Happy new year! I just love the possibilities that a new year brings. Such optimism and hope and I have a few things up my sleeve that I hope to share with you here on the blog. The first of which is the Summer Series 2012!
When talking with some of my brides recently I began to realise that there are some couples out there that can get confused with the do’s and dont’s of weddings. I’ve always felt that as a wedding vendor, it shouldn’t be assumed that your client knows all the ins and outs of the industry. After all, they come to us because we are the professionals in this field. There are so many aspects that can be overwhelming and as a recent bride, I can appreciate the head-swirling affect this can have on you.
I decided to set myself and some of my favourite local vendors a little challenge to hopefully shine a light on just some must-have areas of wedding to-do’s. Over the next few months I’m going to be interviewing some of the best vendors that Perth has to offer in each of their specific tasks of expertise and I hope that at least one bride or groom finds something useful as they plan their wedding.
Our first interview to kick off the Summer Series 2012 are my friends, the Mesdames Mitchell & Dent. I fell in love with their work the minute I saw it and had to have some of their fabulous letterpress for my own business stationery. We even worked on a little project together in 2010 when I photographed their new range of “ready-to-wed” designs. These lovely ladies (as if they hadn’t accomplished enough) are also the masterminds behind the First Comes Love Bridal Fair that I was also fortunate to be a part of last May.
They have been creating gorgeous stationery for Brides and Grooms since 2009 and I am so pleased they were able to take a moment to answer a few questions.
Where do you find inspiration when designing new stationery suites?
Oh goodness, in an endless array of places. Recently we’ve been influenced by teacups and tattoo typography, Palm Springs and old postcards, family crests and mid-century frou frou.
What trends do you see for the 2011/12 wedding season for wedding stationery here in Australia?
More and more, we see mash-ups of the traditional and contemporary. Letterpress, lined envelopes and wax seals; but with modern typography, geometric patterning or eclectic illustration. Postcard and concertina-style invitations with perforated RSVPs that fit in standard-sized envelopes are becoming popular. And colour? Peaches and soft pinks with copper and gold. Navy and naturals. Pops of bright hues such as scarlet, orange, turquoise or acid yellow.
Why should a couple consider having a custom stationery suite made rather than purchasing a template or choosing to DIY?
What do we keep when the big day is done and dusted? The pictures and the paper, of course. Stationery becomes a physical embodiment of joyful memories – just perfect for bringing out to bore the grandchildren with! It is like holding your history in your hands.
Why splurge on custom designed stationery? For the same reason you splurge on a beautiful gown or suit and good food and wine to accompany the most important pledge you’ll ever make. It is special and makes you feel special. And it is personal. And appreciated. Receiving a beautiful invitation in the mail is like a little paper hug.
When a couple come to you ready to create a bespoke stationery suite for their nuptials, where do you begin the process and how long does it take from concept to delivery?
The first question we ask a couple is if they prefer letterpress or printed stationery. It can take 4-6 weeks to create a custom letterpress suite; as it is first designed, then blocks are cast for each ink colour. The printing process itself is also slow, as our 1905 Chandler & Price platen press is hand-fed and only one colour can be printed at a time.
Printed stationery is quicker, especially if a couple opts for one of our ready-to-wed designs, which are pre-existing. The process typically takes 2-3 weeks from phone call to pick up. We have been known create stationery in 3 days, but it doesn’t do much for the nerves.
In your opinion what are the must have/non-negotiable items for a wedding suite at its most basic?
The invitation of course. RSVP cards are lovely, but you could always pop the details on the invitation itself. Gift information? Ditto. A service card or booklet is necessary if you have hymns or prayers guests are invited to participate in. Many venues offer a printed menu service, but place cards are always important, especially if you need to keep any feuding family members apart. And thank you cards sent after the event is just plain good manners. Even if Auntie Mabel only gave you monogrammed handkerchiefs.
What is the average cost your brides and grooms are investing in their letterpress and/or printed stationery?
People spend anything from $600 to $6,000 with us, but the average is around $1,200 to $1,500.
Lastly, do you have any advice or tips you could offer brides when deciding on their stationery.
Have a little chat with the mums before you come to see your stationer. The only hiccup we see in our studio is when a couple has their heart set on something and the mother of the bride or groom doesn’t approve.
How long before a wedding should the invitations be sent?
Send the invitation 6-8 weeks prior, with an RSVP date that is 2-3 weeks before the event (do check with your venue to see when final numbers need to be supplied when setting the RSVP date). Sending a ‘save the date’ to international and interstate invitees at least 6 months prior to the wedding is always appreciated, allowing time to make travel arrangements.
There is always at least one guest that feels they don’t have to RSVP. What do you suggest to speed them along and get their response?
Here are our top tips for persuading impolite peeps to get back to you:
• include a pre-stamped RSVP card with the invitation
• use the phrase ‘please reply’ instead of ‘RSVP’ (not everyone knows what it means)
• include e-mail, mobile or twitter details on the invitation for the technically-talented but stationery-inept
• passive-aggressive status updates about RSVPing tardiness on Facebook might goad the guilty
• and if all else fails, why not phone and ask if they’re coming? Works surprisingly well.
How soon after the wedding should the thank you cards be sent to the guests?
As soon as you return from the honeymoon is ideal. That might be 4 weeks or 4 months after the wedding, but not sending a thank you is not very polite.
Thank you so much Mitchell and Dent for all of your advice! The ladies just opened their very own store that is open at Studio Bomba, 379 Oxford Street, Leederville, Thursdays to Sundays from 10.30am to 6ish. Just look for the yellow door. I may be biased with my self-confessed weakness for stationery and paper goods, but if you want to get inspired stop on by to start the conversation about your own wedding stationery.
I hope you liked our first installment and stay tuned for my next interview next week!