October Giveaway: The Best Wedding Reception…Ever!

September 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Okay, so I am totally excited to be doing a giveaway for the month of October 🙂

While at Wedding MBA in Vegas last week, I had the pleasure of seeing two seminars given by Peter Merry. A highly successful Wedding Entertainment Director, Peter is a talented speaker and is full of creative and fantastic ideas to personalize your wedding reception. He is clearly passionate about weddings and making sure that his brides and grooms have…

The Best Wedding Reception Ever

We’re pleased to be giving away an advance copy of Peter’s new book, The Best Wedding Reception Ever, personally autographed by Peter himself!

The book features 22 real-life couples and their unique wedding reception agendas as well as over 230 creative ideas for personalizing *your* wedding reception celebration.

So, how do you win this awesome prize? Pretty simple…

Since we’re all about embracing social media lately, we thought we’d gift one of our newest followers with this fantastic book.

There are 4 ways to enter, and you will receive one entry per method you choose (up to 4 entries):

1. Like Hip Ink on Facebook

2. Post a link on your wall to this page to let other brides know about this contest

3. Follow Hip Ink on Twitter

4. Tweet about this contest (with a link) and give your followers a chance to enter as well!

The winner will be drawn at random from all entries on October 31st at 12:00pm EST and will be notified via direct message on facebook or twitter 🙂

Good luck!

DIY Part 4: Fabulous resources for your DIY invitations

September 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

Photo: The Paper Place, Toronto

While at Wedding MBA last week, I had the pleasure of attending a couple of seminars by Alan Berg, from TheKnot.com. Alan’s presentations were on marketing collateral, but he said something that really stuck with me. He said (and I’m not quoting directly, but pretty close):

“If you have the talent to do it yourself, that’s great. Just make sure it doesn’t look like you did it yourself.”

I think that’s very relevant to what I’ve been talking about in this blog series. Everyone wants their invitations to look great – I’m guessing very few brides want their guests to open their invitation and say, “oh, that’s definitely DIY”. You may want it to look “handmade”, but probably not “homemade”. So, how can you make the invitation you’ve dreamed of look like it came from a high-end stationer.

Ok, so my first answer is “hire a high-end stationer“, but that’s for another blog post 😉 My second answer is: quality paper and tools, and knowledge.

* Paper, supplies and tools, oh my!

Okay, so I’m about to share with you some of my favourite sources for all the “stuff” you need to make a great invitation. All of these companies allow online ordering, and Hip Ink carries products from all of them as well (especially important for those in Canada, since most of these shops will not ship to the Great White North, or charge you the cost of a modest wedding to do so).

Envelopments (http://www.envelopments.com)
My go-to source, fantastic papers, cardstock, pocketfolds, etc. Always coming out with innovative shapes, with a fantastic selection of matte, metallic, textured and patterned papers (now over 216, if I’m not mistaken), as well as carrying indispensable tools like ATG tape guns, the Jigster and more. Envelopments products are not available directly through their website, but you can purchase them through many dealer/designers across North America (and across the pond!), including Hip Ink, of course! My favourite, and worth checking out, especially for inspiration!

Paper Source (http://www.paper-source.com)
You can certainly shop online at Paper Source – they have a huge selection of everything you could want: papers, tools, embellishments, stamps, gifts…the list goes on. Be prepared to spend a few hours on their website, and you may want a bib to catch that drool 😉 But, even better, if you are in a lucky few states, you can shop AT Paper Source! Beautiful and inspirational retail spaces filled with everything your heart could desire…*sigh* My fave is the Chicago River North location (232 W. Chicago Avenue), with three floors of fabulousity. Hip Ink carries many of Paper Source’s bulk paper products for our DIY gals (and guys!).

Envelopper Inc (http://www.envelopperinc.com)
You may be here for a while too – an extensive website of paper/pockets/ribbons/tags/tools etc. for hardcore DIYers. If you can imagine it, they’ve probably got it (and we’ve got it too!). A great resource to look at for inspiration as well, the have some interactive tools that allow you to play with all the different options available. May be a little overwhelming for a first-timer, but great if you are comfortable with paper crafting.

Paper Presentation (http://www.paperpresentation.com)
Very similar selection to Envelopper, they are particularly great for accessory items, like placecards, table cards, programs, tags & favour boxes. They also offer some very unique die cut shapes in flat cards and pockets, and definitely worth checking out if you are looking for something just a little different.

Paper Mojo (http://www.papermojo.com)
Fantastic selection of specialty papers – everything from lokta to washi to chiyogami (and probably a bunch of others you’ve never heard of!) and so much more. If you are looking for specialty paper – look no further! Gorgeous patterns, fantastic textures, amazing natural papers *and* they’ve just added supplies and tools as well.

The Paper Place (http://thepaperplace.ca)
Paper heaven (conveniently located in Toronto) – formerly known as The Japanese Paper Place, the majority of paper carried here is still of the japanese variety, with some indian, nepalese, thai and others thrown in for good measure! You can buy online, but if you are in the area, check out their retail location on Queen Street West – lots of great DIY invitation ideas and paper tools and accessories. A great way to spend a couple of hours on a weekend!

Etsy (http://www.etsy.com)
Last, but certainly not least. A great place to find embellishments for your invites – whether you need buckles, tags, crystals, charms or pretty much anything else you can think up, you’ll find it on Etsy.

So, there you have it – a round up of great resources to purchase everything you need for your invitation project.

Now what?

First – make sure you bought enough. Seriously. You’ll waste a lot more than you think.

Second – make sure everything fits together. Seriously. You don’t want to find out at the last minute that your invites don’t fit your envelopes.

Third – get to learnin’…

It can be hard to figure out exactly where to begin when creating your own invitations. There are lots (and I mean, LOTS) of resources online, but they can be difficult to track down and it can take hours and hours of research to figure out the right techniques for your project. What’s a girl to do?

Well – we’ll have an answer for you next week….

And thus, our DIY series comes to an end…sort of. It’s been a slice, and we hope you’ve found a few nuggets of wisdom over the past four weeks.

Happy DIY, and may the force be with you 😉  


See more:
DIY Part 1: The *real* cost of DIY invitations
DIY Part 2: Is DIY right for you (or are *you* right for DIY)?
DIY Part 3: Tips and Tricks for sensational DIY invitations!




DIY Part 3: Tips and Tricks for sensational DIY invitations!

September 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’m in Vegas this week for Wedding MBA, but I wouldn’t leave you hangin’. We’ve looked at the real cost of DIY, examined if DIY is right for you, and next up in our Hip Ink blog DIY series is Part 3: Tips & Tricks!

If you’ve been following our blog series, you’ve hopefully figured out if DIY really *is* for you. If it is, that’s fantastic – we’re here to help. DIY can be tricky, as we’ve already discussed; but, there are some things you can do to help ensure your project is a success (and not at the expense of your sanity)!

Work early, work often
It’s important to start your DIY planning early and start working on your invitations early as well. It *will* take more time than you think, there *will* be setbacks, everyday life *will* interfere. You can counteract these issues by allowing yourself plenty of time and doing small amounts of work at a go, rather than trying to complete your project over one weekend.

KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)
Unless you have a lot of experience, your best bet is to keep it simple. It will lower your stress levels immensely if you feel comfortable with what you are taking on. Be realistic about your skills and work within them. After all, a simple well-made invitation is always in style.

Test, test, test…then test some more!
Don’t skip this step! The best way to ensure your project is a success is to TEST everything: Will you printer print properly on the paper you’ve chosen? How will you assemble your invite? Will your full invite fit in the envelope you’ve chosen? How much postage will you need? It is important to test every aspect of your invite before you start mass production. And be sure to mail yourself a test invite, to see how it survives mailing!

The right tools for the job
The right tools make any job easier, and DIY invitations are no exception. You may need to invest in things like a tape gun, bone folder, paper cutter etc. We’ll discuss this further in next week’s blog (yes, I’m a tease, I know), but the moral of the story is that the right tools will save you a ton of time and help ensure your invitations look high-quality.

High-quality supplies
The second part of the quality equation is quality supplies – papers, embellishments etc. The hallmark of a “cheap” invitation is usually low-quality paper – a dead giveaway every time. Make sure you purchase the highest quality paper you can, especially if you are considering a single panel flat invite. And please, if you only take one piece of advice from this, *buy more than you need*. Trust me.

Just say no to big box
It can be tempting to run to your local super-giant-craft-store-of-hugeness (is that a word?), but make sure you go armed with knowledge. In our area, the big box craft stores have a rather sad selection of low-quality, over-priced paper – yours is quite likely the same. If you are concerned with having a unique invite, you are best off looking elsewhere, which brings us to…

Shop local, shop international
Check out local merchants who sell papers and embellishments (stationers, scrapbook stores, craft stores, bead shops, sewing shops etc.) and think outside-the-box if you are looking for something out-of-the-ordinary. Don’t dismiss shopping online though – there are a huge number of online stores selling papers and embellishments from around the world, giving you the option to compare and find items that you may not have otherwise considered.

Take advantage of friends and family
Ok, you know what I mean here – if someone offers their help, take it! Does your second cousin know a thing or two about design? Recruit him to help you layout your invites. Does Aunt Judy love to craft? Ask her to help you assemble invitations. While you’re at it, invite your bridesmaids too, make it a party!

Get professional help
We all get in over our heads. Don’t be afraid to get professional help when you need it. If you’re overwhelmed, contact a local stationer and see if they can help save your project – whether it’s just printing your invitations or taking on your whole project. Sometimes, you need to let go.

Next week, we’ll take a look at DIY resources – where to get the right advice, supplies, tools etc. to help you create a memorable invitation!



See more:
DIY Part 1: The *real* cost of DIY invitations
DIY Part 2: Is DIY right for you (or are *you* right for DIY)?
DIY Part 4: Fabulous Resources for your DIY Invitations

DIY Part 2: Is DIY right for you (or are *you* right for DIY)?

September 14, 2010 § 1 Comment

We’re back after a week off in the sunny Caribbean with part 2 of our blog series on DIY (yay!).

Last week, we talked about the real cost of DIY (recap: not just money, but time). This week, we take a look at how to figure out if DIY is for you – or, more aptly, if YOU are right for DIY.

Ok, I’ll admit it – you don’t have to be Martha Stewart to DIY invitations, it’s true. Then again, it would help to have all of her minions to do it for you 😉

Creating your own invitations is an adventure, and a project that you can take on with your partner, friends and family etc. You’ll have control over every aspect of the design and assembly, the timing of your mailing and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you made them yourself. Your guests will probably also appreciate the personal touch of a handmade invite. That said, it ain’t all rainbows and unicorns ladies (and gentlemen!).

There are a few caveats. Will you be saving enough money with your DIY wedding invitations that it is worth all of the time and effort that you will put into designing and creating the perfect invitations for your wedding or event? DIY invitations may cost up to 50% less than custom invites, but its also important to consider whether you have a reliable printer, printer ink, extra paper supplies to compensate for those inevitable boo-boos, good adhesives and the experience, time and patience to take on such an ambitious project.

Even if you *are* Martha Stewart’s long-lost fourth-cousin (thrice-removed), is it going to be worth the savings in the end? Don’t take my word for it – do your research! Read your fave wedding forums and blogs, and you’ll find many stories of happy DIY brides…and many stories of brides who swear, “never again!”.

Then, there is the inevitable question that no one wants to talk about – will your invitations look handmade or homemade? I’d like to hope that everyone reading this blog has received a gorgeous handmade invitation in the past – one that reflects quality and great design, one that wowed you right out of the envelope, one that got you wondering, “who made this fantastic creation”? Then again, we’ve probably all received the “homemade” invite that screams “I was too cheap to pay someone who knew what they were doing, so you got this instead”. Harsh, but you know it’s true.

So how do you figure out if you have the skills and talents to produce a great invite (hopefully without having a nervous breakdown in the process)?

To help, we’ve put together a quick list to help you decide if D.I.Y. is right for you.

D.I.Y. is often a good choice for those who:

  • Know exactly the type of invitation they want and have a clear idea of the design, style and components they are after
  • Have a good eye for design and general experience with crafting
  • Like the idea of creating their own invitations for reasons other than just cost-savings
  • Are having a smaller or less formal wedding, where less invitations and invitation components (enclosures, inserts etc.) are required
  • Have time to devote to the project and a support system of family and friends willing to lend a hand

D.I.Y. may not be the best choice for those who:

  • Aren’t sure what kind of invitation they want, or who are set on having a very unique invitation, not limited to their own design ability
  • Are looking for very specific and/or hard-to-find materials for their invitation or want special printing techniques (letterpress, foil stamping, thermography etc.)
  • Are considering DIY solely because they want/need to save money
  • Aren’t comfortable with crafting or find that they rarely complete projects that they begin
  • Are having a very large or very formal wedding, with many guests
  • Don’t have a lot of free time, or don’t have any willing family or friends to provide assistance

Be honest with yourself  – about your skills, the amount of time you have, how much help you are going to get etc. And please, if you are only considering DIY to save money, don’t do it. Take my advice on this one – you will most likely regret it. There are many stationers out there who can help you choose or create an invitation to match your budget, no matter how small. A properly designed invite (even a very simple one) is always in style and will always be appreciated by your guests.

For you wanna-be Martha’s out there that love your paper, embellishments and crafting – you go, girl! We’re here to help with all the goodies you could want to help you bring your vision to life 🙂

A good way for brides to get the feeling for DIY is to begin with a small project, such as Save The Dates. Since Save The Date cards generally go out about 6 months before your wedding, you’ll have time to reflect on your experience and decide if you’re willing to go ahead and jump into the deep end with wedding invitations.

Still with me DIY brides? Get ready for next week – DIY tips and tricks!



See also:
DIY Part 1: The *real* cost of DIY invitations
DIY Part 3: Tips and Tricks for sensational DIY Invitations!
DIY Part 4: Fabulous Resources for your DIY Invitations


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