I have had the pleasure in the past few months to register for wedding gifts. Now, the idea of having things you’ve been coveting without having to pay for them is amazing. However, you might find that it is not as easy as it sounds! You need patience, a strong sense of what you like, and a strategy. Agreeing on what you want in your home is a plus, but I figured out that sometimes you can work around it!
1. Online Versus Department Stores- If it were up to me, I would have done everything electronically. This way we could work on things as we lounged at home in front of the television or as I took a procrastination break at the office. However, some people love to walk into a store to purchase gifts, so I felt compelled to also offer that option. For my online registry I chose Newlywish and for my store option we went with Pottery Barn. Let me tell you, the experiences have been NIGHT and DAY. With Newlywish I received an email every time someone purchased something. I also got an email when that gift shipped. What an easy way to track your gifts!! And who doesn’t like things that are made easy?! My experience at Pottery Barn? Not so hot. Not only were people not able to always find the registry, but when one gift was lost, I got a card in the mail with the amount the person spent but no information as to who the person was. Calling and asking questions seemed a little like being on the phone with Verizon customer service. I would say “never again”, but since this is a one time deal I can’t really say that.
2. Register for things you love and not just things you feel you can use RIGHT now- I think that when I started off on the process I filled my lists with things I felt I needed (i.e. boring things) and made my list a little too long. I loved my china (although my fiancee thought it was a little odd that we were registering for an AAB collection:) and wish I would have limited my options so that I would have gotten a bit more of my set.
3. Think it through!!- One of my favorite things on my registry were a set of Lucerne Flutes. Now, ask me what I was thinking when I only registered for 2? Who knows!! I love them so much that I wish I had 10 and that every person that stepped into my home could toast with one in hand. So when they arrived and took my breath away I quickly tried to correct my mistake and add more to my registry….only they were sold out! So be sure you think about realistic quantities when you are adding things. This is something that will be in your home for years to come. So even though now I can’t have more than 2 people over before feeling claustrophobic, this will not always be the case. This also might happen to you, so make sure you think ahead!
4. Thanks a bunch- Now as you sit in your home with ALL of these wonderful new things, make sure that you send out Thank you cards to thank all of your friends and family who gifted you these items. I must admit that I started strong, and then stopped halfway through my list, so this is reminding me that I need to get back to work! Check out this lovely Pattern grab bag of cards from Regas. Who wouldn’t want to get one of these cards?
Want to just drop by a store and pick up something today? Why not stop into Papyrus after work. I fell in love with this boxed set. LOVE the gold liner.
To conclude our National Stationery Show coverage for the week, I thought I’d bring you the four lines I thought were the freshest, shiniest and newest wedding collections at NSS this year. For the brides out there, here’s a little primer: NSS isn’t just a showcase for new trends in paper, it’s also a marketplace for wholesalers (bookstores, gift stores, stationery retailers) who then in turn sell ladies like you pretty paper products. Essentially, we apply to be “dealers” for lines that strike our fancy, buy those lovely albums that you go through and then are able to retail the stationery to you. So, while I was happy to don my newsboy cap (not literally, btw. I don’t look good in hats, my head is too small.) I was also there with a strict budget and instructions from my General (Mayra) to not just buy stuff that I liked, but that I thought was different, and salable.
Obviously, what’s salable to our client isn’t what’s appropriate for everyone, so, as always take this with a grain of salt that it’s just MY OPINION. But as I browsed through all of the many, many aisles, here were my four favorites (and in full disclosure, we DID do some purchasing!). Two lines that made their NSS debut that I just LOVED, loved, LOVED were
1. Gilah Press. Based in Baltimore, Gilah Press‘ letterpress line was not only stunning, but absolutely fresh. So often with some letterpress lines, the design can get a little too heavy handed, or almost “themey” , but Kat and her team have kept their invitations delicate and light. The fonts and filigree work are so delicate, that it’s absolutely like a breath of fresh air. Add to this that the customization options are seemingly endless- they offers dozens of inks and papers and a slew of add-on options (like the stitching details I mentioned on Monday). Everything is priced out as a base package, with add ons for things like 2 color printing, edge painting and more. I just really loved this line, it is great for the couple who loves great, clean design, fonts and colors.
2. Regas New York I couldn’t be more thrilled that our absolutely FAVORITE couture stationery designer launched her “ready to order” collection at NSS. We’ve been collaborating with Meredith and her team on our clients’ custom stationery projects for some time, and I am so excited that not brides everywhere will be able to access Meredith’s amazingly thoughtful, intelligent designs via her Regas collection. I might be biased (since a few of our clients’ couture pieces did get reinterpreted into the collection) BUT, honestly Regas’ line offers variety, a quality of design and fun fonts and just amazing detail. Meredith also worked with some new techniques in her collection where she creates an almost “ENGRAVED” texture via letterpress. For a paper lover, it was so lovely and fresh. Her collection isn’t up on her website yet, but here are a couple of screen shots of two of her couture pieces that made the “cut” into her gorgeous album.
My last two stand outs from the show were actually not “New” at all, but rather two favorites who have been updating, improving and freshening everything up, proving to me why they are both such standouts in the wedding stationery landscape as it is.
3. Dauphine’s Wedding Collection II. We’ve long been fans of Dauphine’s letterpress collections, but we were simply blown away when we got their stunning pre-NSS stationery show mailing announcing the debut of their new Wedding Collection II album. In addition to some stunning designs, this collection adds new embellishments and options like metallic foil into letterpress as well as edge painting. I think that for all of the texture and luxury of the rich paper that letterpress offers, here to for, for the glamour girl bride, letterpress sometimes had a bit of a “crafty” feel to it… perhaps a little less elegant. Well, not with this new Dauphine collection. It’s all accessible glamour all the way. And without being heavy handed. It’s a little frilly, but not indulgent and I am just in love!
4. Bella Figura is now a collection offered by Retailers! We are very proud to be Smock dealers, and have created amazing stationery suites for clients with their highly customizable line. We’ve also long been fans of their sister company, Bella Figura, which, until very recently was only offered for retail via their website. So, like a moth to a flame I found myself drawn to the Smock booth because I noticed some designs I hadn’t seen before only to discover that they were from the Bella Figura collection for retailers. So now, brides can come to a stationer, feel the papers and see the colors and get the guidance that they might want at (get this) a slightly lower price point than their Smock sister! So exciting. And the Bella Figura designs are so gorgeous, artistic and (because they have a team of so many designers) varied, that they offer something for everyone. Very exciting!
The Q: My family predominantly speaks Spanish, but my fiance’s family doesn’t. I don’t want to send out invitations that half the guests can’t understand, but I’m not sure how to best incorporate two languages into the invitation. Any ideas?
The A: It’s so fantastic how the world of stationery has responded to the increasing number of couples joining together who come from different backgrounds. When we started this business if you wanted bilingual it would literally have to look like the invites from My Big Fat Greek Wedding… Today, however, there are so many thoughtful solutions to the bilingual challenge.
Actually, earlier this year we worked with a fabulous couple where the bride was Chinese and the groom’s family pretty much Middle American WASP. They really wanted an invitation that would incorporate both languages in a way that didn’t make one feel less a part of the invitation than the other. Ultimately, we turned to Meredith at Regas New York for a custom design that reflected traditional Chinese wedding symbolism, but allowed us to incorporate the use of both languages into the design of the piece itself. The result was a belly band engraved with chinese characters overlaid over a design created to reveal the English when the band was removed. (Photos courtesy Karen Wise)
There is also the option of using the same page and playing with the layout. Bella Figura does a fabulous job with this as shown in the Vietnamese/ English invitation.
Same “solution”, but totally different (and utterly delicious result) in this custom designed piece by Rob Ryan (via wedding bee pro). This was fabulous because it really reflected in it’s inherent design something about the culture that it was speaking to. It reads very “Mexican” via the use of “cut out” technique, and yet the silhouettes are so contemporary American wedding style.
Another option is to offer up two-sided invitations. These Italian- English invites for a wedding in Italy were printed on both sides and designed by Lela New York. I really love the idea of a two sided invitation. In case you can’t make it out in addition to one side being Italian and the reverse being in English, the left has the groom’s parents names announcing the marriage of their son and the right has the bride’s parents making the same announcement. This, by the way, also presents an awesome solution to the issue of how to incorporate BOTH SETS of parents names (a big issue when LOTS of couples who have MULTIPLE parents)
Some couples though, find it easier to simply print two sets of invitations. Often, in Indian weddings, it is more customary for the GROOM’s name to appear first. I remember a few years ago this came up with a couple we worked with and the groom’s family insisted on his name being first. The bride, who was Latin and knew her family was NOT going to go for that since it was the complete OPPOSITE of their custom was very stressed out. So, the solution was printing two sets of invites. Sometimes, be it language, or custom, doing something separate it actually can help people come together. Here is an awesome example of an invite suite done in English and Spanish by Beast Pieces.
I was so flattered when the fabulous Heather Waraska called to ask if I would work on designing an “Inspiration to Reality” shoot for Style Me Pretty earlier this spring. Always a Bridesmaid has been fortunate enough to work with Heather a lot over the last couple of years and the idea of collaborating on something together that was totally off the cuff was very exciting. If you aren’t familiar, “Inspiration to Reality” asks for vendors to take an inspiration board created by an SMP reader and bring it to life, hopefully in the process creating even more inspiring images! The above is the board we selected and the below is just a smidgen of the shoot we created at the fabulous 632 on Hudson with the help of flowers by Saipua, cakes and sweets by Nine Cakes, the gorgeous potion bottles by Emily Thompson stationery by Regas New York, potion bottles by props, furniture and rentals from Props for Today as well as Classic Party Rentals, makeup by Styles on B and just tons and tons of amazing gowns by Alisa Benay and Anne Bowen, to name just a few of the many, many people that participated to make this happen. And I thought weddings were a production!!! Photo shoots blew me away!
I actually thought that it would be easy to design without a “bride”, but in the end, I realized that I needed a story and so Heather and I spun together a romantic tale of a couple who had a long, storied romance and then wanted to share the day as a European style brunch with some of their dearest and nearest friends. For more images from the shoot AND the spectacular boudoir session, click here and here.
Later, I’ll show you my favorite details from the shoot that you can very easily replicate and hopefully make your own!
When we received the invitation to come down to the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island something unusual happened- two jaded wedding planners who thought that they’d seen it all were blown away by this stunning invitation. It was not just lovely, it was completely perfect for the occassion: a hot pink raw silk invitation with lovely gold lettering in an unusual size. Unique, without being too precious, luxurious while still seeming organic and modern without seeming cold.
Anyway, when Mayra was down there she was able to meet Meredith, the designer behind Regas New York, based (obviously by the name) here in our great city! I wanted to just share with you some of the unique designs that Meredith has turned out.
I don’t know if you can tell, but I think the paper here is perforated… so perfect for a Florida wedding.
And, in addition to these lovely wedding invitations, she offers the most exquisite personal stationary through her website. Each set is backed with the most stunning printed papers and you can select from an array of fonts…. definitely worth checking out… (hint, especially for holiday gifts!)