January 21st, 2015 | Rachel Parry
An invitation or save the date is so much more than wedding stationery, it’s an opportunity for couples to give their guests a taste of what’s to come.
Yes, it’s informative, giving your nearest and dearest the all important when, where and what details, but the invitation guests receive through the post is also a reflection of what your big day will entail in terms of style. It might provide hints as to the setting for the wedding and incorporate elements of the theming and possibly the colour palette. So in order to impress your guests from the outset, it’s essential to choose your invitations with care.
stationery from minted.com
Once the date is set it’s a good idea to start thinking about your invitations, even though they don’t need to be sent out until about six to eight weeks before the big day. If you are tying the knot at a busy time of year, such as Easter, Christmas or late summer, you might want to send out save the dates six months to a year before the wedding to avoid guests double booking.
The choice of invitations is pretty much endless and many couples opt to make their own, either to exercise their design skills, cut costs, or simply to ensure the design is exactly what they desire to fit the proceedings planned.
For those that aren’t keen on the DIY option, there are oodles of ready-made printed invitations available on the high street and from lots of independent designers that can be very cost effective. But for those wanting more personal stationery, bespoke invitations are the only way to go.
When searching for a designer to create your paper goods, think about the type of style of invite you want producing and look for designers who specialise in such areas i.e. modern, graphic, vintage, traditional. Also think about your budget as the design, paper, printing process and quantity will all make a difference to the overall price.
Before meeting your chosen designer to discuss your save the date/invitations gather inspiration from magazines and online and take examples along to show them. Plus be sure to share details of your plans for the big day to help them to create something that’s individual to you as a couple and your unique celebration.
stationery from Jupiter and Juno
To keep your invites looking clean and classy don’t clutter them with too much information. Stick to the key information and then either include the extra details on your wedding website, or consider a bundle stationery option. As well as the invite these include extra enclosures, such as directions, information card, gift-list and RSVP, all tied together in a pretty parcel. Keep in mind though the larger and heavier the invite, the more it will cost to post. Also be sure to order a few extra invites to allow for mistakes/inviting extra guests.
When you are sent your proof – check, check and check again to make sure it’s what you wanted and that all the details and spelling/grammar are correct.
And remember wedding stationery extends well beyond the invite to include all printed materials for the occasion, from name places and menus to orders of service and signage. To save time and money it’s a good idea to order all stationery in one go from the same designer. This will also ensure consistency of design and style, resulting in a wonderfully chic affair.
December 31st, 2014 | Julia Braime
Merry Christmas! Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break for the festive season, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.
Usual service will recommence on Monday 5th January 2015 (with some big news!) but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year. Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks for 2014.
Turns out that our talented Brides Up North Sponsors make the very prettiest of brides. Today’s absolutely beautiful wedding at Eshott Hall, starring our own Natalie Power, is a lovely lesson in romantic pastels and pretty detailing. I’ve saved this to share with you for a special start to the week, Pinterest fingers at the ready…
With images by Helen Russell Photography.
natalie says: We got engaged in November 2008, it was my birthday and Warren had surprised me with a trip to Barcelona. If that wasn’t surprise enough, he proposed, I could not believe it, it was so unexpected but perfect!
We were married on Saturday 31st May 2014, at Eshott Hall, Northumberland.
After looking at other possible venues we were becoming a little disheartened but then we arrived at Eshott Hall and as soon as we drove up the tree lined gravel driveway and past the manicured lawns we both knew this would be the venue. We wanted to have exclusive use of the venue for the weekend, stunning scenery and not be constrained by minimum numbers: Eshott Hall ticked all those boxes.
We didn’t have a ‘theme’ as such, we just felt everything fell into place; it was little mix of modern classic with a country edge. We chose a soft colour scheme of creams, pinks and peaches. We wanted to keep things pretty neutral and unstructured.
I wore a fitted Vera Wang wedding dress, which is completely the opposite of what I thought I wanted when I started looking. I had been pinning like crazy on the best wedding tool ever and had my heart set on a Jenny Packham dress. After trying it on I was very disappointed, it just didn’t feel like it was my ‘wedding’ dress so I was back to square one. It wasn’t until my Mum suggested I try on something completely different that I came across the dress, I tried it on once and fell in love. To complete the look I wore Jimmy Choo Crown heels in Nude, a gift from my husband
Make-up was provided by Jo Leversuch of Make-up by Jo, she did a super job and was even able to fit in an extra person on the day – nothing was too much for her, I would definitely recommend Jo. She was able to create a look for each of the bridesmaid that was unique to them, not a carbon copy of one another.
Warren wore a navy double-breasted jacket from Hugo Boss with a crisp white shirt from The Kooples. His cream trousers were also from Hugo Boss and completed his look with a set of braces from Bromleys. His shoes were brown double monk straps from Magnanni.
My bridesmaids wore Dessy dresses, style no. 2909 in Cameo to compliment the soft neutral colouring.
The groomsmen wore their own suits in navy to tie in with the Groom’s suit jacket; they all wore matching pink bowties and pocket squares from Etsy.
My bouquet was a selection of garden roses, spray roses, hydrangeas, soft grey foliage and brunia berries – all very loose and effortless. All of the flowers throughout the day were in the same style as my bouquet, provided by Helen of Bels Flowers. She is fabulous and I would highly recommend her.
Helen Russell was our photographer, we would definitely recommend Helen, she is so lovely and captured the atmosphere of the day perfectly.
As well as creating my own wedding invitations (my daytime job – see Natalie Power’s website) I also made the signage, table numbers and seating plan. Of course, my husband was on hand with his trusty saw and drill.
The food and drink was provided by Eshott Hall, it was beautifully presented and tasted just as good, everyone commented on how tasty it was.
We had a selection of cakes, a dessert table provided by the amazingly talented Bernadette of Dreamworld Cakes. The wedding cake itself was chocolate baileys flavour, victoria sponge cupcakes, mini cakes were chocolate orange flavour, macaroons in both rose and pistachio flavours, cake pops and artisan meringues.
During the ceremony, canapés and wedding breakfast the wonderful Aurora Strings entertained us; they played a selection of classical and pop music, which was perfect.
Our evening entertainment was provided by an amazingly talented band, The Noise, that I found through Warble Entertainment. They did an amazing job and were very enthusiastic, I highly recommend them.
We would highly recommend Eshott Hall. The venue itself is perfect if you are looking for somewhere you can use exclusively, it has beautifully manicured grounds to compliment your photography and décor that will not dictate your colour scheme.
For our honeymoon we decided on a US adventure taking in as many locations as we could. Our first stop was San Diego, from there we moved onto Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Morro Bay, Carmel, San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Mammoth Lakes, Death Valley before our last stop in Las Vegas. There were so many highlights from the trip from whale watching in Morro Bay, the tour in San Francisco, a Grand Canyon helicopter flight and watching Cirque Du Soleil ‘O’, it was all amazing! We loved the fact that we got to explore so many different places along with amazing weather and ever changing scenery.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be when things get on top of you or don’t go to plan remember the reason you’re doing this. To marry the love of your life, that’s what’s important, everything else will fall into place.
aurora strings, bels flowers, brides up north featured supplier, bromleys, dessy, dreamworld cakes, eshott hall, etsy, helen russell photography, hugo boss, magnanni, make up by jo, natalie power, northumberland wedding, pastel wedding, pink wedding, real wedding, romantic wedding, the kooples, uk wedding blog, vera wang, warble entertainments
November 25th, 2014 | Julia Braime
We’re going for gold as I welcome back Brides Up North Sponsor Claire of Calligraphy For Weddings. She’s making our pages even prettier this afternoon as she launches her stunning new gold calligraphy service.
You saw it here first… get ready to glisten.
claire says: Gold calligraphy glistening in the sunshine on handwritten menus, place cards, tags and table cards – a wonderful counterpoint to a messy, richly coloured natural setting. I wanted to show brides how to work with a natural theme and bring together sophisticated details and a messy, rustic background. I went back to nature and this intimate shoot took place on the shores of England’s deepest lake on a sunny autumn morning.
The tablescape is all about rich, natural colours: a palette of burgundy and pink tones with mossy greens and glowing gold. The lettering sparkles in the sunshine: metallic gold calligraphy inks are super luxurious and oh so wonderful to see – rub your finger across the letters and you can feel the raised gold swirls under your fingertips.
A rich and colourful place setting was created using mixed textures and materials: moss and branches in their natural setting were complemented by ombre brocades, vintage china plates and rich pink gilded glassware. All of the styling elements were locally sourced from independent businesses – from forks to flowers! Counterbalancing the natural backdrop and messy tangles of brocade was the elegant calligraphy: loops and swirls of gorgeous gold on luxury burgundy paper stock.
I really wanted to create a look which can be remade by DIY brides: vintage china and glassware is everywhere; and mixing natural textures of wood and moss with just a few bought flowers can add magic to every wedding table. It’s what tablescapes are all about – combining elements in a creative way to make unique and charming place settings for your guests. Replace my lakeshore ‘table’ with the real tables at your venue and you’ll have an enchanting reception style your guests will love!
Calligraphy by Claire Gould, at Calligraphy-for-Weddings.com
Gold menu calligraphy from £7
Place name calligraphy £1.40
Table number cards from £4
Thank you tags £1.20
October 1st, 2014 | Julia Braime
She’s here to put pen to paper and make your wedding stationery and accessories super beautiful and gorgeously personal. She’ll even write your love letters for you, how’s that for service?
Claire is kindly offering Brides Up North readers a 10% discount from her Etsy Shop throughout October. Quote code LOVEBUN when you order!
Let’s meet her…
Images supplied by Calligraphy For Weddings and as credited where relevant in our gallery.
Introduce yourself and Calligraphy For Weddings?
I’m Claire, I’m thirty-something and I work full time as a calligrapher, specialising in weddings and gifts for anniversaries and special occasions. I have the best job in the world! I live on the edge of the Lake District in a character apartment by the seaside. I have stained glass and original features, but I still write on the walls. I love my life, my surroundings – walking on the beach is my daily ‘commute’ – and the way my boyfriend calls me his ‘Beach Girl’. Calligraphy for Weddings has been going since 2005, and I’ve written for hundreds of brides and grooms, event organisers and brands. I’m known for my work with Kirstie Allsopp and I’m so lucky to have my own little craft business.
What wedding calligraphy services do you offer for brides to be?
I offer a full calligraphy service for couples who have their own stationery (whether it’s bought or DIY) and I also sell wedding stationery, from invitation suites and collections through to place names, table plans and mirror calligraphy. Everything is online in my Etsy shop.
The most recent additions to my wedding calligraphy shop are kraft and calligraphy quirky wedding invites with matching stationery, which are all personalised for every client. These are designer invites from an independent calligraphy business – professionally designed and printed, with handwritten calligraphy elements. Your guests will adore them, and you can continue the kraft and calligraphy theme right through to your wedding day with reception stationery to match your invites. Prices start from just £2 for invitations.
I also take on bespoke commissions and I write mirror table plans – this has been a massively successful part of my business in 2014 and I love mirror calligraphy, writing on windows and chalkboards! I also write calligraphy backdrops – the more unusual the better. I love writing song lyrics, poems and larger commissions too.
Tell us about your vintage love letters?
The vintage love letters are an absolute joy to write and make a perfect wedding day gift or – even better – a lovely present and keepsake for your first (paper) wedding anniversary. I use the highest quality writing paper, which is aged and then entirely handwritten in a 19th century script. Every letter is personalised, with the option of adding stamps and wax seals, ribbons and gold twine – they’re a real labour of love and as well as being wonderful gifts they’ve been used on photoshoots around the UK and even in France!
What if brides want to try calligraphy for themselves?
I love it when brides (and grooms) are keen to try calligraphy, and with modern ‘quirky’ styles being really popular now I’ve launched a range of calligraphy starter kits for absolute beginners. I’ve also written a book which takes beginners through very first steps in modern, quirky calligraphy – from preparing the pen to some really simple exercises with examples – and all aimed at fun styles rather than the traditional formal scripts.
There are two starter kits: the luxe version has more samplers, white ink, gift tags to practice on and is personalised.
What sets your business apart from your competitors?
Customer service and experience set me apart. I wrap every calligraphy order like a present, so it’s lovely to receive. I answer all of my emails and phone calls personally. I manage my website, write my blog and look after my Facebook page. One of the best things about Calligraphy for Weddings, for me, is getting to know my customers. It’s never a faceless transaction: every customer gets a personal service, every name is written with meticulous attention to detail and the most important thing to me is that my customers are happy with everything I give them – and the same goes for wedding guests! The calligraphy quality has to be exceptional – and I know it is, because I know how many wedding guests take their place cards home!
Who would be a “Calligraphy For Weddings” bride?
Any bride who loves paper, pretty details or special touches should consider adding calligraphy to her special day. DIY brides can add the perfect finishing touch to invites and envelopes with handwritten calligraphy names. Classic weddings can incorporate calligraphy with more formal scripts on envelopes and for reception stationery, and quirky weddings look even more amazing with handwritten signs, mirrors and name tags. Every bride is different, and every wedding has its own style. Calligraphy comes in a rainbow of flavours and there’s one to delight every bride!
Tell us about some of the industry connections you have made and shoots that you have worked on since launching your business?
Through my wedding blog I’ve worked with hundreds of wedding photographers as well as writing calligraphy for many stationery designers and even branding. I designed a logo for Walker & Walker Photographers and have been involved in shoots with the amazing Chris Hanley Photography, lovely Vickerstaff Photography, for Petra Opperman, with Karen Flower Photography, at Aspire Photography Training, and featured on Junebug Weddings, Brides Up North and Love My Dress blogs. There are too many to list – I love being involved in styled shoots as they fire my imagination and inspire new products and designs!
Tell us about some amazing weddings that you have worked on and the lettering and products that you have created?
Most recently I worked on Sophie and Hamish’s Lake District wedding with a 6ft mirror for their table plan – it was incredible, a real challenge and the final product was amazing! I’ve been writing wedding certificates and vows in calligraphy over the summer – all with personalised designs and different every time. I love those. I’ve written thousands of invitations and place name cards as well as quirky wedding signs which I send across the UK, to the US, Australia, across Europe and all over the world. I posted a poem to Dubai this morning… it’s amazing knowing my calligraphy travels so far! Oh, and a highlight of my summer was writing riddles in French for Regis, who was planning the most romantic proposal and asked me to write out riddles on my best Italian card stock which would lead his partner (now fiancee!) to a ring… she said yes!
What have been your professional highlights to date?
I’ve just come back from teaching calligraphy skills workshops at Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair in London. My work with Kirstie has been a delight for years: we’ve collaborated on several projects since Kirstie styled a vintage military wedding back in 2012, and I’ve featured in two of her books and TV series. (See “Kirstie Allsopp stroked my calligraphy on the telly!“) I’ve also written for Manchester United, and I was hired to write Steve Gerrard’s wedding place name cards too!
What are your favourite wedding looks for 2014? What trends do you see emerging?
I have a thing for kraft invitations, which have been ever so popular this year. I like anything quirky so long as it’s beautifully designed: creative stationery packs and peculiar shapes and textures can be really exciting. I also love minimal design, so beautiful type and creative lettering with lots of lovely spacing really excite me. As far as general wedding trends go, I’m a fan of big neon letters, weddings in cinemas and theatres, sperry tents and jumbled up mismatched flowers. I think glitter and sequins will continue to be a big part of weddings in 2015, and the homespun look will be popular with UK brides. I’d love to see large scale backdrops feature in real weddings here as they do in the US – and I’d love to write some!
Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?
I keep my prices as low as I can and offer plenty of options for couples on a budget. Place cards start from £1.10 each, invitations are from just £2 and table plans start from £75. Calligraphy isn’t as expensive as many people think, and it’s all about the time it takes to write everything for you. Wedding readings and poems are priced from 75p per word, which gives you more flexibility in what you order.
A top tip: if you’d like to order your wedding readings or first dance lyrics in calligraphy, and want to save money, select your favourite extract or paragraph!
Can you do a discount for Brides Up North readers?
I’ll be delighted to offer Brides Up North readers a 10% discount from my Etsy shop throughout October. Quote code LOVEBUN when you order!
Where are you located and will you travel?
I’m on the edge of the Lake District and almost all of my calligraphy orders are mailed to my customers. I am a leading world expert on protective packaging, with shares in tissue paper, bubble wrap, Ecoflow and boxes. Your order will arrive safely, wherever you are! Mirrors and glass are the only things I can’t post. I can travel to venues or we can arrange to meet so I can collect your mirrors… get in touch if you’re interested!
How can Brides Up North see examples of your work or find out more?
I’m all over the internet, with examples of my calligraphy on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, my website and calligraphy blog, my wedding blog and other wedding blogs… once you find me it’s hard to avoid my calligraphy I’m afraid!
Tell us about your blog, English Wedding?
The English Wedding Blog is all about creativity: my dream is to curate an online space for couples to get inspired by real weddings, shoots and the latest in wedding design – with a real focus on English and UK weddings and suppliers. The English Wedding Blog was born in November 2009 to showcase what makes weddings in this country so great. The site is updated daily and is full of inspiration and advice for brides in the UK and for anglophile brides overseas. With a unique perspective from inside the UK wedding industry, English Wedding also focuses on the brightest and best new talents in all aspects of wedding design, with a special focus on real weddings by the UK’s finest wedding photographers.
October 1st, 2014 | Julia Braime
Despite the driest September since records began, it definitely feels like the season is changing. Dewy grass, crunching leaves underfoot and clear night skies can only mean that October, and with it autumn (my favourite season of all) has arrived.
I celebrate my fourth wedding anniversary in a fortnight’s time – a very busy fortnight, there’s a lot to get done between now and then – and I’m looking forward to taking some time with my husband to reflect on a very special time of year for the two of us.
For now though, let’s celebrate the fall with this beautiful styled bridal shoot, sent to me by Brides Up North Sponsors JB Creatives and Bolton Castle, and their fabulous team of talented industry experts.
There’s definitely something in the air…
With images by JB Creatives.
The team say: We set out to create some romantic, fairy tale castle wedding images that would compliment the venue and inspire couples that are considering getting married at Bolton Castle. Bolton Castle is a stunning venue. A wedding here would be an authentic Castle experience. It has great big fireplaces, turrets with circular stairs, stone floor, terraces with amazing view of the incredible Dales countryside around. We wanted to create an outside space that used the stunning views of the Dales and showcased the location of this fairy tale wedding venue and captured a set of beautiful images.
Amy of The Greenhouse Florist created an outside dining area for the bride and groom with the Dales as their backdrop, such a romantic and unique setting. We used a chaise longue in the field for some intermate photographs. We wanted to add props into the scenery that wouldn’t usually be in that situation. The chaise longue really made a beautiful contrast to the endless views of the green fields and dry stone walls and brought opulence and luxury to the historic setting. Simple yet effective.
Amy created beautiful flowers of soft creams, vanillas, pinks and apricots, punctuated with pops of zingy orange and flashes of blue. She used lots of different textures in amongst luscious greenery. The warm tones complimented to tones of the castle walls, and were highlighted against the grassy fields. She also made a jasmine and rose circlet, fragrant and beautiful with warm apricot tones complimenting the colours of Libby’s complexion.
Jane of JB Creatives made beautiful place names and menus for the bride and groom’s intermate dining experience. Her stationery designs are bespoke, beautiful and made to the high quality that will undoubtable exceed your expectations.
Jane photographed the couple in and around the castle using the gorgeous scenery and all the venues little quirky details to capture a set of beautiful images that tell a gorgeous love story. Jane’s fine art style is very much capturing the story of a wedding day as it unfolds with all the beautiful details and emotions that come with it.
Deborah and Kelly from Love Hair and Beauty Boutique Ripon did Libby’s hair and makeup to enhance that romantic, soft and warm tone we wanted for the shoot. The ladies are highly experienced and specialists in the wedding industry with a reputation for their creative skills and professionalism.
Kellie from Wedding Belles of Otley supplied the beautiful gowns, veils and accessories for the shoot. The dresses used in the shoot were Aubrey by Nicola Anne and Emily by White Rose.
All the props and furniture featured are available to hire from The Greenhouse Florist.
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