Lauren and Kyle : Mosaic Merriment

I’ve never been quite as excited as I am to post this feature today. Lauren and Kyle Tee got married over the long weekend in September and Ribbon was fortunate to not only be involved with the stationery but the flowers and decor too!

The reception took place at Tony’s Fully Furnished Pizza Co in Pretoria – and it was from this unique venue that all the inspiration came. The venue’s main decor element is mosaic and so the theme was continued into the wedding’s stationery and decor. Lauren’s colour preferences were a tall order of green, blue, brown and yellow – any wedding planner’s colour scheme nightmare! Fortunately because of the mosaic theme, we were able to create an aesthetic blend of specific tones of the colours. A Moroccan touch was added with ornate lanterns as centre pieces as well as a Secret Garden feel with plenty of greenery and twinkling yellow lights. Thanks to 5 Talents Photography for the beautiful photos as well as a few from Murasaki-Ame Photography.

All-green orchid bridal bouquet and pale yellow tulip bridesmaid bouquets – Ribbon Weddings. Beautiful bridesmaid dresses by dressmaker, Anke Boersema.

Orchid boutonnieres – Ribbon Weddings with special thanks to Anelle le Roux.

Christ Church, Arcadia – flowers by Ribbon Weddings

Many thanks to all the girls who helped weave that ribbon and set up on the day. DIY coffee filter roses laboriously made by the bride.

Lanterns hired from The Decor Hire Company. Vases and runners from Nici’s Decor Hire. Flowers – Ribbon Weddings.

Invitation, menu and place card – Ribbon Weddings. Mosaic coasters made by the parents of the bride. Custom Thank You stamp for coasters – Ribbon Weddings.

Custom seating plan – Ribbon Weddings. Mosaic table numbers made by the father of the bride. Hanging votives hired from Moi Decor.

Beautifully lit photography by 5 Talents Photography.

The suppliers for this wedding are as follows:

Photography: 5 Talents Photography
Reception: Tony’s Fully Furnished Pizza Co.
Ceremony: Christ Church, Arcadia
Bride’s Dress: Olivelli                  

Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Anke Boersema
Stationery: Ribbon Wedding Stationery
Flowers and Decor: Ribbon Weddings
Decor Hire: Moi Decor; Nici’s Decor Hire ; The Decor Hire Company

Natural Inspiration: A DIY Wedding

When Mandy first contacted me about doing her wedding stationery, she explained the style for her wedding as natural, earthy and vintage with the focus on Proteas. As you’ll see in the images below, provided by Model Image Photography, this is exactly the look she achieved.

I love to see a bride who is so involved in the décor of her wedding – not only in coming up with her own ideas but also in getting her hands dirty with creating some of the items for the day. Mandy made her own table numbers, seating plan, gift for the guests and so much more!

Mandy and Piet Viljoen got married at the lovely Rosemary Hill – see a previous blog post about the venue here. The magnificent trees and farm feel acted as the perfect back-drop for Mandy’s vision. It was a morning winter wedding but Mandy and the venue brought so many warm touches to the day like a blanket with a “Keep Warm” tag for guests to use during the outdoor ceremony.

The protea motif that Ribbon Wedding Stationery created for the invitations and on-the-day stationery was reflected throughout the day – in the beautiful flowers arrangements and small details such as the seating plan painted on glass window panes.

It was a pleasure working for such a lovely bride with inspiring ideas. Ribbon wishes you all the best for a future that will be as happy and beautiful as your wedding day was!


Photography: Model Image Photography

Venue: Rosemary Hill

Flowers: Party Design creations – Valdo Machine

Decor: The bride

Stationery : Ribbon Wedding Stationery

Make-up : Samantha Gage Kruger


Friday’s Secret: Choosing a venue

Image: Copyright Rosemary Hill

When planning a wedding, most brides start here – looking for a venue. Rightly so as this is one of the most important decisions you’ll make and will set the tone for all the decisions to follow.

I’m busy doing stationery for a lovely bride who introduced me to Rosemary Hill. She’s getting married there in July and I have to admit, I have bride envy! Rosemary Hill is a family owned farm situated just 10 minutes from Pretoria East.

Apart from hosting weddings, it has been a practicing organic farm for 35 years. This fact alone excites me as you know you’re going to be surrounded by natural, established beauty. There’s also something endearing about a venue that isn’t just a conference centre or a set-up specifically for weddings but something that exists and enriches people’s lives without the weekend ceremonies. The farm produces African Potato, Sutherlandia, Rosemary, Lavender, Artemisia, Lippia, Spearmint, Eucalyptus and various other plants from which they distill essential oils.  There’s even a nursery selling a variety of shrubs, herbs, flowers and trees.

My absolute favourite feature of this venue is the maze. The maze is 80 metres in diameter and is made up of 2154 trees, herbs and shrubs! This serves as a most incredible and unique setting for a wedding ceremony. The guests can all be seated in the centre of the maze and the bride can make her way down the pathways with her dad in hand.

Image: Copyright Rosemary Hill

Having featured this lovely venue, I’d like to add what today’s secret actually is. When selecting a venue for your wedding, look past all the well-known venues that need to be booked two years in advance. Because these venues host so many weddings (sometimes up to 5 a week) – there’s a certain lack of intimacy and personalized service.

So my advice is to look for the smaller, lesser known venues. Often a place like Rosemary Hill that doesn’t only do functions will do fewer weddings in a week as they have other forms of sustainability. Look for the venues that are family owned and run with love rather than like a business with the end goal of monetary gain. These are the places that are likely to be willing to assist you in creating your dream wedding without the rules and restrictions of the more commercial venues. You are also likely to find that these are the venues that are a lot more affordable yet with triple the quality!

If you’d like to visit Rosemary Hill, make a booking for High Tea on a Sunday. Take your mom and bff and relax, take in the atmosphere and sample some of their delicious food. The prefect way to get to know a venue!

Friday’s Secret: Wedding Photography – Quality vs Quantity

Photo by Raine Parenzee

Photo by Raine Parenzee

Most brides will agree that a good photographer is one of the most important things for their wedding day. It’s the one thing that’s left to oogle at when it’s all over. You want those memories to be captured perfectly and be a true representative of how you looked and how the day felt.

Choosing the right photographer is not an easy task – there are many of chancers out there who haven’t got the experience in wedding photographer or simply don’t have that ‘special something’ in the images they create.

Now the problem comes in when brides think: great photographer equals great deal of money. This is not true! Yes, a good photographer will probably be pricier than your cousin who has a nice camera and had a few classes in photography (shudder); but if you go for the right package with the great photographer you’ll get awesome photos at a reasonable price.

So my secret revealed today is: find a great photographer and pick the smallest package. Most photographers offer different packages which cover a certain time period. I opted for a 5 hour package and in this time the photographer (Laura Jane) was able to cover an array of scenes, from the getting ready to the early reception guest shots. She gave us over 800 photos – more than enough to make an album from. If you’re on a tight budget, rather have the photographer there till reception than have an average photographer for the whole night. You can always ask friends and family to take pictures during reception.

Many brides are also fooled by the extras – “2 specially designed albums” or “100 edited, printed photos”. These things are great but that expense can be saved for a later day when money isn’t tight because of all the expenses of your big day. Take the package where the photographer just gives you a dvd with the photos – you can look into the printing later when you and your parent’s wallets have recovered from wedding shock!

Laura Jane Photography

A Blog for the Modern Bride: B.loved

As a wedding blogger I’m spoiled for choice when it comes to perusing other wedding blogs. I made a great find today : B.loved. is a UK based wedding blog that has a clean, modern but pretty style. The site is wonderfully fresh but is infused with brides and weddings that are classic and inspiring.

B.loved - Monica Dart Photography

This photograph from B.loved is by a Cape Town based photographer, Monica Dart.

Top 10 Invitation Trends 2011

Trends in wedding stationery seem to be changing almost as fast as fashion changes every season! It’s important as a bride-to-be and as a stationery designer to know what these trends are, whether you plan to go with them or against them. If you’re not a stationer or bride-to-be it’s just as intriguing to see where the ream of invitations is flowing and to know what to expect in the post! Here are my Top 10 Trends for 2011.

  1. Vintage Vogue

Brides still gravitate to this classy, comforting style; often achieved with a dated pattern or material texture. Damask patterns and the fleur-de-lis are used to create Victorian glamour or Parisian prestige. Vintage never gets old.

  1. Go Green

Eco-friendly invites are as hot as global warming. Some stationers have even opted to use this as their ‘thing’ to attract the chic hippie client. Recycled paper and wood veneer are replacing pearly papers. Invitations are no longer layered with see-through paper or with extra inserts with the necessary information. This ‘extra info’ is often placed in an e-mailer or even a website. The idea of the ‘wed-site’ is sometimes used as a replacement for an in-your-hand invitation; encouraged for saving the planet and to cut costs on printing and paper.

  1. Informal wording

“We’re getting hitched” or “John asked Mary and she said Yes”- colloquial phrases are used in wedding stationery to set a more fun and relaxed tone. Many modern couples are paying for or contributing to the wedding so the necessity for the invitation to start with the parent’s names is no longer a must. The traditional “You are cordially invited” is cordially a thing of the past.

  1. Fauna & Flora

Nature inspired stationery is almost always elegant and charming. Proteas, hummingbirds, wild rose bushes and trees are used to cover a large ‘wallpaper’ area or used as singular elements. Proteas in particular are a hit in our home country, also translated into the décor and bride’s bouquet. It’ll be interesting to watch how this style develops in South Africa… I see some Nguni cattle and antelope walking onto these cards!

  1. Brave colour schemes

Duck egg blue and post box red, black and yellow, mint and pastel pink. Fortunately these seemingly outrageous colour schemes are generally executed by trained and talented designers who ‘ease’ the shock with calming graphics or minimal embellishments.

  1. Travel

Stamped postcards, miniature airplanes, red and blue postage pinstripes – graphic elements from travel tickets and ‘sent-from-afar’ postcards are used to tell the story of a couple who come from different countries, have travelled a lot or have succeeded in a long-distance relationship. This theme is often carried through into the on-the-day stationery and décor with vintage suitcases and ‘numbering’ of tables named with different places the couple have visited.

  1. Texas small town poster

This may be something only the more avant-garde stationers have delved into but it’s quickly catching on as a cool style for stationery. Chunky, serif, drop-shadow fonts, you know, like the one used for Boswell’s Circus? A large point font such as this coupled with a sans-serif as well as a script font – this is the basis for that ‘ripped off the shutter doors of an American ranch bar’ look. Graphic elements such as the pointing hand and a rolled-out banner add some visual eye-candy and bang-bang! your old-school cowboy look is achieved.

  1. Different fonts in different sizes

Another trend only recently picking up is when a few fonts in different sizes are used to form a boxed-in paragraph. The text is justified to contain the wording in a modern, clean-cut form. Words in a sentence will often be made a fuss of by enlarging them or even creating a visual element from them. The ampersand (&) in the middle of a sentence, for instance can be enlarged to form a graphic key. If done correctly, an absolute winner. With large gaps and too many fonts and sizes, an ineffective mess.

  1. Divine Twine

Organza, velvet or even satin ribbon? So last year. Natural is the new, with cotton twines and grassy string tied around the envelope you’re far more likely to impress. So great when a trend is also cost-effective!

  1. Laser cutting

Laser cutting, rather than die-cutting is the cutting of a specific shape, into or out of an alternate material. Think perspex, thin woods, foam and thick cardboards. This is sure to impress any guest. Unfortunately it’s a pricey practice so many brides opt for only a small section or pattern to be cut.

Picture Sources:

Ribbon Design

The Pretty Blog

Look, Love, Send

Green Grass Design

Wedding Dress: Finding “The one”

So far wedding planning has been fairly stress-free. The only thing that’s been kind of a mission was finding the dress. The pressure exists even before you look at a single dress; it’s only the most important item of clothing you will ever buy. Even typing that makes me nervous. Unlike the flowers, bridesmaid dresses or snack platters – you can’t blame anyone but yourself for the choice of your dress. You’ll be wearing it, you’ll be in the photos and you will have to stand up for your choice in 20 years time when your children dissect your ‘olden day photos’.

I visited 5 different wedding dress shops; some small in a section of someone’s house, others the bigger franchise types. What frustrated me most was the lack of simplicity. Everything had lots of layers, lots of embellishments and lots of lace. As pretty as some of them were, they just weren’t what I was looking for and often felt heavy and uncomfortable. I did however come across a style that intrigued me – the Grecian look. These dresses are a lot lighter, simpler and more ‘flowy’ and as the name suggests, are inspired by the Greek Goddesses. There was one particular one that would have been my back-up had I not found the final one. The material was light and hung gracefully with embellishments only on the shoulders.

However, I found my eventual winner at the Pink Chilly Bridal Studio in Groenkloof. I avoided trying on what I then knew was not what I liked and tried best to explain to the patient ladies who assisted me that I needed a dress that is simple, elegant and classic. The second dress I tried on was exactly that – no frills and fuss but a beautiful soft satin, rouged and pleated cleverly to create a dress that made me say Yes!

Colour: Textile inspired

If you’re having trouble choosing your wedding colours, take a look at some patterns, wallpapers and textiles. I found this floral textile design with a soft and romantic colour palate. These colours aren’t typical so if you’re going to go for something different for your wedding, I’d suggest choosing only one ‘difficult to find’ colour and choosing more common ones for the rest. Then use this ‘tricky’ colour in the things you are likely to acquire that specific tone in, such as in your invitations or bridesmaid dresses.

199 stitches on Ribbon’s Wedding countdown

I’m starting this blog 199 days before my own wedding day. I decided to start this page to share my work and interests as a wedding stationer but also to share my experiences in planning my own big day. Because I work in the wedding industry, I know what’s out there. I don’t just design stationery as a graphic designer but as someone who loves all the aspects of a wedding. This is why I spend hours looking at photographer’s work, dresses, wedding décor and all the other bits and pieces  that make up a wedding day. So now that it’s come to my own time to wed, I’m lucky enough to not be a newbie on the scene.

The entries to follow will be all the little things I experience and ideas I have on-route to 4 February 2012. In sharing these, I hope to assist other bride-to-be’s as well as share the work and services of other good wedding vendors. I’m based in Gauteng so vendors will mostly be local but with some special ones eyed in other provinces and even other countries. Hope it’s inspiring and gets those wedding brain bells tinkling!