Brides Up North

Supplier Showcase: Graphic Embers PLUS Exclusive 10% Discount For Wedding Blog Readers!

December 14th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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The funny thing about editing a blog like Brides Up North is that it has ceased to be just my blog, and whilst I source the features, curate the content and do all the writing here at Brides Up North HQ, so much of what you see before you every day depends on the fantastic Northern wedding industry who continues to support this blog and brand so wholeheartedly, and YOU my lovely readers who continue to visit each day in your thousands, send me lovely emails with your wedding queries (I can almost always point you in the direction of a wedding professional who can help) and submit your Real Weddings to feature after the event.  Whilst Brides Up North is my creation, the blog is very much your product, and I can’t thank you enough for that as our Northern Revolution picks up pace and rumbles on!

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Today we meet the lovely Angela of Graphic Embers, one of the Featured Suppliers without whose support this double daily dose of wedding inspiration and it’s related real life bridal events would cease to exist.  Let’s give Angela and her pretty, bespoke wedding stationery a warm welcome.  There’s 10% off in it for you…

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Anne

Anne

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What is the story behind Graphic Embers?

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The idea for behind Graphic Embers came into being five and a half years ago, when I made my own wedding stationery. However, it never got any further than a vague idea for something I might do at some point in the future; after all, I was studying for my degree and had a job I loved. However, in 2008 the economic crisis began, and one of the many industries hit was construction, mine and my husband’s industry.

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In the summer of 2010 Matthew, my husband, was made redundant, then a year later, the week I had my daughter, so was I. While unfortunate, the redundancies did spur me on to begin something I had only day-dreamed of for years. I built our first website and Matthew set up the Graphic Embers business selling wedding stationery designs I’d created as a hobby in the preceding years. Graphic Embers got its very first client on October 14th 2011, and has gone from strength to strength ever since.

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In April 2012 I finally re-gained the reins of Graphic Embers after my maternity leave ended and since then I have continued to develop the brand, create a wide selection of stationery ranges and work on some truly unique bespoke work for our couples.

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It has been a tough year, starting a business from scratch with no wages to fund it and no access to business grants or loans. It has taken hard work and dedication to get us to where we are today; nominated suppliers for one of the local wedding venues and winner of The North of England Wedding Awards 2012! For all it has been tough, I wouldn’t go back to my old job now, when Graphic Embers has so much to offer. I love working with brides and grooms and helping create the dream they have for their wedding day. Winning the award made me so grateful to all the couples who have given us the opportunity to work with them over the last year and has made me more determined than ever to offer the best service we can.

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It’s nice to have access to a blog like Brides Up North that is based in the North. So many wedding blogs, or wedding media generally, are focussed in the South. It’s nice to be able to keep up with Northern suppliers and Northern brides. One of our aims for 2013 is to support the local economy and we now have both a Northern card stockist and a Northern print lab, as well as advertising in some Northern media. We’re proud to be a Northern business and it’s nice to see a blog that celebrates brides in the North.

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Bow   Catherine

Bow & Catherine

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Who is a Graphic Embers bride?

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Any bride who wants dedicated service, the ability to fully customise her stationery or have a unique design is a Graphic Embers bride. While we have quite a broad range of vintage and scrapbook inspired standard designs we have worked on everything from snow leopard print chequebook invitations to laser cut hot air balloons. Our aim is to provide every one of our couples with stationery to suit them and their big day.

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Jane

Jane

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Where are you based?  Do you work by appointment/ online?

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We are based in Lynemouth, Northumberland, but don’t currently have a public premises (one of our hopes for the future). We do however offer free at home consultations to couples in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham. We can also work entirely online via email, much as we do for national clients. Our current designs and brochure are available to view on our website www.graphic-embers.co.uk which is regularly updated.

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Dragonflies   Elizabeth

Dragonflies & Elizabeth

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Are all your designs completely bespoke?

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We have a wide collection of standard designs which we can fully customise, however, the majority of our work is bespoke. We regularly have clients wanting something they can’t find anywhere else and we pride ourselves on being able to provide a service which allows us to work to almost any theme. We’ve even had a bride lift her leg almost onto our stand at a wedding fair to show us her snow leopard print leggings as that was the design she wanted on her invitations. Often the bespoke designs are the most fun to work on, and I think my all time favourite was a set of autumn themed stationery we did for a client who married in October. Her invitations and most of her day stationery were laser cut from rich brown and orange card, but her theme also gave us the opportunity to try a laser engraved wooden table plan which was then inlaid with mahogany. The table plan became the inspiration behind our new Signature Range of wooden stationery.

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What products are available in each design?

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We should be able to produce anything a couple wants in any design. If it doesn’t already exit we will make an item to match, right the way through from save the date cards to thank you cards, and all the invitations, table plans and on the day stationery between.

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Ever After

Ever After

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What stationery designs do you think will be popular for next season?

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Vintage designs are still proving popular. Our Country Garden design is relatively new, but is proving to be the design getting most interest for next year’s weddings. However, modern, bold printed statements are also doing well. On request we recently produced what is quite a simple design, text on white card which lists famous couples, with our clients’ names in the middle of the list in a different colour. Since producing the first design we’ve had more requests for a similar sort of thing. Print is certainly getting more attention now than it has done previously, and while handmade designs will always have a strong following it’s certainly no bad thing being able to do our own illustrations to print to suit current demand.

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What other products/ services do you offer?

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We also have the United Kingdom’s first LED lit, acrylic, laser cut wishing trees available for hire. The trees were designed by Graphic Embers and are exclusive to us. The concept is that they appear as elegant ice sculptures during the day, so as not to overpower the flowers and cake, but then in the evening when the lights go down the act as stunning beacons, drawing guests in to fill out their wishing tags. The bases have around 8000 colour options in it, so we can match the trees to almost any colour scheme or set them to cycle through a range of colours which looks really magical.

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Along with tree hire couples get the hire of our wishing tree poem, pens and decorations as well as a set of personalised tags and tag box to keep. We can match the tags and ribbons to a couples’ colour scheme as well as personalising the text on the reverse.

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We are also looking at getting items to hire next year, as we’ve had so many requests for the butterfly table number stands we use at fairs. We already have a half bird cage that can be used as a table plan with the addition of tags but we’re hoping that by mid 2013 we will also have a set of table number stands and perhaps birdcages which can be hired out.

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Laser Lace   Liza

Laser Lace & Lisa

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Who would be Graphic Embers’ dream client, and what sort of design would you envisage for them?

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That’s a hard one, but I think some rock/metal singer type who either wants to play up their character or go for something quirky like a rockabilly themed wedding. We’ve just started looking at making hand bound guest books and while searching for cover materials we’ve found so many great fabrics I would love to make a themed goth or vintage rock book. And can you imagine having something you’d made, right down to hand stitching the pages, signed by a host of celebrity guests?

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What would be your top five tips for Brides Up North when choosing their wedding stationery?

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HEARTHave a look at lots of websites, wedding blogs, magazines and moodboards before you start talking to stationers so that you have an idea what you like and what you don’t, both in terms of theme/style and basic format. Do you want a postcard or a pocketfold?

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HEARTThink about how much information you want to include early on. Stationers will be able to give you a more accurate quote if you can tell them straight away that you plan on including a list of local hotels and a map with directions.

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HEARTIf you have guests coming from a distance and need to include extra information, but have a limited budget then don’t bother with save the dates. Save your money for better, more comprehensive invitations and just send them a bit earlier.

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HEARTAsk your chosen stationer how much you can customise a design, some will limit a design to a set variety of colours, some a set number of changes. If you really want to make your mark on a design then it is worth finding out how much you can do. We will make any changes we can or design something entirely unique just for you. Also, get samples if you customise a design. It may seem like an unnecessary extra cost to buy a personalised sample, especially with print lab costs for one off prints being so high, it is worth it though to check colours as they won’t always print as they appear on screen.

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HEARTGet in touch with your chosen stationer early. We don’t like having to turn couples away and many of the most popular stationers book up six months in advance. Even as a relatively young business we can book up, and we already have an order book which goes up to December 2014! We don’t mind you booking us well in advance, in fact we’d rather book a production slot for you in nine months time than turn you away five months before your wedding.

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What would be your no-nos for Brides Up North when choosing their wedding stationery? 

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HEARTDon’t leave it to the last minute to find and book your stationer. Many of the best book up in advance and we don’t like disappointing couples.

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HEARTWhile going for the budget option may seem like a good idea, it can have consequences. Your stationery is often a guest’s first glimpse at your big day and what you are paying for is both the quality of materials used and the time and dedicated service put in by your stationer. Sometimes the cheap option doesn’t come up to scratch and the stationer can’t or won’t fix the problem. It amazes me how many people we’ve had tell us another stationer has let them down.

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Rustic

Rustic

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Does all the stationery have to match?
 

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A perfectly matching set of stationery can look beautiful, but as with everything in weddings you can do wonderful things by not matching as well. Much like you can have different coloured bridesmaid dresses as long as you tie them together somehow, you can do the same with stationery. We recently did a set of individual menus that alternated colours, half on pearlescent orange card and half on textured brown card for an autumn wedding. You could also have different designs or colours in the same theme, much like many do with mismatched vintage crockery. It all depends on the look you are trying to achieve.

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Margaret   My Darling

Margaret & My Darling

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Which of your ranges would you recommend for a bride on a budget/ if money was no object?

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For a bride on a budget I would go for a postcard invitation of one of our printed ranges as, this keeps cost down but still allows for memorable design. If money is no object then I would definitely advise our Signature Range which is laser engraved into wood. It’s our most expensive range, but each piece is a stunningly crafted item. The table plan especially, which is inlaid with mahogany, is a beautiful keepsake.

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Which designs are your bestsellers?

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The Simplicity handmade wallet is very popular, it’s a very elegant but cost effective design and is probably the item we’ve had most orders for so far. However, for clients we’re speaking to for next year our Country Garden pocketfold could easily compete.

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Simplicity

Simplicity

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What sets Graphic Embers apart from its competitors
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When we say bespoke design we mean it, we really can design to any theme. We’re also original, our wishing trees are something that has never before been seen and our stationery designs are exclusive to us. We offer a dedicated service and really value each and every couple who comes to us.

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What are your prices/ price range, are you doing any special offers?

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Invitation prices range between £1.85 and £8.10. Our pocketfold prices all include invitation, information insert and RSVP card as we’d rather give a full price upfront than give brides a nasty shock when they have to add on a separate information card price. However, if you don’t need the information card we are happy to deduct this.

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If you order stationery through Graphic Embers we do offer 20% off wishing tree hire too. Wishing tree hire starts at £75 + mileage.

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Can you offer a special discount to Brides Up North readers?

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We can offer 10% off our 2013 prices for any stationery booking made before 1st February 2013. This includes booking a production slot in advance.

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Victoria   Village Fayre

Victoria & Village Fayre

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How long do you take to turn around an order?

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Maximum timescales for handmade and print stationery is 31 days from full payment to shipment, though 14-21 days is more likely. For laser cut stationery the maximum time from payment to shipment is 45 days, but again we aim for less. The Signature Range is slightly different, as it can take four weeks for the materials to be delivered. Maximum timescales are eight weeks from payment to shipment, this is so we can order in the wood and produce the items. This doesn’t mean you need your table plan finalised eight weeks early, we can delay production of final design proof until four weeks after we’ve ordered the materials, as long as we know approximately how many tables you will need. As long as your details are finalised for us to start engraving that’s fine.

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How can I get in touch to discuss my requirements or place an order?

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Website: www.graphic-embers.co.uk

Email: enquiries@graphic-embers.co.uk

Phone: 07581560705

Facebook: Graphic Embers

Twitter: @GraphicEmbers

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Anything else that Brides Up North should know?

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We are running a competition with Matt McGurk Photography. Matt is going to set up a studio day in February especially for brides and grooms to come along and have couples shots taken. For just £40 couples will get an hour long photo shoot, CD of 4 to 5 images with printing rights and a large (16 x 12 inches) print. Book before Friday 18th January and one lucky couple will win 50 save the date cards (or equivalent postcard invitations) from Graphic Embers incorporating their favourite photograph taken on the day! The date for the photo shoot will be confirmed based on interest, but will be a weekend in mid February in a Newcastle-upon-Tyne studio. Pre-register your interest now to be entered into this fantastic competition! To see Matt’s previous work visit www.mattmcgurk.co.uk. Bookings should be made by contacting enquiries@graphic-embers.co.uk. Graphic Embers look forward to incorporating some beautiful photography into some completely unique stationery!

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  – Images © 2012 Matt McGurk

Graphic Embers is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier, and this is a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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about the author

Julia Braime
Former lawyer and bride to be Julia founded Brides Up North in 2010 with a chip on her shoulder. Frustrated by the poor Northern presence in glossy bridal magazines and online, she decided to do something about it herself. Astounded by the rapid growth of her blog and brand, Julia now manages Brides Up North’s online content alongside their busy wedding exhibition season, industry events and related commissions. And she’s always, always, got a new project on the go…

learn more about Julia Braime