The Art of Letter Writing Revived

Have you noticed recently that there’s a letter writing revival going on? Yes people, pen and ink and beautiful paper are enjoying a renaissance. At Ananya it’s definitely a revival that we are absolutely crushing on. Who doesn’t love receiving a beautifully written note on gorgeous paper? We’ll take that over a text message any day.

Writing the Perfect Letter

"Now that handwriting is a choice, not a chore, and there is a premium on the unique rather than the infinitely reproducible, people are beginning to discover, or rediscover, the thrill of pen and ink.’" -  Daisy Goodwin, Sunday Times November 2014

When we say we love receiving a letter we do, of course, assume that the letter will be written on paper worthy of the effort involved in hand writing those precious words.

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For timeless elegance, think of heavyweight (at least 100 gsm) cream, ivory or white paper. Create something special with personalised monogrammed writing paper and envelopes. You just can’t go wrong. But, if you want colour, try envelopes lined with your favourite colour, or bold writing paper in contemporary colours. We love cobalt blue, hot cerise or deep emerald green; bright without running the risk of your recipient developing an instant migraine. If, like the team here at Ananya HQ, you’re a visual person, you might include a hand drawn artisan card as a lovely memento.

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Word Perfect

Finding the right words for a handwritten letter may seem like a gargantuan effort at first. And you’re right, it does take effort compared to a quickly fired off text or e-mail. When you write a handwritten letter what you’re actually saying is that you value the love and the friendship of the person that you’re writing to. You’ve taken the time to consider your words and you’ve taken pleasure in writing the letter. 

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Put Pen to Paper  

If you have barely picked up a pen since schooldays, using a ballpoint pen to write may come easier. At Ananya HQ we are big fans of fountain pens. Why? To write with a fountain pen is to experience a slower, more considered pace of life that has a frisson of romance associated with it. You can’t backspace or delete, so each and every word is considered and beautifully written.

And when it comes to receiving a handwritten notecard, what a joy it is to see something so special in the mailbox or on the mat by the front door. It’s akin to receiving a small exquisite gift, complete with the delicious anticipation of who it may be from. For our MD Vaishali, reading a handwritten letter or notecard from a friend or loved one is worthy of putting aside special time to read it. This isn’t the moment to read in a hurry, it’s time instead to find your favourite spot, sit back, relax and read.

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Whether you are a writer or a recipient, at Ananya we hope that you enjoy the art of letter writing. Please do let us know in the comments below.

 

Which Type of Wedding Stationery Will You Choose? An Essential Guide

So, it’s time to choose wedding stationery and all things gorgeous for your day! But, do you know your laser cut from your letterpress? No? Don’t worry, you aren’t expected to unless stationery and printing is your business! But, when it comes to your wedding, you want to be able to make the right choice. Read on for Ananya’s essential guide to wedding stationery types.

Letterpress

 Letterpress party invitation

Letterpress party invitation

Let’s start with Letterpress. It's the ‘Grand Dame’ of printing in that it’s one of the oldest stationery printing techniques in use. Essentially, letterpress is a ‘relief printing’ technique, in which the design is ‘raised’ on a metal plate. Using a printing press, an impression is made into the paper by pressing into it from one side. It’s usually done with ink but can also be without ink. If you run your hand across the finished print you can usually feel the indentations in the paper.

Letterpress printing is high in quality but is slower than other printing methods. For example, the printer has to place each letter of type into a special holder that they also have to place ‘mirror image’ to what the finished print will be.  In other words the type for the press has to be set left to right and upside down. Wow, that’s a lot of work!

Taking letterpress from assembly to proof and then to print is time consuming without a doubt. But, on the upside, it is lovely for a vintage style or traditional wedding. 

Screen printing

 Ananya''s 'Trio of Life' bespoke screen printed wedding stationery: parrot  Photography by  Fiona Kelly Photography

Ananya''s 'Trio of Life' bespoke screen printed wedding stationery: parrot

Photography by Fiona Kelly Photography

 Ananya's 'Trio of Life' screen printed bespoke wedding stationery: elephant  Photography by  Fiona Kelly Photography

Ananya's 'Trio of Life' screen printed bespoke wedding stationery: elephant

Photography by Fiona Kelly Photography

Screen printing is one of our favourite mediums of printing at Ananya. We love it! Many of our favourite designs, especially using metallics such as gold or silver, use the screen printing technique, including Mandala Love and Trio of Life.

In screen printing, ink is pressed through a mesh screen using a rubber blade or ‘squeegee’ to move across it and fill the open ‘windows’ with ink. When the blade is reversed back across, the screen touches the paper (or media) that’s being printed on to create your design.

 Ananya's 'Mandala Love' screen printed wedding stationery

Ananya's 'Mandala Love' screen printed wedding stationery

For Mandala Love, the screen printing for the delicate hand printed mandala motif required an exceptional level of technical skill. Ananya’s craftsmen had to print each piece four times no less; a single colour printed each time. Deep blue and gold are the feature colours of this design, with the deep blue printed first, followed by the gold elements of the mandala. Yellow was applied after that and finally cyan. Accurate positioning without overlap or gaps was critical to ensuring that each element of this intricate design printed perfectly. The design really pops with its vibrant colours and juxtaposition of matt and metallic elements. Only hand printed silk screen in our opinion at least gives that level of covetable artisanal quality.   

Offset printing

 Offset/Litho printed wedding invitation

Offset/Litho printed wedding invitation

In comparison to letterpress printing, offset printing is a more indirect print technique. It’s popular for big volume production, and is also known as ‘flat printing’ or ‘litho printing’. Offset, by the way, is just another way of saying ‘transferred’. So, essentially, images on metal plates are ‘offset’ to rollers (or rubber blankets). Once that’s done, the image is printed onto the paper or print media that you've chosen. The metal plates and paper (or other media) don’t come directly into contact with each other during the process.

Digital printing

 Digital printed floral wedding stationery

Digital printed floral wedding stationery

Modern, fast and accurate, digital printing is almost the polar opposite of letterpress! Digital printing uses tiny dots (a lot of them of course!) to create text and images. Digital printing is good for smaller quantities and is cost effective. What are the disadvantages? It’s likely that there'll be limits to the type of paper that you can use. This technique tends to suit thinner paper styles and quality can be variable dependant on the printer. Digital printing is also not suitable for accurately printing metallics – for example, you will not get a shiny bright gold or silver but instead a duller brown gold or grey silver.

Laser cut

 Laser cut wedding stationery

Laser cut wedding stationery

When it comes to Laser cutting it’s a whole different world of precision and design. Creating and cutting out paper into different shapes isn’t new of course. In China they create ‘Jianzhi’, intricate symmetrical designs created with knives and scissors. And who hasn’t created their very own ‘origami garland’ as a child? Laser cutting definitely moves those hand created designs on a few millennia! Fast and accurate, laser cutting enables the production of intricate designs on an industrial scale.

How is laser cutting done? It’s a non-contact process utilising a laser to cut the material i.e. paper. Directing the laser beam through a nozzle to the media or material, a combination of heat and pressure creates the cutting action. Laser cutting is popular for the modern and vintage bride. It's good for delicate lace designs and works well with 3D designs such as cityscapes or representations of your wedding venue.  

Embossing and Debossing

 Embossed notecard envelope

Embossed notecard envelope

Embossing produces a raised textured image or text. But, unlike letterpress, it uses two engraved metal moulds to create your chosen design. The moulds used are often copper or brass, designed to fit into each other. During printing, the raised mould forces the paper into the recessed mould and creates the embossed impression of your design, as you can see on our envelopes for our notecards and personal stationery.

Debossing creates an indent in the paper rather than a raised design. Both of these techniques work well with a personal monogram design. Another of Ananya’s favourites! 

Engraving

 Engraved monogram wedding invitation

Engraved monogram wedding invitation

 Engraved personal stationery

Engraved personal stationery

And finally, we must mention engraving. It’s perhaps the most formal and classic of the printing styles for wedding stationery. It’s also one of the most expensive! During engraving an etched metal plate is used to create the design. When pressed into the back of the paper it creates raised lettering on the front which you can feel and leaves a slight indent on the back. The printer will apply ink to the raised lettering afterwards. Impressive to receive, we love luxurious engraved stationery at Ananya.

Which type do you think you are? Whatever you choose, Ananya would love to help you design your perfect wedding stationery. Say hello at info@ananyacards.com  and let’s talk!  

Vaishali x

Countdown to Christmas: The Definitive Stationery Guide for Christmas & the Winter Season

Yes, we know we’ve only just got passed Halloween and all that. But, that also means that the party season is upon us, as is Christmas. Whatever winter wonderland you may visit, or Christmas cocktail parties you may throw, you need to start planning now. Here at Ananya HQ we have inspiring invites, elegant stationery, festive fun and more. Read on for our definitively divine survival guide for the winter season…

Your first party invite for Christmas has dropped through the letter box. What next? 

First of all, celebrate the fact that you’ve got great friends who take the time to send you a proper invite! Now, if they’re really on the ball, your host will have included an RSVP card with the invite. No? Don’t worry. Just send them an RSVP card of your own. A handwritten note to accept or decline will do just fine. It’s extra special when written on beautiful quality writing paper. Want to push the boat out a little? Invest in bespoke RSVP cards that you can use for any occasion.

You’re throwing a winter cocktail party for friends and colleagues:

For a perfect start to your celebrations, how about a bespoke cocktail party invite? Great Gatsby themes are always popular for cocktail parties.

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Or, if you want something less ‘shiny’, how about a more restrained 30’s theme in cool tones of cream and black? 

At Ananya HQ we love colour! Our favourite for something a little different is a rich deep red for ‘a night to remember’...

You’re a guest at a formal dinner party and want to be remembered for all the right reasons:

It’s easy these days to swap details over smartphones. But, how about investing in a personal card? We’re not talking your corporate business card here, but something altogether more elegant. Reminiscent of a more refined age, a simple embossed card says everything. With just your name and contact details, express your personality through font and colour.

You’re going to treat yourself to the perfect gift from you to you. What will it be? 

Start a trend amongst friends to use ink rather than e-mail! Indulge in a fine set of monogrammed, personalised stationery. Choose from fine paper and simple envelopes. Or maybe opt for personal notecards and envelopes lined in your favourite colour.

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Maybe you want to channel your inner artist?

Our Colour Me range of cards to 'colour in' is just perfect. Ranging from hello to thank you, they’re light-hearted and fun.

And what do we think at Ananya HQ are the colours for the Christmas season?

Whilst the classic elements of gold, silver and white remain, its natural elements that dominate this season, whether it's a winter wedding invitation or party invite. With earthy organic colours and textures, think deep green, sage and plum. Highlights come from accents of copper bound together with organic textures. Think of the warmth of wool, wood and velvet.

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Feeling inspired? Let’s create something special. Contact us today on +44 (0)20 7242 1877 or info@ananyacards.com to discuss your design ideas. Winter and Christmas never looked so good!

Until next time,

Vaishali x

 

 

Wedding Stationery Trends for 2017

These are the 2017 trends Ananya has seen dominating and inspiring the wedding stationery scene. 

Tribal Roots

Pattern is the key here, in abstract shapes and distinct, geometric designs. Choose a tribe that most fascinates you; an Aztec tribe with patterns incorporating lots of squares, diamonds, chevrons and zigzags in bold, vivid colours; an African tribe with a safari theme with a black and white arrow pattern, or an Indian tribal paisley henna pattern – animal lovers can have an elephant or tiger in the background.

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Captivating Crystals

Geodes of various colours and shapes, and crystals and rock formations have stolen the limelight in 2017. Slices of agate with their beautiful and distinct patterns come in both vibrant and soft colours. Designs of geodes and crystals with their rich texture can be incorporated into stationery such as place cards, table numbers and even envelope liners. Invitations can showcase the angles and facets of crystals in soft and plush water colour, while the unique layers of agate slices can be accented by outlining them in gold, silver or copper.

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Maximalist Fiesta

In contrast to the minimalist, ‘less is more’ more concept, the ever growing maximalist trend of ‘the more the better’ has  continued to gain traction in 2017. This trend is about flamboyance, freestyle designs and wild abandon. It’s about drama - bold, unusual colour combinations of contrasting and clashing patterns. Intricate and ornate designs are built up in layers; different styles and eras are juxtaposed. The maximalist style can be a real feast for the eyes.

Colourful geometric wedding invitation_ananyacards.com

Brushed Metallic

With streaks for a brushed on feel, and a texture that glows with a soft shimmer of silk, the brushed metallic look is all about understated opulence. Gold and silver combined with white will add a touch of classic elegance, and copper combined with blush will give it a soft romantic and warm glow to the stationery. Whatever combination you choose; it is sure to be a winner.

Watercolours

Watercolours are very versatile as they work well with both a soft, muted and romantic colour scheme as well as a bold and vibrant one. Dipped or ombré, watercolours can be used as a background but can also be used to great effect in floral designs.

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Cacti and Succulents

Whether it’s a saguaro cactus or a desert cactus, succulents and cacti of every shape and size seem to have captured our imagination and become a trend that has truly flowered in 2017. They come in various shades of green, and can make a lovely backdrop to the wedding invitation. Big or small, with their bold and bright flowers, they add life to your stationery and bring the outdoors to your wedding theme.

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Greenery – Pantone Colour of the Year 2017

In response to the stressful and challenging world we find ourselves in, Pantone proposes an antidote, a haven of calm, reassurance and revitalisation as represented by Greenery, its colour of the year 2017. Nature is that anchor, with its vitality and optimism in spring when it bursts forth in all its glory. Its lushness and beauty in summer allow us to re-connect with our sense of well-being, to re-charge our batteries. A fresh, yellow-green shade, Greenery is well suited to spring and summer weddings, whether the setting is outdoors or indoors. As a colour symbolic of balance, harmony and renewal, we at Ananya think it is a great colour for weddings and will combine well with many other colours.  

Brides-to-be, these trends give you a wide range of choices to select the colour scheme that perfectly suits your style preference for your wedding stationery. Please share with us which of the trends have you found most exciting and appealing.  

Pantone greenery wedding invitation_ananyacards.com

10 Tips for a Successful City Wedding

When it comes to planning a successful city wedding, you’re almost overwhelmed with choice. So, good planning and ‘insider information’ is essential for your dream day. London or Paris, Manchester or Milan, you can have a fabulous city wedding.

1.              The Venue

First up, you need somewhere to hold the ceremony and have a great party afterwards. We spoke to Lisa of Carmela Weddings for her take on city weddings. She has oodles of experience and 'insider knowledge'. Says Lisa, “when you're on the hunt for a great city wedding venue, we recommend thinking beyond the standard registry office. Albeit, there are a couple of standout registry offices too! The swift popularity of urban weddings has created amazing choices for stylish wedding couples. There are now warehouses, rooftops and railway arches that are ready to work with you to create a fantastic unique wedding”.

We couldn’t agree more! But as Lisa also mentions, if your style isn't 'industrial', take a look at boutique hotels. In London try Town Hall Hotel. It’s vibrant and gorgeous. Whilst in Manchester for example there’s Great St John Street hotel. In the heart of the city, it’s small but perfectly formed. Wherever you are, there’s bound to be a gorgeous boutique style hotel. 

We couldn’t resist asking Lisa if she has a favourite city venue. Says Lisa "I have so many favourites, but there is a new city wedding venue that has recently caught my eye. It’s God’s Own Junkyard, which is what it says on the tin! It’s a warehouse full of neon scrap, which sounds odd but is the epitome of city wedding cool!”

2.              Venue Style

Do you want sophisticated style, urban chic or urban boho? Or do you hanker after old style glamour and a grand affair?

Lisa at Carmela Weddings recommends a bold approach if you favour an industrial setting. Bring on the eclectic tables, the chairs that you love and a statement bar! It'll certainly give you that edgy city style look. Fantastic!

It’s essential to also think about lighting. Lisa says “Festoons and Edison Bulbs look amazing draped down from open warehouse ceilings". The exposed pipes and brick walls (crumbling or otherwise) are a great backdrop. And if you’re going for old style glamour, Art Deco style is perfect in a city setting.  You only need look as far as The Savoy in London for inspiration! 

3.              A city wedding: Getting from ‘A to B’

When choosing a city venue, don’t forget to think about your guests and how they will get there. Of course, one of the great reasons to have a city wedding is the ease of public transport. But, that public transport may not necessarily suit your guests. None of us at Ananya would want to hack through the city on a public bus in 'wedding finery'!

It’s a real help to guests if they know the best route and transport options available. Be sure to include buses, tube stations, cab services and even chauffeur services. You might even consider whether you put on transport for everyone.

As for your own transport, ring the changes with something like a motorbike and side car. Granted that this type of transport works better with a short bridal dress or trousers! Are you more traditional? Go for a black cab (or a yellow cab if it’s New York). 

4.              Choosing Stationery for a city wedding

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 Photos by  Amanda Karen Photography  Stationery by  Ananya

Photos by Amanda Karen Photography Stationery by Ananya

When choosing stationery for a city wedding, let the city provide inspiration! Think geometric shapes, metallic elements and bold statement designs that are simple yet striking. For the font, how about something Art Deco style? It’s perfect for settings like The Savoy in London. And, Art Deco can look just as fantastic in an industrial warehouse. Ananya's bold copper and geometric design is beautiful and was recently featured on B.Loved. Want things a little less structured? Try a handwritten font in bold ink and a watercolour design

5.              Aisle style: The Dress and The Suit

For a city wedding it's time to embrace your 'inner fashionista'. We love the opulent and glamorous gowns at The State of Grace . But, if you want something completely different why not work the Bianca Jagger vibe? At Ananya we love designer Caroline Herrera’s trouser suit for spring 2018.

And for the groom, it’s time to look city sharp. Try fabulous groom style at Cad and the Dandy.

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6.              Fabulous Flowers

Whatever the setting, it's important that the flowers aren’t 'lost' in or overpower the room. Think perspective. For example if you’re using country flowers in an industrial setting, show them off as big and bold lavender plants in large terracotta urns. At Ananya we love the idea of masses of peonies. They’re a favourite of every urbanite on our team!

7.              Photography

When it comes to city weddings think iconic architecture, light, and urban life. Don’t be afraid to get ‘graffiti’ couple shots. Or, if you want something more sedate, talk a walk through the city streets – you won’t believe how many people will cheer and clap their congratulations. And, if you’re feeling adventurous, stop by a coffee bar and let the photographer work their magic whilst you take a break.

8.              Food for thought

Think catering that reflects the venue you’re in and your personal preferences. For example, a cocktail party at a riverside location is stylish and contemporary. And don’t forget the cake!  Source a local supplier nearby who can bring your ideas to life. In London we love Cakes by Krishanthi and Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium

9.              Let’s Drink

 Photo by   Fiona Kelly Photography  Stationery by  Ananya

Photo by  Fiona Kelly Photography Stationery by Ananya

Drinks are the fun thing to organise for you and your guests. Simplicity is champagne and a selection of wines. But, for real style, offer a range of city cool cocktails, alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

10.              And one last tip for a successful city wedding…

Let the city you’ve chosen to get married in inspire you!

 Stationery by  Ananya

Stationery by Ananya

Stationery by Ananya | Flowers by Ladybird Flowers | Cakes and cookies by Elizabeth's Cake Emporium

 

Choosing a Stationery Theme for your Event

Whether your event is a summer cocktail party, an anniversary or a grand wedding, choosing a stationery theme is meant to be fun and exciting. But as with most things, good planning is essential to getting the look and feel of your event right.

So, here are Ananya’s top tips for choosing the right theme for your event.

What’s the occasion?

Seems obvious but the type of event that you’re having and how you structure or design that event will have a big influence on choosing a stationery theme. The key is to know how formal the occasion will be. It will guide you with the structure of the design, typography, font and words.

 At Ananya we design stationery for all sorts of occasions, so here are a few of our ideas for different events:

Formal black tie event

We love to see stationery for formal events designed on crisp heavyweight paper, using classic colours and typography. It gives ‘gravitas’ and immediately let’s people know that this is a ‘grand event’. A great example is from Julie and Zak's wedding in Jersey.

Garden party

A garden party immediately conjures up summer days, green lawns and English flowers. At Ananya we have a range of floral stationery designs that embrace tea roses, cornflowers and everything in between!

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Teenager birthday celebration/coming of age

In many cultures, this is a serious event. For example, a 1st birthday in Asian cultures or a bar mitzvah/bat mitzvah in Jewish cultures. But it’s definitely a time for celebration and lots of fun. Invitations that are light hearted and embrace the jubilant nature of the party are a great idea. Think bold designs that embrace fun.

Intimate elopement (and ‘after party’)

I guess you might be asking yourself why an elopement needs stationery. Good question! Well, there is still the matter of witnesses and maybe you want to invite them to run away too? And when you come home to face the music you might just want to appease everyone by throwing a grand party to celebrate. Wouldn’t you agree?

Pearl anniversary

A pearl anniversary is perhaps less well known than silver, ruby or golden. But, at Ananya we love anything to do with pearls! We think it’s the perfect opportunity to embrace the precious pearl in your designs.

Who’s invited?

How many people you invite will influence cost and thus your theme, to a certain extent. The age range of your guests can also influence your choice of theme. An invite to a party to celebrate a child’s 1st birthday will be quite different to an invite to an elopement ‘after party’. Or at least you would like to hope so!

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 Photgraph by Holly Clark Photography

Photgraph by Holly Clark Photography

Colour me impressed…

Is there a colour or cultural theme to the day? For example, is it a golden wedding anniversary or a multicultural wedding? With Indian, Asian or multicultural weddings there may be restrictions on certain colours due to cultural requirements. For more information on this aspect take a look at Ananya’s article on Multicultural Wedding Stationery. http://secretweddingblog.com/multicultural-wedding-stationery-by-ananya-cards/

Most importantly, what’s your personal style? Are you flamboyant and colourful or more reserved but with a love of colour.  How will that influence your theme choice? Maybe you are more comfortable with a simple monochrome palette?

What do you need to include?

For a wedding you may need the whole range of stationery. This will likely include invites, RSVP cards, thank you cards, and an order of service, menu, place cards and seating plans; whereas for an informal garden party you may just want to limit things to an invite, RSVP, menu and place cards.

All this will influence your choice of stationery theme.

And finally:

Where will your design inspiration come from?

Is your event in an iconic space or building? Do you want design inspiration to come from your life and the key events that have brought you to where you are now? Or maybe you want it to reflect who you are, where you’re from and where you want to be. When Ananya celebrated its 10th Anniversary in 2016 we celebrated with diamonds! After all a 10th anniversary is something to really celebrate and diamonds are still a girl’s best friend, we’ll have you know!

We hope that you have fun choosing your theme and have a great celebration!

Love what you see on Ananya? Drop the team a line at info@ananyacards.com  and let’s talk about the design vision that you have for your event!

Vaishali x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trend Alert: The Monogram

The monogram it seems is the personal ‘logo’ of the moment. From handbags to shirt cuffs and shoes, and pretty much anything else, the monogram is ‘on trend’. Want to know more? Read on for our delightful details of how to embrace this discerning trend.

Monogram: The Art of a Personal Marque

Never had a monogram? Not sure what it is or what all the fuss is about? Or maybe like us, when you first think of a monogram you connect it with the ‘old world’? Or, in a contemporary setting as something that’s reserved for upmarket hotel towels. Where once a monogram would have adorned a ‘seal’ or signet ring in a contemporary world, a monogram is your personal marque. It’s your way of defining who you are and a way of standing out from the ‘digital crowd’.

Be big and bold or delicate and discreet, monograms are definitely having their moment. Not convinced? Well, take your cue from fashion trends.  How cool is Rae Feather’s monogrammed frayed Panama hat? Or maybe the stylish Monogram Stripe Fray Denim Slide is more your thing? It’s a personalised look from head to toe (but we would recommend that you don’t overdo it!).

When you choose to have a monogram, you’re making a bold personal statement. And, many of our clients at Ananya choose a monogram to mark a life event. Our monogrammed wedding stationery is a beautiful example of that. And, as with everything in this mad, wonderful world, we do get unusual requests from time to time. Intrigued? Well, just between you and us, it's a secret! After all, we do value our client’s confidentiality. 

Whatever the reason for a monogram, there's a plethora of design options to choose from. So, although initials or a family crest are popular, you can always choose a less formal design. It might be a favourite flower or discreet monogram of a favourite pet. How gorgeous would a tiny dog or a blousy rose look, embroidered onto a shirt cuff? Whatever design you choose, it can represent your entire lifestyle.

Here at Ananya HQ we’ve come up with a list of our favourite ways to apply a monogram:

Social stationery: every smart home should have a social stationery ‘wardrobe’. Naturally, it includes monogrammed writing paper and note cards. For social occasions, the fashion forward amongst us might swap their business card for a monogrammed calling card.  

Bath linen and robes: head for the beach with a stripy monogrammed beach towel. Come home to relax in a monogrammed bath robe. How indulgent!

Monogrammed luggage: this is the ultimate luxury, redolent of a golden age. We can almost imagine ourselves boarding the Queen Mary, bound for New York. Heading for the First Class lounge at Heathrow will just have to do.

Win a Custom-Designed Monogram from Ananya

We’re nothing if not generous here at Ananya, and we’d love for you to have your own monogram. So, we’re delighted to offer you the opportunity to win a custom-designed monogram. Created by our talented design team, it's worth £200. And, your monogram comes complete with digital artwork! Fabulous, don’t you think?

All you have to do to enter is like this blog and share it across your own social media space, using the social share icons. We will choose a winner at random on 31 August. We will announce the winner on Facebook and Instagram.

Our founder Vaishali Shah says: “In a world where everything seems defined by passwords, having a monogram is something that’s reassuringly personal and unique to you". 

We hope that you enjoyed this little foray into the world of monograms. Good luck with entering the competition!

How to Incorporate Watercolours into a Spring/Summer Wedding

Thoughts of a spring or summer wedding immediately conjure up dreamy scenes...........

Pretty spring colours are illuminated against a blue sky, enhanced by a fluffy white cloud or two. People drink pink champagne or sip summer cocktails on a terrace with a fantastic view. It’s a sense of warmth and joy that envelopes you. Even if the reality sometimes doesn’t match the dream!

What better way to evoke the sense of summer than with a beautiful watercolour theme for your wedding day. ‘Watercolours’ are pigments suspended in a water based solution, an ancient form of art that has existed for centuries. By their nature they are translucent, beautiful and luminous.  

So what do you need to think about when considering watercolours for your wedding?

First of all embrace the colours of nature! Think palettes of bold yellow, blue and lilac. Or, pretty colourwashes of the palest green, blue or pink. Watercolours create a celebration that feels like an endless summer, whatever the weather.

And, of course, this palette of colours evokes the Pantone Colour of the Year 2017, Greenery. Here’s what Pantone say about Greenery:

'Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew......Greenery is nature’s neutral.'

So, without further ado here are our tips on how to have the perfect watercolour wedding.

Which weddings works best with a watercolour theme?

Pretty country, coastal or riverside weddings spring to mind. They’re chic, but with a bohemian edge. But, if you want watercolours for your wedding then have them, they are utterly gorgeous!

Watercolour Wedding Stationery

At Ananya we have designed a range of beautiful watercolour stationery for weddings. It's big on pretty and your guests will covet it, right from the moment they receive their save the date card.  

We love the design of bright green cacti against a yellow background for Aryan and Shivani. It's definitely fun! But perhaps you want something more romantic for your day? How about the turquoise colourwash that we designed for Richard and Julie? Oh, and we can’t forget our personal favourite. Fall in love with pretty poppies and lilacs painted against a simple white background. 

Do take a look at our collection; we know that you’ll love it as much as we do!

Watercolour Wedding Flowers

We see watercolour weddings as having delicate flower arrangements and simple bouquets.  You don't need big bold statement flowers! Think instead about the flowers that represent spring and summer. Freesias, blowsy roses, poppies and lilac are perfect. And maybe even use a few pretty daisies. Bring it all together with simple greenery such as rosemary or eucalyptus.

Watercolour Wedding Table Settings

When it comes to table settings, a beautifully presented table is an absolute must. For a watercolour theme wedding it's about simple and pretty. We imagine a table that nestles in its surroundings, perhaps even 'al fresco'! (Not for the faint hearted in the UK!).

Simple white or cream pretty china is a perfect backdrop for watercolours. The only embellishment perhaps is from ‘lace’ or ‘ribbon’ edge decoration. 

Glassware is simple but colours such as blush pink work well, whilst cutlery is simple silver or a soft gold. All are beautiful elements that work with the colours of nature. And of course even more so when lit up in the evening by soft candlelight.

Love the idea of a watercolour theme for your wedding? At Ananya we love to work with couples who want something special and personal. Do give us a call today on +44 (0)20 7242 1877 or e-mail us on info@ananyacards.com

 

 

 

 

 

Launching the latest addition to our wedding range: The Mandala Love Collection

Ananya's alluring Mandala Love range featuring an eye-catching combination of intricate detail and rich, vibrant colours creates spectacular stationery to wow your wedding guests.

blue and gold mandala inspired wedding stationery

The word mandala literally means circle in the ancient Indian scripture, Sanskrit. It is a symbol of the universe derived from ancient Hindu and Buddhist culture. Mandalas represent harmony, peace and union, which is why they are perfectly suited to weddings - a joyful occasion when the ultimate union is formed.

The mandala pattern can be found in the natural world around us ­– in snowflakes, dandelions and sunflowers, spiders’ webs and the solar system itself; incorporating this iconic motif into your wedding day stationery, is a way of connecting with nature. The mandala motif is also found in Western architecture – most predominantly in stained glass windows.

The Mandala Love collection is at the forefront with the growing design trend for statement, geometric patterns. It bridges the gap between the old and the new, thereby appealing to both traditional and modern weddings. Whether you are a multicultural couple with a love for Asian design or you simply want a wedding invite that exudes charisma, the Mandala Love collection is the one for you.

pink gold lime mandala inspired wedding stationery suite

The stunning design in blue is hand printed using a silk screen, which is a process of great technical precision. Ananya’s skilled craftsmen print each emblem four times, layering the colours as they go. The mandalas must be perfectly aligned to prevent any overlap or gaps and keep a clean, crisp edge. By using silk screen printing, the Ananya team can ensure the work they produce is of optimum vibrancy – creating incredible stationery with prints that pop from the paper. The bold colours not only provide the promise of summer, but also the promise of a fun-filled, lively wedding day.

mint green save the date mandala inspired wedding stationery

Have you noticed any mandala patterns in nature? Which design from the collection is your favourite?

 

Congratulations On Your Engagement. What's Next?

So congratulations.  He's popped the question and you're getting married. You may be already sporting a shiny new engagement ring on your finger. Making plans, reading wedding magazines and sifting through the Internet for bridal inspiration.

There's a lot to do.  But what should you be thinking about right now and what can wait until later?

Here's a list of 10 things that you should be considering from the word go. (And if you're a bride-to-be and have any tips to add, please let us know by adding a comment in the box below.)

What To Do When You Get Engaged

  • Book a venue. If you want to, you can hold your nerve and book a venue very last minute but really, all the best venues get booked up well in advance, particularly on Saturdays in the summer months. Remember it can be cheaper to get married on a Wednesday and also you may find more availability for your chosen venue in the winter months.
  • Consider using an online wedding planning tool which will help you to sort out your guestlist, budget and to do list. You can also find wedding planning tools as an app, so you can get organised whilst on the move.
  • Once you've set a date, you should also book a photographer.  Have a look at some wedding blogs of real weddings to see the style of photography that suits you.  Reportage is very popular just now but you may want something a little more traditional and old school.
  • Ask your friends if they'll be your bridesmaids.  They'll need to put the date in their diaries!
  • Send out save-the-date cards. If you're getting married in the summer, or at Christmas, people have an annoying habit of being away on holiday!  Ananya has some beautiful save the date cards and invitations to choose from. 
  • Pinterest is a fabulous place to set up a moodboard to plan your wedding.  You can make boards of wedding dresses, wedding cakes, shoes, bridesmaid dresses, venues ... it's great fun, addictive and best of all, it gathers all your thoughts together in one place.
  • Okay. The dress.  You may already have ideas of how you'd like to look but all the top designers say that you should really keep an open mind.  Try on a dress you may not have considered and it may surprise you.   If you want to save some money, keep an eye out for wedding dress designer sample sales which can save you hundreds of pounds on your dream dress.
  • Book your caterer. As before, the good caterers book up in advance and by booking ahead, you'll find you have a lot more choice in the matter.

Perhaps most importantly of all, remember to enjoy planning your wedding! It's a wonderful time, so don't get stressed out about it.  Just relax and try to stay calm.

 Ananya wedding stationery

Ananya wedding stationery

Have you any wedding planning tips to share with us?  Any advice you found invaluable?  Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Credits: Top image via Pinterest; Mint and peach image by Victoria Grech Photography with styling by Pocketful of Dreams and stationery by Ananya.

Creative Documentary Wedding Photography: Capturing Your Special Moments

We are delighted to share with you a guest blog on aspects of documentary wedding photography as explained by Kevin Scott-Wood of Scott-Wood Photography. Kevin is a creative documentary wedding photographer whose work Ananya admires, and with whom Ananya has collaborated, including contributing a guest blog on their website. Here Kevin answers some questions on his approach to documentary wedding photography that will give you some interesting insights and information.

Having been exposed to different cultures from a very young age through your travels, has your understanding of diverse cultures influenced your photography? Does it help you in how you capture memorable moments in multicultural weddings or weddings of other cultures?

Travel definitely broadens the mind. I think by living amongst different cultures it’s given me a perspective on how important it is to understand cultural etiquette. When it comes to weddings in other cultures, it’s helped me understand when to photograph and when not. A great example is when I photographed an Anglo-Japanese wedding. The bride was going to wear a traditional Japanese bridal Kimono for the first ceremony. She explained to me that the first layer of the Kimono is the equivalent of an undergarment. I was very privileged to be invited to witness and photograph the Kimono dressing ceremony, but I was discreet and respectful in terms of what I photographed. Respect of cultures is SO important………..

You are quoted as saying “I’ll work in a way that will inspire you to be yourself, capturing for you the stunning images that you dreamed of and that will make your family and friends go WOW………just as I have for many other couples." Can you give us an example, perhaps taking one wedding, of how you did that?

I photographed a particularly joyous wedding this summer in Cambridge that I think sums up how I work. It was completely documentary style and I was just able to capture the story of Robyn and Jeremy’s day freely and creatively. They gave me the freedom to do what I do best. And if that means I occasionally have to hang perilously from a bridge to get the shot that I want, I can do it. The results are gorgeous and here’s a snippet of what Robyn and Jeremy said:

On the day you embraced every challenge - from climbing up to balconies, to jumping on and off punts, and to leaning over bridges - it was clear that you would go to great lengths to get the best shots for us!.......... we felt totally relaxed and didn't have to worry about posing.

 When the pictures arrived we were astounded. We don't just have pictures of our wedding day - we have the story of our wedding told in pictures!

You managed to capture every emotion; from laughter to tears of joy. The composition of each picture is perfect - every picture tells a story. 

Do you do any research on the couple and their background before the big day, especially if they are from a different culture, to help you know the significant moments to capture?

I’ll always do my research! Some of that is done via the pre-wedding questionnaire that my couples fill in, whilst other information comes through just getting to know each couple, either when they book or at a pre-wedding meeting or photoshoot. If there’s a cultural aspect I’m not familiar with at all it’s not uncommon for me to do a day or so research. When I did my first Russian orthodox wedding last year I spent a long time getting to know what happens during the ceremony as the service is vastly different from an Anglican wedding.

We at Ananya love your work. What are the important factors a couple should consider when choosing a wedding photographer, and who would make your dream couple to photograph?

There are five key points that I would say are the most important when choosing your wedding photographer:

1. You need to feel that you have a rapport with and feel comfortable with your chosen photographer. He or she will be with you for a good part of one of the most important days of your life.

2.   It’s important that you like and understand the style of photography that the photographer is offering. For example, the relaxed documentary style of photography is great if you want to enjoy your day without posing for lots of group and portrait photos.

3.  Set your budget but don’t choose wholly on budget. Generally, you get what you pay for, so expect to pay £1500 + for a full time professional who is experienced and insured.

4.   Don’t leave booking to the last minute. You might be lucky but the good photographers can be booked up, up to two years in advance! And, if you find one who you really like book them!

5. Do your research. A good place to start is either with a simple internet search term that relates to either your venue or the style of photographer you’re looking for i.e. London Wedding Photographers or Documentary Wedding Photographers. Wedding Blogs can be a good source particularly if they feature real weddings.  

Has wedding photography changed much over the years in terms of techniques, equipment or approach?

The digital age of photography has brought huge change to the market in the last ten years. In a sense there is more freedom with digital. There’s immediacy to it that you didn’t have with film and there are some amazing free thinking creative wedding photographers out there who perhaps wouldn’t have picked up a camera if it meant using film. 

Are there trends in wedding photography? If so, what do you see the trends being for 2017?

A recent trend over the last few years has been the beloved style of wedding photography that’s also known as fine art. It’s generally stylised, very soft colours and ‘light’. It’s in complete contrast to my style which is very strong black and white and strong colours. I think there’s something for everyone in the marketplace but there’s also been a big increase in proposal photography which I think will continue, as well as aerial photography and photo booths. Increasingly I’m seeing couples go for a hybrid style of photography- relaxed but with a shorter stylised couple’s photoshoot.  

You offer a range of packages to your clients. Could you please elaborate on that?

I think what I offer is straightforward, easy to understand and with the ability to be ‘tweaked’ if necessary. Prices start at £1495 for digital coverage that covers bridal prep to first dance and rise to £3500 for all day coverage with two photographers, digital images and album.

Kevin is certainly dedicated to his work, and it shows in the beautiful photos he produces. We hope this has inspired you to the possibilities of creative documentary photography.

Please leave us a comment. What memorable moments have you had captured?

 Ananya Stationery photographed by Scott-Wood Photography

Ananya Stationery photographed by Scott-Wood Photography

Here are ways you can get in touch with Kevin:

Website: www.scott-wood.uk

Telephone: 0370 626 5200Mobile: 0796 303 3266

Email: hello@scott-wood.uk

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Ananya 2006 to 2016: Celebrating a decade of stylish stationery

Ananya is excited to be celebrating our tenth anniversary this year. Our award-winning stationery design business was established in 2006 by Vaishali Shah. The word Ananya comes from the ancient Indian language, Sanskrit, and means ‘without equal’ or ‘unparalleled’. It was the inspiration behind Vaishali’s vision to create stationery that was distinct, unique and a fusion of Asian and British styles that appeal to the modern British taste. The Ananya brand has always been synonymous with luxurious quality. 

 Suite of wedding stationery

Suite of wedding stationery

Keeping up with the latest trends, over the 10 years we have designed a wide range of elegant greeting cards as well as bespoke wedding and event stationery. Ananya has gone from strength to strength innovating, researching authentic techniques and representing cultures in a way that is genuine and relevant to today’s world. Our cards are eco-friendly, with paper from sustainably managed forests.

During the 10 years Ananya has received praise not just from the couples we have designed wedding stationery for, but also from wedding planners, and have been published in leading wedding media in the UK and further afield, including Brides, Hello, Wedding, Perfect Wedding, Wedding Ideas, Asiana Wedding, and Asian Bride.

Ananya has been the recipient of various awards, including Best Invitation UK, and Best Invitation Worldwide in the Wedding Industry Experts Awards.

Vaishali is considered an expert in the industry, having truly established Ananya’s credibility, and has been asked to contribute in two books. In the recently published book Planning the Perfect Asian Wedding (by Venture Publishing International), Vaishali has contributed designs and advice in an entire chapter where she answers a range of questions related to weddings that couples may not readily find answers to. The book Celebration Graphics Sourcebook (published by RotoVision) features a selection of Ananya’s wedding stationery and greeting cards.

Retailers who have stocked Ananya stationery have included Harrods, Cards Galore, Paperchase, The Jewish Museum, Waterstones and the Museum of Islamic Art. Clients have included Michelin star chef Atul Kochhar of restaurant Benares in Mayfair.

Logo celebrating 10 years of stylish stationery

Logo celebrating 10 years of stylish stationery

Having reached this important milestone, we commissioned our sister design agency Creative ID to design a logo to reflect our ten successful years in the luxury stationery business. The new logo retains the lotus flower; its petals are now in a single burgundy colour, outlined in white, giving it a fresh and crisp look. The one colour logo is more contemporary and allows for brand evolution. In the centre of the flower, the number 10 stands proudly as a reminder of our achievements.