Today’s featured Pittsburgh wedding vendor is Kimberly Werner, founder of Purple Wagon Designs. Kimberly designs completely custom wedding invitations – and more! Read on to find out about one of her favorite recent designs, what her process is like, and how her designs leap into the third dimension. (And don’t miss the photo gallery at the end!)
Have you always wanted to do design?
I’ve always wanted to be an artist. Always. We’re talking as young as I can remember. I didn’t know that I wanted to be a designer until high school when I started looking careers that would allow me to use my artistic skills. Once I learned what a graphic designer did – “create visual concepts to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, or captivate consumers” – I knew that was the career for me!
What led you to start your own business?
I have an entrepreneurial spirit. It’s in my blood. It was inevitable that I would one day have my own business, so I just had to wait until the right time. That time came 10 years ago when it became clear that there was no more room for advancement at my last “traditional” job. My husband was incredibly supportive and made it easy for me to take that leap.
Do you find that most brides and grooms tend to have a clear vision of what kind of design they want? For those who are unsure, how do you guide them into determining a style?
Most couples seem to know generally what they want, but not specifically. When I first meet with a couple, I show them a ton of samples and ask a million questions to really nail down what their personal style is, as well as the overall style and theme of their wedding. I use that information to ensure the design for them is exactly what they want, even if they didn’t know what they wanted in the beginning.
Are all of your designs created specifically for each client? Or, can a client choose from a selection of templates?
A little of both, actually! I do custom designs, which means that I design specifically for each client. However, during the initial consultation, quite frequently a bride will see a design I did for another couple that they really love! That’s always nice because then we have a great jumping off point: I take the design they love and just tweak it – colors, fonts, etc. – until it’s exactly right.
Are most of your clients located in Pittsburgh?
Most of them are, yes, but I’ve worked with couples all over – Maryland, Colorado, California, New York. With today’s technology, I can work with people who live anywhere!
What’s the most common misconception people have about designing printed wedding materials?
Probably how long it takes. I get a lot of people who contact me fairly close to their wedding date.
How long before a wedding should brides or grooms contact you? What’s your turnaround time like?
I recommend that couples contact me 6-8 months before their wedding. I’m usually able to accommodate those who wait longer than that, but just to be on the safe side, think about your invitations sooner rather than later. There’s a lot that goes into custom invitations and it can be a time-consuming process.
Can you describe your favorite creation from the past year?
I’ve been working with the most adorable couple, Shannon & Kevin, on their wedding stationery. From their first email to me, I loved them and their story. They didn’t live in the same city, but Kevin worked with Shannon’s sister, who knew they’d be perfect together. After talking through email, then on the phone, then Skype, they finally met in person. Shannon took the train from Pittsburgh to Philly, so they first met at the train station and they just KNEW they would be together forever. Given this amazing story, they are doing a vintage train theme for their wedding and I’ve been having so much fun with it! Their invitation is styled to look like a vintage train ticket and the place cards will be displayed in antique luggage. I love the concept, I love how the invitations turned out, and I love the couple!
When people think of printed materials for weddings, the first thought is invitations. But there’s a lot more, right? Can you describe what else you like to produce, even beyond the 2-D realm?
Yes, there’s a lot more! It starts with the invitations for most people, but some also do save the dates which go out 6-8 months before the wedding. There are a lot of day-of items, like ceremony programs, place cards, table numbers, and menus. I also do a lot of chalkboard art, which is so fun and adds the perfect touch to the shabby/chic and industrial or vintage style weddings that are popular right now.
If you weren’t a designer, what other job would you like to have?
I would like to be a nutritionist or personal trainer who specializes in working with children. I was a severely overweight kid and it was a difficult childhood. As an adult, I learned how to use food as fuel and work out to keep my body healthy and strong. I’m still not perfect, but I’ve learned a lot and if I had to switch careers for some reason, I think I’d like to share that knowledge in the hopes of preventing other little ones from having the difficulties I had that stemmed from being overweight.
Do you have a favorite venue?
The Mansion at Maple Heights
Favorite coffee shop?
Uptown Coffee in Mt. Lebanon
Favorite place to go for a walk?
Favorite vacation spot?
Vacation? What’s that?!
Purple Wagon Designs
Christina Montemurro Photography specializes in photographing Pittsburgh weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs. Using a photojournalistic approach, Christina provides extraordinary attention to detail and customer service. Christina’s loves to work with happy couples who want to look their best in their wedding photos, but still look like themselves, not models in a styled shoot for a wedding magazine.
Contact Christina now to check availability for your engagement session, wedding, bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. Christina has been rated among top Pittsburgh wedding photographers. You can read reviews by Christina’s past brides and grooms here and here. Some of Christina’s favorite venues include the Carnegie Museum, Heinz History Center, Edgewood Club, Edgewood Country Club, Hotel Monaco, Omni William Penn Hotel, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square, PNC Park and Twelve Oaks Mansion.
Christina is also available to shoot weddings in Bucks County, including Doylestown, Chalfont, New Hope, Yardley, Newtown, Warminster, Warrington, Bedminster and Pipersville.