My Story Behind the Script: Our Accidental Octopus Themed Wedding

When I started planning our wedding, I knew there were a few things I definitely wanted and one of those things was that I wanted our wedding to capture our personalities. I wanted our guests to walk into the space and not only feel welcomed, but almost feel like they were walking into our home. Like absolutely 100% yes this is Michelle and Ory.

And while I had a pretty good sense of how to get there, I also wanted to be sure that when it came down to it, Ory had some say in the planning process too and it wasn’t me just living out my own wedding fantasies.

So a few weeks into selecting our most important vendors, I asked Ory, “What’s the one thing you want to be sure we incorporate into our wedding?”

And y’all, I just didn’t see this one coming. “Octopi.”

I’ll be honest. These out of left field responses are definitely one of the reasons I fell for Ory. To this day, it still keeps our marriage interesting. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that a small part of me started to panic. How the heck was I going to incorporate octopi into what I otherwise wanted to be a fairly classic and feminine wedding?

We immediately starting googling octopus weddings and I’ll be honest, the results weren’t really inspiring or comforting. But I couldn’t go back on my promise, so I set out to incorporate octopi into the wedding. And incorporate I did with the help of my mom, a few fabulous vendors including Alicia of A&P Designs and Laura of Ashton Events! Y’all, I was quite proud of the end result :)

And while initially octopi held no significant place in either of ours live at the time. They are now forever linked to the day we said I do.

Read on for some fabulous details (and the stories behind them!) from the best octopus themed wedding ever.

These octopi save the dates were the first place the octopus made an appearance. Alicia from  A&P Design Co  drew these vintage inspired octopi herself - incredible right? And the accompanying photo was a watercolor of our beachside reception venue. Photo by  A&P Design Co .

These octopi save the dates were the first place the octopus made an appearance. Alicia from A&P Design Co drew these vintage inspired octopi herself - incredible right? And the accompanying photo was a watercolor of our beachside reception venue. Photo by A&P Design Co.

When our guests arrived to  reception , they were greeted by this fun vintage beach sign. Lettered by me and built/painted by Ory.

When our guests arrived to reception, they were greeted by this fun vintage beach sign. Lettered by me and built/painted by Ory.

Ory comes from quite the handy family, so when we asked his dad and brother if they would build us some custom corn hole sets for the cocktail hour they were totally up for the challenge and made two different but perfectly complementary sets. And of course, one of them just had to feature the octopus :)

Ory comes from quite the handy family, so when we asked his dad and brother if they would build us some custom corn hole sets for the cocktail hour they were totally up for the challenge and made two different but perfectly complementary sets. And of course, one of them just had to feature the octopus :)

cocktail hour corn hole on the beach
My mom helped find some really cute furniture to decorate the bar area for our cocktail hour and this octopus pillow was one of my favorite subtle details.

My mom helped find some really cute furniture to decorate the bar area for our cocktail hour and this octopus pillow was one of my favorite subtle details.

wedding decor details vintage nautical
Family has always been important to both of us, so we wanted to be sure that family was a central theme in our wedding. This ode to our parents and grandparents weddings made for a great card table and guest book display and that vintage octopus plate? It was hand painted by Ory himself.

Family has always been important to both of us, so we wanted to be sure that family was a central theme in our wedding. This ode to our parents and grandparents weddings made for a great card table and guest book display and that vintage octopus plate? It was hand painted by Ory himself.

My mom found these super cute octopus paper weights which we used as place cards that I lettered. Our wedding was the very first wedding I ever did calligraphy for! I still to this day see these place cards in friends houses and I’d be lying if I didn’t say it made my heart so happy :)  A&P Design Co  also incorporated an octopus into the menus to subtly carry the theme over from our save the dates paper story.

My mom found these super cute octopus paper weights which we used as place cards that I lettered. Our wedding was the very first wedding I ever did calligraphy for! I still to this day see these place cards in friends houses and I’d be lying if I didn’t say it made my heart so happy :) A&P Design Co also incorporated an octopus into the menus to subtly carry the theme over from our save the dates paper story.

nautical organic wedding table setting

Y’all I seriously wish I could take you back to that day. But I hope these snippets gave you a sneak peak and a feel for how our octopus themed wedding was born. The biggest lesson learned during this process was that if you do want to have a theme to your wedding, it doesn’t have to be everywhere. A few well placed details can truly make all the difference.

bride and groom carlouel beach wedding

And if you’re currently in the midst of trying to incorporate what feels like apples and oranges into your big day. Know that where there’s a will, there’s a way. And if you don’t quite yet know what that way is, a solid vendor team can help you make that dream a reality <3

Happy Planning!


My Story Behind the Script: My Origin Story

Don’t worry. This post is not about my birth story or even about how I got my super hero powers. Although I’m still holding out for that letter from Hogwarts…

But rather, this is the story of where my calligraphy journey began.

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One of the questions I get asked most frequently is “How did you get into calligraphy?” And the simple answer is, “I kind of always was.”

Seriously though. From a young age, I remember sitting in school with my notebook eyeing everyone else’s handwriting and spending hours perfecting my own. And it was comforting.

Fast forward a lot of years as I was planning our wedding and I KNEW in my heart of hearts that I wanted the prettiest calligraphy on our invitations. Not something super formal, but something that would set the tone for our fun, we love you, kind of wedding. From the moment people got the save the dates, we wanted them to feel loved and to know that if they came to celebrate our marriage with us, that they would be in for a real treat.

And so I found the perfect calligrapher! That’s right. It wasn’t me, ha.

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But, you know, sometimes life had other plans. My dream calligrapher wasn’t available. And you know, I probably could have gone and found myself another person to do the lettering for me, but something just lit a fire under me and I thought, “Wait, I bet you I can do this!” so I then spent hours on the internet googling what supplies I would need and trying to figure out how the heck to do this thing.

And after hours of research, I picked up my very first nib and went to town. Now my lettering then looked nothing like it does today. So if you’re on a quest to learn, have no fear, there is still hope for you yet!

But more importantly, if you have a thing in your life that you can’t get off your heart or if a fire lights under you, just start before you convince yourself otherwise. Because let me tell you, had I thought too long and hard about it. Had I started to worry about what people would think. Had I second guessed my ability to enter a sea of other calligraphers amongst an already saturated Etsy market, I would have been denying myself so many amazing opportunities and connections to people that this little business has brought me.

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As I started lettering prints and stationery and envelopes, I quickly realized the wealth of stories that lay behind these otherwise simple seeming words. And that my friends is when I fell in love with calligraphy and why my Stories Behind the Script series began.

And while there are so many stories I could start to tell you, the most important thing I actually want to leave you with is this. Give yourself the space to write your own story. To change. To evolve. To let life pull you where it will. Because seriously, you never know what goodness may be waiting for you on the other side.




My Story Behind the Script: An Update on Our Journey with Infertility

Oh gosh y'all, I promise I haven't disappeared. Things have been churning along per the usual (with a little more quietness on this blog - whoops), but there are SEVERAL life things that I wanted to share with you all if you don't happen to follow me on social media ;) and those things will slowly come in the form of blogs over the next few weeks :)

But first for the biggest news yet -

A while back, you may remember that I shared a little bit about our struggle with infertility in this post here. And while infertility is still very much part of our journey, I am THRILLED to share that for now this infertility chapter is coming to a close and we'll be welcoming the newest addition to our family this June! June y'all! It's going to be here before we know it.

We completed a round of IVF last September and continued with the medications (yes shots included) through most of the first trimester. Needless to say, this little one is truly a miracle. There are days where I wonder how we even got here, but I am SO grateful that we have.

Thank you to all of you that supported us in this journey or sent positive thoughts and prayers our way. It seriously meant and means the world to us and we couldn't have gotten to this point without our fierce little community.

And if you're reading this post with tears in your eyes and infertility has been or currently is part of your journey, please don't hesitate to reach out. I would love to connect with you and offer any support and love that I can - even if it's just a listening ear.

It looks like 2018 is going to be our biggest adventure yet so here's to hanging on and enjoying the ride!

My Story Behind the Script: My Journey with Infertility

It's been several months and countless rounds of doctor's appointments since we found out we were the 1 in 8. It still seems surreal most days and I still have a hard time talking about it (cue all the tears). But a little over a month ago a friend connected me with a wonderful, loving community of women who are all struggling on different parts of this same journey and that connection has made all the difference. This community made me realize that there was an opportunity in this season of struggle to help others, but in order to do that, I had to be willing to share my story so here it is.

Last summer, Ory and I decided that we were ready to grow our family. Little did we know that almost 11 months later it would still be just us and our two dogs. But we were some of the lucky ones.

Yeah, I said lucky, which is crazy right? To talk about infertility as something to be lucky about.

We discovered this was going to be hard for us early on thanks to some intuition and confirmation from our lab results. Somehow, I found comfort in knowing where we stood.

And y'all I don't talk about God very often, but He honestly works in some of the most mysterious ways. In early February (#firstavailable) we went to our first Reproductive Endocrinologist (or RE for short). You quickly start to learn all the lingo when you live in this world, but that's for another time. During this appointment, we learned that our insurance had started covering infertility treatments as of January 1. Had we gone any sooner, we would have been paying out of pocket like so many couples who struggle with infertility. Hearing this silver lining felt like a blessing.

Even in the what feels like the darkest of times, there is always a silver lining.

And here's the thing - I'm not going to pretend like this journey hasn't been hard. That it hasn't been a complete emotional roller coaster because it definitely has. Seriously, cue all of the tears.

give ourselves grace

But despite all that, I know I am exactly where I need to be and that's what keeps me putting one foot in front of the other on the days when it gets hard. I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason and that finding a community who understands you can be one of the best things you do for yourself in this journey.

One of the biggest challenges with facing infertility is that so many of us don't talk about it, which means this path can be so lonely. For me, it's been a combination of guilt, shame, not wanting to admit that this is all real. And FEAR. Fear that I would jinx myself. That others would judge me. That struggling with this would somehow hurt my job. Seriously y'all, the things we tell ourselves...

It is in time like these that we need to be most kind to ourselves and give ourselves grace.

Finding a community has helped me become more brave. It helped me face my fears. It provided a safe space to share my feelings and most importantly, it affirmed that I was indeed not alone

community together quote

Perhaps you're wondering what prompted me to share my story now. Well, one of the things we promised each other in our community is that we would wear these Give Grace tattoos (which are part of the Give Grace Campaign) as a means of creating conversation and spreading awareness during National Infertility Awareness Week (Apr. 23 - 29). And since we are almost at our one year anniversary of trying to grow our family these things things aligning felt like a sign that it was time.

The Give Grace Campaign is providing monetary support to couples to help them pursue IVF or adoption, who are otherwise can't afford it.

The Give Grace Campaign is providing monetary support to couples to help them pursue IVF or adoption, who are otherwise can't afford it.

So where does this leave us and what can you do to help?

  • Support the Give Grace Campaign or my friend Nikki's collaboration with Scarlet & Gold, Still Wander Prints. Each of these efforts supports a small business owner, helps spread awareness about this important topic and most importantly, helps couples achieve their dream of becoming parents.

  • Reach out to a friend that you know who has struggled with infertility - check in with them and be willing to listen. Active listening has become such an antiquated practice in our daily lives with all of our distractions, but it's still one of the most powerful gifts we can give one another.

  • Share your story. Even if it's just with family and friends. Putting your story out there can be such a cathartic and important release in this journey.

And if you or someone you know is facing this journey alone, send me a message (mabellecalligraphy@gmail.com). I would love to connect you with this community of women that has helped me find peace and patience in this otherwise difficult journey.

An update on our journey can be found here.

My Story Behind the Script: Why I Fell In Love with Calligraphy

My husband and I got married almost a year and a half ago. It truly was SO magical to be surrounded by so many of our favorite loved ones. One of the hardest things about planning a wedding is that it never feels like there is enough time to love on your guests and make them feel valued and appreciated for traveling from near and far to celebrate that day with you. It is the people that make that moment in your life so special.

bridal party

 

In planning our wedding something that was super important leading up to the day of was the details. Not because I wanted some fairy tale wedding, but because by focusing on the details and infusing our personalities into the ceremony and the reception, we could make our guests feel special. And what better way to add personalization than through calligraphy?

place setting - octopus - gift tags

Think about it. When you get your mail every day, it's one boring bill or spam mail after another. All with your name (probably spelled incorrectly if you're like me) typed out in some generic, stale font. But you know that feeling when you see a handwritten address on an envelope? That is the very same feeling having calligraphy at your wedding can create for your guests. From when the Save the Date envelopes arrive to seeing place cards with their names lovingly written out, this extra gesture can make such a difference.

table  numbers calligraphy
wreath calligraphy - all you need is love - handlettering

Now don't get me wrong, this doesn't replace spending time with your guests at your wedding,  but  the larger your wedding gets, the harder that can be. By adding special touches throughout the evening, your guests can still feel valued, included and loved on. And for some, that place card or envelope will become a special keepsake that will remind them of the beautiful vows you made to each other that day. Calligraphy is just one little aspect of making your guests feel like a special part of your wedding day, but one that my heart has truly grown to love.

beach  portrait - wedding - love - ory and michelle - ma belle calligraphy