Planning

Basic Invites | Wedding Invitations for the Adventurous

So, I have always been drawn to entrepreneurism. Ever since I was young, I always had a business idea (lemonade, jewelry, cleaning, pet-sitting) and a couple of years ago I won a Young Entrepreneur competition and met some incredible people through that process. Since then, I’ve been torn between getting my business off the ground and wanting to help others get their business off the ground (or show them off if they’re already soaring). So, I am starting a new line of blog posts that will be about businesses that I love and want to show off. Most of them will be small local businesses, but I wanted to start off with this business based out of Utah.

I wanted to find stationery wizards who could accommodate the awesome couples I get who are having unordinary wedding days, and Basic Invite is SO customizable, I feel like it’s absolutely perfect.

Basic Invite - Adventure Wedding Invitations - Mountain Wedding Invitations - White Sails Creative Wedding Photography - Elopement Photography - Virginia Wedding Photographer - Blue Ridge Mountain Wedding Invitations_4.jpg

I ordered a few samples, customizing them to what I think my couples would want (and to be honest, what I would want) and it was fun to imagine different wedding days and create the invites to suit it. If you read the invites, I put some fun things inspired by some of my past weddings and elopements I’ve photographed (:


So, for my first Small Business Showcase,
here is Basic Invite and what I love about it so much :



Insane Amount of Colors - Basic Invite is one of the only places I’ve seen so many customizations for designs like this. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options. So, you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it - down to the littlest detail. I chose mostly blue and green colors for the invites I designed because of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but it’s insane cause you can go through so many colors and choose the exact shade and combo you want and see it instantly.

Basic Invite - Adventure Wedding Invitations - Mountain Wedding Invitations - White Sails Creative Wedding Photography - Elopement Photography - Virginia Wedding Photographer - Blue Ridge Mountain Wedding Invitations.jpg

Custom Samples - Finding samples that are actually customized is hard to do - mostly when you order samples it’s with whatever the heck is printed on it, but with these I could change the colors and everything that was written on the invite and see exactly what it would look like, which is awesome so you don’t have to order 100 of them and then realize there’s something up that you don’t necessarily like.

I had fun with the custom samples.

Basic Invite - Adventure Wedding Invitations - Mountain Wedding Invitations - White Sails Creative Wedding Photography - Elopement Photography - Virginia Wedding Photographer - Blue Ridge Mountain Wedding Invitations_7.jpg
Basic Invite - Adventure Wedding Invitations - Mountain Wedding Invitations - White Sails Creative Wedding Photography - Elopement Photography - Virginia Wedding Photographer - Blue Ridge Mountain Wedding Invitations_8.jpg

Colorful Envelopes - Basic Invite has over 40 different colors when it comes to their envelopes so that they can make their invitation stand out even before it is opened. I LOVE colorful envelopes. I used black for my own wedding and wrote all the addresses in gold ink.

But the best part? All of their envelopes are peel and seal!! This is seriously the best part because for my wedding invitations (and Christmas and everything else) we had to lick the envelopes and Johnny and I were miserable. We kept talking about Seinfeld and the unfortunate cheap envelope situation, and tried to come up with other ways to seal them (wet sponges, hahaha). When I ordered samples I didn’t get any colorful envelopes, but based on the high-quality colors of the invitations, I’m sure the envelopes are just as amazing.

Basic Invite - Adventure Wedding Invitations - Mountain Wedding Invitations - White Sails Creative Wedding Photography - Elopement Photography - Virginia Wedding Photographer - Blue Ridge Mountain Wedding Invitations_1.jpg

Cohesive Invitation Sets - Each of their wedding invitations is part of a set. They have everything from save the dates to wedding invitations and enclosure cards, wedding menus, wedding programs and even matching thank you cards!

I designed a sample inspired by the last wedding a photographed - Emma & Jeddah rented out the entire Hotel Laurance so their family could stay there over the weekend and explore Luray and Shenandoah National Park on days other than their wedding day! So I made a sample with a weekend schedule that matched an invitation. This was one of my favorites because the back of the invite was also green! It also reminded me of a foggy forest, which you all know is my favorite (:


Watercolor Evergreens

Basic Invite - Adventure Wedding Invitations - Mountain Wedding Invitations - White Sails Creative Wedding Photography - Elopement Photography - Virginia Wedding Photographer - Blue Ridge Mountain Wedding Invitations_11.jpg

Free Address Collection Service - If you’re as bad as I was at getting addresses, this is really freaking helpful. They will help you GET addresses from guests! You just share a link, collect addresses, and get free envelope printing

Basic Invite - Adventure Wedding Invitations - Mountain Wedding Invitations - White Sails Creative Wedding Photography - Elopement Photography - Virginia Wedding Photographer - Blue Ridge Mountain Wedding Invitations_2.jpg
Basic Invite - Adventure Wedding Invitations - Mountain Wedding Invitations - White Sails Creative Wedding Photography - Elopement Photography - Virginia Wedding Photographer - Blue Ridge Mountain Wedding Invitations_3.jpg
Basic Invite - Adventure Wedding Invitations - Mountain Wedding Invitations - White Sails Creative Wedding Photography - Elopement Photography - Virginia Wedding Photographer - Blue Ridge Mountain Wedding Invitations_9.jpg


I am so excited for these invites because not only is there a huge selection (they’re not all woodsy and mountainous like the ones I chose) but they are SO unique because even if you chose the exact some ones as I did, you could change up every detail in them to make them yours (:


I hope you enjoyed this little bit of planning help!


wedding invitation set | personalized coasters for wedding | save the date examples 

How to Have an Eco-Friendly Wedding

Save the Dates :

If you can avoid it, do not send Save the Dates unless they are absolutely necessary. If you need to send Save the Dates because of your wedding’s location, use 100% post-consumer recycled paper (not just 100% recycled - they are not the same thing), or send them digitally. Do not use magnets, as tempting as they may be!

Invitations :

Use as little paper as possible. Try just sending one postcard with your website where guests can RSVP.
Support a small-business owner, like a local invitation maker (I can send you recommendations!) or use someone sustainable like Paper Culture.

Decorations :

Use center pieces and table cloths that you will use in your own home after the wedding, or that you can gift to friends and family who will also use them in their own home - better yet, use things you already own or that your friends and family already own such as :

  • Vases

  • Candles Sticks

  • Table Cloths

  • Cloth Napkins

  • Statues

  • Boxes

  • Picture Frames

  • Planters

  • Books

  • Pitchers

  • Herb plants that guests can add straight to their food or take home

Hannah and Shannon - Autumn Back yard wedding - Loudoun County Little Washington Wedding - Intimate Wedding - White Sails Creative Photography_14.jpg

Food & Plates :

Along the same lines of using things from home to decorate, try using dishes from home or renting dishes.

If your wedding is small enough, or if your wedding is casual and intimate enough, make your own food or ask others to bring food. I know having a pot-luck wedding sounds ridiculous, but it works for a lot of people (and a lot of budgets).

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Dresses & Suits :

Find sustainable wedding dresses and suits. Sustainable clothes are a lot of money, so if you can’t get yourself to spend that much, look into buying second-hand or vintage dresses!

I have had a hard time finding sustainable clothes for grooms! If you know of any, please feel free to let me know so I can update this.

For your bridesmaids and groomsmen, ask them to find sustainable clothes that they will wear over and over again - gone are the days of everyone matching.

Gifts :

Gifts for your bridesmaids, groomsmen, and guests are tough - but instead of buying them things they will only use the day-of your wedding, spend time thinking of meaningful gifts they can always use - such as plants, photos taken with them, natural skincare or soaps, homemade candles, or simply handwritten thank-you notes.

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Flowers :

If you are using a florist for your wedding, find one who uses locally sourced flowers. After your wedding, dry your flowers and use them as decoration in your home, and give to family & friends! Herb plants in terra cotta pots, like basil or cilantro, that guests can add straight to their food. Tell your guests to bring centerpieces home with drying instructions so they can do the same.

Still have more leftover? Bring your floral arrangements to nursing homes or hospitals to brighten someone else’s day.

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Grand Exits & Sparkler Exits :

If you are having an outdoor ceremony and want to do a grand exit, consider throwing local flower petals or leaves.

Your Own Back Yard :

It doesn't get more eco-friendly than having a wedding in your own back yard. Plus, you'll have the added sentimentality of getting married in the place where you grew up, whether it be on the beach, near a lake, in a prairie, in the country or in the mountains. Read my Backyard Blog Post Here!

Things to think about during your entire planning process :

  • Can we do this and help a local small business?

  • Will this be thrown out after the wedding? (but us or by guests)

  • Who are these made by? Is it ethical?

  • How can we reuse this?

  • Do we already have this?

  • Can we rent this?

Breaking Wedding Traditions | Turning Your Wedding into an Intimate Wedding

How to have an intimate wedding anywhere.

You may or may not have heard the term “intimate wedding” which typically means a small wedding. As someone who has seen a lot of weddings and who has planned my own wedding, I’ve noticed a few different themes across different weddings. While Johnny and I had hundreds of guests, we knew we wanted this to be a fun, intimate wedding. Sounds crazy and like they’d contradict each other, doesn’t it?

Well, while you’re planning your wedding, if you’ve found that the new and old traditions that seem to come with a wedding aren’t your thing.. guess what? You don’t need to make them your thing.

Here are some things to consider, whether it’s one or none or all, know that you can make this wedding exactly how you want it. Cut what you don’t want, and add in what you do.

I am about to contradict every single thing you’ve ever read about planning a wedding.

Breaking Wedding Traditions - How to Have an Intimate Wedding - How to Have a Back Yard Wedding - How to Have an Eco Friendly Wedding - Virginia Wedding Planning - Back Yard Wedding in Virginia - Unique Wedding Ideas

Get Rid of the Timeline :

The biggest no-no. If you’re a couple who flies by the seat of your pants, then fly. If you’re having a wedding day where it all takes place at one spot, then consider inviting everyone to come over at a time leading up to the ceremony, and when the time is right and things are going and everyone’s there, exchange your vows, hold your ceremony, and continue on with your festivities.

But if having a timeline means you won’t be stressed, then have a timeline.

Get rid of the
time to do hair
time to do makeup
time to eat
time to take these photos
time to take those photos
time to see each other
time to be here
time to walk down the aisle
time to say vows
time to stop saying vows
time to take those photos
time to enter party
time to throw bouquet
time to cut the cake
time to dance
time to break from dancing
time to leave

yes. I said it. I meant it.
as long as there’s dinner at dinner time.

No Seating Chart, and add in Long Tables (or no tables?!) :

Talk about casual & intimate - having tables and seating areas placed around all over and not telling people where to sit lets anyone mingle with whoever they want.

Having one (or multiple, depending on your guest list size) long table wherever everyone sits makes it feel more intimate, whether it’s a few guests or a few hundred, like a big family dinner.

Breaking Wedding Traditions - How to Have an Intimate Wedding - How to Have a Back Yard Wedding - How to Have an Eco Friendly Wedding - Virginia Wedding Planning - Back Yard Wedding in Virginia - Unique Wedding Ideas

Get Ready Together :

Some ceremonies don’t happen until late in the day, so most wedding days, brides & grooms don’t see each other until the day is almost over, and at that point you’re normally engulfed in people. If you’re setting a day aside for the two of you, but you get very little time together, you may have a hard time appreciating all of the guests who are there. Getting ready together and with family and friends could make you more excited to be surrounded by more people later in the day.

Breaking Wedding Traditions - How to Have an Intimate Wedding - How to Have a Back Yard Wedding - How to Have an Eco Friendly Wedding - Virginia Wedding Planning - Back Yard Wedding in Virginia - Unique Wedding Ideas

Get Your Dress Dirty :

Yep. I said it. And I meant it. “You only wear it once” rings true, unless you’re doing some sort of photo shoot after your wedding, or planning on wearing it every year on your anniversary. You may even want to pass it on to your daughter! But most of those dresses often get cut up to the trends. Looking back at the ridiculously fun time you had on your wedding day through the dust and dirt on the bottom of your dress just may hold a lot more sentimentality (and can still be passed on and danced in.)

Breaking Wedding Traditions - How to Have an Intimate Wedding - How to Have a Back Yard Wedding - How to Have an Eco Friendly Wedding - Virginia Wedding Planning - Back Yard Wedding in Virginia - Unique Wedding Ideas

Reusable Decorations & Mismatched Plates :

Also a way to save money - when you’re out buying decorations for your wedding, look for things you’d use in your own house, or that friends/family members would like. Use things from around your house to decorate - such as frames, plates, cups, vases, statues, old bottles, table cloths, and other knick knacks. Use a journal for your guest book that you can tuck away and continue writing in about your wedding day and honeymoon, the fill it with prints (like a scrap book, from the good ol’ days).

Breaking Wedding Traditions - How to Have an Intimate Wedding - How to Have a Back Yard Wedding - How to Have an Eco Friendly Wedding - Virginia Wedding Planning - Back Yard Wedding in Virginia - Unique Wedding Ideas
Breaking Wedding Traditions - How to Have an Intimate Wedding - How to Have a Back Yard Wedding - How to Have an Eco Friendly Wedding - Virginia Wedding Planning - Back Yard Wedding in Virginia - Unique Wedding Ideas

Homemade Food & Pot Lucks :

I’ve seen the crazy responses to this one - a pot luck for a wedding? This all comes down to what kind of wedding you want. If you want a beautiful and seated wedding with low-stress, and having food like that is a priority in your budget, then having it catered is the way to go. But if you’re looking at your budget and realize that having friends and family there is more of a priority, and that meals have always been a big part of your relationships, then maybe having a fun, laid back, intimate dinner (for all amounts of people) is the way to go. A huge vat of soup and breads and cheeses can go a long way.

Breaking Wedding Traditions - How to Have an Intimate Wedding - How to Have a Back Yard Wedding - How to Have an Eco Friendly Wedding - Virginia Wedding Planning - Back Yard Wedding in Virginia - Unique Wedding Ideas

Have your Dance Floor under the stars :

This sounds scary, because weather, but staggering tents around the dance floor can combat that fear. Then, for some extra magical (for pretty cheap!) string lights across from tent to tent, or tree to tree. It makes for a bigger space to enjoy each other’s company, or do some barefoot dancing.

Pick your own flowers :

Turning your wedding day into a wedding weekend or even a wedding week gives you more of a chance to spend time with everyone. Want to save money, and make it a fun experience? Pick your own flowers, and create your own arrangements! Flowers die quickly, so make sure you test it out first and see how to make it doable. If you don’t want dead flowers by the time the wedding festivities start, pick your flowers the day before, and keep them cold until it’s time to show them off.

Breaking Wedding Traditions - How to Have an Intimate Wedding - How to Have a Back Yard Wedding - How to Have an Eco Friendly Wedding - Virginia Wedding Planning - Back Yard Wedding in Virginia - Unique Wedding Ideas - Picking Your Own Wedding Flowers - Pot Luck Wedding - Making Your Own Wedding Food

Get Ready At Home, In a Cabin, Cottage, or Outside :

Getting ready somewhere where everyone fits, and with more to it than a hotel room adds sentimentality to the whole experience. It also adds more character to your photos.

Breaking Wedding Traditions - How to Have an Intimate Wedding - How to Have a Back Yard Wedding - How to Have an Eco Friendly Wedding - Virginia Wedding Planning - Back Yard Wedding in Virginia - Unique Wedding Ideas - Picking Your Own Wedding Flowers - Pot Luck Wedding - Making Your Own Wedding Food
Breaking Wedding Traditions - How to Have an Intimate Wedding - How to Have a Back Yard Wedding - How to Have an Eco Friendly Wedding - Virginia Wedding Planning - Back Yard Wedding in Virginia - Unique Wedding Ideas - Picking Your Own Wedding Flowers - Pot Luck Wedding - Making Your Own Wedding Food

Don’t Be Scared of the Rain :

Not because it’s good luck, like everyone says, but because it’s your wedding day, and it’s going to be fantastic.

Breaking Wedding Traditions - How to Have an Intimate Wedding - How to Have a Back Yard Wedding - How to Have an Eco Friendly Wedding - Virginia Wedding Planning - Back Yard Wedding in Virginia - Unique Wedding Ideas - Picking Your Own Wedding Flowers - Pot Luck Wedding - Making Your Own Wedding Food - Rainy Wedding Day