I love stationery, especially stationery that oozes personality. So naturally, I'm a big fan of Mr. Boddington's Studio. I've seen tons of the custom suites they've created, with stunning papers, fonts, and maps, and every time I'm amazed. So I had to ask Rebecca Schmidt Ruebensall, proprietor of Mr. Boddington's Studio, to share a bit about the company, and answer some of my burning questions.
Shira: To begin, who is Mr. Boddington, and how did you get started on stationery?
Rebecca: I've actually been a stationer my whole life. As a second grader, I used to create my own letterhead and use it throughout elementary school, which included hand-drawn bunnies, rainbows, scraps of unusual papers, wax seals, and other girly bits. My doll Mandy even had a miniature set of monogrammed stationery! All occasions including letters to Santa, stay-out-of-my-room notes to my brothers, and birthday parties were a welcome opportunity to create stationery.
And Mr. Boddington was my imaginary friend as a toddler. Through the years, he became a muse in my family, so upon opening the studio four years ago, I thought to honor him by naming the shop Mr. Boddington's Studio. The way Mr. Boddington moves through the world offers a guiding philosophy for us: intentionally old fashioned, respectful of old world artistry, and curious. Today the studio works with clients looking for an unexpected combination of typography, colors, and designs. Often, their vision includes sparks of vintage, boho, or the peculiar (Wes Anderson seems to be a beacon for many brides!). We also have had the good fortune of working with clients abroad who always bring new insight to the paper world.
S: If a bride is coming in for an appointment to get started on a custom suite, what should she come armed with to help the process along?
R: Wise brides come equipped with an inspiration board. We love hearing about it all, everything from the color of the bridesmaids' dresses to the flavor of the cake. This is the time to discuss the five different shades of lavender, you know? Be tailored and direct with your creative brief -- bring color stories, typography swatches, and a keen understanding of what emotion you want to evoke from your guests. Often brides are still figuring out their overarching vision for the wedding at this stage, and it's delightful for us to observe the wheel's turning!
S: When it comes to ordering, how much extra is really necessary?
R: A safe number is fifteen percent. Remember that a calligrapher's hand can slip on the envelopes, you'll want to archive a few untouched pieces, two may get lost in the mail, and you'll find three new best friends to invite. The cost of high-end stationery is set up so adding fifteen percent shouldn't break the bank! It's a silly and expensive mistake to have to reprint.
S: What about thank you notes? Do most couples order them to match their invite suite? And how many do you suggest ordering in relation to the number of guests that are invited?
R: Thank you notes are critical, but they don't need to match your correspondence collection unless you stylistically want them to. But we do encourage a couple to over order cards and use them as their house stationery for occasions beyond the wedding: congrats to your uncle's new job, enjoy this bottle of Prosecco from us, sorry to hear about the loss of your grandmother, etc. It's a nice, personal touch.
S: What’s the biggest wedding suite you’ve ever done?
R: Many of our clients have a love affair with paper, and consequently use their weddings as an excuse to really indulge. Routinely, we create all pieces: save-the-dates, invitations, hand-drawn maps, programs, escort cards, menus, place cards, table numbers, welcome boxes, social stationery for wedding parties, recovery kits, recipe cards, Who's Who books, valet tickets, beach agendas -- the list goes on and on. As long as each piece has a dialogue with the other, the more the merrier!
S: What the biggest trend you’ve been seeing more and more of?
R: Lately, rehearsal dinners are not an afterthought, but rather an opportunity to open the weekend and speak for the couple. Instead of just a simple dinner at the local lobster shack, a bride will research all sorts of vintage seaside fonts for the invitations, maybe create a clever lobster bib, find a vintage table cloth, and set up a playlist of old seaside tunes, etc.
S: What are some tips you’d give couples looking to really add a lot of personality to the paper elements of their wedding?
R: We believe the classics will always encourage clients to avoid any dreadful "what were we thinking???" moments. But there are occasions within a paper collection that may go off tradition. Witty escort cards (below, for example), clever maps with random bits of relevant trivia, or unexpected stylings for calligraphy are a few of our favorite ways to accomplish this.
R: Choose a patterned wallpaper backing and liner to add style and story to the invitation. And accordion-folded cards or unique ancillary pieces, such as maps that show people the area and highlight a few points of interest, are always a great way to get people excited about the events happening on or around the actual ceremony. We also love to use icons to personalize the invitation, gift tags, and rehearsal dinner invites in a playful manner. There are so many options!