I first met Ailbhe of Pretty as a Picture at a wedding industry networking event. Though I had already heard of the fabulous things they were concocting. Pretty as a Picture is a stationary boutique in Wicklow with their main clientele being brides and grooms. They are really creating something unique in the wedding stationary industry so I decided to do a small interview and here is what Ailbhe and Jane had to say. Thanks girls for your fabulous interview!
Who and What is Pretty as a Picture?
Pretty as a Picture was founded by AIlbhe Ryan and Jane O'Sullivan in early 2010. Our aim was to create a custom gift and stationery boutique which reflected our style and which would allow us to let our imagination run wild!!! At our studio, we provide unique wedding and social stationery to our clients which we completely customise to suit their needs. We love to design couture wedding stationery for couple's which can then be letterpress.
Ailbhe is an illustrator and both of us are graphic designers, so this combination results in beautiful finished pieces - from fully illustrated to completely graphic style designs. We can bring any idea to life - this guarantees a unique introduction to your wedding like no other. For those who like to choose a pre-designed invitation - we also stock the beautiful Smock and Bella Figura letterpress range which can also be customised with endless options!!
We also do art for arts sake!!! What's proving really popular at the moment are our wedding dress portraits - these are done in a fashion style in either pen and ink or in oil paints. The perfect first year anniversary present (first year is paper remember!) - a beautiful momento of your special day immortalised in a piece of art. We love what we do and can't wait to get to work in the morning - what more can we ask for?!
How did you get into wedding stationary?
We first got involved with wedding stationery when I was planning my own wedding. I loved letterpress but the options within Ireland were very limited. Being a graphic designer I of course wanted to do my own unique design. We quickly realised that there was a small gap in the market for unique, illustrated wedding invitations. At the same time we had a couple of requests from brides to design letterpress invitations for them and so we took the plunge and designed our first couple... when the final printed products arrived we were blown away by the quality of the print and ecstatic about the feel of them... that was it... we were officially in love with letterpress!! We wanted other people to feel as excited as we did when we opened those boxes... and so Pretty as a Picture was born and we haven't looked back since!!!
What invitation options do you offer and what is the most popular among brides?
Currently the invitation options we have are all letterpress. We offer Couture Invitations, which are completely one-off designs, illustrated and designed by us specifically to the couple's requests. These designs are then letterpressed. We also offer the pre-designed ranges of Smock and Bella Figura. These are beautiful and can all be customised to suit your wedding theme.
The most popular option with brides is the 2 Colour 2 Ply (extra thick paper) invitation with a 1 Ply (half thickness) RSVP card and Mass Booklets. Other optional extras some brides get are Menus, Direction Cards & Accommodation Cards. We also letterpress the invitation envelopes which gives an extra special finish. Currently brides are tending to lean towards the more formal, classic and simple designs than the more elaborate.
Tell us about the wedding dress illustrations. What options do you offer for the illustrations?
Our wedding dress illustrations are proving to be a big hit as a gift for the brides and of course any married women! The dress is such an important part of the wedding preparations and of course on the day that women feel it is such a shame for it to be locked away in a wardrobe for years to come! We offer to immortalise your dress in either pen on paper or oil on canvas.
Ailbhe works from 3 to 4 photographs from different angles and creates a pose that shows off your favourite part of the dress. Her style is a fashion illustrative one which is very flattering for all women! You receive 2 pencil sketches with different poses. Once one of these has been decided upon, Ailbhe works on the final artwork. This is then mounted and framed if requested.
Is Pretty as a Picture an invitation only company?
Pretty as a Picture is a creative company - we can turn our hand to anything - and have done in the past. We provide wedding stationery, wedding accessories, social stationery, corporate stationery, custom paintings, illustration, cards, gifts and have lots more in the pipeline!!!
What was your favourite project to work on so far?
Our favourite project so far would have to be New York couple Elhaam and Mat's wedding stationery. Elhaam was so enthusiastic and full of ideas for her big day that we really got to have fun with creating her a completely unique invitation.
We custom designed the whole wedding invitation suite to include both of the couples very personal style, and they perfectly reflect Mat and Elhaam as a couple. Vintage, art deco, fantasy and attention to detail! Elhaam included lots of fabulous images as inspiration that we incorporated into the design. We had to come up with a design that could easily be translated into the beautiful art of letterpress. With this in mind the final artwork had to be made up of clean crisp lines for printing without losing the flowing artistic feel. The combination of detailed pen work and computer illustration turned out really well!!
Do you have any new exciting projects coming up?
Our couture projects tend to be extremely rewarding but very time consuming so we have to be careful not to take on too many! We currently have 3 exciting projects we are working on that are all in the early stages. One of these is Ailbhe's own wedding invites - keep an eye out for these on our blog as we are having lots of fun creating them!!! The other two are for clients and are both very different - very much personalised to the couple's own tastes - our favourite type of client. We can't give much away on these or we'll be in trouble....!!!! We will let you have a sneak peek when they're printed though!