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!

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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.

A Spotlight on Inslee by Design

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Senior Event Curator, Remo, sat down with watercolor artist, Inslee, to discuss her artwork and inspirations. Inslee will be joining Dempsey & Carroll in their showroom for an event on December 2nd.

RN: It’s been such a pleasure working with you on your paper collection! Could you tell our readers about yourself and what your passions are?

IHF: My name is Inslee Haynes Fariss and I am the founder of Inslee By Design. I am passionate about fashion illustration, beautiful paper, and correspondence in the time-honored tradition of the handwritten note.

RN: When did you understand that illustrations were your professional life? Your job?

IHF: Fashion illustration has always been a part of who I am. My earliest memory is of drawing as a child. I realized I could create illustrations as a profession when I was a sophomore in college—that I could create the art I loved not just for myself, but for other people. I began accepting commissions and was delighted by the experience of creating something that could brighten someone else’s life and help them celebrate their accomplishments and happy memories.

RN: It seems that you have a strong relationship with your community in New York City and online. How did you develop this community andinslee how do you continue to nurture its growth?

IHF: I’ll admit it—I love New York City! My husband even jokes that I see this city as if perpetually wearing rose colored glasses. I think that a place reveals its most charming self to you when you embrace it. I’ve met some of the most inspiring people here. I found some of the most inspiring places I’ve ever known in this wonderful city.

I’m always looking for ways to connect. As a small, independent business, I know I am only as strong as the network I build. The same can be said for online networks. I adore the strong, supportive group I’ve fostered through my website and social media. I feel so connected to so many people around the world who share my love for art and beauty. We live in an exciting and important time for sharing and collaborative creativity.

RN: What is the dream?

IHF: As Elsie de Wolfe said, “I am going to make everything around me beautiful – that will be my life.” Isn’t that the dream? To make everything beautiful. To help others see beauty, and celebrate beauty in every small nuance of life. Every day I strive to live up to that sentiment through my work.

A Spotlight on Mark Ingram

From the first visit to delivery, how long does the process of acquiring the perfect dress usually take?

It can be quite a long process.  We recommend that brides begin shopping for their gown ten to twelve months before their wedding.  They should order their gown no less than eight months before their wedding.  Designer gowns may take as long as 5 months to be delivered to the salon. Purchasing less than six months prior to your wedding may incur a designers rush fee. In some cases the gown may not be able to completed at all.  Our gowns are all made to order and this takes time, plus we need to make sure that each gown arrives in time to have proper fittings and alterations period. That can be minimally two months.

 

How many people is too many to be involved in the selection and fitting reed? 

I recommend that a bride only bring one or two people close to her that she trusts.  Too many people in the fitting room can confuse the bride and really make the whole selection process more difficult.  Many brides often shop alone for their first appointments and bring their mother, sister, maid of honor back to make the final selection.  If a bride feels they need to bring a gaggle of bridesmaids, wait for the final alterations fitting or book a VIP appointment where we will close the shop which will then allow room for all and everyone.

It must feel fantastic to have made so many brides absolutely elated for the most important day of their lives! Has it become an addiction?  It is definitely the best part of the job.  I wish I could be in the fitting rooms with the brides all day to see the tears of joy, but someone has to run the business and find the designers and gowns to feature in the Atelier.  I do make it a priority to try and meet every bride at some point during her appointments, especially when she is in a final fitting to see the completed look.

 MIA

What’s the craziest accessory you’ve ever known a bride to have hidden under her dress? 

I don’t know if they really show me those things since I am a man!  But our brides often like to have something sentimental, like an heirloom or a token from their mother or grandmother either sewn or tucked into their gown.  And some of the designer shoes they are wearing now are fierce!  My girls are not wearing simple dyables, we see the most extraordinary shoes! Just last week we did have a client who came in with the most incredible gold and feather cape and wanted to find a gown to go with!!!

 

After a number of years of experimentation and some pretty outrageous themes, we’ve been seeing a large increase in requests for a more timeless, elegant invitation. Is the same thing happening in dress design?

Yes and no.  Our brides seem to be falling into two camps lately, those who want the classic, timeless styles a la Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera and those that want to push the envelope fashion wise.  The more adventurous girls are really adapting more of their personal style and ready to wear sensibilities into their bridal style.  They are opting for sexier, more bare and sophisticated gowns.  Then we have many girls who opt for a classic look for the ceremony and something outrageous and fabulous for the reception!

 

God forbid, if you couldn’t do what you’re doing now, what would be your runner-up dream career? 

Who knows, something creative for sure!  I have always liked the idea of designing something myself.  Now that I have designed the paper collection, I really am looking forward to what else I can do creatively.  I am very inspired by men’s tailoring lately, so who knows what I might be doing next!