Little Black Book | White Cottage Weddings

You guys, it's been a hot minute since the last time we gushed about a wedding supplier in this series. What better way to kick off a new year of supplier interviews with none other than one of our favourite creative stationers - badass husband and wife team White Cottage Weddings!

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Guys! How are you? Can we just pretend we don't know and love you for a second and ask you who you are and what you do?

Oh hey ladies! We are Toby and Kelly, husband and wife and the team behind White Cottage. We're wedding stationers, based in Northamptonshire, but work with guys and gals all over the world.

If you had to describe your style and design in three words, what would they be?

WELL. BAD. ASS. Ha, ok maybe unique, illustrative, rad.

What's it like working creatively with your spouse?

Kelly: Toby's my lobster. As much as it pains me to publicly declare it (because of my badassness), he's my best friend and the most brilliant man I know. So spending all our time together is pretty cool. The worst part of our job is hitting the creative wall, so being able to bounce ideas and work in progress between us makes things so much easier. I handle the concepts and the majority of the design work and Toby does the tricky illustrations and tech stuff.
Toby: Yes, I am the assistant. I'm the Chewbacca to Kelly's Han Solo. Im basically Kelly's wookie :D

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What has been your most ambitious design or brief to date?

A couple of years ago we had the pleasure of working with a glorious couple that found us on the internet and loved what we did. They were getting married at the Hôtel de Glace in Québec City, a super cool (in all senses of the word!) chapel built from snow and ice. They wanted the design to be fun and to include illustrations of the ice chapel and their dogs, but other than that, they told us to do whatever we wanted. I'm not going to lie, I felt the pressure. A combo of an open brief and the expectation that we would produce something not only personal that looked cool, but was funny too? Hilarious on demand is DIFFICULT. Long story short, after a lot of tantrums, tea drinking and pondering, everything came together and we produced one of favourite ever designs. We learned a lot from that job in terms of our style, how to handle enquiries and realistic expectation of how a design can take. That stationery totally catapulted our portfolio too and without it, we might not have received some of the early interest we did in our little business. For all it's difficulties, we're so thankful we got that gig.

Where do you get your ideas?

Kelly: Our couples are our biggest inspiration. I always try to meet face to face whenever possible, whether that be at wedding shows and events or for sit down consultations. We are people people (is that a phrase? :) and so getting to know our customers helps us to create something truly meaningful and representative. Beyond that, I honestly don't know! I never entirely know what a custom design will look like until I get to it and then it just kind of happens. I am more than aware how douchey that sounds by the way :D I try to be flexible throughout the design process. I've found that you can't force a design and if you're too regimented with how you want a piece to look, if you hit a problem, it's usually complete redo time.
Toby: Ask her about the Napoleonic fort design that made her sit in under her desk and threaten to go back to teaching.
Kelly: I couldn't make the bloody whale work, it was really difficult!

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Who would be your ideal client for wedding stationery (real or fictional, we don't mind!)?

Kelly: Oh blimey, tricky. If you'd have asked us what sort of stationery we'd like to design before we got in to our groove, I'd have probably said moody stuff. Toby and I are lifelong geeky goths at heart (albeit nowadays hidden under warm toned skin and casual knitwear :) so to get our teeth in to something dark and melancholy would be interesting. Maybe Morrissey's wedding? Although, it's unlikely that Morrissey would ever find anyone worthy of Morrissey's hand, so maybe Morrissey marrying himself? Having said that I'm a total sucker for an American style rustic, woodsy design so maybe Jack and Ennis from Brokeback Mountain? Spoiler alert, but OH SO SAD.
Toby: Kate Bush.
Kelly: And who?
Toby: *shrugs*
Kelly: He loves Kate Bush. Ok, I'm hitting my stride now... Carrie and Quinn from Homeland. I'm thinking bold typography, clean layers, lots of them and foil. Lots of that too.
Toby: How about Frank and Karen from Punisher, or Kylo-Ren and Rey?!
Kelly: I think we're getting a bit carried away with this one...

What do you wish couples knew better about what you do?

It would helpful, sometimes if customers understood the time (and associated cost) that goes in to the concept, creation and production of great wedding stationery. The very large majority of the people that we meet that go on to order with us appreciate all of this entirely. However, every now and then we wished that some folk could see the hours that turn in to days, long nights and entire weeks that are spent creating even one item of stationery. There are a small amount of people on the planet that think we pull stationery out of our magical art arses. Unfortunately, we do not have magic arses. I don't want to end this question on a moan though, so thankfully we rarely have to deal with this issue any more.

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What do couples always forget when it comes to wedding stationery?

Kelly: Couples can sometimes forget that it is their wedding stationery and their wedding. Pleasing family members and consideration of complex social situations within their stationery is so difficult to see and I really feel for those people that end up settling for things that they wouldn't naturally choose, to suit others. I think, as a basic rule that you should opt to go with whatever you can happily live with. Compromise to suit others might end up being the best option for you, but if you think that settling might be one of those things that you'll go on to regret, stand by your principles and own your wedding along with all of the creative decisions.
Toby: Couples can also forget that the weddings as a whole are pretty disposable and stationery is one of the few things you can keep forever. It's not something you want to look back on and hate and 100% worth your time, attention and investment.

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What are your top tips for couples putting together their ideas for stationery?

It can be tempting to put together a Pinterest board for stationery and fill it entirely with examples of stationery that you like. We often see boards that end up with a hundred different designs, most with conflicting styles and for a designer, we end up with a bit of a needle in a haystack situation. What's much more worthwhile, is putting together a board that represents the whole wedding and maybe a couple of stationery examples to indicate specifics. The style of font you prefer, or the format of a table plan for example. Stationery is the thing the runs right from the very start of your wedding planning (save the dates, invitations), through the day itself (table plans, place settings and order of services to name but a few items) and beyond (thank you cards, favours), so understanding what you have planned for the entire day is really useful for your designer.

Kelly: I can waffle a bit, so I should probably let you go now. Final thought though, don’t be afraid to shop ‘off the shelf’ and explore independent design studios. There are so many good ones out there. Happy stationery shopping!
Toby: But you should probs check us out first :D

Little Black Book | BerinMade

If you're anything like us at Revelry HQ, you go a bit nuts for paper goods. A trip to Paperchase is like Disneyland, you always have a cute, new notebook on the go, and your Pinterest boards are filled with the most gorgeous invitations.

If you're anything like us, you're going to LOVE BerinMade, London stationery and design studio. Let's catch up with founder Erin and designer Lana!

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Tell us a little bit about BerinMade and how it came to be?

E: I started the company in 2012 after taking the plunge to quit my 9-5 working in an auction house. My degree was in Fine Arts and ever since graduation, I longed to be creative again and manage something of my own. After I got married, I fell in love with stationery and paper goods. It was hugely inspired by all the amazing things you could do with paper, and 5 years on, I still feel the same way.

We specialise in wedding and events stationery, greeting cards and lifestyle gifts. Our philosophy is to always push the boundaries of what we can do with paper, and I believe that is reflected in every project that we work on. I want our clients to fall in love with paper goods the way that I did. Even though we are now a small team, each one of us feel the same way and have the same passion for our products.

Our wedding clients are treated like special guests. Lana is our wedding project manager and the main contact for most wedding clients; she and I work together to ensure that our brides are taken care of and their project goes seamlessly. Often clients don't realise that stationery projects need a lot of management. There is timeline, production technicalities, supplier co-ordination; clients need to be kept in the loop, know all their options, have the right expectations. It's a stressful time for them, and sometimes they can feel out of their depth with so many things to learn and to manage, especially when it's a technical aspect- and it's our job to put that at ease. It's often not just a design-job, it can be a bit of an operation. I would say that apart from our designs and signature style, that is an added bonus that sets us apart from other companies.

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We'll say! How would you describe your style of paper goods?

E: We do a varied range but mostly you'll find that we love a bit of bold pattern, floral illustrations, unexpected but beautiful colour combinations, with a touch of metallic. With weddings we're really into special formats that tell your story, whether that's a geometric fold out invitation with glittered panels, or travel-guide inspired booklets for a destination wedding. So for us, it's all about telling a story as well as making it look beautiful and worthy for a wedding in the process.

What is your favourite kind of thing to work on?

E: The best briefs come in Pinterest boards that are not stationery-related! They can be full of fashion, interiors, flowers, fun objects to do with the couple- things that really tell their style. We are then able to translate that into paper form and often clients are so amazed by the unique-ness of their bespoke design and how much it represents them, because it's so unlike anything else they have seen out there! 

L: Definitely a lot of foiling! Erin's hand lettering and illustrations make the perfect details to foil, I fall in love every time. Another heart-throb would be all the lovely patterns we create with Erin's amazing illustrations. Do yourself a favour and don't miss our wrapping paper!

What has been your craziest or most fun brief for a wedding?

E: Last year we did a brief for a Mexican-fete inspired wedding and it was one of the most fun projects I've ever worked on. The couple were a dream to work with, giving us an idea of what they liked and letting us run wild with ideas. I illustrated a full set of colourful stationery with gorgeous gold foiling details, as well as scalloped pockets inspired by papel picado. It was an ambitious project in terms of production, a lot of things took a while to figure out, and the results came out like a dream!

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You have a new book out! Amazing! What's it about and who is it for?

E: Thank you! My new (and first) book is called Paper Parties. It features 50 paper projects for every celebration, and covers parties across engagements, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries as well as holidays. I'm really excited about its unique format which has a coffee table inspiration lookbook at the front (like browsing through pinterest with me), and then followed by detailed instructions in the back of how the lookbook items. It means that flipping through it is just as enjoyable as using it as a manual.

It includes my favourite colour and decor trends, themes and schemes and has lots of inspiration and tips on the most fun and heart-filled celebrations to share with your family and friends. There are lots of inspiration and projects suitable for weddings too, but what i love about it it the most is that they are not super "weddingy" but rather things that can be translated well, like white crepe sea foam chair-backs, irridescent gem cake toppers, flower crowns. It's a title under the "craft" section but I think it does straddle design and lifestyle, too. You can see more inside the book here

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Why should wedding day stationery not be an after-thought?

L: Most of the time we think of wedding stationery as practical items that is just a necessity to give information through to the guests. The amazing thing about wedding day stationery that gets overlooked is that it can tie your whole theme together, serve as decor in and around your venue, greet and guide your guests with something that is special and still have the bonus of being practical. 

E: I agree with Lana. As well as conveying a set of information about the day itself, the stationery should be worked out as part of the decor and overall experience for your guests. So many things about our world now is to do with the digital and social media, so when you can make an impact on the tangible aspects, it really makes your celebration memorable for your guests.

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What tips do you have for couples trying to figure out what the want for their wedding stationery?

L: Your wedding day is one of the most public displays of you as a couple, this is where your inspiration must come from. Instead of just trying to keep up with the newest trends or going with what everybody else is doing, be true to who you are as a couple. Look at the highs that you enjoy most, what makes your heart beat faster and through that we create a reflection of you as a couple.

E: So much goes into wedding that it's often exhausting to think of your options. With your wedding stationer it's important to go with your heart, and someone you click with. If you're going for something extra special, it's important to find a designer that clicks with your sense of aesthetic and tastes!

Little Black Book: Jennifer's Paper

We're kicking off 2017 by introducing you to one of our favourite stationers that we've been working with over the past year. This good old American gal really knows how to make your wedding stationery pop! Say hello to Jennifer's Paper

SO JEN, HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DESIGNING WEDDING STATIONERY AND HOW DID YOU GET INTO IT?

I've been creating wedding stationery since 2007 when I designed my hometown best friend's wedding invitation suite and day-of paper goods. I had always loved designing one-off invites and cards but this was a chance to make it more of a "branded" project which used my skills as a graphic designer. My own wedding was 4 years later and that's when I really got hooked on designing wedding stationery.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STATIONERY STYLE?

It's fresh, clean, pattern-loving and classic meets whimsical. I like to infuse elements of couples' personalities in there, too, whether it be the text or a tiny illustration that gives a nod to them.

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT YOU OFFER, WE HEAR YOU’RE MORE THAN JUST INVITES AND SAVE THE DATES?

I'm a firm believer that the wedding should feel like one cohesive event so that means I work with couples not only on the items that land in their friends and families' post boxes, but also anything that those same people are seeing when they arrive for the event. Basics like programs, place cards, menus, seating charts, signage, welcome bags. You name it, I'll design it! I once even hand-painted a beer boat (literally, an old row boat that was filled with ice and beer) at a wedding to match the invitation – it was the couple's name with the floral motif I had illustrated. It was so much fun and such a great statement piece for the wedding to really tie it all together. 

IF YOU COULD GIVE COUPLES ONE PIECE OF WEDDING STATIONERY ADVICE WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Go with what YOU want, not what your parents want (or are used to seeing). Wedding stationery has really come a long way in the past 10 years and you can really give your guests a hint of what's to come on your wedding day through the stationery. It's also one of the only items for your wedding that's tangible AFTER the big day so make it something you'll lovingly want to preserve and ooh and ahh at for years to come (I have two past clients who have just had their stationery suites framed to hang in their house. I am over the moon that they want to see this everyday!)

ARE YOU SEEING ANY PARTICULAR WEDDING STATIONERY TRENDS COMING THROUGH?

Botanical is a hot one for sure. Inspired by the greenery that the florists are creating, stationery is being influenced by this as well. Calligraphy and hand-lettering are also still around but I wouldn't be surprised if that starts making it's way out by the end of the year or maybe the year after. It's everywhere! Oh, and of course, the print finish of the moment – gold foil!

HOW DO YOU APPROACH WEDDING INVITATION WORDING?

For this one, when my couples hire me for their stationery, I ask them to fill out a questionnaire with all of the basics that will go into their invitations and one of the questions is if they'd like their wording casual, formal or religious. From there, I decide on the intro sentence and that pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the invitation. For couples that want to keep their invitation wording more formal but want some personality in there, I always tell them to use the response card for this. I like to come up with fun and cheeky ways to say "accepts" and "regrets".