A Peek Into Our Design Process

Today we’re sharing a post that originally appeared on the Bella Figura blog. Enjoy!

As any small business owner will tell you, running your own studio has many positives and, of course, a few negatives too. One of my favorite aspects about having my own design practice is the uniqueness of each project. We’re fortunate enough to work with so many types of clients, each with their own thoughts and ideas. Because of this, every day is new, refreshing, and full of what I love — illustration!   We’re excited to walk you through our process as we work on a custom wedding suite for an upcoming Brooklyn wedding. This has been on of my favorite projects as of late and I’m so happy to share it with everyone. Let’s get started!



When I sit down to create artwork, I double (and triple) check that I have everything I’ll need handy. It usually takes a moment to find a rhythm and warm up when I draw, so it’s quite annoying if I have to get up to find a specific pen or eraser and interrupt my flow. I almost always draw from reference, so I’ve kept a few image of the Wythe Hotel on hand as well as my copious collection of drawing utensils. Not pictured – an endless flow of good, strong tea.



Once I’ve sketched everything in pencil, I go back over it in ink. This is where my Micron pen addiction can truly run rampant! It’s also one of my favorite parts of the process because I can start adding in some of the finer details that really make the illustration fun and personal.



After the illustrations are squared away, I’ll move onto the lettering. With brush lettering, like illustration, it can take a few minutes to get into the zone. I expect to go through several sheets of paper (sorry trees! love ya!) before I go back and edit down. I prefer to play with the ink and let several options develop organically before looking at everything as a whole and choosing which I like best.



All of the artwork is done! Hooray! Now it’s time to scan it and dive into the layout, type, and color on the computer. Creating the artwork by hand and editing it digitally gives the process so much flexibility and allows me to have the best of both worlds. It also ensures that I can accommodate revisions in a timely manner for the client as opposed to starting from scratch when it’s time for edits.



There are few things more exciting than receiving the project back from the printer! It’s the culmination of the initial ideas, inspiration, and artwork that you can hold in your hands and enjoy. Seeing the final colors and textures for these pieces made me fall in love with the project all over again.

I hope you enjoyed this peek into my process. The workflow is a constant evolution as I find what works best for me – and what doesn’t work at all! I’m very fortunate to do work that I enjoy and have clients who love the outcome. If you have any questions I’d love to hear from you!

The Knot :: Playful Palette

Last year one our good friends, Jove Meyer of Jove Meyer Events, reached out with a very exciting opportunity. He would be styling a shoot for The Knot and asked Swiss Cottage to create the paper goods for the event. Once he described his vision – bright colors, fun patterns, and bold shapes – we were in!

Jove and all of the other contributors did a truly amazing job pulling everything together. We were so excited to see the photos after the shoot and waited to share them with bated breath. After much anticipation, the time has finally arrived!

Everything came together so beautifully. It’s a great example of how bold design elements can be combined to create a refined and elegant look. The table setting is my personal favorite – everything is unique in its own right without needing to compete with the other pieces.




A huge thank you to Jove for making it happen as well as to all of the talented contributors!

Planner + Designer – Jove Meyer Events
Stationery / Menus + Programs + Place mats + Invites + Save the Dates + Charity Signs – Swiss Cottage Designs
Flowers – Lindsay Rae Design
Vintage Glassware – Little Vintage Rentals
Furniture Rentals / Table + Chairs – Taylor Creative
Tabletop Rentals / Linens + Cutlery + Chargers + China – Broadway Party Rentals
Custom Hand Decorated Shoes – Hushed Commotion
Custom Made Suit – A Suit That Fits
Cake – Lael Cakes

London Love

Take a peek through the blog and you’ll notice it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of all things London. The Swiss Cottage studio wouldn’t be complete without endless amounts of tea, miniature Beatles figurines, and vintage London Underground poster. Even our business name is borrowed from a neighborhood in that lovely city!

Being the anglophile that I am, you can imagine my excitement as I worked on this London-centric wedding suite. We opted to move away from the traditional blue, red, and white in favor of black, white, and red. The dramatic colors are balanced with softer, watercolor illustrations of some of the city’s landmarks. I love how striking the overall look is. It’s bold while still maintaining a more gentle, romantic edge. Highlighting some of the most iconic spots around London was also a great way to get guests excited about making the trip for the big day! 

The juxtaposition of old and new is such a prominent theme within London, which is why one of my favorite details is the envelope liner of the Underground map. It introduces a modern element alongside the watercolor images of Big Ben and Tower Bridge. There’s a nice visual push and pull within the suite that I had a great time balancing through the artwork and design.

This is one of my favorite suites that we’ve created this year and I’m so happy to have had the chance to work on it! You can see this plus many other new projects on our freshly updated website! Enjoy!



Catesby + Jenny :: Jackson Hole, Wyoming

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July holiday! The summer is flying by here in Brooklyn and the wedding season is in full swing. After months of hard work, it’s so rewarding to see our client’s weddings come to fruition! 

Two of our favorite clients from this year, Catesby + Jenny, tied the knot that past weekend in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Forget the beach or BBQs, mountains are 100% the way to go for the 4th. Mental note for next year…

Working with Catesby and Jenny was such a blast, and the chance to paint a few fun Jackson Hole elements {hello Mr. Friendly Moose!} certainly didn’t hurt. In addition to their save the dates and wedding suite, we lent a hand with a few Day Of elements to tie everything together. My favorite was the hand painted map of Jackson Hole that helped guide guests throughout the weekend. It was so exciting to see a few of our pieces in action among the revelry!

We’ll be sharing more of Catesby and Jenny’s suite as well as some other goodies from this year soon but in the meantime, below are a few sneak peeks!

The gorgeous photos below are compliments of their incredibly talented photographer, Hillary Maybery. See more of Catesby + Jenny’s big day here


A closer peek at the Save the Date


The stationary all together. There’s the map peeking out, too.


Jenny’s beautiful and unique dress. I love the different shades of red that compliment Catesby’s tie so perfectly.



The couple got crafty and pulled in a bit of nature by using stones as place cards. 





Congratulations to the happy couple!! We’ll miss you guys around here!

Upstate Love: A Blue Hill at Stone Barns Wedding

Ugh, this venue. Blue Hill at Stone Barns  isso incredibly gorgeous in every way, it hurts. Throw in two of the sweetest clients I’ve ever had and done and it’s a match made in invitation heaven. Jenna and George are former New Yorkers now living in D.C. They love this city and wanted to have their wedding in a place that meant so much to them as a couple.

When it came to planning their wedding, the couple drew inspiration from their venue in all aspects, including their invitations. They knew they wanted the invites to feel clean and rustic but still sophisticated and elegant. Given this, we went with letterpress printing on a soft white cotton stock. I kept the fonts choices very clean but peppered in hand illustrations to add an organic element to the suite. Jenna and George are big foodies so we came up with the idea to do a fresh herb inspired liner printed on kraft paper. I love how the soft white paper and the kraft stock play off one another here. It’s a great balance of rustic and sophistication. The couple wanted to create a continuing motif to use throughout their day of elements. We came up with the idea to do a Pig weathervane {how cute is that guy?} My favorite part is the red RSVP envelope. It’s simple but creates a pop of drama and color which gave the suite some extra personality.

Jenna and George had us work on all their day of elements as well. One of my favorites things that the couple had us do was to create a custom illustration for each of their table numbers. They chose places that were personal to them and their journey as a couple. After the wedding, Jenna and George had us create a commemorative print that included all their chosen locations plus their wedding date which was letterpress printed. What a great way to remember your day and to bring some custom art into your home.

It was a complete pleasure working with these two and I don’t think we could have created anything more appropriate for their big day!

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Here is the print mentioned above, it was printed 11″ x 14″ on 120# Crane Lettra stock

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Here is the happy couple and their amazing venue! All photos were taken by Pat Furey

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George took the logo we created and had it embroidered on custom slippers- he’s my hero.

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Sanju + Rana :: A Vermont Love

Oh… hey internet, how ya been? Wow- what a winter it’s been around here. We’ve had our nose to the grindstone over the last few weeks getting all our Spring/Summer brides in order. It’s been awesome seeing all these great projects come to life! Since we’ve been a bit MIA recently, I thought it was about time we share a project from one of our 2013 clients, the lovely Sanju!

Sanju came to me with a vision! This girl knew what she wanted. Sanju had fallen in love with our Vermont suite and wanted to do her own take on the crest idea. We kept her suite really simple with just two pieces; a wedding invite and a double-sided details card. The invitation was worded as a personal letter from Sanju and her fiancé Rana. I think this idea is so great and special. It allows you to personally invite your guests in your own words. In terms of the design, we kept this piece pretty simple letting the hand drawn border and crest be the stars. Because this wasn’t just a wedding but a full-on wedding weekend, we created an illustrated details card that broke down each day of the weekend with what events would be taking place. The back had the weekend details written out and directions to RSVP on the couples website. This is a great idea if you have lots of guests coming from overseas {which Rana and Sanju did} saving you the stress of relying on international post. Sanju wanted the piece to feel rustic and very Vermont but to still have fun pops of color that would come up throughout her day of. I love the playful feeling this piece gives off. It also makes me crave those crisp Fall days- but I’ll just focus on a temperature above 40 degrees for now…

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Laura + Sam :: Vermont Camp Wedding

When a client calls you and immediately hits you with their dry, witty sense of humor then peppers in the fact that she met her future husband in jail during college, you know you’re in for a good one. Laura and Sam are quite possibly the coolest couple ever. They wanted their wedding to be fun and lighthearted, so where better to get married than a summer camp in the woods of Vermont? Genius. We decided to play off the camp theme for their wedding paper as it’s such a great source of inspiration. I created a brochure style save the date to help introduce the camp vibe. Then we kept the same colors and theme and carried it over to their wedding invitation suite. The main invite shows Laura and Sam in front of the Lake and dock that they would eventually be married in front of. I created a post card style RSVP card to play off the idea of sending letters home from camp. If anyone has ever been to summer camp, you know the importance of a “summer trunk”. On the RSVP card, I illustrated a classic camp trunk but if you look closely, each sticker is something personal to Laura and Sam {Bates College, their high school mascot, an ‘I heart VT ‘bumper sticker, a county jail sticker- you get the gist…}  My favorite element was their details card, it was a mock packing list, similar to something you might get for sleep away camp {this suite REALLY made me feel like I missed out on that aspect of my youth!} On the front of the card, I illustrated classic items you would need for camp and worked in some wedding elements. On the reverse side, we included a weekend breakdown complete with phrases like “unpack your duffle and hang your tiger beat posters and awkward family photos.” and “Camp activities: 9 am, rock your umbros and start a color war.” I find it a personal achievement that I was able to work Umbros into a wedding suite. But my favorite bit had to be this one “kids over the age of 5 are welcome to join in the fun. anyone younger might not be able to handle the raging party- and we didn’t buy insurance.”  To round the suite out, we had a confetti inspired envelope liner and a custom tent logo that Laura and Sam used on many of their day of items. You can’t help but smile at this one and I know their guest felt the same way! You can see more of their big day in the most recent issue of VT Vows (on page 79, 80 + 81).

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The entire wedding was planned and organized by the amazingly talented Belinda Norris Events, I can’t get over all the unique details and colors!



Lindsey + Adam’s Cape Cod Wedding

And we’re back! I’m so excited to start 2014 with this fantastic Cape Cod wedding! Given my Massachusetts roots, I’m a sucker for the Cape. I love the rustic, nautical vibe but without all the cheesy details. Lindsey is your classic Massachusetts girl with a stylish edge so it was a great platform for creating a modern Cape Cod invitation suite. Lindsey and Adam were married in Falmouth this past October. For her save the date, Lindsey really wanted to work with watercolor. She loved that it felt nautical without having to be so obvious. I painted the “arm” of Cape Cod and called out their date with knockout hand lettering.  I put a little heart over Falmouth as a nod to their wedding location. For the invitation suite, Lindsey wanted to keep it clean and classic Cape while still working in some unique elements. We letterpress printed the invitation and used a pop of gold foil to add some depth. I love how it looks on that little anchor! The edges are painted in a dark navy which compliments the clean spacing on the invitation. We flat printed the reply and details card in order to bring in a bit more watercolor. Lindsey wanted to play with a pop of fuchsia but didn’t want it to be a main focus. We used the reply envelope as a place to bring this in as well as the belly band. We tied the entire suite with my favorite gold glitter twine {a fun way to tie it back to the gold foil on the invite} and finished it with a cute hang tag that brought back the watercolor Cape Cod image from the save the date. I love how this suite marries classic Cape Cod with some fresh, modern twists!

I was lucky enough to work with Lindsey and Adam on all their day of elements {as well as being able to attend the wedding!} Lindsey and Adam’s entire day was stunning and filled with charming details. See below for a few snaps of their big day!

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And here are some snaps from their amazing wedding day taken by the very talented Casey of Hello Love Photography. To see more of their big day, read Casey’s blog on their wedding here!


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1 year later :: MY WEDDING

Well… it’s hard to believe by my one year anniversary is coming up this Sunday. We were married last December 8, 2012 here in Brooklyn. Given that it’s been almost a year I figured it was time to share a few pictures from our wedding! Going through the whole wedding process really helped me to better understand where my bridal clients are coming from. It also made me realize just how fast the entire night goes by. I mean, everyone tells you this but until you experience it yourself, you secretly don’t believe it.

We were married at Rebar in the Brooklyn neighborhood of DUMBO. A few months back I shared our wedding invites that really illustrate the neighborhood and the overall theme we were going for. We really just wanted to have one big, blowout party. I kept saying the phrase “One Night Only” because I really loved the idea of saving it all up for this one night. My goal wasn’t to have a December wedding but when we saw Rebar, we fell in love and knew that was the place. In fact, it was the only venue we saw! In the end, I love that we had our wedding in December. It feels like our own special time.




Since our wedding started at 7:00pm, we met before for photos. December isn’t really known for it’s copious sunshine and long days so it was really a race against the clock to get some great outdoor shots. We got there just in time to catch the last bits of light. Anyone who knows me, knows that the first love of my life is pizza. I could literally eat pizza all day long. After our photo session down by the water, we took a detour into the local pizza shop to get some slices. Yes, I ate a slice of greasy Brooklyn pizza in my wedding dress, sue me.


Once we got to the venue, we met up with our friends and family and celebrated with some champagne. This is when it really started to feel real. The lovely Ara of Rock Paper Scissors helped style our wedding so it was all smooth sailing from that point!



Paul and I are big music people. We met at a concert in the most romantic way- in line for the porta potty. I walked down the aisle to Al Green’s version of “I want to hold your hand”. If you don’t know it, listen to it now and thank me later. It is fantastic! Everyone started clapping when we walked out and I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing, it is one of my favorite memories of that night. I walked down the aisle with both my Mom and Dad because, hell, they both raised me! The wildly talented Elizabeth London did all our flowers. That girl is an artist! I was blown away with all the details she worked in.


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Our first dance was to Otis Redding’s “That’s how strong my love is”. Of course, I cried like an infant. I also think we said all kinds of very sweet things to one another but I honestly don’t remember a single thing. Romantic, I know.

Now, onto the details! I created an assortment of tent cards with song quotes from different Motown songs we love and had them scattered throughout the venue.


I have an odd obsession with buttons and decided to make some fun ones for everyone to jazz up their attire with. I had ones for the BRIDE’s side, the GROOM’s side and then Switzerland if you wanted to play neutral. Everyone ended up looking like they worked at a fancy TGI Fridays and I have to say, I loved it.


Our wedding was very informal and we didn’t have programs. Instead, I created a Welcome Poster to give everyone a run-down of the evening.


Like any proper Brooklyn wedding, we had a photo booth. We used “We Love Photobooths” and they killed it. Everyone had a blast and they give you this great little book afterwards with all the pictures.



The favor. This is always a hot topic with couples getting married. Most people chalk it up to a waste of time and money. But me? I love a fun favor! Along with all my other quirky habits, I collect mugs. I buy one every time I go on vacation to help remember the trip. I thought it would be fun to have custom mugs for our favor so when people used it, they would remember our wedding. A bit of advice, 140 mugs turns out to be about 12 HUGE boxes so if storage is tight- this is NOT the way to go for you.


I had this moment about a month before the wedding where I realized- we NEEDED custom tattoos. It became the only thing I could think about. I used the design from our envelope liner and created some awesome rub on tattoos. One of my favorite stories from that night was my sister applying a tattoo on my Uncle with champagne instead of water, very classy. I have to admit, the tattoos were the sleeper success of the night! Everyone wanted one. People went nuts for them and more than a dozen people were walking around with face tattoos. It was amazing.


Every cocktail needs a little love so we made fun swizzle sticks and paired them up with some classic paper straws. We also had custom cocktail napkins made {not photographed} which really helped add some personality to the bar.



When you have a wedding, people are coming to the event from all walks of your lives. Given that fact, we decided to create a fun poster that told our story and helped to fill in some of the blanks anyone might have had.


Everyone calls Paul “PVL” so we made fun pins with our initials on them for more flair. Yes, I did just refer to the buttons as flair.


It was truly a fantastic night filled with great music, lots of laughs and so many memories. I actually even managed to break my foot from dancing so much {true story!} No matter what the critics say, a wedding is one of the best experiences you can have as a couple. It brings you closer together and the best part is that it’s just the beginning of everything.






A lovely Cape Cod Wedding :: Greer + Austin

The lovely Greer and Austin were married this past October in Cape Cod. When most people think of the Cape, they think of starfish, sand dollars, whales… all of those somewhat cliche nautical elements. Don’t get me wrong, I love putting a whale on pretty much anything but sometimes it’s just nice to stray away from the norm. Since Greer was having an October wedding, she wanted to focus more on her Autumnal color scheme vs. a classic Cape vibe which I really appreciated. She was very inspired by her flowers and that dictated most of our colors and design direction. I created an inspired border made up of flowers she was using at her actual wedding. The entire suite was painted in watercolor, helping to keep the look light. If you look closely in the border, you can see a few nods to Cape culture {mussels, a seahorse, some shells and a tiny anchor…} but we kept that a minimum. I mixed hand lettering with some typefaces to help the copy compliment the softness of the watercolor. The couple was having their rehearsal dinner at a Cape Cod institution, The Lobster Pot, in Provincetown {which is a town located at the very end of Massachusetts}. This is the kind of place that all the locals know and the facade looks like it hasn’t changed since the 60’s. For the rehearsal dinner invite, I knew I wanted to play off that authenticity. I hand drew this piece with pen but added in pops of red to tie it back to the invite. Even though the invite was created  in a different style, I love how these two pieces still compliment one another. This suite still feels like a Cape Cod wedding without having to play into the obvious. Greer and Austin were such a wonderful couple to work with and full of great inspiration, which I think really comes through in their suite.