This feature we speak to Charis Tan, Founder of Gifts of Grace Design. She shares more about herself, why she started out her business, and wedding tips you wouldn't want to miss. Read on to get more insights for wedding planning!
Hi Charis, can you give a short introduction of yourself and what you do at Gifts of Grace Design?
I’m a self-taught crafter and graphic designer-turned-entrepreneur. Gifts of Grace Design is a small humble business that specializes in bespoke stationery, design, and branding for all seasons and occasions. It was born out of a passion for creating and gifting others handcrafted paper goods, and a desire to spread the love for unique bespoke designs. About two years ago, I finally decided to pursue a career in graphic design seriously, and have not looked back since!
Is there a special meaning behind your brand name?
My name is Charis, which translates to “God’s grace” in Greek. The word ‘grace’ represents elegance and goodwill, which are key elements that I aspire to showcase through my work. So I decided on the name Gifts of Grace Design, because with each project I take, I seek to gift my clients designs that exude grace and always with a personal touch.
What sparked your decision to start Gifts of Grace Design?
As a graphic designer, I had all these ideas in my head that I wanted to share, but wasn’t able to showcase them through corporate briefs and projects. I’ve also always loved weddings, and have always been that wedding guest that tears up when the couple says their vows! Eventually I figured that a good amalgamation of presenting my designs and still put food on the table was to share my work through weddings, where I would have the freedom to express my style of work, and also attract clients who appreciate it.
Tell us one fun fact about yourself!
When I was younger, I always wanted to be a wedding planner!
Other than designing and creating beautiful wedding invitations, can you share another interesting hobby?
I am a serial DIY enthusiast, especially when it involves recycling old materials to give them new life. Whether it is turning a crate into a wedding signboard or old music speakers into floral stands, I am constantly thinking of new DIY ideas and projects to do in my spare time.
You’ve recently gotten married and designed your own wedding invitations, what was your inspiration behind the design?
Our theme for the wedding was vintage botanical, and the colours we opted for were muted blues, soft greys, and lots of white. For the ceremony invitations, I was inspired to use old printing methods such as blind embossing for a vintage feel, but still maintain a classic, clean look by only using gold foil for the wording. As our dinner setting was smaller and more intimate, I went with handmade paper invitations for that bit of personal touch, and kept the colours to a minimum to keep in line with the overall clean look.
If a bride-to-be approaches you to work on her wedding invitations, what are the key questions or aspects/pointers should she prepare or ask?
The main details that really helps facilitate the designing process is knowing the wedding theme, an estimate number of invitations, and the budget the couple is willing to spend on the invitations. With a reasonable budget in mind, we can then work out a design and printing method to suit their needs, and still provide the design of their dreams.
How early before the wedding should the bride-to-be approach you to start designing her invitations?
I would usually recommend that clients place an order at least 4-5 months prior to their wedding date. That would include 2-3 months’ lead-time for the design and printing process to allow adequate time in the event of any changes, and 1-2 months for clients to distribute their invitations.
Do you face any challenges when working with brides so far? If yes, can you describe those experiences?
Clients I have worked with have mostly been supportive of my artistic direction and this is something I am thankful for. Besides the occasional differences in design preferences, it helps to have clients be honest about what they want, and trust in your ability to illustrate their ideas. At the end of the day, it is all about the couple and my goal is to bring their wedding vision to life.
Through your job, you’ve had the chance to experience different brides and their weddings. Are there any other wedding vendors you would highly recommend to our readers?
I am an avid supporter of local companies and brands. Caramel & Co., Fiona Treadwell Floristry, and Merry Love Weddings are vendors that I have either worked with or secured for my wedding and I can personally vouch for their professionalism and eye for perfection. Bloc Memoire Photographyand Twenty8picks Videography are two of the most hardworking teams I know as well. On top of being talented, these are all vendors who have strong work ethic and admirable passion that I look up to.
What do you think are the key trends in weddings invitations now?
Floral details, watercolour illustrations, and letterpress printing are big trends that have always been around. Wedding logos are popular as well as they are meaningful and couples can get creative with their ideas. Other personalized touches such as wax seals, gold foiling, and handmade paper have increased in demand as well.
What are your thoughts on our new bridal-inspired collection? Any piece that caught your eye?
I love it! As a recent bride myself, I would have loved the option of having such unique designs to wear on my big day besides having to go for jewellery that is more on the traditional side. And I really appreciate that the pieces are just as appropriate for everyday occasions, or as gifts to your bridesmaids. The one piece that really stood out to me is the Gold Fontana Pearl Bracelet, which is something I see myself owning in the near future!
Any funny or interesting incidents you’ve had with your customers to share with us?
One of the more noteworthy ones has to be that a lot of clients initially mistake my name for Grace!
Is there anything our readers can anticipate from Gifts of Grace in the near future?
There are plans for more wedding-related projects in the near future! I aim to create and share bespoke designs on a more accessible level and to collaborate more with local vendors and creatives in the industry.