In the Mail: A “When-to” for Wedding Invitations

The beginning of a new year marks the beginning of a new wedding season.  Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles answers some of the frequently asked questions about the most optimal timelines for ordering and sending wedding invitations. 

Congratulations! You’re getting married, you’ve locked down your dream location, and now you need to spread the word. Here are a few tips for a wrinkle-free work flow that will result in perfectly timed wedding paper.

 

When is the best time to send Save the Dates?

Save the Dates are usually sent anywhere between six and twelve months before the event. Consider sending them out on the early side if your wedding is in a location with limited flights and accommodations such as Aspen or St. Barts. If the wedding is located in New York City, six months ahead is usually fine. Be sure to include the hotel block information with the Save the Date and not later with the invitation because that’s when guests need it most. If everyone is invited to Friday night festivities and Sunday brunch, call it a “Save the Weekend” so that your lucky guests will know to book a longer weekend.

 

OK, my Save the Date is in the mail! When do I need to start the wedding invitation process?

Trusty sources say that invitations should be posted between six and eight weeks before the wedding, but here at Dempsey & Carroll, our clients generally prefer eight weeks out. Working backwards, producing fine engraved papers with hand finishes takes about six weeks and calligraphy of the envelopes takes  a minimum of two or three weeks. For design time, allow about three weeks. Faster results are certainly possible when required, but to get the most enjoyment out of the process, come to see us at least five months in advance of your big day for a stress-free, luxurious experience of a lifetime!

 

And what about the paper I need for the day of?

We usually start working on menus, welcome notes, ceremony program booklets, escort cards, and place cards right after we send the wedding invitations to print. All the paper then has a congruent feel for a perfectly polished wedding!

 

Letter Writing Day 2016

The art of the handwritten note is something that we have cherished here at Dempsey & Carroll since our founding in 1878. In celebration of December 7th being declared “Letter Writing Day”, we wanted to share our thoughts on what inspires us to write letters.

Megan: “To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.”  – Phyllis Theroux width=

Carolyn: I love seeing other people’s handwriting! It’s your very own style–no one else can write the same way–To me, that’s one of the coolest things ever!

Austin: Perhaps my favorite thing about receiving a handwritten note comes years later when looking through a shoe box filled with them and having a special moment come back alive.

Ariel: I have always cherished the art of the handwritten note as it serves as a means to make sentiments tangible. Every letter I receive serves as a keepsake that I will forever appreciate.

Emma: There’s a wonderful quote by Haruki Murakami that speaks to my love of the handwritten note: “How wonderful it is to be able to write someone a letter! To feel like conveying your thoughts to a person, to sit at your desk and pick up a pen,
to put your thoughts into words like this is truly marvelous.”

Umara: For my contribution, I join Megan in citing the wise words of Phyllis Theroux: “To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.” In a day and age where technology has taken over and everything is done instantly, the art of taking the time to write a letter is something that really does require deep thought and care from one’s heart.

Marina: Hand writing letters brings back some of the fondest memories of my childhood. I loved sitting at the dining room table with my mother, eating snacks while she wrote letters to our friends and family overseas while we discussed what to write.

Chandra: With all of the alternative forms of communication that exist today, it’s easy to think that letter writing may eventually become a lost art. On account of that, I’ve found the significance of written correspondence has increased, becoming that much more unique, genuine, beautiful and appreciated.

Leo: My father and I spent an afternoon in the store selecting these note cards for him. It was great fun not least because they suit him perfectly and were hardly a first choice. Notes from him on these cards will always remind me how much I admire him.leo

We now invite you to reflect upon your favorite things about handwritten notes. Please feel free to share your own anecdotes with us on social media and be sure to tag our accounts!

Instagram: @dempseycarroll

Twitter: @dempseycarroll

Facebook Page: Dempsey & Carroll

The Art of the Condolence Note

The New York Times published an article, “The Art of Condolence,” about the importance of handwritten sympathy notes in the digital age. Our Creative Director Leo Mascotte offers some of his insight into how to properly craft a thoughtful sympathy note.

There are few pieces of correspondence one wants to write less than those sent to express sympathy, though notes of condolence are likely to be saved and cherished by the recipient. As an essential tool of communication, they allow the sender and recipient simultaneous access and remove, crucial during difficult and often demanding times.

1) Your starting point should be informed by how well you knew the deceased and how well you know the person to whom you write.  Let the note’s opening express your emotional reaction to the news of your recipient’s loss.  This may take many forms, from the shock of reacting to unexpected events, to a sort of relief-tinged sorrow that may accompany the loss that follows a prolonged illness.

2) It is important to offer a description of your own feelings, as they will often mirror those felt by your reader.  Avoid blanket phrases and resist the urge to detach.  Offering a window into your own feelings will help to validate the flood of emotions confronting the grieving.

3) When addressing someone not well known to you, include a line indicating your connection to the deceased.  A note of this type can be thoughtfully composed with your introduction at its core.

4) Writing to those most dear can prove especially difficult.   Write an anecdote about or memory of the deceased into the heart of your note.   Ideally, your story would be new to your addressee.  The most memorable notes are often the most offhand, narratives that draw energy from the everyday and bestow ease with a voice that is familiar.  Perhaps you might recall a favor bestowed, or laughter shared.  Describe a party at which you were a guest, or retell sport, either shared or observed.   Sensory references are especially enriching.  Commend the dapper, highlight a distinctive gait, savor the pleasures of grill or garden.  Allow your telling to become a description of the way you will remember.

Etiquette requires acknowledgement of the receipt of a condolence note by the recipient.  This may take the form of boxed cards or notes, though bespoke options are also available.  Stationery printed to meet these needs traditionally uses white or ecru stock and black ink paired with classic typestyles.

Reply Cards Made Easy

Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles discusses the many forms that reply cards have taken on as modern wedding etiquette has evolved. We invite you to explore our wedding site to view our inspiration gallery and learn more about our offerings. 

Response cards are a relatively new addition to wedding suites. In the past, those invited would know to respond and would do so on their own engraved stationery.

 

Generally, reply cards come in two varieties.The simplest and most classic reply card might only have “The favor of a reply is requested” engraved along the bottom though most of our clients add a date, resulting in something like “Kindly reply by June 8th.”

 

Next, there are those reply cards that are more form-like with check-offs. Disliked by some, preferred by others who consider them more fail-safe, these cards typically have a minimum of four lines of text: The “M” serves as a prompt for the would-be guest to write her name, a line each to select “Happily accepts” or “Regretfully declines.”The last line usually includes the “reply by” date. reply-card-1

Depending on the arrangement with the caterer, a host may need to have check-offs for meal choices. If there are other events, separate lines may be needed for indicating attendance to those as well. At Dempsey & Carroll, we’ve done reply cards with over a dozen possible selections.

Keep in mind when hosting, the simplest reply card will get you the most novel responses back and they will make wonderful keepsakes. If you have creative friends, all the better!

Now It’s Your Turn To Reply?

Always remember that you’re addressing the host, not the guest of honor.

bermuda-reply-1For example: “Dear Mrs. Wilcox, I deeply regret that we will not be able to attend your daughter’s wedding but will most certainly be toasting from afar. Warmly, Helen Schlegel”

When replying, there are just two essential things you’ll be communicating: who you are and whether you’re coming or not. Consider using a tone that is consistent with the invitation design and wording. While you are obligated to reply, you do not have to give a reason if you cannot attend.

The History of the Calling Card

To honor our Annual Calling Card Event,  we wanted to share the history of the calling card and how its purposes have evolved over time. We hope that this piece inspires you to put your best card forward! 

History

Before the age of the telephone, the calling card (or carte de visite in French) had a significant role as a social tool. In the days when ladies might receive visitors during hours they were known to be “at home,” the calling card served to announce a visitor to the house. Thought to have originated in China in the 16th century, the calling card flourished in France and England before coming to America, reaching its heyday during the Gilded Age of the late 19th century.

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Function

A visitor would present his card to the butler, who would place it on a silver tray and, leaving the visitor to wait, take it to the lady of the house. Different corners of the card would be turned down to indicate the visitor came in person, or that the call was intended to express congratulations or condolence.

On an initial visit, a gentleman would give a card to the butler and leave; if the recipient wished to start a friendship, a card would be returned in the same manner; but no response or a card returned inside an envelope indicated the recipient did not wish the acquaintance to continue.

Although business cards existed, they were never used in social situations. Just as today it is usually considered rude even to ask a new acquaintance what he or she does to earn a living, the idea that a person might produce a card with business information in a social setting was inconceivable until the early twentieth century. So the calling card would have served that social function, and any information missing, or perhaps a short note, would often be written directly on the card.

Format

The most formal calling card format features only a person’s full name, complete with title: Mr., Mrs. or Miss. “Doctor” is spelled out, as is “junior.” A home address, as brief as possible, is sometimes added to the lower right corner of the card; men’s cards sometimes include the name of a club.CallingCardEvent-OrangeClutch-03-Edited

Traditional calling cards are always engraved, using only black ink, the finest paper stock, and one of a small selection of conservative typefaces. Interestingly, the ornate social codes of American Society developed standard sizes to denote sex and marital status. These “proper” sizes were in use well into the twentieth century, though today it is acceptable to throw these rules out the window and choose a size – or create a different size – that suits your taste.

 

Single Men:                                        1-9/16” x 3-1/4”

Married Men:                                     2” x 3-1/2”

Single women:                                   2” x 2-7/8”

Married women and widows:          2-3/8” x 3-1/4”

Married couples:                               2-1/2” x 3-1/2”

 

The Calling Card Today

 Calling cards, sometimes referred to as personal cards, are experiencing a renaissance, particularly among younger people, who change jobs more frequently and may want to present themselves socially with a less work-related face. Though a standard business card size is still popular for calling cards, a more unusual size may be a surprise to the recipient. Ink color and typeface are other ways to make the card have more personality. And today, there is sometimes more contact information put on the card; a cell phone number and personal email address are very common, as they don’t change when a person changes jobs or home addresses. Still, many clients prefer the simple elegance of engraving only their names on the center of the card.

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How to Use Your Calling Cards

Calling cards are the perfect “blank slate” for today’s social and business interactions. It is perfectly acceptable to jot a little note or a bit of information directly on to your calling card. For example, after a business meeting you might add your work email and hand it to a new acquaintance. After running into an old friend you might write “call me” and include your mobile telephone number. How you use your cards is entirely up to you. You should be comfortable and confident that your cards are a sophisticated reflection of your personality and are completely adaptable to any situation. Calling cards also make fabulous gift enclosures – simply write “Happy Birthday” or “Congratulations” on the card and enclose it with a gift.

We’re sure you’ll find hundreds of ways to use your cards. Be sure to visit our website or call us at 212.570.4800 to learn more!

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National Letter Writing Month

“How wonderful it is to be able to write someone a letter! To feel like conveying your thoughts to a person, to sit at your desk and pick up a pen, to put your thoughts into words like this is truly marvelous.”  – Haruki Murakami

letters insta

The Dempsey & Carroll Team has accepted the challenge of writing one letter per day for the month of April in celebration of National Card and Letter Writing Month. We always celebrate the art of the handwritten note throughout the year, but we are taking this challenge as an opportunity to reconnect with friends and family in the age of technology. It is always refreshing to see that people appreciate when time is taken to send a beautifully crafted note.

AJK stationery

We would love to see who else has taken up this challenge as well! Be sure to tag our Instagram handle @dempseycarroll and the #writeon and #dempseycarroll hashtags for the opportunity to be featured on our feed. Happy Writing!

How to Send a Thoughtful Thank You

LCR-Monogram copyA sincere and eloquent note of thanks will be remembered forever.  Thank-you notes allow us to acknowledge deeds large and small, in a thoughtful and considered way.  Here are a few of Dempsey & Carroll’s tips to perfecting this skill.

1)  Set aside adequate time to think about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it.  If your note is rushed, it may come off as perfunctory or insincere.

2)  Make sure your handwriting is as good as it can be.  Warm up by drawing loops on scratch paper or by writing a draft of your note.  If your handwriting is difficult to read, it’s fine to print.

3)  Make a list of the things you want to mention or include.  If you received a gift, what do you like about it?  If you were treated to dinner, what was especially delicious?  Was there an anecdote or funny story you want to reference?

4)  Express your gratitude in heartfelt words.  Good thank-you notes make the recipient feel special when you clearly mean all those nice things you write.

5)  If possible, avoid leading with “Thank you for…” – your note will sound fresher and less formulaic if you start off with anything else.  Try “Dinner was delicious!” or “Did you know red is my favorite color?”

6)  Finish with a strong line, such as “I really appreciate your thoughtfulness” or “We hope to see you and Ted again very soon.”

perfect-thankyou