handmade darling

March Bridal Check-Up // Pretty Little Vintage Co.

With another month came new adventures since my last post - I've traveled a whole bunch for Adirondack weekend getaways, took some time off from work (for the most part), and have been trying to go to bed at a decent time (does midnight count?).

Working in the wedding industry, we've seen everything from the good to the bad, the beautiful to the omg-what-were-they-thinking, and my favorite – the ever-so-perfect, let the happy tears flow now kind of shindig. 

I'm incredibly fortunate to work with so many talented vendors that believe in the same vision that I do, and more importantly, believe in community over competition. Over the past year, these people have not only become co-workers but great friends as well.

My lovely and strong friend Bri of Pretty Little Vintage Co. allowed me to ask her some questions about their process. This lady is tough, friends. At 5'7" with an athletic background, I'm pretty strong - but this girl moves whiskey barrels and sofas like nobody's business. She drives the same truck I do (yea!) and can maneuver a trailer without taking anyone out. Her hard work is evident in everything she does and I'm proud to call her a friend. 

Read below to learn more about Pretty Little Vintage Co.:

Q: When should a bride meet with you?

We recommend that couples meet with us as soon as they have a wedding date and location set! Pretty Little Vintage Co. carries one of a kind rentals that are on a first come first serve basis. We would love to make an appointment to go over our packages and pricing at the warehouse so they can see everything in person before booking. It is very common that we book multiple events in a weekend so if there is something that they just have to have at their wedding , booking early is best!

Q: Do you have any recommendations to help couples envision their dream wedding?

Our in-person meetings are just for that! Couples come to the warehouse and we chat about colors, details, themes, must haves and go over their wedding inspiration photos. We love to recommend pieces and design one of a kind displays and lounges that speak to the couple and show off their personality.

Q: Vintage rentals, do you have modern pieces as well?

Yes! While the majority of our inventory is vintage, we do carry other specialty and more modern pieces that complement our vintage pieces flawlessly. 

Q: Coordination and styling, whats the plus?

We don’t offer coordination or planning of weddings but are happy to recommend some talented vendor friends that do! If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook you can see our signature style and design.  Our styling services help tie everything together and guarantee that you get the desired look you’ve dreamed about for months. We love to style our pieces in the event space while incorporating your floral and other decor. 

Q: What can a couple expect when working with you and Chris? 

When you choose us over other rental companies, it means the absolute world to us. We make the rental experience easy and go above and beyond to make sure you have nothing to worry about on our end. 

PLVxHD Collaboration - Rustic wood, pretty letters, a gorgeous table - perfect for my annual HarvestFest!

PLVxHD Collaboration - Rustic wood, pretty letters, a gorgeous table - perfect for my annual HarvestFest!

Q: Your dog, Maggie, makes a lot of cameos. Does she have a favorite piece?

Maggie does have a favorite piece! When we first moved into the warehouse, we were working in there a lot trying to get organized. Where we go, Mags goes - and she would always jump up on our pink sofa and take a nap when she got bored. If we couldn’t find her, we eventually knew to look there. She loves that sofa. So much that we even named it after her. 

Bri, you're a wonderful friend and an incredible business woman. Thanks for taking time out to answer these questions! Your dedication continues to encourage me every day!

**Photos by HF Photo

The Hand Lettered Difference - Does it Matter?

In many of my workshops, I'm often asked on how I began my lettering journey (usually right after the question on why I left the big city for small town living - but that's another story). I began graduate school in 2012 at Pratt Institute and was submerged into a world that was quite foreign at the time - incredible designers, breathtaking work, professors who not only worked with the great but were the great as well. 

In my second year I began working closely with Tony Di Spigna who served as my thesis advisor. Tony was a ball buster – he pushed me past limits I didn't know were possible, I cried, he yelled at me when he thought I could do better. I took away phrases like "You can drive a truck through those characters!" and "Go for a walk! Get a beer! Go get laid!" as part of my everyday conversation with him. In the midst of my classes and thesis work, I was also running Handmade Darling, the studio apartment-sized business that featured handmade greeting cards and less than a year old. 

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Tony had worked for the Lubalin studios when Herb Lubalin was still alive, and created a vast amount of work that is recognizable and downright brilliant. Tony's hand work was something that was no longer seen as a young designer - I entered Pratt still wet behind the ears with a fancy computer and hoping for the best with a good eye for design. Although, my one strength was simple - drawing. What I lacked in Adobe knowledge I made up for in hand skills which got Tony on my side. I signed up for his hand lettering class and finally felt like I knew what I was doing. I dove head first into lettering and studied the designers that I had loved but never had a name for. Over the course of my time at Pratt I developed skills that allowed me to tackle this journey with visual hierarchy, negative space, correct line spacing, and the way a letter curves from a downstroke to a hairline. I was introduced to typography, traditional spencerian and copperplate alphabets, and the ability to see what worked and what didn't. 


Five years later, I've honed those skills and Handmade Darling is now a business that continually serves others on their special occasions. The best reward is the feedback and response from every happy couple, birthday girl, bride at her shower and more.

Many times, students will ask me about vinyl signs, cricut templates, pinterest "inspo" and the like - I do my best not to cringe and I'm sorry in advance if I do in conversation with you. There's absolutely nothing wrong if you're a crafter and enjoy adding pieces to your work. However, as someone who has apprenticed and is trained in this art form, I truly value the time, patience and skill behind each piece. Whether a custom sign or a new piece, each goes through an intense creative process. Multiple drafts are created, a variety of pencils and markers and inks are used, copy after copy, and then a final execution – making sure each letter, each character, each curve is where it should be. I still practice, even five years later, and it's a journey that is ever evolving. 

If you're new to hand lettering, I encourage you to go beyond pinterest, past the motivational quotes, past what you think is just good. Find inspiration in the tried and true artists who live and breathe typography, who see letters that form shapes and characters, who have studied this movement long before this craze took place. So the question, does hand lettering really make a difference? Yes, a million times yes.

Happy writing and learning. Looking for suggestions on typographers to check out? Let me know!