Diary of a bride-to-be – part 2

Diary of a bride-to-be – part 2

It’s 7 weeks since the proposal. I watched the video again this morning. Still so many happy tears, I feel so lucky.

 

I’m sharing with you today the latest important decision-making part of our planning – I know that as a bride-to-be yourself you will have experienced this…

The Guest List!

When you first begin planning, you tend to think ‘oh, well I don’t need to decide on everyone I am going to invite yet’. I know I did.

But then I realised, if you don’t know how many people you’re inviting, how can you decide where will be big enough, or will it be too much?

As a second-time around bride, it seems to be thought that we wouldn’t want as much fuss, it would be a simple affair. We do, after all just want to be married. That’s so true, but we also know that this one day will be a long overdue celebration of our much sought-after happy ending and we have been through a lot to get here.

So why wouldn’t we want to share that with those who have supported us all the way?

It feels like it is a celebration of the journey, a brand new beginning and time to really pat ourselves on the back for making it to our real-life happy ever after.
This may sound a little deep and meaningful but that’s who we are.

 

 

But how do you decide who makes the cut?

For years now I have been training my brain to not use the word ‘should’. We ‘should’ invite so and so, because they will be upset if we don’t. We can’t invite them if we don’t invite their siblings/children/parents… I don’t think we should invite so and so because they always kick off. It’s so hard though isn’t it?

It’s SO important to remember that it is your day.

about the 2 of you. You need to feel good around those who you invite, and not be feeling as though it wouldn’t make a difference if they are there or not. Those kind of guests will be the ones who probably won’t make it.

As we worked our way through the ‘first draft’ of a guest list, the numbers got higher and higher. We already have a venue in mind, and it isn’t going to allow endless numbers of people to join us for the ceremony and wedding breakfast. Not to mention how many people we need to think about feeding afterwards. We both know that we want to share our day with those who will genuinely be delighted that we have chosen them to be there, so it isn’t easy, and this is one of the things that can cause the most stress when planning a wedding. We don’t want months and months of worrying over who we might upset so we are going with what feels good.

 

Told you my nickname was Wonderwoman!

(and if you didn’t know, he is a brilliant mix of Batman and Superman, his full name is Bruce Kent!)

Just to get things going we are having a small engagement party next week, sooo looking forward to that as we are all about celebrating the good things – I hope you have made time to celebrate every little part of the journey too? It will make it so much more enjoyable.

During the past few weeks we have had some lovely time together just ‘being’, enjoying the moment, not forgetting a very memorable trip to Brussels to see Bruce’s favourite artist Amy Macdonald. We love her music, it has become part of our story and we also had a fantastic break away, much needed.

We also enjoyed Singalonga The Greatest Showman at the Concert Hall on Monday night, a Christmas gift from my eldest son. We love this film (doesn’t everyone?) and it was a really feel good kind of a night! Love a bit of singing.

My next diary blog will be about the little details we have been working on while there seems a long time ahead of us… I can’t wait to share with you how we arrived at the songs we have decided to have as part of our ceremony, it’s been a lovely enjoyable time to daydream about the moment we become husband and wife. More on that very soon!

If you are new to the blog and haven’t seen the others in the series here is the first diary entry

Much love,
Jacqui and Bruce xx

Let’s take a look at Evening Invitations

Let’s take a look at Evening Invitations

Often seen as the ‘B’ list guests for your wedding, the invites for your evening ‘do’ are still very significant.

You want to end the biggest day of your life with a smile! Your evening guests are usually those who you probably don’t know as well as your daytime guests, maybe you can’t quite stretch to feed them all during the day and have prioritised family over people you see every day in work. You are great friends but there are others who you also needed to be there for your ceremony. Your evening guests will still want to celebrate this happy day with you, so why not make them feel as much a part of it?

I usually find my couples like to splash out more on the wedding invites

and rightly so, it’s a big part of the day. But it’s still important to them that the theme flows right through all their stationery. Your evening guests are quite likely to see what an effort you have made with other finishing touches so it’s nice if you can add evening invites to the order with your stationer, as everything will flow so beautifully.

There are ways you can co-ordinate the evening invites

without spending as much as your beautifully intricate wedding invites have cost. I have had couples order a smaller pocketfold in the past, when there was a lot of info to send out, in one instance because the majority of their guests were from overseas and needed all the accommodation info sending. I have done the card style for the evening invites too, something I used to make a lot more of but now it is always a pocket style of some sort. These have enough room to add all the info inside but feel a bit more official.

Most of my couples now prefer to order the postcard style for their evening guests. These combine the gorgeousness of the daytime invitations, with less bulk, and the vital information you still need to send: the RSVP information and any gift info is usual for my couples. They can be double sided, so they are nice and neat to send, and cost less than the pocketfold version. You are still able to incorporate some of the colour you may have chosen for the rest of your stationery, and wow your evening guests just as much as the wedding peeps.

Evening Invitation Silver Glitter Grey Embellishment Sparkles Majestic design Nottingham

A couple of points worth considering when organising your evening invites.

When to send? Do we wait for our wedding guests to RSVP?

I wouldn’t worry too much about this. Most of your guests will truly understand that you can’t always accommodate everyone you know in one big sit-down meal (or afternoon tea, or buffet, depending on your choice), and once your replies are in, if they are then invited to the ceremony as an ‘upgrade’ I am sure they will be delighted. Some people think it may seem rude, that you are looking at them as ‘second choice’ but sometimes it really is a case of whether there is room to seat everyone, and then how much it is all going to cost. As a newly engaged bride-to-be myself I am shocked at how much all the food is going to cost at the places we have seen so far, to be honest. I prefer to make all the invites for a wedding in one sitting as it is so much more efficient and cost effective and can save you a lot of time later on too.

Do we really need to order ‘spare’ invites?

I would be inclined to say yes. It might seem like a potential waste of a few valuable pounds in your budget, but in all my years as a stationer, I always find those who don’t include them to begin with return to me after a few weeks asking could we possibly have a few more please? And I do mean always…
I try to be as accommodating as possible in these requests, however as the diary gets busy, it can take longer sometimes to slot these few extra in where other brides have already booked the space which is not really fair to them.
As well as the time factor, spare invites can work out more expensive, last minute orders for a smaller quantity can be costly for both the stationery designer and the happy couple so do bear that in mind.

To find out more about how to calculate how many you need, check out this blog post here.
Another point to mention is that often the evening invites don’t need to be posted out, or not many of them do anyway, so that can save you on postage too (at the time of publication the cost of stamps has just risen again!)

Hopefully this has cleared up one or two questions that have been bothering you, but as always we are here to answer any queries – I say we because my lovely Bruce is keen to really get stuck in helping out with the business. He is still learning, but is a very welcome team member (of course). Please be gentle with him 😊


Much love,
Jacqui (and Bruce) xx

Diary of a bride-to-be – part 1

Diary of a bride-to-be – part 1

Since my fiancé Bruce proposed a few weeks ago (I am still pinching myself, I bet you know what I mean!) I have been on a journey of discovery.

I have been working in the wedding industry for many years

but in recent weeks my eyes have opened to exactly how the wedding planning journey feels, and I thought it would be a good time to share some of that with you, with a few words of advice, so you understand that I truly know where you are coming from.

 

Enjoy the moment

It took me a while to get my head around the idea that we are actually planning our wedding – I dreamed about it for such a long time, and although I didn’t think it was going to happen when it did, 1 week after Valentine’s day, I was ready for Bruce to ask me to marry him so I just wanted to take a little time to absorb that he had actually done it! I still can’t quite believe it now, 5 weeks later. It was particularly memorable, you can read all about it here ‘I used to think that love was just a fairytale’.

Once it had filtered through a little, we began talking about dates and ideas. We set aside some uninterrupted time away (it happened to be Bruce’s birthday weekend) to start making plans and allow us to really think about the kind of day we want.

Here we are enjoying the sunshine and celebrating on a trip away.

Daydream

I think this is the time you have to really let loose, don’t hold back, write down every idea you have had, however it sounds, whether it be larger than life, small and intimate, or crazy themed stuff… really go for it. You don’t have to entertain all these ideas, but properly explore between you what it is that you want from this one special day. I was about to say you will only do it once, but I won’t lie, this is second time around for both of us. This has only made us think even more carefully about how we want to feel on the day – we are both sure that we want to do things differently to the first time, to keep a clear picture of our wedding day and totally embrace it, together. I think that getting married when you are a bit older (we are in our early forties) and have a different outlook on life than the younger days gives you a different set of expectations. We have both grown massively in character and strength in recent years and this is going to make all the difference to the sort of day that we are planning.

Deciding the date

I have always known there would be something about our wedding date that takes us back to when we met, it was a truly magical time (another epic blog post happened just after that, I really was completely in the moment!). Without giving too much away (as we haven’t announced our date yet) it just gives a little nod towards significant dates that mean a lot to both of us. When choosing a date, we talked about any other factors that might influence it, such as dates we wanted to avoid (neither of us want to marry in the months we did before), our children’s birthdays and that sort of thing, those are all special to them and we can choose not to mix any of that up (also means more dates in the diary for celebrations in later years! We do love a party). We talked about times of the year that we either prefer or don’t like much, for whatever reason. If you are booking your wedding on a date that means something to you, as many do, take your time to get this right and once you have decided, you will know.

Finances

Reality check time. No-one has an endless pot of money, we haven’t been saving up for our wedding (because we hadn’t talked very much about doing it pre-proposal) but we do want to have the sort of day we will always remember. We have really had to think hard about what’s important to us to spend any money on that we can put towards our day, no doubt we will be working extra hard between now and the big day to get together extra pennies and avoid the stress of how much it is going to cost (life can be stressful enough, this isn’t meant to cause stress), but we are not working with an enormous budget. I have seen weddings come together for £2.5k and I have seen weddings cost over £20k. We know how much we want to spend for our day and once that’s decided it’s easier to begin looking at the sort of places that can make that achievable.

Choosing a venue

This has been the biggest surprise so far, for me.

At the point of writing this, we haven’t yet confirmed our wedding venue, it was a completely open book when we started looking. I didn’t even know where to start, even though as I said I have worked in the industry for years. I had always thought I knew the kind of wedding I would want, and where I would want it when the time came, but as we started to talk about ideas, I actually realised that it didn’t matter as much to me where we did it. I am lucky enough to be marrying the man of my dreams, that is what’s important. We have so many ideas for what we want from our wedding day, and none of it is really about the where. Our carefully chosen guests will be there to share this happy time with us, I honestly do feel like we could do that in a school hall or just about anywhere because it’s how we feel that’s important. I thought it would be about what looked best in the photos – but truthfully I know that I will be feeling so happy on the day to be realising my dreams that our choice of venue isn’t going to make it or break it. It may not be the same for everyone but that is how it has worked out for us. We have looked at a few different types of place and each one had a certain kind of feel to it, right or wrong for our day. Take note of how a place makes you feel because you will remember that when you look back on your day in years to come.

Announce it.

I have already designed about 9 different Save the dates for us to send out in my spare time this week, I have so many ideas about how we want to tell people about our plans. I don’t just want it to happen in a passing conversation.

As we tick each thing off our decision making list, we have made sure to pat ourselves on the back. We want to do all of this so ‘properly’, that as yet we have barely begun to share our ideas of the date or venue with our closest friends or family. When we do confirm the venue we want, we will, of course be sending out Save the Dates, as it’s a while away. I want to do little cards to ask people we want involved with the ceremony in some way, and we have an engagement party in a few weeks too. It’s so exciting!!!

I’m not saying you have to do all or any of these things, but it’s a whole brand new journey we are going on together and we are embracing it. Just because we have both married before doesn’t take anything away from what we want this time around, if anything I think it just makes us more determined to be sure we are doing it right. It’s our story, it’s our time and it will be our day – our way.
As our journey evolves I will keep you updated with the different things we have discovered along the way,

I hope you enjoy reading.

Much love,

Jacqui (and Bruce, he is sure to contribute to this diary at some point soon!)

xxx

 

How many invitations do you need?

How many invitations do you need?

Working out just how many invites you need for your big day can cause a bit of a headache. Here are a few tidbits of advice I have picked up in my years working in the wedding industry.

How many invites do we need to order?

What I would say first, is to work out how many households you will need to send an invitation to. Remember to include your VIPs in this, as even if you have already spoken to your Best man, your Bridesmaids, parents etc it is still nice to include them on the invite list, especially if you are having your stationery custom made.

As a rough guide, it usually works out around 2/3rds of the actual number of people you are inviting, unless there are a lot of families on the list. For a guest list of 80 I would usually find somewhere between 45 and 60 is enough.

It’s an easy miscalculation to make, thinking if you have 80 guests, that you will need 80 invites. Or if you have 80 daytime guests and 130 evening guests you need that many for each part of the day.

When you work out how many you need for the evening invites, it can vary a bit more.

For example, if you have 80 wedding guests and another 50 in the evening, you will usually need more for the extra guests – but remember you have already invited the daytime guests so you only need to send to the extra 50. Usually round 30 invitations would cover this. It does depend on how many include a plus 1, or perhaps children have only been invited to the evening celebrations, as can sometimes be the case. The best idea is to have a chat with your stationer too, if they are worth their salt they should be able to guide you. I never give ‘set’ answers as each couple and wedding can be so different to each other. Before you book your wedding stationer, read this helpful blog post.

Do we really need to order ‘spare’ invites?

I would be inclined to say yes. It might seem like a potential waste of a few valuable pounds in your budget, but in all my years as a stationer, I always find those who don’t include them to begin with return to me after a few weeks asking could we possibly have a few more please?
I try to be as accommodating as possible in these requests, however as the diary gets busy, it can take longer sometimes to slot these few extra in where other brides have already booked the space which is not really how I like to work.
As well as the time factor, spare invites can work out more expensive, last minute orders for a smaller quantity can be costly for both the stationery designer and the happy couple so do bear that in mind.

Evening Stationery Invitation Postcard Invite Grey Sparkles Majestic Collection
The Majestic collection – leave space to write names yourselves on any spare invites

As a rough guide, I usually say add on 10 percent of your order, so if you need 45 invites, request 50, or round up any strange numbers so if you needed 37 ask for 40. You can have these left with a blank space to fill them in yourself later if necessary, there is always the option of having one for a keepsake, and it will feel so much better if you realise a little later that you (possibly, it does happen) missed someone off the list.

They are not then left waiting for an invite when everyone else has already received theirs, as an example. Or if your RSVPs are returned and you find you can squeeze a couple more people in during the day, because you really don’t want them to miss out, then you can use it for that. Try not to think of the spares as a waste of money, or a way for us busy stationers to make extra on the order, it really is about keeping things simple for everyone, less back and forth getting things sorted and one less stress!

I’ve only just started planning my wedding to Bruce, (click here to find out what happened when he proposed) we have quite some time to work with before the date we are looking for, and I am already working out how many invites I will need. The sooner you can get an idea of these things the sooner you can work out things like how many stamps you will need, that sort of thing. It all adds to the cost but can help you budget a bit better too. It’s all part of the fun and if you know what you are looking at from the beginning it will make for a much more enjoyable part of the journey for you – you want to enjoy this as much as possible – I know I do.

As always if you need help figuring any of this out, then do please drop me a line, I would love to hear how your wedding plans are going and help if I can in any way.

Much love,

Jacqui xx

How to bring colour into your stationery

How to bring colour into your stationery

How you can bring colour into your elegant, beautiful wedding stationery (without going overboard)?

With most of my weddings recently, the stationery has been neutral, in white or ivory –something about the more luxurious weddings I am now booking into my diary.
But if you do ever want to bring a pop of colour into your stationery, whether it is to liven it up a bit or just to have a subtle hint of your colour scheme in there, there are a few ways you can do this.

If you have layers of card – like on this design shown here – the Endear Collection

Endear collection,white linen,elegant,lovely sparkly pocketfold,wedding stationery nottingham

It’s nice and easy to make one of them a significant colour. You can change just one of the layers to bring your colour scheme in, and swap the ribbons – it doesn’t have to be every single piece but just like this design we recently used a little of the turquoise to show the theme off a little more (pics to follow!) as another couple are getting married abroad and want something to represent the Mediterranean sea.

If you have a design with sparkling crystals…

like Adorn, Allure or Innocence, the sparkles are available in a wide range of colours for a small additional cost.

Innocence, complete with coloured butterfly and co-ordinated crystals

I have created the Innocence invites many times for my couples and my absolute favourite for colour was when Lorraine and Paul got married and had a pastel theme. Using several pastel shades, combined with matching shades of card and butterflies too we completely co-ordinated their invitations so that some had lilac as the main colour, some had pastel blue, some had pink and so on.

The finished effect was absolutely stunning, the arrangement of crystals was different on each piece, the butterfly embellishments and card layers were swapped around to use an equal amount of every single colour so that the overall effect was just beautiful. They even named their tables after the colours to bring the theme in right the way through and Lorraine really was delighted with the finished designs as you can see…

Here is their beautiful seating plan, proudly displayed in their living room!

“When I was looking for stationary for my wedding I had met with many stationers but never felt they got my concept. When I met Jacqui we both knew she loved our theme and was able to take it to a level that was above and beyond what we had expected. I cried when I saw them finished although had been a part of every step the finished product was breathtaking. I had a clear theme of rainbow which incorporated the bridesmaids dresses flowers tables and stationary and still now nearly 2 years on people ask me who did my invites. I can’t thank Fuchsia Fairy enough for taking the time to invest in my idea and for making my dream a reality.”


To keep any design nice and simple with a little colour, all you really need to do is use your choice of ribbon colour – it is simple and effective and makes a bit of a statement without taking away from the impact of the invitation. I have on occasion been asked to combine one card colour with a different ribbon colour – the effects can range from dramatic and beautiful to… quite honestly not very pleasant at all! I will always try to help you get this combination absolutely right before we move onto the next stage it is so important to me not to present you with something that makes you cringe a bit.

Diamante Buckle Ribbon Save The Date Amore Dusky Pink Grey Sparkles Wedding Stationery Nottingham

There is always the option to have a coloured pocketfold or card blank. This can be quite striking as long as the colour is in keeping with other things you are using for your special day. Take time to use swatches and see what looks good next to what, rather than hoping that one person’s teal is the same as another’s turquoise – a tricky combination at the best of times! And don’t go for anything too overpowering, it can take away from the gasp loveliness feeling your guests will have when they see your invites for the first time and realise they are warmly welcomed as part of your special day.

Have a look at some of the options available in the laser cut pocket ranges to see how stunning they can look!

If none of these ideas appeal, or don’t quite work in your chosen design, there is always the possibility of having the text in a coloured font or typeface. It will depend who is making your stationery, it might not be available if you are having ‘off the shelf’ style invites but for something more bespoke it is definitely worth an ask! Speak to the person you have trusted with this very important job and see if they can help.

You can always contact me to find out how I can help, I would love to hear from you!

Your invitation wording

Your invitation wording

When you first start planning your wedding invites, you probably don’t think straight away about the wording that will go inside it.

But with years of experience I do know that it is so important to get this right.

So I wanted to spend some time today talking you through the ins and outs of wording your wedding invites. There is a lot to think about, so grab yourself a cuppa, get comfy and take notes if necessary.

There are a few things to consider here.

First of all, who goes first?

This is a 2 parter.

The first thing I want you to think about is how do people know you as a couple? Are your names shortened? Are you Bruce & Jacqui (using mine and my boyfriend’s name as an example here), Jacqueline & Bruce? Or something else?

Much of the time, couples are talked about in a certain way, it’s a funny little thing and can depend on which family or friends group it comes from but when you send your invites, the names on the front of your exquisitely crafted pocketfold will be the first thing they see. So you want them to recognise it instantly, the excitement for your big day often begins right here. You may have initials, so remember to put them the right way round.

The second part of this is what happens inside the invitation.

The same rules may not necessarily apply here. Traditionally, the bride’s parents paid for the wedding, so their names would go at the beginning, with the bride’s full name minus her family or surname going first, followed by her fiance’s full name. Both would include any middle names that may not ordinarily be used (this usually raises an eyebrow or two).

Like this:

Mr & Mrs Tom & Sarah Chamberlain
Request the honour of the presence of

……………………………………………………………………………………..

At the marriage of their daughter

Helen Marie
to
Phillip Peter Carrington

Or you might choose to begin with something a little more inclusive for both families, such as:

‘Together with their parents
Helen Marie Chamberlain & Phillip Peter Carrington
Would like to invite……’

When I sit down with my couples at a consultation we talk about everything to do with their invites and they are given various wording choices from the more traditional (see above) to something like this more modern one:

Helen Marie Chamberlain & Phillip Peter Carrington
would be delighted if
……………………………………………………………………….
would join them to celebrate their marriage at…

There are some lovely verses that can be used, more light-hearted fun ones and I do need to say it is really important that what you choose reflects your personalities. You want both of ‘you’ to shine through, so your recipients know absolutely that your special day will totally have your stamp on it.


If you are getting married for the first time, you want it to be the biggest statement you can ever make. Or perhaps it is your second time around, and this time you are doing your day, your way, rather than following the more traditional rules you did when you got married before. It isn’t something you are going to want to rush, so take your time to get this right. For more inspiration, check out my brochure with wording ideas here.

Details, darling.

Hopefully it goes without saying that there are several important details that must be included on your wedding invite wording.


A/ Names – both of your names, and your parents if you are going for the more traditional option.
B/ Wedding Date – remember to put what day of the week it is.
C/ Wedding Time – can be formatted however you wish – 13.00 or 1pm? The choice is yours. If you are being a little more formal the 24 hour clock works well.
D/ Wedding Venue (and reception, especially if they are different).
E/ Wedding Breakfast– try and remember to include if a wedding breakfast follows – there’s nothing worse as a guest than not knowing what to expect. I had one couple who had to make a last minute alteration to their invites because it said the wedding was at 1pm and was followed by an Evening reception. That’s all very lovely but what happens in between? Where are they supposed to go, will they get a drink? Try not to have too much text but remember the vitally important information.

My couples often choose something like:


‘Drinks and Wedding Breakfast to follow’
Or
Followed by a Wedding Breakfast and Evening Reception at….

Guest names.


You may have spent some time drafting your guest list, this is usually the case, it might have been painful and you are relieved you now have your short list.

So when it comes to wording your invites, be clear on who – specifically – is invited, if sending to a household.

You don’t have to have guest names printed (although with my invites, guest names are printed as standard, with no additional charge) but if you opted for the sort of wording that’s a bit more relaxed, for example something like this:

Helen Marie Chamberlain
&
Philip Peter Carrington
Request the pleasure of your company at the celebration of their marriage

Stop for a minute and think, who is ‘your company’ referring to?

***real life story-time***

I always use the example of an invite I received a couple of years ago for a family wedding. Now you would think working in this industry and especially in the job I do, that it would have been automatically understood but on this occasion I was a little embarrassed.

An invitation, with the envelope addressed to me arrived. It was for a wedding celebration after an overseas ceremony. Excitedly I began making plans for myself and my boys (I was a single mum at the time) to travel down south and find somewhere to stay so we could party the night away with the family.

My boys don’t actually enjoy parties that much as it happens, but I chatted to my mum and then it was mentioned in passing that ‘oh, there are no kids invited, their names weren’t on it were they?’. Well, no, but because there wasn’t anything to tell me that it was adults only I (again, how did I manage this in my job!) assumed it was for ‘us’.

Not a problem, a weekend letting my hair down was actually just what I needed so my plans changed a little and we all had a great time, no children required. (as you can see from the following pic!)

So you can see that it’s actually vitally important you either specify names, or make allowances for the fact that some may bring their children, some may not.
In either case, it’s important to be clear, especially if you are sending to a household that maybe has older children living there, there are all kinds of scenarios for that these days.

If you are specifically stating there will be no children, here are a couple of simple one-liners you can use:

‘Due to restrictions in numbers, children are not included on the invite
unless named’

‘Children are not invited to the whole day’

‘I am afraid it is a no kiddies event so please let your hair down, relax and celebrate by having a drink or 2, or 3…’

Evening reception.

It can be helpful to your guests to mention on your wedding invitation is what time the evening ‘do’ is likely to start.
This will help your guests but can also take up valuable space if you are struggling, in which case include it on the gift information or elsewhere within the invitation. And remember, when calculating how many invites you need, you only need evening invites for those not already invited to the day – see my 10 top tips here for more advice on that subject.

I realise there is a lot to consider here, and this is a much longer article than I had originally intended because there is so much to say – I haven’t even got started on other information to be included so I will do additional posts on those, to give you time to think about how you can make your wording work best for your special day.


I am always happy to help if you are trying to include something and don’t know how. Drop me a line if you have a quick query, or to find out more about my tea-room consultations where we can get all of this sorted for your big day.

I have also written some of the gift poems in my brochure so have a look for ideas there too – I am sure we can find something that will work perfectly for you. For now, I have LOTS of sparkles to be working on so I will scoot. Much love,