In our latest Wedding Supplier Spotlight series, we’re shining the limelight on Elegant Stationery – a bespoke stationery company offering beautiful, hand-crafted stationery for weddings, civil partnerships and vow renewals.
We’ve loved meeting owner Joanne at wedding fairs, over the years, and wanted to know more about the Sussex-based stationery brand; how the businesses started, sending stationery to The White House and of course: what song is guaranteed to get Joanne up on the dancefloor…
Hi Joanne! First things first, how did you get into making stationery?
To be honest, it was by chance (and a little bit of luck!). I worked for an airline but had an accident at work so was off work for a long while; during this time my friend was getting married and I was helping her choose stationery and in passing said “I could do that” and she left it to me to design and print it all!
As it had turned out perfectly, I offered my services to another friend who was having a wedding reception at a major 5* venue in central London; whilst helping to set up the favours the venue asked me about “my business” and I just thought on my feet. I was then invited in for an appointment with the Wedding Manager the following week to see “my work”. I spent every waking hour until the appointment making samples! I stood up and did a presentation whilst they looked through the oodles of samples I had made.. and then was duly offered the position of their only recommended wedding stationery supplier.
I remember walking out that venue with the biggest grin on my face and I continued to have that grin for many years (as I was so fortunate to work for them and so many ultra-lux weddings and events until they closed in 2018)…and the rest is history!
That’s amazing! How would you describe what you do?
I offer a bespoke stationery service from invitations through to table plans, place cards, personalised menus, guest books and children’s entertainment packs. I have always worked bespoke; I never really wanted to do stationery ranges; I never wanted to pigeon-hole couples in having set designs with no compromise apart from colour.
I like to talk to couples and find out what their overall vision is, what their likes and dislikes are; what their vibe is; what they need to include in their invites so they choose the right style. I am a real advocate for not letting couples buy things they don’t need (I am sure I have saved couples £1000’s over the years!).
I offer such a huge range of styles that can fit to most budgets and I work with each couple individually for ideas, styles, fonts, colours and detail finishes and I will do anything to provide stationery perfection; however I will never promise something I cannot deliver; if I know I cannot do something I will always help couples find someone who can.
I do try and meet my couples (I have appointment days running throughout the year in West Sussex & Surrey apart from this crazy year!) but at the very least I have many phone calls with them! I have no minimum orders and no one is an order number when I am working for them; everyone is treated equally and each couple can contact me at any time for help…I have had many a midnight call from a panicked bride or groom.
What do you love most about what you do?
There are so many things I love about what I do. I love spending hours researching new trends and buying new materials to play with. I love speaking to a couple and then designing something…and they love it. I love unwrapping stationery in front of a couple and seeing their faces of excitement.
I love working for so many award-winning, fantastic venues, hotels and wedding planners. I love having such fabulous supplier friends who I can call on for help or advice. I love it when I am recommended by someone who has previously used me (I find this the greatest honour).
What’s been your highlight so far?
I could not name just one favourite highlight; I have been so lucky to have been involved in so many wonderful things! I have worked (and then been invited to the party) for some very famous faces; I have had my stationery flown by private jet to Italy, I have been asked to provide stationery for some sensational photoshoots and even sent stationery to The White House!
I have made wedding stationery for a whole family (every person in the whole family who got married used me; what an honour!) and I have been involved in making stationery for charity events that have a special meaning to me. Each of these is a highlight in it’s own way.
What would be your top tip for choosing wedding stationery?
Try and meet your supplier; or at the least don’t be afraid to ask them for swatches of the card and materials (so you can feel the quality); I offer complimentary swatches. Just remember if you see something online that is cheap; it is usually cheap for a reason. My overall wedding planning top tip is to open a special email for wedding correspondence; it helps manage your inbox. And a specific email for RSVP’s will also help you manage your response list.
‘5 second questions’
The song I love to dance to most is…
Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull – On The Floor… this always makes me want to dance (or tap my feet if I have had too many Espresso Martinis)
What biscuits would you like to see most in the biscuit tin, and why?
Marks and Spencer Redcurrant Puffs; oh are they are made with the lightest puff pastry with a small chewy raspberry centre, just yummy!
What bit of advice would you give to your younger self?
Always be true to yourself and save some money for a rainy day.
Who is your secret celebrity crush?
Freddie Flintoff (but with no cricket talk.I hate cricket).
If you were to host the ultimate dinner party what four guests would you invite and why?
Most importantly I would need a chef as I am the worst cook so my first invitee would be Wolfgang Puck (as he owns my fave restaurant), Peter Kay (as I would need some fun and I find him hilarious), Marilyn Monroe (as she has been my idol since I was little) and finally my Dad (my Dad passed away when I was 10 so we have a lot to catch up on).
Cats or dogs?
Dogs definitely! And I have my very own very little pooch named Mimi.
Tea or coffee?
Definitely coffee; (preferably decaf), made with no milk or sugar but with half boiling water and half cold water…not that I am fussy or anything!
Thanks so much for chatting to us Joanne! See more from Elegant Stationery at www.elegantstationery.co.uk.
Many thanks to the lovely Shelley Welti for the help in putting this feature together for me.