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Getting to Know Turnage & Watts

January 17, 2024

Ah, wedding planning. It’s such a romantic time in your love story, but can certainly be stressful too. What’s the perfect color scheme? Inside or outside ceremony? What should our invitations look like? Invitation design comes with multitude of other decisions too. Will our invitations be simple and classic, or should they pop with details of our love story? Should they be floral, geometric? Should the envelopes be lined? Luckily for you, we sat down with Turnage + Watts to talk all things invitation, to help you design the perfect invitation suite for you and your boo.

Wedding Invitation Suite by Turnage & Watts | My Eastern Shore Wedding | Calligraphy & design | Invitation design 

– Tell us a little bit about Turnage + Watts. –

My style is influenced by vintage aesthetics but infused with a contemporary flair, incorporating a mix of diverse patterns, colors, fonts, illustrations, and more.

I absolutely love working closely with couples getting to know them, understanding their vision, and bringing their ideas to life. Collaborating, creating, and connecting with my couples is incredibly rewarding. It allows me to hopefully make a meaningful contribution to their wedding. I consider it an honor to have a small role in this very memorable moment in their life together.

It’s particularly meaningful to me when we incorporate their family heritage and personal history into elements of the design, such as watercolor wedding crest or monogram (which is traditionally only initials) that incorporate florals and symbols that are meaningful to my couple.

Family and tradition are very important to me. Turnage + Watts is named after my beautiful grandmothers, Pattie Mae Turnage and Sue Ella Watts, who always threw the best gatherings with their friends in Elon, North Carolina.

Every suite in my Semi-Custom collection is named after the wonderful people who enriched my life in Elon. My parents were very young when I was born. The entire small town of Elon helped my parents (and grandparents) nurture my foundational years. My goal is to infuse that same sense of caring and community into my work. My couples’ weddings are very important to me. Their wedding suite needs to be perfectly them!

Wedding Invitation Suite by Turnage & Watts | My Eastern Shore Wedding | Calligraphy & design | Invitation design

Are there any trends that you are expecting to see in the 2024 wedding season? –

Storytelling (This is my favorite!)
A wedding is primarily about the love story of the couple getting married. It’s an occasion for them to share their story with their guests. Their wedding stationery can incorporate themes and motifs that are symbolic of their individual personalities and or heritage while narrating their journey together as well. This visual storytelling adds a creative and whimsical element to their wedding suite. Overall, the trend of storytelling in wedding invitations allows couples to express their unique personalities, share their love story, and create a more engaging and meaningful experience for their guests.

Intimate Gatherings / Smaller Weddings
The trend of smaller, more intimate weddings has gained popularity for a few reasons. Couples may opt for smaller weddings to manage costs more effectively. Smaller weddings provide an opportunity for a more intimate and personalized experience. Couples can focus on meaningful details, spend quality time with each guest, and create a more tailored and unique event that reflects their personalities and preferences. Some couples are becoming more environmentally conscious and may choose smaller weddings to minimize the ecological impact associated with larger events.

Vintage-Inspired (Still hot!)
The vintage inspired or Grandmillennial style, popularized by the show Bridgerton, has been a big hit in the wedding world for the past few years and remains a popular trend. This style is best suited for classic and traditional weddings. You can find invitations in neutral tones with elegant typography, watercolor monograms, romantic floral motifs, and pastel palettes, all of which are classical details that add a touch of sophistication to any wedding.

– What would you say are the top 3 things couples should consider when looking for a designer? –

It’s crucial to find an invitation designer they feel comfortable with, who is a good listener and has an aesthetic and portfolio that aligns with them and their vision for their wedding.

1. Style and Aesthetic Compatibility:
Look through the designer’s portfolio to get a sense of their aesthetic preferences and design sensibilities. Consider whether their previous work reflects the kind of invitation you envision for your wedding. Discuss your ideas and preferences with the designer to ensure they can bring your vision to life. A designer specializing in watercolor florals and monograms may not be the ideal choice for a couple seeking a Disney-themed invitation or one shaped like a coffin. (and yes, I have been asked to do that!)

2. Customization Options and Flexibility:
Every wedding is unique, and couples have specific themes, colors, or personal elements they want to incorporate into their invitations. They should choose a designer who offers varying levels of customization and is willing to work closely with them to create a design that reflects their personality and the overall theme of their wedding and utilizes their budget efficiently. Inquire about the flexibility in terms of colors, fonts, paper choices, and other design elements.

3. Budget and Timelines:
Clearly define your budget for wedding invitations and discuss this with potential designers upfront. Different designers may have varying pricing structures, so it’s essential to understand the cost of their services and any additional fees for customization or revisions. Additionally, discuss the timeline for the design and production of the invitations to ensure they will be ready in time for your wedding. Some designers may have a longer lead time or may require more notice for custom designs.

– What do you think is the best thing about the array of options that you can potentially offer a couple? –

I offer versatility in design, tailored individual preferences, ease of access and convenience, quality, and flexibility. By embracing a broad spectrum of design choices and budget considerations, I strive to enable couples to find the perfect wedding invitation that aligns with their vision, style, and budget.

Recently, I’ve added to my offerings by launching a shop on Zazzle featuring print-ready designs. Recognizing that certain couples prefer a faster turnaround or have allocated a more modest budget for their invitations while still desiring access to beautiful designs, I’ve streamlined the process to make it more straightforward and convenient for them.

1. Versatility in Design:
Offering semi-custom, fully custom, and print-ready designs provides versatility. Couples can choose a pre-designed template that suits their taste or opt for a fully custom design to reflect their unique style and personality. This ensures that every invitation is a reflection of that couple.

2. Tailored to Individual Preferences:
The availability of semi-custom and fully custom designs allows couples to personalize their invitations. This level of customization ensures that each invitation is a one-of-a-kind representation of the couple’s love story, setting the tone for their special day.

3. Ease of Access and Convenience:
By providing print-ready designs, I simplify the process for couples who might prefer a quicker and more streamlined option. This appeals to those who want a beautiful invitation without the extended timeline associated with custom designs.

4. Quality and Elegance:
Whether it’s digital printing or a luxurious letterpress invitation, the emphasis on quality is maintained across the board. This ensures that regardless of the budget, couples receive a product that reflects elegance and attention to detail.

5. Affordability and Budget Flexibility:
My range of options caters to different budget constraints, making high-quality wedding invitations accessible to a wider audience. Couples can find something that aligns with their budget, whether it’s a simple design or a more luxurious letterpress invitation.

– Can you tell us about a time when you problem solved for a wedding client? –

One of my brides had her heart set on letterpress and handmade paper but the budget her mother had set for the wedding stationery did not come close to allowing this to happen. So, I set out to come up with ideas to help achieve her dream. By experimenting with the number of pieces in her suite, exploring alternative printing techniques, considering different paper options, and collaborating with my printer, we ultimately settled on an invitation on cotton paper with deckled edges, creating a visual semblance to handmade paper. This allowed us to achieve the desired aesthetic while staying within her budget.

– Why should a couple choose to work with an independent invitation designer compared to a digital design platform like
Zola, Minted, etc.? –

As an independent designer, I can offer a higher level of personalization and customization. I can tailor the design to match my couple’s unique style, and preferences in a way that might be challenging in an online platform. I offer distinctive and original designs tailored to my couple’s vision. I also provide more individualized attention to each project and communicate directly with my couples which makes revisions easier and allows my couples to have more control over the entire design process. This helps alleviate some of their stress. I can’t tell you how many times my couples have said to me, “You were our most favorite wedding vendor! We never felt rushed or stressed.” and “You made this process so easy!” This always makes my heart sing! I value the collaborative experience of working closely with my couples. When they see their invitations come to life, it becomes real, and they get very excited! My favorite part is when I deliver their precious paper goodies and I get to see their faces light up! It’s just wonderful!! (Sometimes I cry. They cry. And we have a big hug. LOL!) You can’t get that from an online platform.

– What is the most important thing you would like couples to know about Turnage + Watts? –

I take great joy in integrating my couples into their wedding stationery, going beyond the role of a mere wedding invitation designer. I approach it collaboratively, creating a relaxing and stress-free experience.

It can be incredibly overwhelming when couples get engaged. Where do I start?! Who do I hire? There are so many decisions to make about their wedding that they know very little about. They don’t know, what they don’t know per se. So, they don’t know where to start or what to ask. So often I hear that they did their own Save the Dates and it was a terrible experience. That makes me a little sad. This should be so much fun for them! It’s such an exciting time!

My goal is to eliminate the overwhelm, have my couples feel as if they are my one and only client, have a fun experience, and walk away with a treasure they are over the moon about! I feel as if I have been pretty successful at accomplishing this thus far.

Our time working together is not stressful. No question is a bad question. My couples don’t do this every day. So, it can be very daunting when starting their wedding stationery. Fun and exciting, but a little daunting.

I get to know my couples, so I can craft an heirloom piece that represents their distinctive relationship. As I guide them through the process, we start with 9 pre-designed suites as a jumping off point. I use these to help couples articulate the style, fonts, colors, and artwork they are passionate about. Often, it’s easier for people to communicate using visuals.

I help narrow down which pieces they need and why, the different paper options, printing techniques, embellishments (do they want a vellum wrap, envelope liner, ribbon or wax seal?), envelope addressing, signage, or day-of-items. Frequently questions arise about invitation wording, the amount of postage needed, and correct guest addressing. There are a lot of decisions to be made. I guide them through for a more manageable, peaceful process. It could take us a few months or a few weeks. It depends on the couple and their individual needs.

In the end, I find my couples are over the moon and absolutely LOVE their one-of-a-kind creation!



Invitations by Turnage & Watts
Photos courtesy of Juliana Mary & Co.

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