Born from a love of traditional arts and crafts, and with their hearts firmly rooted in the cultural aesthetics of India, Ananya, artisans of luxury stationary, has reached a milestone, celebrating 10 years in the business. It’s been a truly eventful decade that has seen Ananya go from a fledgling company to leaders of the industry, creating some of the most outstandingly beautiful designs along the way. Upon reaching this milestone they say “During our 10 years, we have won various awards; our designs have been featured in a variety of high profile magazines and newspapers. Ananya has been invited to contribute articles in books and publications and our stationery has been stocked at a number of high end retailers. Always keeping up with the latest trends, over the ten years we have designed a wide collection of greeting cards as well as bespoke wedding and events stationery. We are proud of our achievements and have many exciting plans for the future.”
Over the years Ananya have worked with a diverse range of couples, who seek to create something personal, something that is inspired by their families rich cultural heritage. When it comes to multicultural weddings their is an extra amount of inspiration to draw from. As an example, let’s say if a man of Welsh heritage marries a lady of Indian heritage, imagine how beautiful it would be to mix ancient Celtic and Indian aesthetics. Vaishali Shah, the CEO and Founder of Ananya gives her tips on creating the best multicultural wedding stationary.
⦁ If you want to incorporate elements from your different cultures, the stationery designer must do adequate research on the cultures to make sure they get a real sense of the heritage, the themes, colours, motifs and any other relevant information that will help guide them when creating the design.
⦁ In depth information about you, your preferences, personalities and style will also be important so that the final result will truly be a reflection of you, the couple. To what extent do you want to incorporate your cultures? Do you want just small symbolic touches? Do you want to place more emphasis on one culture over the other? Do you want a modern, contemporary interpretation of your cultures or are you more traditional in your taste?
⦁ Inspiration for the design can come from tapestries, fabrics, motifs, manuscripts, pottery, tiles and architecture of the different heritages. For Asian cultures, motifs such as the lotus, paisley and peacock are perennial favourites, while vintage and damask designs continue to gain favour. If you have a favourite motif or a swatch of fabric, that pattern can also be incorporated into the stationery. The theme and symbols should be incorporated into the whole suite of stationery such as save the date cards, invitations, menus, etc. to give it a cohesive look and feel.
⦁ In some cultures it’s important to involve family members e.g. parents in the decision making process and final approval of the design and concept. If so, they must be consulted. Following these consultations, you should communicate with your stationery designer which traditions are considered to be most important to incorporate. The designer will then weave aspects of both cultures into the wedding stationery once they are on board with the final design.
⦁ There may need to be compromises made in the look and feel of the stationery if you come from cultures where there is traditionally a great contrast in the style and overall look of wedding invitations. If an Indian bride is getting married to an English groom, how will a traditional Indian colour scheme go with colours and tones normally used in an English wedding? Traditional Indian weddings are all about strong, dramatic gem-stone colours that are rich and exotic, and tones that spell opulence. Colours such as red, saffron gold, purple and green are favoured. Embellishing the cards with crystals in silver, gold or bold colours to add that extra touch of glamour and sparkle is also very much the norm. Is the English groom on board with that or does the couple need to find imaginative ways to adapt or add touches of each culture in the colour scheme?
⦁ While there may be similarities shared by most cultures, there are often differences in what is considered auspicious, unlucky, or important to include or avoid in wedding stationery. It is crucially important to be aware of these cultural sensitivities to avoid faux pas and embarrassment.
Muslim wedding invitations use traditional colours such as green, cream, red and gold. Each colour has its own significance, such as green representing paradise and red symbolising fertility. Unlike Hindus, Muslim invitations do sometimes use black. Chinese wedding invitations were traditionally red (symbolising luck and good fortune), although modern couples have broadened the range of colours to include pink, cream and maroon. However, black and purple are considered colours of mourning and are avoided, especially if the couple is following the tradition.
⦁ The importance of particular symbols is also something that needs to be considered. Most Hindu weddings will have an image of Ganesh, the elephant God that symbolises good luck and the removal of obstacles, on the invitation. It can either be a traditional image or an abstract or stylised version if the couple favours a more modern interpretation. The image of a rose is a popular choice for Muslims, and many invitations incorporate religious symbols such as the star and crescent moon.
⦁ Wording of the invitation is very important in certain cultures, e.g. Indian invitations often include the names of parents, grandparents and older siblings. It’s important to get clarity on this from the family.
⦁ Monograms have become an increasingly popular way of personalising and giving that extra touch of individuality and elegance to multicultural wedding stationery. Starting with the save the date card, the monogram can help to set the tone of the wedding. There are many imaginative ways to display monograms that add a special touch in keeping with the couple’s cultural heritages. You can include a monogram in the ceremony booklet, the menu and seating plan. For an Indian wedding, you can place it in strategic places in the ‘mandap’ (structure under which weddings take place), on the wedding canopy (‘chuppah’, offering protection from evil spirits) for a Jewish wedding, and on the wedding album for a Chinese wedding. For an English wedding, you can have the monogram embroidered on the cushion on which the rings are placed.
⦁ Apart from the obvious information such as the date, time, venue and RSVP, depending upon the kind of wedding you are having, you may want to include the following as appropriate: a dress code (this is particularly important for multicultural weddings as guests may not know what to wear, e.g. traditional clothes and colours, should the shoulders be covered, etc.), whether children are allowed or is it an adult only wedding; are you accepting gifts – if so, do you have a gift list, wedding registry or are you taking gifts in cash? It’s important to include as much information as necessary to take the guess work out and make it easy for both you and your guests. Information useful to your guests such as a map or directions, accommodation available nearby, and a request for any dietary requirements or restrictions your invitees may have should also be included. This attention towards your guests and their comfort will make them feel their needs have been carefully considered, and they will appreciate the gesture.
Music and songs are often played at Asian weddings. To make the invitation a unique and personal reflection of you as a couple, why not include a list of those songs and music meaningful to you both that will be played at the wedding. If the religious ceremony is going to be conducted in a language that some guests will not understand, why not include a wedding booklet with the invitation to explain the ceremony, its significance and the meaning of the words being recited. An information sheet included with the invitation about the cultures, their traditions and any other relevant details would make interesting reading for the invitees, prepare them ahead of time and make the whole experience far more enjoyable.
No matter the combination of your cultures, there are plenty of ways to weave aspects of both cultures into your wedding stationery to make it eye catching and unique!
To celebrate a decade of stylish stationery, Ananya Cards are offering Think Shaadi readers the opportunity to save 10% on their bespoke stationery orders. To qualify, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org at the time of enquiry/booking with this promo code – ANANYA10 and the discount will be applied. This offer is valid from 1st April – 30th September 2016.