Essential Images: Affordable Wedding Invitations

Ok, you guys, strap yourselves in for a great story and to possibly get a little misty. Today, I get to introduce Essential Images. Kate is an awesome and affordable wedding invitation designer who’s super talented, and who has an aesthetic that we haven’t yet seen on the site. But that’s not the best part! The best part is that, for the first time ever, Essential Images is a company owned by a mother of an APW reader, who became an devoted APW reader herself, and started a wedding paper design business (she’s a designer by trade) after working on her daughter’s wedding. I know, right? You’re already feeling slightly emotional.

So, because I want to do this story justice, I’m going to have Sarah (who you’ll remember from her gorgeous wedding and the dress she gave away) tell you a little about her mom Kate’s business:

When I first got engaged three years ago, I quickly found APW and fell in love, and passed the link on to my mother to check out. She didn’t bat an eye when I decided to donate my wedding dress through APW, or when my bridesmaids all wore black dresses. We didn’t have money to burn, so my mother, a graphic designer, thought she might try designing our wedding invitations. My mom went to school for a graphic design certification when my brother and I were in diapers, and she worked her butt off as a part-time artist and stay-at-home-mom for the past twenty-five years. She’s always been great at her work with magazine layout and logo design, and designing for a more personal and emotional purpose came easily to her. She designed every scrap of paper that was involved in our wedding. The invitations (and programs and table numbers…) set the tone for the whole day.

My mom is not a young twenty-something starting her business; she’s the other end of the spectrum. Essential Images is a pre-retirement business. She doesn’t have the money to advertise all over the web, but she wanted to support APW, so here she is. She just wants to create beautiful, cohesive designs for people celebrating love. She’s brilliant and has a phenomenal eye for color, font, and design; she has her own funky flair, but her work is just stunning.

She’s not just an APW-approved vendor, and not just a sponsor—she’s an APW mom. She loves working with people, and with art, and this new venture, it helps her do just that. She loves helping stressed couples figure out envelopes or customize colors or wording for post-elopement celebrations… She is your Team Practical Fairy Godmother.

Right? Ok. I’m going to let you pull yourself together, and then we’ll continue. Ready? Good. Kate’s artistic philosophy and reason for starting Essential Images is killer. She told me, “I love (really love) printed, fancy pants wedding invitations—with as many bells and whistles as can be crammed into a gorgeous outsized envelope. Not so much crystals, glitter and feathers but really fabulous, rich paper. I confess to being a total paper freak—I love great textured papers, heavy smooth, creamy vellum (yum!), and translucent overlays. But, oddly enough, even though I’m saying ‘bells and whistles,’ I do love simplicity, white space and classic layout. I apply this basic philosophy (which was beaten in to me as a first-year design student) to all styles from way, way sassy nontraditional invites to elegant damask images done up in classic black and white with stately, centered type. Great paper, clean design, attention to detail—that’s it, Essential. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to use that concept for my business. If you distill the message and design right down to its essence, it will be beautiful.”

And Essential Images work is just that. Essential, simple, beautiful. It’s also affordable. You can browse Kate’s designs on her website, but for shopping you should take a dive down her Etsy porthole of wonder. Her prices for a simple wedding invitation (invite, RSVP card, and envelope) start at about $2.55 an invite, all inclusive. (Yes!) Plus, if you’re looking for shower invitations, she does super affordable, simple, and lovely packages. And! For those of you that want a pocket fold wedding invite (I love this one), with all the bells and whistles, those start at just $4.35 (which has got to be some sort of record for affordability). Plus, Kate does limited custom work (email her really quickly if you’re interested in that).

But more than anything, working with Essential Images is going to be a total joy. I kind of want to order wedding invites, just so I can have Kate take care of me. She’s super supportive, really gets what APW is about (and what you’re about) and is so excited to work with you. She wants to work with APW couples, because they are “looking for creativity and no shit communication while building wedding papers that are totally evocative of them and no one else.” She says, “One of the things I love most about APW is the sanity and connection I see every day as I read the posts and comments; women (well, yeah, mostly) are letting you into their lives in such a very real, intimate way—they’re sharing their wisdom, support, tears, fears and dreams. It’s just incredible and that’s how I feel working with the great couples I’ve met on Etsy; I have been privileged to share their wedding plans, it’s like a little bit of their lives they’ve entrusted to me and my work. I have received such wonderful appreciation from happy people—what could be more satisfying for an artist?” And also (adorable alert) I think she told me three times how much she loved working with her daughter, just in an “I appreciate this person” way, not in a “I love my kid because she’s my kid” way. And then she told me that she liked working with other couples just as much. Sniffle.

And finally, because she’s so excited to work with you, Kate’s offering you a little extra. She says, “Of course, since I adore printed wedding invitations, it follows that handwritten thank you notes are also a passion (who doesn’t like to receive actual mail thanking them for a wedding gift, really?!). I’ll design matching thank you notes, gratis, for any APW couple who orders wedding invitations from me in between now and September 1st.” So get cracking, you guys. Browse on over to Essential Images (her website, or Etsy) and support an APW mom, building her business. Good design plus a warm fuzzy joyful feeling? It doesn’t get better than that.

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  • “She is your Team Practical Fairy Godmother.”

    AWWWW. That is awesome.

  • This is SO AWESOME. The story, the designs, all of it. *hearts*

  • Team Practical Fairy Godmother? It doesn’t get more awesome than that!

  • OMG! Do I get Official APW wings and a WAND, too?? Sarah has left a pot of, wait for it, FAIRY DUST in her old bedroom! No lie. <3

  • Sarah N., daughter of Kate

    …If anyone wants the straight scoop on Kate’s customer service, I can give plenty of gossip– I MEAN. Whoops. ;)

    Seriously: my mom is the best. Affordable, talented, badass, sweet, and creative She DEVOTES herself to her clients, and it’s the cutest ever. “I got another bride,” she’ll tell me, “the poor thing was so stressed, I suggested APW. Meg will straighten her out.”

    Yeah, she’s that awesome. <3 <3 <3

    • meg


    • Your mom is awesome! And I’m not just saying that because she mailed me your offered wedding dress ;-)

      • Aw, thanks! Graduate Post! Loved the pix of your wedding in the snow, let’s have more! <3

        • I got them in the mail recently! I just need to sift through and get something together. I am percolating ideas for a graduate post. At a minimum, I will do a blog post on my blog to get some more pics circulating.

          I wish I had known you designed wedding invites. I designed my own, and they were fine but definitely could have been better. Oh, well — this is noted for the future when I need graphic design, and I will pass your name on to friends.

  • Claire

    I’ve never commented on a sponsored post before, but this one was just so sweet it made me sigh with happiness. And wish I had a team practical fairy godmother when I was planning.

  • Meagan

    This makes me sort of sad that I already have paper goods taken care of, because, hello, clearly the wedding planning process needs more awesome fairy godmothers. Good luck Kate! Your work is so beautiful!