Vendor Spotlight: Yonder Design


Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

The first thing your guests will see that truly represents your wedding is your invitation, but these days it’s so much more than a letterpressed card in a pretty envelope. Innovative ideas, unique mediums, and the desire to brand an event has led to a new crop of artisans who are taking traditional wedding paper goods to a new level. One of our all-time favorites? San Francisco-based Yonder Design, the brainchild of Chris and Julie Neubauer. They’ve helped us set the scene for some of the most incredible celebrations, telling a story that extends so far beyond the wedding day. We talked to Chris about why they do what they do, and what makes Yonder Design an event branding service that’s not to be missed. 

What inspired you to create Yonder?

My now-wife Julie and I created Yonder in 2011 as we sought to start a business together that fit both of our skill sets. My background is in print publishing, so paper, ink, and printing have always been very familiar to me. Julie formally studied fine arts and graphic design in college, but found herself in the finance world for almost ten years after graduation. After a few pivots and slight refocusing, we combined our skills and passions and Yonder became what you see today.

What makes Yonder Design different from other stationers?

We don’t actually think of ourselves as stationers. This might seem like a silly distinction, as we create a lot of stationery products, but we really identify ourselves with event branding. Changing the label from stationers to event branding helps get both our teams and our clients thinking in a more unique way, opening up the creative possibilities and removing the limitations of paper and ink.

Stationery is intrinsically linked to paper, but with our approach, the paper often comes second. We like to take inspiration from physical materials and natural elements, then weave them together with paper in a cohesive way throughout an event to represent a motif, place or style.

Thinking differently is made possible by our experience with a variety of production techniques using materials like wood, metal, leather, fabric, ceramics, and more. Like an event planner creates a mood board for the overall look of an event, we do the same thing to create an event’s brand. We believe that cohesiveness of materials, graphics and typography helps to leave a much larger impression on the overall guest experience.


Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

What can a couple expect when they work with you?

A couple can expect a highly tailored experience that is unique to them throughout the process. We don’t start from templates or past designs, so everything we create is specific to each client and event.

What type of couple do you usually attract?

We generally attract couples who are looking to make a statement and set the tone for their special event to come. We don’t have a set design aesthetic, so the styles of our couples range dramatically.  

How does your work in branding influence your work as a wedding stationer?

Our branding work and process is like that of many other creative agencies helping the corporate world to build identities or brands, but what is unique is our ability to offer this expertise to our wedding and event clients. Our team is comprised of members formally trained in graphic, industrial, textile and packaging design, as well as marketing communication and copywriting. Because of these diverse backgrounds, we are able to offer our wedding and event clients the same professional quality service we offer for corporate clients on the branding side.  

Extensive research, group conceptualization, sample sourcing, prototyping and design boards may be more common for creative agencies exclusively working to build brand identities at the corporate level, but we bring these same processes and level of thought to our wedding and event clients.


Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

What are three things a couple should keep in mind when they’re assembling a suite for their wedding?

  1. Just because it goes in the mail, doesn’t mean it needs to be paper.
  2. Less is more. Limit the amount of text and number of cards or inserts to 2 or 3.  Additional information can be presented to guests online in a far more efficient manner–and you can update minor details on short notice. This also allows more room in a budget to do unique things that get guests excited.
  3. Technology is wonderful… But we’ve found that not all guests appreciate email invitations. If you want people to attend your event and get excited about it, send something unique in the mail

What are the most important stationery vocabulary words that couples should know?

Stock: The paper being used.

#/LB: Paper terminology for the density of paper. When comparing papers of the same style (cover stock, for example) the higher the number, the denser (generally thicker) the paper.

Pantone Color: Digital proofs can be very misleading when it comes to color. Different monitors and displays show colors differently, so what we see on our end, might look entirely different to the customer. To avoid any confusion, we use the Pantone Matching System, which is the worldwide standard in the design and printing trades. You can generally get a Pantone book from your planner or order one online

Embossing/Debossing: Printing method used to raise or lower an image on paper, giving a three dimensional effect.

Die Cut: A die is like an industrial cookie cutter, which cuts paper into specific shapes.  This differs from straight edge trimming, where paper is stacked and trimmed along crop lines.

What should the couple already know about their wedding when they start working with you?

The couple should have a venue booked with the dates of their wedding set, as well as an idea of their budget range.


Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

Which trends or details have been popular recently? Is there a color scheme or style that’s a go-to? What about one you’ve been surprised to see take off?

We’ve seen a large trend toward the use of non-paper materials in invitations. I believe we are seeing more of this because of the glut of online stores providing basic paper invitations. Our clients tend to want something that has a lot of finishing details that can’t be ordered online.

A lot of our clients have gravitated to neutral tones or black and white color schemes lately. I don’t know if this is a trend or more of a timeless style. However, most of our clients prefer an icon over a traditional monogram.

Is there a style or design element you’ve always wanted to incorporate into a wedding stationery suite?

We are always interested in working with new and unique materials. Recently, we’ve been really excited about mother of pearl, tortoise shell acrylic and rattan paper.

Describe your dream clients.

Our dream client is simply one that trusts us. They are able to articulate what they do and don’t like and aren’t afraid to say it. We’ll try to push the envelope and present a variety of unique concepts that haven’t been done before. It takes a lot of trust to make this happen.

Do you have any tips for couples to help them narrow down a design, or bring their inspiration to life?

Stop pinning pretty styled invitation suites that were created for other people or just for a photo shoot. Styled invitations may look great for a photo, but consider what the opening experience for your guests will be. Instead, pin isolated images of things that express your interests and taste. Pull from packaging, typography, interior design, works of art, architecture, nature, experiences, etc. Most importantly, look at elements from the venue and the local area. Styled images are great to capture a mood, but not what specific design elements you may care for or that best represents you.

Focus on what you do NOT like and make a list. Eliminating options is a powerful tool!


Photo by Josh Gruetzmacher

Is there one design you’ve created that made you say “I wish I was invited to this wedding!”? What was it about the stationery that got you so excited?

We worked on a project last year with Alison Events that incorporated moss, cork, acrylic, splatter paint, laser engraving, gold foil, screen-printing, lacquered boxes and much more. The design was unlike anything we’ve ever created for a wedding client. The amount of creativity involved and the challenge of creating production techniques to make it all happen was very rewarding.

What is something about you and Yonder Design that couples should know?

We love what we do and we love our clients. We understand that what we create is not for everyone, but we can create something unique for anyone. Our designs don’t get posted on the refrigerator. They are art pieces that provoke conversation and create excitement for the upcoming event.

When we aren’t in the office, we are most likely out chasing the next storm in search for snow.

Instagram Takeovers, Wanderlust Edition

We’ve had a serious case of wanderlust lately, and our is no exception! Some of our favorite vendors have taken over our account over the past few months, filling it up with beautiful pictures of amazing locations near and far.

Archive Mexico took us to their home of Riviera Maya, filling the frame with some of the amazing pieces available to rent for your own celebration. We wish every rental came with sand between your toes and an ocean view!





Images via Instagram, courtesy of Archive Mexico

The Venue Report gave us the inside scoop on hot new venues around the world, from the private courtyard at San Francisco’s The Cheese School to Cheval Blanc Randheli in the Maldives. And we’ve officially added Nicaragua to our dream destination list–let us know if you’re heading that way and have something to celebrate!




Images via Instagram, courtesy of The Venue Report

Once you’ve said “I do” and are ready for a little one-on-one relaxation, Ever After Honeymoons has you covered. Katie stopped by our Instagram page to share some of her favorite global locales, whether you’re looking for a helicopter tour over Queenstown, New Zealand, or sun and sand in St. Barths. Or there’s always dramatic views and elephant rides in Bali!






Images via Instagram, courtesy of Ever After Honeymoons

Are you ready to hop on a plane yet? Because we sure are!

Vendor Spotlight: Stag Dining

We caught up with Stag Dining this week and got a fun glimpse into the world of catering. Stag never fails to bring a fun touch of edginess and we love them for it! And their dream meal? Amazing….sign us up!




Where are you based? San Francisco, CA




What do you specialize in? Creative Catering & Beverage Catering



How did you get started?
As a Supper Club, in 2010 Throwing underground dinner parties with our favorite Winemakers, brewers and bartenders



What inspires you/your work?
Nature first and foremost. We also believe that there is a unique power in connecting people through culinary experiences & events. Often times, the event that we are producing is the first opportunity for our guests to step away from their highly connected and device-filled schedule and allows them the opportunity to relax and connect socially in an authentic way.



What’s a fun fact about you that clients may not know?
We started making wine last year. We partnered up with our good friends from Bodkin Wines for a beautiful rosé we call Deerblood and Derby Meritage Red. The fruit is from Sonoma County from some small family farms and is tasting quite lovely. We have always been about collaboration so when the opportunity arose to create food-friendly wines with one of the most up and coming winemakers in Sonoma we jumped at the opportunity.



What is one of your favorite venues to work in and why?
Our Russian River outpost, The Rio Theater in Monte Rio, Sonoma. It’s a slice right out of of Wes Anderson’s imagination on the sunny sandy banks of the Russian River.



Do you see any trends happening in the catering industry?
Away with the white tablecloths! The Craft-Casual approach that is dominating the hospitality scene in restaurants, bars & hotels, is something we are are applying to the mobile landscape (catering and beverage catering).



What’s a dish or meal that you would love to put together if you were given free reign at an event?
Take over a seated section at a major league baseball stadium, serve 9 courses of gourmet-inspired take on baseball food during a game… an event within an event!


Tell us the best way to reach you and check out your work.
Instagram: @stagdining

Vendor Spotlight: Photographer Elizabeth Messina

We are very honored to spotlight the über talented and insanely kind Elizabeth Messina. We are working with Elizabeth on two weddings in 2014. In February, Alison (our very own Creative Director) will marry her teenage sweetheart at Manka’s Boathouse in Inverness, California, and in April another lovely couple will marry in the south of France at the beautiful Hotel Du Cap Eden Roc. We are so happy she has taken the time out to share with you all.

Read on for a little Q&A with this amazing photographer and to see some of her beautiful work (including some images of Alison and Markus’s engagement shoot).


Where are you based?
Southern California

What you do/specialize in?
I am a film photographer. I photograph weddings all over the world and I also photograph portraits, boudoir and bambinos, and quite a bit of editorial work. I am an artist at heart and specialize in creating beautiful images with natural light.


How did you get started?
I got my first camera at the tender age of twelve, it was a gift from my mother. I loved it and photographed my friends and surroundings constantly—although I had no real understanding that I could be a “photographer”. It wasn’t until many years later that I truly embraced my dream and began creating images with purpose.

What inspires you/your work?
Life and my children. There is nothing more humbling than motherhood. It keeps me grounded and always on my toes. I love the way my children see and interpret the world. They are a source of constant inspiration to me.


What do you like to do in your free time?
Sometimes I feel like “free time” is something I left in my youth somewhere. My days are full — I am blessed to be a quite busy photographer, and when I am not on assignment, I am faced with a barrage of paperwork, editing, and deadlines. At home, our life is a beautiful mess of laundry and sneakers, basketball games and bedtime stories. If I truly have “nothing” to do, I think my happiest place on earth is snuggling somewhere with one of my children.

What’s a fun fact about you that your clients may not know?
I have a rather devoted obsession with Pinterest and Instagram and although I tend to be rather reluctant to embrace any form of social media, I have now not only embrace both of these but I really enjoy them. Pinterest is an endless source of inspiration (I am a collector of beautiful things, and this site allows me to collect without limits and yet leaves my home and office uncluttered). And Instagram is sublime. I love the way it connects me to the world with images and allows anyone who is interested to keep up with my daily life. I share images from my home life, editorial shoots, my travels, real weddings and boudoir…nothing is off limits and yet I am very thoughtful about what i share. I think of my feed (which is a mixture of iPhone and film images) as a curated body of work. And I can get lost for hours looking at other peoples images too.


What is one of your favorite destinations and why?
Last year I photographed a stunning wedding in Ireland (which I am so thrilled that Martha Stewart Weddings is publishing in November) and it literally took my breath away. From the rolling hills to the historic architecture, I was smitten. I’d love to go back someday. Sometimes I secretly think I was supposed to have been born in Europe!

What is one of your favorite venues to work on the West Coast and why?
I am quite taken with both the Villa at Sunstone Winery and the San Ysidro Ranch. The Villa is in the Santa Ynez mountains and sits amongst a stunning valley of grape vines and trees. It’s a stone estate, that feels like it could be in the middle of Tuscany. The ranch is nestled in the hills of Santa Barbara. It’s an intimate oasis that’s so beautiful and has a bit of modern history (JFK and Jackie Onasis honeymooned there).


What’s trending in the photography industry for weddings/events now?
I really think there is a surge in people seeking out film photography. Although digital is an incredible medium, when brides find out I am a film photographer, I can sometimes here audible delight in their response. Film is truly an art form and I think many people like to honor their wedding and have “art” created throughout their day. In fact, I am doing as many “love shoots” as “engagement shoots” these days (married couples who seek me out, because they were lacking something in their “wedding photos” that they want to have captured).

What trend are you tired of seeing?
Anything that feels inauthentic. I know that seems vague, yet in an age of sharing and over-sharing it seems sometimes images and ideas are re-used, especially in weddings. For instance, if you grew up on a farm and love mason jars, then by all means incorporate them into your wedding if you like, but if you are using them just because you saw it somewhere, maybe re-think it. The beauty in life and in love is our personal experiences, so bring some personal touches to your wedding. Being personal and authentic will never go out of style.


What’s your favorite photo to capture during a wedding?
Love, and expressions of tenderness between two people in love…there is nothing more beautiful.


Tell us the best way to reach you and check out your work:
Instagram // Kiss the Groom // Elizabeth Messina

I also am the author of The Luminous Portrait.

Vendor Spotlight: Astor & Black

This week, we’re featuring one of our favorite custom tailors: Matthew Mako from Astor & Black. Mako is a stylist, personal shopper and tailor all rolled into one. Astor & Black is a true custom clothing company that can accurately meet any sartorial needs of a groom and his grooms men. From everyday business suits to tuxedos and custom shoes, they manage the details that make your experience personal and pleasurable. They deal with the finest cloth mills in the world like Scabal, Loro Piana and Zegna and their Master Tailors then craft the garment you created, with the strictest of standards. It is an experience and an affordable luxury that is custom tailored to you and your needs.

Photos courtesy of Astor & Black

Vendor Spotlight: Daughters of Simone

Daughters of Simone is a new vintage bridal gown store based out of San Francisco, that offers unique, one-of-a-kind dresses that have been altered to appeal to the modern day bride. You can shop by style or era,  from the 1930s to the 1970s, and not only are these dresses stunningly gorgeous, they’re also incredibly well priced – ranging from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars. So you can take that well-saved money and apply it to another aspect of your wedding budget. Check out the newest collection here!

Photo courtesy of the Daughters of Simone website