How to add details to your Stationery

Ananya translates to ‘without equal’ in the ancient language of Sanskrit, and it is this sentiment that forms the foundation on which the business is built, and with which every single collection is lovingly crafted and curated.

Here at Ananya we adore infusing our stationery with intricate and meaningful detail, whether it’s in the design, the textures, or the wording. A save the date or invitation for a wedding, party or milestone birthday is the very first impression that an event makes on its guests, and sets the scene for its style, feeling, and narrative. This can then be the undercurrent for the menu, place cards, seating plan, and so on – which can be done by matching, complementing, or even contrasting the elements within the suite. This might mean a recurring motif, a signature font, a custom monogram, or an overarching colour palette. Detailing like this can unify different room, sections, or goals of your event, as well as speaking a thousand words about your professionalism and aesthetic vision.

wax seal
 Photography by  Fiona Kelly Photography

We also love finding ways to hand finish each design, to really wow your guests with that experience of artisanal craftmanship. Some ideas could be hand embellishing cards with crystals and lace, tying hand-dyed silk ribbons, wax sealing and lining envelopes, hand tearing paper to add texture, illustrating with watercolours, colour dipping feathers or even exploring calligraphy on new mediums. In fact, we’ve seen a trend for looking beyond paper, and complementing stationery suites with beautiful objects that can be personalised and treasured as keepsakes even after the event has taken place. Last year alone we worked with paper, vellum, acrylic, feathers, stone, slate, wood, and wax, and we love experimenting with new ideas. We’ve also seen beautiful designs using agate, shells, leaves, tiles, glass, and many more. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box – if you can dream it, a stationer can probably create it!

rose gold dipped feathers_ananyacards.com .jpg
Destination Italian wedding_ananyacards.com
gold+splash+thank+you+cards

No detail is too small to be worthy of attention and beautiful design, and all together these details combine to create a brand that tells a cohesive story across all the touch points, guiding your guests as the event unfolds around them. How will you be adding details to your stationery? We would love to know.

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

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!

purple_pink_floral_wedding-invitation_ananyacards.com-01.jpg

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!

childrens-stationery-invitations-ananya-02.jpg
 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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 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

Pretty In Paisley

The paisley pattern, known as mankolam in India, or mango pattern, stands out as one of the most easily recognisable motifs in the world. It was created in the 1500s in Persia (now known as Iran) and used to decorate royal regalia. The intricate tear shaped pattern made its way to Europe thanks to the East India Trading Company as they imported products from India. The design gained its English name from the town of Paisley, Scotland, where, in the 1800s, weavers became the primary producers of paisley patterned shawls. In the 1960s and 70s paisley made a comeback as it represented the Bohemian culture of the time. John Lennon even had his Rolls Royce custom painted in a paisley pattern!

Once again, paisley has come roaring back into fashion, with many of the major fashion designers showcasing an array of paisley themed pieces in their autumn/winter collections, such as in the Etro ready to wear collection. Paisley is set to continue through spring and summer, with many designers gaining their inspiration from the 70s, creating whimsical, bohemian inspired pieces. Anna Sui’s spring collection included multicoloured paisley patterned dresses and leggings, while Emilio Pucci has mixed paisley prints with beautiful psychedelic colours and chiffon materials to create light, floaty dresses perfect for the summer.

Pretty In Paisley
Pretty In Paisley

Paisley really is a very versatile design, so it is no surprise that it has lent brilliantly to many of the bespoke wedding stationery we create at ananya. We have found that the paisley motif is not only an elegant and vintage design but that it is also rich in spiritual significance. In Indian culture, the paisley signifies the time of harvest and prosperity. In Oriental traditions, the two paisleys represent the yin-yang symbol, a sign of equilibrium and balance. The flow of the two polar energies, Yin (Female) and Yang (Male), seek balance in the natural flow of the universe, constantly replacing each other and eventually, becoming each other. The paisley thus makes a wonderful motif to symbolise the union of two individuals in a marriage!

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

Let's Hear It For New York!

ananya is heading to the Big Apple! We’re very excited to announce that we will be exhibiting our wedding stationery in New York City at the Wedding Channel Couture Show, which is the premier bridal industry trade show in the city. It is a biennial event, where designers, press and retailers of the bridal world meet and announce the latest wedding trends and fashions. It is a chance for us, and several other British companies, to introduce ourselves to the New York wedding market. The show is taking place in the InterContinental Hotel New York Barclay, in Midtown, Manhattan from the 9th of April, during International Bridal week, and we are absolutely thrilled to be taking part. There will be a special 'Royal Britannia' showcase arranged by our fabulous PR company, Propose PR, which will involve an exhibition of wedding necessities inspired by the Royal Wedding, including favours, evening wear and shoes, as well as ananya’s stationery!

We are planning on showcasing several of our wedding stationery collections at the show, including Royal Romance (our Royal wedding inspired collection), Viva Vintage, Peacock Panache and Picture Perfect, as well as some designs we have created especially for the event.

ananya's NYC wedding invitation collection
ananya's NYC wedding invitation collection

We are especially excited about the prospect of introducing ourselves to the wedding market in the United States, having worked with some American clients in the past. It is certainly an area where we would like to expand and we look forward to creating more exclusive wedding stationery for US clients.

ananya goes across the pond this week, and we cannot wait! Although we cannot be there in person to experience the city that never sleeps, our designs will be showcased and hopefully will speak for themselves...

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

The Lucky Lotus

The lotus is the national flower of India, and is regarded as being the most beautiful and sacred flower in Indian culture. It symbolises divinity, fertility, purity, wealth, knowledge and enlightenment as well as honour and good fortune. It therefore comes as no surprise that lotus flowers can be found everywhere, from clothing to bed linen. The flower is a simple, but beautiful and powerful motif, which can be used on any type of material for any purpose. Many designers have been using the motif in their work, including Ed Hardy, who has a range of clothing with bold tattoo styled lotus prints. Nike has also designed a pair of their “Nike Dunk” trainers with pretty pink lotus flowers.

Bags incorporating the lotus flower are easy to find, such as Amy Butler’s lotus flower clutch, which uses an elegant  yellow lotus pattern.

The Lucky Lotus
The Lucky Lotus

Lotus flowers can appear in your home, and light up any room, with Graham and Green’s striking lotus flower ball chandelier, and there are many places where you can find quilts and cushion covers with lotus patterns.

However, it is in jewellery where lotus flowers are at their most prolific. Accessorize has created a pretty turquoise ring while Swarowski recently made a collection of lotus inspired brooches, earrings and pendants. Luxury diamond jewellery company DeBeers have also made their own range of lotus designs, calling it “Enchanted Lotus”. It includes hoop earrings and a bracelet as well as a diamond wedding band, all of which integrate the lotus with a heart shape in a unique design.

Finding the lotus is easy, so why not embrace India’s most famous and auspicious symbol, whether as part of your home, or your look. At ananya we use the lotus flower as our logo because of its symbolic nature and due to its importance in Asian culture. We have also created beautiful stationery using the lotus design, which can be used for any sort of wedding – whether you are having an English or Indian wedding, or it’s taking place in summer or winter. Our lotus designs are stylish, elegant and versatile, and are suitable for any occasion, big or small.

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

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!