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.

Wedding DIY: Downloadable Bunting

Pack A Punch With Buntings; We Show You How Perfect for setting the scene at a wedding, buntings have become hugely popular as a way to add that all important personalised element. With a diverse range of uses and materials from which to craft buntings, you can use them to tell a story, display a symbolic message, or have the bride and groom’s names, as we show you how.

A big display of buntings will look dramatic in a large space, while small ones can stand on guest tables, and even on top of the wedding cake! Easy to put up, they can even be used as decoration for the bridal room. With the incredible choice of colours, fonts, textures and materials available, the possibilities are truly endless!

We at Ananya are all about personalising wedding stationery and below we show you how to create ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ buntings using our template. It’s fun and easy to do, and should get your creative juices flowing to add your own unique touch and flair!

Each bunting template is A5 in size and so there are two templates per A4 piece of paper.

free downloadable wedding bunting for outdoors summer wedding
free downloadable wedding bunting for outdoors summer wedding
free downloadable yellow wedding bunting for outdoors summer wedding
free downloadable yellow wedding bunting for outdoors summer wedding
free downloadable wedding bunting for outdoors summer wedding
free downloadable wedding bunting for outdoors summer wedding
free downloadable grey wedding bunting for outdoors summer wedding
free downloadable grey wedding bunting for outdoors summer wedding

- Download the templates and print on white cardstock. - Cut around the templates. - Using a hole punch, punch 2 holes along each corner of the top of the bunting templates (where instructed). - Using a long piece of string, thread through each bunting template, adding knots after each hole as you go along to keep each of the templates in place. - Carry on doing this until you have a sufficient length of bunting.

Please click on the links below to download your wedding bunting PDFs.

'Bride' bunting in green

'Groom' bunting in yellow

'Bride' bunting in pink

'Groom' bunting in grey

Enjoy! Please do send us some photographs of how you have used the bunting...we would love to see them!

Wedding Stationery Trends for 2013

2013 has arrived and with it, come the dreams and aspirations of every bride to have her perfect wedding. So what are the trends for 2013 that will help her create the wedding of her dreams and also one that is a la mode? Below are our thoughts... Glitz, Glamour and the Great Gatsby

Great Gatsby green and black wedding invitation
Great Gatsby green and black wedding invitation
Great Gatsby cream and gold wedding invitation
Great Gatsby cream and gold wedding invitation

With the much-anticipated movie the Great Gatsby finally being launched later this year, the 1920’s fashion has already begun to make an appearance. Translating this retro style into stationery will mean soft and shimmery backgrounds, dreamy and lace-textured looks and floral motifs - all heavily encrusted with crystals. Designs can also be bold and geometric and attention grabbing. Quite simply, a feast for the eyes!

Ombré: Shaded, Faded, Gradient

Ombre shaded wedding invitation
Ombre shaded wedding invitation
Ombré shaded green and brown wedding invitation
Ombré shaded green and brown wedding invitation

The shaded or Ombré look has definitely caught on, and will continue to be favoured in 2013. The dipped and dyed effect gives the look of colour graduations from dark to light. Often based on a monochromatic colour scheme, three different complementary colours can also be combined. The Ombré look has pervaded clothes, fashion accessories and even cosmetics and will be seen in stationery with dramatic effect.

East Meets West

Bespoke paisley lotus wedding invitation
Bespoke paisley lotus wedding invitation
Bandhani Bliss India inspired wedding invitation
Bandhani Bliss India inspired wedding invitation

The enduring allure of India and the East is such that time and again, top fashion and beauty houses such as Chanel and Boucheron have been drawn to its multi-faceted heritage for inspiration. This fascination with the East will continue to play an important part in 2013 because of its undying appeal.

Couples are not shying away from choosing strong, dramatic gemstone colours that are rich and exotic, and tones that spell opulence. The designs create a modern interpretation of traditional images and symbols, skilfully harmonising the East and West. Studded with crystal embellishments, they are Bollywood come alive!

Making a Personal Statement

Monogrammed crystal cake topper
Monogrammed crystal cake topper

Couples will want the stationery to be an expression of who they are. Whether adopting the latest on trend colour or other popular themes, they will want those themes to be intertwined with splashes of their own choosing – wanting the wedding invite to create the right tone – their tone.

Monograms will continue to be highly favoured as a way to express who we are and what we stand for as well as aspects that embrace our cultural heritage. They can also be adapted for use in a variety of ways to suit one’s needs. Monograms can become a work of art when embellished with crystals, adding that special exotic sparkle and shimmer.  It’s no wonder that such gorgeous invitations often become a keepsake – a fabulous souvenir to look back on with pride.

Cool Colour Hot Trend

Mint Modern wedding invitation
Mint Modern wedding invitation
Exotic Emerald wedding invitation by Ananya
Exotic Emerald wedding invitation by Ananya

The soft and soothing colour of mint looks all set to become a hot trend in 2013. After the fiery, passionate, colour palette of 2012’s Tangerine Tango, the cool, crisp and fresh tones of mint will be most refreshing. Emerald, Pantone's Colour for 2013, will also be a very popular choice. Cool and serene or majestic and mesmerising, Emerald can be used as an accent colour to add that all important sparkle or as a predominant colour, as deep and vibrant as the Amazon jungle. The main colour can be carried through the entire suite of stationery with variations on tones.

Fantasy and Fairy Tale

Pink butterfly wedding invitation
Pink butterfly wedding invitation

Given the uncertain and volatile nature of the events of 2012, weddings in 2013 will be a great excuse to escape from the concerns of everyday living. The stationery will reflect a fantasy world full of magic and beauty. Soft colours, birds and butterflies, layering of designs and a touch of sparkle will create romantic and captivating stationery.

Classic and Always in Fashion

Classic monochrome wedding invitation
Classic monochrome wedding invitation

For those of us who like simple and understated chic, the classic look will always be in style - a relaxed feel with timeless designs and quiet luxury that speaks volumes. Soft colours, monochromes, monograms, minimal fuss and beautiful.

What are your favourite trends for 2013? We'd love you to share your ideas with us.

Credits: All invitation designs by Ananya

Awash With Red

Roses are red, violets are blue... Valentine’s Day is coming soon, so what better time to celebrate the colour of the season – red. At this time of year, red is everywhere – card and gift shops stock up on their scarlet love heart covered cards and crimson coloured gifts, waiting for customers to come to prepare for the big event – Valentine’s Day. But what does the colour red mean? Is it just the colour for romance and St Valentine, or does it have a deeper meaning? In the West, red traditionally signifies love and seduction, which of course goes hand in hand with Valentine’s Day, the most romantic day of the year. In India, conversely, red is a very traditional colour, and is best known for its role in Indian marriage. Brides usually have red henna tattoos on their hands and feet, wear red saris and bangles and dip their feet in red water upon entering their new home with their husband. It symbolises togetherness and the promise of matrimonial bliss, as well as being a colour which represents a woman’s transition from adolescence into adulthood. In India it is the most powerful colour, a holy colour and a colour which gives protection and strength.

Another country which celebrates reddish hues is China. For the Chinese, red is a colour which symbolises their nation. Weddings are full of the colour, with brides often wearing red, and the couple walking down a red carpet strewn in red flowers. They use red invitations and other red stationery and a couple’s new bed is covered in red bed sheets. It is believed to bring happiness to the couple.

Awash With Red
Awash With Red

The colour is, however, most extensively used during Chinese New Year celebrations, the biggest and most important festival in China. Families create red couplets, which are two poetic sentences written on red paper stating the person’s hopes and dreams for the coming year and are hung on doors and gates. Many people wear red clothes, including red underwear, give money in red envelopes and set off red firecrackers. According to the Chinese, red means fire, which drives away bad luck and evil spirits, so by exchanging red gifts (red lingerie is a popular gift between partners) they are guaranteed a prosperous and lucky new year.

At ananya we are celebrating Chinese New Year by creating exquisite Chinese new year cards exclusive to Harrods to welcome in the year of the rabbit – a much tamer year than the year of the tiger! We also have a gorgeous range of red wedding invitations, which are perfect for those wanting to celebrate their happy day using the luckiest, happiest and most powerful colour in the spectrum – Red.

Until next time...Namaste and enjoy ananya life!

The Peacock Revolution

The majestic peacock is the national bird of India. They are regarded as some of the most beautiful birds in the world, with their fabulous iridescent green-blue plumage and distinctive tail feathers. In India they are emblems of beauty, grace, pride and mysticism and throughout history they have appeared in Hindu myths and folklore in various illustrations with gods and goddesses. It is probably their tails which peacocks are best known for, which are made up of a mixture of large and small feathers with beautiful eye-like designs. The male peacocks lift their tails into a fan and preen their feathers to attract females in an ostentatious display of pride and beauty. It is therefore no wonder that the peacock has become a major design motif, as its plumage and colours create a perfect muse for designers. The peacock seems to be everywhere at the moment, with both high end designers and high street shops using it as inspiration for fashion, as well as for household goods, such as bed linen and china, and even iPod covers and other accessories. Peacocks have been spotted on the red carpet; with Eva Longoria wearing a short peacock feather covered dress at Cannes, and actress and Marchesa founder Georgina Chapman wore her own black dress with a gold peacock gilded design at the Oscars last year.

The Peacock Revolution
The Peacock Revolution

Last year, designer Matthew Williamson created a collection for H&M which was entirely inspired by peacocks. His own Escape spring 2010 line also featured some bohemian peacock undertones. In China, a wedding dress made of 2009 peacock feathers costing $1.5m was unveiled at a wedding expo. Meanwhile, on the high street, many shops such as Top Shop and New Look have dresses, skirts and t-shirts featuring peacock feathers and the birds themselves.

Peacocks can be seen on bags, such as a fabulous crystal clutch by Swarovski, and other accessories, such as hair pieces. However, it is in jewellery where the designers have gone peacock crazy. In Accessorize there is a whole range of necklaces and earrings (as well as bags) inspired by peacocks, such as earrings with peacock bodies and cascading teardrop charms. Many high street stores are selling earrings and brooches using real peacock feathers, while Spanish jewellery designers Carrera y Carrera have a whole collection of beautiful peacock inspired jewellery using diamonds and coloured stones. MAC Cosmetics is launching the ‘Peacocky’ Collection for Spring 2011, a makeup collection that draws colours and inspiration from the exotic bird.

At ananya, we have joined the peacock revolution by creating a range of stationery with modern looking peacock designs. Peacocks are set to become the hottest wedding trend of 2011 due to the intricacy and richness of their plumage and we believe our new line of wedding stationery reflects this. If, however, peacocks aren't your thing, ananya has a diverse range of different types of stationery.

Until next time...Namaste and enjoy ananya life!