If you’re ever in the downtown area of Westport, Connecticut, be sure to swing over to Bespoke Designs! It’s a beautiful gift and stationery store located in Sconset Square. Bespoke Designs was established by its owner, Shari Lebowitz, just a few years ago; Arturo and I always love visiting her shop when we’re in the area! They offer high-end customized luxury stationery, invitations, monograms, fine linens and a full selection of gifts and home products. When working on stationery design, Shari works with a team of designers to create some of the most stunning wedding invitation suites I’ve ever seen! Arturo and I worked with Shari for the first time earlier this year and absolutely fell in love with her invitation and day-of paper. I’m so excited for you to get to know Shari and the team behind Bespoke Designs!
Tell me a bit about you and your business! How did you get started in the wedding industry?
“When I moved to Westport three years ago, the last thing I expected was to get re-married. But that’s exactly what happened! When I got engaged, I couldn’t find a stationer or paper design studio in town to create the vision I had in my mind. I had a long-standing relationship in Manhattan, a trusted designer who I had worked with for years for both invitations and stationery and special custom gifts. And that’s when the idea struck me – if I was looking for that relationship, surely others would be too. So, Bespoke Designs was born.”
What do you love most about stationery design?
“It’s so hard to capture a paper obsession in a few quick sentences! There are so many techniques that can be used with paper. We work in the more traditional techniques of digital printing, letterpress, foil stamping and engraving. But we also work with multi-level dies for sculptured engraving and 3-D paper embossing for incredible drama. We work with laser cutting for highly intricate patterns and shapes that can wrap around the invitation. Right now we are designing an invitation that will arrive in a wooden slide top box together with a map. I am blown away by the fabulous ideas that our couples have – and the absolute joy that we have bringing them to life.”
What should couples know about your process and about working with you?
“Today’s wedding couples understand that it’s not just an invitation – it’s really a fully branded event. Working with us is not just about the Save The Date card or the Wedding Suite. Together with my team of graphic designers, illustrators, artists and makers, it’s about bringing the couples’ visions to life.
At the beginning, we work with couples on the graphics for their wedding website and on engagement parties and showers invitations. We will create playful touches like a hand calligraphed duogram with a custom cartouche that will morph to a joint monogram following the wedding ceremony. Need a map to help your guests understand all of the logistics for the weekend? We can do that too. We love the creative challenges our couples give us; we learn from each and every one. Nothing is really impossible!”
What is your favorite part about working with couples who are planning their wedding day?
“For me, it’s all about creating a comfortable and joyous experience for the couple. I feel honoured to be selected as a trusted creative partner as a couple navigates this journey. We listen hard to the ideas and details that couples share and then then find ways to bring them to life in the creative design of their wedding papers and graphic expressions.”
What (or who) inspires your creativity?
“My customer’s stories always start as the jumping off point for our inspiration. Our appointments last an hour or two and usually end in hugs and often tears and lots of laughter after stories have been shared. I’m inspired by everything - the love stories, a special connection with a bride’s grandfather, details about a groom’s heritage, a home someone grew up in or even a piece of jewelry. They all serve as jumping off points to find the symbols, maps, flowers and words to represent the stories. The couple could come in with one idea and do a total “180” after we meet. It’s my favorite part of the process. It really is all about that - the human connection and the history. I’m on Instagram and spend time looking at magazines and blogs but honestly, I’m not a trend watcher. I truly believe that the invitation represents more than trends dictate. The invitation should represent the couple and their experiences.”
How early should couples book you to ensure you'll be available for their wedding day?
“We suggest 9-12 months. This gives us enough time to do a Save the Date (especially if it’s a destination wedding) and to truly plan and create the best possible wedding suite and day of papers. But, that being said, we won’t really turn anyone away; we’ve created some amazing invitations in 2 weeks!”
As a stationery designer, what is one tip or piece of advice you'd give a couple for their wedding day?
“When you come to us, you have joined a trusted team of professionals whose only mission is to ensure that you enjoy the most wonderful day of your lives. It’s about you and your sweet heart. It’s your day and we want to make it as stress free and happy as possible. This is what gets me up in the morning - I basically run to our studio. It’s truly a happy place!”
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Shari of Bespoke Designs! What unique design elements do you envision adding to your wedding stationery?
Reception Venue: The Boathouse at 305 Knowlton | Planning & Styling: Detaille Weddings & Events | Design & Styling: Jo Designs | Photography: Shaina Lee Photography | Bar Concierge: Lifted Spirits | Cake: Sweet Cupcasions | Invitations & Paper Goods: Bespoke Designs | Calligraphy & Signage: Nob Hill Jane | Bridal Salon: A Little Something White Bridal Couture | Wedding Gown Designer: Kelly Faetanini | Suit: Pressed & Dressed | Event Lighting & Draping: EZ-Occasions | Event Rentals: Peak Event Services | Floral Design: Fleurescent & Rustle Floral Co. | Hair & Makeup: Belle Noelle Beauty | Jewelry: Libero Jewelers | Lingerie: Beneath the Gown | Plant Decor: Plantations Inc.