Thursday, 28 April 2011

Simply Showcased: Noble Fine Art

Simply Bows and Chair Covers is proud to recommend our showcased supplier, Noble Fine Art.  Today, Simply Bows and Chair Covers chats to designer, Julia Noble, to find out more...

How and why did Noble Fine Art begin?
My husband and I have always worked together and have been together for more years than I dare say,  he prints the most beautiful photogravure’s which is a photographic process for clients at exhibitions all over the world, exhibiting in Cork Street, Harrods and Florence.  We were asked by one of these clients to produce a wedding invitation for them using this beautiful traditional letterpress process about 3 years ago and the rest is history, I was a full time artist until we started printing invitations, so now clients can have the best of both worlds: beautiful letterpress stationery with drawings of client's businesses, venue, church in fact anything that’s special to them.

Are you married?
Yes, I met David when I was 16 years old, a holiday romance and now in our 40’s are looking forward to our 25th wedding anniversary in a couple of years time.  We didn’t make our invitations, we had a small civil ceremony and a reception at Dryburgh Abbey in the Borders, it was a lovely day but not very traditional.

What designs are available to order?
We have a number of standard designs, most on the website and all on display in our studio, however most of our orders are from clients that want something a bit different, with a personal touch and that’s what we do.  All produced on lovely stocks with all the finishing touches you’d hope for.  We want our clients to feel special when they come to us.

Do you have any new designs for 2011?
Yes the Royale, inspired of course by the Royal Wedding.  So new its not yet on the website.  Using a cotton stock it leaves the most beautiful impression on the text.

Can you do bespoke designs?
Yes as mentioned above, we work with clients all over the world, from Hollywood actors to local farmers all looking for us to create something that reflect their personalities, it’s lovely – we get so much feedback as their guests receive the invitations and know exactly who sent them before they read it.

What is your favourite design and why?
The Florence Invitation, it’s just so versatile. A pocket for all the useful info and the invitation, a flash of colour with the ribbon, easy to add a drawing on the pocket if required and simply very stylish.

What is your most popular design and why?
Again the Florence invite for the reasons mentioned, you can change the feel of it so easily, from Art Deco to traditional it just works.  Viaggio luggage tags too, just a bit different and easily within most peoples budget.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everywhere, the garden, a book, TV to museums, we’re artists so work and pleasure mingle it’s so difficult to keep it under control sometimes as we get so excited by new ideas.

What products are available in each design?
We make all items in all ranges and you can mix and match, knowing that we will follow the theme from fonts, ribbon and colours to make sure they all look similar.  We make Save the Dates, Invitations, RSVP Cards, Information Cards, Order of Service, Reading Cards, Menu’s, Place Cards, Thank You’s and Seating Plans.  We don’t just do Weddings of course, we print for Partys, Business and Funerals.

Who would be your dream client, and what sort of design would you envisage for them?
We already have them!  We work with some fantastic Wedding Planners throughout the UK and some wonderful couples who clearly appreciate what we do.  The ones that have no budget are really fun as we get to be so creative, we don’t get too many of those.

What design would you suggest for the Royal Wedding?
Something classy and tasteful as they represent a younger generation, it’s good to mix traditional with contemporary.  I would have chosen an engraved invite (as they had) but perhaps a square, maybe a soft grey card with a white raised text and a sunken square border.

What would be your top tips when choosing wedding stationery?
Give yourselves plenty of time to chat to stationers: 6-12 months, so you can decide on the right design and price.  Don’t be afraid to tell your stationer your budget, most will be able to offer some suggestions to help save cost.  Timelines are very important, your RSVP date should be 6-8 weeks before your wedding, and invitations sent to your guests 6 weeks before your RSVP date.  Most stationers in busy times can take 6 weeks to produce the final design so that means stationery needs to be ordered at least 20 weeks prior to your big day.

How far in advance should save the dates and then wedding invitations be sent out?
Save the Dates can be sent out as early as 2 years in advance, especially if it’s a Christmas wedding although most are 8-12 months before.  Wedding invitations should go out 3 months before and earlier if you have many travelling from abroad.

Does all the stationery have to match?
Definitely not, although it’s nice to follow a theme through as I touched on before.

Where are you based and where can you supply?
We’re in North Yorkshire, so why not pop in for a cup of Yorkshire Tea?!  We ask clients to make appointments so we don’t overlap.  We are preferred suppliers to a lot of venues and there is always a list of Open Days on our Blog which we attend and events, from the Designer Wedding Show in London to Wynyard Hall's Fayre. I think it’s really important to see and touch stationery.

What are your prices, are you doing any special offers?
Invitations start from £3.50 each and remember all our invitations are printed Letterpress, most are in the region of £5 and we do have other clients that pay a lot more for very specific requirements.  Clients marrying at the venues we work with benefit from perks such as my drawings of the venue free of charge, usually these are £75.  We try and offer the most cost effective solutions at all times.

How long do you take to turn around an order?
Usually 6 weeks although we do offer an express service which is 2 weeks for those who feel it necessary.

How can I get in touch to discuss my requirements or place an order?
Call, email, Tweet or follow us on Facebook

Why do you like to work with Simply Bows and Chair Covers?
Sarah is an inspiration, and has so much energy its infectious.  We have very similar values, providing a very beautiful product which has been created with care and offering a very high standard of service, we like happy customers.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Simply Chocolate! The Big Chocolate Tea Party!

Simply Bows and Chair Covers are extremely proud to announce that over £1500 was raised for The Sick Children's Trust this weekend at Slaley Hall.  The Big Chocolate Tea Party was a HUGE success!

Our thanks to all involved including My Krafty Kids, Mark Deeks, Julie's Face Painting and all our cake making friends: Carly Lintern, Lesley Lintern, Rococo Bakers, Little Town Bakery, Lovely Little Cakes, Popcake Kitchen, Sara's Kitchen, Kariteze, Joanne Stanton, Lynne Gardiner, Marjorie Dixon, Vicky Wilson, Carly Farmer and many more!

Photographs by Katie Byram Photography

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Simply Hitched! A Simply Bows Real Bride: Linda

Congrats to Simply Bows and Chair Covers' Real Bride Linda and her new husband Andrew, who got married at one of our favourite venues - As You Like It Jesmond.  We adored Linda's vintage style wedding! A true wedding belle!

 We got engaged in Menorca back in June 2003 on my birthday! Because we’re both very career driven we never had a chance to get married until 2011!

We chose St Bartholomew's in Benton as it is our parish church and Father Martin and Father Daniel are wonderful and we wouldn’t want anyone else to have conducted the ceremony for us.
We had our wedding breakfast and evening reception at As You Like It in Jesmond. We chose the venue because of its unique style and quite simply because it was perfect for our theme, in addition we know the quality of the food and service at AYLI is second to none!

We had a 1950’s Vintage theme. I have always loved the style from then especially the dresses and I wanted something different and distinctive, I didn’t want to look like other typical brides, and I love dancing so a long sweeping dress would not have been practical. 
I designed the dress myself with help from a lovely lady called Jenny Hayes who is a designer, dressmaker and lecturer. The dress was based on a vintage dress I’d seen and I wanted something bespoke and unique, and Jenny made me the perfect dress.
  Our colour scheme was cream and vintage rose pink, perfect complement to the theme and the venue.
To add to the theme we hired a 1950’s Leyland bus to take our guests from the Church to AYLI, it was perfect.

We used Simply Bows and Chair Covers because I met Charlotte Harris at a wedding fayre and instantly liked her, I’d already seen her work at another wedding fayre at AYLI but had not had an opportunity to meet her, I was very impressed with the variety and attention to detail and the personal service that Charlotte offered.
Nothing was too much trouble and I’d recommend Charlotte and Simply Bows and Chair Covers to anyone who is not only getting married but any event! I’ll definitely use them again.

Would you like Simply Bows and Chair Covers to make your wedding extra special?

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Simply Celebrity: Dream Client

In the run up to the Royal Wedding, Simply Bows and Chair Covers' Sarah Pittendrigh reveals her dream client: another throne lover and fashion queen.

Sarah says: "I think it would have been fabulous to have worked with Victoria Beckham as she has a great sense of style herself."

"I would have suggested something to compliment her fashion range – clean lines, simplistic but very classic, less is more!  Probably add a touch of bling, maybe some classic diamante button-back white chair covers, very classic and elegant.  Flowers would be big and bold to set off the theme."

Simply Bows and Chair Covers manufacture and hire high quality chair covers and accessories fit for any princess and for events large and small - whether star spangled or family focused.

Contact for more information

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Simply Pleased to Meet You, Jo Harris, Franchisee

Hello my name is Jo Harris, I run the North Northumberland Simply Bows and Chair Covers franchise. I work very closely with Charlotte, my daughter, who runs the Newcastle franchise. I work in many of the top wedding venues in Northumberland such as Eshott Hall, White Swan, Woodhill Hall and Horton Grange to name but a few.

I have spent the last sixteen years working in the charity sector, with the past eight years as the Fundraising Manager for the Evening Chronicle Sunshine Fund.  I was introduced to Simply Bows and Chair Covers at the very start and used the company to dress many of my high profile events. This was when I realized what a superior product it was.

Many years ago I was self-employed television make up artist working for the BBC, Tyne Tees Television and local film companies. Working on programmes like The Tube ( for those of you who can remember all those years ago!), local Catherine Cookson dramas, Jackanory, and of course the much loved Byker Grove with Ant and Dec.

After being a freelance make up artist when my family was young I then started a new career in the charity sector. It was nice to be able to give something back to the Community. I worked for Help the Aged and Action Research but the last eight years I was Manager for the Evening Chronicle Sunshine Fund which was my dream job – organizing various events to raise money for disabled children in the north east of England. Charlotte often helped out on many of my events, which probably was why she ended up working for The Prince’s Trust – following in her mother’s footsteps! So with Charlotte’s degree in Multi Media Textile Design, her events background and all of my years experience and knowledge in a creative and events role meant that buying the two Simply Bows and Chair Covers franchises seemed the ideal opportunity for the foundations of a family business.

We run the two franchises together, sharing stock, ideas, new designs and skills. We design and produce really unique products that make us stand out from the crowd.  Simply Bows and Chair Covers gives me the opportunity to be self employed and work when I want – which is all the time at the moment!

Our main business is within the wedding industry which is fabulous because it’s only ever happy people that we deal with. It’s wonderful to be able to help the bride (and groom sometimes!) create a wedding of their dreams. Many brides know exactly what they want but some brides want to be guided and ask for suggestions about how they want their room to look.

At the moment our new flock range is proving very popular. When Charlotte and I saw it in the warehouse we just knew that we had to get it. It is so different from anything else that’s around at the minute. We love going to the warehouses and finding hidden gems! We have just found three more amazing fabrics to add to our range of table runners to go along side our wide range of organza sashes.

When we add new products to our range we organise a photo shoot in one of our beautiful venues, taking me back to my days as a make up artist on set.  What a hard life we live!

My most memorable wedding is the first wedding I dressed which was at Doxford Hall. The bride had bought her chair covers on-line but when they came they didn’t fit the chairs and the sashes never arrived. She came to me at the very last minute and I was able to provide made to measure chair covers to fit the chairs and sashes in the exact colour she wanted. She was over the moon that we were able to help her at such short notice.

We have dressed many charity balls often following tight briefs from Moonlight and Roses to Sunflowers. The Northumberland Plate and Ladies Day are always busy for us – it’s always fun to do something different. We match sash colours to corporate colours not the colours of the bridesmaid’s dresses!

Contact Jo at:

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Simply Designer: An Interview with Charlotte Balbier

Friend of Simply Bows and Chair CoversBrides Up North,  recently interviewed wedding dress designer Charlotte Balbier.  Our thanks to Charlotte for sharing with Simply Bows and Chair Covers readers too.


Charlotte, your designs are very feminine and pretty, but with a modern twist.  What sort of bride do you design for?

Charlotte Balbier designs for the bride of today. The 2011 collections highlights the modernity, style and elegance of today’s fashion coupled with the fairytale femininity of classical bridal wear. A Charlotte Balbier bride is stylish, sassy, confident and know what she wants.

How did you get into wedding dress design - what is your "story"?

I was born into bridal royalty as my grandparents had a very successful bridal empire from the 1960’s – 1990’s. My Mum is the award winning designer Amanda Wyatt, this makes me the 3rd generation to have my own collection in my family!

Charlotte Balbier was launched in 2003 and I have never looked back! Over the past 8 years the brand has grown from strength to strength and now is enjoying a very high profile and I could not be happier. From being a little girl I always knew I wanted to create beautiful gowns for brides.

Which is your favourite design in your new collection and why?

I try not to have favourites... but I do!. From the 2011 collection style Eden is definitely my favourite gown. It’s such a beautiful and unique gown, the laser cut lace is just divine. The gown has a timeless elegance with a modern edge and I just love it.

Which celebrity would you most like to dress and why?  What dress would you design for them?

Michelle Williams. She’s a bit different without being wacky and she always looks stylish. I love her Red Carpet look, she is always under-stated but oh-so-glam with a vintage edge.

Which of your designs would you choose for Kate Middleton?  Or alternatively, what sort of dress would you design for her?

Kate is true English Rose with a touch of glamour and effortless chic, her dress choice should reflect her personality and her modern day fairytale wedding to the Prince. I would dress Kate in a soft silk gown that is elegant and timeless, I would style Kate with a long veil and accessories from the Royal’s treasure box!! I would keep Kate fresh, young, stylish with a fashion edge without compromising her elegant chic style.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Simply Pleased to Meet You, Marion Cattley, Franchisee

Hi there!  I’m Marion Cattley and I am Area Director for Devon. I’m so excited that Simply Bows and Chair Covers now has a presence in the South West.  We’re on the map!   So thought I introduce myself and our company to you ...

I have a background in sales and results orientated environments, with focus on building long-term business relationships with clients – building credibility, which has to be gained through hard work and consistent delivery.  As an outlet for the corporate life, I was lucky enough to take part in musicals, utilising my dance training and love of everything theatre  - two shows every year for fourteen years –  wacky costumes,  amazing fabrics, dazzle and sequins,  colours galore,  fishnets – now that’s too much information!
I particularly love running my own business and it has been a while since I first did that back in my mid 20s!  This time around, I didn’t want to branch out on my own as I wanted to ‘hit the ground running’ with a proven brand and portfolio to showcase what we I could do, following in depth training with Simply Bows and Chair Covers at 5* Rockliffe Hall. 
I am so exciting about offering Devon brides and venues something really different – fabulous creative options to dress a special occasion and reflect individual styles.  One of the reasons I chose Simply Bows and Chair Covers is because it has such a diverse quality product to offer, which is regularly updated, as the team explore and develop ideas to everyone’s benefit.
If only Graham Norton, with all his flamboyance, were to have a bash and asked me to dress his special occasion – wow – the imagination could go wild!  I find him such a hilarious, colourful character! 
Just realised, I’ve found a good reason to ‘do it all over again’- to recreate my own wedding day – what fun that would be!  But then again, how many times can I be ‘re-cycled’?   I’ll just have to wait for the next Big ‘O’ – believe that, you’ll believe anything!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Simply See You There! Bridal Gathering, Sunday 10 April 2011

Simply Bows and Chair Covers will be exhibiting this weekend at Bridal Gathering, St James' Park, Newcastle Upon Tyne

We can't wait to see you all there on Sunday 10th April 2011! Doors open at 12:00pm.