First impressions are key, and it’s always special receiving a beautifully written envelope through your letterbox giving a hint of what’s in store for the rest of the celebration.
Traditionally, calligraphy has been mainly used for invitations, but now it is incorporated into many ‘on the day’ aspects at weddings and parties. Our recent favourites include marble coaster place names at a wedding at the V&A gallery in London, or personalised fans for favours at a beach party in St Tropez.
While it may be an ancient art form, the styles to choose from have rapidly increased with the popularity of a wide range of new scripts pairing the classic techniques with modern, casual, personality-filled styles.
The consistency and precision of Italic hand and Copperplate can bring a more formal look to an event. Italic hand is elegant without being fussy, and you can’t go wrong choosing this classic, timeless script. The simplicity makes this style very versatile – we have found this script works equally well for personalising traditional wedding invitation suites to writing names on slate placemats at a Woodland Themed Bar Mitzvah.
Modern styles embrace imperfections and can add unique character to your event. They are flowy in nature, with flourishes that have a fun, bouncy vibe. This was perfect for playful placement cards we made for a 50th birthday party last year.
At a recent dinner held in a warehouse, the contemporary calligraphy really enhanced the décor and theming, which was all based on one piece of artwork chosen from the client’s favourite artist. Guests found their table in the colourful envelopes displayed on the placement table, and clear acrylic cards with their names on were at each place setting.
There are so many modern calligraphers who each have perfected their own individual lettering style. A good place to start when searching for a calligrapher that suits your personal taste is by looking through Pinterest and Instagram, which are full of great photographs of calligraphy and chic ways of including it in your event.
It’s the small details that often make the biggest impact, and handwritten calligraphy is a great way to add a personal touch. From the moment a guest receives their invitation, carried through to the details on the day, handwritten calligraphy is definitely a way to impress your guests.
Turning 40 is a huge milestone, some say life begins at 40 so why not embrace this notion and throw an extravagant party to make this important occasion memorable.
Don’t take it too seriously; it is a great chance to be over the top with wacky ideas and a time to go big on the theming. Whether you make an entrance on a heliosphere, serve shot skis from an ice bar and cover Claridge’s ballroom with snow, or book a private performance by a world-class comedian, there are endless possibilities!
When choosing your theme, think about the things you love whether it’s a special place where memories were forged or a film that has defined your life. Start with the most basic of concepts, a sliver of an idea, and run with it – before you know it you will have an array of unique ideas to really make your 40th as outstanding as it should be.
Once you choose a party theme, the rest of the decision-making process becomes much simpler and lots of fun.
We have found that 40th birthday parties are a time to be wild; find your inner child and don’t hold back. At a Wes Anderson-themed rave guests arrived to giant inflatable tentacles breaking out of the windows, and were greeted by Lobby Boys at The Grand Budapest Hotel. Guests could enjoy a warming curry whilst sat on the train in Darjeeling and by ducking through a Fantastic Mr Fox rabbit hole, they were immersed into a Life Aquatic scene.
We love creating an environment full of secrets and surprises, giving a multi-dimensional and faceted experience, leaving guests walking away sharing their own narrative of the night.
New Year and newly engaged? With the initial whirlwind of excitement, and with January firmly setting in, it’s time to get wedding planning!
Where to begin? With what seems like an abundance of decisions to be made, the process can often appear like a daunting task at first. But by conquering just a few key early decisions to kick-start the process, the task can start to seem so much simpler, leaving room to get down to more important matters – enjoying your engagement and the wedding planning process.
The 3 crucial elements to set as a priority are:
– A church service, a civil ceremony or a something more relaxed in the great outdoors?
– An existing venue or a marquee in a garden? Think about location, guest numbers, and the overall style you’re looking to create.
– Photography provides a lasting memory of your big day, and this is an aspect that gets booked up quickly. Every photographer has a different style, so do some research, compare previous work and pick the one that really suits you.
Once you have the above sorted and a date firmly in place, it’s time to get into the fun stuff – invitations, food, drink, entertainment, styling, and the all-important wedding dress.
With the more time-conscious aspects already sorted, you can go at a more relaxed pace, enjoy the process and keep stress levels to a minimum.
Get creative and gather inspiration from many sources – wedding blogs, Instagram, Pinterest – there is a world of ideas out there so pin, screenshot and save anything and everything. What at first may appear a mismatch of images will soon start to take shape and the unique nature of your wedding will grow from there. You’ll soon have a clear idea of what you want (and equally don’t want) for your wedding!
There are many brilliant caterers in the UK, and many clients’ first question is who to choose who should cater for their party or wedding. We always start by asking our clients how important the food and service is to them. For most clients, it’s a key element of their party.
For those who love their food, the first stop is to look at the caterer’s instagram account, where you can see real photos, which give away more than generic website images. You can see the style and presentation of the food, and also how the food is lined up back-of-house which gives an indication of how efficient the service might be. Most caterers will offer a tasting, which is definitely the best part of party planning, and is usually offered free of charge if you subsequently book the caterer.
The next question is to ask your caterer about where they hire the table settings from (glasses, plates, cutlery and linen). Our clients ask us questions like “Should we go for linen hemstitch napkins?” (Answer: always); or “Should we choose a coloured water glass?” (Answer: if your flowers and linen are neutral, a coloured water glass can lift the look of the table as a whole, and adds a chic touch”). There are some fabulous new companies like Classic Crockery who are challenging the traditional stallwart, Jones Hire. Or you can buy bespoke plates from Laboratorio Paravicini in Italy, which you can keep after the party.
Finally, service is as important as the food. Therefore, always ask your caterer for a breakdown of the number of waiting staff and bar staff. Both food and wine should be served so effortlessly, that for your guests, the party flows entirely smoothly.
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This summer we were working in the South of France with the fantastic florist Wayne Riley. Wayne and Jeff created a stunning array of colour pops on each table, but most of all we loved his floral ceiling which hung above the guests and created a talking point, as guests were blown away by his design. There is a growing trend for floral ceilings at the moment, which is a natural progression from the flowers walls of the last few years. If you’re looking fo something unique for your party, it’s a sure fire way to create an impact. Speak to your florist about which flowers they will use, and what kind of panels will support the installation. For St Tropez, we were battling the heat, so the flowers had to be fully watered, at the same time as making sure not to drip onto the guests during the party. With a growing group of inventive florists who are continually pushing the boundaries to create more interesting arrangements, we think that if want your party to look creative and to wow your guests, floral installations are the way forward.
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Wedding presents for guests are a special way of including and thanking your guests to commemorate the big day. Presents can reflect your individual style and interests and even underline who you are as a couple. Brides are increasingly coming up with original and unusual ways of surprising their guests with presents when they reach their table.Small presents are increasingly being used as place name ideas. Small gifts are also a wonderful way of breaking the ice with other guests and providing a table talking point. Decide whether the presents are intended to be keepsakes or for the moment. Anything to take away lends itself to being personalised, but practical in order for it to remain on display. Here are our favourite ideas to help you decide on the perfect present for your guests.
Personalised scented candles and soaps
Add to the theme of your wedding using candles or soaps with personalised containers or lids. Add simples boxes for ease of transportation.
Olive Oil, loose tea, honey, coffee, spices, jams, chutney
Foodie presents are always well received and lend themselves to being particularly personal to the couple. Choose flavours evocative of the wedding, or a special memory. Spices from the couples favourite food, or tea from travels or local jam or honey to the venue are lovely ways to include guests to the event.
Wine corks, matches, teaspoon, marble coaster, bottle opener key
Keepsakes that are practical are a wonderful to share the memorable date in the every day life of guests.
Mini plant pots, herbs and succulents
An elegant solution to guest presents are small plants. Mini pot plants are a striking enduring momento and we particularly love succulents with their stylish quality and unusual appearance which can be pared with gilded pots or for a more rustic look use terracotta pots and herbs.
Choose from classic penny sweets in stripey bags, local fudge or sophisticated coloured macarons for guests to enjoy after or during the evening. Add a label with the contents and a message.
Small personalised ceramics are a classic guest present and allow for painting of drawings and initials or even an imprint of the original wedding invitation.
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As the festivities are drawing to a close the Bride and Groom have one more milestone: the send off. Leaving the wedding is a momentous moment, and the departure is just as important as the arrival. Brides and Grooms are coming up with more and more inventive ways for their final flourish on their Big Day. Many couples chose to tie their departure into the overall theme of the wedding, whilst some prefer the unexpected.
The leaving of the newlyweds is often marked by an announcement or a special song, but we love a theatrical moment of fireworks to signify the end of the wedding. For a more contemporary approach, video projected light shows have added drama, and they are especially effective at enhancing picturesque venues. Fireworks or video projections with specially-composed music heighten the effect. Once the guests are gathered, the bride and groom have the opportunity to leave in a way that reflects their own unique style as a couple.
Here are our a few other favourite ideas of how to leave in style:
Tuktuk – Tuktuks have a certain romantic charm, especially when dressed with garlands of flowers. Perfect for destination weddings.
Classic Car – super sleek or super retro work. Some bride and grooms choose a make of car that holds sentimental value. If you hire one, make sure it is distinctive and reflects the theme of the wedding. We love the retro feel of a classic fiat 500 or a Citroen 2CV for vintage charm, ideal for a hint of France.
Finally for the wow factor couples might choose an elephant for a unforgettable, if slightly slower departure. Whether it is canoe, motorbike and side-car, or by helicopter, be sure to involve all the guests in the final moment and wave off the Bride and Groom with sparklers, glowsticks, confetti or bubbles!