Post Script: Calligrapher Ashantai Yungai

When it comes to projects of the epistolary variety, calligrapher Ashantai Yungai, founder of Distinctive Inscriptions, isn’t one to back down from a challenge. So, when a bride asked him to pen 1,000 envelopes for her Hawaiian wedding, he not only agreed, he blogged about the two-week-long endeavor. With a good nib, a little Joni Mitchell and a bag of flour, he proved victorious. Perhaps it’s Yungai’s science background (he’s a chemist by trade), but it seems as though he has found the formula for the perfect flourish.

distinctive inscriptions calligraphy founder ashantai yungai

Ashantai Yungai, born to flourish.

Of course, we would never ask him to share his ‘secret sauce,’ be he does share with us missives pertaining to pens, sisters and the future of the handwritten word.

When did your interest in calligraphy begin?
June 2008. I am a chemist by trade. A friend saw my handwriting in my lab notebook and asked, “Did you write that? Wow man, that’s pretty cool! You should do calligraphy. People do wedding invitations and envelopes using calligraphy.” I thought little of it at the time. I bought a calligraphy pen on a whim one day while shopping for art supplies for my son. I began writing with it. From there I was off to the races. 

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Etiquette: How to Use QR Codes on Your Stationery

letterpress bar mitzvah invitation with qr codeRecently at the 2012 National Stationery Show, we dedicated one of our storefront windows (prime real estate!) to QR Codes and how to incorporate them into social stationery. Wedding invitations, letterhead, business cards: Why yes, there is a way to include one and still keep that classic aesthetic & craftsmanship Crane & Co. is known for.

In case you’re curious how to do so, we’ve put together this handy QR Code Etiquette Guide. Technology never looked so luxurious.

Have more questions about stationery etiquette & style? Email our Crane Concierge at 

Post Script: Oh So Beautiful Paper’s Nole Garey

Whether stationery is your business or your pleasure (or, hopefully, both), Nole Garey’s blog, Oh So Beautiful Paper, is essential reading. Every day the Washington D.C. resident satisfies our appetite for stunning invitations, charming greeting cards, wonderfully unique personalized stationery and anything else fit to be inked. Here, the GW grad talks postage preferences, growing up with creative parents and why it’s important to write to the person you see every day.

Briefly describe your work and its connection with the post.
I am the editor and publisher of Oh So Beautiful Paper. I review submissions of work from independent artists and designers, choose my favorites, then create a post around the submitted work. I always include an introduction with my own thoughts about the work, but I also try to include something from the designer about the origin of the project, including the purpose of the project, inspiration sources, and printing specifications.

When did your interest in paper begin?
I’ve always been interested in design; my father worked as an advertising copywriter and my mother is an accomplished non-professional artist. As a kid, I was exposed to art and design and encouraged to explore creative outlets. Although I studied political science and international economics in college, I took a printmaking course that gave me some basic instruction in screen printing, letterpress, and etching. But it wasn’t until I became engaged to my husband and started to explore the world of wedding invitations that I truly fell in love with paper and the stationery industry.

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Post Script: Liz Richmond, owner of The Paper Bag

Fifteen years ago, Liz Richmond did what most stationery lovers only dream of doing: She bought a stationery boutique. Situated across from an amusement park in Allentown, PA, The Paper Bag has been in business since 1982 (30 years if you’re counting). Richmond joined its staff two years later and has been there ever since. Here, she talks with us about celebratory stamps, Old Money and why she thinks classic correspondence isn’t going anywhere.
Paper Bag owner Liz Richmond


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Etiquette: Save the Date & Reminder Cards

You have the occasion to celebrate, now let’s make sure everyone shows up to join you, shall we?

Holly Golightly Letterpress Wedding Save the Date Save the Date Cards
Also known as hold-the-date cards, these cards are sent to guests who might need advance notification of an event so that they can make special arrangements. They are generally sent when an event is being held at a time when guests might otherwise make plans, such as holiday weekends.

Save-the-date cards ask your guests to set aside that date for your event and are generally sent three to four months before the event. They do not take the place of invitations. The actual invitations are sent at a later date, usually four to six weeks before the event.

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Wedding Etiquette: Reception Invitations & Late Receptions

kate spade new york reception cardRECEPTION INVITATIONS

Wedding ceremonies and receptions do not necessarily have the same number of guests.

Many couples, especially those in which the bride is a second-time bride, have small, intimate ceremonies with larger receptions afterwards. Since more people are invited to the reception than the ceremony, the invitations are for the reception. Guests invited to the ceremony are sent ceremony cards with their reception invitations.

Reception invitations always “request the pleasure of your company,” since the reception is not being held in a house of worship. The word “and” is used to join the names of the bride and groom. The phrases “marriage reception” and “wedding reception” are both correct. “Marriage reception” is the more traditional of the two. However, many brides prefer “wedding reception” on the grounds that a wedding is the act of getting married while marriage is the result of that decision.

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Wedding Etiquette: Anniversary Gifts & Reaffirming Vows


The Victorians, with their penchant for classifying everything, created a list of symbolic wedding anniversary gifts that is still very much in vogue today.

Here are the traditional anniversary gifts for each year:

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Etiquette: Replying to an Invitation

engraved wedding invitation reply cardYou love a good party, which is probably why you get invited to so many. (That and your incredible charm and wit). Here’s how to accept — or decline —  an invitation.

Formal Replies
Informal Replies

Filling in Reply Cards
Reply cards are sent with invitations in order to give recipients an easy and convenient way to respond. They should be returned promptly. Your name, preceded by your title is written in following the “M” in the space provided (that is what the “M” is for). If you will be attending the event, the space between “will” and “attend” is left blank. If you will not be attending, write  “not” in that space.

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Etiquette: Forms of Address

Mr. President. Madam Ambassador. Your Excellency. A guide to sending impeccably addressed correspondence.

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Etiquette: A Perfectly Proper Invitation for Every Soiree Style

From formal dinners to Bar Mitzvahs, every party comes with its own invitation etiquette. Here’s how to make sure your soiree is properly presented to potential guests.

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