I recently asked Carmel, graphic designer and owner of The Avenue, a few questions about her business and what's involved with creating wedding invitations and stationery suites. Carmel helps me with my business stationery needs, so I can personally attest to her awesome skill at taking my weird, wonderful and generally confused ideas and turning them into carefully curated and designed reality. (For proof check out our new business cards!)
Aside from our business stationery, I've also had the pleasure of working with Carmel on a handful of styled shoots and I'm regularly photographing her beautiful work at many of our couple's weddings. The Avenue offers a huge range of wedding stationery, from the design right through to gorgeously printed complete suites including save-the-dates, invites, name tags, custom envelopes, menu cards and more. I'm excited to have this lovely lady on the blog, sharing her story & words of wisdom with you, including an exciting new development coming to The Avenue soon!
TELL ME HOW THE AVENUE WAS BORN & WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT GRAPHIC DESIGN?
The Avenue came to life after I became a Mum. It's been brilliant to be able to integrate the things I love; my growing family and my passion for design. I'm grateful to say that the two have fused well together. Design & creativity has always been something that has come quite naturally to me. I find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes it can be the the shadow of the trees, a sunset or the colour of a flower that I want to capture and use in my work. I also love that I'm always learning - there are new trends and updated technology happening all the time, and as they evolve so do I. Plus it's difficult to beat the rush you get when you create something that makes a client really happy.
WHEN IT COMES TO WEDDING STATIONERY, IS ALL YOUR WORK CUSTOM DESIGNS OR DO YOU HAVE TEMPLATES COUPLES CAN CHOOSE FROM?
Sometimes couples come to me with a very clear vision of what they want, and other times couples may only have their colour theme and we build from there. I'm also really excited that in the next few months I will be launching a collection of designs where couples can choose a template and either I can print, or they can purchase the design and print themselves! Watch this space!
TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE DESIGN PROCESS WITH COUPLES WHEN THEY CONTACT YOU?
Most often after a couple have contacted me we have a sit down consultation (sometimes done via email) to discuss options. I have a form which we work though, this covers anything from themes through to paper sample choices and envelope colour. After the consult I get in front of the computer to design a couple of different options from what has been discussed. From here proofs are sent and we work together towards a final design. Once finalised it's sent to the printers.
WEDDING INVITES CAN BE WORDED SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS, IS THIS SOMETHING YOU HELP YOUR COUPLES WITH OR DO YOU HAVE EXAMPLES TO CHOOSE FROM?
I have many templates for wording to make the process as simple and stress free as possible. These templates cover the invitations, gift registry/wishing well, the following day celebration, accommodation etc.
I NOTICE THAT MANY COUPLES OPT FOR A FULL WEDDING STATIONERY SUITE TO COMPLETE THEIR LOOK, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE OTHER STATIONERY ITEMS YOU CAN PROVIDE WEDDING COUPLES FOR THEIR WEDDING DAY?
In addition to invitations I have also created the following stationery pieces for my couples; guest name tags, menus, favour labels, wine bottle labels, order of service, buffet/dessert signs, seating plans and more. Once the invitations are designed, these details are created to match the initial design style and colours.
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD SAVE-THE-DATES & WEDDING INVITATIONS BE SENT? AND WHEN SHOULD COUPLES BE GETTING IN TOUCH WITH YOU TO BEGIN THE DESIGN PROCESS?
In terms of the time it takes to design a personalised wedding stationery suite and have the finish printed invitations, it's best to get in touch at least 8 weeks prior to wanting to send the invites out. And as a general rule, it's best to send the save-the-dates around 8 months prior to the ceremony. Follow your save-the-dates with your formal invitations about 8 weeks before your RSVP date. If you choose to only send the formal invitation (and no save-the-date) it would be best to send these out 6 months prior to the wedding date.
WHY HAVE YOUR WEDDING STATIONERY DONE BY A GRAPHIC DESIGNER AND NOT JUST DO IT YOURSELF ONLINE?
As soon as “designer” is mentioned some assume "that's going to be expensive". Yet there are so many ways to save money; people are often surprised at how having a graphic designer can fit well into their budget. A graphic designer will be able to guide you according to your budget as to what paper, printing & design options will work best for you. Also, being creative is what designers do for a living. We have an eye for detail and can offer up some alternative ideas or embellish on your ideas helping you get the perfect stationery suite.
ANY OTHER STATIONERY ADVICE FOR WEDDING COUPLES?
From all the details you choose for your big day your invitation is the one detail that all you guests will definitely see. It is the first glimpse into the style of your wedding day. So, in saying this think of colours and details that are important to you that you want to include. Give yourself time, so you don't feel rushed going through the process. Also, I can do as much (from invite, names tags, twine, envelope etc) to as little (only an invite & you can do the rest) as you like.
I recently caught up with Jojo, the owner of Southern TAN in Invercargill. Jojo has tanned many of my beautiful brides over the last few years and it's through this awesome wedding industry that I have come to know this gorgeous woman!
When I asked Jojo if she'd be a guest on my blog for my Wedding Q & A series she insisted I come down for a spray tan because I've actually never ever had a spray tan before in my life and I had so many questions for her! I'll admit I was a little nervous about getting pretty much naked and standing there having my body sprayed by someone I'd just met - but Jojo made the whole process so easy and chatty, while at the same time being a total professional. Even for a spray tan novice I could tell Jojo knew all the tricks to a perfect tan! And the results were beautiful!
Everyone I know who has been to Jojo before has rave reviews for this lady. Not only is she a master at spray tanning but Jojo is a beautiful, bubbly person who is surrounded by good vibes. And I just love the backstory to Jojo's business so I'm excited to share it with you on the blog today!
JOJO, TELL ME HOW DID YOU GET INTO TANNING & HOW WAS ‘SOUTHERN TAN’ BORN?
Good question Heidi – firstly, I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d end up being a spray tanner! I left school & went straight into the NZ Army for years as an Infantry Soldier, then travelled and thought what now?! I knew I’d struggle with being a new mum and soldier doing tour of duties etc back in the Forces. Then when my husband Greig got a job opportunity in Southland eight years ago we went for it. One day I was chatting with my Mum about what I could do at home work-wise with two young children, and she suggested it. Boom! Southern TAN was born! I think mum’s exact words were “Darling you are so used to having a gun in your hand, swap it for a spray tan gun! Plus you are a lil’ OCD & you love to tan!” I booked myself onto a couple of spray tan courses but I wasn’t completely happy with the products so we started looking into making some of our own. We are very lucky we have family friends in the organic brewing business that helped us out!
WHAT IS YOUR VERY FAVOURITE PART ABOUT TANNING?
100% the clients & the banter we have! My tan room has a beautiful, private energy and I’m very grateful for the trust my clients put in me, plus seeing their faces with the tan results! I love being able to work from home & be there for my family. I’ve also made the most incredible friendships though this wee busy business!!
YOU USE ORGANIC, NATURAL PRODUCTS - TELL ME ABOUT THEM & WHY YOU USE THEM?
Yes! Delicious Southern TAN goodness! We use beetroot juice, aloe vera, black walnut, cocoa, manuka honey, kelp, witch hazel, vitamin C, etc and the finest organic DHA % agents. I have to be confident in the products we source and apply to my trusted clients - plus I’m breathing it in all day every day!
ARE THERE DIFFERENT SHADES OF TAN OR CHOICE OF HOW ‘TANNED’ YOU CAN GO? BECAUSE ALL YOUR TANS LOOK SUPER NATURAL!
Yes! Absolutely! Thank you! I’ll always discuss tan options & colours with the clients first. Sunkist, medium or dark are the general rule of thumbs – depending on the client’s skin tone & event they are tanning for. I can custom make the DHA % to the look they require & that will work for their skin tone.
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR BRIDES-TO-BE WHEN PLANNING TO GET A SPRAY TAN FOR THEIR WEDDING?
Definitely PREPARATION! Hydration, exfoliation, avoiding sun-burn & tan lines! I always give my clients preparation information when they contact me so we get the best results possible. I advise brides & bridal parties to spray tan with me 3 or 2 days before the big day – depending on their busy schedules, we’ll make it work!
ANY AFTER-TAN CARE INSTRUCTIONS? OR TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST FROM YOUR TAN?
Loving these questions Heidi! I give my clients heaps of information after their tan appointment – mainly keeping cool in summer months, avoiding water (rain is a tanners nightmare!), wearing dark loose clothes, showering off the spray tan residue at the discussed time, avoid using SLS (sodium laurente sulphate) products. And TONNES of moisturising!
Local florist Kate Stone is sharing her passion for wedding flowers and design on the blog today. One of my favourite bridal details of a wedding day is the flowers - there is something so beautiful about lovingly crafted bouquets & boutonnieres that just completes the look of a bridal party! And I've seen florals flow beautifully through to many other parts of the day; decorating the ceremony venue, on the cake and of course on table centrepieces - all adding to the style of the wedding. When I first started this Q&A series it was predominantly to bring advice & tips from other wedding vendors to brides-to-be that read the blog, but in the process of doing these blogs & interviewing these awesome vendors I am absolutely loving hearing their stories, how they found their way into the industry and what they're passionate about. Thank you so much Kate for taking the time to do this Q&A with me! x
HOW DID YOU GET INTO FLORAL DESIGN KATE?
Growing up my Mum always had a gorgeous garden and she would do up posies to take to her friends. We always had flowers in the house. Then I volunteered at a florist after I finished school and I loved it. I then went on to study Floristry in Christchurch, going on to work for my tutor which was a fabulous opportunity. I've been doing wedding flowers throughout Otago and Southland for the last ten years now. In addition to wedding flowers I also offer a wedding & event design service; from styling ceremonies to reception venues. I love what I do.
WHAT IS YOUR VERY FAVOURITE PART ABOUT WEDDING FLORALS?
Ahhh so many different parts. A bride giving me her ideas and just going for it, then seeing the excitement and happiness on the brides face on the day is just fab!
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR BRIDES TO BE WHEN IT COMES TO CHOOSING FLORALS FOR THEIR WEDDING DAY?
I recommend deciding on your wedding style and colours first (dresses, invitations, etc) and then choosing your flowers from there. Usually brides will come to me with ideas and a style in mind of what they are wanting. We then bounce ideas off each other and decide on a final design for florals.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SEASONAL AVAILABILITY?
This can be tricky but I source all of my flowers from the top markets in Christchurch and Auckland so they can usually get me most things. Most of the more common wedding flowers are grown in a hot house and can outlive their season.
WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR GETTING BOUQUETS TO LOOK THEIR BEST ON THE DAY?
I try to deliver the bouquets as close to the ceremony as possible so they remain fresh. I recommend the brides bouquet to be delivered when the photographer arrives as they will want to photograph them with the bridal party and on their own. Keep the flowers in water in a cool place on the day, usually in the kitchen, scullery or garage is good. And dry the stems with a towel once taken out of water to avoid any stem stains on your dresses.