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.