Wedding invitations

Where did our name come from?

Since we first started, we have had many people comment on our name. All feedback has been positive – whether that is because everyone truly does like it or those who don’t have remembered their mothers’ advice of if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all, will never be known. I thought I might enlighten you all to how ‘Paper Lily’ came about….

When we decided to go into business, the first thing we wanted to do was choose a name. Given that we are sisters, both Librans and slightly on the stubborn side, we knew this was not going to be an easy task. Every name Connie suggested did not appeal to me and she found fault in all my ideas. The only thing we agreed on was that we did not want the name to be obvious, too literal but not too abstract either. We were not making it easy on ourselves.

If dealing with each other was not hard enough, add a couple of well-meaning husbands and their woeful suggestions to the mix. After tactfully declining their name choices, we decided that we would not think about the invitations as such but rather think of the things we find beautiful, the things that make us feel happy and perhaps a name would come to mind this way.

It was hard not to associate invitations and weddings with the name when this was exactly what our business would be. I thought back to my own wedding and all the little details that made it special. I remember going to visit the florist for the first consultation and she asked me about my wedding bouquet. I had a clear vision for my bouquet –  I wanted white lillies. I have always loved lillies more than any other flower and I love nothing more than a beautiful bunch of white lillies in a vase on my dining table whenever I can get to the florist.

I spoke with Connie and mentioned perhaps using the word ‘Lily’ somewhere in the name. She agreed as she also likes Lillies. Finally some progress but what now? It needed more, something to bring it to life, to link it to the business. We tried many combinations of words and then it happened. Paper Lily. Don’t ask me who said it first because it is a blur to me. The only thing that mattered was that we both stopped speaking and realised that we had made our decision.

To make a lily out of paper would require planning, skill, a precise and delicate hand. Crafted by someone with an eye for detail and a passion for the finer things. The end product would be an object of beauty and a symbol of life and love. Everything we believe in and work to achieve is in the meaning behind our name. And that’s where our name came from.


Trends of 2011

Now that the new year is upon us it’s a good time to reflect on 2011 and the trends we noticed. No matter what the ‘trend’ may be, we still feel that anything goes when it comes to weddings. Let’s face it, just because something is popular, doesn’t mean that everyone on the planet will love it and go with it. Weddings are unique to each couple and so too is their invitation style.

Reflecting on all the weddings we did last year, it becomes very clear that couples are selective and specific. They immediately know what they like and don’t like and the process of choosing an invitation was much faster than in previous years. Perhaps it is as a result of all the time spent researching before coming to see us.

Neutral colour pallettes were very popular last year and we feel this trend will continue in 2012. Various shades of white and ivory mixed with a spalsh of colour created stunning invitations. Mixing ivory and black led to the most timeless designs and this colour combination was the most sought after in 2011.

In terms of embellishments, lace was still very much requested. The use of silk and textured papers was on the rise and will continue to be popular this year. Couples were moving away from the metallic and shimmer cards and selecting the matte or textured cards instead. Mixing different textures was also high in demand. Adding layers of card to create a heavier invitation was requested numerous times. Couples really wanted to make a statement with their invitations.

The post card RSVP card made it’s mark and it was very rare that couples requested the traditional RSVP card in the return envelope. E-mail addresses and websites were listed to collect RSVP’s and the ‘wishing well’ poem included on the invitation was more popular than ever.

Couples in 2011 were also more inclined to order everything. In the past, the invitations and RSVP cards were ordered with couples opting to make the remaining stationery items themsleves. 2011 was our biggest year for place cards, menus, order of service books, maps, thank you cards and seating plans. All items were co-ordinated to match the invitations and theme of the wedding and this is certainly one trend we hope to see continued this year!

The Paper Lily process

I thought it might be of some interest to know what actually goes on from start to finish when you order your wedding invitations from Paper Lily.

  1. The initial consultation – if it is a Sydney based client, this usually invloves making an appointment time to come and see our range and to discuss the wedding details. For interstate couples, this step is done via e-mail/phone calls. We display all our invitations and allow couples some time to have a look and get a feel for our work. Then we try to narrow down the selection by asking the right questions. We need to establish colour preferences, embellishment likes/dislikes, type of card to be used, size of invitation etc. Couples are welcome to mix and match between all our designs and if need be, we will design something unique for them. We will also discuss if any accessories such as place cards, menus, order of service books etc will be needed.
  2. The quote – we will prepare the quote and e-mail to the client. Along with the quote, we will also send out our Terms & Conditions which need to be signed and sent back to us. Payment of the 30% deposit means acceptance of the quote and the wedding is scheduled on our calendar.
  3. The timeline – in order to assist our couples to stay on track and to ensure that there is no last minute rush, we create a timeline for every couple. This has a list of dates and what information is needed at that time.
  4. Stock – as soon as the deposit is paid, we order the stock needed from the relevant supppliers and once it has arrived we prepare it for when the time comes to assemble the invitations. This may involve cutting lace to the correct lengths, threading pearls on to ribbon, tying bows – anything than can be prepared in advance.
  5. PDF – a pdf layout is done of each item ordered and sent for approval from the client. Changes are made as required until the client gives the go ahead.
  6. Printing and assembly – All items are printed, cut and scored and then the embellishment takes place.
  7. Collection – as each component of the wedding package ordered is ready, the client will receive an e-mail requesting the next payment instalment and a pick up time. If need be, delivery is organised.

The time frame from start to finish will depend on how many invitations are ordered and the date required. Generally speaking, the invitations are ready 6 weeks after the initial consultation with other stationery accessories completed in various stages leading up to the wedding.

The real purpose of a wedding invitation

The Wedding invitation. A wonderfully pleasant item to receive in the mail. We open it quickly to see who is getting married, when the marriage will take place and all the other essential pieces of information we need to know to get us where we need to be, at the right time to witness the event we were invited to attend. However, there is much more to the humble invitation than just relaying the who? where? when?

If the sole purpose of a wedding invitation was to relay information, then why do they even exist in our current society? Could we not just facebook the details, create a wedding website or sms our friends and family the relevant details? If the text is all that matters, why then do so many stationers exist? How on earth are they all still in business? The answer lies in the TRUE meaning of a wedding invitation.

Once the ceremony and receptions have been booked, most couples turn their attention to their invitations. They begin the task of going through wedding magazines or visiting websites until they decide on which invitation businesses they would like to contact to start the process. And then it begins. Some clients come and see us and they have no idea where to start. We play 20 questions until we get a feel for their personalities, colour schemes, likes/dislikes and we soon help them to choose a design. Others know exactly what they want. They have done hours of research so coming to us is just the formality of paying the deposit and getting started. At the other end of the spectrum are the attention to detail couples… We have had brides come to their appointment with folders of information – sample invitations from weddings they have attended, images from the web, fabric swatches to co-ordinate with the bridesmaids or for the exact shade of white to match their dress, pictures of the reception decor, sketches of ideas they dreamt of and the list goes on. No matter which category the brides fit into, they all share the common goal of wanting a particular kind of look for their invitation.

You see, the invitation is very important. It will be the very first clue for the guests as to what kind of a wedding it will be. The invitation should be consistent with the feel of the entire wedding. Whether the invitation is a simple card or a boxed treasure will generally be in line with how the couple want their day to be perceived. It is a reflection of their personalities, their style and will set the scene for what is to come.

I remember growing up as a little girl, I used to look at the invitation and I knew right away what the colour of the bridesmaids dresses were going to be and the general colour scheme of the wedding – why else would anyone choose hot pink card? It used to be the trend to have everything matching. I did it myself for my wedding with my lovely lavender invitations. Today, the trend is to be more neutral and use shades of white and ivory and then incorporate some colour. The message of the invitation is not just in the text we read but in its appearance as well. A black and white invitation screams ‘formal wedding’; the lace and pearl design is for the traditional brides with all the wedding trimmings; the simple postcard is for the no fuss couple.

So, the next time you open your mail box to find a wedding invitation, take the time to look at it from this point of view and you will be surprised just how much you can discover.