Hola, muchachos! I was on the radio! I was interviewed by R.J. Johnson for his radio show Austin Bridal Secrets. We talked about my invitations, how I started Chantal Claire and we even got into the nitty gritty of my cardstock of choice, Bazzill, and why I love it so much.
Signature or Contemporary?
During our conversation, we briefly touched on the two pocket choices I offer. Our most popular choice is the contemporary pocket, which opens from bottom to top. The contemporary pocket is in the middle price range.
If the contemporary pocket isn’t quite doing it for you, or you require more options for personalization, then the signature pocket is just right for you. The side panels provide the perfect opportunity for you to include photos of yourselves, quotes, or photos/information about your location if you are having a destination wedding.
America’s Got Invitations
In this interview, we of course delved pretty deep into my invitations and how my little company came to be. But we also ended up talking about my original beginnings… as a sound engineer and singer/fiddler. Ah, the good old days, when I’d be up all night performing in dirty bars, watching drunk people get drunker with every passing hour. Listen to hear all the goodies.
It seems like this is a tricky thing for a lot of brides to be to do, and there *millions of guides online geared towards helping them do just that. But do those guides really help? I’m not so sure… they talk about time of year, the venue, color wheels, but not so much about the individual bride and her unique likes and dislikes.
*approximate number based on late night research while binge watching crime docs on netflix
So what’s my recommendation? I’m so glad you asked.
A/V Club, if you please:
That’s the overview on how we recommend you choose your wedding colors. But let’s break this down into more detail.
Step One: List Words to Describe Your Wedding
One a piece of paper, jot down descriptive words based on how you imagine your wedding. You may not have a clear idea of wedding things yet, but you’ll probably have a pretty good picture of how you want it to feel. Do you want a party atmosphere with loud music and lots of celebrating? Then write party, celebration, jubilant. Have you always loved wedding magazines and pictured yourself in a princess ballgown, walking down the aisle to the Wedding March? Then maybe traditional, formal, classic are more your style. The more descriptive words you write down, the easier it will be to narrow down the overall vibe of your event, and the vibe will eventually lead to your wedding colors.
Step Two: Go Through Your Favorite Photos
Pick out your favorite photographs. These can be wedding related photos you found online, or favorite pictures from your personal collection. Try to avoid pictures with emotional ties, like an old picture of you and your childhood pet, if you can.
Once you have a healthy stack of photos to choose from, you are ready for step three.
Step Three: Dissect Photos Into Main Color Groups
Up until now, you might be like… wha? But this is where things start to come together. This can be finicky, but try to break your pictures into color groups. Ideally you want no more than four or five per photo, and you can go as low as three (but with a picture that’s hard). Take a look at my example:
Realistically there are way more colors in this photo than just five. There are shades of cream and more shades of pink and blue and green than what I’ve shown in the squares. But I’m trying to break the photo down into it’s main colors. In other words, if I were to glance at the photo quickly, then turn away and close my eyes, what would my color take away be? That’s what I want in those boxes.
With that in mind, the bright blue ribbon for sure – that stood out against the white dress. The green button mum near the bottom of the bouquet stood out to me, so that goes in the second box. Next up was the lighter pink above it, then the medium pink then the darkest pink. If you are more into greens you could have broken the greens down instead… this is a subjective exercise. You can’t do it “wrong”.
You may not want to break down EVERY photo you have collected, and that’s fine. After doing a few of them, you may find your brain automatically starts to blur out the subject matter and concentrates on the colors within the photos. That’s essentially what we are trying to accomplish with this exercise. Don’t kill yourself breaking down the photographs into color blocks, is what I’m saying. Work on it until you get a sense of what you’re doing, then move onto the next step.
Step Four: Match List To Colors
Once you have gone through your photos, you should pull out your word list and start trying to match up the words to the color palettes you have established.
This might seem tricky, but once you start I think you’ll get into the rhythm and find it’s actually pretty easy. It’s ok if some words fit with more than one photo. What we are trying to accomplish here is whether there are any patterns in your tastes that you were both aware and unaware of. For example, maybe you thought you wanted something very traditional, but you had written down “fun party vibe” to describe your wedding and all your palettes ended up being very bold colors. You probably don’t really want a traditional wedding after all, and probably deep down aren’t drawn to those wedding colors after all.
Which palette “feels” right?
Once you have made a few palettes with your photos, you will have a better idea of which ones feel right and which ones don’t. You can narrow your focus by repeating the words/photo process until you have just a few wedding color palettes to work with.
Step Five: Google Wedding Photos In “Feels Right” Palette
Before making your final choice, Google wedding photos in the wedding color palettes you’ve created that “feel right”. Once you see the wedding colors in action, you will have a much better idea if they are the right ones for you. Again, Pinterest is a great resource for this sort of thing.
Step Six: Repeat Until Satisfied, Then Demand A High Five
I’m not gonna lie. The chances are that you’ll have to google more than once. You may even have to do it in public. But keep googling and going through this process until you land on the wedding colors that are right for you.
Tah-dah! You have just figured out your wedding colors, one of the hardest parts of wedding planning! You totally deserve a taco. Call me up and I’ll have one too. And hey, now that you have your wedding colors figured out, why don’t you take a look at my invitations? They can be recolored to match any color palette, even the one you just chose. So win!
Wow, what a way to start a blog post, eh? But seriously, what makes Chantal Claire more awesome to work with than, say, the next wedding invitation company?
Well, we are humble, to begin with. That’s always a great virtue to have. 😉 And there’s this.But we also remember clearly what it’s like to plan a wedding, even if it was hmmrmph*mumble*mmmmph years ago. Not that we are old or anything.
Awesome Wedding Memories
I myself remember meeting with vendor after vendor while planning my wedding. Meeting after meeting, I would find myself in rooms that didn’t match my wedding vibe, and they would tell me what my wedding would be like when I hired them. And if I made the mistake of telling them I was marrying a guy from Serbia – whoa nelly! Then I was having this type of wedding, and we would need to play this song and of course everybody would expect that… except… none of it matched the wedding my fiance and I were planning. (See how I included my fiance there? It’s because I’m awesome like that. Cuz everybody knows it’s really about the bride, and she really does all the planning, but I still included him. Because, as I said, I’m awesome. But I digress…)
We were planning a small wedding, and we were (and still are, in our old age – ha) a quirky pair, and we didn’t want a lot of the expected wedding stuff at our event. It just didn’t work for us. But when I tried to explain it to these vendors, I was brushed off and ignored. “Your guests will miss it,” was the most common phrase I heard. My gut instinct was to reply – no, you will miss it, because I won’t be paying for it and you won’t see it in your bank account. And then a few other maybe not so awesome and not so wedding related words and phrases followed – in my head of course. Because I’m awesome and wouldn’t say it out loud. #PoliteCanadian
Wedding vendors that get “awesome”
At Chantal Claire, we want to be the vendor that “gets” you. We don’t want to be the vendor that tells you what your wedding invitation will be like, or what your guests will miss, or what you have to have. We want you to tell us why you are awesome, and we want to make an invitation to show you off. And we think your wedding invitation should get people excited about your event, and should showcase your quirky, goofy or romantic side – whichever side you want to show. And we don’t think you should pay custom prices to be able to do any of that.
At Chantal Claire, we love awesome people, and we love weddings. We love awesome weddings, and I don’t mean the big expensive crazy over the top ones… I mean the ones that really show off the couple. We would love to be a part of yours. Get in touch with us for your free sample.
I’ve been hanging out on a few different wedding forums for a few months now, and guestbooks are a topic that come up frequently. Most couples these days want something they will look at each day, rather than a book that will sit in a drawer or on a shelf.
Some very creative ideas have been suggested, but I see the same ideas over and over again. And then while I was on vacation with my family last week thinking about all the cool pictures I’ll be adding to my scrapbooking pile, I came up with an idea: why not use Heidi Swapp’s Memorydex as a guestbook?
The Rolodex Guestbook
The Memorydex works like an old school rolodex, if anybody remembers what those are. It comes with the base unit and cards which fit onto the rings in the middle. You could have your guests sign the cards with a message during your reception and assemble it easily and quickly afterwards. Voila! A quick guestbook!
This takes up very little space, so you can leave it out on a side table to flip through and still have lots of room for important things like a tv remote and a glass of wine. While being a guestbook, it can double as a wedding album if you print and glue photos onto the cards – just bear in mind the photos will be smaller than 4×6.
Make It Personal
There are tons of accessories for the Memorydex, so you can really make this your own. You can even create your own cards out of paper you have already if you purchase the punch – if you plan on covering the cards with scrapbook paper or creating your own cards, you will definitely want the punch, trust me. It’s SUCH a pain to cut those little rectangles out by hand.
White’s not your thing? The Memorydex comes in black as well.
Some of the cards have tabs, creating different headings or sections. So you could create a wedding guestbook and also wishes for the future – say, a section with cards to read on your one year anniversary, five year anniversary, ten year anniversary, etc. It’s so simple to put together that you could have one of your bridesmaids assemble it in one night while you are on your honeymoon.
I’m not affiliated with Heidi Swapp. I’m not getting a kickback for recommending this. I just really like mine and have been impressed with how quickly I can create interesting cards, and how many cards one dex can hold. I also think a so-call “uncreative person” can be pretty creative with this without wanting to lose their everloving mind.
When I got married, I asked my guests to send me or email me a photo of themselves with my husband or I (or both) that we may not have. I then glued them into an empty sketchbook and wrote the guest’s names on top. We got hilarious photos Hubber and I had never seen before, and it was a walk down memory lane for each of us and we heard stories about each other we had never heard before. With such a small wedding, it was easy for the to find their page and they said later they liked looking for it and writing silly comments about the photo they sent in.
We still pull that book out of it’s place in the kitchen. Our kids find it hilarious to look at old photos of their parents looking silly. However, I realize that this won’t work for a large wedding, and not everybody wants an actual book. If I were to get married again I would probably do something like the Memorydex. To me, this is a great guestbook option.
You should be able to get this at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. If not, you can purchase it through me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you still like the idea of a traditional guestbook, well guess what? I sell those too!
Foil invitations – they’re all the rage right now. And I get it, they’re beautiful and funky and it’s really hard not to love them. It’s something that I’ve wanted to offer my clients, but being a small business owner I wasn’t really sure how. Well… last night I did some experimenting, and things went very well.
This was my first attempt, and I’m pretty happy with the results. I’ll try duplicating it today and if all goes well it looks like this will be something I’ll be offering on the website! I’m so excited!
I’ve got ideas for the above, but also polka dots and maybe offering a chevron pattern in foil as well. Is there anything you’d like to see? I did one last night with just the names in foil and that looked very classy as well.
Foil is available in all kinds of cool colors. Check it out:
Oh yeah. So excited. I’ve already placed my order for a bunch of different colors and cannot wait to start playing. It’s happening, baby.
My invitations are handmade. Yup, I make all the invitations you guys order BY HAND. No automation or robotic involvement anywhere! Well, I have the inserts printed by a professional printer, but I make all the pockets and add the rhinestones and whatnot by hand.
Recently I ordered some samples from some other invitation companies, just to see what my competition was doing. And they were very nice – I have no complaints. The samples were fine. Just – fine. Nice.
However, it was very obvious that these were factory made. The pockets from the different companies were identical, but assembled in different types of paper. I found that a bit of a bummer – two different companies, yet the pockets were the same. They had obviously been purchased from a wholesaler somewhere.
The ink was printed right onto the cardstock rather than onto blank inserts. I’m sure this was a cost saving measure… but you definitely get what you pay for, because it didn’t feel very luxe to me. Basically, all of the samples seemed very “cookie cutter”. as though a line of nano robots were spitting them out assembly line style. Wow, that’s quite the image, eh?
Now, I don’t want to slam these – I realize people have different budgets, and for some this may fit within their budget or preferences and that’s fine. But for those who are like me and just cannot do things like everybody else, I offer my handmade invitations as an alternative. Because each one goes through my hands, I make sure every single invitation is up to my high standards before shipping it out. I painstakingly create a tiny reflection of you and your partner to present to your guests while allowing you to be a part of the creative process. While the inserts are at the printer, I begin to cut the cardstock that will become the handmade pockets and outer wrap. When everything is back from print I assemble it all myself. I am a perfectionist and have set a very high standard for myself. I am very proud of the work that I do and the high quality I provide.
My try to exclusively use Bazzil cardstock when creating my handmade invitations. If Bazzil isn’t available in a particular color that has been requested (which doesn’t happen often) I will go with another brand that is of the same quality, but it is my favorite cardstock to use because of the thickness, texture and variety.
There is also a huge variety of colors and even certain gold foil patterns that I’m somewhat in love with. I’m a bit of a paper snob, so this is a topic I should probably write a separate post about.
When planning your next event, I hope you will consider using my invitations. I really do believe that a beautiful handcrafted invite sets the tone for your wedding. Contact me for a free sample!
Invitation wording. This phrase can make even the most calm and collected bride to be start to sweat. Well, this phrase and the words seating chart. Before we start the stress, let’s begin with some humor from one of my favorite cats:
So let’s get down to wordifying your invitations, ok? Coming up with invitation wording can be tricky, because sometimes parents want their names on there, sometimes you are paying for the event yourself and want only you and your fiance’s names to appear. There isn’t really a “wrong” way to do it these days, unless you forget to include the following:
Who is getting married? Make sure you put your names on there. This shouldn’t be too hard unless you’re proofing your invites when you’re totally blotto. I don’t recommend this.
You’ll want to indicate in some way that it’s a wedding invitation and not, say, a bat mitzvah or a Friday night wannabe adult prom. You can indicate this by saying “at the marriage of their daughter/children” if you are including your parents’ names or, if not, you can write “as they join together in matrimony” or “as they exchange wedding vows”. There are a bunch of ways you can say this, more than I can write here. Google is your friend, my peeps. Since I am not new to wedding invitations, I can help you with this too.
So, where is this beautiful little (or big) shindig happening at? Include the venue name and address. If the reception is at a different place, I recommend putting that information on the main invitation too. Inserts can get lost or fall out in the bustle of the day, and an insert can easily be tucked into a suit jacket pocket. People are also notorious for being really, really disorganized when it comes to events… so it’s good to put both the ceremony and the reception addresses on the main insert.
This is a great example of my client Erin’s invitation and how she placed both addresses on her invitation without making it look too jumbled up or busy.
And here is Erin’s completed invitation. Pretty snazzy, eh?
Make sure you put the time the ceremony begins! I’ve seen some brides on wedding forums lately stressing over whether to write that the ceremony time starts at 4 when it really begins at 4:30. As a guest, I would find this annoying. If it starts at 4:30 I will make sure I get there on time, and to be honest quite often weddings get started a little bit late because of unforeseen snags. If you have your guests sitting there waiting for 45 minutes, they are going to be really annoyed – especially if the venue is too hot or too cold. Please trust that they are adults and can get there on time. Leave the micromanaging to your boss, please.
Whether it’s on a separate card (which I recommend) or via a wedding website, make sure you have your RSVP deadline clearly stated. Having said that, also trust that people are going to promptly ignore it, and you’ll have to chase them down. People are ridiculous with RSVPs for some reason. It’s not just weddings, I’m finding it with children’s birthday parties and wedding anniversary parties too. So make sure you have given yourself enough time to chase down the guests who have not responded! And make sure you have stocked up on wine, chocolate, oreos, episodes of Teen Mom or whatever your poison is to get through the hell that is called RSVP follow up. Then email me to complain, because Lord knows I feel you.
To card or not to card?
Why do I recommend having an RSVP card? First, it’s tradition and expected, at least for the older set (like me – sob).
Second, not everybody is computer savvy. I know it’s hard to believe, but my first girl scout co-leader didn’t even have a cell phone until I basically harassed her into getting one so she could communicate with the service unit and stop making me do all the work – not that I’m bitter or anything.
Now comes the third and most relevant and important reason. I am barraged by emails and links and things I need to RSVP to for my kids’ school, and it always somehow piles up. If it comes to me in a paper copy, it’s much easier to just quickly answer it and then pop it in the mailbox when I make my daily trip. I feel like a website response will become a part of the tech noise I deal with every day – but that may also just be me, I am approximately 12954 billion years old. Based on the responses I’ve been reading on a few different wedding forums recently, it seems I’m not alone. However, you do you. If a website RSVP fits your budget better or your lifestyle, I say go with it. Any vendor who has a problem with an e-response, or any of your decisions, really, doesn’t deserve your coin.
I will get more in depth with exact invitation wording in another post, but hopefully this gives you a brief overview of what is required. Happy wordifying! I’m gonna go food some chocolate now.
I have been adulting like crazy today. And if you’re doing any wedding planning, I bet you’ve been adulting too. Yays for everybody! We deserve a margarita or six. We also deserve this t-shirt.
Being engaged is hard, yo.
Wedding planning is hard work. There are so many decisions to make and checklists to tick off and DIY projects to mess up and redo – I mean, it’s a wonder any bride actually makes it to their wedding day at all. But at least we’ve got you covered for your invitations!
If you send us your color palette, a picture of your bridesmaid’s dress, or even just a written description of your colors we can change up any of our designs to match your theme. Wedding planning win.
I love how soft these tones are. I usually go for much bolder colors when I’m designing, so this is outside my natural comfort zone. But I was really drawn to this palette and I’m really happy with how the circular design turned out.
If pinks aren’t really your thing, that’s ok. What do you think of this silver and gold toned version of our Dots collection?
I looooove this. I hope someone is planning their wedding in this color scheme, I think it looks very classy and royal and would love to see a tablescape set up in this palette. And how cute is this little girl’s hair? I love how this looks, and I love the slight blue tinge in this palette. Gorgeous!
Good luck with your wedding planning. And good luck to both of us with our continued success adulting.
It’s such a delicate and sweet motif for a wedding, or any party. It’s a traditional theme but not so much that you can’t play with it to add unique and modern elements.
Make it your own
With our cherry blossom design especially, changing the color scheme really switches up the overall feel of the invitation. Sticking to the traditional light pink and brown tones gives a whimsical touch, but going darker reminds me of some artwork I’ve seen in the homes of my Chinese friends back in Toronto.
Christine knew she wanted a cherry blossom motif and pink and black as her colors, but wasn’t sure which one she wanted to see more of. These pictures are a great way to show you some of my process, and also explain better than words how different the same design can look with a color and font change. These are three mockups I did for her (out of many) and out of all of them we settled on the last. I actually think they all look great for different reasons, but they definitely do all have a different feel. Which one is your favorite? Leave me a comment and tell me why!
What’s that? You want to see what other wedding related cherry blossom stuff I’ve found online? Well, ok then. But only because you asked, and also only because I’m busy listening to my murderino podcast and am happy to surf the net for you.
I think these earrings from GoldenKiss Jewelry on Etsy are adorable. They come in silver or gold, and at $16+ I think they’re a really good find for the money. She’s got excellent reviews, so definitely worth checking out.
I think these itty bitty cherry blossom earrings from Obsessories LA are the sweetest little gift you could give your flower girl. How adorable are they?
Ah, the dreaded favors. I’m partial to anything edible myself, but then again I think being 6590 lbs suits me. 😉 I did a quick search for you and found a few things that I thought were cute and not coo-coo bananas expensive.
Omigod oreos. Cherry blossom oreos. Omigod. Like… omigod. I don’t think I need to say anything else here.
Oh wait, I should probably tell you the store name. It’s MerryGoSweets on Etsy. You need to buy stuff from her. Even if you decide not to get married, you need to buy stuff from her. And so do I. Because oreos. Omigod.
A billion years ago when I got married, everybody considered coasters as a wedding favor. I mean, I didn’t, but that’s just because everybody else was doing it and as I’ve said before, if other people are doing it then I suddenly become allergic to it. Anyway, I saw these and didn’t break out in hives because these are actually really adorable. There’s no link because honestly, I saved this picture a while ago and then got distracted by the oreos and didn’t save the link. Bad blogger.
The wine glass in the middle with the cherry blossom motif is pretty cute, and is a favor that I think quite a few guests will actually use after your event. And let’s face it, if many of them are newlyweds themselves, they’ll need to be drinking some vino to get through the first few years of arguments about in-laws, spending, and stop leaving your laundry on the floor the bin is RIGHT THERE can you seriously not see it it’s like two steps away just lift the freakin lid it’s not that hard- oh wait, this suddenly became all about me. Sorry about that.
Yummies for your Tummies
This is the deciding factor for me. Forget everything. I’m going to throw myself another wedding, and it’s going to have a cherry blossom theme and instead of a cake it’ll have a few thousand cupcakes with these adorbs edible cupcake toppers on them. My husband is gonna love it. No, he totally will. Stop arguing with me.
Hearts. It’s a pretty standard wedding motif, and for good reason. Hearts are a perfect symbol of love, and what’s a wedding without love? Being a wedding vendor, I knew I’d have to create an invitation with a hearts motif.
But being me, I knew I couldn’t do something standard. I tried, I really did, but I just can’t do things and have them turn out like other people’s. I guess that’s why my business is successful, though. This is the hearts design I came up with.
Pretty swanky, huh? I really like the signature style because there’s an extra opportunity to personalize things with the side panels. Blue and green are usually my go to colors when designing because those were my wedding colors. I also really like using pink tones and shades of orange in initial designs.
Previous Client Work
I really wasn’t sure how this would look in other colors, but thankfully my clients are always really creative in their ideas, and we have worked together to create some really beautiful invitations featuring this design. Like this one, doesn’t the pink just pop? It makes me think of the type of gum with the liquid goo inside – it’s such a juicy color. I love the stripe of green and the hearts seem to pop right off of it.
Playing the Blues
There is some pretty cool stuff clients have done in shades of blue. I always go for a turquoise shade, which is my signature color and the color I painted my office walls. But seeing these again, I realize that I’m really limiting myself. These are pretty rad – there is such gorgeous depth in these blues, and I love both the purple and tangerine they have chosen as accents. Man my clients are awesome.
I absolutely adore this last hearts collection. A brown and blue color scheme always looks classy and hip at the same time. Being a versatile scheme, it can be fresh and funky, it can lean towards the more rustic side if the blue is on the pale side, or it can be very classic if the motif is something traditional. I think Shawna nailed it with this one.
The back and forth
Generally, I’m not a huge fan of hearts. However I’m really digging this hearts invitation and especially what my past clients have done with it. I’m really excited to see what my new clients can do to really make it their own. I think it’s so cool that I can come up with something when I’m designing, and then my clients can personalize it in ways I hadn’t considered (and I’m a pretty creative person). I think the back and forth between us is really interesting and I really get to know my clients’ and their tastes. We tend to email/text and sometimes my clients have used my inbox as a therapy session, too, which I don’t mind at all! A lot of the time we are facebook friends at the end of the process (hey I’m still old school) and in some cases I’ve had a chance to watch my clients go on to start families of their own.
And to think… it all started with some hearts and a lot of love.