Romantic timeless wedding invitation suite| Bella Collina | Orlando, FL

“The one that started it all…”

– me
The fanciest versions of Dr. Thomas + Dr. Meagan Walsh

Okay, let me not be too dramatic here but, it’s true!

My cousin Meagan + her now-husband Thomas were the very first official Barrio couple! (Side note: really resisting the urge to call my wedding clients “Barrio Boos” because I’m THAT corny when it comes to love. Thoughts?)

I’ve had the ultimate fortune of knowing Meagan my entire life. She’s one of my 9 first cousins and ranks pretty high on my very strategic list “My Top 9 Favorite Cousins.” As the sarcastic + intellectual overachievers in the family, she’s always been my go-to role model (despite what she might say). She introduced me to so many of the things I love in life including but not limited to AP classes, Game of Thrones, the marvels of modern medicine and reading by a pool soaked in tanning oil.

The absolutely necessary + magical (according to ME) first look!

My junior year in college, I visited Meg in Florida during my spring break from Binghamton University. My pale New Yorker body was promptly scorched by the sun and my budding medical student cousin restricted me to bed rest and binge-watching for the majority of my visit (I watched something like 2.5 seasons of GOT in maybe 3 days).

When I could feel my limbs again, we went to dinner with Meagan’s bOyFrIeNd Thomas. It took all of 3 minutes to figure out that Thomas was equal parts sarcastic, nerd, and superb human being—just like Meagan. One could barely get a word in between medical references to the obscure body parts they were studying and their tongue-in-cheek banter. I couldn’t wait to spend the rest of my vacation hanging out with these two dorks that were clearly head-over-heels in love.

Fast forward many spring breaks, their med school graduation, residency placements, and a relocation from Central Florida to Miami; I hopped on my phone to see that Thomas had proposed (in Paris, no less) and would officially be joining my crazy ass family. YAS, BOO.

bride and groom first look, wedding stationery designer

It didn’t take long into the wedding planning process for Meagan to say, “F this—will you do it?” In fact, I think it was a record 38 seconds, lol. I knew she had the chops for it though, so I reassured her that we would work closely together throughout the next year or so to make their vision come to life.

We texted nonstop, brainstormed every day, sent countless screenshots and then finally—it was time to talk invitations! Meg had her heart set on a lacy laser cut out gate card and I had my heart set on doing whatever it would take to ensure every detail of the best day of their lives was pure magic. I found a sample of a laser cut gate card, ordered it and it was a done deal. There was no way to un-love that option after seeing it IRL. One more screenshot sent, and it was determined that the invites just had to be letterpress printed. Game on!

I spent some time looking at pictures of their absolutely stunning venue, Bella Collina in Orlando, before taking to my sketch book to draw up their design. The venue has this insanely romantic charm from the brick facades to the sweeping lawns and our goal was to ensure that the invitation felt as regal and elegant. I suggested a classic calligraphy style and a timeless serif font that would accurately convey that this wedding was gonna be fancy AF.

bella collina fountain wedding ceremony location orlando florida wedding arch florals drapery
One of Bella Collina’s many reception locations

In the spirit of transparency, I did hit a few snags along the way. This was my first letterpress printing job and I wasn’t terribly careful in the preparation of the press (also called “makeready”) so the invites were printed just slightly crooked. No biggie, right? Wrong. Since the crop marks weren’t square to the edge of the paper, the hydraulic cutter was a no go. Each of M+T’s 200 invitations, RSVP cards and information cards had to be hand-trimmed by yours truly. I listened to a shit ton of Netflix comedies to combat the trauma.

letterpress wedding suite with lace gate card, gold calligraphy, belly band and custom wax seal, traditional monogram design wedding stationery stationary

We planned to finish everything with a cute belly band and monogrammed wax seal when my go-getter-badass cousin decided that she wanted to “be more helpful” (insert eye roll because this is literally my job) and would assemble each of the invites herself. I was so proud! In just 6 short months, I’d pushed her from overwhelmed bride-to-be to a slightly less overwhelmed bride who was still excited about getting married. Success!

I printed each piece of their suite, packed everything up, gave the UPS folks a stern talking to about the *irreplaceable value* of the package after all those nights trimming down the cards by hand, and moved on to tackle the ceremony and reception details.

The reception details were my favorite of all! I hand-lettered their mirror seating chart the night before the wedding after driving 16 hours from NY to FL AND after realizing I had forgotten my digital mockup for the chart on the counter at home. Double yikes (17/10 do not recommend).

When you look up wedding favors for doctors’ weddings, you get a lot of suggestions for those silly mints made to look like pill bottles. I found this both weird (prescription drug abuse is an epidemic…) and overkill (who needs THAT many mints?) so we got super creative!

Thomas and Meagan are both Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine—this *basically* means that they combine modern medicine with physical manipulation (for real, they can make you stop hiccupping by engaging a trigger point in your diaphragm, v cool). This made me think of those old school brown apothecary bottles your abuela would have stored away for when la gripe hit, but what to fill them with? Interracial December wedding the week before Christmas…my dad’s homemade coquito, of course! These bottles were a HUGE hit and the coquito was a perfect pairing to M+T’s delicious wedding cake and dessert bar.

wedding favor for doctors wedding
“A coquito a day keeps the doctor away”…or something like that.

All in all, I’d say this wedding taught me lessons I didn’t expect to learn (like always buy more condensed milk than you think you need when making a million bottles worth of coquito) and the Barrio ball has been rolling ever since. We had so much fun celebrating Thomas and Meagan’s love for eachother–keep scrolling for the evidence (including when my little apprentice tried to crash the wedding party procession)!

Stationery Photography: Liz Harter Photography

Wedding Photos: Concept Photography

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