May 13th, 2016 | Julia Braime
Planning a hen party should be fun, but sometimes you find you’re just drowning in the admin of it all. Where to go, what to do, whether to choose a wild night or a chilled celebration… it can be a mind boggling and spreadsheet heavy task. Add to that making sure that everyone is invited and has RSVP’d in a way that comes across as more bubbly than bossy, whilst setting the tone for the fun ahead and even the keenest of hens might want to hang up their high heels. It’s an L plate strewn minefield.
Here at Brides Up North we’ve found the answer, courtesy of a cool new service that launches today. The online invite has been long overdue a 21st Century makeover. And it looks like the guys at Brides Up North Sponsor Mini-Epic have done just that!
Super cute, very tongue in cheek and loads of fun… whilst being very practical too. Hey, do Mini-Epic want to be a bridesmaid too?
mini-epic say: Our online hen party invites are fun, totally personalised and add a little bit of excitement to the planning process. It’s a perfect way to get everyone excited for all the amazing things you have planned! As well as setting the perfect tone for your hen party, our range of invitations also collect your guest’s RSVPs, in a simple back-end system that is totally easy to manage and organise. No chasing of emails, or messaging group threads necessary…. it’s all taken care of.
There are loads of templates to choose from too, with a video and animation to suit everyone and every type of party. Think of this as your own personal ‘movie trailer’ to the most amazing night of your life (so far!).
A few examples you can see below, so let us know what you think and which you would choose. The invites are packed with personality and originality, and put your guests in the mood to party with an invitation they won’t forget.
After all, when you go to all the effort of organising a party, you want it to start in the best possible way right?
February 4th, 2016 | Julia Braime
Julia Ogden produces handmade, one off wedding stationery, completely unique to each couple. Viewing her designs as art works in their own right, we meet the artist behind the inks…
Julia is currently offering 10% off all packages until Valentines Day. In addition to that Brides Up North readers will have a free screen print when they place their stationery order, including the bride and groom’s names and their wedding date. Quote Brides Up North when booking.
Images by Sarah Mason Photography.
What is the story behind your business and your background?
julia says: I began my wedding stationery business in 2013. I studied illustration at University and have always had a love of combining text and image, so when a gallery (Heart Gallery, Hebden Bridge) I supplied artwork to, mentioned they were having a wedding fair I jumped at the chance to create a stationery range for it.
Who is a “Julia Ogden” bride?
A Julia Ogden bride has a love of handmade, bespoke items. They would want their stationery to give a true sense of their relationship; loves, places and memories.
Where are you based?
I am based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. I can work by appointment or if the client is further afield I can work online; emailing stationery ideas and sketches.
Tell us about your gorgeous hand printed designs?
Each design I make is tailor made so I am happy to make any products the client would wish for. I do have packages on my website but I can always quote for additional items. The invitations are hand screen printed by me in Hebden Bridge.
Is every design really completely bespoke?
I begin the process of making the invitations by chatting to the couple and getting to know them (online or in person). I then sketch some ideas for their stationery, these could be based on their wedding location, the bride and grooms favourite things or to match the colour palette of their wedding. When the couple have decided on their favourite design I then screen print them.
This is a hand printed process; pushing ink through a thin mesh screen with the design on it to make the image. Every single invite is hand printed in this way and therefore truly bespoke. I draw all the illustrations for the invites and pride myself on them being completely unique to each couple.
November 9th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
If you’re the type of person (like us), that loves pretty paper goods so much so that you can spend an age picking out a new note book or selecting a greetings card, then you’re going to love this afternoon’s post. For today we’re formally introducing new Brides Up North featured supplier and stationery sensations, Kerry and Becky of Project Pretty, to the blog.
As their company name suggests, these ladies are experts when it comes to creating swoon-worthy stationery; from elegant florals to punchy typographically led designs – there really is something for all.
This afternoon we’ll be finding out a little more about the dynamic duo behind Project Pretty and what they have to offer you lovely brides-to-be. And if that’s not enough, they’re also giving us an exclusive first look at their brand new collections that they’re launching today AND offering our readers a rather fabulous discount:
Brides Up North can get 10% off orders over £50 by using the code BUN10 at the checkout.
Take it away ladies!
How did you first get into the wedding industry?
project pretty say: We are both degree qualified graphic designers and met whilst working for a local design agency. Whilst discussing wedding details for our own weddings we agreed that at the time, there wasn’t much choice when it came to wedding stationery. With coming from a graphic design/print background, we both wanted something a bit more exciting and this inspired us to start our own business. In 2011 we launched Project Pretty to cater for couples looking for something a little different.
Tell us about the products you offer to wedding couples…
We are a wedding stationery and paper goods company that offers wedding stationery from save the dates and invitations, through to ‘on the day’ stationery, such as table plans, menu cards, sweet buffet labels etc. and finally ‘after the day’ thank you cards.
What is your favourite thing about your job and what do you love about the wedding industry?
Kerry says: I love working with couples on what will most likely be, the first impression their wedding guests have of their day. Creating the invitations or save the date cards for our couples is usually the first time they see all the details down on paper – it’s an exciting time and I love to be a part of it.
Becky says: I find it really satisfying helping couples through, what let’s face it, can be a very stressful part of planning a wedding. After all it is the first thing guests see and there can be a lot of pressure to get things just right, especially from parents and other family members! So, I love it when we get such positive feedback from customers – it really makes all the long hours worth it.
How can stationery enhance a wedding?
Stationery is such an important part of a wedding. From the initial save the date, or invitation, guests can gauge what the wedding will be like and it certainly builds the excitement for the big day with guests discussing potential themes or colours. Even the quality and attention to detail of the stationery says a lot about what they can expect from the day.
On the wedding day itself, stationery is everywhere, with table plans guiding guests where to sit, what food they’ll be enjoying and even where the flip flops are, for those with tired feet, so it’s definitely worth investing the time in getting all these things just right. Paper should never be underestimated!
Where do you suggest couples to take inspiration from for their stationery?
We advise couples that their wedding stationery should be a reflection of their personalities and relationship. For example, take inspiration from the places you have travelled to as a couple, the concerts you’ve been to, the restaurants you’ve eaten in – have fun with it, especially with the ‘on the day’ stationery. It’s also a good idea to consider what flowers you will be having on the table so that the colours used in your ‘on the day’ stationery complement the floral displays. Pinterest is a great resource for discovering what styles you like with regards to typography, paper and print.
Do you have a signature style?
We both have quite distinctive styles which enables us to offer a wide choice of designs. Kerry’s designs are typographically led, whereas Becky’s designs tend to be floral and whimsical.
Tell us about the new collections that you have just launched today…
Romance – Our new Romance collection features a soft watercolour background with grey calligraphy fonts. Finished with Kraft envelopes and optional finishing touches such as the belly band and lace, this collection is super pretty and feminine!
Betty – Betty is a bold floral design featuring a bright gouache painted floral image on a black and white polka dot background. If you are looking for a pretty invitations with an edge, these could be the ones for you. Teamed with black envelopes and optional envelope liners, these invitations will really make a statement.
Geometric – Our new geometric design is available in 71 colour options, including elegant duck egg blue, and features modern typography and diamond geometric lines.
Kate – This simple black and white design features a relaxed handwritten style font on a white or black background. Team with black lined envelopes for understated cool.
Hydrangea – Our Hydrangea collection is available in pink or blue with optional belly bands. With rounded corners and a handpainted watercolour design, these invitations are soft and pretty. Available with white, grey or Kraft envelopes. If you are looking for a rustic design, we recommend opting for Kraft envelopes.
How can you help couples to personalise their stationery? Do you offer a bespoke service?
All of our designs are customisable, so couples can alter the text to suit and most designs are available in a wide range of colours. When ordering on our website, you can add all the personalisation details and select your colour/layout preference upon ordering. We also offer a custom design service for couples that cannot find what they are looking for, and would prefer to have a design created just for them.
On first contact we will request a brief based on the couple’s ideas and wedding theme. It is a good idea to create a Pinterest board of ideas, inspiration images and colours so that we can gain a greater understanding of what you are looking for. We will also need to know how many of each item you require – for example, 50 wedding invitations plus matching RSVP cards and information cards.
When we have all the information we need we will put together a quotation outlining the costs for the design development and the final printed items. Once the quotation has been approved a 50% non-refundable deposit is required prior to any design work being undertaken. Following payment we will then produce a mood board of ideas for review so that we can narrow down a design that you are happy with – this will include font ideas, layout styles and illustrations.
Once we have your feedback on the mood boards, we will request the text for the invitations/designs and will then produce the artwork based on your comments and preferences. Full colour PDF proofs will be sent via email within ten working days for review.
Once the design has been approved we will request the remainder of the fee and once received will send the artwork to print. You will then receive your wedding stationery, beautifully packaged and within seven working days.
What styles of your stationery are proving popular with couples at the moment?
Our Eva collection has proven to be very popular this year. The design is classic in style but with a contemporary edge. Designs such as this are timeless and will always be popular. In addition to this, floral designs with calligraphy-style typography are also proving popular. However, our Bella design is consistently popular with its dark background and pretty star design. It is perfect for winter weddings, but we have also found it to be popular all year round.
Do you have any particular favourite designs within your collection?
Kerry says: My favourite design is our Frankie collection. I love the mix of vintage style fonts and paper stocks.
Becky says: I love the Millie design. It’s so classy with an understated Art Deco theme and looks fab on the textured paper stock we offer.
Which celebrity wedding would you most like to design wedding stationery for?
Kerry says: I would have like to have designed stationery for the wedding of Fearne Cotton and Jesse Wood. I love everything about Fearne’s style and think that as a couple, they would have had fun with the invitations and stationery.
Becky: It would’ve been great to have designed stationery for George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin’s wedding. She is so elegant with great style, she’s incredibly accomplished in her work, plus she bagged Hollywood’s most iconic bachelor – what’s not to love?!
Tell us a little about your wedding days and what type of stationery you had…
Kerry says: I married my husband Matt in 2012 at Iscoyd Park near Whitchurch. We opted for a grey and yellow colour theme, with soft pastel flowers. I created all the wedding stationery myself which now makes up part of our Carnival collection. Instead of standard place cards, we pinned names badges to Kraft luggage tags, finished with baker’s twine, which was a great talking point for our guests.
Becky says: I married my husband Gareth in 2011, after a very long wait I might add, at Soughton Hall in Northop, North Wales. We had a fantastic day and night at the venue and I actually designed all my own stationery in a very classic style. I wanted it to tie-in with the beautifully historic venue so I used script fonts for a romantic feel along with a classic serif font in a very simple format. I had letterpress invitations and rsvp cards on a textured thick board, so the impressions were really deep and luxurious. I was absolutely thrilled – they turned out even better than I expected! However, my budget didn’t allow for all items to be printed this way, so all the other pieces, such as menus, place cards etc. were all printed digitally but using the same style. The design can now be found on our website under the name ‘Olivia’.
What sets you apart from other stationery companies?
We believe that beautiful typography and carefully considered colours combined with great customer service and the ability to visualise our customers’ ideas sets us apart from others. All of our collections are available to order on our website, making it easy for our customers to order online at their own convenience, however, we are always on hand to answer any questions and offer any help and guidance.
Can you give us an idea on price?
Our prices range from £1.10 per place card, to £120 for an A1 table plan. Our price per invitation or save the date card varies dependant on how many you order, for example if you order 20 save the date cards these would be £1.80 each compared to an order of 100 at £1.60 each.
Can you do a discount for Brides Up North readers?
Absolutely! Readers of Brides Up North can get 10% off orders over £50 by using the code BUN10 at the checkout.
How can Brides Up North get in touch with you and see more examples of your work?
Visit our website www.projectpretty.co.uk to view our collections and/or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, or would like to discuss a custom design. We are also on Instagram – follow us @projectpretty1 for behind the scenes pics and a first peek at new collections.
August 20th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
This afternoon on the blog we’ve got a little something for our newly engaged readers out there *waves* as we take a look at beautiful handcrafted save the dates from wedding stationery extraordinaire, norma&dorothy.
A fairly early task to complete on the wedding ‘to do’ list, sending out your save the dates not only provides guests with the all-important when, where and what details, but it also gives them the first taste of what’s to come. So in order to impress guests from the outset, it’s essential to choose your paper goods with care.
norma&dorothy, which was set up by talented designer Grace Sherriff two years ago, specialises in stationery that has a wonderful rustic and whimsical appearance, making it appealing to a wide range of themes and tastes. All products are lovingly hand-made in the company’s Manchester studio by the talented team, with each member holding some form of craft at degree level – meaning they’re pretty skilled with their hands.
The result is carefully crafted and oh so pretty stationery that has flawless finish to wow brides, grooms and guests! Better still, if you like the look of what you see, norma&dorothy are holding a sale until the end of August, offering 10% of all save the date designs. You just need to enter code 10AUG15 at checkout. Simple!
Having been sent a wonderful bundle of norma&dorothy’s save the dates through the post this week, we’ve experienced first-hand just how special these pretty cards feel when they arrive through the letter box.
Though concealed within similar brown rustic envelopes, each design has its own character, charm and colourway. There are cute black and white chalkboard styles as well as country-esque burlap and bunting designs, plus bright floral prints and pretty pastel etchings on candy striped backgrounds, to choose from.
There are also those influenced by the season, baring delicate detailed snowflakes, and others, such as vintage map designs, which focus on the destination/venue of the celebrations.
For an extra special finish, each of the cute round-edged designs are made complete with detail that stands proud of the card, be it a loop of rustic twine, twinkling gems or elegant pearls.
And it’s not just the backgrounds and design that differ. The wording on the save the dates is custom tailored and can appear in a various style fonts, giving couples the opportunity to personalise their paper.
For consistency couples are advised to stick with the same design for the remainder of their wedding stationery, which norma&dorothy can easily take care of with its save the date designs spreading to day and evening invitations, order of service, table plans, place cards, menus, favour tags, and even thank you cards for when the big day has been and gone.
So what are you waiting for, if you’ve got the venue booked and guest list drawn up it’s time to send out your save the dates, whetting guests’ appetites for what’s to come and, of course, avoiding double bookings. And don’t forget that sale – 10% off all save the dates until the end of August with code 10AUG15.
May 14th, 2015 | Julia Braime
You know we like to keep our readers updated with lots of key dates for your diaries including designer weekends, bridal soirees, Luxury Wedding Exhibitions (we do a few of those, had you noticed?!) and workshops, so today we are really happy to share the details of our gorgeous Sponsor, Claire of Calligraphy For Weddings‘ calligraphy class. If you fancy adding a personal touch to your wedding stationery or simply learning a beautiful new skill, this one is for you. Places are very limited, and Claire tells me that she’ll have to be strict, so make sure to get in touch quickly to reserve your place… happy scribbling!
claire says: I’m really excited to be hosting a calligraphy class in Manchester on the 10th of June 2015 – it’s going to be lots of fun and I’d love for you to come and join me for a day playing with pens and learning gorgeous contemporary scripts. We’ll be in the Northern Quarter from 11am until 4pm and there are 15 spaces available – booking starts today!
How to hold, wiggle and write with a traditional dip pen
The basics of contemporary lettering
It’s a hands-on day so I’ll be demonstrating a little, but most of the time you’ll be writing and I’ll be giving pointers and helping you
Calligraphy pens, paper, inks
Practice sheets and examples
Just your lovely self
Please bring your own lunch
you’ll take home:
Your pen and nib set, paper and practice sheets
Guidelines for practicing at home
The beautifully lettered goodies you’ve written on the day!
The price is £55 payable on booking – I can accept payments by bank transfer or PayPal.
To book email Claire: hello@Calligraphy-for-Weddings.com
To find out more about Calligraphy For Weddings, read our interview with Claire, here.
Images by Theresa Furey.
May 8th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Here at Brides Up North we’re always encouraging our readers not to get too caught up in planning pandemonium and to ensure time is taken out of the hectic pre-wedding schedule to simply unwind.
And we’re not the only ones worried about brides over doing it and burning out before the big day. Online printing company StressFreePrint, which helps to lighten the planning load by making the printing process a breeze for couples wanting to create their own wedding invitations, has noticed brides-to-be getting bogged down and stressed out in the run up to their weddings too.
As such they’ve come up with a few handy tips to help brides on their way to a stress-free wedding day. Plus, they’re also giving one lucky Brides Up North reader the chance to win a fabulous bride-to-be pamper hamper which includes gorgeous goodies such as a luxurious silk Victoria Secret kimono dressing gown, elegant Hotel Chocolat champagne, strawberries and cream truffles, a Heavenly Hands Nails inc. manicure gift voucher and Ted Baker luxury relaxing bath collection. What a prize! To enter simply answer the question at the end of the post.
set a budget and stick to it
If there’s one thing that stresses people out, it’s money, especially when it comes to a wedding. While you want a wonderful day, you don’t want to be paying it off ten years down the line so in the early planning stages set a budget and stick to it. Think about the areas that are most important to you such as the venue and photographer and allocate funds accordingly.
ask for help
Planning details with friends, family or your partner can help bring you all together and as they say, two heads are better than one. This can also provide an opportunity to save some time and money by calling in a favour or playing on the talents of your nearest and dearest. So if, for example, your uncle has a posh motor ask if he will be your wedding chauffer, or if your mum’s baking skills are up there with Mary Berry’s see if she will create you a bespoke cake for the big day.
consider calling in a professional
If the planning burden still feels a little heavy or overwhelming why not look at hiring a professional wedding planner to help? This doesn’t mean losing control of what you want but instead having someone on hand for guidance and reassurance. Wedding planners often have great links to suppliers in the industry too which could also save you some money along the way.
While it’s your big day and of course you will want to do things your own way, be prepared to listen to what others think, especially the groom. So if it would mean the world to your parents to invite some dear old distant relative would one more guest cause that many problems? Or if your groom has his heart set on chocolate brownie for dessert could you forgo your choice of crème brulee? Sometimes backing down is easier than the stress incurred by going against others.
You will want to look and feel your best on your wedding day which might mean upping your exercise regime and though it might feel like a chore, just a little activity can release endorphins which increase your mood – win, win.
It’s not just about how you look on the outside but how you feel on the inside too that can affect your mood. Obviously eating healthy is a good move in the run up to your wedding day but to maximise on calming chemicals try eating foods which contain tryptophan, such as bananas, oats, soy, poultry, milk, cheese, and nuts.
make the admin part easy
StressFreePrint focuses on making the printing process of wedding invitations simple. They can assist every step of the way, from design to print, and help you in producing the perfect invitations for your special day. StressFreePrint offer folded or flat invites that incorporate a design of your choice making the print as personal as you want. With more than ten years online printing experience and proven excellent customer service, StressFreePrint hope to bring you a printing process that is simple and easy and helps to take the stress out of your wedding planning.
To be in with a chance of winning the StressFreePrint pamper hamper*, that will help you find time for you and stay stress free during your wedding planning, simply answer the following question:
Which of these is not a style of invite that StressFreePrint design?
C) Pop up
To enter, just email your answer either A, B or C along with your name to email@example.com by midnight on the 31st May 2015, good luck!
*The full prize includes; a Paperchase wedding planner, delicate and fresh Lanson Rose NV Champagne, luxurious silk Victoria Secrets kimono dressing gown, elegant Hotel Chocolat champagne, strawberries and cream truffles, Heavenly Hands Nails inc. manicure gift voucher, Ted Baker luxury relaxing bath collection, Benefit Primping with the stars makeup kit, clean and calming natural Lush face mask, delicious sweet Wedding Day large jar Yankee Candle and a gloriously soft fragrance of fresh cut roses Yankee Candle reed diffuser.
Competition Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all UK and NI residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees of the Promoter and their immediate families, the Promoter’s agents or anyone professionally connected to the competition. Only one entry per household. Incomplete entries will be void. No responsibility can be accepted for entries that are incomplete or not received for any reason. The Competition will run until 31st May 2015. Winner will be the first entry drawn at random by computer software. The prize must be accepted as offered. No cash alternatives and the prize is non-transferable. There will be one winner selected who will be contacted within seven working days of the closing date and the winner must respond within fourteen days, otherwise an alternative winner will be selected. If you are a winner, you may have to provide additional information (including, without limitation, proof of age or identity) within a specified time period. Failure to provide such additional information and send them to the Promoter within the required time period, or if any notification is returned as undeliverable as addressed, will result in your disqualification as a winner and an alternative winner will be selected.
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