Perfectly Pressed

I’ve been lucky to work with some pretty special vendors over the course of my career and thought it was high time to dedicate a post to two of my favourite people of all: stationers Julie Gibb and Christian Morrison, the husband and wife team that own Pantry Press, purveyors of fine letterpress. For invitations and subsequent menus, programs, place cards etc., you would be hard pressed (pun very much intended) to find anyone better out there. There are many, many examples I could show of their beautiful, handmade work but thought I would highlight some of the pieces they created for Kirsten & Jamie’s wedding last March at the Canon Theatre.

Julie created this lovely program for the ceremony: it’s a little hard to tell here, but the letterpressed cover with the title, “I Do,” was then covered in a layer of glassine that wrapped around the cover, like a book jacket. Julie then took every single program (all 250 of them!) and ran it through her sewing machine so that the spine bound the pages together with a beautiful gold thread.

This is one of my favourite shots that photographer Storey Wilkins captured that day, taken while Kirsten and her bridesmaids were getting ready in the not-so-glamourous basement of the theatre. The ladies had their very own Green Room and each of the bridesmaids had her own makeup station, surrounded by bright lights. It may not have been fancy, but it certainly was authentic down there! This photo was part of the feature on this wedding in the current issue of WedLuxe Magazine.

When guests first arrived at the beautiful Yonge Street entrance of the theatre, the first thing they received were their escort cards. I love the authenticity Julie and Christian were able to achieve, right down to the perfect perforations on the sides. We had real theatre ushers handing these out, from boxes marked A-I, J-R, S-Z! The backs were also printed with the date and place of the wedding.

One of the first things I arranged when we decided to move forward with this unusual wedding venue was to arrange a tour for all the vendors who would be involved so they could see exactly what we were going to do. Julie and Christian turned up armed with a camera and took lots and lots of detail shots, all around the theatre, which ended up on various parts of the stationery created for that day. The inspiration for the menu came from the jaw-droppingly beautiful golden dome in the ceiling of the theatre itself.

And finally the funniest element they created for the day: I had the idea to call Chef Arpi Magyar’s late-night take on the Egg McMuffin “The Kirsten McFirsten,” (based on the bride’s ‘married’ name of Kirsten Firsten) then Julie and Christian ran with it, going so far as to add: “I’m Lovin’ Him… I’m Lovin’ Her” to the design. McFabulous!

Julie and Christian are some of the kindest, most thoughtful people you could ever be fortunate to work with. Julie handles the design aspect of the business (though her husband is also a graphic designer — he would want me to mention that!) and Christian tends to the letterpress; painstakingly running every piece through the press, one element at a time. It certainly isn’t a very fast or modern way to make a living, but the artistry and love that they bring to every product they produce is a throwback to a slower, more gracious era. Every time I pick up one of their wonderfully tactile, letterpressed invitations, I am grateful that they are keeping this time-honoured craft alive. Lastly, potential clients, take note: Christian makes a mean latte too!