Having set your simcha date, it’s time to let friends and family know. Brigit Grant speaks to the creatives who make invites magical
There is nothing quite like the thud of an invitation on the doormat. Unlike bills, which flutter to the floor, a heavyweight envelope makes a direct hit – and in more ways than one. It means you’re going to a party and if the host has chosen something suitably celebratory, you’re in the mood the moment you break the seal.
Susan at bigdaydesigns.co.uk the company that designed the cover of our supplement, is one of the people responsible for generating that feeling as her family-run business has been designing and printing high-quality bespoke invitations since 1997.
“It’s a predominantly Jewish client base,” says Susan, who is in the process of redesigning the website bigdaydesigns.co.uk – but don’t be surprised if you still see invites to simchas you’ve attended and one you may be going to. “We can create anything, “she adds citing Scrabble and Monopoly boards, cakes, tins, iPhones, iPads and tennis balls as examples. The tennis ball is a particularly novel idea and one can only imagine what fun the postman has getting it through the letter box.
Michael Spector at Simcha Invitations (simchainvitations.co.uk) had a similar problem with a six-inch teddy bear-style lion that was requested by a client who had gone for a safari-style barmitzvah.
“We had to invent a way to present it and came up with a small cage lined with green silk on which the invitation sat,” Michael explains patiently. “It then went into a leopard-skin bag delivered by hand to all the guests.”
Michael was quick to point out that the delivery mode of transport was not an elephant or even a Daktari-style jeep, but somehow the 200 invitees got their lions.
Of course the greatest joy for those in the invitation-making business is to see cards they’ve designed sitting on shelves long after the event. “We have no idea who the invitations are being sent to,” says Michael. “But I happened to be at a friend’s house and saw one of our invites and she told me she had kept it because ‘it was the most beautiful invitation she had ever seen’.
” Michael even remembers the dimensions of that invite with the pink ribbon and diamante heart. It seems loving the product is the key to a successful business and going global. “We’ve done invites for Australia and the USA,” he says, and let’s not forget his custom-made kippot.
Susan at Big Day will travel anywhere to show potential clients their dream concepts for weddings, bar- and batmitzvahs, gold and silver anniversaries and so on, and you sense her enthusiasm the moment she picks up the phone.
The vibe is the same at Klein Design Invitations (firstname.lastname@example.org), which prides itself on being able to deliver bespoke invitations that are age appropriate and in tune with the theme of an event. The team of two sisters, Diane Spender and Michelle Hump-hreys, set up in 2004 when a friend asked if they could design a batmitzvah invitation, and they never looked back. They will suggest ideas, colours, boards and envelopes, going through to your final printed invitation.
Now all you have to do is wait for the thud on the doormat.