We met Marlena with Love Lettered shortly after Bespoken officially opened its doors. We sat with her and Sofia at Due South Coffee and flipped through some of her sample work. We knew immediately that this girl was talented, and we couldn't wait to work with her. Brides, if you're looking for an amazing calligrapher, check out Marlena with Love Lettered!
What is your area of expertise? Calligraphy, lettering, and all things design.
What led you to the wedding industry? My first taste of designing for weddings started when my college friends were getting married and asking me for help with design and lettering elements for their special days. I soon found that my skill set of lovely lettering, formal design training, and a genuine love for beautiful things was needed and appreciated by the brides-to-be. Before long, I found myself working with more and more brides to craft wonderful and thoughtful wedding pieces, including unique invitations, menus, lettered signs and envelope calligraphy. And, as they say, the rest is history.
What is the best piece of advice you can give couples for planning their wedding? This is all building to a beautiful day of celebration! Let others help you along the way. I know sometimes it can be difficult to ask for help, but working with professionals can take a lot of stress out of the process, allowing you to focus on what is most important on your wedding day: the celebration of the start of a future together.
What is your favorite wedding trend right now? The integration of custom lettering and calligraphy throughout the day! Signs on mirrors or wood…backdrops full of lettering…anytime I see beautiful calligraphy incorporated in a unique way in an event space, it makes my heart smile.
Share your most memorable wedding moment. I hope it’s okay to break the rules here because I’d like to share two moments. My two most favorite moments were both on the day my little sister was married. To me, what makes a wedding day so special, aside from the happy couple’s contagious energy, are the little, sometimes unexpected moments.
When my sister was married, the hair and makeup girl was scheduled to come early in the day. We waited and waited (while enjoying tasty snacks, pop musicand good conversation), but she never arrived. We called around to try and track her down, and it turned out she had broken her wrist! Before I knew it, I was in charge of creating my sister’s desired updo. Good thing we had grown up playing with each other’s hair, because I was able to start teasing and spraying and braiding to create a beautiful updo just in the nick of time!
It is something I never planned or expected to do, but it ended up being a very special time for both of us. It was also a pretty hilarious one, as I ended up using a sock to create volume and sewed part of her hair to other parts of her hair (insert shocked emoji here).
The second is a much sweeter, single moment—it was the moment I saw my sweet baby sister in her full wedding attire. It might seem odd that my favorite moments are not related to lettering or design, but I truly believe that love and family are whatare most important on your wedding day. And, if everything else is in place and in order, the day of can be full of these special moments.
What do you love most about what you do? I love design, love letters, and I absolutely love love. To be able to combine all of these things into creating a special piece for two special people is such a wonderful gift.
What is your favorite wedding cake flavor? The best cake I think I have ever had was at my friend’s wedding. It was an almond cake with a caramel crème layer. Others don’t really stand much of a chance, as caramel might be one of my favorite flavors of all time! A close runner-up is the sweet potato cake from Brick Street Café.
What is your favorite way to spend a day off? I am going to break the rules again and share two of my favorite ways. One, I will spend far too much time binge-watching Hallmark. Two, if I have a few hours or a day, and the weather is nice, I’ll spend my time kayaking with friends on the beautiful and iconic Lake Jocassee.
What is your biggest guilty pleasure? Fresh-cut flowers for my home. I love the color, the fragrance and the beauty of flowers. I will go through great lengths to keep fresh flowers present in my home.
What is your favorite Instagram account to follow? I love following Kristen Ley and her business Thimblepress. She is based out of my home state, Mississippi, and near my hometown. Her account(s) are beautiful, fun, energizing, and real. In a world that can be full of fake-ness, I appreciate her honesty, faith, and affinity for colorful things.
What fun facts should we know about you that would contribute even more to your awesomeness? My family lives on a horse farm in Mississippi. Once, our family was absolutely enamored by an adorable miniature horse (Gracie) and purchased her before we had a horse trailer. Since she was “miniature” the back of my Jeep Grand Cherokee quickly became a temporary “horse trailer.” I attended Auburn University, where I earned a BFA in graphic design and participated in a wee bit social activism—in the form of painting. The city refused to re-paint a curb yellow that prevented parking in a very dangerous spot. Wielding paint brushes and the “buttery yellow” paint from my roommate’s wall, my four roommates and I took to the street late one night and took it upon ourselves to rectify the situation. From crafting Beaker and Bunson costumes to win a work costume contest, to rising to the challenge of craftng a birdhouse to look like a couple’s first date location (Brick Street Café), I never shy away from a creative challenge.
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