Updated: May 11
Introducing Clare from Clare Gray Designs.
Clare designs and makes 'pretty paper' for weddings and events, as well as running a sister business selling a cards, gifts and macrame.
Why do you do what you do?
I am a lover of paper, if you’ve lost me I can be found in the nearest stationery store, stroking all the pretty paper samples. I worked for six years managing an independent deli and restaurant after graduating, before deciding it was time to put my design degree to good use, and pursue my love for graphics and print. I set up my business in January 2019. I love the flexibility of running my own business, both working from home, and being able to make whatever I feel like making, cards, prints, macrame, stationery...
What do you love most about the industry?
I absolutely love working with lots of lovely independent business owners and creative people. It can sometimes be lonely running your own business and being your only employee, I often go a whole day in my attic office with only Steve the cat to talk to. So being part of a network of Cambridgeshire creatives and wedding industry professionals who all work hard to support each other and push each other to create amazing weddings, what could be better? Plus, working with happy loved up couples, helping them celebrate their love, that’s a pretty great part of the job too!
What is your favourite creation?
So, I am biased, but I would have to say, my own wedding thank you cards, I just love them! I designed them and sent them to print as soon as we got back from our honeymoon, I was so excited to post them to our lovely guests. They are gold block foiled on vellum layered with amazing wedding photo and fixed with a brass eyelet, blank on the back to write to guests. I loved making these, I have a few clients asking for save the dates and invites in this style for 2020 and I can’t wait to get started on them.
Any advice for couples on choosing a theme?
Once you’ve picked a venue, make sure you check the venue decor. Does it have heavily patterned curtains or carpets? Is it a barn, marquee, stately home or hotel? Are any props eg. lights or other decor included in venue hire? Take all these things into account when picking a theme, you want to be sure you pick complimentary colours/styles to your venue rather than clashing colours. A little bit of consideration early on will save lots of stress further down the line! After you have considered the venue, Pinterest is a great place to put a mood board or inspiration board together, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box, your colours or theme should reflect you as a couple and make you both happy, don’t be afraid to mix it up if the latest wedding trend is not for you. If you’ve got no idea what colours or style you’d like another good starting point is to chat to your florist, they will be able to advise you on which flowers will be in season at the time of your wedding, which will help you keep costs down as well as narrowing down your theme.
Any other stationery tips for couples?
1 - Paper or Digital Invites?
I’d always vote for paper personally, for me nothing beats a beautifully hand lettered envelope through the letterbox, you just know its going to contain exciting post. But, wedding websites are a great way to keep track of all your guests, to give detailed information about the venue, provide links to accommodation, your gift list etc. Even with a wedding website, I’d still recommend sending out a paired back invitation, just with your names, the date, and a link to the website. That way you still have the excitement of sending out happy post to all your guests, and they have a pretty keepsake for those who love to keep such things, and a helpful reminder of your wedding link for the digitally challenged.
2 - Worried about your budget?
Tell your stationer what your budget is for invitations and day stationery, most stationers use several different printing methods to cater for different budgets, a great stationer will be able to make something beautiful for you whatever your budget. Don’t be shy, have the money chat.
3 - Not sure how to word your invite?
Your stationer spends their day writing out invitations, they can help you with wording, if for example you don’t want to invite kids to your wedding, or would like to ask guests for money towards a honeymoon fund, we can help you phrase this politely. Not sure what details to include on your invitation or info cards? We can advise on this too.
4 - Skip the save the dates
Don’t get me wrong, I love the stylish impact of a save the date, but do you really need to send them? Unless you’re having a destination wedding, are getting married on week day or bank holiday, or have friends & relatives travelling from far flung countries, you can probably save yourself a few pennies and skip straight to the invite!
5 - Don’t forget the ‘on the day stationery’
Those little extra touches, all matching your colour scheme/theme really make the day. Of course you will still get married and have a great party without any styled day stationery, but adding menus, signs and place cards needn’t cost the earth, and can make a huge difference to the look of your tables and the feel of your day, giving everything that extra wow-factor.
The options are endless and you really could get carried away... BUT the on the day stationary items that you absolutely cannot do without for a seated wedding breakfast are;
- A table plan,
- Table numbers/names,
- Place cards.
These are fairly essential items that help your guests find their seat, and usually need to be ordered a minimum of 12 weeks before your wedding day.
Any final words of wisdom?
Don’t wait to get in touch, my diary fills up quickly, so do get in touch asap. Even if you’re not sure what you want, I’d be happy to help.
Wedding Stationery Designer
Alice the Camera - www.alicethecamera.co.uk
Seyda Karimpour - www.the-workclub.com
Jessica Holt Photography - www.jessicaholtphotography.com
I cannot thank Clare enough, we have recently worked together on a styled shoot and her stationery is bespoke and beautiful, watch this space for the pictures!
Wedding and Events Planner Cambridgeshire