbogen’s modern hand. Visit the Calligraphy page for more information and stylistic history. Or select a “gourmet” calligraphy style from a sample on the Products page.

Border Style and Accent Colors: Chose from 6 standard border styles. Custom border designs outside of the standard collection or painted edges can be delivered at an additional cost. Choose accent colors to match your event and custom art. You may send us an inspiration image, Pantone number, or swatch for color matching.

Paper: LAURA ANN advises using textured paper to give the most authentic touch to the reproduced watercolor art. Choose from one of 6 collection papers of 80lb weight, in linen, felt, or recycled finishes.  Note that the Milkweed style is 100% recycled. We bring our old world design aesthetic into the modern day by not advocating for the thickest paper on the market. We believe 80lb thickness to be stiff and sturdy enough to deliver an elegant impact, while aiming to consume fewer natural resources. That said, sometimes duty calls for the regal beauty of double thick invitations. Custom paper options may be considered for bespoke projects.

Printing Method: LAURA ANN produces invitations and stationery with high quality digital printers. We’ve found the modern printing method to be the best way to reproduce the multicolor watercolor artwork for the standard units most often desired by brides and hosts. Combining other methods such as gold foil stamping may be considered for bespoke projects.

Envelopes: All LAURA ANN envelopes come with Euro pointed flaps. Choose from the same 6 standard paper colors and textures, to match the invitation paper. Colored envelopes may be selected to match invitation accent colors when possible. To go single or double? Historically a second envelope for a formal invitation was advisable, stemming from the day when mail was easily destroyed in the slow traveling post. Though that is no longer a major concern today, the tradition lives on as an addressing formality. That may be reason enough to choose double envelopes for the most formal of events, though given eco concerns of the modern day, we advise that a single envelope is equally appropriate, especially if each guest’s name is hand written onto the invitation. Our standard invitation envelope sizing for double envelopes is A9 for the inner envelope, and 9”x6” for the outer envelope. If a single envelope is used, the envelope size is A9. Don’t be concerned when your inner envelopes arrives “ungummed” – it’s standard practice for the inner envelope to be simply folded over without sealing as a courtesy. For the same historical reason that outer envelopes protected the invitation through the mail, tissue lining was used to prevent smudging on the historically engraved text. Given modern digital printing methods and our desire for sustainable oriented elegance, we do not offer invitation tissue.

Artful Accents (Liners, Inserts, Maps, and Motifs): The landmark art included in a LAURA ANN invitation is what sets apart your special event from the pack. Select an existing collection landmark or commission a new painting. Then select the layout of your artful splash, either as a custom insert (Layout A), or a custom envelope liner (Layout B). The insert can be a useful tool for additional information such as reception information (if different from the ceremony location), weekend events, transportation details, and the listing of a wedding website. Custom art inserts can make an extra powerful statement when revealed behind a gatefold invitation, creating an element of surprise. LAURA ANN also specializes in custom maps, which can be inserts in their own right, or placed on the back of insert art. Additional artful accents include icons such as mascots or flowers. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, ask LAURA ANN, as there may be existing art to suit your needs beyond what is posted on our website. New icons or monograms may be designed for a nominal fee.

Invitation Wording: Need help? We’ve seen it all, from by the books formality to fun and festive mad-libs. We love formality and fun (why not both?) and are happy to offer our advice and expertise on wording if desired. We recognize that in the modern day there is greater room for self-expression, and wording can go a long way to impart the personal style of the hosts. Perhaps you are wondering the difference between the “honour of your presence” and “pleasure of your company”? (honour is reserved for houses of worship, and pleasure for other venues) We personally turn to Emily Post to guide invitation wording for the most etiquette oriented affairs, and find this advice to be very helpful. Wording should also clearly indicate who is hosting. We particularly like this invitation wording wizard by The Knot with wording selection based on family situation.

Timing: Wedding invitations should be mailed to guests approximately 8-10 weeks prior to the wedding. The longer lead time is generally suggested for destination weddings, or when there are a number of out of town guests.  Save the date timing also varies depending on the distance of the wedding destination or guests, as early as 10 months prior to the wedding for destinations, or closer to 5 months prior for more local events. LAURA ANN recommends starting the design process sooner rather than later. We will do our best to accommodate your timeline, though recommend allowing 2-4 months for design and printing. We advise allocating a couple weeks of buffer between production and mailing when possible to allow sufficient time for addressing and assembly.

Stationery Start to Finish

A LAURA ANN custom stationery suite tells a cohesive visual story, sharing your personal touch of hospitality from the first piece of communication through the end of the event. The “save-the-date” most often sets the stage for guests. The invitation continues to weave a visual narrative, seen through at the event in a number of graphic components: rehearsal dinner invitations, maps, welcome bag stickers, programs, just married banners, escort and place cards, table numbers, menus, event signage, thank you notes, and custom stamps. View the LAURA ANN Princeton Collection for the most comprehensive "start to finish" samples - the ivy, arch, and mascot themed designs could be well adapted to other collections. Also visit the LAURA ANN Products page to view stationery samples by category.