Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Invitation keepsakes start with great invitations, Part IIIa: Be ready to answer your dealer's questions

A good dealer (see Invitation keepsakes start with great invitations, part II; selecting a dealer) will ask you lots of questions before you start – and you should be prepared to answer them. Key questions include the following:

What is the occasion - for example, is it a wedding, engagement, bar/bat mitzvah, or milestone anniversary, baptism, retirement ceremony, or surprise birthday?

What kind of party (or parties) you are having – for example, a country club reception following a church or synagogue wedding ceremony, a luncheon following a bar/bat mitzvah and a separate party for children?

Is everyone invited to all parts of the event? For example, only out-of-town guests may be invited to a special brunch or dinner, and some children may not be invited to a rehearsal dinner.

Is there a caterer who needs to know your guests’ choices of entrees? If so, you may want to include this information on your response card.

Are there out-of-town guests who need to make hotel reservations and let you know what parts of an “event weekend” they will be attending?

How are you going to address your invitations – for example, do you plan to do them yourself, hire a calligrapher, or have the invitation company print the guest addresses?

Do you have any budget constraints when it comes to selecting your invitation? Most good dealers carry a wide variety of invitations at a wide range of prices. A dealer should have invitations available in your price range – if not, it’s time to find another dealer. Browse the invitations available through eInvite (get there from the Purple Raincoat homepage) to get ideas of what is available in various price ranges.

Your dealer also should be able to suggest ways to save money without compromising the quality of your invitation. For example, some invitations allow for more text than others, and so may eliminate the need for a reception card. Others may have room only for the essential information about a wedding ceremony or a bar/bat mitzvah service, making it necessary to include a reception card with the information about the celebration.

Working with your dealer, you should be able to create an invitation that is as unique and special as the people and occasion being celebrated. So don't hide that invitation in a drawer - display it proudly with a one-of-a-kind Purple Raincoat keepsake. You put a lot of thought into the invitation; we put a lot of thought into showcasing it as a unique work of art in a framed invitation keepsake. Great for any special occasion. No question about it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The apocryphal bar/bat mitzvah invitation

Here is the bar/bat mitzvah companion to the "don't let this happen to you" wedding invitation. (You'll have to click on it to read it but trust me, it's worth it).

In my days as an invitation designer, fortunately, I never saw anything like this. You can find versions of it all over the internet at places such as The Bat Mitzvah Blog (which has the fabulous subtitle, "You're not going to wear that, are you?) But you know there are people out there who can totally identify with these sentiments - if they haven't given the party, they have gone to it.

Would we turn this into a Purple Raincoat collage? Let's just say I have a feeling this is going to show up as a sample one of these days...

In the meantime, if you receive a bar mitzvah invitation or bat mitzvah invitation that doesn't look like this, have we got a gift for you - give the gift of Purple Raincoat memories. Take a look at some of the framed keepsake collages Purple Raincoat has created for bar/bat mitzvah invitations.

Both boys and girls absolutely love getting these keepsakes. One girl even designed her invitation so that the collage would include the color she wanted...now that's thinking ahead. It's also a great gift for a few people to chip in and give as a group gift. The bar/bat mitzvah child will always remember who gave him/her their Purple Raincoat collage, long after the thank-you notes have been written.

So give the gift they want - make it easy on yourself and call or email Purple Raincoat.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Calling all brides, present and past

You’ve heard of Martha Stewart, maybe? You know Martha Stewart has a thing for weddings, right? Well, Martha has completely updated and revised her the “weddings” portion of her website, in cooperation with Wedding Wire. There are two routes to this resource: you can get there from MarthaStewart.com (click on the “weddings tab”) or from Wedding Wire. You’ll find free planning tools, a community where you can ask questions and share experiences, and the opportunity to set up a website for your own wedding. And of course, on Martha’s wedding site, you can get ideas on everything that’s wedding related – how to choose your wedding cake or a color scheme, for example.

This is a fabulous resource for wedding-related vendors from all over the country. You can search by geographic area to find vendors who are close to you – you can browse multiple geographic areas to find vendors such as Purple Raincoat, who service the entire country. The vendor websites offer you a chance to learn about providers and services that might be useful to you.

Wedding Wire also is the place for engaged couples and the recently married to review their vendors, helping those with upcoming weddings to benefit from your experience. So if you have ordered or received a Purple Raincoat framed wedding invitation keepsake, you will be invited to post a review of Purple Raincoat on the website. And don’t stop with Purple Raincoat if you’re a recently married couple - anyone who posts reviews of five vendors gets a gift card from Martha Stewart, so why not let those with upcoming weddings benefit from your experience?

Purple Raincoat is proud to be affiliated with Martha Stewart and Wedding Wire. You can find Purple Raincoat’s listing in the Boston geographic area under these categories: Unique Services, Flowers and Décor, and Invitations and Favors. The “unique services” category includes everything from fancy porta-potties to horse-and-carriage rentals to pole dancing parties…things you didn't know you needed!

Still working on your invitations? Martha Stewart has a beautifully illustrated article on different invitation styles. If you’re looking for creative ways to combine wording and design for an invitation that completely reflects your style and personality, check out these samples. Here’s one new and creative idea: a letterpress invitation made from the bride’s handwriting (see the sample “Loaded with Laid-Back Charm”).

Once you have your invitations, be sure to give Purple Raincoat the opportunity to turn it into a one-of-a-kind keepsake that will bring back the memories of your special day (and all the hard work that went into it). After the wedding is over, the invitation is one of the few tangible “things” you have left – it makes a wonderful keepsake, but not when it is stuck in a drawer. Purple Raincoat will showcase your invitation as a unique work of art that is not only meaningful but also beautiful in its own right. Contact us – or ask someone special to order one for you. Cheers!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Save that envelope! Save that stamp!

Personalized stamps, such as those made by PhotoStamps, are becoming increasingly popular for weddings, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, and other celebrations. The PhotoStamps website is a fountain of inspiration and information about personalizing your postage and ways to use these stamps. The stamps are a small indulgence, but remember that the price per sheet goes down the more sheets you order – that’s another reason to find lots of uses for them.

For weddings, for example, in addition to using them on your invitations and response cards, you can use them on save-the-date cards and thank you notes. Here’s another creative idea from PhotoStamps – take photos of your wedding party and turn them into customized stamps - give the stamps to your attendants as a token of appreciation for sharing your special day.

Once you start paying attention to these stamps, you’ll see them everywhere. My daughter was visiting her friend Sarah one recent afternoon. Sarah’s sister is having her Bat Mitzvah this year (along with many of her friends) so she is starting to get invitations to her friends’ celebrations. An envelope had arrived in the mail that day, and Sarah and her mother were trying to figure out who sent the invitation – they didn’t recognize the return address. But the envelope's stamp featured a photo of the guest of honor, which my sharp-eyed daughter noticed – she pointed it out and said, “you can see who it is.” Mystery solved!

Even if you don’t order custom postage, you may be able to find a stamp that fits your occasion. I’m working on a bar mitzvah invitation collage now for a boy who clearly cares a lot about baseball. The invitation has a personalized baseball-theme stamp with the date of the event. But for the response card, they are using the regular “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” stamp from the post office. So with a little detective work (find a post office that has a good selection of stamps and friendly clerks who don’t mind spending a few minutes while you browse the possibilities) you might find something that is almost the equivalent of custom postage, but without the custom cost.

Custom stamps make wonderful additions to Purple Raincoat invitation keepsake collages (see my earlier thoughts on this subject). Envelope linings also can be featured in the keepsakes - see my daughter's Silver invitation keepsake. There are more examples on the Purple Raincoat website (see Jill's Platinum keepsake in the Bat Mitzvah examples).

So when you get an invitation in the mail, don’t throw the envelope away – it might have something I can use it when I create a beautiful framed invitation keepsake for you. Have an invitation to an upcoming event? Ready to order? Hang onto that envelope, and contact us today – we can’t wait to get started on your one-of-a-kind gift.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I love New York…weddings

Is anyone you know getting married in New York City or on Long Island? If so, be sure to let them know about these two wonderful wedding resources: www.liweddings.com and www.nycweddings.com. If you need it for a wedding, you can find it on these sites. And there are great forums on the site for brides and grooms to ask questions and share experiences. Engaged couples and newlyweds can find lots of useful information there.

Purple Raincoat is proud to be a participating vendor - we have our own page on both sites with detailed information on our framed wedding keepsakes and many photos of samples. So tell those New York and Long Island brides and grooms to check us out. After all, as the song says, “it’s autumn in New York that brings the promise of new love”.

Even if you’re not getting married in New York, there are vendors on these sites that you might want to use – you'll find everything from favors to “save the date” magnets – even invitations…

We look forward to seeing you at Long Island weddings and NYCity weddings, and at www.purpleraincoat.com, where you’ll see samples of our distinctive framed keepsakes for all occasions.