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Carol Woldhuis Designs

Chicago, Illinois

Carol is a hidden gem in the Midwest wedding industry. I met her while speaking at ISSE Chicago, and after thumbing through some of her samples I was blown away. She truly took her talent, found her niche and made a name for herself in the custom stationery world. Hand-drawn and painted custom stationery at that.


How 
did 
you 
get 
started
 in 
the 
world 
of 
paper 
and 
stationery?
I am an artisan that has been involved creating art since childhood. Dabbling in many artist mediums over the years such as, floral design, event planning, catering and food but mostly have always gone back to my first love and training concentration of painting and drawing.

I design Custom Event Stationery for weddings and other special occasions. Artist genes were embedded into my from many family members. My grandfather was a talented “Rembrandt” style artist, that enjoyed the ability to express himself through oils and music. My mother was a seasoned wedding floral designer for over 20 years, so it is only natural I would fall into this pattern.

I often thinks that is was my “given” talent when I was born, to be able to visualize something before My pen or brush hits the paper. My motto is always to remember “to have faith and keep believing in yourself, no mater what you have heard…impossible is NOT a word.”

I guess I have always loved paper, paints. Anything colorful. About five years ago I decided to blow the dust off my brushes and sketch pads and begin drawing and designing again. My niece was getting married and asked me to help with her invitations…thinking, “Okay, I did paint my own.” The response was so great that I began to investigate who was out there designing invites. I started creating all sorts of samples but seemed to always fall back on the custom hand-paints. It became my niche – what set me apart from other stationers.

What 
is 
your
 biggest 
source
 of
 inspiration 
when 
designing?
Kinda of funny…I guess I get my inspiration from a lot of places. Magazines, fabric, online, and now Pinterest has me wired sometimes. Most of my designs will come to me in the middle of the night…so as I say, I need to get up and do a “creative dump”…sketching out the images so the next morning I can tackle the design.

What 
would
 you
 classify
 your
 stationery
 / 
invitation 
style 
as?
I would say my design style has evolved over time but has been talked about as whimsy, arts. My tag line and blog title is …where ART meets Stationery.

What 
do 
you 
think 
sets 
you 
apart 
from 
other 
vendors 
in 
the 
industry?
I believe it’s the hand–painting part. Most vendors that say they are custom work with stock images, all of my designs are original pen and inks and watercolors that I turn into my invitations.


What 
advice 
would 
you 
give 
to 
a 
bride 
and / or 
groom 
who 
is 
on 
the 
hunt 
for 
their perfect 
invitation
 suite?

When working on your invitation suite, 1. begin to collect items of inspiration. I love when a couple can bring my ideas of things they like. Even if it is clothing or home décor, it tells a lot about people. 2. Going the custom route? Start early as it can take some time for everyone to be on the same page and design the perfect suite for them. 3. Be open to artistic suggestions, an idea might not be something you were thinking of but when it was designed you may fall in love.

Outside 
of 
the 
world 
of 
paper, 
what 
do 
you 
enjoy 
doing?
Hmmm…spending time with my family, I have three great kids that are now “adults” so we don’t always all get together a lot, but when we can there are always lots of laughs while we are catching up. Reading when I can, Scrapbooking, which I am way behind on since I spend most of my time playing with paper for my invitations. But one day I will get back to that. I just try to always remember that no matter where I am or look there is always a “creation” waiting to happen. I love the color RED, I have never been one to have white walls and probably never will.







Joshua Luke Photography



From the Photographer:
Jessica and Randal Moser weren’t able to get the kind of professional photos they would have liked for their California wedding. A year later, once Randal was relocated to Scott Air Force base in St Louis through his job in the military they decided to do a newlywed season just before the Air Force’s annual ball. To say they were camera ready was an understatement. Jessica shined in her ball gown and Randal looked dapper in his mess attire. It was hard not to get an amazing shot with these two. For those in the military, a base offers a wide range of historic, beautiful backdrops to take advantage of for a wedding day… and the countless days to come after.

A snowy, mountaintop wedding. A beautiful one at that. Jessica and Tyler chose Sun Valley as their wedding location with the cutest first look at a chair lift before they headed up the mountain for photos. The icing on the cake? The stunning outdoor (and chilly) ceremony.












Dev Khalsa Photography


From the Photographer:
Jessica and Tyler braved the frigid weather for their winter wedding, standing outside in 10 degree weather to make sure they got all the portraits they wanted. Jessica grew up in Sun Valley, where the wedding took place, and over the years has had a great time sharing all her special spots with Tyler, who is a big fly fisherman and loves the area. They now live in Boise, Idaho, but were so excited to tie the knot in the valley. After getting ready at separate condos, Tyler waited for Jessica on a chairlift at Dollar Mountain, and they had the cutest moment when they saw each other for the first time. Although all of their friends thought they were crazy, they insisted on an outside ceremony at 8 p.m. on the porch at the Valley Club! Hand warmers were provided and everyone was excited enough to stay warm. The partying afterward warmed everyone up the rest of the way!


Ceremony / Reception Venue: The Valley Club | Photographer: Dev Khalsa Photography | Event Planner: Absolute Weddings, LLC

I admire anyone who can plan a wedding in a short time frame. I have had the pleasure of doing it a few times myself, but when a bride and groom do it, they get my kudos. Because it’s not easy to have it all come together so well. Laurie and Colin had the help of their friends and family, which makes the process not just easy, but enjoyable, too. And, had I not told you that bit of information, you would have had no idea they planned their wedding in three months.


















Lime Green Photography


From the Photographer:
Laurie and Colin’s wedding was held at Laurie’s parents’ farm in Metamora, MI. Her wedding attire was a secondhand find at Rosebud’s (her dress, her veil, her hairpiece), and the bridesmaid dresses and tuxes were handmade at Sue’s Custom Sewing. Laurie added the flower clips to her shoes from an Etsy seller, borrowed her great grandmother’s jewelry, and had friends help make her invitations. All of the decorations were either handmade, secondhand bought, or borrowed. The handkerchiefs that wrapped the bridesmaid’s jewelry (gift) was by the bride’s great grandmother. Laurie made the centerpieces by gluing vintage plates and glasses together. The cake topper was made by her friend. The cupcake station was assembled with the help of family friends with a vintage ice cream sundae spoon server and vintage syrup dispensers. During the ceremony, Laurie and Colin each drew half of the Ichthus fish in clay to signify their unity in Christ in lieu of a unity candle. And above all…they planned their wedding in THREE MONTHS.


Ceremony / Reception Venue: Private Residence | Caterer: Impreza Catering | Photography: Lime Green Photography | Stationery: Antiquaria | Wedding Gown: Sophia Tolli | Shoes: Nina Shoes | Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Sue’s Custom Sewing | Veil / Bridal Accessories: Rosebud’s Bridal and Tuxedo | DJ: Ryan Thero

row 1: Ceci New York; Badgley Mischka via ShopBop; Marcella Treybig Photography via SMP
row 2: Brooke Boling via SMP; Melissa Jill Photography / Avant-Garde Floral Design Studio via SMP
row 3: Spindle Photography via Elizabeth Anne Designs; Eric Kelley Photography via SMP; Marcella Treybig Photography via SMP

I love reading a couple’s story. And, Melissa and Andrew were sweet enough to each share their sides of their story – all the more reason to really get into this post. It’s a beautiful thing to see how a couple evolved over the year and what ultimately led them down the marital path. Thanks to their photographer, Paul, for sharing their big day with me.













Paul Retherford Wedding Photography

From the Bride:
One random weekday night during my Junior year of college, my best friend asked if I would come with her to the CMU’s Men’s club soccer game to watch a guy she was interested in. What I had not known was that I would for the first time meet the man I was going to marry, my future Husband.

AJ caught my eye from the second I saw him on the soccer field, unfortunately for us, timing wasn’t right. It was not until four years later that fate brought us together……..

In 2008, we randomly bumped into each other while cheering on our beloved Chippewa’s at the Motor City Bowl. AJ & I hit it off from the night we reunited and have been inseparable since. Our first year together was filled with phone calls and monthly visits as AJ lived in Kentucky, and I in Michigan. Each phone call & visit brought us closer together, so much so that when the time came, both of us knew a move was in our near future! My love for AJ was so strong, I took one for the team! A month after graduation, my parents & I packed all of my belongings and headed for Lexington!

Nine months later, I found myself preparing for my first holiday (what is now my FAVORITE Holiday!) away from my family. Just like he always does, AJ knew exactly what to do to make me feel better; he took me for a walk at one of our favorite places, the Arboretum.

But what I did not know was that AJ was about to make this day one that I would never forget…..While on our walk, AJ spotted a bench in the middle of a tree covered trail. While walking over to the bench, AJ pulled out his camera and tripod (while I thought to myself, “I really taught him well!!”), and asked for a “Easter” picture. AJ began to set up the camera and before I knew it, he was at my side talking to me and kissing me. It was at this moment that I realized AJ was down on one knee, holding the most perfect, beautiful ring, asking me to be his wife…..and of course, I Said “YES”!!!

From the Groom:
‘Twas was the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Love was in the air and I had no idea I was about to find my spouse.

Ok, ok maybe it was the day after Christmas but I couldn’t resist. December 26, 2008 will forever be remembered in my mind. I met up with friends to attend the Motor City Bowl at Ford Field and cheer on my alma mater Central Michigan University. Our cheering section grew larger as we sat with a group of lovely young ladies that we had known previously from our college days at CMU. Among them was Melissa or “Mel” as they call her. See, I had been introduced to Mel before but we were acquaintances at best. At that time she had a boyfriend and being the respectable man that I am, I steered clear. However, this time was different. She was newly single and from what I had heard, she was quite the catch. As the flame of hope faded for CMU’s chance at victory (they lost 24-21) Melissa and I had sparked an interest in each other.

As the Holidays ended I made my way back to Lexington, KY. We had exchanged phone numbers with the hopes of keeping in touch. And so it began with weekly phone conversations and monthly weekend trips between Michigan and Kentucky. Through the many adventures that we experienced together in such a short time I was starting to see how unique and beautiful Melissa really was. It was a fortune that I had received on one of our dates to PF Chang’s restaurant in Lexington that summed it up best and it read:

“You are about to embark on a most delightful journey”

This has truly become the motto of our relationship together. After multiple late night discussions Melissa decided to move to Lexington to start her first professional job, and I like to think more importantly to be closer to me. As time passed our relationship continued to develop and become more natural. I started to realize that she was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

After mustering up the courage to ask her parents blessing (which they gave thankfully) I began planning the proposal. It was Easter Sunday and we decided to go for a walk at the Arboretum by UK’s campus, a place we both enjoy for its beauty and nice running path. Ring in my pocket and trying to act calm I led us down a little used walking trail. Knowing Mel’s love for photography I suggested we stop and take an Easter picture. After posing for many a photo for my Mom I learned that it’s best to always have doubles, so I said let’s take another “just in case”. It was then that I pulled the ‘ole switch-a-rue and turned the camera to the video setting. I proceeded to drop to one knee and ask Melissa to be my wife…she said “yes”!!!


Ceremony Venue: Pere Marquette Depot | Reception Venue: Hilton Double Tree Bay City | Floral Designer: Memories by Candlelight | DJ: Storm DJ Show | Cake Designer: VanillaBean Bake Shop | Hair Stylist: Magnolia Salon & Spa | Officiant: Rev. Brian Tuttle | Photographer: Paul Retherford Wedding Photography

Tim sent over this engagement session and I was just over the moon with how much joy Jon and Sam exude in these photos. Maybe it’s because they grew up down the street from each other, turned into best friends and are now married.





Tim Tab Studios

A wedding with a good story is a good wedding. Thanks, Maura for sharing Karin and JC’s story, and their wedding day, too!

Karin and JC – Kansas City Wedding Film – Highlight from creative films on Vimeo.

Becca Spears


From Maura, the videographer:
I knew Karin and JC’s wedding would be amazing the first time I met them in my studio. They had the most amazing chemistry and clearly loved each other. I was so excited when they asked me to be a part of their wedding day. Karin and JC had their ceremony and reception at Pennway Place in Midtown Kansas City, Missouri, the haute floral studio of the amazing Dan Meiners. They did a beautiful job of creating two separate moods for the ceremony and reception at the same location. The ceremony space was intimate and filled with candlelight and soft strings music that created a warm, romantic, loved filled space where they joined their two young families. JC and Karin’s children were an integral part of their ceremony with beautiful words and a sand ceremony. After the ceremony the guests moved to the connected rooms for an energy filled reception featuring a vibrant band and energetic color and décor. The event had much more of a club atmosphere including a smoking room where they had a cigar bar and roller. Their guests had a wonderful time celebrating with them and JC and Karin continued their generosity as in lieu of gifts, they suggested donations be made to Operation Breakthrough, a local non-profit that helps children and families in poverty in Kansas City.


Videographer: Maura Coleman-Murray, Creative Films  |  Photographer: Becca Spears  |  Wedding Coordinator: Patti Gehring  |  Ceremony / Reception Venue: Pennway Place  |  Florist: Studio Dan Meiners  |  Caterer: Feasts of Fancy  |  Cake: Sugar Creations  |  Officiant: Pastor Timmy Gibson  |  Band: HotHouse

Neon colors are on their way in (something I’m pretty excited about). It’s easy to go overboard or to combine these colors in a non-visually appealing manor – so take caution.

BUT, don’t let that scare you off. Take a modern approach and use the colors strategically – in stationery, flowers, linens, the cake. And, then balance them out with great complementary tones and neutral hues.


row 1: Cake, Stationery, Bridesmaids
row 2: Bride, Groom, Vase, Shoes
row 3: Tablescape, Bouquet, Centerpiece

Weddings and style shoots with character always catch my eye. This one from Heather Roth Fine Art Photography and Kristin Ashley Events are the epitome of it. With vintage and modern elements. Bright reds and pinks. Bold and sweet details. And, of course, an adorable couple. It’s the perfect way to show how to do reds and pinks tastefully, and just in time for Valentine’s Day, too.















Heather Roth Fine Art Photography


From Heather:
My parents got married on this special day over 40 years ago, so I really wanted to create a fun, decorative Valentine’s Day shoot inspired by their love, as well as their passion for all things vintage. Our couple (Annalise + Dave), who are not models by the
way, have been married for almost 4 years, and were so excited to be a part of our shoot. Annalise was the perfect gal to wear our wedding gown paired with the vintage red cape and the cream & black art deco cape (both from my Mother’s vintage clothing collection)! We really wanted a romantic + intimate celebration with pops of gold/brass, black and creams, inspired by those capes and that magical era. I was super excited how it came together with the help of all the fabulous vendors involved. Their ideas and
added hints of love really made the occasion so pretty and sophisticated.


Wedding Gown: Simply Elegant Bridal | Planning / Coordination: Kristin Ashley Events | Event Rentals: The Aries Company | Linens: Sitting Pretty | Florist: Becky Huffman Flowers | Cake: Sarah’s Cake Shop & Catering Co. |
Hair + Make up: Holly Speakes, ProColour Cosmetics | Stationery: Hello Tenfold | Photography + Styling: Heather Roth Fine Art Photography | Bride’s Red Dress: Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent | Bride’s Jewelry + hair pieces: Love Bird Vintage Jewelry | Red Velvet Cape: Vintage | Cream & Black Deco Cape: Vintage