Personalising your Wedding Ceremony with Yvonne Beck, Celebrant

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of chatting with Celebrant Yvonne Beck. Yvonne is based in Berlin, but has worked all over the world, and regularly hosts ceremonies in the UK.

Going into the conversation, I had no idea what a celebrant did. Yvonne really opened my eyes to what was available to couples who didn’t want a traditional or religious ceremony. I wish I’d known this much when I was planning my wedding!

Yvonne and I chatted about different types of ceremonies, and how couples can make theirs personal to them. As tends to happen in conversations with me, we also got onto my favourite subject – animals at weddings!

I really enjoyed speaking to Yvonne, and learned a lot. If you’re feeling restricted by the idea of a traditional ceremony, then this is one for you. 

Check out the video below, or the transcript beneath for more info. You can see more of Yvonne on her website, on Instagram, and Facebook.

Hi there, it’s Katherine from Giftast Wedding and Events Stationery, and I’m here today with Yvonne Beck, who is a Celebrant based in Germany, in Berlin. Yvonne, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hi, I’m Yvonne, I’m a celebrant that’s based in Germany.

I divide my time between Berlin and London, but I also do ceremonies in different parts of England.

And also lots of ceremonies now in Southern Germany, where the mountains are. So it’s elopements as well, which have been really coming up this year. I’ve had quite a number of your elopements last year and this year.

That’s nice – very romantic! I always think elopements are the most romantic. How did you get started being a celebrant?

I was looking for a change of career after spending many years working in the public sector, in education and training. I was invited to be a guest at ceremony in Australia, from some friends who’d worked in London but married in Australia. They introduced me to their celebrant, and as we had the ceremony in the vineyard overlooking the ocean at sunset, it was just magical.

I’d never experienced anything like that,

so when the time came, I was looking to see whether celebrantsy was something I could do in in England. I was based in London looking at what kind of training I could do, and I trained with the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants in 2011. So I’ve been a celebrant for about eight years now, and yeah, I’ve never looked back.

I mean many of my couples to begin with were from Australia and New Zealand and America because they already understood the kind of role that a celebrant can play in terms of personalising the ceremony. Now that over the years has changed,

so more and more English and UK couples are looking for that kind of choice and flexibility on their wedding day, to have ceremony that’s really about them.

Because you don’t just do weddings do you? You do birth naming ceremonies, things like that. I was looking on your website – so what’s your sort of favourite ceremony to do?

Well I suppose weddings really, because it’s all romantic, and it’s exciting. I mean, it’s a real honour and a privilege to be asked to create a ceremony and lead a ceremony. But I think the whole day, you know, it’s family, it’s friends. It’s usually a slightly bigger event than perhaps a baby-naming, where in actual fact you’ve probably got 100 children and 40 adults. That’s quite a challenge sometimes! I think all ceremonies that celebrate life’s major milestones are really important, so they really resonate with me.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve realised the importance of celebrating the things you can while you can and enjoying life.

Ceremonies I think are a way that we you know can ritualize experiences create memories. Therefore I think in lots of ways, starting a new life together as a couple is probably one of my favourites, because that couple are standing in front of me looking each other in the eyes, and saying the most heartfelt tender and sincere words. Because they write their own vows mostly, and I just stand there in awe. Love is such a powerful thing, and so yeah, I love weddings.

Ah, that sounds so wonderful. Is there any difference between what people want – because obviously you work globally – so is there a difference between what people tend to want in the UK and other places like Germany and New Zealand and Australia?

I think they want a ceremony that’s flexible and it’s about them.

They also want ceremonies that are outside out in nature, and I’ve done lots and lots of ceremonies in the gardens of manor houses, and private gardens in woodlands open areas that allow people to really express themselves and feel relaxed. I think you feel more relaxed when you’re in nature, because it reminds you of days when you were at the beach or picnicking or doing something – you know, bimbling around and in the woods.

I think that going into a formal situation like a big grand house can be quite overwhelming and intimidating. And I have done those ceremonies, but those are for couples who’ll use historical buildings because it’s their theme.

I think with the celebrant, know that there’s nothing that’s off the table.

So any of their plans and ideas are fine with me. This year I’ll be creating ceremony for a couple from Australia in a castle in Warwickshire, and they’ve asked me to dress up in 15th century costume. And that will be my first one, so I’ve come a long way I think from my first ceremonies. One of my very first ones was on an animal sanctuary in Sussex, and the couple wanted animals to be part of their day. And so the week before the wedding, I was introduced to a herd of thirty bulls and cows that were in the sanctuary, and they were looked after so lovely.

I was just told to watch where they’re putting their feet, because they can step on you. They can’t see where feet are, but these animals were so lovely and on the day and we have the ceremony in the field with the cows and bulls behind us. Because they’re curious animals, they came up behind me, and I could feel breathing down my neck!

It was most incredible, but loving.

I mean the couple actually wrote a poem to themselves, to the animals, and because they both believed very much in animal welfare, and the rights of animals to live a happy life. I mean, these were sanctuary animals, so they’d been kept as pets or in petting zoos or farms – you know in in those sorts of environments where in the end people couldn’t look after them. Huglett’s Animal Sanctuary – big shout out for them, they do the most amazing vegan breakfast and they they were really lovely! So yes I’ve done stately homes and houses, historical buildings and farms.

I think what what couples really want is this ability to express their ideas and their plans and their story.

Well that’s brilliant, I love that you talked about having animals there as well. Having animals involved in your wedding is something I’m so interested in  – big animal lover! That’s the thing I’m always trying to do, because we had a very small ceremony and my cat couldn’t come. Looking back, I wish I’d done things differently – not to have him there, because he would have hated it, but had him involved in a slightly different way. We had a tiny Lego cat on our cake, but other than that, he wasn’t really there. And I think that’s a shame, so that’s why I think that’s absolutely lovely.

Yes I mean we do get ring bearers who were pets now with the family pet,  it can be rabbits or pets but you know dogs. 

A rabbit ring bearer – that would be incredible!

It’s important to give couples that kind of confidence to go with their flow and how they feel. So as a celebrant, I will say to them, you know, there’s no wrong door. Anything and everything you put on the table, we will work through and see whether we can incorporate it. Because there are no restrictions on the time of the ceremony or the length of the ceremony, and it makes for really exciting photography. I’m sure when the couples get their photographs back, not just of the ceremony but of the whole day – you know those memories would just be amazing.

Aw, that’s absolutely brilliant –  big fan of that. Do you have any tips for couples for the ideas and things to help make their ceremony more personal for them?

I think that they should really think about what is important their values and beliefs and how they want to express those.

So whether that’s including rituals like cultural rituals or rituals of heritage. You know many couples come now from different backgrounds, and they want to respect those backgrounds and faiths and so we can include that in the celebrant ceremony. Many couples don’t realise that, because they think it’s a civil ceremony. So they think they can’t have any religion or culture or spiritualism in it, but it can and I can work with the clergy if they want.

I mean I’ve often asked couples if they’d like anything religious, and they’ve said yes, well we have an uncle who’s a pastor or a local priest – my family priest. And if they’re willing to come and give some sort of blessing, then I’m all for that. Because I’m thinking, that is that is truly then authentic, in terms of respecting everything, in terms of the couple’s wishes.

And if they want to have it in a hot-air balloon or  on the beach or just the two of them saying their vows, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Many couples nowadays I think, find that the cost of a wedding, and the size of the wedding and how big  the invitation list gets can be quite overwhelming. I’m seeing a trend to more smaller more intimate weddings, between 25 and 75 guests. So I give them  the opportunity to say what style, what size, where’s the location. And if we want it in our family garden, that’s fine too. You can dress the garden up, dress the tree up.

I’ve often created ceremonies in family gardens. They’ve ranged from a small back garden in London to where the family had a farm, and acres of land. So I think it’s about what makes you happy.

The question really is this:

How do you want to feel on your wedding day?

How do you want be about your ceremony and so what things will make you feel like that? And involving your family your children if you’ve got them. Many couples bring children into the relationship, because they’ve had a relationship and lived together before they decided to get legally married. The ceremony really can include children. With things like a unity ceremony. I don’t know if you’ve heard of these, where the unity ceremonies symbolise the bond that you’re building and the family that you’re building.

So it might be a candle lighting, and you can ask everyone to light the candle, or it might be a hand fasting where ribbons are tied around your wrists and make you tied by family and friends. Or there might be a sand pouring ceremony.

Different colours of sand representing each child and each member of family poured into a vessel creates layered look of these beautiful colourful layers.

The symbolism there is that what is brought together cannot be taken apart,

because you couldn’t then un-mix those grains of sand. So it’s about forming a lasting and enduring bond throughout your married life and family life.

That’s so nice, and lovely that you can personalise it like that. Unfortunately we’re now out of time so that’s been absolutely brilliant, thank you so much Yvonne that’s been great. I feel like I’ve learned loads, thank you very much

You can see more of Yvonne on her website, on Instagram, and Facebook.

What can I do with my 10% Wedding Stationery Discount?

Fancy a 10% discount on your Wedding Stationery? If you sign up to our Newsletter, you’ll receive a 10% discount to use on your first order.

But what can you do with it? I’ve pulled together a quick how-to guide, to help you make the most of your 10% discount code.

Sign up to our newsletter for a 10% wedding stationery discount!

What can I use it on?

First things first – it’s available site-wide. So not just on wedding stationery! You can use it when you commission pet portraits, when you order wedding stationery samples,  for bespoke wedding stationery, corporate stationery, birthday cards, post cards… The only thing you can’t use is the freebie section(!) and it doesn’t apply to postage & packing.

Can I only use it online?

You can use it on any “first order”, which includes bespoke orders made over the phone or via email. Just quote the code when you place your order.

How can I make the most out of my discount?

Place your orders for multiple items at once. If you’ve ordering save the dates, invitations and rsvps, order them at the same time rather than separately. If you commission a bespoke design, the discount will apply to your first invoice, which will include the bespoke fee and whatever items you order featuring that design.

What else do I get out of the Newsletter?

When you sign up, you don’t only receive a 10% discount code. Please note, you will be asked to confirm your email address in order to receive your code, so do check your spam folder! 

You’ll also receive handy blog posts, which will help you with your wedding planning, as well as a little surprise, if you stay subscribed for a little longer…;)

So what are you waiting for? Sign up here and get your discount code today!

Behind The Name: What does Giftast Mean?

One of the questions I’m asked most is, what does Giftast mean

I thought I’d take the opportunity to not only answer this fully, but also tell you a bit about how the company was founded.

Giftast means “marry” in Icelandic.

I started the company in 2017, after designing my own wedding stationery, and taking our honeymoon in Iceland. Several of our wedding stationery collections started life as paintings made on the back of postcards, created as we wound our way around the Route 1 Ring Road.

behind the scenes creating a wedding stationery range

It was such a wonderful country, and one I completely fell in love with. I’m not the best traveller, but Iceland was different. It was familiar and alien all at once. Parts were like the Yorkshire moors, parts felt like the Alps, parts felt like Mars! 

Because it was such a special place and time for us, it seemed most appropriate to nod to it when I decided to found my business. Giftast felt right, and seemed to really represent what I wanted to do with the business.

Hints of Mordor…

Why start a business?

After completing a degree in Illustration in 2009, I began a career combining event management, and managing the work lives and diaries of several extremely disorganised corporate leaders. 

My experience of running high-pressure events and diffusing stressful situations, combined with a love of creating beautiful, bespoke artwork led to the founding of Giftast.

It would have been lovely to go straight into a creative job, but the corporate work taught me about how business works. It also taught me new skills, such as event management, diary organisation and working in high pressure situations. This experience was invaluable when planning my own wedding, and I love to share this knowledge with couples planning their big day.

Having worked in the corporate environment for close to a decade, I provide a high-quality and trusted service to help couples and events coordinators.

Together we can take your events to the next level with bespoke finishing touches, designed to help take the stress out of wedding and event planning.

So there you have it! My career in brief. The more I learn about the wedding industry, the more I want to help couples achieve a wedding that is completely personal to them. There is an enormous amount of tradition behind weddings, and that’s great, but isn’t for everyone. I felt very constrained by expectations when planning my wedding, and wasn’t aware of what other options were available.  

I wish I knew what was available when I was planning my wedding. If I had, would have done a lot of things differently. 

With this in mind, my focus with wedding stationery is to work with a couple using our bespoke design service to create something which really represents you. You can then use this personal branding throughout your wedding design.

If you’d like to arrange a free consultation over the phone or Skype to discuss your wedding stationery, and talk about how Giftast can help you realise what you really want out of your big day, just call 07949 910101 or email info@giftast.com.

Hannah Larkin Photography – Emma Pink Floral Wedding Stationery

If you weren’t already persuaded that Hannah Larkin is my favourite photographer, then perhaps this gallery will convince you!

Images by Hannah Larkin Photography

Hannah was kind enough to photograph my pretty floral Emma range. In spite of the bright pink back, this is a delicate range with a lot of fine detail. I’ve struggled to photograph it, so was excited to see what Hannah would make of it.

And she didn’t disappoint! Aren’t they gorgeous? 

Images by Hannah Larkin Photography

Your stationery is a long-lasting way to link your wedding together, from Save the Dates all the way through to Thank You Cards. One thing I love about the Emma range is the monogram, which can be used almost as a logo for you and your partner, into your married life. 

Images by Hannah Larkin Photography

I’m going to be talking about this idea a lot more in the future, so watch out for that! But if you get your wedding stationery design right, it can really streamline your wedding planning. You’ve got the theme, colours and feeling of your ceremony, all easy to reference. Then you can use those design elements to tie everything together. 

Images by Hannah Larkin Photography

If that’s made you as happy as it made me, then you can see more of Hannah on her website and social media links below!

www.hannahlarkinphotography.com
www.facebook.com/hannahlarkinphotography
www.instagram.com/hannahlarkinphotography
www.twitter.com/hannahlarkin

Talking Wedding Photography with Hannah Larkin Photography

A couple of weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of talking wedding photography with Hannah Larkin, of Hannah Larkin Photography. We covered bespoke, and tips for looking your best on your wedding day, as well as her how-to for finding the right photographer for you.

You can tell I had a “lovely” time talking to Hannah, because that’s how I responded to everyone of her answers! And it was awkward typing up the transcript, but I stand by my declarations of loveliness. Check out the video below (subtitles available) or you can read the chat below.

You can see more of Hannah on her website and her Instagram. She also has an excellent Pinterest board on pets at weddings which I cannot recommend highly enough!

Katherine: Hi, it’s Katherine from Giftast, and I’m here with Hannah Larkin, wedding photographer. Lovely to see you, Hannah.

Hannah: Hi, nice to see you Katherine.

K: And if you wouldn’t mind just introducing yourself?

H: Yeah, sure. So I’m Hannah, from Hannah Larkin Photography. I’m a London-based wedding photographer, with a second base up in Northumberland, in the North East, and

I travel across the UK and also overseas, photographing beautiful weddings, and also families.

I have a sort of “Lifestyle” style to my photos, just natural, relaxed, and with a real focus on capturing emotions as they happen on your wedding day, so I can create a story of the day as it happens.

K: Oh, lovely. Now, do you have any tips for brides and grooms who might be a bit more uncomfortable with being photographed, for how they can look their best in their wedding photographs?

H: Yeah – that’s a really common concern, and actually most of the brides and grooms who get in touch with me will say that at least one of them either hates having their photograph taken and is camera shy, or feels very awkward.

So what I always recommend is to have an engagement shoot as a chance to practice.

So all my wedding photography packages include and engagement shoot, and it’s just a couple of hours for us to go somewhere where you feel relaxed and comfortable, and we can practice taking the pictures. You can get used to being in front of my camera, I can get used to working with you, and we get to know each other as well, because I think if you know the person who’s taking the pictures and you feel that you can kind of trust them, that you can relax and be yourself and have a bit of fun with it as well, then that will show in your photos.

Images by Hannah Larkin Photography

K: Lovely. What are your favourite sort of images to take in both wedding and engagement shoots?

H: Well, I think the beauty of weddings is that you get to take all sorts of different photos throughout the day, so I get to start off with catching all the special details that you’ve chosen for your day, so I’m – yeah, I love seeing the kind of thought and effort that people have put in to finding exactly the right accessories or rings, you know, shoes, jewellery, the stationery, of course as well, and capturing all those pretty details before the start of the day. Ceremonies are always special, as that time where where everybody is just sort of stopping and watching, so being able to document that, sort of quietly and unobtrusively, but really seeing all those emotions as they happen is so special.

I think probably my favourite bit though is the portraits,

so being able to take the bride and groom away from their guests, give them a little bit of time together to sort of take note of what’s happening and have that space to think “wow, we did it! We got married!” And yeah, having that sort of quiet time just to create romantic portraits.

K: Aw, that’s lovely, I suppose that it’s sort of –

if you do them straight after the ceremony as well, it’s the first time they spend together as a married couple, which is really special.

Thanks for that, that’s lovely.

H: Yeah, and I think that as part of that, I’ll get them to walk around a little bit, so I’m not going to be with them or in their face for the whole time, so they do have a bit of time just to kind of chat and have some private moments, and then of course I’ll be interacting with them to get kind of more close up pictures too, but yeah, I think a lot of my couples appreciate that bit of time where they haven’t got guests coming up to them all the time saying “Congratulations!”, so it is a little moment just to celebrate with their partner.

Images by Hannah Larkin Photography

K: Aw, that’s lovely. I know you like doing very bespoke, personalised weddings and things like that, so do you have any – if you’ve got a wedding with a strong theme, of how to get that into your photos?

H: So yeah, I really love it when a wedding kind of displays either different cultures or traditions that the families bring, or kind of personalised elements that reflect the couple themselves rather than just a kind of generic wedding, so I always sort of spend time getting to know my couples.

I take on only a limited number of weddings each year, so I do dedicate time to chatting with them, getting to know them, so I’ll be asking all about their decisions and choices for the wedding, what are the things they’re most excited for, what are the things they’ve spent the most time looking for and were the happiest when they found, and in that way I can make sure that all of those special details, important people – things that I know they really, really wanted or they put a lot of effort into getting, all of those details are captured for them on the day.

K: That’s lovely.

H: Yeah, and also I sometimes offer a slideshow – a wedding slideshow – of the day and that can be set to music that – so sometimes to the first dance song, or sometimes if there’s a particular song in a ceremony that means a lot to the couple, then I might use that to help kind of also carry that theme on through their wedding pictures.

Images by Hannah Larkin Photography

K: Aw, that’s so lovely. With all that in mind, how much sort of work you do with couples ahead of time, how far in advance do you recommend people try and book their photographer?

H: Well, it depends how long your engagement is obviously, what options you’ve got. I’ve got some couples who’ve been booked in for two and a half years in advance, other couples will contact me with a  few months to go. I’d say ideally you’d want to be booking at least six months in advance, and that’s to give a time to get to know each other, to schedule any engagement shoots, and to think through the timings for the day and the group shots, and just make sure that there’s no rush. But of course, if you’re planning a last minute wedding, especially elopements tend to be shorter time scales, and that’s something that I can work to too, but yeah – so something that fits you,

but if you’ve got the option then I’d go for it at least six months before.

How does that work for you in terms of ordering for somebody’s Save the Dates and then Invitations are some of the first things that people are going to be sending out. What the sort of time scale for doing that?

Images by Hannah Larkin Photography

K: Well, again, it depends entirely on how long your engagement is. Personally, I had a very short engagement, so we didn’t do save the dates at all, we did it far too short to be honest, for any of that, so yeah, we just did straight to invitations. But it really depends on like how personal you want it, because I think there’s this idea that you have to do save the dates, invitations and RSVPs, but at the moment, again, depending on how long their engagement is, and whether you’re going abroad, save the dates might not be the right thing for you, and it’s the same with RSVPs – if you’re inviting a lot of younger people, you might not want to send out paper RSVPs to everybody,

so it’s really mix and match, making it to what fits best with how you’re doing your wedding and how you’re planning your ceremony.

So yeah, it’s so personal. Absolutely. Do you have any tips for couples on choosing the right wedding photographer for them, so for style and things like that, that they want for their photos?

H: Yeah, I guess first it’s about looking at pictures and trying to work out what sort of style appeals to you, what sort of style fits with how you imagine your wedding. Generally there seems to be a range to this one, from super-posed – and all the way through to more paparazzi-style, documentary style images.

I’m somewhere in the middle, so I’ll make small adjustments so everyone is looking their best, but I won’t pose people too much, because I want them to have that natural and relaxed feel.

So I think it’s about finding that style that you think “yes, that’s what relates to me”, and then I’d really encourage you to contact some photographers and start talking to them, and making sure that you really get on with them. Because as a photographer I spend most of the wedding day with the couple, so I’ll be with either the bride or groom in the morning, capturing them getting ready, all the way through the ceremony, that intimate time for portraits, speeches, and the celebrations going on into the evening.

So you want to feel comfortable with that person, that you can trust them, that you can get on with them, and I’m lucky that a lot of the clients that I end up with actually become friends, that you know, we’ve got on so well over that process, so that’s something we can continue beyond the wedding, which is lovely.

Images by Hannah Larkin Photography

K: That’s really lovely. Yeah I think the ideas about really doing your homework, and checking on whether someone’s style is right for you. And it’s the same with invitations as well. Especially if you’re going bespoke, erm, looking at the other work someone does, and checking that it’s in line with your vision. Like, I do a lot of water colour-y, quite soft, pared back ones, rather than the really strong, graphic style. So, it’s not for everybody, and there are going to be other people that, if you want that particular style, are going to be a lot more suited to it than me. So really it’s finding that right person.

H: Yeah, and I guess because you can also make sort of subtle changes, can’t you? So you’ve got your overall style and within that you can make things to be bespoke, and that’s the same with photography,

I think you pick an overall style and then work with them to make sure they capture it. Capture what you want from your day.

K: Lovely, well thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me, Hannah, it’s been lovely.

H: Well it’s been lovely chatting, thanks Katherine.

K: I’ll see you again soon.

H: Take care, bye bye.

 

What do I need to include on an RSVP?

Julia Rustic RSVP -Do I Need to Include an RSVP

Ah, the age old question – “What do I need to include on an RSVP? And do I really need one? I mean, do I really? Who even posts letters any more?”

It’s easy to think of wedding stationery as a suite of things you *absolutely have to have*. But as we’ve already covered here, the most important thing is to find what suits your plans, and go with that. 

So, if you’ve decided an RSVP fits the bill for you, here are some thoughts on what to include on it.

Guest Names

You can include a space for your guests to write their names, their plus ones, their kids…. You may also want to include a space for number of guests, which could be helpful when pulling together your seating plan!

pink and grey rsvp

Attending/Declining 

This can be a general yay/nay depending on which portion of the day you’ve sent the guest an invitation to. Or, get specific with a day/evening tick box.

Special Dietary Requirements

Super helpful! Avoid any nasty allergies ruining your guest’s day, and get this information right at the start of your menu-planning process.

northanger abbey stylish wedding rsvps

Optional extras…

  • Song Choice – to get your guests dancing at the reception!
  • Meal Choice – handy if you’ve sent out menu options with your invitation.
  • Accommodation required?
  • Advice for the happy couple.

Remember, it’s your special ceremony so add a request for any information which will make your planning easier and less stressful!

Mansfield Park Kraft Paper Wedding Stationery

Mansfield Park Kraft Paper Wedding Stationery

Classic and understated – our Kraft Paper Wedding Stationery Collection.

“I think it ought not to be set down as certain, that a man must be acceptable to every woman he may happen to like himself.”

– Jane Austen

Fanny Price gets a bad rap. Mansfield Park is, what, the least popular of Austen’s novels? Edmund is… not to everyone’s taste, but forget all that! Let’s focus on the positive. The enduring, constancy of love, the quiet dignity of standing your ground because of what you know in yourself to be right. Not bad things to base a marriage on, eh? 

The kraft paper wedding stationery sample pack includes:

Printed on smooth, creamy kraft card,  and double sided for all your extra info. I’ve also included a monogram on the back. Our sample here is a classic black ink, but we can change yours to fit your theme free of charge.

Order your Sample Pack here.

Chatting Vegan Skin Care and Sustainable Stationery with Chrys Chapman MUA

A couple of weeks ago, I had the absolute pleasure of chatting skincare and sustainability with the brilliant Chrys Chapman, MUA. Chrys is based in Harrogate, just up the road from me, and really knows her stuff when it comes to skin science. You can check out our chat in the video below, or there’s a transcript further down the page. 

You can see more of Chrys on her website, or any of her social links below.

Facebook

Instagram

Transcript

Katherine: Hi there, I’m Katherine from Giftast Wedding and Event Stationery based in Batley, and I’m here today with the brilliant Chrys Chapman, a make up artist based just up the road from me in Harrogate, in North Yorkshire. Hi Chrys!

Chrys: Hello, hello!

K: Thank you for coming, lovely to see you. Please will you tell me all about yourself!

C: Yes, so as you said, I’m Chrys, I’m a hair and make up artist and stylist based in Harrogate. I’m clearly not native to Yorkshire, I moved over here from the States, from California, gosh, about 14 years ago, and yeah. Sort of balancing life with two getting very grown up children and lots of makeup and hair fun basically. So that’s what I do.

K: So, I have a couple of questions about preparing for your big day with your makeup in particular. Do you have any pre-wedding skin care tips to get you looking your best ahead of the big day?

C: Yes – so basically when I do I trial with one of my brides, I always recommend that we build in some extra time to go through a skin care routine, even if we haven’t built in extra time, it comes up anyway, because I’m quite a skincare obsessive – probably because I’m quite a science nerd, actually, so

I tend to think that if the skin isn’t right, the make up can be beautiful but it probably won’t stick as well as it could.

So yeah, there’s lots of skin tips, but they’re all very skin type and condition specific, so getting a makeup artist who does have a background in skin. I think that’s the first step, because we can then really speak to what products are best for you, what’s gonna sit really nicely on the day. So yeah, but the rule of thumb for me, you definitely need a really good cleanser, and commit to taking your makeup off every day.

K: We’ve all done that!

C: People are like, “do I really have to?”, and I’m like “yeah, you really do !” So that one, and a really good moisturiser, something with an SPF. That’s it, that’s kind of the capsule, really important stuff.

K: So, does that help with making your makeup last longer on the day, and

are there any other tips you have to help your makeup last longer?

C: Absolutely. So yeah,

the more prepped your skin is, the less makeup you’ll need.

The less makeup we use, the longer it will last. So all if these things really work together and equally, you know. Where we start at the very beginning, with a makeup consultation is trying to figure out if a bride wants her skin to look matt or dewy. I mean, that’s the very basic choice that we have to get to, and we can achieve those things mostly through our skin care, actually.

So the more we can prep the skin for giving the overall effect, the less heavy lifting we have to do with make up products. Then skin tends to look more like skin, which we like, and it always photographs nicer when there are fewer products on, so yeah, that’s kind of the long and short of that, and in terms of making your makeup last longer. I mean, I could probably do a whole 20-30 minutes talking just about primer, because I’m that passionate about it. *Laughs* I won’t, but I will say,

get yourself a good primer, without any silicone in it.

There is one exception to that rule, but that’s the rule.

K: Alright, brilliant. For your wedding make up, I guess you’ll need less time if you’ve got your skin care routine down, but

how long would you suggest people leave to have their makeup done on the day?

C: Yeah, so I do get this one a lot, so rule of thumb is 45 minutes is the industry standard that we would allow for a wedding make up. For a bridal make up, I would definitely allow a little bit more time, because we are going to probably be using more skin care products as well. I always prep a bride’s skin – I wouldn’t necessarily say differently to a bridesmaid, because if a bridesmaid needed more skin care to make the make up stick correctly, I would do it, but a bride I would absolutely be putting that time in to an application.

So yeah, that’s not to say that we can’t do a make up faster than 45 minutes, but to allow for everything to run really smoothly, and I want to be calm, because that’s a really important element, actually.

That when you’re choosing your make up artist, you want the chemistry to be right, because that getting ready time, that’s a massive part of your special day.

You don’t want that to be messed around because we’re frantically trying to get curls put in, and curls are falling, or we haven’t had enough time to set your makeup properly, so, yes, always give a little bit of extra time.

K: Ah, brilliant. So, another question I had is, I’m vegan, so one thing that, when I was looking for – considering a makeup artist for our wedding, something that put me off was not necessarily knowing about whether they’d be using the right products for me, so is that something you can cater for?

C: Yes, absolutely. And I think more and more we are seeing in the industry the brands are getting savvy to this, that consumers – it’s something that’s really really important to them, so while I can’t say that my entire kit is vegan-friendly yet, that is the direction that I’m moving in, and I have got to a stage now where I’m only adding new products that fit that particular bill, because my clients want it, so it’s no good me having, sort of, a non vegan and a vegan kit, like –

I aim to find things that are only cruelty friendly and vegan friendly.

A lot of products, even looking towards like, gluten free, so it is a lot to do with sort of knowing your brands, and knowing your customer, so actually the flip side of that argument, is that I’ve got a couple of customers with very sensitive skin, and we’ve had to work really closely to figure out which ingredients it is that they can’t use, and sometimes those aren’t necessarily vegan friendly.

So we have to find a balance, but you know, as well, if you do have specific concerns like that, you can get the makeup artist to use your own – say, your own foundation, or your own specific products that you feel really strongly like that this is the one that I use, and I have to have it. They’ll advise you if it’s one that’ll photograph well or not, but you can definitely insist upon that. So yeah.

K: Oh that’s so – I had no idea about gluten free in makeup at all, no idea whatsoever. That’s really interesting.

C: Yeah, but it all ties in with a question that I have for you, actually, so I’m gonna take reins. So, in terms of your business, because obviously we’re all very eco sort of centric at the moment, making sure that we’re doing good things for the environment. Obviously, you work with paper, so

what are we doing that’s good for the environment?

K: OK, well it’s a couple of things, because I love paper, I love the feel of it, like I love books, I love holding them in my hand, and I think there is something about wedding stationery – like, we always give out sample packs, because holding it in your hand is just so different from seeing it online, so I am very pro-paper. However, also pro environment, so we do that in a couple of ways.

So in house, we recycle everything we possibly can.

One of the reasons we don’t do a lot of foiling, and we certainly don’t have foil samples, although it is something we can get for you, is just because it’s not so environmentally friendly. It’s more difficult to dispose of, things like that. So it’s not something we like to keep and hold. We also – we do offer recycled papers, although it isn’t our standard, just because of print quality, so that is an issue that the industry as a whole has, but we do make sure we always use vegetable inks, we use a printer that has a really good recycling policy, they plant trees, they recycle 100% of their waste, so it’s just doing what we can within the limited sphere of what we have to the best, really.

So there are always ways we can get better, like we are cutting back on paper we do with a gloss finish, just because that’s more difficult to recycle, and it’s a bit plastic-y. So just to try and trim where we can, just to make it as eco as possible, but we can always do better and that’s something we’re always looking at.

C: Cool. Very good.

And from a design point of view, do you ever coordinate with other wedding suppliers?

So, I don’t know, are there things that, like, you can – cake, say. Could you have the same design on your cake as you did on your stationery.

K: That isn’t something we’ve done, but I would absolutely love to do that. That would be so nice. Because I design everything, all bespoke stuff from scratch, so it’s never going to be elements you’ll find anywhere else, on any other websites or anything like that, so it would be wonderful to carry it through to your cake – that would be amazing, yeah, definitely. Maybe your makeup, can we do some sort of exciting face painting would be incredible.

C: Flowers, and things like that. But even things like, you do see a lot of brides opting for gifting their bridesmaids, like dressing gowns.

K: Oh yes.

C: For the morning of- something like the pattern on your dressing gown, so it all ties in together, and then it’s in your photos, that kind of thing.

K: Oh, lovely, yeah, definitely. I’ve got loads of ideas to take forward, thank you so much, Chrys! And really lovely to talk to you! Thank you so much for your time.

Bridal Book Club – March – Emma

““I always deserve the best treatment, because I never put up with any other.”- Emma Woodhouse

Ah yeah, it’s Emma! 

Emma by Jane Austen

Emma has never been one of my favourites, although that’s sort of the point of her, I suppose. She was described by Jane Austen as “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like”, although the more I get to know Emma, the more I like her. 

If you’re not familiar with the story, and haven’t seen any of the adaptations, here’s the blurb:

Emma, by Jane Austen, is a novel about youthful hubris and the perils of misconstrued romance. The story takes place in the fictional village of Highbury and the surrounding estates of Hartfield, Randalls, and Donwell Abbey and involves the relationships among individuals in those locations consisting of “3 or 4 families in a country village”

– Wikipedia

I first heard or Emma when my sister brought home a lovely little hard bound copy in a pale and pastel pink striped slip cover. And it’s stuck with me as the prefect representation of the novel. Because on the surface, Emma is that perfect, candy striped pink. When we first meet her, she’s described as “Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich.

But there are these wonderful themes arching through the book which make you question just how lucky she really is. When you get to know Emma, as she gets to know herself, she becomes more human – less Paltrow, if you will! But enough waffle – let’s get to the book!

Free downloads:

https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/search/?query=jane+austen

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_15?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=jane+austen+kindle+free&sprefix=jane+austen+kin%2Caps%2C153&crid=1O2BC2UXNRG97

Audio:

https://librivox.org/author/155?primary_key=155&search_category=author&search_page=1&search_form=get_results

Also available as a LoyalBooks podcast, if that’s your jam.

Paperback:

Click to view on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Another irritating Wordsworth edition cover. Let’s not get into that again.

What next?

  • Wednesday 27th March 2019 – Facebook Group Book Club Discussion 

Don’t forget to keep and eye on twitter and instagram for Bridal Book Club chat and pics. If you’re watching any of the adaptations, please share your thoughts either in the Facebook Group, or on twitter with #bridalbookclub

And if you’re looking for more, and you liked the Lizzie Bennet diaries, try “Emma Approved“.

There are plenty of adaptations, including (and I’m naming these by who played Knightley!) Mark Strong, Jeremy Northam, Jonny Lee Miller, and a 70s one that I wasn’t keen on. And not to forget Clueless with the ageless Paul Rudd (who, frankly, looks younger now than he did then!)

And here’s a reminder of the book order coming up, if you want to read ahead:)

Giftast Bridal Book Club reading order

Becoming Jane – A Behind The Scenes Look at Creating a Wedding Stationery Range

It’s always nice to take a behind the scenes look at how things are made. I wanted to share with you a bit of the process behind how our Jane range was born. This was the first range I created, and as such is very close to my heart!

Inspiration

I always planned to create ranges inspired by romantic novels, and so Jane Austen was an obvious place to start! I wanted a delicate pattern, and I wanted something that reminded me of afternoon tea. 

I’ve always loved the willow pattern, and that classic blue and white design felt right for me. It also has the benefit of being easily alterable to any colour. I experimented with a few different ideas in a sketchbook, but it was the blue sprig design which I liked best.

behind the scenes creating a wedding stationery range

I really liked the versatility – I could repeat it relatively easily, to fit any shape or border. But I didn’t intend to just paint five or six different sprigs and then scan them in to the computer, and manipulate them into any pattern I wanted.

Painting – Behind the Scenes

The thing about wedding stationery is that it’s so special. It deserves extra care and attention. Perhaps given that my background is in illustration rather than design, I prefer the more long-winded effort! As you can see in the video below, it takes quite a while to carefully paint just two sprig motifs.

It’s very soothing, although it can give you hand cramp after a while! To create my range I painted four different, actual-sized borders, several shaped motifs and one full pattern page. 

The great thing about painting every motif and layout individually is the variations between colour in the leaves. It gives it a natural, flowing look which I really love. 

behind the scenes image of painted blue sprig pattern

Once my designs were complete, I then scanned them at a high quality, and matched them with an appropriate text to complete the design.

The Final Product

At Giftast, we offer all colour changes for free. We can do this without losing the flowing nature of the colour, because of how it’s created.

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