The power of letting go

Oh Swan Friends, I have had you on my mind for weeks on end. I know I have been terribly quiet. I've just been mulling things over, letting thoughts sink into my soul and allowing my heart to feel all its feels.

Thing is, I have decided to take a sabbatical from client work. Which mostly means a sabbatical from wedding work.

There, I said it. 

It has been such a hard decision for me to make and one that I dreaded telling you of. This work has been my baby. When asked about what I do, a smile would fill my whole being as I explain how lucky I am to have my days filled right to the brim with happy thoughts, pretty making, and love. This has been the bestest best time. I have loved it. 

But as we grow, we change and our needs shift. We start dreaming new dreams. New adventures grab at our heart. And so it is, that I have decided to step away from custom design work for now. I'm freeing up space to work on some of my other dreams: to create new products and work on projects I have had on the back burner. To learn, fine tune my skills and open my horizons. And guys, I am SO excited! It's been a while since I have been this excited about all the beauty ahead. 

Change isn't easy, but knowing that this space will allow me to share the pretty with an even bigger audience than before, makes me feel all tingly inside.

Much love, Anelle

Delft-inspired wedding celebration

Oh man, Kirsten & Kobus' delft-inspired wedding at the beautiful Hawksmoor House (expertly coordinated by BonTon and captured by Kristi Agier) is simply one of those weddings where you look at the images and wish you could be there. The relaxed garden party turned celebration under the stars is just magical!

If you love this look too, pop over to our Delft pinboard for more inspiration! 

White washed wedding wonderland

Oh my. Am I in love with this styled shoot? No, I am absolutely, head over heels for it! The dreamy all-white table setting gives the feeling that you are floating on cloud 9... it is utterly romantic! In keeping with the fresh, minimalist take we designed beautiful perspex menus with whimsical hand lettering. Make sure to hop on over to Luxe Love for the full post!

This white washed wonderland was dreamt up by Kirsten Barclay and expertly bought to life by Catherine Zachariou of Cats Eyes and photographed by Robyn Thompson. Florals and vessels by Foraged Beauty and decor by Urban Tonic.

Luxurious hand-lettered wedding invitations

The wedding invitations we were lucky enough to create for Aileen & Ed's special day, still counts as one of my all time favourites! The combination of loose hand lettering, luxurious gold foil, deep navy letterpress printing, blush RSVP cards and navy envelopes gets ALL the heart eyes from me!

Thank you Yolande Marx for taking such beautiful pics of our pretties!

Beautifully simplistic Babylonstoren wedding celebration

The stripped down beauty of working farm, Babylonstoren in Stellenbosch is just the perfect canvas for celebrating a love story. We adored working on Elodie & Sacha's wedding day stationery and excited to share these images by our friends, welovepictures, with you! 

Let’s chat about printing methods and processes

One of the trickiest things, when thinking about your wedding invitations and stationery, can be which printing method to go with. There are so many lovely options, all with different pros and cons, it can be difficult to know what the best fit will be for you and your partner’s beautiful stationery.

As it might be the first time you’re working with printing methods it’s also 100% understandable if you’re not sure of what’s available, let alone what the technical details for each one are. While the printing methods available will differ from stationer to stationer, the following are the printing/ production methods we use most often:

Ultimately, the printing method you go with will depend on a few things such as your design style, budget and stationer - if you had your heart set on letterpress invites, for example, make sure they can do it. What printing method you would like to use could also be a factor in picking the perfect stationer to work with - we chat about this in a bit more detail here

Let’s look at each of the methods in a bit more depth to help you pick the perfect method or combination for your stationery!

1| Digital printing

Digital/ Flat printing is the most cost effective printing option and is great for all types of designs - it’s especially lovely when you’re looking at having several colours, photographs or watercolour elements in the set as a whole.

The Pros:

  • Cost effective and the cost is not dependant on how many colours you’d like printed. (you can print in colour or black/ grey only - printing in black/ grey only is the most cost effective option)
  • This method is especially beautiful for watercolour or photo-based designs.
  • Digital printing has a quicker production time. (we like to give our printers a least 1 to 1 and a half weeks for printing)
  • Printing double sided is easy and looks great.

The Cons:

  • We can sadly not print metallic colours or white ink with normal digital printing (sigh).

2| Letterpress

Over in the Swan Pond we are incredibly lucky to work with some of the best letterpress printers in South Africa!

This method of printing “pushes” the text/ design into the card giving a luxurious finish and your card that extra wow factor. Letterpress printing brings a beautiful added depth and texture to an invitation.

The Pros:

  • Letterpress gives any invitation a classic & sophisticated feeling.
  • Having your invitation in letterpress with the rest of your elements done with normal digital printing lets the invitation stand out and really make a statement.

The Cons:

  • The letterpress process requires more time than normal digital printing - we like to allow for at least 2 - 3 weeks for printing on these elements. This is good to remember when working out your wedding stationery timeline.
  • This process is more costly than digital printing methods and is best when using just one or two colours as each colour added increases the costs.
  • With letterpress printing we cannot include large solid areas or realistic/ photographic elements to the design.
  • We recommend letterpress cards being single sided as the indentation the block makes on the card can be seen on the reverse. 

If you’re thinking of having your invitations done in letterpress (swoon!) we often suggest pairing it with digital printing on the other elements such as map/ directions card or RSVP card. This way you can splurge a little on the invitation while keeping the other items a bit more cost effective.


3| Foil

Foil adds a luxurious touch to any invitation set and is a great way to incorporate metallics or white “ink” to your colour scheme.

Depending on your stationer’s printing suppliers your invitation could either be full foil or a combination of foil and letterpress/digital printing.

The Pros:

  • Touches of foil in your invitation set is the perfect way to bring in a metallic colour (gold, rose gold, silver) to your overall colour scheme.
  • With foil coming in a variety of colours (including white!) it’s a great way to get light text on darker papers - yay!
  • Foil on any element automatically gives it that extra special touch.

The Cons:

  • As with letterpress printing, the foiling process requires more time than normal digital printing - we like to allow for at least 2 - 3 weeks for printing on these elements. This could impact your overall wedding stationery timeline, download our free stationery handbook for tips on how to create and manage the perfect schedule. 
  • Foiling is more costly than digital printing methods.

4| Laser cutting

While not technically a printing method, laser cutting is also a great way to make your invitations stand out from the rest. This process allows you to have shapes and/or words cut out of your elements or to even create a custom shaped card or band.

Having laser cutting as part of your invitation set/ stationery item is a great way to add a unique element to the set as a whole.

The Pros:

  • There are many ways to bring laser cutting into your stationery; it can be paired with digital printing or be the only production method on the card. So, for example, your invitation can have your wording printed on it and then have lovely details cut from the card or, the wording itself can be laser cut (with no printing needed). The possibilities are endless!

The Cons:

  • Laser cutting is, by nature, a burning process so slight burn marks do appear on the cards. Personally, we still go through everything making sure there is no excessive burning (and our suppliers are amazing!) but these slight marks are unavoidable and part of what makes laser cutting unique. If you’re unsure of what a final laser cut card might look like you could always ask your stationer to send you photos or physical samples of work they’ve done in the past.
  • The production time of laser cut elements depends heavily on the level of detail on your cards. The more detailed, the longer the laser takes to cut the cards. We like to allow for at least 2 - 3 weeks for cutting on these elements
  • The cost of laser cutting also depends on the amount of detail of the design with more intricate designs increasing the overall costs.

Phew, that’s a lot of information to take in! We hope it’s helpful in showing you what each different printing method entails and which one (or combination) would be perfect for you. If you're looking for more inspiration and examples of the different processes, pop over to our Pinterest boards and get lost in the beauty! 

Let’s quickly summarise the most important things from these 4 different methods:

  • Digital Printing is the most cost effective and great for colourful designs.
  • Letterpress is a more luxurious method where the text/ design is pushed into the card.
  • Foil printing allows for touches of metallic on your wedding stationery.
  • Laser cutting lets you have shapes and/or words cut out of your elements.

We hope this helps and makes these all-important decisions a little easier to make! Happy planning!

The Swans