“every bride needs Laura on her team! Laura made planning my wedding a whole lot easier and more fun”
allow me to introduce myself
who I am
Well hi there, I’m Laura Mays.
Most days you’ll find me on the couch with a book in hand, a smile on my face, and a coffee somewhere in reach. If I’m not there I’m likely playing my flute in a band, choir or pit orchestra. And if I’m not there , you’ll likely find me bopping away to the music on a Peloton ride.
Paper? It’s the vehicle I use to tell love stories like yours. I love weddings and I love being creative with my couples.
+ I am a wife to my best friend
+ I love daydreaming about the past in our historic 1890s home in Quincy, Illinois
+ I am a mom to four cutie boys and one fierce little girl (we love our big family!)
+ I have a masters degree in biomedical engineering of all things!
+ I have a passion to advocate for inclusive education for our friends with different abilities (our son Logan has Down Syndrome)
+ I am a friend to my brides, the girl who will help you navigate wording drama with your family, make sure you didn’t forget your hotel booking code and make sure your wedding day is coordinated from start to finish with all the pretty little details.
During the rest of my day, you’ll find me being creative, coming up with new designs and mastering this entrepreneur thing.
Yes. The kind of paper that can transport you the minute you hold it in your hands to picture exactly what the day will look like. I’ve been in your shoes, I’ve planned a wedding, and I know now that long before the cake has been eaten, and your dress has been hung, your wedding invitations will be one thing that your guests will see to tell the story of you your special, precious day. This is the first look everyone has into the careful detail you’ve put into every decision. I will cherish them as much as you will.
I am a stationery designer, lover of weddings, and visual storyteller
I take ordinary paper in the most gorgeous textures, and turn the first look into your wedding into an extraordinary heirloom.
why Laura, you ask?
Let’s be honest: Midwest gals aren’t supposed to brag.
I’ve been served “humble pie” my whole life, but if this is the only chance I get to make an impression on you, you better believe I’m going to take it and make it memorable!
I know that you have hundreds of options when it comes to choosing your stationery designer for your wedding day! There is talent oozing out of every city, every town; and yet here you are reading this (this ‘zine pairs well with wine, so if your hand is empty, go fill it!).
I’ve work with 75-100 couples every year not 1, 2, or 3 years but for over twelve years now.
Why? Because I care. I take clients and turn them into close friends. Throughout your entire wedding planning process I am there to offer guidance, help you brainstorm design ideas, answer your etiquette questions, and to help you create wedding stationery that flows and coordinates with ease.
I’m living your day through your eyes and capturing the little details it in a way that will give you the ability to relive it for years to come. Every pop of color, meaningful detail, customized monogram. …. You’ll get those (and plenty more) because your wedding day is filled with tiny details, with one beautiful love story interwoven through every single design element. That story? It’s yours. Let me tell it.
5 tips for stress free wedding day
After more than 10 years in the industry, I have plenty of vendor friends (friendors as we call them!) They have truly seen it all. Let me be honest in telling: my friendors are amazing. They are the best of the best, the cream of the crop, the people I feel fortunate to know.
In working with the best, I thought I’d take a moment to pause on the paper and talk about how complicated / stressful / crazy the process of planning the biggest, most important day of your life. No biggie, right? Wrong. So, let’s talk through five tips my friends have to help facilitate a stress free wedding day, shall we?
1. Be strategic with scheduling
My wedding planner bestie Sara at Sara Reddick Events will tell you, scheduling is SO important. Your ceremony time will direct how the day will lead. If it’s easy, great, you can do your photos in between that and cocktail hour, but if your ceremony flows into your cocktails, well, you should probably consider a first look. The goal? To have everyone present for as much of cocktail hour as possible. Why? The answer is two-fold. One: you are paying for it, so you might as well enjoy it. Two: it’s one of the only times you get to greet and be present with your guests. Work with your photographer, find out how long they need for certain things, schedule in travel time, and add a little cushion!
2. Prepare ahead of time
When your photographer shows up, you want them to get right to work. How do you do this? Friendor Justine Wright will tell you to prepare ahead of time. What should you prepare? Well, anything you want photographed. My photog friends tell them to have their: dress, shoes, jewelry, full invitation suite, all of the rings, any family heirlooms, and any other bridal details they want photographed. When they start shooting, they begin with styling these details that help tell your wedding story. If you don’t have things ready, they’ll be wasting time tracking them down (when they could be making them pretty and shooting!) The more prepared you are, the better – for you and for your photographer! Don’t worry - I’ll send along a clean invitation, specially wrapped to give your photographer!
3. Communicate clearly
Need your grandma to the church early? Want your wedding party to hang around after the ceremony? Tell them! Make sure you communicate the schedule clearly and that everyone who needs it has it. This helps you not waste time tracking Uncle Jim down or grabbing Bobby from the bar. Photos move much faster, and when that happens you get to your party sooner and you’re less stressed, I promise. Be an over-communicator - it will pay off big time! The detailed timelines that Sara Reddick sends out are insane.
4. Make time for photography
Photograhers urge couples to do first looks for multiple reasons. First, it gives you the chance to soak it in, embrace, and experience the emotions without hundreds of pairs of eyes on you. Second, it allows you to knock out the posed photos so you can cruise through the festivities with candid shots that you’ll love. Lastly, it gives your photographer the chance to sneak into your reception during cocktail hour and photograph all of the hard work you’ve done! From florals to seating charts, gift tables to cakes, when you give them 20-30 minutes of uninterrupted time to photograph these details, all of the work and money you’ve spent making your vision come to life is documented and preserved!
5. Just be present
Wait, what? You don’t believe when everyone tells you that a wedding day is a total whirlwind? Well, it is. Take moments where you stop, hold each other’s hands, and intentionally take in the moments. When you shoot portraits, remember this isn’t just time for photos, this is a time for you to be fully present. To hug each other and feel the warmth, to look into each other’s eyes and lock that memory, to kiss like you’re 15 and never kissed before… You get the idea. Throughout the day, set aside little breaks in your schedule where you can pull away from the party and just simply “be.” You won’t regret that time, I promise! We had a private horse drawn carriage ride around downtown Milwaukee between photos and the reception and it was my favorite moment of the day!
I truly believe that wedding days are living, moving, breathing phenomena. They are here and gone in the blink of an eye. It’s important to set yourself up for success and to ease any stress ahead of time so that as you float through your day you aren’t focused on the details or the flowers, not on the cake or the music, but you’re focused on the union, the marriage that is beginning. I want you to experience - not just plan - a marriage more beautiful than your wedding day. If you put these five tips to work, you’ll be on your way to a stress-free day!
6 tips for stress free stationery
OK, thanks for the tips Laura, but you’re a stationer - what can you tell me about wedding stationery?
Oh, so much my friend. I’ve worked with it all - from the hyper organized type A MOB, to the totally clueless, overwhelmed couples.
The real secret here? It’s allllllllllll cool. I’m a pretty good judge of character and I’ll make sure I help you along the way. I’ll over communicate deadlines to keep us on schedule. The good news for you is that with a background in engineering, I usually have a plan B and C in place for anything that may go wrong along the way. I’m THAT prepared and organized
1. Start earlier than you think
You may just need a simple suite - white or ivory paper, nothing outlandish, BUT you decided you want to use letterpress. Well, during peak seasons, it can take 4-6 weeks just to have letterpress invitations printed, let alone designed.
If you have your eye on wax seals, ribbons, colored papers or hand painted edges - there’s a lot to coordinate! Custom paper needs to get shipped to the printer, wax seals need to come from Canada, we may need to order a few ribbon samples and send them to you for approval - all of those things can add up.
My average production time is about 3-5 weeks from start to finish, which means you should think about starting your invitations 4-6 months ahead of your wedding, or even earlier, just to check and see if your project may take longer!
2. Top priority - the guest list
Your biggest priority should be the guest list. Make your list, shave it down, add in plus ones, figure out the kid situation and get that list solid.
Why start there? The size of your guest list will help us figure out a lot of budget areas. I don’t want to break your budget, I want to guide you towards the selections that not only mean a lot to you, but are also within budget. Knowing if you need 75 invites or 125 can make a big difference!
3. Guest list part 2 - addresses
The number one hold up on sending invites to print? The guest list, hands down. You’re waiting on 2 more addresses and it takes a solid 2 weeks to get it. That puts your print deadline 2 weeks past due and it can get stressful.
Bonus tip - proof, proof proof. Look through them SO closely to avoid us needing 8 rounds of proofs because things weren’t spelled correctly.
3. Proof with your families
Make sure that both of your parents and even a few friends proof read your invitations! Parents will always want to know how things are worded on your design, and you want them to be happy with it.
The more eyes you can get on the proofs the better! Look for every word backwards and forwards to catch any spelling errors or missing details. I do send everything to a proof reader before they go to print, but the more eyes on it the better, mistakes happen!
4. Think about day of stationery early
I always reach out to my clients around 10-12 weeks before their wedding day to start talking about day of stationery. Most items are pretty quick at the end, and I can drop ship them straight from my printer to you, BUT if there are things that take longer, need to be custom ordered, or if we need to work with a print shop local to you for building walls or signs, those things may take some time to coordinate.
5. Set your RSVP date early
I recommend setting your RSVP date 5, or even 6 weeks before your wedding. This gives you time to track down anyone you haven’t heard from and gives you plenty of time to work on the seating chart.
The number one stressor that I see for day of stationery is a rush to get the guests seated and get those escort cards or seating charts in order. I’m always prepared for last minute details, but ooph, seating charts take a LOT of time and patience.
Every wedding is unique, like you
I take my job as your invitation designer seriously (and let’s face it, hire me and you’ll have an extra guest who can’t WAIT to see your photos!)
Instead of bundling goods and services into pretty little packages, I want to give you the opportunity to build your own collection of items that will make sure your wedding stationery is designed perfectly, just the way you want it.
Your stationery is an investment
Investment is indeed the right word for it, because in truth your invitations and wedding day stationery a huge part of what sets the tone for your wedding. The fonts you choose, the colors, the textures of the paper - they will all tell the story of the wedding day you are dreaming up. It will tell your guests how to dress, if you’ll have casual apps or a formal sit down meal. It will get them excited to attend. If your invitations are this amazing, just imagine what she’ll look like coming down the aisle and how memorable that reception will be.
Now that you’ve got your base collection covered, let’s add some extras!
Double thick invitation - $1.20
Printed Guest Addresses $0.75
Blank Inner Envelopes $0.70
Printed Inner Envelope $1.10
Envelope Liner - solid $1.30
Envelope Liner - printed $1.50
Pocket - starts at $3.10
Pocket Card (pocket on back) - $2.90
Vellum Folder Wrap $0.80
Wax Seals $2.10
Additional Card $1.30
Hand Deckled Edges - $2.20
I offer every print method and add on under the sun. A lot of them can vary based on the specifics of the project - quantity, number of colors, and complexity of the design. Please contact me for a quote specific to your project.
*pricing assumes you order around 100 pieces and is in addition to the package price, pricing will be higher for lower quantities
White Ink on dark paper $1.40
Letterpress starting at $6.70
Blind Emboss/Deboss $5.10
Foil Stamping $4.60
The iblw paper design process
So if you have made it this far, you are probably interested in hearing more information right? What to expect, how it allllll goes down, etc? Well I am about to walk you through it all! Hopefully by the end you wont have any questions BUT if you do I would be more than happy to help.
The most important things to know are that I believe in:
+ above all - KINDNESS & JOY
+ being GENUINE & HONEST
+ finding whimsical things in every day
+ living a life that you LOVE
+ individuality - everyone is UNIQUE, that’s what makes you beautiful
for those beautiful wedding invitations...
If you’re local, you’ll come over to visit my studio 505 Maine Street, but more than likely we’ll be virtual friends - either through email or zoom.
You’ll tell me more about what you love. Colors, design elements of your day. If you have designs of mine that you love, or things you’ve seen on Pinterest we’ll talk about what aspects of each you lovemaybe it’s a font here, or the white space there, or the color of another one.
If you aren’t local, I’ll even send out paper swatches for you to look through in person - I want you to feel how luxurious they are and love the textures!
We’ll also talk about your budget.
How many invitations you need?
Which pieces do you need to include in your invitation suite?
What are some items on your ultimate wish list if you had your dream invite?
What wedding day paper are you thinking of including?
What do you hope to spend and what elements are the most important for you to keep in there?
With details in hand, we’ll start talking through a plan. I’ll send over a proposal that outlines the details that we have been talking about and allows you to build your shopping cart.
You have 3 ordering options:
- if you know what you need, go ahead and order that straight through my website or Etsy shop
- if you really don’t know what you need, but want to work with me, you can purchase a deposit listing on my website or Etsy shop to hold your place, then I’ll invoice you later for the rest
- if you know pretty much what you want, but a few details or quantity might change, I’ll set you up with a payment plan so we can adjust as we go!
4. Trust Me
This is the whole reason you chose your wedding vendors, right? Because they know the best paper vendors, the appropriate sizes, and the all the etiquette rules to make the first look into your wedding absolutely stunning.
Now it’s time for you to take a deep breath and trust the person you chose to do their best work with you. The more trust you place in them, the more free they will be to create the types of designs that you’ll love the most.
We’ll work on things until they are perfect, no limits to rounds of proofs or last minute changes. We’ll be together the whole way, from invites through menus.
Once we have the paper details and budget under control and a deposit in place, we’ll start working on the wording details.
I’ll help you with any questions you have along the way. I’ve seen nearly every wording question out there! I’ll make sure you set the right impression for a formal event wedding or a casual boho garden wedding.
We’ll tweak the fonts until they’re right, try out new swashes (fancy lingo for swirly bits and alternate letters) until you love it. If you aren’t feeling something we had in the grand plan - we’ll take it out or find something even better for you.
Before we go to print, you’ll have the option to receive a complimentary printed proof. I don’t want you to worry that your design won’t be perfect. (I can’t do this for upgraded print methods, but I can for digitally printed!)
With your approval, I’ll go to print.
I’ll send your order to my most trusted printers and then finish any last details by hand to ensure each and every suite maintains the highest of standards for your wedding.
in your words: love from clients
I would not be all that I am without my amazing clients.
Many of the couples I work with end up keeping in touch long after the wedding day and we work on social parties and birth announcements, and I am incredibly grateful!
I know I’ve talked a lot in this magazine about who I am and what I do, but now it’s time to let others do some of the telling! Here are just a few testimonials from real clients who have allowed me to be a part of the most important day of their life. Working with so many wonderful, amazing people with beautiful love stories to tell has been one of the biggest gifts of my life.
Cristin & Brian Say...
Amazing!!!! Everything Laura has done for me has been more than perfect!
Laura was exceptional to work with. Our wedding invitations surpassed all of our expectations. Her attention to detail was absolutely flawless
** I have worked with Cristin on a total of TWELVE projects since her wedding day.
Kyra & Erik Say...
I fell in love with one of Laura’s designs when I saw it on Etsy during my hunt for a wedding invitation. I had been looking on many big websites but nothing really seemed to fit what I was looking for.
She was thoughtful and professional and I immediately knew I had made the right choice! Over the next few weeks Laura was so helpful; she delivered a beautiful sample invitation and then about two hundred more. I was so happy with her work that I asked her to do my seating chart for both the rehearsal dinner and wedding, name cards, and table numbers. With each new request Laura was quick to respond and worked with me to make my vision a possibility.
All-in-all Laura made planning my wedding a whole lot easier and more fun. She is the utmost professional and her passion for her work means everything that she does turns out to be amazing. I would absolutely recommend Laura to anyone, every bride needs a Laura on her team.
Lauren & Lann Say...
Laura was absolutely fantastic creating a custom wedding order for me. I was very specific in the look I wanted and Laura worked with me every step of the way offering her expertise and suggestions.
She responded to every email in a very timely manner and some of our conversations seemed more like a friendship than a wedding order. She is just the kindest, most thoughtful person and I’m so glad that I was able to work with her these past months. I also love her mission and what she stands for with regard to her family. Truly a beyond, creative, sincere and honest person with a passion for what she love.
Kate’s Mom Says...
Working with Laura for our daughter’s wedding was amazing. She found us the right paper, font style and envelope liners for beautiful invitations.
Laura listens carefully and pays attention to detail. From our “Save the Date” cards to “Day of Wedding” paper everything was perfect. She even added in a “little something extra”.
invitation planning worksheet
Hey, want to know a secret on how to get those amazing invitations? Well, here it is! Having a detailed list of what you need and timeline of when you need it ensures you receive the designs you’re dreaming of for your big day without the stress. Some wedding day pieces have a very limited turnaround time during those last weeks of planning, so planning things out ahead of time is essential for success!
Make sure to list out all the possible things so we know where to start, we can always take things out if you change your mind as the plan comes together later!.
When you’re all done with this planning sheet, we’ll go over it together to get a plan in place. for
Please use names as you would like them specifically written on your invitations:
Do you want to include your parents names?
If so... Mother Father
Groom’s Name Mother Father
Combine it together for the host line: (ex. Together with their parents, Mr. and Mrs....together with ...)
The request or invitation line: (ex. request the honor of your presence, request the pleasure of your company, invite you to share in the celebration of their wedding)
Reception line: (ex. reception to follow, Dinner and dancing immediately to follow
Or if it’s easier for you to visualize, write out your wording below:
Additional Information Card
Some things you can use your Details Card for....
The Reception Card
If your reception is at a different location than your ceremony, typically a small 4x5 card is reserved just for this information - think of it as a mini invitation. On this card you will include the location for the event along with the time. You can get creative here with small graphics to indicate that cocktails start at 6, dinner is served at 7 and dancing begins at 9 or keep it short, simple and to the point.
This is especially useful if you are having a destination wedding or a wedding with out of town guests. If you have reserved a block of rooms at local hotels with special rates, you can list what hotels these are, along with contact information, booking codes, book by dates and websites so that your guests can easily make their travel arrangements. It is best to leave specific rates off of your card.
Parking and Shuttle Information
If parking is hard to find or is limited, this is a good place to mention that so your guests can plan appropriately. No one wants to be late! Do you have shuttles available for your guests? Let them know in advance that they can count on that to make their day a bit easier.
Websites are a brilliant way to update your guests on the entire weekend in much more detail than you can in your invitations. It can be particularly useful if you don’t have all of the small details ironed out by the time your invitations go to print. You can include travel tips, things to do, registry information, flight information and so much more.
At iblw, I believe in formality and tradition and your guests may turn their noses up if they see registry information on invitations. I try to keep registry information, wishing wells, or anything related to gifts out off of there. Instead consider including it on a shower invitation or a wedding website so that your guests can easily find it.
That being said - it’s your wedding not mine, do what makes you most comfortable.
Reception at a different location
Parking or Shuttle Website Registry
Your RSVP card is where you are going to collect the absolutely most essential information you can have when planning your wedding. Every vendor needs to know how many people are coming!
- number the back of each card so when one comes back without their names filled out you’ll know who it was from - I know, you don’t think it will happen, but you’ll be surprised at the number of incorrect cards you get!
- talk to your caterer before you design your invites - do they need to know just how many people are coming? Do they need to know how many of each dish they are serving? Or do they need to know which specific guest gets each plate??
- set your RSVP date for 4-5 weeks before your wedding! This gives you plenty of time to call stragglers AND still get your vendors a head count. If you are planning on any wedding day paper with iblw, I will need a rough head count 4 weeks before and a firm count and guest list 2 weeks before
What is your RSVP Date?
What would you prefer for the reply line?
Name(s) __________ Other
Would you like to include “We have reserved ___ seat(s) for you”?
Do you need to include “ ___ number attending”?
What would you like your ‘yes’ response to be?
What would you like your ‘no response to be?
Do you need to include menu options?
RSVP envelope address:
Mailing envelope return address:
how to book
It is always so great to personally connect before booking your date, regardless of how we meet. If you’re not local I will send over digital design ideas as well as mailed out swatches if you’d like. You can also order sample designs right on Etsy or my website If you’re local we can go through all the papers in person at my studio at 505 Maine Street.
You can get in touch with me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
All dates are available on a first come, first serve basis. Dates will be reserved by submitting a completed contract and a retainer of $250. Payment may be made through Etsy, my website or directly through your contract.
Thank you so much for your interest in Invited by LamaWorks!
Featured in: Style Me Pretty, Wedding Chicks, Brides Magazine, Atlanta Style - Weddings, Aisle Society, Vermont Vows, Emmaline Bride, The Perfect Palette, Emmaline Bride, Smitten, & Quincy Area Bridal Magazine