Just what is a destination wedding exactly?
We’d say that it’s really when you get married abroad somewhere. Maybe somewhere a little exotic… a little unusual.
You might be the type of bride and groom who’d like nothing better than to get married on a white sandy beach, with the warm blue sea lapping at your feet, palm trees shading you from the sun and an azure sky up above.
Or maybe you’re more the type who fancy a wedding in an Italian palazzo? With picture-perfect mountains in the background. Maybe a lake nearby. Delicious food and warm sultry nights.
Whatever you choose, it’s important to get the invitations and save the date cards sent off for your destination wedding as soon as you’ve decided on a date. Whilst it’s lovely for you to get married on distant shores, it probably means that your friends and family will have to make particular plans – and in fact they may decide to make your wedding day the basis of a holiday.
It’s elegant if your invitations reflect the style of your destination wedding and we have some sophisticated stationery options for you to choose. Here below are some invitations we created especially for a wedding in Mexico.
Afterwards, you could send out wedding thank you cards with photographs of the two of you together where you tied the knot.
Top Tips For Your Destination Wedding
1. If you’re marrying somewhere hot, you’ll need to rethink a heavy, detailed wedding frock and consider something lighter – companies like Dessy have specially designed destination bridal gowns that pack without crushing in beautiful, lightweight fabrics.
2. For your flowers, you’ll need to consider what is available locally and what’s in season. There’ll probably be a wedding planner at your venue so talk about the colours and styles that appeal to you. Alternatively you could consider having a jewelled bouquet for the day – something which is certain to become a family heirloom.
3. You’ll also need to think about your hair. A stiff lacquered style would look out of place on a beach – so if you’re set on having an updo consider something less structured, less formal.
4. If you’re marrying on a beach, ditch the heels and go for manicured toes in flats or even flip flops.
5. A long veil won’t really work at a beach wedding – you could however go for a birdcage veil or just accessorise your hair with flowers.
Take a look at the Ananya Cards destination weddings board on Pinterest for some more ideas.
Are you having a destination wedding? Where are you planning on going?
Photo credits: Top image via Couples Resorts. Couple on lake via Best Wedding Away.
Irresistible DIY cards for you to print and send.
Now that the ring is truly on your finger and you are officially engaged, it’s time to ask a special friend or friends if they would be your bridesmaids. They will play such an important role not just helping you to plan the wedding, but also offer you emotional support and comfort on the big day itself. So why not do something different, make them feel extra special by sending them a “will you be my bridesmaid” card? It’s a formal, official and endearing way to ask.
The best part is that we have made it very easy for you. We at Ananya have designed two beautiful cards – one is bright and colourful, and the other is classy black and white. All you have to do is select the one you want, download and print it at home on the cardstock of your choice, fold it along the lines as indicated on the card, write your personal message and send – a beautiful free card in easy steps – the first of your wedding stationery suite! We also have an extensive collection of greeting cards suitable for most occasions.
Please click on the links below to download your greeting card PDFs.
The card can also be accompanied by a thoughtful gift; something meaningful and different. Use your imagination – it need not be expensive, but it will show how much thought you have put into it and just how much you want her by your side on your special day!
Every year brings subtle and sometimes not so subtle changes in fashion. In clothing it might be the length of a skirt or a particular fabric.
Colour often dictates a changing trend. Think of the 1970s and browns and oranges spring to mind. For the 1980s it’s royal blues, hot pink and metallic highlights.
At Ananya we notice emerging styles and modes and use them to inspire our stationery.
The year 2013 has brought some particularly vibrant colour palettes and ‘looks’ which are on trend but timeless.
If you check our YouTube channel you can watch our film ‘Wedding Stationery Trends for 2013’ which shows the array of shades, designs and options brides and grooms can choose from in our wedding stationery collection for this year. (We’ll be adding other informative stationery videos to the site soon.)
Vaishali Shah talks about her favourite 2013 stationery style – Emerald Green (which is Pantone’s colour of the year) which expresses love, oneness, balance, renewal and regeneration.
Green is also a very easy colour to adapt to a couple’s personality. It can be either cool and serene or majestic and dynamic.
Another look that is going to be key in 2013 is the 1920’s – with the new film of the Great Gatsby launching. This decade makes its appearance in our 1920′s inspired wedding stationery with dusky pinks, greens and bold, geometric attention-grabbing detail.
Ananya’s stationery designs have an exotic opulence and the East Meets West collection shows this to perfection. Luxury brands like Chanel and Boucheron have picked up on this and designed ranges which reflect this fascination. Ananya depicts this East/West fusion with gemstone colours, rich shades … sheer opulence.
If you’re looking for something particularly personal to you, then investigate the options of commissioning a personalised monogram for your wedding day or some stationery featuring photography of you as a couple.
Whatever the wedding stationery trend you find most appealing, you’ll be delighted with the ‘feel’ of our stationery and the sumptuous impression it gives.
Watch our YouTube stationery trends for 2013 video to get the full picture.
Holi, the Festival of Colours, a Celebration of Spring: 27th March 2013
As this most vibrant and fun-filled festival approaches, we are thrilled to have Phillipe Brown, founder of bespoke travel company Brown + Hudson reminisce about India’s most colourful celebration.
Brown + Hudson is a luxury travel company renowned for their bespoke, exquisitely crafted travel experiences tailored to your personal style. Like Ananya, they have a passion for what they do; they create experiences that are completely centred around you, reflecting your interests, taste, concerns and even quirks. Luxury, bespoke and memorable are what both Brown + Hudson and Ananya stand for.
Ananya’s colourful cards embody all the exuberance and joy of this fun festival.
Phillipe Brown reminisces….
I first experienced the sheer joy and craziness of Holi about 20 years ago. It was the day I arrived in Udaipur. I remember it vividly. How could I not? My clothes were colourfully ruined and my hair dyed a chic blend of pink and purple. In many ways the magnificent occasion left a rare and beautiful impression of India that will stay with my clothes and I forever.
Holi reminds me of face painting as a kid; and as a big one myself it’s my favourite festival. There isn’t a more vibrant, inner-child releasing celebration than the ‘Festival of Colours’. I love India’s traditions. Like the country they’re a melting pot of everything colourful from the food, to the dance, to music and awe-inspiring ceremonies. Holi is a 48 hour festival of frolics and sheer uninhibited fun. People of all classes, ages and religions ambush each other with ‘gulal’ and ‘abil’ paint in what must be the world’s messiest party.
I seem to recall a drunken chapatti seller telling me that Holi began as a celebration of the Hindu ‘Holika and Prahlad’ legend – the ultimate tale of good triumphing evil where Lord Vishnu repeatedly saves Holika’s life in reward for her devotion. Bearing in mind his state it sounded fairly convincing. Someone else told me of another legend involving a dark-skinned Young Krishna who became envious of his beloved Radha’s lighter skin so he covered her face with bright powder. Elsewhere I read that he was just a prankster who liked nothing more than splashing coloured water over milkmaids.
Whatever its origins, nowadays it’s all about dancing, singing, gifts, parties and bonfires; basically, anything goes and the phrase ‘Boora na mano, Holi hai,’ (Don’t mind, it’s Holi!) is the motto to live by. You’ll be drenched by purple water balloons, and in turn can return the favour to perfect strangers without fear of consequences – other than being drenched back. To this day whenever my niece’s finger paintings wind up covering her face and hair, my mind wanders to that day in Udaipur 20 years ago.
To see for yourself, check out Xavier Zimbardo’s brilliant video. It’ll whet your appetite (or at least add colour to a grey day).
For further information, please visit brownandhudson.com
Passover : A Celebration of Freedom – 25th March to 2nd April
The story of the Exodus tells how God helped the Israelites escape slavery in Egypt by inflicting ten plagues upon the Egyptians before the Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves. The 10th plague was the death of the Egyptian first-born. The Israelites were told to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb and that would be the sign for God to ‘pass over’ the first-borns in these Jewish homes.
The freed Israelites left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise (leaven). To commemorate this, no leavened bread is eaten during Passover. This is why Passover is also called “The Festival of the Unleavened Bread”, and ‘matzo’, an unleavened flatbread made solely from flour and water is eaten during the festival.
On the evening before Passover begins, a special service called a ‘seder’ takes place over a meal with family and friends in the home.
The ‘seder’ plate consists of:
- A lamb bone
- A roasted egg
- A green vegetable to dip in salt water
- Bitter herbs made from horseradish
- ‘Charoset’ (a paste of chopped apples, walnuts and wine)
On the table, there are three ‘matzos’ (unleavened bread) on top of each other. At the start of the ‘seder’, the middle ‘matzo’ is broken and the largest piece is hidden. Children look for this hidden piece, and the one who finds it gets a small prize.
Four glasses of wine are drunk to represent the four expressions of freedom from slavery. An extra cup of wine is placed on the table and the door is left open for prophet Elijah who the Jews believe will reappear at Passover to announce the coming of the Messiah.
We’ve found some desserts not usually associated with Passover – people love experimenting with new, tempting ways to make Passover dessert!
Chocolate cupcake with raspberry frosting
Saffron cake with lemon-fig compote
Matzo chocolate-mint ice cream cake
Here’s one we found that matches our Passover cards.
Reciting the Story
During the meal, the story of the exodus from Egypt is read aloud from a special text called the ‘Haggadah’, and rituals that correspond to aspects of the story are performed. Everyone takes part in reading the ‘Haggadah’. Children play an important role in the ‘seder’ and the youngest child recites four questions from the book which ask what distinguishes this special night from all other nights, and the father answers the questions.
The story of Passover has a positive and inspiring message; that one can find freedom from bondage, and that the future can be better than the present.
Our Passover cards set the right tone for this significant festival, celebrated by Jews all over the world. Remember to send cards to your near and dear ones this Passover.
The team at Ananya wish all our Jewish friends and colleagues a very Happy Passover!
Just a few days to go before Valentine’s Day! What does it mean to you this year? Are you hoping to be proposed to? Have you just fallen in love? How will this Valentine’s Day be different? What new and exciting ways have you thought of to celebrate this day, dedicated to love?
No matter how you choose to celebrate, communicating your love for each other is vital. We all love to know how special we are and how much we are loved. The written word has tremendous impact and it endures – it can be read again and again. Giving your loved one a beautiful card is a wonderful way to express exactly what they mean to you. Ananya has created a variety of lovely cards just for that purpose. If you are planning to propose on Valentine’s Day, we have special Proposal cards. As we had shown previously, we have unusual ways to propose and ask that all important question.
If you’re looking for a card that perfectly conveys your feelings, we have a great selection for you to choose from. Whatever else you give your beloved on Valentine’s Day, always accompany it with a card!
There are lots of ways to be creative on Valentine’s Day – from baking cute cupakes and cookies to decorating the home with flowers and hearts. Check out our Pinterest board for some great ideas.
What new and exciting ways have you thought of to celebrate this day, dedicated to love?
In a recent survey conducted by Ananya it has revealed that over 92% of gentlemen turn into a big, quivering, emotional wreck the moment they are about to propose and who can blame them?
Gents tend to start the marriage proposal by proclaiming their love for their girlfriend, maybe reminiscing about the time they met, special moments the couple have enjoyed together before landing the big question. But imagine if half way through his planned speech emotions and nerves take over and before you know it a ring is being forced onto your finger without you even hearing those all important words you have been dreaming to hear since you were a little girl; “Will you marry me?”
Well now, we have made it that little bit easier for gents to propose. Our unique new range of proposal cards not only serves an important purpose but they make for a cute keepsake item.
The proposal cards, left blank inside, are designed to help gents pen a meaningful poem, a love story, or maybe some personal sentiments, so no matter how nervous he gets at that all important moment, his new fiancée will always be able to treasure those precious words in a beautiful proposal card.
To make the proposal extra special, we have teamed up with luxury cake supplier GC Couture, who have created stunning proposal cakes ready for Valentine’s Day. Complete with a ‘Will you marry me?’ gift tag and cute dummy ring (which can be replaced with the real sparkler if you want to seal the deal), we reckon there’s only one answer for guys who serve this up for dessert: ‘YES!’
The ‘Pretty Proposal’ cards cost £5 and are available online.
The cost for a cake and card is £55 plus delivery.
How would you like to be proposed to? How were you proposed to? We would love to hear your stories…
The Year of the Snake dawns in the Chinese calendar, and brings with it a whole year of changes and influences represented by the snake. Beginning on 10th February 2013, it is the most important holiday in the Chinese year. Also known as the Spring Festival, it ends with the Lantern Festival on 24th February 2013.
The snake, the symbol of yin, female energy, is enigmatic and full of unspoken mysteries. It is associated with qualities such as influence and insight, intellect, determination and power, and represents material possessions. A symbol of happiness and auspiciousness, the ancient Chinese believed that a snake in the house was a good omen because it meant that the family would always be free from want.
Traditions and Customs for the Chinese New Year
- Cleaning the house thoroughly in order to sweep away any negative energy and making space for good fortune to enter.
- Decorating windows and doors with red coloured paper and poems with themes of wealth, long life and happiness. The colour red is considered auspicious.
- Exchanging presents and giving children money in red paper envelopes.
- Wearing new clothes.
On the eve of the New Year, families come together for a feast. It is a time for reconciliation and letting go of grudges. The night usually ends with fireworks.
At Ananya, we have a fabulous range of Chinese New Year cards for you to choose from, with several designs depicting snake designs using a rich, auspicious red. Remember that although the New Year starts on 10th February, the Year of the Snake lasts the entire year, so feel free to send cards any time during the year.
How will you be celebrating the Year of the Snake? Have you checked out our Chinese New Year Pinterest board for some unusual ideas?
So congratulations. He’s popped the question and you’re getting married.
Here’s a list of 10 things that you should be considering from the word go. (And if you’re a bride-to-be and have any tips to add, please let us know by adding a comment in the box below.)
What To Do When You Get Engaged
- Set a date. It sounds obvious but until you’ve set a date you really can’t get on with planning any aspect of your wedding as the time of year you get married (and the location) is going to have a major effect on the venue you choose, what you wear, the flowers you use for decoration, the colours you want to feature … so diaries out and set a date to work with.
- Next on your list should be setting a budget. And keeping it. You really don’t want to overspend and your budget may determine your wedding date … if you want to save up, you could decide to wait a bit longer to get married.
- Book a venue. If you want to, you can hold your nerve and book a venue very last minute but really, all the best venues get booked up well in advance, particularly on Saturdays in the summer months. Remember it can be cheaper to get married on a Wednesday and also you may find more availability for your chosen venue in the winter months.
- Consider using an online wedding planning tool which will help you to sort out your guestlist, budget and to do list. You can also find wedding planning tools as an app, so you can get organised whilst on the move.
- Once you’ve set a date, you should also book a photographer. Have a look at some wedding blogs of real weddings to see the style of photography that suits you. Reportage is very popular just now but you may want something a little more traditional and old school.
- Ask your friends if they’ll be your bridesmaids. They’ll need to put the date in their diaries!
- Send out save-the-date cards. If you’re getting married in the summer, or at Christmas, people have an annoying habit of being away on holiday! Ananya has some beautiful save the date cards to choose from.
- Pinterest is a fabulous place to set up a moodboard to plan your wedding. You can make boards of wedding dresses, wedding cakes, shoes, bridesmaid dresses, venues … it’s great fun, addictive and best of all, it gathers all your thoughts together in one place.
- Okay. The dress. You may already have ideas of how you’d like to look but all the top designers say that you should really keep an open mind. Try on a dress you may not have considered and it may surprise you. If you want to save some money, keep an eye out for wedding dress designer sample sales which can save you hundreds of pounds on your dream dress.
- Book your caterer. As before, the good caterers book up in advance and by booking ahead, you’ll find you have a lot more choice in the matter.
Perhaps most importantly of all, remember to enjoy planning your wedding! It’s a wonderful time, so don’t get stressed out about it. Just relax and try to stay calm.
Have you any wedding planning tips to share with us? Any advice you found invaluable? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Credits: Top image via Pinterest; Mint and peach image by Victoria Grech Photography with styling by Pocketful of Dreams and stationery by Ananya; Peacock theme image designed by Vivah Weddings with stationery by Ananya; Indian Wedding image by Sanjay D Gohil photography; Summer Wedding in Jersey image by Natalie Mayer Photography with stationery by Ananya; Floral bouquet via Project Wedding
The word Christmas conjures up a host of feelings and memories, sights and sounds; from mulled wine to mince pies, office parties to wrapping presents. Beyond the outward festivities and activities, however, Christmas is a time for families, for connecting, for giving and receiving. It is a chance for families to come closer, for businesses to thank employees and colleagues.
Christmas also brings out our sense of compassion, our need to help those who deserve a helping hand – a time for generosity and contributing to others in whatever way we can.
As Christmas draws closer, the excitement is palpable – how are your preparations coming along? How many things on your list still remain to be ticked off?
The shops are decked in all their finery, every shop window beckoning us with its best offerings while sparkling street lights make us feel as if we have been transported into a fairy tale.
At Ananya, we love Christmas; the bright colours, the scents and aromas, the beautiful displays which make all our senses come alive. The excitement of Christmas is reflected in our Christmas cards, which are full of colour and vibrancy. While using the traditional symbols of Christmas, like Christmas trees, snowflakes, baubles and stars, we have added our own unique interpretations and combinations to the traditional symbols, making them contemporary, bright and beautiful. Keeping in touch with friends and family, especially those who are far, or those you are not likely to meet is so important at Christmas. Have you sent out your cards yet?
All of us at Ananya wish you a wonderful Christmas and all best wishes for 2013.
From high street stores to elite fashion houses, designers worldwide have been seduced by the bold and dramatic combination of black and gold. The 2012 fall collections glitter with imaginative interpretations of these two strong colours that inject much needed razzle-dazzle into the colder and shorter days of winter.
Not only clothes, but accessories of all kinds are receiving the black and gold treatment. From Jimmy Choo with gold suede shoes to Salvatore Ferragamo and Gucci’s black and gold jewellery, to Giorgio Armani’s handbags, black and gold are the colours of choice.
Old is gold, and baroque is experiencing a grand revival. Mixing textures and patterns, embroidery on tapestry designs, dark velvets with ornate patterns in sparkling sequins – unapologetically opulent , exotic and festive, it’s right on cue as the festive season gets warmed up.
Ananya’s wedding and events stationery captures this black and gold fever to perfection. Our black and gold wedding invitation looks stunning alongside GC Couture’s 7 tiered wedding cake; each layer defined by a striking black and gold lace, and a swathe of gold-centred white flowers draped around the cake – a perfect match.
What black and gold faves have found their way into your heart and home?
They are just some of the fabulous creations of wedding cakes designer Abigail Bloom of The Abigail Bloom Cake Company. We are delighted to introduce our first guest blogger Abigail who will share some ideas that are sure to inspire you and help you incorporate your wedding theme into your wedding cake. As with Ananya’s stationery, Abigail’s cakes, whether bespoke or off the peg are visually beautiful, sumptuous and synonymous with luxury. Abigail talks to us about winter wedding cakes.
Over to you Abigail…
“Coming up to the winter season you may be in the early stages of planning a wedding for winter 2013 or even in the late stages for this year. Our diaries are looking fabulously busy for 2013 and if you love the winter, then it is a great time to be able to reflect these colours and themes in your wedding.
Whether you are just using hints of silver, or you or going full throttle with snowflakes and icicles galore, your theme can be reflected in your cake design and cake table. The use of Gypsophelia between the tiers of a simple white wedding cake can not only work very well, but help keep your costs down. Gatherings of piped pearls on tiers can reflect icicles in your design, or perhaps you love the idea of your cake covered in sugar snowflakes.
There are many winter themes, but the one we love most is the winter vintage glamour theme, with fake fur white wraps, diamante and pearl jewellery, a white and silver theme with hints of blue or black – stunning old world glamour. Whatever your design, off the peg or bespoke don’t forget a cake stand! A cake stand will help display the cake perfectly, whether your cake is contemporary in design and fits well with a white china cake stand, or you prefer the more traditional cake design and a stunning elegant silver cake stand to complement. Don’t forget to make sure your table is covered with a beautiful white linen tablecloth and for those with a real eye for detail – an ironed one!
Final ideas to help reflect your winter theme could include fake snow tree cones covered in fake snow, couple’s initials in white wood or silver that can be later used as book end or how about the theme of the moment – a bird cage entwined with fairly lights and the table adorned in tea lights. Any of these ideas will really help your cake table be a fabulous talking point for your big day.”
For more information on The Abigail Bloom Cake Company and the new 2013 collection, please visit the website.
Ananya’s Winter Wonderland collection captures all the magic and glamour of a winter wedding. Whether your preference is for soft and shimmery or bright and colourful, all the designs have an exotic look and offer tantalising colour combinations.
What theme are you planning for your wedding? If you are having a winter wedding, please let us know what colours you are using and what style cake you have chosen.
What is Diwali?
One of the most well known and loved Hindu festivals, Diwali meaning a ‘row of lighted lamps’ is approaching. Better known as the ‘Festival of Lights’, it is generally acknowledged to symbolise the victory of light over darkness, and good over evil. To represent this, small earthenware oil lamps are placed around windows of homes and shops and places of worship.
Legends and reasons behind the celebrations
- The Hindu Lord Rama returned from fourteen years of exile after the defeat of Ravana; the citizens of Ayodhya, overjoyed at his return, illuminated the entire city with earthen lamps
- Goddess Lakshmi’s (goddess of wealth) birthday. People start the new business year at Diwali, with blessings beings sought and prayers said to Lakshmi for a successful year. They light lamps to help Lakshmi find her way into their homes
- For those of the Jain faith, Mahavir, considered to be the founder of modern Jainism, attained nirvana on Diwali day
- The third Sikh Guru Amar Das made Diwali a day when all Sikhs would gather to receive the Guru’s blessings
- In Nepal, Diwali celebrates the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon king Narakaasura
- In Bengal, Diwali is associated with the goddess Kali. Kali is known to destroy evil and fights for justice. Through prayers, people seek her blessings for happiness, prosperity and protection against hardships
Preparing and celebrating
- Spring cleaning is a must as a way to usher in new energy into your environment
- It’s a great time to go shopping, especially for clothes and jewellery. Wearing new clothes during Diwali is a must for those who can afford it
- Decorate the entrance to your home or business with a colourful motif called ‘rangoli’. This bright and vibrant design welcomes Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and of course, your friends and family
- Make sweets, snacks, and savouries to offer friends and relatives who come to visit. These are traditional offerings for Diwali and are also sent as gifts
- Light small lamps or tea lights at night around the home. These lamps symbolise inner light which dispels darkness and brings inner peace
- Get together with friends and family, light fireworks and have a blast
- Send Diwali cards to friends and relatives, especially those who you will not be able to meet in person. Keeping in touch is extremely important at Diwali.
Ananya has a wonderful array of bright, colourful Diwali cards to pick from; you’re sure to find the right ones for all your friends and family.
Check out our Diwali Pinterest board for more ideas and images.
Diwali greetings from all at Ananya!
If you’re planning a wedding and looking for inspiration then there are some great websites around that offer free advice, hints and tips. Amongst our favourites are Style Me Pretty, Wedbits and of course the unsurpassed Martha Stewart Weddings (which is where today’s idea has come from).
This wedding guest book ticks all the boxes. It’s made up of individual envelopes into which guests slide a personally written card. It’s decorative, elegant and easy to put together. Your guests can put a private message into the envelope, draw a picture (or perhaps even pop in a cheque!)
You need very few materials – this is one wedding idea that looks like a million dollars but actually costs very little.
Materials Needed To Create Your DIY Wedding Guest Book
Paper doilies in different sizes and shapes
Strong paper glue (Pritt sticks work well)
Putting It All Together
- Using the Pritt stick, glue the doiles to the scrapbook pages. This creates an attractive ‘frame’ for the envelopes.
- Next, glue the front of the envelopes and attach them to the scrapbook page on top of the doilies – flap side facing up.
- At your wedding reception, set up your wedding guest table with a sign showing the guests how to use the scrapbook. Encourage them to take a blank card, write a message and insert into the envelope. If they want to keep it really personal they can seal the envelope.
Remember, you can buy different coloured envelopes and doilies to match up with any wedding colour theme you may be using. You could go the classic route and just offer black ink to write in – alternatively you might like to experiment with coloured or metallic pens.
Whatever you choose, you’ll end up with a highly individual wedding guestbook that is sure to cause plenty of favourable comment.
Check out the Ananya Pinterest page
If you’re looking for wedding inspiration, visit our Wedding boards on Pinterest where we’re gathering together a treasure trove of visual ideas.
Credits: Top image via Martha Stewart Weddings; idea and photograph of purple wedding guestbook by Project Wedding, wish cards by Ananya created especially for Kalyn & Todd’s wedding day. Thanks for sharing!
When Halloween comes around on 31st October, we know that winter is setting in and that we’re coming up to the end of Autumn.
Kids love dressing up in Halloween costumes and going off ‘Trick or Treating’ with their friends and parents. Halloween costumes can be cute – like a pumpkin outfit. Or scary – think Dracula or a witch. Although you don’t have to wear a scary outfit at all if you don’t want to – there are plenty of kids going around dressed as Snow White or one of the Incredibles.
You can buy some great Halloween costumes online, like this Lady Dracula number from Marks & Spencer. But if you’re feeling a little more imaginative, making a Halloween costume is a creative way to spend time with the kids.
This cobweb spider cape discovered via Martha Stewart is really easy and inexpensive to make and very creepy!
If you’re going out trick or treating in a group or waiting for it to get dark, you’re going to want to feed your hordes of ghosts, vampires and zombies beforehand – because afterwards all they are going to want to do is get stuck into all the sweets and treats they’ve amassed in their goodie bags.
This soup (recipe via BBC Food) is suitably green. Serve up before you go off and you’ll know the kids have got something substantial and healthy in their tummies to keep them going.
This recipe for ghost cakes made from marshmallows (again via BBC Food) is easy and another way of spending time creatively and productively with young children.
Luxury grocer Fortnum & Mason have some fabulous Halloween goodies. Check out these Halloween fingers to buy online or instore. If you’re looking for a Halloween gift, Fortnum’s are famous for hampers and have produced some especially for Halloween with suitably scary contents.
Carved pumpkins lit up with candles are the traditional way of decorating the outside of your house for Halloween (apparently it also lets people know you’re happy to be visited for trick or treating). However, it’s not always as easy as it might seem to craft a really good pumpkin face. Yet again, Martha Stewart comes to the rescue with an easy to follow guide on how to carve a pumpkin and templates for different scary face designs that you can copy.
If you’re confident of your Halloween carving skills, you should enter the Fortnum & Mason Hallowe’en Pumpkin Carving Competition on 31st October, with events both for children and adults.
This themed Halloween bunting from Molly Felicity Designs would be the perfect way to decorate your front door, or hallway if you’re having a bit of a Halloween party.
A great place to look for inspiration for Halloween is our Pinterest board on which we’ve collected together some images which have caught our imaginations.
You might not always be able to get together with friends and family for Halloween in which case it is a perfect time to send a greetings card. Ananya has some beautifully designed Halloween cards for you to send and they could also double up as Halloween invitations if you’re planning on having a party. Here’s one we have produced for a wedding.
We’re looking out for Halloween costumes to feature on our Facebook page – so if you’re making one you’re really proud of we’d love to see a photo!
Planning on getting married in the Spring? Looking for a wedding theme? Then you really need to look no further than the colours that Nature can offer you.
Spring Wedding Colours
Marry in March, April and the early part of May and you’ll be surrounded by inspiration. Just think of yellow primroses in the hedgerows; green and golden daffodils waving their trumpet heads in the grass; pink blossom on the trees; scented blue hyacinths.
Springtime colours work together beautifully and create a natural palette of shades to choose from that are perfect for a wedding.
Your wedding cake could be a delicate primrose yellow, like this one from The Abigail Bloom Cake Company.
You can also order wedding stationery designed to your personal design - this might be the perfect time to commission a monogram for you as a couple.
Have you created a moodboard for your wedding day yet? It’s a great place to gather together all your thoughts; put together ideas for dresses, shoes, invitations, flowers, a venue ….
Have a look at the Ananya Weddings moodboard on Pinterest. Plenty of inspiration for you there. Follow us to keep up with our latest finds.
You’ll also find a free moodboard tool at Dessy which is really easy to use. You just drag the images you like onto it and play about until you have a Spring wedding theme that you’re happy with.
Think bridesmaid dresses and accessories in fresh, springtime colours …
What colours have you chosen for your wedding theme? Are you letting the season inspire you or do you have another idea? Maybe a hot pink wedding? Or country garden theme? We’d love you to share your wedding thoughts on our Facebook page and post a photograph!
Photo credits: Flower images (from top) Beauty & The Groom, Emma Lappin, Vogue Blog, G Lily. Wedding cake by Abigail Bloom Cake Company. Wedding invitations by Ananya. Green moodboard, bridesmaid dresses and accessories by Dessy.
Make Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year, memorable and innovative by using some creative ways to add your own stamp to the celebrations or give imaginative gifts. At Ananya, we have done some research and offer you some simple, easy, yet effective suggestions.
1. Personalised Place Settings with a Difference
Each place setting uses an apple adorned with a golden leaf on which is written the guest’s name. This is what you will need:
- Heavy gold paper or gold cardboard
- hemp or ribbon
- a hole punch
Cut the gold paper into the shape of a leaf, in proportion to the size of the apple. Write the name of your guest on the leaf, make a hole at the base of the leaf and pass the hemp/ribbon through the hole and tie it to the stem of the apple. Do this for each guest and place each apple at the correct place setting. It’s quick and easy and looks elegant! If you want, you can write Shanah Tovah on each leaf and have the adorned apples as a centre piece.
You can also replace the apples with pomegranates, which are symbolic at Rosh Hashanah. For other craft ideas, check out Creative Jewish Mom.
2. Apples and Flowers, a Great Match!
Using apples in your flower arrangements is another novel idea to create drama to your table décor. You will need:
- A clear glass vase – either tall and narrow, square or round
- Some green apples
- Your choice of colourful flowers
If using a tall vase, place some green apples into the vase so they almost fill up the vase, add water, then arrange flowers in an oasis and place them at the top of the vase. The contrast between the green apples and the flowers will be striking! If you don’t want to arrange flowers at the top, simply place small colourful flowers interspersed with apples along the sides of the vase and fill it with water. The apples and flowers together will look beautiful. If you are using a round vase, you can fill it with water and add decorative twining stems around the interior of the vase, add apples up to the top of the vase, then allow some contrasting coloured flowers to float at the top of the vase – again the effect can be stunning! Use your imagination and create something unique!
Source: Project Wedding
3. Apples + Tea Lights = Ambience
So simple and so sweet – it can be used either as a centrepiece, on a sideboard or coffee table. You will need:
- Tea lights
- Knife to carve
Cut out the centre of the apple to make enough space to fit a tea light comfortably in the apple so it is flush with the top. Then light the tea lights at the appropriate time and watch your friends go “wow”!
Source: Style Me Pretty
4. Going Natural
A gift basket with a difference; an English Ash wood foldable basket from sustainable resources in Cumbria is filled with goodies such as delicious luxury dried fruits and nuts, an Israeli wild flower raw honey, a bottle of Chenin Blanc and a wooden honey drizzler. This is a gift oozing with luxury and will last well beyond Rosh Hashanah.
There are also other choices on offer at Ripe Gifts to wish your loved ones Shanah Tovah!
5. Apples and Honey for a Sweet New Year
It is a simple gift, but full of meaning at Rosh Hashanah, from International gift wrapping expert Arona Khan. An apple sits atop a bottle of honey, both tied together with raffia with a bow at the top! Apples and honey to usher in a Sweet New Year!
While you may not be able to invite all your friends to your celebrations, you can let them know you remember and appreciate them by sending them a card; either with a gift, or by itself. A hand written card is always welcome. Ananya has a range of beautiful contemporary cards for Rosh Hashanah that are sure to please your friends. Make them feel special – send them a card.
Such is the enduring allure of India that time and again, top fashion and beauty houses have kept being drawn to its vast treasure chest of multi-faceted heritage for inspiration. India has never failed to deliver!
More than a hundred years ago Louis Boucheron, the French jeweller, had travelled to Rajasthan to purchase gems for his designs. Recently, Boucheron launched a fragrance in the shape of a bracelet called Jaipur Bracelet, in a soft pink bottle inspired by the ‘Pink City,’ Jaipur.
Clarins, the Paris based company has a new line of cosmetics called Enchanted, inspired by the Hindu festival of colours called Holi, with each colour named after cities in India. Chanel, too, has created a limited edition line of cosmetics called Bombay Express de Chanel. The colours were given Indian names such as Diwali for a nail shade in gold. Diwali is the Indian ‘festival of lights’. These cosmetics were designed for Karl Lagerfeld’s pre-fall 2012 collection called the Paris-Bombay Métiers d’Art show, which was inspired by sumptuous Indian fabrics, sparkling with embellishments.
Aveda, which has worked with Ayurvedic doctors for decades, recently launched a new line of products for thinning hair called Invati (the Sanskrit for ‘invigorate’) which has become their best-selling hair care system globally.
The beauty of India’s heritage is that it can be adapted to fit perfectly into the modern context, making the ancient relevant and contemporary. This is what Ananya understands and excels at. Our Eastern heritage and on-going research allows us to create personal stationery, wedding stationery and greeting cards that have their essence rooted in the past, but have a very on trend appeal. Ananya offers exotic and contemporary designs to the discerning, cosmopolitan individual who is looking for a modern interpretation on an ancient culture.
What aspects of India have most impressed you? Do you use any Indian inspired products?
Latest News from Ananya
Ananya is delighted to announce that it has been nominated for the Wedding Industry Expert Best Invitations Award!
If you like our work, we would love your support. Please vote for us here – thank you.
Looking For Rosh Hashanah Cards? Here’s An Elegant Way To Wish Family And Friends A Happy And Healthy New Year!
Rosh Hashanah – the celebration for Jewish New Year – is nearly upon us, falling on 16 September this year.
What Does Rosh Hashanah Mean?
The Jewish New Year – known as Rosh Hashanah – commemorates the creation of the world and lasts for two days.
When greeting one another Jews say “Shanah Tovah” which means “for a good New Year.”
Observant Jews will attend synagogue where one of the rituals for Rosh Hashanah is the blowing of the Shofar, a ram’s horn trumpet. In a special pattern a hundred notes are sounded out. This is something young children particularly look forward to.
After the service, families disperse for a special meal where the theme is sweetness. Families wish one another a “happy and sweet New Year”. Apples are dipped in honey, as a symbol of the sweet New Year that each Jew hopes will follow and sometimes a sweet carrot stew called a ‘Tzimmes‘ is served.
The traditional Challah or Hallah bread is served as a round loaf at this time of year, rather than the plaited loaf usually served. This symbolises the circle of life and the year.
Sometimes a pomegranate is placed on the table too. Tradition dictates that a pomegranate holds 613 seeds, which represent each of the commandments a Jew is meant to keep.
Being with family and close friends is a wonderful tradition to keep over Jewish New Year but sometimes this is not always possible. Talking on the phone is lovely, but sending a beautiful Ananya Card for Rosh Hashanah is an elegant way of sending Jewish New Year greetings and messages to far away loved ones.
Our cards have a variety of designs featuring both apples and the tree of life and a message for a sweet new year. You can order the Rosh Hashanah cards online in plenty of time for the end of September – receiving a handwritten card through the post is always a delight.
Here are just some of our designs – you can find the rest on our website.
What do you enjoy best about celebrating Jewish New Year? Have you any special recipes you’d like to share with us? We’d love to feature them!
If you’re planning a party, it’s a great idea to have a moodboard in place.
Weddings, Barmitzvahs, Baby Showers, Anniversaries … All need a Moodboard
A moodboard helps you to gather your ideas together. You can collate colours, venues, accessories, clothes, flowers, foods. A good place to find ideas is Pinterest, which lets you cherry pick from other moodboards people have put together to add to your own.
Interior designers have long known the worth of moodboards and when designing a new room or new ‘look’ for the house of a client put together a moodboard of colours, furniture, settings … it’s a great place to gather thoughts in one place. Rather like a digital scrapbook.
We’ve put together some of our stationery in different colours so you can add it to a moodboard you are creating. We’ve also added some other images to get you thinking … and if you’ve any moodboards you’d like to share with us please do so on the Ananya Facebook page. We’d love to see your ideas too … We will be running a moodboard competition in the near future to win Ananya stationery, so keep a look out.
We hope these moodboards have got you thinking. At Ananya we can design a bespoke invitation for you although if you look at our website, we think you’ll find our designs very varied and certainly very colourful. Let us know if there are any colours we’ve missed!
Photo credits: Orchid image via Project Wedding, purple shoes by Aruna Seth, tent by Raj Tent Club, wedding table idea via Project Wedding, orange gerberas via You & Your Wedding, orange one shoulder dress by Dessy.
Take Stirling Castle, a Scottish bridegroom, an Indian/Scottish bride, tartan, henna and you have all the elements for a multicultural wedding…
Sheila and Nigel met at work as lawyers and got engaged during an energetic treking holiday in Nepal, where Nigel secretly lugged a bottle of champagne and glasses around in a rucksack, waiting for the perfect romantic moment. Nigel said that Sheila’s ‘yes’ was the most significant and happy word ever said to him …. sigh
Tartan, Kilts, Henna And Choosing A Bridal Gown
Sheila’s grandparents were Goan and she wanted to incorporate aspects of Indian culture into her big day and decided to wear a modern lengha after visiting a couple of Indian bridal shows. She picked out the colours of Nigel’s kilt in her blue turquoise scarf and had henna designs painted on her hands and feet.
Orange and red calla lilies made up Sheila’s bridal bouquet and she continued the bright Indian colours with her stationery, which Ananya was delighted to provide.
Paisley, Pink And Turquoise Wedding Invitations
Of course, with an Indian Scottish wedding theme, Ananya had to create a wedding invitation with paisley in a dazzling turquoise – perfectly combining the two cultures. Hot pink continued the theme and the wedding guests were very complimentary about the cards they received, loving the rich colours and the embossed texture. Sheila comments “I couldn’t imagine having a gilt edged cream invite, it’s just not me. My Ananya invitation cards were beautifully contemporary.”
The couple made the day very much theirs in other ways. As it was an evening wedding, Sheila and Nigel didn’t feel a cake was necessary and instead extended the canapes and drinks, as that had always been their favourite part of weddings.
Stirling Castle was the most beautiful backdrop and wedding venue and lent a magnificence to the whole day, as you can tell from these photographs … (click on the image to see it in full size)
Shades of grey seem to be a very popular colour right now for weddings.
Because grey is a tone, rather than a colour, you can mix and match it with other colours in your scheme.
Classic monochrome invitations are very chic and timeless. They don’t date, yet still have a contemporary feel.
What Colours Does Grey Match Up With?
Of course, you can use grey alone, just teamed with black and white. But if you fancy adding a splash of colour then you should be thinking about hot pinks, turquoises, oranges and yellows. All classic combinations with a grey shade.
A great way of picking out your wedding colours and seeing what tones in with what is to use a colour fan, like this Pantone one available from Dessy.
You might also like to investigate creating a wedding moodboard, so you can put all your ideas in one place and see what works for you.
Ananya has several different wedding invitations in shades of grey – with different themes from paisley through to lovebirds on a branch. You could put your grey invitation in a coloured envelope if you are mixing up colours – then you’ll be continuing through your colour matching.
Look at the wedding invitations section on our website for more ideas …. and if you are looking for something personal and bespoke, we will certainly be able to help.
There is one special day every year in the Hindu faith when a simple thread becomes the symbol of love and protection between a brother and sister. The thread or ‘Rakhi’ is tied by the sister on her brother’s wrist and is considered stronger than a metal chain because it has been imbued with prayers and mantras for the wellbeing and protection of her brother. At that moment, it is transformed from a simple thread to a sacred bond.
That special day falls on the full moon in the lunar calendar month of Shravan (usually in August) and is called ‘Raksha Bandhan’ – the bond of protection. The sister offers her brother sweets as a symbol of her love, and the brother in turn offers her a gift of cash, clothes or jewellery and a promise to protect her and be there for her whenever she needs help. It is a day for celebrating and re-enforcing the ties between brothers and sisters. This year, Raksha Bandhan takes place on 2nd August.
‘Rakhis’ have evolved a lot with the changing times, and there are ‘Rakhis’ available in every colour and size, from big and bold to studded with semi-precious stones, to floral. The thread can be replaced by a gold or silver chain and look more like a piece of jewellery than a simple strand of threads. ‘Rakhis’ are becoming more and more ornate with the ‘Rakhi’ vendors in trying to out-do their rivals in coming up with fancier versions each year.
For those sisters living far from their brothers who are not able to personally tie a ‘Rakhi’, Ananya has a range of beautiful, festive coloured cards in which to send your ‘Rakhis’. There are many choices in our General collection, including one from the ‘Love’ series or one featuring the Ganesh God to show him how much he means to you, or even a Thank You card or note card to tell him how much you appreciate him.
How will you show your brother that you care?
Eid ul Fitr: End of fasting, beginning of feasting
Eid ul Fitr, meaning the Festival of breaking fast, is one of two very important religious festivals celebrated by Muslims (the other being Eid ul Adha). It is a time of great rejoicing and marks the end of Ramadan and a month of fasting. Beginning with the sighting of the new moon its exact time varies according to the location it is being observed from.
Rising early and having a light breakfast of sweet food such as dates, Muslim men dress in their best clothes and attend a special prayer and sermon. Before attending the prayer, however, each Muslim must pay Zakat al Fitr, a donation for the month of Ramadan, which can be in the form of money or food.
A feast for the eyes and taste buds
Women take great pride in decorating their homes and laying on a feast, including ‘sivai’ – a special sweet made with vermicelli and cooked in milk and sugar. This is an occasion for them to dress in all their finery, decorate their hands with henna and look glamorous.
Giving and receiving
Eid ul Fitr is a day for giving gifts, starting with the children. In addition to receiving gifts from parents, children also get money, called ‘eddi’ from elders. Daughters are not forgotten in the gift giving, and brothers go to their married sisters with ‘sivai’ (special sweet), and presents which may include clothes, money and jewellery.
Greetings for Eid
Ananya’s fabulous range of Eid greeting cards incorporate beautiful designs with the bright and joyous colours of festivity. They can be hand embellished with crystals to make them sparkle and twinkle – a perfect way to wish your friends and loved ones Eid Mubarak as you exchange gifts and wishes for their good fortune.
Eid ul Fitr 2012 falls on August 19th. Beginning with the sighting of the new moon, its exact time varies according to the location it is being observed from.
Enter our competition to win Eid cards
What does Eid mean to you? We’ve ten sets of Eid Cards in some of our beautiful new designs to give away to ten lucky winners. Just visit the Ananya Cards Facebook page and let us know what Eid means to you. If you like, you can post a picture too.. We’ll then choose the ten descriptions we think represent Eid best! Good luck.
As the commencement of the 2012 Summer Olympics approaches, there is a palpable sense of excitement and anticipation in the air. London is centre stage and the world will be watching.
With more than 205 nations participating, athletes will compete in 36 different sports and 300 events this year. Each athlete has dreamed of nothing but winning the gold medal. Every minute and every ounce of energy has been unrelentingly devoted to achieving that ultimate goal. Their steeled determination and one-pointed focus have brought them to this remarkable moment.
The five coloured rings on the Olympic flag representing the continents of America, Africa, Australasia, Asia and Europe were chosen because every nation represented at the Games had at least one of those colours in their flag. The Olympic spirit encourages nations to come together to compete, and gives the opportunity for each athlete to surpass their personal best.
Ananya’s values are very much aligned with the spirit of the Olympics. At Ananya, we constantly challenge ourselves to design stationery and greeting cards that are ‘without equal or unparalleled’. We celebrate the diversity of cultures with our multicultural festival cards. Our passion for what we do makes us willing to work hard to achieve the best possible quality of work; and when a client loves the final result, it’s like winning a gold medal!
With the kick off date fast approaching, we have already begun to see Olympics-inspired products. People have really put their creative juices to work! Ananya’s own team have designed a UK printed range of cards called ‘Striking Gold’ so you, too, can feel part of this historic event.
Here are a few of the Olympics-inspired products we found particularly imaginative: 2012 Team GB band from Links of London, a Going for Gold Cupcake Kit by Ella James, Gold Medallist Glasses Case by Retreat Home and a Torch Typographic Print by Ursula Hitz. There will certainly be more products that will be given an Olympics makeover…
How will you be celebrating the Olympics?
Just over a week ago Ananya was exhibiting at a fabulous stationery show in London called ‘Progressive Greetings Live‘.
Vintage Style Greetings Cards
Inside over 500 stalls were showing just about every type of greetings card and stationery you could imagine. There were intricate, vintage-style cut out greetings cards from Germany which contrasted with the very current “Keep Calm & Carry On …” range. Retro kitsch got a look in, with fifties style postcards depicting housewives in pinnies and besuited men in hats driving big American convertibles.
Greetings Cards For Every Occasion
At Ananya, we showed all of our new range of greetings cards with designs for all occasions including: Eid, Diwali, Weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Chinese New Year, Halloween … and that’s just to name a few.
Our stand attracted a lot of favourable comment and orders so Ananya cards will soon be available in an increasing number of independent stores. Currently Ananya cards are stocked in Harrods, Thomas Goode and Cards Galore. Of course, you can always buy our cards direct from our website by mail order – which is an easy and straightforward way of stocking up with stationery and greetings messages.
Whilst we were there, the founder of Ananya, Vaishali Shah, was interviewed and gave her vision for the company and the reasons for setting it up. You can watch the interview with Vaishali of Ananya in this video here.
As Vaishali says “Ananya Cards are for people who appreciate culture, elegance and artistry”. With 96 new designs being unveiled, there is a greeting card to suit every taste, no matter how sophisticated.
Which will be your favourite?