Pairing with your perfect stationer can be quite an overwhelming task, For mostly the save the date you send out will set the tone for your guests of what to expect from your wedding day.
We chat with stationer expert Hélène to look at things you should consider when choosing your wedding stationery, When to order and how to inject your personality into your design.
smitten with ink.
Smitten with Ink is a design and hot foil studio creating luxury wedding stationery and focusing on tactile contemporary designs. Hand printing on my hot foil press is very much what I focus on at the moment but when I, Hélène, started this venture, it was all about calligraphy.
The business came about in a very organic way, I never intended to actually start one. In 2016, I found myself struggling with my mental health and I discovered calligraphy as a mindful activity that was grounding me, giving me purpose and helping tremendously with my mindset. People discovered my creations on social media, enquiries for commission work and weddings popped in my DMs and fast forward to December 2019 and I was launching my stationery business.
The timing wasn't exactly great as weddings came to a halt. But that gave me the time to reflect on what it was that I actually wanted to offer to couples. I realised that more than pretty stationery with beautiful calligraphy, I wanted to offer an experience, to share my love for texture. So I bought a vintage hot foil press and just as I did with calligraphy, I proceeded to teach myself the art of hot foil printing.
Smitten with Ink is now all about creating contemporary designs and awakening the senses with tactile stationery. I love playing with bold typography and colour palettes and bringing to life wedding invitations that tell my couples' story. And because I just love learning and honing a craft, after calligraphy and hot foiling, I'm ready to embark on a new journey with letterpress printing. I cannot wait to be able to offer this service to couples, all in the name of beautiful texture.
FOUNDER / CREATIVE DIRECTOR
How long in advance should couples contact you ?
For wedding invitations, I always recommend getting in touch as soon as you have your date and your venue. Invitations need to be sent 2 to 6 months ahead (sometimes even a year ahead). You need to add to this the 10-12 weeks for design. And let's not forget that some months are a lot busier than others. So to be safe, I'd say the sooner the better. For on-the-day stationery, the timeline isn't as long but don't leave it until less than 2 months before your wedding day, especially during those summer months.
What should couples consider when looking for the perfect stationer ?
Every stationer has a unique style, a unique way of working and a unique set of skills too. Couples need to know what is important to them before reaching out to designers. Things to consider: the stationer's style (minimalist, modern, boho, watercolour, etc.). Take a good look through their portfolio. Can they achieve your vision? Your budget... look through brochures/websites to find out about pricing of each stationer skills: not all stationers offers hot foil, letterpress or calligraphy so if these are important to you, expect a longer process and a more costly overall. Stationery personality: it is such an almost intimate process to be creating wedding stationery for a couple. You get to know people very quickly and in a meaningful way. So make sure you have a good feeling/good vibe with your stationer. Check out their stories on instagram, do you like the tone of what they write? I'd recommend you book a consultation for a face to face chat, Connection is so important.
Trends you're seeing for 2023/24 ?
I feel that couples are getting bolder with their colour palettes and their choices of fonts. They are embracing that this is their day and they get the party started by setting the tone with a very unique wedding invitation suite. I have had a lot of demand for green in the studio lately and quite a fair share of rusty tones too. On the opposite side of the spectrum, monochrome black and white palettes are also very much in demand. Venue illustrations seem to be gaining popularity, and monograms are a must have for my couples this year too. I also think shapes and strong/bold fonts are here to stay for a while longer.
The design process - How does it work ?
Through our initial consultation, I get to know what people like and dislike, how they envision their wedding day and what's important to them. We'll discuss colour palettes they are contemplating too. All these details give me a good enough understanding of the couple to start designing some initial concepts. Through their feedback, I can add changes and fine tune the design until we get to that final proof and they are completely happy with how it looks.
Textures, colours and fonts. What do they say about your wedding day ?
I am all about texture as I foil and/or emboss -almost- all the stationery I create. The tactile experience you get from running your fingers on textured paper is truly magical. It awakens the senses of your guests and creates the deepest anticipation, something you feel in your core. Colours and fonts are there to set the tone. Some colour palettes are more conducive of a warm and chilled day ahead, others will have a beautiful understated luxury feel about them. The same applies with fonts. But nothing is clear cut and it takes some exploring and adjustments to find the perfect colour and font combinations for each couple. The bespoke process is really an incredible one.
What should couples consider ?
As a paper obsessed, I obviously love creating as many inserts that an envelope can physically hold in, as well as all the menus, place cards, order of services, etc. However, I think everyone is different has different needs, that's why the bespoke approach is so important to me. The minimum prior to your wedding day is an invitation card but that works only if you have a wedding website where your guests have access to all the details and where they can RSVP too. For your on-the-day stationery, it really varies depending on the kind of wedding and aesthetic you've chosen. In my opinion you should always have either a seating chart or some escort cards display to avoid chaos while guests are looking for their seat. I also find that having my own menu as a guest is the nicest thing. It's a beautiful addition to your tablescape and the overall reception space decor but also who likes to lean over the table to see what's on the menu? Not forgetting Thank you cards. Always overlooked during the initial consultation but your guests will love receiving them.