Sunday, November 23, 2008

Graceful Expressions

Graceful Expressions is an amazing calligraphy and fine lettering company located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Owner Jennifer Buck started her company in 2004, and her love for art and weddings shines through in her work. If you're looking for a unique twist to your stationery, look no further than Graceful Expressions! Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing some wonderful words with Wed Michigan!

How did Graceful Expressions get started?
I started Graceful Expressions in October 2004, however I have been doing calligraphy since a very young age. Calligraphy/art has always been a passion of mine, but I "lost touch" a little while in college and having a career. In 2004, I took a medical leave to go into inpatient treatment for anorexia, and during that treatment I was exposed to "Art Therapy" and realized how much it was a part of me and how much I missed it! It turned out to be a positive recovery tool, and gave me something to focus on and put my energy into. My husband (boyfriend at the time) signed me up for my first Bridal Show, and it was three months after that until I received my first client. I have had a constant flow of clients since then!

What is your favorite part of working in the wedding industry?
Working with the Brides to create the first "impression" of the wedding. For many, the wedding invitation envelope is the kickoff to the big day! Each envelope is an unique piece of art - I see beyond just the name and address. I just love being able to assist each couple with the little things that can save them time, stress, and energy. Many don't think about the need for seating charts, table numbers, placecards or escort cards. Each couple is so unique, and when I can capture the bride and groom's style and express it in pen & ink, that is an incredible feeling and definitely the best part. A computer printer can't do that. You never know who you will be addressing an envelope to - in the past I have addressed envelopes to celebrities, government officials, and even President-Elect Barack Obama.

What is your favorite part of living in Michigan?
The seasons and the water. I grew up in North Muskegon, (on the "west coast") and was just a mile from Lake Michigan. The natural beauty of the area... I love being out on Lake Michigan boating or fishing with my dad, taking walks with my puppy & husband on the beach.

What are some unique services that you offer?
Hand Lettering on Invitation Envelopes (Save the Dares/Thank You Cards/Bridal Shower Invitations/etc.) Placecards/Escort Card design and lettering, Wedding Vows, Seating Scrolls, Bible Inscriptions, If it can be written on - I can do it!

What are some unique stationery ideas that can use calligraphy?
I can do calligraphy on any type of stationery - One of the most unique things that I ever did for a bride was write 42 personal invitations (on her stationary) to her "spa day" the day before the wedding. She did not have time to write a personal note to each of her 42 wedding attendants (wedding was a non-traditional American wedding) so I wrote each note and signed her name. Some of my favorite non-stationery ideas are wine labels, bookmarks, Chair tags, candy bar labels, and I have even written on tiny macaras for wedding favors!

Any piece of advice for our Michigan brides?
When my husband and I got married last year, it was so overwhelming with details and everyone's opinions/ideas/input. We decided on three things - that once were set were non-negotiable and that we the most important to us. Everything else, we would delegate to those who wanted to - that we trusted - and let them do their job. I did not stress over the "little things" because I was at ease with the "big things" being in place. When you give up control - like I just dropped my centerpieces off at the reception site and said "have fun" and did not stress about the actual layout on each table and let people do what they are best at, you will often be pleasantly suprised. You will find that most people in the wedding industry are so passionate about weddings and their clients that they will always go above and beyond and do an outstanding job - but you have to give them that trust. Often they know so much better than you!

{Photos courtesy of Graceful Expressions}

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