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Best Place to Argue Over Whether Save-the-Date Cards are Really Necessary 

Painted Tongue Studios

Mixed media artist Kim Vanderheiden's temple to the printed card is the East Bay's go-to source for one-of-a-kind, lovingly letterpressed wedding invitations, business cards, and baby announcements. The experience is much more than pointing at a sample in Papyrus at the mall; Vanderheiden initially offers a free consultation, where you can bring in fabric, invitations you like, magazine photos, something your fiancé drew — anything to get the creative juices going.  You'll get samples to pore over, and if you can't make it in to the shop she'll even mail you the samples so you can make a final decision. Brides-to-be sometimes breathlessly bring in elaborate invitations they would like copied, but Painted Tongue's staff gracefully demur — rather than steal another's work, they guide couples to a unique design that reflects their individual personalities. The studio has two letterpresses, a half-ton Vandercook 4 proofing press patented in 1933, and a Heidelberg Windmill from the 1960s, as well as two intaglio presses. Apprenticeships and workshops are available to those who want to try their hand at letterpress. In keeping with the ethnic diversity of the area, the studio's invitations and cards have borne characters and lettering in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Ukrainian, Russian, Spanish, and Hebrew, and many of these are available for browsing on Painted Tongue's web site. The site explains the story of how each wedding invitation set was conceived and designed. It's enough to make you crave fern-adorned place cards and menus, too.

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