Carly Reed: Tell your love story through design

Designer Carly Reed had been doing so many invitations and whatnot for her marrying friends, she decided to turn it into a business based on really genuine, heartfelt design that represents your coupledom to a T.

Carly Reed came highly recommended to us as the talent behind Carly Reed Designs. By all accounts, she’s pleasant as punch to work with, and she knows her stuff. We like her storytelling approach to designing for lovebirds!

Carly’s Story

Carly at work. Photo by Emily Gilbert.

Carly at work. Photo by Emily Gilbert.

I got started in the industry out of convenience–my family and friends were getting engaged and came to me because I’m a designer. But I quickly fell in love with designing for weddings.

My goal is to make beautiful designs with the sole intention of telling a couple’s story through colors, illustrations, and typography. I love working one-on-one with couples during such a happy time in their lives and really cherish the privilege of getting to be part of their special day. Your invitation gives guests their first look at your wedding and really sets the tone for the whole experience – so creating them should be a specialized and enjoyable experience!

What effect do you think sites like Pinterest and wedding blogs have had on the industry?

A custom invitation suite for a rustic barn wedding in Nellysford, VA. Photo by Emily Gilbert.

A custom invitation suite for a rustic barn wedding in Nellysford, VA. Photo by Emily Gilbert.

Pinterest and most wedding blogs were in their early stages when I started out, so I’ve worked with couples who didn’t use it at all and those who relied on it heavily for planning purposes. It’s a great resource for both inspiration and exposure, and allows couples to be much more involved and hands-on when it comes to the aesthetics of their wedding. When I’m designing an invitation suite, a wedding Pinterest board is a great source of inspiration, but I like to learn about the couple’s story first.

What are some things you think that brides and grooms worry about that they really shouldn’t?

A general rule for wedding planning as a whole should be “don’t sweat the small stuff.” Unless it’s something that’s really important to you as a couple, don’t let small details stress you out. Your guests love and support you, and most probably won’t notice those details that kept you up at night.

The best advice I can give in order to avoid unnecessary stress (both as a wedding vendor and a newlywed) is to rely on help. Ask family and friends, or hire a professional–our goal is to make you happy and make sure you enjoy your big day and the months leading up to it!

Who are some of your favorite local vendors? And why?

Photographers: Courtney Taylor Bowles, not only is her work amazing, but she’s professional, efficient, and an absolute delight to be around. Kate Thompson of Betty Clicker, her photos are breathtaking, original, and always make my jaw drop.

A custom invitation suite for a wedding with a Mexican fiesta theme in Sandbridge, Virginia. Photo by Emily Gilbert.

A custom invitation suite for a wedding with a Mexican fiesta theme in Sandbridge, Virginia. Photo by Emily Gilbert.

Florists: Amanda Burnette, her floral designs are so romantic, the only appropriate response is heart-eyed emoji. The folks at Vogue Flowers are very easy to work with and do beautiful work.

Gowns/Accessories: Urban Set Bride, Christine Greenberg1 and Jennifer Haines know the Richmond bride and have the most perfect shop to accommodate her every bridal need. Seriously, it’s adorable.

Tell us your very favorite wedding story, whether it’s a horror story or a moment of beauty.

My husband and I got married last fall–and I was designing our invitations, of course. Any designer will tell you that designing for yourself can be the hardest job.

A sampling of Carly’s work. Photo by Emily Gilbert.

A sampling of Carly’s work. Photo by Emily Gilbert.

So I kept putting it off, therefore unnecessary pressure began to mount. I knew our family and friends were going to expect our invitations to be really special, because that’s what I do! In the end, it came down to crunch time, and I had to send something out. In a moment of desperation, I dragged my husband to our venue (Maymont’s Italian Garden) to take some photos. It turned out to be a beautiful and relaxing afternoon and the photos ended up as the background of our invitations, and set the tone for our wedding perfectly (relaxed, outdoors, vintage-y, and fun).

  1. Whoa, THIS Christine Greenberg? — ed.
    Caption: Carly at work. Photo by Emily Gilbert. 
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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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  1. Carly designed the table numbers and dinner menus for my wedding back in 2010. She is amazingly talented and I highly recommend her!

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