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.
April 6th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Happy Easter Brides Up North, we do hope that the Easter bunny has been kind (come on, he’s meant to be spoiling you, right?)?
To bring a beautiful close to this glorious long weekend I have a non-chocolaty treat to round things off, as we introduce our extremely talented sponsor, julia eastwood.
Julia’s range of wedding stationery is quite simply, breath-taking, and I just know that our discerning readers are about to fall head over heels with her stunning designs. Now, go play with the pretty paper… and check out the full range on Julia’s gorgeous website.
With images by Nicole Jopek.
When did you launch your business and what is your background?
I launched my wedding stationery business in September 2012. I graduated in 2001 with first class honours in Graphic Illustration. From there I went to work in a professional design studio working on advertising campaigns and editorial work for 5 years. In 2006 I made the leap into teaching and for the next 6 years split my time between being the course leader of an illustration course at college level and doing freelance graphic design. I loved teaching and still miss the rapport of the students I would teach and the feeling of pride in seeing their achievements. The problem was, my students would come back to see me with exciting tales of life at Goldsmiths studying fashion, or taking a gap year working on the design team for Vogue magazine and I would get the itch to be out creating myself.
In 2012 I was getting married and I searched and searched for my perfect invitation, but nothing seemed to really represent Gary and I – my fiancé. Then it hit me, why on earth wasn’t I designing my own?! And so I set to work… the result was a hand painted illustration with tiny symbols woven into it that represented our life together so far. I received such good feedback about our invitation that I started to think ‘what if’. And so I took a deep breath and left the security blanket of teaching. Luckily, it has all worked out so far….
What services do you offer?
I create all aspects of wedding stationery and décor from Save the Date cards through to Orders of Service and Table Plans. One of my favourite requests is when a bride asks for something I’ve not previously thought of. For instance, last year I was asked to create ‘I spy’ cards to be placed on each table with a disposable camera asking the guests to try and capture specific moments from the day. Another bride asked me to create paper fortune tellers (like we all used to make at school) containing a quiz about the bride and groom to go on her tables. Those kind of things make me wish I was getting married again so I could steal their ideas for my own wedding!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Well, anyone who knows me well will tell you I have always been a magpie when it comes to weddings! So firstly been involved in planning couples’ big days is a huge perk of my job, also I still get to buy wedding magazines every month with the excuse that they are for work! The other aspect I enjoy is the variety. One day I might be hand painting an enchanted forest illustration, the next printing and die cutting doily table numbers, it’s never the same thing from day to day.
What makes you different to other stationery suppliers?
I think my unique selling point is how personalised my designs are. It’s not just a case of adding your names and venue details, all aspects of my illustrations can be altered to represent you as a couple. For example, a couple recently had a tiny camera, sewing machine, cat, and bike wheel drawn to be hanging off the branches in my woodland wedding invite. It’s subtle, but a nice nod to a couples personality.
Where are you located and what areas do you offer your services in?
I’m based in Halifax, West Yorkshire where I was raised but I have worked with brides all over the world. I was lucky that very soon after opening my business I was accepted as a partner on Notonthehighstreet giving me a strong online presence. Due to this the majority of my work comes from the south of England, all though I’ve worked with couples as far flung as Hong Kong and Australia. Just this morning I sent a proof to a lovely Italian couple who asked me to create my Time Capsule Guestbook translated into Italian for their wedding in Rome. It’s always lovely to work with clients from nearby though, you can’t beat a get together with mood boards and rough sketches over a coffee!
Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?
Prices start at £1.50 for Save the Dates and range from £2.50 to £4.50 for invitations depending on how much detail is needed. I am more than happy to draw up non obligation quotes and if a couple have a set figure in mind can make suggestions on how they can achieve the effect they desire whilst staying in budget.
Can couples request bespoke designs and if so what is the process?
Yes definitely! I love creating bespoke requests. Over the last 3 years I’ve created many bespoke illustrations over a wide range of themes, such as a couple who wanted a bride and groom duck ‘taking the plunge’, a couple who wanted to be drawn walking their dog into a wood of heart shaped trees and most recently I created illustrations for ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ wedding which was a complete gift of a brief and totally captured my imagination. I would urge couples to contact me if they have an idea but can’t see anything similar on my website because 99.9% of the time the answer will be yes I can do it.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I think like all illustrators I get inspiration from all around me without always realising, whether it’s a pretty house I spot on a walk or a wedding dress I ‘like’ on Pinterest. Although I think what makes my work stand out is that it’s unique… I don’t tend to fit in with current ‘styles’, I’ve always been into drawing and playing with paint and my illustrative style is the same whether commissioned to do a straight illustration piece or wedding stationery. That was partly what made setting up my wedding business so scary, wondering ‘will anyone else like it?’ but thankfully, so far I’ve had a really positive response.
What trends do you see being popular this year?
Woodland weddings seem hugely popular and my woodland wedding stationery range has been my best seller so far this year. I’ve had a few requests for illustrations that feature starry skies and so I think this may be an up and coming theme. It’s a theme that appeals to me and I plan to create a range based on winter starry skies ‘written in the stars’ as we move closer to the winter wedding season.
How far in advance would you advise a bride to start sourcing their wedding invitations?
I always advise my brides to aim to book 8 weeks before they would like to receive their invitations. Design slots do tend to book up in advance, 8 weeks means the first design draft will be completed in the first 3 weeks, and then I allow 3 weeks for the proofing process in which I will supply up to 3 proofs to ensure the design is completely perfect. Lastly, the remaining 2 weeks gives me time to prepare everything for print, send to print and have them returned to me (I use a wedding specialist in Northumberland) and then for me to finish with any special finishing touches such as rounded corners or ribbon.
In terms of when to send out, the magazines always say 3 months before the day, but personally, I think it depends on the time of year. I got married in August 2012 and was conscious of people wanting to book holidays, so I sent my Save the Dates in August 2011, and my invites in January 2012.
What type of bride do you think your style of work appeals to and why?
I think the brides who like my work are individuals, who value personal details in their wedding and chose items that represent themselves as a couple and their story so far. They enjoy telling their love story, and celebrating the real reason everyone has joined them for the day.
What type of invitations did you have on your wedding day? What would you choose now?
I got married on the 11th August 2012 and it really was the best day of my life. You can’t describe the ‘wedding bubble’ you become immersed in on the day and really do it justice. My wedding invitation was the first designed and the first product I stocked. It’s also still one of my best sellers so it’s nice to know that 3 years on it’s still ‘got it’. In fact, a lot of products on my website are ones I first created for my own wedding, the Time Capsule Guestbook was first made for our day – although we were naughty and opened it the day after instead of a year after and the football shirt table plan cards were made so that my husband’s love of Huddersfield Town could be featured somehow.
How can Brides Up North get in touch with you/ find out more?
February 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime
via etsy.com, by RachelCarl
In this brand new Friday morning feature on the wedding blog, we’ll be debating all the most difficult wedding planning topics. Today we tackle a sensitive subject and ask: Should you allow your single guests to bring a plus one to your wedding?
julia says YES:
Smug marrieds. Annoying, aren’t they?
Think back to your own single days. Chances are, you weren’t sitting at home every Saturday night drinking vodka and singing to Chaka Khan on your lonesome, but equally, it’s very likely that as fabulous as singledom can be (all the duvet, no wet towels on the bathroom floor, no awkward lunches with the in laws) you didn’t much like being reminded of your solitary status during notable romantic occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas and weddings.
Your single friends? They don’t like that either.
Ok, so your best mate might have just met the “love of her life” in a club last Saturday night, but if she’s hoping he’ll hold her hand during your wedding ceremony, do you really want to deny her that happiness?
To me, the success of a wedding isn’t down to the colour of the centrepieces or the cost of your frock. It’s the people who make the party. Ok, if the budget, or space, really is very tight, then I’d always advise just asking your very favourite people and perhaps having a quiet word about why you can’t allow for any more. But if there’s some flexibility there, why not make someone’s day and allow them to bring a plus one to your wedding?
Have you ever been a guest at a drinks reception where you only know the bride and groom? Have you ever been seated at the “children’s table”? Have you ever danced awkwardly with the bride’s teenage brother? You can save your friend from all of that. What a hero.
Happier guests make for a better wedding day, even if you never see a few of them ever again. And who knows? It might be that you’re buying your hat for that plus one’s wedding in the not so distant future…
rachel says NO:
A best friend of mine who is in the wedding planning process is currently in meltdown over her ever-growing guest list – and she’s not alone, it’s a task dreaded by most to-be-wed couples.
The pressure goes far beyond simply drawing up a list of the friends and relatives you want present to share your special day as issues such as inviting children, pushy parents and plus ones come into play. As I see it ruling out plus ones from the off is the easiest way to lighten the load and means one less thing to worry about.
Weddings are expensive affairs and every extra body can add more than £100 to the bill, so couples can be forgiven for not wanting extras dining out on their big day. In most cases these would be people you don’t know anyway, essentially strangers at your wedding and allowing some friends and relatives plus ones could mean not inviting somebody else you would actually want at your wedding – someone that you would actually recognise in the congregation.
I get it, you might have a single friend who wouldn’t really know anybody at the wedding – but aren’t weddings meant to be a place where single people meet? I say mix them all in together and hope for a Cilla Black/Paddy McGuinness result.
Chances are some of your friends and relatives will meet on the hen and stag dos which breaks the ice and gives them a friendly face to look for on the big day. Also be clever with your seating plan and try to plant the singletons with others who are in the same boat and also with chatty/friendly people who are likely to make them feel at ease.
I know I’m making it sound easier than perhaps it is but if you’re planning an intimate wedding or your budget is stretched, saying no to plus ones is the way to go. Of course you have to be sensible and fair with it though – make it a one rule for all and don’t just pick who can and can’t have a plus one. I’m not suggesting you don’t invite people’s partners who they have been with for a considerable amount of time but if your mate has now been to the cinema with that guy she met on a night out he still doesn’t constitute a partner and therefore shouldn’t be given the honour of an invite. When all said and done that’s what it is, an honour.
what you said on Facebook:
Nic: “I gave everyone a plus one, including my single friends. Some of them just brought a friend. I just wanted every one to enjoy themselves as much as possible and worried they wouldn’t as much if they felt a bit left out especially as the meal is so formal.”
Beth: “If we’ve both met them and it’s a long term relationship, they’re invited. But if it’s a new relationship and nobody has met them… I’m not paying for their dinner!”
Rachel: “If they are married/living together and we know them then they’re invited if not, they’re not. Luckily a lot of our friends are mutual and we all go out as couples but we’re applying it to family as well as friends.”
We’d love to hear your side?
February 24th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Girl’s Best Friend
We LIKE sparkle around these parts, whether glinting from a newly adorned ring finger, the sheen of sequins on tulle or a dusting of Swarovski across a kitten heel. It’s all good. That said, we were always going to love the bespoke designs of Harriet of Amoretto Wedding then, weren’t we?
Not content with dazzling your guests on the day, Harriet’s beautiful designs give them a little taste of what’s in store, whether that’s elegant sparkle (our favourite), lashings of lace and pearls or laid back rustic romance.
I LOVE. Just check our her pretty website to see why.
Harriet is kindly offering a 10% discount for any couples ordering their stationery in 2014. Just quote Brides Up North when booking.
Images by Lake Creative Studio.
What’s the story behind Amoretto Wedding?
Amoretto has been running for two years now. As a trained Graphic Designer with a love of packaging and ‘hands on’ creativity the idea to start my own wedding stationery business came to me when planning my own wedding. Like so many others before me that, ‘I could do this’ moment suddenly hit me and it all went from there!
Who is an Amoretto Wedding bride?
An Amoretto bride is someone who will appreciate quality design, products and service. Over the last two years I have provided stationery to a wide range of ages and budgets but the common factor is their appreciation of the care and attention to detail spent on each and every client, from the moment pen goes to paper until their beautifully wrapped parcel arrives at the door.
Where are you based? Do you work by appointment or online?
I am based in Lancaster, Lancashire but have clients from all over the Country. I meet with around 80% of my clients but offer a fully bespoke service as standard to clients who approach and order via e mail or telephone as well.
Snowflake Save The Date
Are all your designs completely bespoke then?
I offer a bespoke service as standard at no additional cost. Couples are welcome to either choose an existing design, making any necessary alterations or benefit from my design experience creating something new and unique.
Lace & Peal Pocket
What products are available in each design?
All designs have matching items as follows;
Save the Date, Day Invitation, Evening Invitation, RSVP and information card.
Order of Service, Order of the Day, Place Name, Menu, Personalised Menu, Table Plan, Guest Book.
Favour Box, Memory Box, Thank you Card.
Lace & Pearl
What stationery designs do you think will be popular for next season?
I am seeing a huge demand for my Lace and Pearl designs, but this timeless fabric will never go out of fashion for weddings. The Shabby Chic, Great Gatsby and Rustic Country Garden looks will all remain popular in 2014 with a breakthrough trend for bright colourful florals.
What would be your top five tips for Brides Up North when choosing their wedding stationery?
Take a good look around on blogs, in magazines, and at wedding fairs for designs and ideas.
If you are struggling to choose a style, arrange a consultation with a local designer who offers this service for free to chat through ideas. They should be happy to listen to your thoughts and make suggestions that will suit your needs and requirements. There are so many angles to how the stationery contributes to the process, it’s not just about the invitations. I love hearing about my clients ‘on the day’ plans and making sure my wedding day items are going to suit their venue, flowers, table arrangements and vision for the whole day.
Don’t get too caught up in trends and what you think you should have, go with what represents you as a couple and your Big Day.
Never order anything without seeing a sample, online images can be deceiving, you need to feel and see the quality in your hands before committing to an order.
Always ask for proofs and a sample and make sure you get a second pair of eyes to check them over. The last thing you want is all your invitations with the wrong name, date or address on them.
Does all the stationery have to match?
Not necessarily, a recent client of mine has chosen one of my Lace & Pearl designs for her Invitations as it matches the delicate lace on her dress. Her vision for the wedding day however is much more Shabby Chic and Country Garden so we are introducing kraft card colours, luggage tag styling and dressing props such as a set of vintage step ladders as the table plan backdrop. Two different styles but yet ones that will tie the whole wedding story together perfectly.
Which of your ranges would you recommend for a Bride on a budget or if money was no object?
Serendipity at £3.00 is a simple but luxurious design, double mounted on 700gram board this design can be done to incorporate any colour scheme. The modern typography is very popular with many couples and seems to appeal particularly to the Grooms!
Boxed Cupid at £7.50 is the ultimate in romantic luxury. The ivory paper heart is the centre piece of this stunning invitation, all encased in a mulberry paper wrap and organza bow then presented in box with delicate guest name tag.
What are your prices like?
My day time Invitations range from £3.00 right up to £8.50 for designs that comes boxed and incorporate many elements.
Can you offer a special discount to Brides Up North readers?
Yes! I would be delighted to offer a 10% discount for any couples ordering their stationery in 2014.
How long do you take to turn around an order?
As standard I say four weeks, this includes design, proofing, samples and production. Turn around can be faster than that depending on my schedule.
How can I get in touch to discuss my requirements or place an order?
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July 23rd, 2013 | Julia Braime
I’ve something a little bit lovely to share with you this afternoon.
Jolovka is a paper goods and gifts shop based in the North East created by husband and wife team, John & Kat Flynn. Kat moved to the UK from Texas after meeting John whilst working at a summer camp in Dallas, Texas. After three years of having a trans-Atlantic romance, John was pleased to share everything he loved about the North of England with his beautiful bride.
Jolovka offers custom invitations, embossers, baker’s twine, labels and vintage stamps that are both whimsical and classic. Their custom bridal shower and party invitations are designed so that you have the option to print them at home and they offer customised wedding invitations designed just for you.
Kat says: We are passionate about the love that can be found within the words of a hand-written letter and continue to find inspiration in celebrating the life that grows from that love.
Their custom embossers are both designed and made in Great Britain and I was over the moon when they sent a very special Brides Up North embosser (as well as a little box of paper goodies) my way. I don’t automatically share every promotional gift that I am sent here on the wedding blog – you’d soon get tired of that – but I’m a sucker for lovely stationery and these beautifully made pieces really stood out.
I’ve been using the special Brides Up North stamp on all my correspondence, and this would be a lovely way to add a posh personal touch to your wedding stationery, and forever after as Mr and Mrs.
Embossers with text are £45 and embossers with images start at £75 but kind Kat and John are offering free UK shipping for Brides Up North readers with the coupon code BRIDESUPNORTH268. This offer expires 3rd August 2013, minimum purchase £10.
Go, go, go! You’ll love it.
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