Stationery for the Seasons

At Ananya, we love working with our clients to incorporate the time of year of their celebration into their designs, as subtly or as vividly as they wish – whether it’s with colours, motifs, or wording, there’s lots of ways to let your stationery echo the season. We always ask our clients questions about the season and location of their event, and together brainstorm ideas for stylish and sophisticated nods to their surroundings.

Spring

Spring is a return of warmth, and a time for renewal, hope, and colour. Nature awakens and flower gardens take on a new life, while greenery becomes lush and rich with new scents. Our suites for Spring celebrations will often embrace all the new pastel colours of the countryside, the botanical revival, and the world in bloom – with lots of florals all round. Pink remains a firm favourite for the season, in both its dusty and more vivid shades. We love working with organic, wild, delicate visuals that echo nature itself, as more of our couples and clients choose al fresco celebrations under the stars.

 Photography by  Rupa Photography

Photography by Rupa Photography

 Photography by  Fiona Kelly Photography

For example, our tulip themed suite, inspired by the film ‘Tulip Fever’, featured delft blue and white tulips, and was paired with Perspex décor and a canopy of crisp white tulips. With a crisp colour palette in centre stage, the effect was fresh, clean, and perfect for Spring.

Summer

Summer is a time for dancing in the streets, pool parties, outdoor festivals, fruity cocktails, and lots of sunshine. We love working with tropical vibes and bright colours, and patterns inspired by the rise in temperature. Shades of yellow, green, orange, and fuchsia are some of our favourites, often as watercolours or vibrant contrasts. Fresh fruit, beachy looks, and destination weddings become the words du jour, with more of our couples and clients taking their guests on fantastic experiences abroad. This is a perfect time of year for including playful descriptions of the dress code, like ‘beach chic’, ‘summer chic’, ‘summertime soirée’.

For example, our ‘Trio of Life’ suite features a palette of ochre, hot pink, and turquoise, one for each of our three animals – the parrot, the elephant and the fish, often found in Indian wedding stationery. For this suite we created complementary save the dates, invites, menus, table numbers, coasters, advice for the newly-weds cards, thank you cards, and favour tags.

Ananya_pink parrot wedding invitation.jpg
Tropical

Autumn

The leaves change, and colour palettes get darker and moodier in the beautiful season of Autumn. With Halloween and Thanksgiving, and the lead up to Christmas, this festive season is all about family, friends, and fun in the crisper, cooler air. Earthier, dustier colours like golden beige, caramel, rich maple, copper, auburn, amber, chestnut brown, and shades of green and turquoise take over our design studio – and we love it! Visuals like falling leaves, pumpkins, terracotta, and rustic woodlands are favourites for this time of year, with our clients embracing all things cosy. As this season is all about the trees and changing leaves, why not replace paper with some natural props, like creating place cards out of pine cones or leaves with some beautiful calligraphy? If your venue has an outdoor section, or you plan to serve your guests some drinks or canapés outside, think about giving them a heads up to bring a shawl or coverup against the chilly wind – or, even better, why not provide them with some beautiful embroidered blankets or white pashminas?

Autumn kraft wedding invitation_ananyacards.com.jpg

 For example, for our Autumn Wreath suite we chose to print directly onto kraft paper to give it a rustic, earthy look perfect for the colder seasons. For the floral wreath illustration, we used muted burgundy, dark green, and navy, all natural colours inspired by the leaves of Autumn.

Winter

Winter is a time for resolutions and new starts – a time for hot coffee, winter jackets, wool socks, and spicy peppers. Winter celebrations will often use monochrome palettes paired alongside striking metallics, with imagery of snowflakes and snow, fairy lights, pine cones, shimmering branches, berries, and leafless trees. Hand-finished touches like wax seals, crystals, and metallic foil are perfect for this time of year, as the glitz and glamour of Christmas and New Year’s parties spreads the festive cheer. We also love how wintery colours like shades of black, rich burgundies, midnight blues, and sultry indigos start making an appearance, and how liberally sequins and sparkles embellish the season. We also have lots of clients escaping the cold for some winter warmth, lighting up their guests’ mailboxes with bright, sunny palettes inviting them to a holiday in the sun!

Winter_Wedding Invitation1.jpg

For our Snowflake suites, we used a winter wonderland inspired design with silver or gold metallic foil twinkling on backdrops of midnight blue or deep black, perfect for those darkening evenings.

Do you have a favourite time of year for your special celebration? Please share with us how you incorporate elements of the season into the celebration.

Ananya at the Palace


 Invitation designed by Ananya

Invitation designed by Ananya

We are delighted to announce that Ananya will be participating at the prestigious The Historic Royal Palaces Wedding Showcase on 21st November at Kensington Palace. The theme for the evening is ‘Our Canvas, Your Creation’.

Colour Infusion blue.jpeg

Over hundreds of years, Historic Royal Palaces have provided the backdrop to glittering banquets, fabulous celebrations and splendid royal occasions. Today, their unique event spaces across six palaces in London, Surrey and Northern Ireland offer the perfect canvas for luxury weddings. Pick your palace, be inspired and begin to create the perfect palace wedding.

Colour Infusion.jpeg

Ananya had the great pleasure of designing the save the date and the invitation for the HRP Wedding Showcase, inspired by the rich architecture and regal history of the palaces. The invitations were screen printed which is one of our favourite mediums of printing at Ananya. 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 the design. This is done individually for each colour, which means that designs with multiple shades and intricate patterns require an exceptional level of technical skill. Though it can look quite "messy" behind the scenes, in fact printers and craftsmen pay very careful attention to accurate positioning without overlap or gaps, and the end effect is luxuriously artisanal. The multiple screen printing process also gives the invitations an engraved look, where the writing is raised to touch. To tie in with the ‘artistic’ feel of the event and ‘Our Canvas, Your Creation’ theme, we used golden brush strokes to elevate the design. The colours that were selected are the brand colours of the various Historic Royal Palaces.

At the event Vaishali, Founder and Creative Director of Ananya, will be showcasing a selection of her most popular and bespoke collections and will be unveiling her brand new Colour Infusion design, a bright and opulent suite perfect for the Spring/Summer 2019 wedding season. There will be examples of hand-finished wax sealing, hand-deckled edges, screen printed and engraved gold, and lots more ideas on how to elevate your wedding stationery with luxurious finishing touches. Her team will be there to answer any questions you may have, and her calligrapher will be embellishing personalised stationery samples for each of the guests to take home.

HRP Wedding showcse.jpeg

Ananya offer a number of different print techniques, such as digital printing, offset printing, foiling, screen printing, and letterpress. Designs can cover the entire stationery suite, before, on, and after the wedding day, including save the dates, invitations, envelope linings, wax seals, calligraphy, orders of service, escort cards, seating plans, menus, place cards, table numbers, favour tags, monograms, and more. Vaishali and her team also love working on new creative projects, whether it’s for their couples or collaborations with other wedding professionals.

Wedding Showcase envelope.jpeg

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. We hope that you like these invitations as much as we enjoyed creating them.

 

5 not-obvious things you NEED to ask your wedding venue before booking: Part one

Finding  that  utterly  perfect  and  spot-on  location  to  host  your  wedding  celebration can  be  a  tough  job.  The  choice  is  limitless  and  if  you’re  not  tied  into  a  specific  geographical  area,  then  the  world  is  quite  literally  your  oyster  and  your  hunting ground! It should  be  a  fun  part  of  the  planning  and  once  you  have  found  and  secured  that  ideal  venue,  many  other  parts  of  planning  your  vision  do  click  into place. It is  the  biggest  part  of  the  planning  and  so  important  to  get  right,  so  Ananya is delighted to be  hearing  from  wedding  venue  consultant  (and  former  luxury  wedding  planner),  Kelly  Chandler of Kelly Chandler Consulting who  shares  her  tips  with  you  in an in-depth, two part blog, on  some  of  the  things  to  check  before  you  secure  your  venue  to  be  absolutely  sure  it’s  for  you;  there  is  no  right  or  wrong  to  some  of  these  suggestions  and  restrictions, and  some  will  be  fine  for  you,  others  not  -  the  aim  with  this  feature  is  purely  to  give  you  the  knowledge  to  ask  the  questions  of  the  things  that  are  hot  on  YOUR  priority  list.

 Kelly Chandler

Kelly Chandler

Part One

1. Exclusivity  and  Venue  Use

Warmwell House
Warmwell House, Dorset

A  great  many  wedding  venues  now  offer  exclusivity  or  some form  of  exclusive-use  such  that  you  are  the  only  wedding  on  that  day  in  that  venue.  This  can  however  mean  different  things  within  different  venues  so  don’t  be  afraid  to  ask  and  get  specific  on  things.  For  some  locations  exclusivity  can  mean  you  have  exclusive  use  of  a  certain  dedicated  banqueting  area  but  say  not  bedrooms,  for  other locations, it  can  be  full  exclusive  use  of  an  entire  home,  gardens  and  grounds,  for  others  it  can  be exclusive  use  between  certain  hours  and  not  others. Do  find out  when  your  exclusive  use  starts  and  ends  as  every  venue  should  have a  policy  on  this  and  sometimes  it’ll  be  for  the  day  from  early  start  and  sometimes  it’ll  include  an  overnight. Find  out  what  their  policy  is  on  other  events  and  other  clients  and  if  they  run  exclusive  use  events  back  to  back  (or  not);  don't  be  afraid  to  ask  about  supplier  access  too  -  in  some  cases  venues  will  allow  suppliers  to  gain  access  early  to  set  up  the  design,  in  others  it’s  a  strict  access  time  for  anything  to  do  with  your  wedding.

2. Recommended/Preferred and Approved  Supplier  List   

gy01_iqQ.jpeg
Outdoor seating

Get  super  clear  on  a  venue’s  policy  with  working  with  suppliers  and  outside  wedding  professionals  and  see  that  it  works  for  you.  There  is  a  difference  between  a  recommended  or  preferred  supplier  list  where  the  venue  is  usually  giving  you  the  benefit  of  their  tried and  trusted  list  that  you  can,  but  are  not  obliged  to,  use  and  an  Approved  Supplier  List  which  is  usually  where  you  MUST  pick  from  that  list.  It’s  quite  customary  for  a  venue  to  have  an  Approved  list  you  must  use  in  the  areas  of  catering,  lighting  and  production  and  entertainment  and  marquee  build,  when  you  consider  these  are  the  areas  which  require  a  lot  of  equipment  and  run  the  greatest  degree  of  risk,  it’s  vital  that  venues  have  control  over  the  quality  and  professionalism  of  who  works  with  them  in  order  to  protect  their places  and  spaces  for  all  clients. Many  venues  will  be  more  than  happy  for  you  to  use  your  own  chosen  suppliers  in  many  areas  - do  ask  if  and  how  they  will  be  able  to  obtain  access  to  view  the  venue  in  advance  of  the  wedding  as  this  can  be  needed  in  the  case  of  for  example a  florist  who needs  to  see  a  new  space  before  coming  up  with  full  designs  for  you.  

3. Rules and Restrictions   

It’s  quite  usual  for  venues  to  have  some  rules  and  restrictions  around  the  following,  so  do  ask  away  to  see  what  your  venue  policy  is  and  if  this  works  for  you. Do  bear  in  mind  that  most  rules  are  there  to  protect  the  fabric  of  the  building  in  the  case  of  heritage  properties, to  ensure  guest safety  and  to  ensure  that  the  venue  can  continue  to  operate  in  the  case  of  noise  restrictions  - venue  operators  can  have  their  license  removed  if  noise  pollution  becomes  an  issue  so  understandably  they  need  to  enforce  some  restrictions  to  protect  against  this: Confetti  throwing - is  it  allowed? Sometimes  biodegradable/real  petal  variety  is  in  some  parts  of  the  venue,  but  often  not  on  gravel  or  on  floors that  may  stain. Naked  flames - many  venues  ban  candles  entirely  or  limit  the  use  of  free  standing  candelabra  and  naked  flames  not  in  safe  containers. Dark  drinks - in  some  heritage  buildings  red  wine  &  berry  based  drinks  are  forbidden  except  at  seated  dinners  because  of  the  spillage  and  staining  risk. Dancing - often  this  will  need  to  take  place  in  certain  parts  of  the  venue only  and  between  certain  hours - do  check  and  also  if  you  need  to  install  and  pay  for  a  dance floor. 

Seating

Fireworks - often  these  are  not  allowed  due  to  disruption  to  livestock  and  damage  to  grounds  but  some  venues  have  preferred  suppliers  who  can  work  on  their  property  if  you  have  your  heart  set  on  this  - do  ask. Sound  limiters - noise  pollution  is  one  of  the  biggest  risks  to  a  wedding  venue  not  being  able  to  continue  to  operate  so  owners  and  managers  take  this  seriously. Sometimes  they  are  required  to  install  an  actual  sound  limiter  within  the  property,  other  times  it’s  monitored  more subjectively  but  do  ask  what  sound  limits  exist  within  your  preferred  venue  and  what  entertainment  most  couples  choose. If  you  have  your  heart  set on a 10 piece  big  band  and  your  venue  has  a  fierce  sound  meter, this  is  unlikely  to  be  a  match;  most  venues  with  sound  limiters  tend  to  lean  towards  DJs  rather  than  live  bands, that said live bands can and do perform  within  the  limits of sound, it will be important to work with a professional band who takes  this seriously and prepares in advance in terms of their instruments and kit - it usually makes sense to work with the venue's preferred list in this case as the band/DJ will  have worked there before. 

Thank you Kelly for the insightful and informative first three points on booking a venue. We at Ananya love working with venues and are delighted to be a preferred wedding stationery supplier for some.

Part Two will follow shortly, so stay tuned.

Photo credits: 

Headshot photo of Kelly Chandler: http://www.annelimarinovich.com

Venue: Warmwell House, Dorset: https://www.warmwell-house.com

Photography: Imogen Xiana https://www.imogenxiana.com

Florals: https://www.marthaandthemeadow.com

Cakes: https://www.fanciebuns.co.uk

Bridal Accessories, Hair and Make up: http://www.victoriafergusson.co.uk

Model (bride): http://www.tanyalouisecumberland.com

Bridal gowns: http://www.naomineoh.com

Silk ribbons and silk runner: http://www.pompomblossom.com

Furniture - white chairs for ceremony: http://www.thewhitechaircompany.co.uk

Cross back chairs & wooden bar unit for cake/champagne station: http://dpmarquees.co.uk

Write here…

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.

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.

Blue and gold tribal wedding invitation_ananyacards.com

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.

Pink and black geodes wedding invitation_ananyacards.com

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.

Blue watercolour wedding invitation_ananyacards.com

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.

Cactus_wedding invitation from £4_ananyacards.com.jpg

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

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!

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.