Marry Me In Tuscany loves Cards by Sophie

Following on from the Blog on the Marry Me In Tuscany’s launch of their Tuscan Save the Date cards designed by Cards by Sophie, I asked Sophie if she would write a blog for me on some of the wonderful wedding stationary that she designs read on to discover what she has to say and have a look at some fabulous examples of her work:

Hello!

I’m Sophie and I set up my business Cards by Sophie in 2009. I started Cards by Sophie with the intention of being more creative while I was stuck in my day job, but that’s long since gone and I’ve been full time chief at CBS HQ for nearly a year now! I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard in my life, but I absolutely love it all.

I’m based near Manchester but send my stationery out all over the UK, and to Europe and even the US too!

Here at Cards by Sophie we make wedding stationery, from save the dates and invitations to table plans, thank you cards, order of service and much more.

Save the dates are sent out once you’ve set your date, it’s often useful to let your guests know if it’s midweek, a popular summer date or of course abroad. These don’t have to match with the rest of your stationery at all, and colours can be up to you! How about using our special ‘Tuscan’ save the date we’ve created for MMIT to send to your guests?

 

 

MMIT Tuscan Save the Date
Save the date
Save the date

 

There are many things to consider when choosing your stationery, from fonts and colour choices to card, designs and any added extras. We’re here to help you with all of that and make suggestions to fit your theme.

We have a standard range of designs available on our website, there are 18 to choose from, which includes both embellished and printed designs. There are many stationery items available, even the invitations alone can come in several different formats, standard card sizes, chequebook invitations (includes a perforated RSVP sheet and information sheet for all that extra information), and pocketfolds which are totally luxurious and include a RSVP and information card bundle wrapped in ribbon.

 

Order of Service Pearl design

 

Favour box - Vintage design
Thank you - Botanica design

We also offer a bespoke service, where for a one off fee of £40 we design your ideal stationery. This fee covers all the research and several mock-ups that we will create for you to get your stationery just right. We like to get to know you, ask questions about your themes, colours and inspirations for your wedding day. We’ll then make some suggestions with photographs and emails, and then send two or three final mock ups to you to see everything in the flesh and make your decision. We’ll always ask about your budget so we make sure everything fits in within that.

As an example I’m going to focus on a recent order I completed, a ‘Bespoke Cards by Sophie’ design for a client who wanted an Italian Glamour theme. This can give you an idea of all of the various details you’d need to consider or could have for your invites!

Italian Glamour theme pocketfold

It’s worth stating here that we’re very happy to alter colour schemes, fonts and wording to get it just right for you. The pink used in the examples below wasn’t a fuchsia pink, but an alternative hot pink because just the subtle difference between the two worked better for our client’s theme. We have access to lots of different shades of ribbons etc., so a swatch of fabric can really help us get it right for you. Don’t be worried about asking for an uncommon shade!

What do you think of when you are asked about Italian Glamour? Sophia Loren and Isabella Rossellini, lots of glam and sparkles? That’s exactly what we’ve tried to achieve here. With the added extra requirement of including an image of the Italian castle my clients are getting married at.

Italian phrase book with picture of the castle

So we achieved this by using a photograph of the venue as a watermark in the background of the main invitation wording, with added small crystals to each corner. (Please note address details have been blurred out!)

Italian phrase book wrapped in ribbon

We also came up with the fab idea of including an Italian phrase book! Perfect for your guests to try out at the wedding, from ordering a beer to buying train tickets to Florence! Again here we added a photograph of the castle with pink crystals on the front of the little phrase book. This, together with an information card and RSVP was wrapped in pink ribbon and tucked inside the pocketfold style invitation.

Italian Phrase book wrapped in ribbon

And what about the outside of the card? Well a matching pink ribbon, with gorgeous crystal embellishment, keeping the invitation sparkly inside and out. We’re really looking forward to the next stage later in the summer of making matching order of service, place cards and menus.

Outer pocketfold
Outer pocketfold

A completely different bespoke design shows you how different the stationery can be, this time a cheque book invitation, very simple but so stylish. There is just the hint of the client’s green theme inside with some selected words and details inside the invitation.

cheque book bespoke invitation
green RSVP for cheque book invitations
Bespoke idea - standard card
bespoke idea - Royal

Wording can often be difficult to get right, particularly if you are getting married abroad. I remember the struggle I had to find something suitable for my own wedding, we were getting married abroad and having a party back at home a month later, it seemed impossible just to change the standard ‘wedding invitation’ on the front of each card. We’re happy to change anything! Once we receive an order we send out a form to get all of the wording, font and colour choices for your stationery.

Other things to consider that we can do for you are mini table plans, so if you’re getting married abroad you can take our A3 sized plans with you! Menus and place cards can also easily flat pack to take on the plane. (I carried my wedding dress half way across the world when I got married abroad, it’s certainly possible!). This means you can keep everything coordinated and match on your special day. Of course if you prefer we can arrange international postage to get your stationery right to your wedding planner or venue, hassle free, before the wedding.

other bespoke ideas
other bespoke ideas
Other bespoke ideas - chequebook invitation includes perferated rsvp and info sheet

 

A3 Table plan example
A3 table plan example 2

Hopefully you’ll see the possibilities really are endless!

We hope this has been a useful insight into the options available, if you have any queries or to chat anything through please do get in touch, we love a challenge! Visit  our website or  you can email me at sophie@cardsbysophie.com for more information or you can check out our daily photos, inspiration and offers on our facebook page.

Marry Me In Tuscany -Launches “Tuscan Save the Date Cards”

Being a destination wedding planner in Tuscany, I’m always looking for ways to improve the services of Marry Me in Tuscany for my clients. As many couples start looking for their venue at least a year before the big day they need to send out save the date cards.  “Save the date cards” are a great way of telling your friends and family when you’re getting married and where so they can start planning their trip too.

As clients in the past have asked if I have a save the date card they can use this got me thinking that it might be a great idea to have a personalized Marry Me In Tuscany “Save the date card” which couples could send to their guests to announce their destination wedding in Tuscany.

During the last couple of weeks I have been speaking to Sophie from Cards by Sophie about designing a special Marry Me in Tuscany Save the date card for me. As Save the Date cards are issued a long time before the wedding date they don’t need to reflect the final wedding colour scheme and so as Marry Me in Tuscany’s favourite colour (well mine really) is purple, Sophie came up with these beautiful cards which she has called “Tuscan” for me. After discussing the save the date cards with Sophie I have now decided to add these to my Platinum wedding package for couples getting married either later this year or in 2012 and beyond.

Of course couples using the silver and gold wedding package can also get these at a special price from Cards by Sophie or they could chose something different from Sophie’s extensive range to co-ordinate with their wedding theme.

On the back of the card are Marry me in Tuscany’s details very handy should your guests need to get in touch with me for accommodation or advice on travelling or even if they want to organize a surprise bottle of champers for the happy couple.

Inside you’ll find the details of the couple, the date of the wedding and the announcement that a formal invitation is to follow.

I think you’ll agree that this a great idea and one that couples organizing their destination wedding to Tuscany will appreciate.

Sophie has also written a guest blog for me so you can have a look at some of her wonderful wedding stationary to give you inspiration for your destination wedding in Tuscany.

 

Marry Me in Tuscany loves Bridal Designs Wedding Jewellery – guide to choosing your wedding Jewellery.

As a wedding planner in Siena, I know that many British brides that come out to get married here have already got their outfit and wedding jewellery before they arrive in Tuscany. Once again the power of Twitter lead me to find Tracey Phillips of Bridal Designs Wedding Jewellery, Tracey is the very talented designer of some truly wonderful wedding jewellery that would not only look fabulous on the day but can also be handed down through generations. Tracey very kindly offered to write a piece about choosing your wedding jewellery, and here is what she has to say.

Wedding jewellery is generally the last thing to be chosen, you will need to pick your dress, and decide if you are wearing a veil and/or tiara before you start on your jewellery, If you have large earrings in mind then it might look too much with a tiara and veil, if your dress is heavily embellished you may want to keep the jewellery simple to balance it, or if you are going for a simple dress you may want to go all out on a gorgeous statement piece of bridal jewellery.

Icicle bracelet

Bespoke or off the shelf? The world is your oyster when it comes to having pieces especially made for you, and there are differing levels of this. For instance, all of the pieces on my site can be made to different lengths to suit you and also the colours of the crystals and pearls can be changed for any of the vast array of different Swarovski colours. The next step up would be having a bespoke piece made especially for you. I would work with you to specially design something that suits your dress, style and budget.

A good tip for bridesmaids jewellery is to find a smaller version of what you are wearing yourself, for instance if the bride was wearing something like this necklace, then the bridesmaids could wear the pendant version.

Wildheart bridemaid's pendant

Again a lot depends on the dresses they will be wearing. It may be nice to introduce a bit of colour in the bridesmaids jewellery to co-ordinate with your wedding colour scheme. Buying your bridesmaids jewellery for them as a gift is a lovely idea and gives them something they will be able to wear again and again after the day is over.

Like everything else in life you generally get what you pay for, if jewellery is suspiciously cheap its generally made from cheap materials. If you just want something to wear on the day that’s fine but mostly customers are looking for jewellery that they can wear on many special occasions after the day itself and hand down to their daughters for their wedding day. I only use Sterling silver in my designs as it is hard wearing, beautiful, and with proper care will last for generations. I also only use genuine Swarovski crystals and pearls. Swarovski crystal is the best quality crystal in the world and is available in a myriad of different colours. Swarovski Pearls are made from a base of Swarovski crystal encased in multiple layers of pearl coating which gives them the weight of a natural pearl. Swarovski pearls will not react in contact with perfume and unlike other faux pearls their coating will not flake.

Natasha Choker

When considering your wedding jewellery it’s well worth checking out Tracey’s website Bridal Designs I’m sure that you’ll find a piece that will look stunning with your dress or you could even have a special piece made for you.

Real wedding – Siena – Claire & James

As a wedding planner it’s always lovely when a couple ask you to write about their wedding, Claire & James got married in Siena in July 2008.

I first met Claire and James when they came out for a visit in January of 2008 after a few months of emails they had finally narrowed down their list of potential venues for the wedding and came out to have a look at the short list. As soon as I met them I knew instantly that they would be fun to work with and we spent a wonderful couple of days travelling round the Tuscan countryside looking at venues.

As soon as Claire saw Il Palazzaccio in Asciano, I knew that this was the place that she wanted, the breath taking views and the beautiful infinity pool area and the honeymoon suite complete with a jacuzzi bath were enough to clinch the deal and although the other venues were lovely they all paled into the background.

In the months leading up to the wedding, Claire and I exchanged lots of emails and phone calls and had more than a few laughs during the planning process, the owner of the Palazzaccio became affectionately known as Mr R and he and his staff couldn’t do enough to make sure that their wedding would be a fabulous event. Claire and I laughed a lot during the planning process she was so laid back about it all and was a joy to work with. One particularly funny experience which we agreed that we have to share with you is the menus for the wedding dinner having decided on chicken for the wedding breakfast we waited patiently for something exotic from the chef, after weeks of chasing them, they came back with chicken thighs!!! Hardly exotic I know and with all the wonderful things you can do with chicken they suggested Chicken Thighs! I offered to lend them a cook book a 1000 and 1 things you can do with a chicken but the chef finally came back with chicken breast wrapped in Proscuitto cooked with sage, thankfully we were agreed that that was much better than chicken thighs, I don’t know about you but I don’t like the brown meat!

Finally the day of the wedding arrived, Claire & James came out with their family and friends and stayed at Le Podere Vigne in Siena a wonderful family run B&B where Claire & James had stayed on their previous visit and meant that all the guests could stay together and as the wedding ceremony was going to be in the Palazzo Publicco they decided that they would keep the wedding venue for themselves and give the guests the chance to explore and enjoy everything that Siena has to offer.

The night before the wedding Claire & James organized an informal BBQ at the Podere where Carla cooked up a wonderful meal and everyone had a thoroughly great time. Claire then went with Hannah her bridesmaid to the Palazzaccio to stay the night before the wedding so as not to break with tradition of seeing the groom before the big day.

On the day of the wedding I went up to see Claire with the hairdresser and check that everything was running to schedule and then headed back to Siena for a quick change and into Siena to meet James and the guests outside the town hall. Slight problem though the bus driver decided that he was going to drop James off somewhere else and so there was a panicky moment when Claire arrived before him and I had to tell her to drive round the block and I’d call the driver when it was safe to come back….usually it’s the poor groom that is waiting for the bride to arrive but thankfully James hadn’t got cold feet he came panting into the piazza and after taking a breath and getting himself together and even time for a little joke of being the condemned man we headed into the town hall to wait for Claire to arrive.

Siena Wedding, Palazzo Publicco

Claire looked absolutely stunning and made her entrance into the beautiful Sala Di Razze to the “Feather Theme from Forest Gump” played by Aldo on the piano and James just grinned from ear to ear and continued to do so all day, he’d finally got his girl. Pier Paolo Fiorenzani who married them insisted on having his photo taken with the happy couple after the wedding.

Wedding, Siena, Palazzo Publicco
Claire & James with Pier Paolo Fiorenzani

After the wedding, Claire & James headed off with the photographer to get some shots around Siena…

Siena, Tuscany

 

…and at my request they  stopped off on the way to Il Palazzaccio for a photo in a field of sun flowers, no mean feat in high heels!

Tuscan wedding, sunflowers

They arrived back to be greeted by their guests that were tucking into some prosecco and apetizers before sitting down to the veritable feast, with not a chicken thigh in sight! Claire had had these beautiful biscuits made as wedding favours which also cleverly doubled as a place name. I think that James quite enjoyed the tasting of all the biscuits before they decided on the ones they wanted!!

Wedding favors, Tuscany

And so as the sun went down over the wonderful Tuscan countryside they moved down to the swimming pool…

Tuscan sunset, weddings, Siena

…for the cutting of the cake and after dinner drinks.

Italian wedding cake, Tuscany

Il Palazzaccio, Wedding, Siena, Tuscany

And then it was time for us all to board the bus and head back to Siena leaving this wonderful couple to start their married life in this wonderful part of Tuscany, where the following they day they chilled out by this fabulous pool. As Claire said a truly magical day which she is still talking about today.

Wedding Siena.

To Claire and James thank you for allowing me to be part of your wedding and for the friendship that we have continued long after the wedding. Claire & James have a beautiful son George who I hope one day they will bring to Tuscany and show him where his parents had their dream wedding.

Marry me in Tuscany, Federa Alberghi Siena & Siena Taxi

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Marco Bianciardi who is the President of the Federa Alberghi Siena (A.S.A). with Gigi and Roberto from Siena Taxis, Roberto,who not only is a very good friend, is also the President of Siena Taxis, all in all three very good people to know!

As a hotelier Marco together with his sister Serena have successfully run the Hotel Athena in Siena for many years, he is passionate about his home city and very keen to promote Siena and the Province of Siena as the perfect place to stay and explore everything that Siena and the area has to offer, great art, beautiful buildings, wonderful food and wine and the Palio the famous horse race which is held twice a year on the 2nd of July and the 16th of August and of course a great location to hold your wedding.

There is nothing more spectacular than Piazza del Campo and as a backdrop for your wedding photos it’s the perfect place to get married. For centuries there has been much rivalry between Siena and Florence but Marco summed it up beautifully, “Florence has the famous cathedral doors by Bruneschelli but Siena has the most amazing Piazza in the world!’

I know I may be biased as I live here but we both agreed that we get goosebumps when we go into the piazza as it is just so breathtakingly beautiful.  And I think you’ll agree!

 

Piazza Del Campo Siena - Photo by Francesco Alias Photos

Marco and the members of the A.S.A. realize that organizing a wedding takes a lot of time and although the hotels are very keen to ensure their guests have a fabulous time during their stay and will do everything to ensure that guests make the most of the area and everything the hotels have to offer, he has decided that a collaboration between Marry me in Tuscany and the hotels would mean that couples getting married in Siena and the Province would have an all round professional service which is why the A.S.A will be promoting MMIT as their preferred wedding planner on their website,  a win win situation for everyone invloved.

Many couples that decide to get married in Siena often have their wedding location outside the walls in the beautiful Tuscan countryside but often suggest that their guests use Siena as a good base not only for the wedding ceremony but also so that they can socialize in the bars in the piazza and enjoy some of the wonderful food the restaurants here have to offer.

Siena is easy to get to by train from the major airports close by Pisa & Florence or you could take advantage of the special rates that Siena Taxi are offering to MMIT’s clients for pre-booked transfers, they have also devised a system where you can buy taxi vouchers so that guests can use the taxi service at a discounted rate so that you are free to go to dinner and sample the local vino and return safely to your hotel late at night.

The A.S.A  has lots of different hotels that will appeal to all budgets and tastes, which is great when organizing a destination wedding when you also have to consider the budgets available to your guests that are travelling to be with you on your special day. By linking with the A.S.A there is a vast choice of different hotels in Siena and the surrounding area click here to see the hotels that are part of the Federa. With special rates and offers I’m sure you’ll find something for everyone and who knows you may even find your wedding venue.

So after a very productive meeting I’m sure that you’ll agree that together were making good positive steps to make Siena the No.1 wedding destination in Tuscany!