Collaborations that POP!

Post by: Tags: , , , , , , , — Jody on May 16, 2014

In honor of the 20th Anniversary of the Andy Warhol Museum, I thought I would feature the ultimate artistic collaboration in this installment of #InvitationInspirations. And what would an homage to the ultimate pop art icon be without pops of color and unexpected twists on the traditional?

In 2013, I was honored to design the wedding invitations of Jazz GREAT, trumpet player Sean Jones and the incomparable Stacey White. This couple is inspired by L-O-V-E. They love bright colors. They love music. And most of all they love each other. I teamed up with the extraordinary event designer Sean Gray of SGI International. Sean’s unbridled enthusiasm and unique perspective gave us a color blocked origami invitation concept with a boxed presentation that exploded into pops of vibrant color upon opening!

The couple’s logo was created to intertwine Sean and Stacy’s names, in the spirit of love. And to tie it all together, we utilized a unique ribbon with a colorful, musical quality. When the bridesmaids selected their dresses, the chose a style from each selected pop of color.

The bride and groom celebrated with their guests at the whimsical and wonderful Jay Verno Studios in Pittsburgh’s South Side and was catered by the ever delectable Common Plea Catering.

The Pittsburgh Opera’s Maecenas Gala

Post by: Tags: , , , , , — Jody on May 9, 2014

Create Studios has been honored to design the opulent Maecenas Gala invitations. My challenge? When a guest receives these invitations, they must instantly know they are valued and cherished as patrons and supporters of the Pittsburgh Opera, while capturing the vision and spirit of the event as set for the the staff at the Opera and the selected event chairs. The invitations must also always speak to the theme and decor of the event to evoke the mood for the evening. This year, the Pittsburgh Opera‘s new Manager of Special Events, Katie Gaines, and I sat down to discuss the concept- and we arrived at an urban contemporary style, with contrast as a central theme- a mix of art deco and film noir, black & white.

Event Highlights:

• The Pittsburgh Opera is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the MAECENAS Gala as well as the close to 75th Pittsburgh Opera Season

• A nod to the closing opera, “Orphee” by Philip Glass, based on the film by Jean Cocteau.

Based on Cocteau’s fascinating retelling of the Orpheus myth, Orphée, the first opera of Philip Glass’ Cocteau Trilogy, is an extended parable on the life of an artist, a poet harassed and misunderstood by peers. His success leads to the ridicule by fellow poets, ending in a creatively crippling isolation. With a renewed apprehension of his own mortality, Orphee regains his emotional strength, enabling him to ignore the trials of ordinary life, freeing him to be a poet. The poets Orphee and Cegeste, Euridice, and a mysterious Princess interact within the worlds of the living and the dead, existing in that mysterious realm that separates the two worlds. Love triumphs and thus returns Orphee and Euridice to mortal life, with no remaining consciousness of their unusual time spent between “the worlds”. The Princess has violated the laws of life and death one time too many and is banished into oblivion.

Get to know Katie Gaines, Manager of Special Events, Pittsburgh Opera!

1- How long have you been with the Pittsburgh Opera?

This is my first season with Pittsburgh Opera. It has been an incredible experience to work with such a dedicated and hard working organization.

2- Please describe your position there.

I manage all special events related to fundraising for Pittsburgh Opera. I think opera gets a bad rap for being stuffy, but it’s not the case. We love a good time and we throw some of the best parties in the city!

3- Tell us about Maecenas! (what it is? how many years? the style? the guests? the performances?the location?)

Maecenas is the gala event that ends the Pittsburgh Opera season each year. This year we celebrate two big anniversaries – Pittsburgh Opera’s 75th season and the 30th Maecenas! The event is named after Gaius Maecenas who was friend to Augustus Ceasar and was patron to artists such as Homer and Virgil. This event celebrates the people who support Pittsburgh Opera and make it all possible. It is black tie and includes cocktails, dinner, dancing and several performances by our talented Resident Artists. This year the event is held in our space in the strip district and there will be more than 300 people in attendance. We completely transform the interior of our building. In fact, the process of “building” the event will take a full week and require the work of several dozen people.

4- What was your inspiration when planning this year’s Maecenas?

David and Gabriela Porges are chairing the event this year and Gabriela has been the brilliant visionary in conceptualizing the style of the event. She wants to celebrate that Pittsburgh Opera has closed this important anniversary season with Orphee, a contemporary opera by Philip Glass, so this year the event will take on a contemporary chic like never before. Orphee explores themes of transition, reflection and contrast. Allison McGeary of Allison McGeary Florist, Inc. took our concepts and have made them even more beautiful than we could have ever imagined and the talented production and artistic staff at the opera have several surprises up their sleeves! My job is to connect the vision with the execution and I think people will love what they see. I don’t want to give too much away because here at Pittsburgh Opera we love the theatrics of a big reveal – you have to be there to see it! It will take your breath away!

5- Tell us about your collaboration with Create Studios (Jody) and how you arrived at this year’s design?

We met with Jody and told her about our vision, specifically that contrast is important to the theme of the event. Jody mocked up several designs for the invitation and we worked together to edit until we reached the final design.

6- What do you hope your guests feel when they see the invitation to Maecenas arrive in the mail?

We wanted the invitation to stand out in the mail pile when our guests empty their mailbox which Jody accomplished with the weight and size of the package. The invitation had to communicate that this will be a luxe event, but also make the guest immediately aware of the contemporary feel we’re going for. It had to be effortless and chic. People need to open it and feel like they can’t miss it!

7- What is your favorite part of the event?

There are going to be so many moments to love about this event. There will be theatrics and singing. There will be drinks and music and incredible food by the Duquesne Club. I will love every minute of it, but my favorite part will undoubtedly be the crucial funds Maecenas XXX will raise for Pittsburgh Opera. I love a fantastic party, but there’s no better feeling than raising money for an organization that gives so much to Pittsburgh’s cultural scene.

8- What will you wear to Maecenas?

A girl has to have some secrets! I will be in a fabulous floor length gown that reflects the contemporary feel we’re going for. In fact, I think for this one the gown will be understated and it’ll be all about the hair and accessories!

9- What are three words you would use to describe the Opera for newcomers/ those not familiar with the Pittsburgh Opera?


10- Top 3 pieces of advice for event planners in Pittsburgh?

1. The devil is in the details and so are the things that make a great event.
2. For me, the events I run are about fundraising. Never forget why you’re doing it, especially on the bad days.
3. Be open to the ideas that are around you. The best ideas can come from surprising places.

11- What is your favorite neighborhood in Pittsburgh? why?

I have to go with Swisshelm Park. My husband and I bought a house here last year and it’s a neighborhood I didn’t even know existed until our realtor showed it to us. It’s the kind of community where the loudest thing going on outside on a sunny Saturday is the sound of neighborhood kids playing in the streets. We have space and a big yard and yet I can be in Squirrel Hill, Regent Square, or Oakland in 5 minutes or less.

12- Favorite place to vacation/ travel?

What’s a vacation?! But seriously, I love taking quick trips to New York City whenever I can. My husband and I honeymooned in Cabo a few years ago and had the time of our lives.

13- If you had to pick a theme song, what would it be? (any song!)

This is a tough one for a music fanatic like myself. I’m going to go with “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash (and written by June Carter). It celebrates the love is painful. Nothing worth having in life comes easy.

14- Favorite genre of music?

Deep down I’m a rock and roll girl. I just need an electric guitar in my life (might be why I married a guitarist). I’m particularly in love when rock starts to blend into other genera of music – particularly blues, folk and funk – which it does so well.

La bohème or Madama Butterfly?

Gotta go with La bohème! Especially after getting such an up close look at it working with the opera when they did it this year!

Invitations with Authentic Elegance

Post by: Tags: , , , — Jody on March 24, 2014

We spoke to one of our brides about her experience using CREATE Studios for her wedding invitation, and below is her story.

I was married at the Mansions on Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh in front of a small group of family and friends on October 1, 2011. My husband and I are both writers, so we wrote our own vows, selected poems and prayers together and crafted the perfect ceremony that was unique to us. We knew that our wedding invitations should also speak to the elegance and originality of our special day, and Create Studios was the perfect fit.

At first we met with Jody and told her all about our big day. We then had the chance to touch and feel the papers and quickly saw that we had endless possibilities. We never felt overwhelmed because we were guided based on her expertise. The design of the invitation took shape as an art form: the paper, fonts, ribbon, customized medallion, and envelopes. Create Studios even designed a wedding logo for us that we not only used on our invites but throughout our wedding! The logo is so special to me.

The final product was an invite that no other couple has nor will ever have! Truly authentic elegance that wow-ed our guests. It stirred so much anticipation for guests that the wedding itself had to live up to the invite’s expectations! And it was just as special of a day as the invite promised. I highly recommend Create Studio Invites, and look forward to working again with this amazing company on my next special event.
– Gina Vensel

Gina and Scott are such a beautiful, romantic couple with a ton of chemistry. Their vision for their wedding was close to their hearts; very personal, intimate, and elegant with the scent of red roses and swaths of cream filling the room. Bridesmaids dresses were sleek, black strapless columns. All perfectly appointed to set off the rich, turn of the century interior at the Mansions on Fifth.

CREATE took these romantic cues and went to the drawing board. First, CREATE designed a custom logo using Gina and Scott’s initials; perfectly fitting them together to form one. Next, logo application. Gina is a real head turner. She has an effortless, unselfconscious style; she wears clothes, accessories and make-up with a confidence that only comes from a true individual. This inspired CREATE to emboss the logo, like a piece of jewelry, on a silver seal and apply it to the front of their invitation. A palette of pearlescent black, cream and red stock with a cream satin band tied everything together in a soft, romantic way. We were so pleased with the final result. And, so happy for Gina and Scott.

Invitation Inspiration: Radiant Orchid

Post by: Tags: , , , , , , , — Jody on February 21, 2014

Invitation Inspiration: Radiant Orchid- Pantone’s 2014 Color of Year: A Royal Wedding

Designers wait with baited breath for PANTONE© to select the Color of the Year. It sets the years trends in the world of graphic and interior design, fashion, event décor and more.

This year, PANTONE© announced that Radiant Orchid, with it’s spectrum of fuchsias and deep purples would influence and renew the world of design. The design community applauded this gorgeous palette, whose happy nature is rich and regal.

Of course, CREATE was dying to put this color palette to use and was thrilled when bride to be Charlotte and her fiancé TJ literally went, radiant orchid! Working with Bob Sendall at All in Good Taste Productions, we began to create their kingdom by immediately crowning their invitation suite with a custom designed logo made up of their names and crowned with a charm-ing jeweled heart.

For the couple’s unique Save the Date, CREATE designed this spectacular waterfall of cards strung together with a decadent satin ribbon that sparkled with undertones of the entire radiant orchid spectrum.

We then transitioned to designing the invitation and print accessories with romantic shades of eggplant and blushing shades of violet, all crowned with their logo; now a custom die cut platinum heart that embellished menus, programs, the wedding cake and more.

The royal couple danced the night away at one of the most radiant, heartfelt weddings CREATE can remember.

Create Studio Invites Partners with The Knot Wedding Network

Post by: Tags: , , , , , — Jody on January 3, 2014

Create Studio Invites is thrilled to announce that we have partnered with The Knot Wedding Network! Budding brides can now shop our very own online storefront as they prepare to plan their big day.

The Knot Wedding Network reaches more brides, more often, more effectively than any other bridal media property. The Knot Wedding Network consists of the two largest wedding websites, and plus the hundreds of locally targeted niche sites at

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