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Weddings at The Mansion

Nicki Ann's Wedding Blog

In her blog, Nikki Ann shares with you her insights, thoughts, and feelings on all things women, wedding, marriage, and event-related.

Vendor Spotlight: Purple Wagon Designs

June 4th, 2012

In a planning meeting with one of our 2013 brides, she mentioned that she was dreading the whole invitation selection process. She explained that her sister and a few other friends said it was the most boring and tiresome process. They had gone to different places to choose wedding invitations and looked through hundreds of samples and a ton of books. After awhile, they all ran together and looked the same. I told her to save herself the time and energy and just find someone who will custom design the invitations, immediately suggesting that they talk to Kim from Purple Wagon Designs.

So what is so great about Purple Wagon Designs? Well, Kim is not only awesome, fun and incredibly creative, but she is dedicated to making sure you get what you want. No exceptions! I am so glad she was able to take some time to answer some questions for me to share with you. I think you’ll agree that for your invitations, custom is the way to go. After all, each and every detail of your wedding should reflect you and your soon-to-be spouse and not be chosen out of some book that hundreds of other brides have used.

NA: Tell me a little bit about Purple Wagon Designs.

PWD: Purple Wagon Designs is a full-service design studio that specializes in wedding stationery, from the Save the Date and Invitation, through the Ceremony Programs, Table Numbers, and Place Cards at the actual event, all the way to the Thank You Notes. I take great pride in making sure that every detail is just right… for each individual couple. I’m all about customization. Not every couple cares about custom wedding invitations, and that’s perfectly fine. But I’m here for the people who want their invitations to go above and beyond what can be ordered in 20 minutes on the Internet. Try finding a wedding invitation that features the Pittsburgh skyline and Roberto Clemente Bridge on the internet… in purple! That’s what one of my couples wanted, and that’s what I gave them! 
Purple Wagon is the stationery division of my graphic and website design business, Design Intervention. I started Purple Wagon a few years ago when I began designing more and more wedding invitations, and I wanted to be able to market the two companies more effectively. While Design Intervention is my real ‘bread and butter’, Purple Wagon is where I get to have a lot of fun!
NA: What got you interested in designing invitations? 
PWD: Creating wedding invitations combines two of my passions: Design and weddings! I’ve always adored weddings! I love how different they can be depending on a couple’s personal preferences: Rustic weddings in barns; traditional weddings in churches; casual weddings at beaches; elegant weddings at The Mansion; etc. I like helping couples articulate the feel they are hoping to evoke for their Big Day and create something unique that they may not be able to get anywhere else.
NA: How does the process of designing invitations work?
PWD: I’ve streamlined the process to allow couples to have custom wedding invitations without all the stress. The first step is obviously to get in touch with me! We can discuss the details of their wedding over the phone, via email, or in person if they’re local to Pittsburgh. I ask a bunch of questions about the couple, the event, and any requests they have going in – some people have specific ideas in mind and some have no clue what they want… I’ve worked with all kinds!
Following the initial consultation, I put together an estimate that outlines all of the items we discussed. Once we have the particulars settled, it gets to the fun part – the creating! Based on what we’ve discussed, I craft a draft of the wedding invitation. That gets sent to the couple, who then provides me with feedback: What they like, what they don’t like, what they want me to change. I make revisions to the design and send it back for another review. This process continues until the design is exactly right.
After we finalize the design of the invitation, I incorporate it into the other pieces of the Wedding Suite: Reply card, Ceremony program, Table numbers, Place cards, Thank you notes – whatever the couple wants! I make sure each piece has a consistent look and feel so that there’s no mistaking it’s for THEIR wedding!
Once all of the pieces are finalized and proofed, I get everything printed. I then take care of any final details the couple has requested: Assembly; addition of special embellishments like pocket folders or ribbons; and/or addressing in calligraphy. After that, I deliver them to the happy couple to stamp and mail out to their guests!
NA: Is it possible to have custom designed invites on any budget?
PWD: Absolutely! Wedding invitations can vary greatly – in complexity, style, and price. No matter what a couple’s preference and budget, I am confident that I can provide them with invitations that will fit their style, funds, and wedding theme. In the initial consultation, I always ask if they have a budget or a price target for the invitations and wedding papers so that I can make appropriate suggestions to get them the look they are after without exceeding what they’ve designated for this aspect of their wedding. 

I also offer a 10% discount to couples getting married at The Mansion! 
NA: Woo!! Who doesn’t love discounts?? You mentioned that you have a graphic and website design company, too. How does that differ from designing invitations?
PWD: Actually, there are more similarities than differences! The elements and principles of design remain the same no matter what you are creating: Line, color, shape, form, balance, unity, rhythm, etc. What changes is what you are creating – a logo, a brochure, a website, a wedding invitation – and who you are creating it for. Purple Wagon’s parent company, Design Intervention, has a corporate clientele, so the items that I create for them are generally more formal, but that, too, depends on the company! For instance, I designed the logo and website for The Mansion’s preferred bakery, Vanilla Pastry, and that was one of my most fun projects of all time (and not just because of all the cupcakes I ate as “research”!). For the most part, though, designing wedding invitations is a more exciting job than designing business cards and brochures :)
NA: What do you love most about your work?
PWD: That’s a tough question because there’s so much that I love about what I do! I really enjoy meeting so many different couples, talking to them about their wedding plans and their personal preferences, and then taking that information and designing something that is uniquely THEM. It’s quite gratifying to see the finished products, and I feel honored to have a small part in the BIG DAYS of so many wonderful couples!
NA: Blank Canvas: Tell me anything else you think is important that I might have missed!
PWD: Oh man, Nicole! You’re such a great interviewer that I don’t think you missed anything! Of course, if anyone has any follow-up questions – either general invitation questions or questions specific to their event – I’d be happy to answer them! You can find me at and on Facebook at
Well there you have it folks. I can’t think of a single reason to pick an invitation out of a book after reading that, can you? Now, hurry up and call her. She’s booking up quickly!!!

Friday Finds 6.1.12

June 1st, 2012

Whoa. It is JUNE?! For Pete’s sake, where did the first half of the year go?

Today, I am sharing an adorable bridal shower/wedding gift idea. Now, my intention is for you to buy this for someone else. But if you want one of these for yourself, here’s what you do. You purchase it for a friend who also happens to be getting married this summer. Once you get it, take a pic on your phone, send it to EVERYONE in your phone list (except the receiver of course) and comment how you fell in love with it and that it was only $50 and that you are kind of jealous of the bride to whom you are giving it. Then slyly include the link for the shop in the message so it is easy for them to track. Voila! Instant gift inspiration for those people coming to your shower/wedding!

I know it sounds sneaky, but just look at how cute it is!!!

If I didn’t get a photo similar to this for my own shower, I might be inclined to tell you that I found this on the Etsy site for Element 120 Photos.