London based Ananya are surely the doyennes of bespoke and luxury wedding stationery. With over 10 years in business, Ananya has gone from start-up to star status, collecting multiple awards along the way. Founded and led by Vaishali Shah, their designs are coveted by wedding couples who want something authentic and original that is inspired by their cultural heritage. Not surprisingly, high end retailers, stylists and editors alike also vie for the chance to feature Ananya designs. Over to Vaishali to provide us with some tips on multicultural wedding stationery.
“Our designs are strongly influenced by our Indian heritage. Vibrant colours and intricate patterns are a hallmark of that heritage. But our success has also come from being able to incorporate eastern influences with western, and being able to interpret a concept into a stylish and fashion forward design”
Multicultural weddings provide a plethora of inspiration to draw upon. Bringing together cultures in wedding stationery design is an opportunity to create something that is as exciting as it is unique. Vaishali Shah gives us her essential tips on creating stunning multicultural wedding stationery.
It’s all about the research.
Working with your stationery designer is paramount when it comes to developing fabulous multicultural wedding stationery. Of course you would expect your designer to do their own research, but giving them some help on particular aspects of your heritage is important too. Important points to address early on are cultural heritage themes, essential colours, motifs and also the things they may need to avoid in design. Here are a few questions you might want to consider:
- Whose names should you include on invites? For example, Indian invitations often include the names of parents, grandparents and older siblings. It’s important to get clarity on this from the family.
- Are there particular colours that should be avoided? In many traditional cultures certain colours are considered auspicious whilst others will be considered unlucky.
- Are there any particular symbols that should be included for religious purposes? For example most Hindu weddings will feature an image of Ganesh, the elephant God that symbolises good luck and the removal of obstacles. It’s usually on the invitation.
Photography: Sanjay D Gohil Photography
Your style. Your way
Your designer will want to know about you, and what your style preferences and influences are. After all, you want your design to reflect you as a couple. Remember to consider as well to what extent you want to reflect both your cultures. And, will you want to reflect your cultures in contemporary style, or in a more traditional way? Depending on your circumstances it may be necessary to also include parents in the decisions you make on final designs.
Inspiration for design
I can almost imagine readers heading for Pinterest right now! Pinterest is of course a fantastic source of inspiration for colours, textures, themes and cultural aspects. But don’t forget that inspiration can come from ‘live’ sources too. It could be a remnant of beautiful sari fabric or maybe a piece of decorated tile. And, wherever you are, look around you at the architecture.
At Ananya we’re often inspired by exhibitions at the V&A and British Museum. In Asian cultures the peacock and paisley prints are always popular and can be interpreted in so many different ways. Carry any theme and symbolic references through all of your stationery for a cohesive look and feel that will wow your guests.
Balancing elements of contrasting cultures and styles can be challenging to get right when planning a wedding. As I mentioned earlier there may be colours to avoid, symbols to include and decisions made on contemporary style versus the more traditional. But there is always a way through. Here are our tips on achieving a beautiful balance:
Consider colours that will suit both cultures
For example an Indian bride and English groom may have very different ideas about colour. Traditional Indian weddings feature colours that are strong, vibrant and exotic. Red, saffron gold and jewel green are favourites. English weddings often feature softer colours that reflect the soft blowsy colours of an English summer. How do you find something that suits both? Perhaps take one colour such as gold and use that as an accent on your invite design. Or take a vibrant colour and soften it down a notch. Our recent Watercolours range combines vibrant colours such with the softness of an English summer.
Use monograms in shades of auspicious colours to personalise your day whilst keeping in touch with your respective cultural heritages. Beyond using on your invites etc. a monogram can be used in strategic places for the ceremony and celebrations. You could incorporate it into the ‘mandap’ for an Indian wedding, or the ‘chuppah’, for a Jewish wedding. You could even incorporate your monogram onto the more western style ‘wedding favours’ that are popular.
Use your imagination
Whatever your respective cultures are, let your imagination run with ideas and talk to your stationer. The scope for designing something fantastic is endless when diverse cultures join together.
All the Essentials
With multicultural weddings there is often a lot more information needed beyond the usual date, time, venue and RSVP. Particularly important are:
- The dress code. For example are guests expected to wear traditional clothes and colours? Is there a requirement to cover shoulders? Should skirts or dresses meet a minimum length?
- Children attending. Are you having an adult only wedding? If children are invited is there a crèche or children’s menu available?
- Are you accepting gifts? If so let your guests know the details of how to give a gift.
- Dietary Requirements. At multicultural weddings the dietary requirements may be complex. So, you may want to add to that a card to indicate any requirements or restrictions that your guests may have.
- The religious ceremony may be something that your guests won’t be familiar with. A booklet explaining the ceremony, its significance and the meaning of the words being recited is something that guests will really appreciate. Perhaps include some information as well about the culture and its traditions. It will prepare guests and help to make the day enjoyable and interesting, rather than confusing!
No matter the combination of your cultures, there are plenty of ways to weave aspects of both cultures into your wedding stationery to make it eye catching and unique!
I have a fabulous offer for you, my readers! Ananya is offering Secret Wedding Blog readers the opportunity to save 10% on their bespoke stationery orders. To qualify, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org at the time of enquiry/booking with this promo code – SECRETANANYA and the discount will be applied. This offer is valid from 1st June – 30th September 2017.
Please contact Vaishali Shah at Ananya for more information.