The Invitation Suite (Courtney Khail Watercolors for Weddings Unveiled Spring Inspiration Shoot)

The Invitation Suite (Courtney Khail Watercolors for Weddings Unveiled Spring Inspiration Shoot)

courtney khail watercolors | custom fine art watercolor wedding invitations | Atlanta, Georgia | rustic yellow wedding

Custom Fine Art Watercolor Wedding Invitation Suite by Courtney Khail | photo by ellegolden

I absolutely love when I'm given free reign with designing. Which aside from sending over inspiration boards to give me an idea for the overall look and colors, is pretty much exactly what Raquel did. She trusted my expertise and ability and just let me create- and in the end she got amazing pieces. (I stress this point to anyone looking to work with an artist- whether it's for commissioned art for custom wedding invitations or for your home. Choose someone whose work and style you love, give them enough information- favorite colors, overall mood, etc- so they know what you want, and then trust them to provide that. By giving people the freedom to really create, more often than not you will be rewarded with exceptional art far exceeding anything you could have imagined!)

courtney khail watercolors | custom fine art watercolor wedding invitations | Atlanta, Georgia | rustic yellow wedding color palette

The color palette board I made to show the original inspiration (photo by Elle Golden)

But back to this suite. Raquel wanted a natural palette- lots of greens, blues, and whites- that evoked spring. After seeing her inspiration, I immediately envisioned a garden after a spring rain (Wow. Feels like I'm writing copy for the J. Peterman catalog with that one.) Subdued, yet still vibrant colors, with enough contrast for interest, but not so much that anything is jarring. Have you ever looked into a clear, blue lake? How close to the surface the water is barely blue at all- more crystal clear- but as your eyes look deeper, the water gradually darkens until it's almost navy or midnight? (If not, I suggest you go explore the outdoors more because the world is beautiful and you'll get to see things like what I just described.) I wanted my pieces to appear delicate, but strong enough to stand on their own, with subtle color variations like those that occur in nature.

courtney khail watercolors | custom fine art watercolor wedding invitations | Atlanta, Georgia | rustic yellow wedding

Invitation by Courtney Khail Watercolors (photo by Elle Golden)

Like all of my work, I incorporated handwritten elements as well. With this particular one though, I kept the lines very thin. (The style was inspired by the handwritten notes my grandmothers used to send. Cursive, airy, and always consistent in the width- probably because they were written with a ball point pen. There was always something so feminine about their handwriting and I want to capture that in this suite.)

The design itself was directly inspired by spring time in the South. I'm originally from Augusta, Georgia and for Augustans the beginning of spring is marked by one thing- The Masters golf tournament. Always the first full week of April, the city is full of bright azalea blooms, dogwood blooms so bright they appear to be glowing, and tons of green- in everything from manicured lawns to the famed green jacket. I dialed back on the colors some, but still strived to capture the overall feeling of spring's "fresh start" with the artwork itself.

courtney khail watercolors | custom fine art watercolor wedding invitations | Atlanta, Georgia | rustic yellow wedding

Watercolor RSVP by Courtney Khail Watercolors (Photo by Elle Golden)

And there you have it- the back story and inspiration of the invitation suite. Does it remind you of spring as well?

courtney khail watercolors | Weddings Unveiled Spring/Summer 2016 Launch Party

Weddings Unveiled Spring/Summer 2016 Launch Party

weddings unveiled |courtney khail |custom fine art wedding invitations | Atlanta, Georgia

Last Thursday, I drove over to StudioWed's studio for the launch party for Wedding Unveiled's Spring/ Summer issue. While I most likely would have gone anyway because I'm a big fan of the women behind both StudioWed and Weddings Unveiled, this launch was especially exciting because this particular issue featured a four page spread of a shoot I'd collaborated on! 

Seeing my work never fails to get me all excited, and despite trying to act like a professional, much less a normal functioning human being, I'm pretty sure I just transformed into a five year old who was just found out they were going to Disneyworld. (Maybe a bad example since I can't even look at a roller coaster without getting sick. Okay how about a five year old being told they were getting a puppy? Yep that works. Because if you don't get excited about puppies, something might be wrong with you.) So yes, imagine me first walking in as "Courtney Khail, professional artist" and then moments after being handed the magazine turning into "Courtney Khail, five year old that just found herself surrounded by lab puppies."  (Because labs are my favorite.

weddings unveiled spring 2016 launch party | courtney khail | Atlanta, Georgia | custom fine art watercolor wedding invitations

THEN if seeing the feature wasn't enough, surround me with friends, put me in a photo booth, and hand me a huge cloud of (organic coconut) cotton candy. Which all most definitely happened. 

(Speaking of, way to throw a party StudioWed and Weddings Unveiled. I tip my hat to you.)

Over the next few days/weeks/tbd time frame (I'm just being honest here. I'm not the best at blogging regularly) I'm going to share my work, (as well as some of the work of the other amazing vendors,) behind the scenes moments, and shots that didn't make the magazine. Until then though, definitely go pick up a copy and see the feature in it's entirety for yourself! It's a stunning magazine filled with gorgeous photos, inspiring work, and beautiful ideas.


designed by Coral Pheasant found via Beast Pieces

why don't we all use big stamps more often? This is such a cool (and easy) twist.

So as you probably already know... it's Friday! Any big plans for your weekend? I'll be spending the rest of the day at the printers, painting, and (fingers crossed) watching the Braves. Might even get to see my mom and sister tomorrow morning and then Sunday is a special special day because it's my Dad's birthday!!!

Oh and did I mention it is FINALLY cooling off down here? No? Well, it is. And thank goodness because I've been dying to wear my boots and my cardigans. Sigh, I love cool weather.

Happy weekend everyone!!

wednesday wisdom- the plus one dilemma

The “plus one” dilemma. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the idea of whether or not you should always receive a +1 with a wedding invitation so I thought I’d weigh in. Of course, since this is my blog I will be giving my personal option on the matter, but I am also going to try and explain the dilemma from the soon to be married couple’s side. Hopefully, this will give a little more perspective to those who haven’t had to deal with the wonderful world of guest lists. (Anyone pick up on that sarcasm? Good.)

Also, please remember that while I am focusing on weddings, this goes for any social celebration in which you received an invitation.

First, let’s go back about 5-8 months before you received the invitation. Imagine your friends- the newly engaged couple- sitting at a table with pen and paper ready. They’ve discussed what they hope their reception celebration will be and after working out the numbers they have decided on inviting 100 people. Max. (I picked 100 because that’s what we attempted to stick around.) Sounds like a lot right? I mean, think of your last birthday party. Most likely, 30ish people tops (well unless it was a milestone in which think of your last non-milestone birthday.)

So picture your happy friends jotting down the 100 nearest and dearest who will be in attendance. Enthusiastically, they start with family. Moms, Dads, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, and cousins- your friends are probably nearing 30-35 people.


And it’s not that the happy couple doesn’t love their family, but they are just now realizing that 100 people aren’t as many people as they thought.

Now the slightly less enthusiastic couple starts listing out the “should be considered family” people. You know, the ones who helped raise them, the ones their families went on vacations with, the ones who they actually see when they visit their parents. Between the two of them, that’s probably another 30 people. Then they add the pastor/rabbi/person marrying them and their spouse/date. I mean, they are the ones who are making this whole shindig legal and common courtesy says they should be there to celebrate as well. We loved our pastors (yep. 2 of them.) and couldn’t imagine them not being there. (They were are our rehearsal dinner too!)

Anyhow, back to the head count. The now slightly tired couple has 67 people on their 100 person max guest list. No problem. That’s still 33 friend spaces.

Then the phone rings. It’s the bride’s grandmother. She heard that they were working on the guest list and was hoping that they could invite her sister (the bride’s great aunt) because it would mean so much to both of them. This is her grandmother asking. The woman who means so much to the bride, has never asked for anything besides for the couple to visit more, and here she is asking (politely) if her sister can come. “She probably won’t make it, but her and her husband might be able to, and the invitation would mean so much to them.” Did I mention the bride actually really loves her great aunt and uncle? How sweet and thoughtful they have always been to her? No? Well. They’re great people.

And did I mention the bride just received a surprise package the day before from her grandmother containing the handkerchiefs hand embroidered by the bride’s great grandmother for the bride’s “something borrowed?” Yep. That’s right. Her grandmother is an angel. A thoughtful angel who is only asking for 2 additional people.

They say of course (and thank you for the something borrowed, we promise we will visit soon!)

Total space left for friends: 31.

They add their wedding party to the list. Total friend places left- 23. Then they remember 2 are married, (21 spots left) and three of the girls are in serious relationships (18 spots left.)

They now have to discuss the +1 dilemma. They have 18 spots left for friends. That’s either 18 friends individually, or 9 friends and dates. The couple weighs the options and decides to write down everyone they’d “like” to invite and go from there.

50 friends are written down. Damn. That didn’t work.

Bride gets phone call from best friend. Her serious boyfriend can’t make it because his sister is getting married on the exact same day. Couple bummed. They love best friend’s beau. On the plus side though, 19 spots.

Hmm. Couple decides that since it’s an intimate wedding and that people will have friends there, unless they are in a serious relationship, they don’t get a “+1.”

Couple begins to feel horrible as they group their friends. (By grouping I mean, you can’t invite 4 sorority sisters from a group of 6 who are all still really close. Much like you can’t invite 2 of your 3 best friends from high school. Hence, grouping.) Then couple has to rank the groups. It’s a horrible feeling because couple loves all 50 friends and doesn’t want anyone to feel like the kid who didn’t get a friendship bracelet.

Groom-to-be brings a Kit Kat bar and a Coke to the bride when he sees her tearing up over having to “cut friends.” Couple looks at budget again and decides again, that yes, only 100 people are going to be invited.

Couple decides each of them gets 1 person that the other maybe hasn’t met (best friend moved away, etc) but the rest has to know BOTH of them well. In seconds, the 19 spots are gone, and there are still 10 people left off of the list that fit “in a group” of people who are invited.

Bride rationalizes that there is some statistic that says something like 10% of people won’t be able to make the wedding. Guest list is pushed up to 110 to include the 10 other friends. Even with the additions, 30ish friends still won’t get an invitation.

Couple is exhausted, emails guest list to parents, and goes to Dairy Queen to split a blizzard. Happily stuffed, but still a little sad and worn out, they decide to call it a night.

The next morning, calls start coming in from the families. Couple didn’t invite so and so’s best friend. What about parent’s work associates? Why do they get more people than we do? Can so and so also bring their high school aged children?  And so on.

Bride starts crying from frustration. Groom begins screening calls.

And this was all BEFORE you even received your beautiful invitation.

I cannot tell you how many friends and brides I work with that specifically address envelopes to certain family members and then have the guests RSVP with an additional +3. Or when it’s addressed to John Smith, and John writes, “we can’t wait to be there!” Everyone, please hear me when I say this: Your invitation was addressed to YOU. That means YOU are invited. Not you and friend, not you and boyfriend. YOU.

Do not call the bride or groom and ask if you can bring someone else unless you are a) married and not sure why your partner wasn’t invited or b) you’ve been dating the same person ever since you and engaged couple met and you aren’t sure why they weren’t invited.

Otherwise, you put the couple in a very awkward/emotional situation. They know whom they invited and whom they did not invite, trust me.

Now I understand how not getting a +1 can be REALLY annoying. No one wants to eat alone, travel alone, or stand by the wall because you don’t have a dance partner, but hopefully your friends wouldn’t put you in that situation and invited a lot of your friends as well (who also didn’t get a +1.) And while it used to be that if the wedding was a destination wedding, that everyone got a +1, now that’s not always the case because almost every wedding is a destination wedding for someone since most of us don’t still live in our hometowns with the same friends since birth.

So here is the take away message.

For the couples- Make a decision on “+1’s” and stick with it. Only married folks and really serious couples who have been together at least a year? Fine, but stick to that. No picking and choosing. And try to put yourself into your friend’s shoes. You will never make everyone happy, but try to be as fair as possible. Make sure those who do not get a plus one, have friends there too. Don’t purposely make people uncomfortable.

For the guests- whoever the envelope is addressed to, is who is invited. Kids/ the word family not on there? Then they aren’t invited. No “and guest?” Then you didn’t get one. I know it can suck, but remember that the guest list is their guest list and it probably took a LOT of time to make, brought about a lot of fights, and led to a lot of compromises. Do not put your friends in an awkward situation/add stress by saying you just have to bring someone. (If you are the MOH or something or are really close to the couple and feel it’s okay to ask, then take your chances; just don’t get upset if you don’t get your way.)

And remember that the couple wants you there- hence they invited you- but if the lack of a “+1” is a deal breaker to you, then you can always RSVP “no.”