Under the Spotlight – Vicky Trainor Stationery & The Vintage Drawer

Today I’ve got one of the prettiest new stationery ranges to introduce to you – and I just know you’re going to love it! Created by Cleveland (UK) based  Vicky Trainor, The Vintage Drawer collection is one of vintage inspiration – with vintage lace, fabrics and little added extras, all are made by hand and with love.

♥  ♥  ♥

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Vicky, and very simply I’m a designer and maker of stationery.

How did you start your business, what and why did you begin?
I started a business back in the mid 90’s where I designed and made greetings cards for some of the leading high street stores, lifestyle and little gift havens around the country.  Then had a little break to start a family and returned a few years ago to the world of stationery.  I didn’t want to produce a collection that  ‘screamed wedding stationery’.  My background is in textile design and I wanted that to come through more.  It worked.  I tend to find that clients come to me because they are wanting that floral, vintage feel but also something a little different and as we are a design studio and not necessarily a commercial printer then we can be far more versatile and accommodating to the client’s creative side and I have never been more happier in the ‘working world’.

Where are you based and where in the world can you send your work?
I work from my little design studio in Cleveland (UK), it’s wonderfully and conveniently attached to my 1930’s semi, so my commute to work takes approx 23 seconds.  My work is far better travelled than myself, during the last few months it has taken little trips to Germany, Australia, Brunei, and the US.  We mainly work with our clients via emails and sending out samples, so the only difference between national and international based clients is the price of postal charges!

Can you tell me a little about the process of your custom design service?
I begin by listening/reading.  I ask about their story so far which takes place via a rather long telephone call or emails that become more like novels.  I pick out words as they talk about their journey, how they met, their likes and dislikes, the music they love, where they have travelled, who and what inspires them… these words give me a very visual take on where we can go with a collection.

Some clients have already mastered ‘the visual’ side and email me fabulous mood-boards (a few are masterpieces and put my own to shame) or photo’s of their scrapbooks and files, I have received boxes of treasures in the past as a starting point too.

Does the client have complete control over the design or do they pick from templates?
Most importantly it is fun and clients are so involved in the design process that at times it has ignited a creative streak in them.  I try and ensure that they don’t see each ‘wedding category’ as separate tasks and that they are thinking of everything, the venue, the flowers, style of photography, styling of the tables, props that show a glimmer of their personality, lots of twists and turns.  Some become totally involved and immersed in the process becoming fully fledged stylists by the time they say ‘I-do’.

We can also work from our current templates and mix the collections, change scales, change colours until it works for them.  We may add to the collection the placement of buttons, brooches, vintage stamps, hand drawn imagery, feathers, raffia, twine, anything that adds to the finish of the stationary.

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“Under The Boardwalk” – Aimee & James’ DIY, 1950’s Carnival Wedding

Aimee & James were married on The Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, Ca. The day was a 1950′s inspired vintage one with a carnival vibe. The bride wore a custom made dress inspired by Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face and amazing blue shoes by Moda in Pelle. The couple were engaged in Paris. James proposed on new years and the stroke of midnight.

“We wanted to have a 1950’s vintage carnival theme wedding because we were having it at the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, Ca. Due to the rich history of the location, we were not short on ideas for how we would bring the nostalgia of the times through. We wanted to almost transport our guests back to a time when family values and marriage were really celebrated. For me the idea of marriage is an old-fashioned concept, but one that should be pursued if you find someone that makes your heart sing.”

“The entire wedding was DIY,” explained the bride. “Most notably were the carnival games. What would a 50’s carnival be without games? One of the groomsmen was very generous with his time and volunteered to make the carnival games as a gift to us. We had a hat toss, bottle toss, beanbag toss, ping-pong toss, and a photo wall. The beanbag toss and photo wall were probably the most involved games with regards to execution.”

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Rob & Justine’s Beeeautiful Art Retreat South African Wedding

You’ll know when I’m really excited about blogging a wedding because I’ll sneak peek a photo on facebook and twitter as soon as it hits my inbox. It’s almost unfair for me to keep it to myself! That’s exactly what I did when Rob & Justine send me over their beeeautiful wedding…and actually, beeeautiful is literally the only way I can describe what I saw accurately. Love love love…

The couple were married at Hillhouse – a quirky converted Barn that is used as an art retreat, which has the look and feel of a dolls house – in South Africa. “Rob and I met a photography gallery and almost instantly clicked,” Justine told me when I asked about the proposal. “I liked that he loved animals and the environment and he loved that I was edgy and confident (his words). We were engaged six months later. Rob proposed in a beautiful vintage Victorian Era locket, I opened it and he had written ‘Will you marry me?’ in it.”

“In South Africa and especially Durban, there isn’t a market for quirky, different weddings,” the bride continued. “People seem to stick to the basics. We were adamant that we wouldn’t do that. It was hard to convince certain family members of our vision especially the ‘vegetarian’ bit.  We knew that the only way we were going to get the wedding we wanted, was to physically source and make everything ourselves. Every Saturday morning we went to the local charity shop and cleared them out of teacups, plates and vases. Rob and I even co-designed our gorgeous wedding invites even though neither of us are graphic designers. Rob was as much a part of the design of the wedding as I was, so it wasn’t a completely feminine wedding like some tend to be. Our venue wasn’t a wedding venue but an art retreat, our caterers wernt wedding caterers but an Eco friendly restaurant and our photographer wasn’t a wedding photographer. I think these elements brought such diversity and made our wedding, the absolute perfect day that it was. ”

Alice in Weddingland – Wedding Stationery Dramas

When I (used to) hear the words ‘wedding stationery’ I automatically thought of either a) plain and overpriced stationery that you can get on the high-street or b) the hand-made versions I used to make whilst kidding myself I was good at art in school.  And quite frankly, I don’t know which is worse! Looking back on the ‘pre-stationery enlightenment’ Alice I just nod my head sadly… if only I knew then what I know now!  After getting stuck head (and heart) first into exploring various wedding stationery options I feel like the ultimate authority on the subject, and this is largely from the lessons I have learnt along the way. So this is what I’m going to share with you today in this little column, so that hopefully at least one person feels less helpless in the sea of wedding stationery options!I started thinking of my wedding stationery options a couple of months ago, so around seven months before the wedding day itself. And I say ‘stationery’ because it is not just an invite you need to consider. This was my first mistake: not doing any research into appropriate timings for sending out various wedding-related information to guests.  For example, I didn’t send out save the date cards.  Having never been to a wedding myself I had never even heard of save the date cards!  Essentially being a way to let everyone know the date of the wedding (helpful for booking up hotels etc in advance, and planning time off work) a save the date is also a great way to give your guests a glimpse of the theme that’s running through your wedding (and getting everyone talking excitedly about your big day!!)

I only realised that it might be time to look into wedding stationery when Graham and I were talking about our Honeymoon-gift list (more on that topic next month…) and how the deadline for contributions was the middle of March. March! As in, 10 weeks away March! It was only when I read a post on Rock n Roll Bride by guest blogger, and stationer-du-jour Lucy Ledger that I saw all my options clearly for the first time.  Firstly I had to decide: DIY option, or get a company to design it?  My man is an illustrator so he was immediately keen to go down the DIY route, and designed a header that he planned to screen print onto each invitation individually.  This would have been perfect, had it not been for the time scale involved in said production. As we realised how long this would take we had to sadly knock this idea on the head. Graham was gutted, and I felt as if I had failed as a bride-to-be, by not knowing and researching our options at an earlier date.

I then took to my twitter profile and posted a generic question about wedding stationery to my followers. This got a great response, with other brides/industry workers/Mrs Rock n Roll Bride herself all offering their advice. Getting a stream of information on tried and trusted wedding vendors is always reassuring and I immediately got stuck into research. We realised that there was no point in sending out a save the date this late in the game, so decided to go straight for the big-boy: The Invite.  After searching many websites and companies I came across a familiar name… Lucy Ledger.  Following a personal recommendation from the pink lady I contacted her, asking all about the process of ordering one of her pre-designed invites to going down the custom made (or bespoke) route. Her reply was amazing – I have never had such a friendly email from ANYONE! She explained that one option is to order directly from her website any of her main designs (options range from nautical to cherries to a cool-Britannia theme, all with a vintage-chic finish).  I looked into her prices (all advertised clearly on her site-no hidden charges on this one!) and was amazed to see that beautiful and quirky stationary was within our price range.

She also told me that for a fee she could design something completely unique for me, all based on my own theme and ideas. Another great option: You can also carry this custom design through to any other stationery you need, such as RSVP cards, menus, table plans, even mounted poster-boards to adorn the venue!  So I was happy I had found the perfect wedding stationer… but nothing’s ever that simple right?!

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Believe in People

Yesterday was my last day as an employee.

After nearly 5 years service to the shopping TV industry I’ve left those studios for the last time. It was a bitter-sweet moment and I left in tears, so unbelievably sad to be leaving my friends. Yet I know making the scary move to running my wedding blog full time is the only way for me. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me…for us.

My best friend sent me this card. It also made me cry.

“I just wanted to say I am uber proud of you and that I’m chuffed to bits. It doesn’t feel that long ago since we spend two long days standing in the cold, leafleting outside the National Wedding Show. Now there isn’t a person in the wedding world who doesn’t know about the gorgeous pink haired lady. You deserve every single bit of sucess, credit and love that has since come your way.”

TEARS Carly, you make me cry actual TEARS.