Our 2016 John Derian Collections

We have ushered in autumn with the exciting launch of our second collaboration with Designer John Derian. Our five new collections pair classic Dempsey & Carroll motifs with decoupage prints from Derian’s extensive archives. Some of our Dempsey & Carroll team members have offered insight into which lines are their favorites, though it is difficult to choose just one. We invite you to explore our 2016 John Derian collections so that you can discover your favorites as well!

Carolyn: “My favorite is the Fly Fisher. I love the color story, but most of all, I love how it can resonate with a consumer. For me, it reminds me of going fly fishing with my family inhp4-091216-derian-web Colorado and I’m sure it rings true for many other people all over the world!”




Lauren: “My favorite is Earth & Sky.  I love the colors and the round globe motif paired with the round map of the sky. There is a lovely balance between the latitude and longitude lines in the engraved globe and the colorful envelope liner– I love it! I am planning to order a set of 50 personalized.”


Leo: “Earth & Sky is my pick. The celestial map envelope liner reminds me of a group of vintage prints that I have been collecting for years.  Astronomical maps seem to transcend time; at once modern and vintage.  The globe engraving is wonderfully detailed, a Dempsey & Carroll classic from the archive, and the gray engraving on white paper sets off a fresh mix and match with the envelope liner.”

Megan: “My favorite collection from the new John Derian collaboration is definitely Earth & Sky.  The stunning starry night liner coupled with the beautifully detailed engraved globe motif is a stellar combination to be used for any occasion.  I am already planning on having some on hand while I am traveling this Fall!”



Evon: “I am most attracted to the John Derian Grand Tour Collection. The liner prints all display an excellent use of typography and color. Additionally, the crops of the liners are dynamic, providing just enough insight into these historic hotels, but yet still leaving much to the imagination.”


Ariel: “I really love all of the new John Derian products, but my personal favorite is Blue Coral. I have always loved spending time in Florida at the hp1-090116-derian-webbeach, and the stunning coral artwork brings back amazing memories from my family vacations”




Emma:” It is difficult to choose a favorite, but I am definitely favoring Tea Salon at the moment. I love how it pairs our classic tea cup motif with John Derian’s vintage Frehp1-091216-derian-webnch architecture-inspired patterns for the envelope lining. This collection brings back memories of living abroad in France, where afternoons were often spent studying in baroque-style salons de thé.”





Town & Country, May 2016

Our menu cards are usually used to show food and drink offerings for weddings, special events, or a dinner party. Alex Kuczynski’s “Me, Me, Me” piece in Town & Country’s May 2016 Youth & Beauty Issue puts a fun twist on them and features our luxurious scripted menu cards as a means of showing what is not on the menu. Kuczynski’s focus on “food allergy dieting” offers a look at how the diet of the future will be tailored to each specific person’s allergies and sensitivities in an elegant and polished way. Thank you to Town & Country for featuring us in an interesting dialogue on how we eat.

Town & Country (May 2016) cover jpegTown & Country (May 2016) picture jpeg


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.”


Spotlight on Janel Gonzalez of Janel Events

Dempsey & Carroll event curator Austin Ackles sat down with Janel to discuss her event style. 


AA: What’s the most exciting new space in the Los Angeles area?

JG: Millwick is an amazing, modern venue. It’s industrial but chic, with vibrant colors and lots of greenery.



AA: Is there a classic venue to which you often return?

JG: Yes, The Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa is one of my favorites. I had my wedding there and have planned clients’ weddings there as well. After all these years it still takes my breath away.



AA: Can you recommend three fabulous champagnes for three different budgets?

JG: Of course! Champagne is the universal drink of choice for so many happy occasions. I like mine extra dry personally. For years, I have loved Jaume Serra Cristalino . It’s not champagne per se, but I had it at a black tie event for Placido Domingo years ago and when I got home and looked it up it was only $6! So of course for taste and price it’s amazing. I do love my Veuve Cliquot, of course, and my favorite is the Brut Rose; you can find it for as low as $59 at some stores. And of course I love Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut — the bottles are just works of art.



AA: Next time I’m in the area, where should I go for chocolate?

JG: In Los Angeles, head to Compartes. They have so many decadent flavors, sophisticated shapes, and they’re artistically packaged.



AA: What is your favorite use of event papers that goes beyond the essentials like escort cards, place cards, menus, or programs?

JG: I’m a sign person. I feel like the more signs the better, even if we are just stating the obvious like “Desserts” or “This way to the party.” I just feel like you can never have enough signage, especially in beautiful or whimsical calligraphy.



AA: What locale, if any, would you choose to plan your dream event?

JG: If there’s a region of the world I feel most enamored by, it is the French Riviera. I love French culture and their sophisticated yet simple approach to weddings. It is a style I identify with as well. I’ve been lucky enough to visit a few times and would love to plan a wedding in a luxurious Villa or Chateau overlooking the Mediterranean. Sounds like a dream!

A Spotlight on Mary Lee Herrington

Dempsey & Carroll curator, Austin Ackles, sat down with Mary Lee Herrington to discuss her work as an event planner.


AA: After working in London for several years, welcome back to New York! What’s changed the most about our city?

MLH: One of the things I’ve always loved about New York is that even though facades can change and stores go out of business or new buildings pop up in place of old, the city’s energy and personality never really changes – I’ve always felt like it was my home no matter how long it had been since I last lived here or visited. So when we moved back here in October 2013, I fell right back into step, as if I’d never left. But if I had to point out some changes that, for whatever reason or another, I noticed the most, they are: taxi cabs taking credit cards (I hated swinging by ATMs in order to grab taxis before! I also love Uber!), and the construction/opening of Brooklyn Bridge Park. London’s parks are all really lovely, but this one with the spectacular views, picnic tables, barbecue grills, lawns, Smorgasburg, Jane’s Carousel and clean playgrounds just takes the prize! Also on the subject of change, it struck me the other day that back when I started college in ’97 at Columbia, the subways were still taking tokens! If that doesn’t make me feel old, I don’t know what does!

AA: What do you already miss about London?

MLH: As much as I love the playgrounds and Brooklyn Bridge Park near where I live in Brooklyn Heights, I have to say that London’s attitude towards dogs and letting dogs off-leash at any time in their expansive parks is something we miss every day. We walked our dogs in Primrose Hill every single day off-leash and our dogs loved it so much. For dogs to be able to run freely in a park is so much better for them than the cramped dog runs that we have here, many of which are too small for high-energy dogs. I also used to take my Morkie* Sammy (who is my business mascot!) with me to cafes, pubs, restaurants all the time. Some clients even asked that I bring Sammy with me to meetings with them and with us on venue site visits!

I also miss the proximity to other parts of Europe. We loved being able to board a train at San Pancras in London and, a few short hours later, be in the heart of Paris!

AA: Traditionally, British weddings are midmorning followed by a wedding breakfast or brunch. Is this still pervasive?

MLH: Not really! These days, British couples prefer early to mid-afternoon ceremonies. The term “wedding breakfast” is still used predominantly, however it doesn’t mean that it literally has to be served in the morning or as a breakfast! It basically means the first meal shared as a married couple with their guests following a wedding. Most of my clients and British couples at large tend to have mid-afternoon ceremonies, followed by a “drinks reception” (what we call cocktail hour) that serves canapés and drinks, and then are asked to sit for the wedding breakfast – which can be early, such as 4pm, or served around dinner time, such as 6pm. It’s really up to the couple and the availability of the chosen venue.

AA: Another tradition in England is that guest names are written directly on the invitation. Are you still seeing this done?

MLH: It is still done by many and is considered to be a very traditional custom, but to be honest, I would be horrified to see a beautiful invitation – and all of my clients go for beautifully designed wedding invitations – only to see a guest’s name written at the top in ball-point pen! Unless the entire wedding invitation were handwritten by a calligrapher – all in the same ink and penmanship – and included the guests’ names at the top in this vein, I would be okay with it, but to write the names with another writing implement is horrible! None of my clients opted to follow this practice!

AA: In terms of paper goods, is there much difference between what’s commonly used in England and what is usually done here?

MLH: One of the biggest differences that I saw was the use of a “seating plan” in lieu of escort cards. Mind you, many British couples opt for escort cards after being educated in the whole stationery process, however, most British couples still go for a seating plan, which is typically a poster-sized list of guests’ seat assignments that is typically propped up on an easel by the entrance into the reception area. The seating plan can be designed to look lovely – framed, or written on a mirror, chalkboard, or canvas (one of my clients had their stationer custom-make a canvas tablecloth printed with their seating plan and we hung it on the wall like a tapestry), the sky’s the limit. Basically, just like with escort cards, you can get creative with how you design the seating plan.

AA: What venues in England were the most thrilling for you to design? And what venues in New York would be thrilling for you to design?

MLH: I always loved the venues that provided a blank canvas for me – this could either be something like a warehouse or the grounds of a breathtaking estate where we pitched tents (or “marquees” as the Brits call them). It allowed the clients (and myself) to design the wedding truly to their specific and unique vision. One of my all-time favorite weddings to work on was one along the British Riviera, where the cocktail hour (or “drinks reception,” as the Brits say) was held overlooking the sea by a cliff’s edge. It was stunning and the weather was incredible (how very un-British!).

I also loved doing destination weddings in France and this became a specialty of mine. I’ve designed and produced weddings on private beaches (turning the beach into a sophisticated night club of sorts for the guests!) in France and weddings in picturesque medieval villages.

There are so many incredible venues in New York, both within the city and upstate. One of the things I love about working on weddings in New York is that the venues and the vendors are all so willing to go the extra mile. They understand that clients really want to make their wedding day unique and design the wedding as an expression of who they are. Because many venues in Britain are so historic, there can be quite a few restrictions on what could be done to the space, or the staff could be wary of permitting too much leeway. I think as a reflection of the ethos of the city, New York wedding venues are very open to clients’ requests and to meet them as much as possible (within reason, of course!).

AA: Before we say goodbye, I have the most important question: Which city is more dog friendly?

MLH: Definitely London! New York needs to get with the program!





Photos courtesy of: Caught the Light and  Aneta Mak

Morkie: A Maltese-Yorkie mixed breed dog.

A Spotlight on Inslee by Design



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.

In 1883, Messrs. Dempsey & Carroll published LOVE


Then, more than blest I fondly swear,

“No power can with Love’s power compare!

None in the starry court of Jove

Is greater than the god of Love!

If any can yet greater be,

Yes, my Neaera! Yes, ‘tis thee!”



The Paper Anniversary: Wedding Anniversary Traditions and their Modern Twists

It is said that tradition dictates the etiquette of our time. Yet these traditions are subject to change, each developing its own modern twist to find its place in today’s world.

Beautiful couple's correspondence

Beautiful couple’s correspondence

Paper is the traditional first anniversary gift. The symbolism behind paper as the first anniversary gift lies in its construction; paper is bound together by fibers, representing the strength of love between two people. It also embodies the delicate nature of the first year of a new life together, of new discoveries, challenges, and the ability to grow together side by side.


Although paper is still celebrated as the traditional gift for the first wedding anniversary, it is also common for modern couples to offer clocks to one another. As the clock ticks, the days melt into one another, a deeper love and commitment grow, binding the fibers of love together forever more.

Anniversary Year Traditional Modern
Second cotton china
Third leather crystal
Fourth fruit or flowers appliances
Fifth wood silverware
Sixth iron wood
Seventh wool and copper desk sets
Eighth bronze or pottery linens and lace
Ninth willow leather
Tenth tin or aluminum diamonds



Madeleine Garone,

Signed title page of Silent Spring. Image  courtesy of: www.ehistorybuff.com.


‘Style & Simplicity’ has arrived!




A long time friend of Dempsey & Carroll, Ted Kennedy Watson, has just published a gorgeous lifestyle book called ‘Style & Simplicity’ on May 6th. The pages are brimming with colorful shots of home decor and dripping with inspiration. It arrived today in our showroom and we are fawning over it!

Ted is the proprietor of two specialty home shops in Seattle, and the writer for the self-titled blog, Ted Kennedy Watson. We have long adored Ted and his impeccably curated taste, and could not be happier for his success. 

Another exciting part of this launch is the new Ted Kennedy Watson Paper Collection partnership with Dempsey & Carroll. Ted’s passion for living life well, paired with his eye for the finer things in life define his new paper collection. These cards and envelopes remind us to share elegance and grace with the world around us. Every word counts.

Purchase the book here: Ted Kennedy Watson’s ‘Style & Simplicity’

Check out the paper collection here: Ted Kennedy Watson Paper Collection

Very exciting stuff! Do you guys have new, exciting things happening in your lives? Pass them on. We would love to hear the news!

The Lives of Others

The past has a funny way of looping back around to land firmly in the present. When we think of time capsules we think of recorded voices on cassette tapes; thumb drives chock full of information spanning millennia; a velvet poster of Elvis Presley or an original taping of the moon landing, all buried in concrete beneath the earth or tucked away in some official storage facility in Pennsylvania.


But sometimes the past is written with a fine-tipped fountain pen on robin’s egg blue paper by a Frenchwoman to her little sister in September of 1920. I stumbled across this vintage missive in December of 2009 while on the hunt for a Christmas present for my artist stepmother. Stopping into one of my favorite boutiques in my hometown of Ashland, OR, I knew I was bound to find something at Prize, the chic storefront owned and curated by Jennifer. The shop is gorgeous from floor to ceiling, featuring everything from antique diamond necklaces to a library of vintage James Bond novels and contemporary children’s books. Between bags of pastel-colored candies tied off with gold ribbon and lavender saché pillows handmade in Provence, I happened upon a glass bowl filled with an array of old letters. As a writer and as a history lover, I could not resist the allure of vintage stationery. Upon closer inspection – and to my continuing delight – I found myself facing a treasure trove: Jennifer had brought back from a recent trip to Paris an assortment of handwritten letters from the turn of the 20th century. Most were near-mint and absolutely stunning. I selected two for purchase; one I kept, and the other – written in an elegant script on soft rose pink paper – I gave to my stepmother to use in her future art projects.

The letter I have kept for the last five years was eighty-nine years old when I bought it in 2009. Now approaching its 100th birthday, I have only managed to translate a smattering of words, but the contents of the letter written to a sister seem inconsequential compared to the existence of the letter, itself. To have something as beautiful as this finely penned letter (written, I’d like to think, on a rainy spring day in Paris, in the early afternoon over an espresso served in a gold-rimmed ceramic cup) in my possession feels like owning a snapshot of history told in words, an elegant and mysterious time capsule brought into the present still bearing the love and care of the writer nearly one hundred years later.

Rachel Kambury,



Share your own letters from the past on Instagram and be sure to tag @dempseycarroll. We would love to see your letters, notes, and post it-notes!