September 29, 2014 • Sarah Schwartz
What’s Left Behind
Welcome to our Fall Occasions issue! As I write this, summer is winding down —which means so too is the season filled with weddings, barbecues and other warm-weather celebrations. Somewhere between throwing my daughter’s birthday at the end of the June and while wrapping a gift for probably the 20th birthday party we attended in August, something occurred to me. No matter the celebration, it essentially boils down to first the build-up and then the memories, since often the event itself passes in a fantastic blur.
The build-up is an exciting, heady time, but it can be quite stressful: A bride, for example, may find her invitations, thank-you notes and day-of elements to be but one item on a lengthy, intimidating and expensive to-do list. I would also argue that these days there’s a lot of added pressure on all party throwers thanks to sites like Pinterest — those well-lit shots and creative ideas can be inspiring, but quite intimidating as well!
During this phase, offering as stress-less an experience as possible — one informed by compassion, patience and expertise — can be one of the greatest gifts you can give a client and the cornerstone of your reputation. More than a service provider, you become a respected resource that she may recommend to her friends, sing the praises of on social media and revisit again and again.
Then, after the event, something a little magical happens. At first it is all the celebrants can think about, but as real life resumes and the event becomes more distant, the details get fuzzy. But if one looks at that invitation, program or save-the-date, everything comes back into focus. Interestingly, this effect only amplifies with the passage of years.
Time also brings with it new trends — which means that over-indulging during the design process invites the risk of a “what-was-I-thinking” moment. One of the most important talents a stationer can have is the ability to discern between transient fashion and enduring style. For example, a suite from a June wedding last year that featured both chalkboard and foil elements will already feel a bit over-the-top — and it’s but a year later.
Diplomatically and competently editing down too many ideas while simultaneously helping a client realize the effect and mood they would like to convey is equally (if not more) important than making the ordering process stress-free. Both of these abilities leave behind only the best impression on a client — just as your creations similarly impact their guests!