Tom and Emer arranged to meet me in August 2012 in Maudlins House Hotel, Naas.
As we sat chatting over a coffee; I discovered that they were guests at Anna & Paul’s wedding in May. ( I created their vintage, Lancia inspired pocketfold stationery suite.) Tom and Emer were impressed by my handiwork and wanted to discuss what I could create for their wedding in November… wait… November? … that doesn’t leave much time …
It was clear that Tom and Emer wanted to get their invite right. Choosing a pocketfold with a well designed info card pack was a no-brainer! The palette had already been decided; lush autumn colours to reflect the beautiful woodland surroundings of Graiguenamanagh; the wedding venue.
However the style was another issue. Torn between classic/traditional and fun/contemporary; Tom and Emer simply could not decide. I could tell that Emer would love to do something quirky and modern, it would just take some encouragement….
Here is what Emer and Tom had to say about with Chameleon Stationery:
The year before we got married we received an invite to the wedding of a friend of ours, and were very impressed by its originality and professionalism. After inquiring, we found it was from Chameleon; we investigated the website; and eventually, met Alison in person.
We weren’t quite sure what we were looking for in terms of our invite, but Alison expertly helped to tease out our half-formed ideas into something more substantial. We were torn between going with something very classic and traditional; or something a little different. After much deliberation on our part (and much patience and hard work from Alison!) we decided to go with something a little out of the ordinary.
We were absolutely delighted with the finished product and it received nothing but praise from our guests.
I have to hold up my hands and say that just like Travis I deserve a tardy award! It seems I just keep missing the boat when it comes to scheduling the Chameleon Stationery D.I.Y. Wedding Invite Workshop. I guess it’s ironic considering I usually work 6-9 months ahead. Anyway, I won’t dwell on the saga of the last few months. Instead I’m looking ahead, like Travis, I’m turning over a new leaf.
I have set new dates for the D.I.Y. Wedding Invite Workshop. The March dates will slot in better with soon-to-be-weds planning timeline; ensuring couples getting married in the next 12-18 months can timetable the workshop into their plans:
Friday 28th March 2014.
Saturday 29th March 2014.
Monday 31st March 2014.
I can’t explain how excited I am about hosting the workshops. I have had this idea rattling around in my head for a few years now, and to see it come to fruition is still a bit unbelievable. Don’t get me wrong, I will still be designing custom invites, but I see a desperate need for this D.I.Y. workshop. The concept of D.I.Y. invites carries with it connotations and undertones. The mere mention of D.I.Y. invites is greeted with a visible recoil in certain circles. I want to set a better standard for D.I.Y. invites, and banish it’s bad rep forever. I am holding the workshop with the genuine intention of sharing my paper crafting knowledge and experience with you, so that you can achieve professional looking D.I.Y. invites.
I have received a really positive response from wedding vendors and professionals, far beyond what I was expecting. This has come as a very pleasant surprise! As far as I know, it is the first workshop of it’s kind. I have tried to build a program full of all the essential tutorials a crafting beginner will need to tackle their invites. I want the day to be relaxed and fun. Each class is limited to 10 places, so that I can give every participant personal attention.
Here’s the run-down of things being covered during the workshop:
– Build your invite moodboard.
– How to manage your budget.
– Selecting the right card for your project.
– How to typeset and print your invites.
– As an experienced crafter, I will share the basics of paper-crafting including the tips and tricks you need to give your invites a professional finish.
– I will show you how to make popular invite styles: pocketfold, gatefold and chequebook invites.
– How to select trim and accessorize your invites to achieve a chosen theme.
That pretty much covers everything, doesn’t it?
But I haven’t told you the best bit yet… each participant will receive a craft kit worth €60. This cotton hold-all is chock-a-block with paper-crafting tools including: cutting mat, steel ruler, double sided tape and scalpel. (The craft kit also includes a workbook, covering the workshop tutorials.) All other materials will be supplied on the day. Sounds good, right? Oh, and before I forget. There will be a hearty homemade soup and sandwich lunch. Sweet bakes for dessert. Tea and coffee, will of course, be on tap.
I’m looking forward to meeting enthusiastic brides and grooms to-be, for a few fun days of crafting. You can book your place today. If you are considering making your own invites, or if you know someone who is, booking a place on the workshop could be the perfect gift for their Christmas stocking…
Custom designed Oval Table Names “Plates” by Chameleon Stationery
When I first met Berenice and Fergal in the lobby of the Westgrove Hotel in January 2013, it was clear that they were looking for something very special for their wedding. We went through the various samples, yet nothing seemed to jump out at them. I was concerned (to say the least). And then something caught Fergal’s eye; a simple, but elegant greeting card sample. It was a “this is the one” moment.
After chatting about their chosen venue, Tattersalls, and Fergal’s love of horses, it seemed obvious that we should work with an equine theme. The stationery suite hard some hard work to do; the stationery had to be elegant, but not uptight; chic, but not take itself too seriously. Tough work? Nah! I love a challenge.
When I saw the photos of their “Big Day” on weddingonline.ie blog, I could see how Berenice had managed to stay so relaxed throughout the wedding plans. She had planned everything carefully, selecting vendors that she could trust to undertake their individual tasks to the best of their ability. That truly is how you get the best out of wedding vendors!
Here is what Berenice and Fergal had to say about their experience working with Chameleon:
“I came across Chameleon Stationery while browsing the Internet checking out wedding stationery. My preference was to keep business local. From the moment we met Alison we were struck with how passionate she was about her work. All of her samples were so fab, it was very difficult to make a decision.Since we were getting married in Tattersalls, we decided to go with an equestrian theme.
Alison had really great ideas and sent us on loads of different proofs to choose from. She also designed a lovely envelope liner in keeping with the equestrian theme. They were so different from anything I’d seen before.We got so many compliments from our guests, on all of the wedding stationery, from the invitations; to the mass booklets; to the seating plan. Alison’s attention to detail was second to none, and we found her extremely efficient and professional to deal with.
Thanks again Alison, for all your help and for all the fabulous stationery”
Berenice & Fergal Flattery
Photo Credit:All photos by Julie Cummins Photography
Quirky Sights at the National Ploughing Championship 2018
I went out to the National Ploughing Championships on Wednesday (25th September 2013). For a lack of imagination I will try to recap the day in a (loosely) chronological order.
10.35 a.m. Purple Pig Car Park. Diesel powered vehicles of all shapes and sizes unload. Some are preparing for the busy day ahead with a tailgate cup o’ tea.
10.40 a.m. Buying the tickets was a bit of a joke. Crowds were sent up crushes to buy tickets and then left to burst their way through outer queues to reach the main entrance gate. This scenario was compounded by the fact that country folk don’t like crowds or queueing. Creatures so used to being unfettered and free can become quite unsettled when they think others are trying to jump their queue, even when all you want to do is cross to the other side!
11.00 a.m. Enter at the Livestock Sector. Shortly after, given my marching orders. It appears I’m cramping Dad’s style. We’ll meet up for lunch. The Lely robot milking machine is catching everyone’s attention or maybe it’s just the mesmerising effect Friesian cows have on the public at large? Very content cows….
11.10 a.m. Just spotted at least three John Deere boilersuits on junior farmers within the last 10 minutes. Did I miss the Memo? “Dress Code: Emmerdale Farmer Chic”
12 noon With every wave of TY students that pass, I imagine a loudspeaker address reverb in my mind: “Today’s events are brought to you by: Jack Jones and Penney’s fashion tights”. Other uniform day. I’ve covered a good bit of ground. Pretty sure I’ve covered most of the upper part of the exhibition site. But no sign of the retail sector yet? There’s a friendly, relaxed atmosphere but there is a definite element of pace about the event. This is unavoidable, considering the main contingent of visitors to the Ploughing are farmers. Farmers like to keep moving, forward motion at all times: that is unless they are talking. Then, they simply won’t budge.
Tom: (shouts across me) Ah Joe, now I see your true colours!
(I look right) Joe is standing inside the door of Fine Gael stand.
Cue witty comeback…
What was said next, I have no idea. Forward motion, remember…
12.30 p.m. Right better make my way back to meet Dad for lunch. Wonder if the little brother is around today? Give him a text. Reply confirms he can fit me in for a few minutes. Right, what direction should I be going in?
12.50 p.m. Dad arrives back to get his lunch. Bring him into the sit-in restaurant to grab a bite.
1.40 p.m. We spilt up again. And agree to meet up at the exit for the purple car park. Dad’s quite insistent that we meet up at 5.00 p.m. Not sure I have the stamina for another 3 hours…
2.00 p.m. In the midst of the 100 acre maze that is the exhibition site, I realise I’m outside the super-cute One Fab Day Tipee. It looks right at home and is probably one of the most eye-catching exhibits of the Ploughing. I go to have a closer look inside and get chatting to Naoise. Had to tell her what a great idea it is to see a wedding exhibitor at the show. ( I couldn’t think of a better place to exhibit to create awareness and profile on a national scale.)
2.20 p.m. Need to get out of this feckin machinery/equipment sector. It’s like the Bermuda triangle. Still can’t find the shopping tents….Where is Sector A? Map. YOU ARE HERE. Oh, ok. That’s miles away. Remember, forward motion.
2.40 p.m. Passed the O’Neill Tent for the second time today. Must go in some time and see what all the queues are about… maybe not… bloody queue is twice as long as it was this morning.
2.50 p.m. I have no idea how I got here but finally make it to Sector A. I’ll have a quick run through to see what bargains are to be had, before making a purchase.
3.15 p.m. The unwritten rules of treating yourself whilst on a day out: thou shall only treat yourself after you bring home something for the poor sods at home (that didn’t get to take a day off work). Sorted: 3x100g chocolate bars for €6 from Áine Chocolate. Sweet.
3.25 p.m. Serendipity. Handmade soap; mine is nearly all gone. If I run out, my extensive, demanding, beauty regime will be in jeopardy! Eek. The SunRose Garden stand has a great 3 bars for €12 offer and because I asked nicely, I buy a soap stand for an extra €2. Sorted.
4.00 p.m. Have to start making my way back to the Livestock Sector. Oh, there’s Barry’s Tea. Thronged, of course! I momentarily forget myself, and begin to imagine taking a moment to relax with a hot brew. I suppose I could overlook my tea alliances on this occasion… Careful now.
4.20 p.m. Have to sit down! I’m wrecked. Manage to get a bench on the reverse side of the FRS/FBD Safe Tractor Driving Course. My in-flight entertainment is supplied by a few young lads trying out their shiny new hurleys and a band of young turks with an oversized football. Shannigans ensue. Oh the folly of youth…
5.20 p.m. We have made it back through Stradbally. It’s pretty much smooth sailing from here on out.There had been about a twenty minute delay getting out of the car park, despite Dad and I meeting up 10 minutes earlier than our arranged time. Can’t wait for a cup of tea when I get home and maybe some chocolate…
p.s. Yes, I would later recap over a cup of tea, that yet again, I didn’t actually get to see any ploughing?
p.p.s.Since Wednesday I have enjoyed testing out the Seville Orange Chocolate from Áine Chocolate. Both family and friends have tried it and it’s been enjoyed by all. It’s top class. It’s 60% cocoa, you only need a little to treat yourself. I’m looking forward to the other bars.
Following my workshop with Lisa O’Dwyer, these are some of the first product images that I took myself. These were taken on a SLR camera, using 35mm film. Yes – you read that right. Film. So this is my first attempt, I hope to build on this and get better with practice.
Custom designed pocketfold invite for Tom & Emer
Pocketfold with info cards: reply card, accommodation and directions.
To finish the pocketfold, we screenprinted a gold-on-gold feather motif.
Freehand illustration teamed with playful caption “woot”
The autumn palette was used sparingly to avoid the invite looking too busy.
The above photos are of a custom design, autumn themed gold pocketfold invite for Tom & Emer last year. Tom & Emer were getting married in beautiful Graiguenamagh, Co. Kilkenny. They were eager to reflect the autumn woodland in the palette and to create a fun contemporary owl motif.
Emer loved the freehand illustration as soon as she clapped eyes on it. This invite was great fun to work on; often couples will keep their distance from some of the wilder ideas that they really like, because they are afraid of negative feedback from invitees. I have great admiration for Tom and Emer in standing by their original convictions. The result speaks for itself.
Spring is fast approaching and the build up to Easter begins in earnest with the whole country gorging itself on pancakes tomorrow week (12th Feb). Easter is a moveable feast. Ironically, the date is based on the movement of the moon. Here’s the science bit: Easter Sunday is determined to fall on the first Sunday after the full moon following the northern hemisphere’s Spring Equinox – noted ecclesiastically as 21 March.
But religion and science apart, don’t we all have a natural attraction to the moon as our nearest celestial neighbour? I don’t know about you but I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with the moon and stars. On a serious note, the moon connects us with everything in The Milky Way (not the chocolate bar, actual outer space) and the other galaxies that are beyond. The moon tells the tale of passing time. The sun, moon and stars that we see everyday connect us to every other living creature on the planet. Every man, woman and child on the globe may have a different view of the night sky as we orbit, but it is, none the less, the same sky we share. Not only that, we also share this panorama with every soul who has ever lived in history.
I hope a Moon theme will appeal to amateur astronomers, day dreamers, hopeless romantics and white witches alike.
If you need help setting a date, let your inner druid run riot.
Monday ‘as gaeilge’ is De Luain which translates as day of the Moon, a symbol of new beginning. We have all seen the Man in the Moon but, did you know that many countries from Mexico to China see the Hare in the Moon? The moon in the month of May can sometimes be known as the Hare Moon. In ancient Ireland the feast of Bealtaine was celebrated during May as a time of rebirth on the Earth, in animal, plant and human world. This ancient tradition is probably the reason we adopt the Easter Bunny into our Easter festivities. ( like to find out more, have a read of this http://www.endicott-studio.com/rdrm/rrRabbits.html )
Choose a date based on lunar phases such as a seasonal equinox or a blue moon. A blue moon is defined as the second full moon in a calendar month; the next blue moon is August 2015. http://www.moongiant.com/
Credit: Left: Blue Cheese Moon Painting by Michael Marcotte via fineartamerica.com Right: Hare in the Moon by Crouching Kitty via picasaweb.google.com
For a true Moon theme it would be ideal to be able to dance under the moonlight. Maybe a great venue with a garden terrace or hire a garden marquee or tipi. Alas it’s a big risk living in Ireland, you better reach for the Child of Prague to keep the pesky rain at bay. If you want to view the night sky clearly remember that you will need a location far away from the hustle and bustle and lights……of town.
– Another ideal location to appreciate the full effect of the moon is near the sea, to watch the effect of the moon on the ebb and flow of tides chose a location near the sea.
A great lighting plan can create an amazing space. This can be achieved by something as simple and inexpensive as candles, lots and lots of candles.
Recreate the magic of moon light at your wedding reception:
– Pillar Candles, tea lights, mason jars and hurricane vases will make your budget go the distance. These can be bought cheaply from pound shops, IKEA or can be borrowed and begged from family members and friends. Create centerpieces and focal points by making little installations of candles around your reception area. Think safety first and to create interest vary the heights and shapes of candles and candle holders used.
– Luminary bags can create a real wow factor as they guide the way to your reception. Luminary bags can be D.I.Y-ed or easily sourced on the net. It’s a minimum input project with a maximum result.
– Similar to luminary bags are the slightly more expensive Sun Jars. These create a beautiful soft glow and come in some great neon shades. My personal favourite is the Moon colour with its fantastic electric blue glow. These LED powered mason jars harness the sun rays to create a fantastic glow at night. Think how fab these would look sitting on steps or surrounding a balcony. They are pricey to buy but you can find D.I.Y. instructions on the web. Remember you can always sell on these items through wedding blogs or the wonderful power of Ebay after the wedding, if you don’t have any further use for them.
– If you have a bigger budget, metres and metres and metres of fairy lights could recreate a beautiful starry canopy.
– Create a photo booth installation, where you and your guests can visit for some great photo ops.
– Ask your DJ or a event hire company to design a lighting concept.
– Plan a Sky Lantern Ceremony
4. Food and Drink
The moon theme can extend as far as your food. I have managed to find a few cocktails such as: Blue Moon Cocktail, Moonwalk and Harvest Moon but there are loads of space themed cocktails out there.
Most of the other food suggestions I have are dessert related. Create a mega dessert buffet with moon pie, macaroons, scoops of ice-cream, muffins or maybe a lavish cheese tiered wedding cake.
Denise and Karl wanted to get everything just right for their wedding in May 2012. Chameleon was there every step of the way to help them. It all started with a spur-of-the-moment appointment. Karl and Denise needed a stylish solution that didn’t cost the earth. Together we customised an ivory iris fold pocket with a pearl damask insert, printed in a coral palette.
Here’s what they had to say:
“Karl and I would like to thank you for your professionalism and patience throughout the process. You always promptly addressed our concerns and helped us when we were constantly changing our designs and directions.
We were looking for a damask design not really knowing what type of invite we wanted and fortunately came across Alison’s website. I rang her straight away and we had a meeting set up very quickly which was brilliant. Alison is very talented, I got that impression straight away when we met, her designs were different with a touch of elegance and that ticked one of our boxes.
Alison made the process very easy for us, from the initial enquiry to receiving the final product she made it stress-less for us.
When we received the invites, they were beautiful and she made sure we were entirely happy with them – the look, the font, the design, colour – everything! We very much appreciated the quick turnaround in having them ready for us. We have had many calls to say how elegant and exquisite they thought the invites were.
Thank you Alison for you kind help and amazing invites that represented our wedding day.”
Anna and Paul got married in May 2012. We met at a wedding fair in the Radisson Blu St. Helens Wedding Fair in Dublin where they were planning to have their reception. Something seemed to have caught the eye of the couple as they breezed past my display and we quickly got to chat. They seemed very interested and then Anna mentioned an idea about a possible car theme…this sounded interesting….
And the rest, as they say, is history…..
This is what they had to say about working with Chameleon:
“We met Alison at the Radisson Blu St. Helens Wedding Fair in Dublin. Up until that point we had only considered standard invitations, but when we saw her beautiful bespoke designs, an idea started brewing in my head: could we somehow incorporate my fiance’s love of classic cars into the invitations?
Alison was excellent to work with from the start: she did a huge amount of research around the topic, she came up with mock-up ideas in different styles, and we went through many iterations until we finally nailed down the perfect design. We both loved it and many of our guest, from car enthusiasts who understood the theme straight away to car-laypeople (like me) who only noticed the quality of the design, gave positive feedback.
In fact, it was one of the most commented on features of our wedding!
We will definitely continue recommending her to family and friends (the engaged couples actually asked for her address straight away :)”
Undertaking the planning of a wedding is huge. You’ve never done it before; and the idea is you will never have to again. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when faced with all the decisions that have to be made.
Wedding traditions give the bride-to-be a safety net, a structure for the wedding day; a definitive list of things that need to be organised. In short these wedding rituals give the bride a few less things to worry about. But hold that thought….How many of these mini-rituals honestly deserve a place in your special day?
Don’t get me wrong I like tradition, after all, if it’s not broke…..
On the other hand, I can also see that there is a shift in how weddings are being planned by Irish couples. As a wedding professional, I can see that the kind of weddings couples are planning are changing; an obvious result of the modern social and economic climate. Couples are paying for their own weddings, some with help from family. Many couples live together before getting married and/or have started a family in that time. Some wedding traditions just don’t relate to the modern way we live.
If you are planning a wedding now is a great time to take a closer look at the traditional wedding rituals. Do these match up with who you are and how your wedding will reflect you as a couple?
Think about this long list of traditions:
– The bride’s white gown – okay, so you’ll only get to buy and wear big white gown once in a lifetime but this is merely a trend gone out of control in itself, started by Queen Victoria.
– Flower bouquet – If you are the Duchess of Cambridge it’s a wonderful opportunity to use the language of flowers but for the majority of modern brides is this just something to do with you hands?
– Something borrowed, something blue… – harmless superstition. It’s a cute bit of fun for the girls, but is it relevant to you?
– Wearing a veil – It’s not an arranged marriage, is it?
– Not seeing the groom before the wedding – Most couples take no qualms with this age old tradtion. For modern couples it adds a sense of anticipation and excitement for the big day. However is there honestly a good reason why you can’t see each other for 10 mintutes before the ceremony to calm the nerves; make the most of the photo opportunity; or for that matter why the two of you can’t walk up the aisle together?
– Giving the bride away – Does the bride need to be given away when she’s been living with her hubby-to-be for the last three years?
– Cutting the cake – A photo opportunity but not exactly the most exciting, what does it mean anyway?
– Sit down meal – By all means look after your guests and don’t see them wanting, but who says you have to have a three course meal? Doesn’t it just take the momentum out of the celebrations?
These are just a few that come to mind. The list is not limited. Now perhaps after reading this list, you think, “Well, what’s left?”.
This isn’t about taking everything apart and being left with nothing. It’s about freeing you up to be able to plan the day that you want, not just another run-of-the-mill wedding.
Look at it another way. You have been a guest at many a wedding, maybe a lot of your siblings or friends have gotten married in recent years. So you know the routine of the wedding….be honest…..it can be pretty boring right? Do you want your wedding to be just another predictable day for your guests? Especially after putting all the time and effort into the plans.
As the couple getting married the shoe is going to be on the other foot this time. The day will race by in an instant, from the church to cutting the cake, in the wink of an eye. Do you want to spend one of the most important days of your lives together racing around like headless chicks going through the ‘wedding’ motions that mean little or nothing to you; when you could be in the thick of the fun, savoring every moment of the day with your friends and family?
By cutting the unnecessary from your day, you can create a special, personal day for you, your family and all your special guests. Just by making the decision to do one or two key things in a different way, will make a big difference and your guests will appreciate it. Who knows, you may even start a new trend…….
Image Credits: Shoes top L to R: image via Jennifer Lauren Bijoux via nashville.weddings101.net, via Charlotte Geary,via besthudsonvalleyweddingever.com, via 6 of Four Photography
Just received this wonderful testimonial this morning from Irene and Feargal, who got married earlier this year in February 2012.
“We knew we wanted a very different wedding invitation suite from what was available by stationery suppliers to show our personalities and wanted a really high quality bespoke service & that’s what we found in dealing with Alison in Chameleon!!
When we first came across Chameleon online, having consulted with Alison on what we were looking for, Alison quickly familiarised herself with our hopes and needs and drafted designs to meet those needs. It was very little effort for us as Alison quickly knew what we wanted and after consultations and a very efficient service, we were presented with our final suite, which truly was beautiful, elegant and represented everything we had hoped!
All who received our invitations, information cards and thank you cards noted how bespoke and elegant they were and the theme flowed right through to our mass booklets on the big day. I would highly recommend Chameleon Stationery to all prospective clients and think of Chameleon as a blank canvas and the end product being a work of art made with professionalism, efficiency and passion for creating unique stationery. Thank You Alison”