The FreshWed Diaries: Wedding Signage with Phenix Paper Co. (Interview)

When it came to signage and our wedding program, we wanted a look and feel that was modern and clean - but honestly, didn’t really have any specifics beyond that. We designed our own save-the-dates and invites online, but we knew this was a project best left to a professional. I wanted to cuddle Spike after work, not DIY our seating chart! 

Through our wedding planner Natasha at Invisible Hostess, we met Kimberly Witchey of Phenix Paper Co. Kimberly and I met over coffee, and I knew she was the one to bring this vision to life. She more than delivered with stunning (yet unobtrusive) signage and the cleanest program that still paid attention to the fine details. We were so happy with how everything turned out!

Yeah that's a Fast & Furious quote! No better example of love and loyalty than the Torettos. Photo by Elizabeth Zuluaga

Yeah that's a Fast & Furious quote! No better example of love and loyalty than the Torettos. Photo by Elizabeth Zuluaga

I asked Kimberly a few questions to share more of who she is and her creative outlet, Phenix Paper Co.:

Why did you decide to get into signage?

I kind of fell into signage, and really weddings for that matter. I’m a graphic designer by trade, working for advertising agencies and on marketing teams for most of my career (15 years now - sheesh!) Exactly one year ago I left the corporate world to pursue full-time freelance work. I was about two years into launching Phenix Paper Co. then and decided to give it the attention it deserved if I wanted it to be successful.

Along the way, I participated in pop-up shops selling my greeting cards. One thing led to another and I was asked to participate in I Do SoDo (Seattle’s newest wedding show), which was really my first introduction into the world of wedding design. It’s actually where I met Natasha Larsen of The Invisible Hostess who referred me to you! It’s been a whirlwind since then with this year being my first wedding season but it’s been so much fun and I absolutely love it.

What’s the story behind “Phenix”?

Phenix was born during an incredibly painful time in my life. About five years ago, I went through a really bad breakup. The kind that brings you to your knees and has the power to ruin you if you’re not a badass. 

I’ll spare you the details, but during this time I was doing every single thing I could to rebuild myself. I said yes to every new opportunity that sounded even halfway fun...and I started designing stationery. It was a way to express myself in a new way that felt really therapeutic. Plus, I had always dreamed of designing my own line of greeting cards and opening a paper store one day so I suppose this was almost an excuse to make it happen. 

I took all the words of encouragement that I was hearing from my tribe and turned them into art. And that’s how Phenix was born. The name of my business was easy. Along the way, multiple people told me: “It’s like you’re a phoenix rising from the ashes.” I wanted to be a little different so I dropped the O. And that’s it. 

Since then, I have healed and grown and lived and my stationery line has started to reflect my true personality. You can still find the original greeting cards, which I’ve labeled the Phenix Signature collection but I’m starting to phase those out and let my true personality take over. 

Is there a certain kind of customer or couple that you have in mind when you think of your ideal client?

My ideal client is ultimately one who trusts me. A couple who can tell me their vision for their day - whether it’s small and intimate or a grand affair and then leave it safe with me to design something that takes their breath away. I love a couple who’s not afraid to think big and try something new. I love the challenge of executing a new big idea.

Any particularly fun or interesting customer requests?

Working with Jess and Jacob was so fun. I knew their style was modern. Simple. Fresh. Nothing too fancy or over the top. And, like my ideal client, they trusted me completely to deliver on the vision of their day. 

Jess and I met for the first time at Mr. West Cafe Bar downtown. If you’ve never been there, it’s a chic, hip, ultra-modern coffee shop. Very minimal in decor, focusing mostly on whites and neutrals with color coming from the living green plants and succulents. Jess said that the decor there was a lot like what they were envisioning for their wedding. My eyes lit up and the wheels in my head started turning. Simple and classy. Yes. 

I got additional direction from their invitations. Black and white. No flowing text or super fancy wording... I knew this would be the perfect vibe to showcase some of my acrylic signage. I pitched a 6ft. tall by 3ft. wide acrylic panel to use as a seating chart + matching table numbers and welcome sign. All three with designed with block sans-serif font to match their invitation, hand-lettered in white ink and all sliding effortlessly into matching espresso stained wood bases. Signage for the bar and photo booth coordinated. 

For their program, I again drew inspiration from their invitation and wedding website. Easily one of my favorite program designs, it featured two black and white photos of them on either side of the program attached with the tiniest black paper clip. 

Everything about Jess & Jacob’s vision for their wedding was my design dream come true. The moment Jess said to me, “we’re not into calligraphy” I knew it was a match made in heaven.

Any tips for couples who have no idea where to start in thinking about wedding signage?

Hmmm... great question. I think my tip would be to just relax and be yourselves. Find a vendor you trust and communicate your love story to them. Part of our jobs is to listen and help you dream up your perfect day. I have a serious passion for paper so I will always recommend some kind of program. Having said that, I think it’s also a neat idea to have a large piece of signage at the entrance to your ceremony that sums up the night. It’s a fun alternative and can be a more affordable way to communicate to your guests what the night has in store. And I’m always a fan of acrylic. It can take on any hand lettering style, any ink color and can easily be dressed up with floral. You really can’t go wrong.

What’s your favorite thing about Seattle?

The Great Wheel. It capped off my most memorable date night with Adam. We were stopped at the top, on the last ride of the night, toasting some good news with miniature champagne bottles that we smuggled on board... It was the night I fell in love with him! We call it "Our Wheel" now. :)

Thank you, Kimberly! Shop her paper goods and contact her for your own signage needs at PhenixPaperCo.com.

Disclosure: a custom package was discounted in exchange for a review. All opinions are mine!