Phylecia Sutherland wedding stationery

Each invitation is produced by hand by Phylecia in her Victorian press

Each invitation is produced by hand by Phylecia in her Victorian press - Credit: Phylecia Sutherland

Your wedding stationery is the first clue you give your guests to the style of wedding you are planning. Wow them with beautiful letterpress designs from a talented Yorkshire specialist

Phylecia Sutherland

Phylecia Sutherland - Credit: Archant

There is nothing Phylecia Sutherland loves more than seeing one of her wedding invitations coming fresh off the press. The stationery designer and letterpress printer savours the moment each time she sees her efforts come to fruition. ‘It gives me the most joy,’ she said. ‘There is nothing better than seeing that first print. It is just so beautiful.

‘I love that feeling that I designed and created it and that I have produced something of really high quality.’

It was only four years ago when the 29-year-old, originally from Georgia in America but now living in Greengates, near Bradford, first launched her own business. But her passion for beautiful stationery and papers started when she was a young girl.

She said: ‘When I look back, it seems like it was fate for me to be doing this. When I was little I was obsessed with paper and pens. At high school, I loved different types of paper. I was a scrapbooker. The hobby is really popular back home in America. But I was a real paper snob.

This simple design is complemented with a beautiful floral envelope

This simple design is complemented with a beautiful floral envelope - Credit: Phylecia Sutherland

‘It was when I started looking for my own wedding stationery I realised there were some really beautiful ones out there. I was just amazed.’

Phylecia, who worked in public relations before starting the business, comes up with her designs before converting them into a digital format. These are then made into printing plates for her to use in the press. She started using a table top press but as the business and her passion for letterpress grew she invested in a Victorian printing press. She also hand mixes all the inks.

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She said: ‘I love my old press though it can be a love-hate relationship at times. It’s an Arab press from 1890 that was built in Halifax. For me, it’s important to keep up printing heritage and to still use traditional tools like this. It is a very old technology. I love the fact the process hasn’t really changed in such a long time.

‘It is very physical and you have to get really involved and focussed. But there is something very special about letterpress. Nothing can beat seeing a gorgeous print that is so deeply impressed into that yummy cotton paper that you can’t help but run your fingers across it. It makes my heart skip a beat every time.’

A travel theme runs through this lovely invitation suite

A travel theme runs through this lovely invitation suite - Credit: Phylecia Sutherland

Phylecia, who is self-taught, designs wedding stationery for couples across the country. She is often inspired by nature and her work often features drawings of flowers. Blues and golds have been a strong theme over the past few years, which Phylecia believes is here to stay. However, custom monograms is a trend on the up.

She said: ‘This is something that has been really popular in America but I am seeing more and more of it here too. It is striking.

‘I have done monogram stationery for several couples now and it really does look effective, particularly with letterpress.

With the average cost around £1,000 for a wedding suite of 100 invites, letterpress stationery is a luxury item. But Phylecia said the results are worth it.

Nature influences Phylecia's designs

Nature influences Phylecia's designs - Credit: Phylecia Sutherland

‘Invitations are the first impression you give your guests,’ she said. ‘If you are planning a grand wedding your invites need to be very special too. When you open it, it is a real experience. It’s such good quality people will keep it. It will be one of the few things, along with photographs, that couples have left after their big day.

‘It can be time intensive. It can take anything up to six hours to get a letterpress invite done with different details and colours. Each colour is printed separately so if there are three colours on an invite I have to print that one invite three times.

‘But you are not going to get anything else like it. Letterpress gives a fine art finish and I do each one by hand. I’m designing something from scratch so it’s always going to be different. I absolutely love being creative. To have such freedom and to create beautiful designs for my clients is such a thrill.’