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Dust Off

On the 23rd of February Boris announced the roadmap out of lockdown and gave everyone in the wedding industry a date to put in their diaries. We were finally getting back to what we love doing.

Thousands of wedding suppliers across the world have spent the last year trying to keep their heads above water without doing any weddings but at long last we have a date to get back to work.

For many suppliers this will mean charging up camera batteries, refreshing ingredients or getting their shops ready to open. For me it means dusting off the production equipment.

We have a 700 sq foot production facility that on the 9th of March was a hive of activity, laughter, music and general banter. A year ago today that all changed overnight and withing a couple of weeks the equipment was mothballed, staff furloughed and doors locked. It has pretty much stayed that away until today so now it’s time to take off the covers and get the machines back to work.

Firstly the guillotine. Our guillotine can cut through a stack of card 60mm thick with sub millimetre precision but it can only do this with a super sharp blade and we haven’t been able to get ours sharpened during lockdown until now. A strip down, re-grease and a new blade going in will sort this.

Next I will move on to the foiler, this is probably our busiest piece of equipment and spends 6 or 7 hours a day at temperatures in excess of 130 degrees so I will give this a clean and a re-tension of the rollers before gradually bringing it back up to temperature and testing it.

Whilst the foiler is heating up I can service the vinyl plotter. Another very busy piece of equipment that will run for 4 or 5 hours a day. All that really needs doing here is to clean and lubricate the pinch rollers and swap out the cutting blade with a fresh new one. A quick calibration and that’s the plotter good for another few months.

We also have a booklet maker that is probably about 40 years old now judging by its typed instruction manual. This is one of those machines that just keeps going year after year so all that will get is a dust and then Pat tested like the rest of the electrical equipment.

Lastly, the laser cutter. The 90W water cooled CO2 glass laser tube is suitable for engraving and cutting a wide range of materials such as paper, card, fabrics, leather, plastics, rubber and wood. We use it for card, wood and acrylic mainly. The water has sat in the sealed cooler for a year now so that will need replacing, the laser bed cleaning and then the tricky bit, cleaning and resetting the laser mirrors. These are extremely sensitive and need to be kept very clean so have to be handled with gloves and a lot of care. Finally, change out the fume filters and that’s the laser cutter ready for work. 

A tidy up, restock of materials and a quick hoover and the production room is ready for work. All we need now is the staff, music and of course – the banter.

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Bright pastels really sing out at this beautiful venue! 

Every so often we’re lucky enough to be involved in a styled photoshoot with some of our fellow wedding professionals. This is a great chance for us to create stationery that’s a little bit different and to try new things whilst collaborating with some of our favourite suppliers.

The fabulous Nutfield Priory Hotel and Spa is a four star country house hotel in Redhill, inspired by the Neo-Gothic splendour of the Palace of Westminster. This unique Victorian mansion house in Surrey, which dates back to 1872, delights with its stylish interiors hung with fine paintings, unique artwork and many original features. 

The hotel makes for a fantastic wedding venue and – we’re delighted to say, being dog-lovers – is dog friendly!

The hotel provided the perfect setting for our modern, bright pastel and neon inspired wedding theme. Stationery, cakes, floristry, venue styling and dresses all worked together to create a fabulously bright, cheery, romantic look and feel, with stunning photography perfectly capturing the mood.

Our stationery was bright and bold – dramatic typography with pink, lilac, turquoise and gold on our invitation set, with matching favor tags, signage and place name cards.

We took the opportunity to try out some new materials… the decked area at Nutfield Priory (with AMAZING VIEWS!) was the perfect location for fabric banners which moved gently in the breeze and we also used printed fabric to create a dramatic photo backdrop inside the venue. This featured a fun, romantic quotation and our couple’s ‘wedding logo’.

Continuing the fabric theme, we added super-cute menu cutlery bags with ribbon ties to the tables, next to bright napkins tied in knots in a range of colours… with a menu on one side and the wedding logo on the other, these little bags are also perfect for wedding favors. These sat alongside our circular acrylic place names in frosted lilac and pink, with white vinyl names.

Another element to our styling was neon lighting – really on trend and so impactful! We lit our table plan with fairy lights to match and our pink flamingo added a warm glow to the room!

Shelley from Shelley’s Cakes created two amazing cakes to complement our theme. The first, a three layered cake again using pink, turquoise and gold plus neon surround, with a gold cage displaying them magnificently. Shelley’s second cake was a towering 5 layered design, with ivory buttercream icing and dramatic pastel splashes, with an amazing dried flower arrangement crowning the top layer.

Finally, Shelley designed cake-pops and cookies in bright pastel colours, which we were fortunate enough to eat at the end of the day!

Our dramatic floristy was provided by Ruth of Mimi Fleur, her exotic arrangements of ultramodern pastel flowers and dried foliage almost lit up the venue at much as the neon! Eye-catching contemporary arrangements were added to the fireplace, the backdrop and tables and our bride had a stunning bouquet and flower crown.

And then, the dress!! The beautiful Lana dress from Victoria’s Bridal Boutique is a sheer dream! Shown here in blush with Ivory tulle overlay, it fitted the theme perfectly.  Tulle with organza underlay creates a crossover feature along the bodice. Large-scale floral laces are thoughtfully placed on the bodice and in gentle curved vine-like structures throughout the skirt. A V-neck and back add the perfect touch of classic femininity to this romantic gown. 

A perfect gown for a perfect day!
Venue: Nutfield Priory Hotel and Spa, Surrey
Photography: Jeff Oliver Photography
Neon sign: ByBlossom Wedding Stationery
Cakes and favours: Shelleys Cakes
Dress: Victorias Bridal Boutique
Flowers: Mimi Fleur
Flamingo cake topper: Cake Toppers by Kirstie

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We always say: book your venue, book your photographer, then get those save-the-date cards out!

With time being of the essence, my advice when choosing save-the-date cards is this: choose something simple, something you love… but don’t get too bogged down with colour schemes or themes at this stage. Most couples send their save-the-date cards out before they get down to researching and planning the look for their day, so keeping designs simple will ensure that whatever comes later isn’t too mis-matched. 

Next on the stationery to-do list is the all-important invitations themselves, along with RSVP cards, direction/menu cards and any other information you want to give your guests in advance. These set the tone for your wedding and will offer your guests that first glimpse of your wedding style. As you’ll probably be posting these 3-6 months before your wedding day you’ll have plenty of time to do your research and find stationery to match your vision.

But what if you’ve seen so many things, you just can’t choose?

1. Let your venue guide you.

On the day itself, other stationery items come into play – table plans, order of service, menus and more and it’s great to have these matching the style of your invitations. However, for maximum impact they should also complement their surroundings, particularly if your venue has a very strong style of it’s own. Such a venue is Eltham Palace, an English Heritage property built in the 1930s in Art Deco style. This stunning venue is perfect for strong graphic styles, in particular Art Deco styles but also bold contemporary designs. Gold and silver metallics suit this venue well, and heritage colours such as grape, navy and berry shades.

Another is Leeds Castle in Kent, famous not only for the fabulous castle, but also for it’s swans. Swans could be incorporated into a design in any number of ways… watercolour illustrations, or as part of a motif or monogram.

Or for a more rustic barn or outdoor wedding, such as Winter’s Barns or Cooling Castle Barns, kraft papers and more relaxed styles work well, along with floral and folliage designs. 

And don’t forget the venue itself – some are so iconic that they deserve a place on your stationery so consider featuring image of the venue or it’s logo – with the venue’s permission of course.

For those of you getting married abroad, there is so much inspiration! From ticket or passport style designs with tear off RSVP cards, to beach themed styles with beautiful shells, or footprints in the sand, there is so much that your location has to offer the design of your stationery. For stylish city weddings, skylines create iconic imagery and can be very simple, but very cool – think New York or, closer to home, London skylines in metallic foil on beautiful bright white card.

2. Your heritage

Weddings are a time for reflection and a time for family. A stationery design incorporating elements of your family history are wonderfully personal and are always appreciated by close family members. Think national flowers, or emblems comprising of national symbols that represent you and your partner. Some of our previous designs include a cheetah and kangaroo representing the nationalities of the bride and groom and a beautiful laser cut design… can you see the elephant subtly incorporated into the design, to reflect the brides Indonesian heritage?

3. The season

Weddings are certainly not just reserved for the summer months any more but if your wedding is at this amazing time of year, your wedding stationery style can be inspired by a wonderful palette of bright colour, flowers, lanterns, and so much more.

Winter weddings also offer all sorts of design inspiration. Stunning outdoor landscapes… delicate frosty mornings, the sun glinting through the trees and shimmering snow drifts. Monotone images of snowy vistas or graphic patterns made from winter icons such as snowflakes and deer work so well – use black and white for truly striking invitations with understated luxury, or for a splash of colour think frosty blues and bright purples. Print on iridescent white paper for the ultimate touch of winter wonder. Winter is also the season of sparkle, glitter and gold! Think luxury, glamour and extravagance – the black tie ball – for the ultimate in stationery sophistication.

Spring is the season of new beginnings; green shoots, gardening, fresh air and sunny days. Spring flowers make for beautiful stationery designs but for a modern twist take inspiration from your own garden – exquisite foliage, from tiny delicate stems to big bold leaves, all with an array of amazing colours. Think greens, grape and ivory paired with silver foils. We also love blossom which is really on trend… delicate Japanese inspired cherry blossoms are super-stylish and work so well with blush and hot pinks, pale greens and greys.

And lets not forget Autumn… the tail end of summer evokes images of fairly light and balmy romantic evenings, or further into the season then the wonderful colours of autumn leaves work so well on stationery items… we’re currently loving winter squash!

So many ways to choose a style for your day… your guests will love whatever style you go for, simply because it reflects your choices and you as a couple. Happy stationery planning!

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Surrounded by images of weddings – from social media featuring real weddings to wedding magazines and blogs with styled shoots and adverts –  all showcasing a myriad of different styles and themes, it can be difficult to know where to start when planning a look for your own wedding.

An easy place to start is your wedding venue. Save-the-date cards and invitations should give your guests a hint of what’s to come, so it makes sence that stationery for a wedding in barn or woodland setting would be quite different to that in a manor house or castle. But why not take it a step further and include an image of the venue you’ve chosen? After all, that particular place that spoke to you and you’ve chosen it to host your special day for a reason.

But what else makes your wedding different? What is special to you as a couple and says something about your relationship and the journey you’ve been on together?

A stationery consultation should delve into this exact detail. It’s not just about the colour you’ve chosen, or the type of flowers or typography you like. How did you meet? Chloé and Rich met at Heathrow Airport when traveling – in different groups – to Tanzania. Both were climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and by chance met again in a bar at the bottom of the mountain! This story is gold dust to a stationery designer and we delighted in creating an invitation to reflect their fantastic story.

Another similar story, this time closer to home, came from Daniel and Harriet. They met on Harriet’s family fruit and veg stall in London… apparently he threw dates at her to get her attention!! They wanted their day to be romantic and fun and their glitter backed invitation with a London market stall illustration certainly reflects that.

Heritage is another great way to personalise your stationery. Gala, from Spain and David, from England, wanted to showcase the countries they were born in, so we created a gold foil geometric ‘bull and lion’ motif to represent them as a couple. A similar theme was created for James (from Wales) and Rebecca (from Scotland). Their purple wallet was laser cut with their national flowers which also featured on the invitation inside.

If you’d prefer to keep your invitation more traditional, your table plan can be used to incorporate a fun theme on the day. We love recent designs for a couple that met on the Tube, and the Isle of Man TT race themed table plan for a motorbike loving couple. Whatever your passions, history or story, your guests will delight in truly personal stationery designs which you will treasure forever.

Credits: We would like to credit some of the fantastic photographers that have contributed towards this website – Jeff Oliver Photography, Love Pear, Samantha Jones Photography, Louise Detmer Photography, Andrew Franklin Photography, Carla Guest Photography, James Grist Photography