Those of us that are lucky enough to work in the wedding industry spend our days surrounded by pretty things.
We’re experts at spotting genuinely beautiful, timeless and quality designs – not that you need to be an expert to recognise that the work of Secret Diary is on another level. One of Cape Town’s top event stationery suppliers, they consistently wow their clients and their clients’ guests with flawless, unique printed goods.
Company director Carla Thomson took the time to tell us all about the wonderful world of wedding stationery according to her brand Secret Diary.
Tell us a little more about your company and the service that you offer…
Secret Diary is a boutique stationery, design and print studio. We specialise in luxury stationery for the style seeking bride. Quality is everything to us so we only use the very best print techniques such as lettepress printing, proper stamp foiling, laser cutting and digital printing on some of the finest papers available internationally.
How long have you been working in the industry?
Secret Diary has been in business for 11 years.
What price range is your service?
The price of our invitations and stationery varies greatly depending on what paper, print finishes and format you choose. We generally cater for all budgets as long as they are realistic. To give you an idea, the average South African bride spends around R65 to R150 per invitation and around R5000 to R20000 for all of her wedding day stationery. Naturally this is all relative to the number of guests you are inviting.
How many weddings do you estimate you have been involved in?
Secret diary has featured in over 6000 weddings to date.
What is one of the challenges you face in your industry?
Our biggest challenge is quoting clients as most people really doesn’t know what quality printed goods cost until they start planning a wedding. There is a big misconception that stationery is cheap or should be cheap. Sadly it is not in today’s day and age. Almost 100% of the paper used in South Africa is imported so all pricing is entirely dictated by the exchange rate.
To put it into perspective, the average greeting card you can purchase from a supermarket is well over R60. Personalised stationery created to your own specifications will always be more than a generic store bought card.
Brides get really inspired by images on Pinterest which are mainly from stationers in the USA and Europe. They plan their dream stationery suite only to be let down when they find it’s way out of their budget. Foiling, letterpress printing, embossing and laser cutting are all super premium finishes which come in at a high price point. It’s good to be open to change and discuss options with your stationer. We are VERY approachable with regards to working around a client’s budget, as long as they are open to being flexible with their expectations.
What makes your service unique?
We are one of the only stationers in Africa that produces all of our stationery in house. We have our own production wing which boasts a letter press, foiling, embossing and debossing machine from the 1800s, laser cutting machines, high end digital printers, state of the art photographic inkjet printers, die cutters, badge makers and tons more! We don’t believe in outsourcing as quality and the control thereof is of paramount importance to us.
Tell us about a wedding that you remember and why…
It would have to be Triche and Dino’s wedding which was held on a game reserve just outside Grahamstown. The couple were from the USA and had actually purchased the reserve after getting engaged because they had loved it so much when visiting South Africa. Their invitations were gorgeous solid oak boxes engraved with their monogram on the lid. Inside the boxes were glass compasses (which we sourced for them) along with letterpress printed, embossed and foiled invitations placed into a pocket finished with a gold wax seal. They were exquisite!
What piece of advice would you most like to offer brides and grooms reading this?
Do your research! There is a lot to be said for a rell researched bride. It makes your suppliers’ jobs a lot easier. It also educates you as the client as to what’s out there and what things realistically cost in the wedding world.
What is your service mission statement?
Superceed all expectations!
Get in touch with Secret Diary
(021) 914 7224
Read other interviews in our wedding supplier series:
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