Kaptur Birthright Photo Contest

Have you ever traveled to Israel? Have you participated in Birthright? If the answer to either question is YES, then it’s your lucky day. Not only did you probably have an amazing time in Israel, but you are now able to win FREE prizes simply by showing off your photos.

Starting today (July 16th, 2012) through August 15th, 2012 we are running a Birthright/Israel Contest where you have the opportunity to win some awesome prizes: a Grove of Trees in Israel, an iPad, and a Kaptur photo album.

How to Enter:

Top Prizes:

Grand Prize – an Apple iPad, a Grove of Trees planted in Israel in honor of your Birthright group, and a Kaptur photo Album

2nd Place – a Grove of Trees planted in Israel in honor of your Birthright group and a Kaptur Photo Album

3rd Place – a Kaptur Photo Album

For some insight into Birthright trips we turned to our marketing intern, David, who had the opportunity to travel to Israel on a 10-day journey with 40 strangers from the University of Maryland, College Park on Taglit Birthright Israel. You can check out David’s Kaptur and all of his photos here www.kptr.it/Birthright

Taglit Birthright Israel is a free, 10-day trip for Jewish college-aged students (18-26) to experience and see what Israel has to offer. They have sent almost 300,000 individuals to Israel from over 54 countries and over 1,000 different colleges and universities across North America.

The students on David’s trip experienced some truly amazing things such as the Dead Sea, Masada, Bedouin tents and more. David has said numerous times that, “One of the coolest parts of the Birthright trip was welcoming the Israeli soldiers into our University of Maryland family.” The group even had the opportunity to be addressed by the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu at the annual Mega Event, which is also attended by the top musicians and artists in Israel.

The group still sees each other and catches up on a regular basis at the headquarters of the Maryland Jewish Experience due to the amazing, and free, home-cooked meals that are offered on a bi-weekly basis.

P.S. David is not eligible for the contest due to unfair advantage :(

Real Wedding: Jordan and Leanne, Photographed by David and Sherry

David & Sherry, of David Buck Photography, are an international award-winning team of photographers who love life, capturing couples in love and just plain having a good time. 

We spoke to David and Sherry about what it was like to work with Jordan and Leanne on their engagement, wedding, and Ever After photo-shoots:

“What an incredible couple.  Sherry and I feel like we have known Jordan and Leanne forever even though it’s just been since they started planning their wedding.” 

Their wedding looks beautiful! We love all the purple accents. We asked David and Sherry to tell us a little more about the couple’s wedding day:

“Jordan & Leanne got married just outside Toronto, Canada on a day which featured everything from the heaviest of rain to the brightest sunshine. It all started at the Hilton hotel in Markham, then they were swept off by limo to the Sleepy Hollow Golf Club in Stouffville. Even though the weather man was forecasting rain, the rain held off for the ceremony, and the sun even came out as they were saying their vows! The day was filled with love and joy between family, friends and everyone else.”  

It looks like some of these pictures really capture the essence of the moment – any good stories you would like to share?

“Leanne said to us, ‘I know it’s cheesy, but I want the guys to hold me up in the air.’  I secretly thought, it would be better if they were throwing her in the air…so I told the guys to throw her in the air without Leanne noticing, and as they had her held, up she went, complete with an excellent expression.”

“I asked Leanne after the wedding what Jordan said that made her laugh like this…She had no idea. It will remain a mystery.”

Anything else you would like to add?

“Thank you [Jordan and Leanne] so much for having fun all day long and allowing us to be part of your wedding.”

See what Jordan and Leanne say about David and Sherry here.

More about the photographers: David & Sherry are based part of the year in Los Cabos, Mexico and the other part near Toronto, Canada, this couple loves to travel and enjoys the challenges of a new location. They have been published on the top Canadian wedding sites, have been awarded multiple awards from the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) and just this year had one of their images chosen by Junebug Weddings as one of the 50 best of the best wedding photos of 2011.

Haute Couture Wedding Invitations: Connor Stationery at Barney’s

Our guest blogger today is Deborah Meijer, who spoke to Connor Stationery Creative Director, Henri Richter-Werner.

Shortly after the marriage proposal takes place, the wedding date is bandied about. And after the wedding date is finalized and wedding venue chosen, the next logical bridal step is choosing the invitation. For that, if you need wedding stationery befitting your Haute Couture Chanel wedding gown, Connor Stationery is the place to go. Just as fashion has inspired table centerpieces, dinnerware, color palettes and wedding cakes designed to match your dress, that A-list bridal dress you splurged on certainly deserves the finest lifestyle brands.

First, a few things the company is not, according to Connor’s Creative Director, Henri Richter-Werner:

“We are not your grandma’s dusty stationery with ornaments, bows and ribbons. We are not your neighborhood stationery store. We are not just a service business. We do not just sell paper.”

That straight, Richter-Werner tells us what Connor is:

“Connor is a modern and unique lifestyle brand, one that delivers the finest, most incredible and superior dimensional engravings. With Connor, it’s as if Tom Ford wanted to design stationery. We are Lesage to Chanel, what Hermès is to leather goods, what Connolly Leather is to Aston Martin or Rolls Royce. What Connor aims to supply to its clients is an unsurpassed level of taste and quality.”

With embossed images ranging from custom-designed elephants balancing on a ball to a pistol shooting xoxo, it is apparent sooner rather than later that Connor is not your grandmother’s pastel, bordered note card with the swirly ball of embossed entangled initials.

“Other stationery companies simply provide a service. Connor’s point of view is to deliver the unexpected, the unique, the lifestyle. It’s lunch at La Grenouille versus lunch at Panera.”

Richter-Werner’s analogy to a French restaurant is an apt one, since all Connor Stationery engraving is done in Paris.

“I have met with engravers from England, Germany, Spain, and I will soon visit Argentina, all in an effort to look for new ways of executing one-of-a-kind engraving,” says Richter-Werner. “The way I look at it is: I craft simplicity with the limelight on engraving,”

Richer-Werner and his business partner, Justin Felber, started Connor a few years back, and just this past fall, moved to Barney’s in New York City. Future plans include targeting other luxury accessory markets and expanding to the digital word down the road. But for now, they are content to make sure their brand reflects the level of perfection their high-end clients demand. Whether it be an A-list celeb, Graff Jewelers, or even an invitation they produced for a recently-held Blenheim Palace Foundation dinner attended by the 11th Duke of Marlborough, Connor seems to be the go-to company for high-end commissions.

“For the Blenheim Palace invitation,” says Richter-Werner, “we used a new technique. We weren’t happy with the standard ink colors available for engraving the Blenheim Palace image. So we mixed inks to achieve a color we call graphite-silver. This color had never been done before. But we wanted to achieve a different look, one befitting the finest example of English Baroque design in the United Kingdom, the palace birthplace of Winston Churchill and World Heritage Site. We spent our own funds to achieve the quality we needed for that commission.”

Speaking of quality, the tiny dot that appears on their website as well as embossed on each card and envelope, is a Trademarked Connor design, designating the finest workmanship and taste that money can buy, according to Richter-Werner, and will be instantly recognized by the true connoisseur.

Although Connor is known to dictate its artistic point of view, whenever possible Richter-Werner likes to meet Connor clients in person.

“We take direction from the client. We like to see their sensibilities. Are their glasses contemporary or vintage? Do they mix a white gold watch with yellow gold rings? Are they chunky jewelry, Chanel traditional, Staurino? I look at accessories, even nail polish—is it Rose Insolent or the edgier Blue Boy of Chanel’s latest season? As I talk with the client, I am subconsciously noticing all these things.”

Their designs are noticed as well, particularly by luxe brands such as Manolo Blahnik and VanCleef and Arpels. Both have commissioned Connor to design cards to celebrate an anniversary, to give as a preferred client gift, or to invite treasured guests to a party.

“These luxury brands see that we craft a work in the language of fashion,” says Richter-Werner. “Van Cleef hired us to design a holiday card. We designed a hot-air balloon that was one-of-a-kind, not just in the execution, but also in the design. We pay close attention to minute detail with dimensional engravings done in hardened steel, as opposed to photoengraving. We use 4-ply stock with embossed and raised dimensions of impressions that are superior, in our opinion, to any other engraver.”

And Connor looks at big-picture design. “If you examine our website, you will see that it reflects our point of view and quality,” says Richter-Werner. “You know you are in a world of luxury and refined taste. There are hundreds of paper companies out there, but our website alone shows what we represent.

“In addition, we take a cohesive approach to our product. When we are designing, say, a wedding invitation, we will also link that design to your save the date, to your thank you cards, and we even keep in mind birth announcements, should you need them sometime in the future.”

To sum up the design philosophy of the haute couture of stationery, Richter-Werner points out that, “Anyone can buy the best paper. To that, we at Connor add the best and most desirable design.

An Elegant Halloween Wedding, Aaron and Catherine

Halloween may have come and gone, but this wedding has made a lasting impression. Photographed by Gayle Brooker, Aaron and Catherine’s wedding managed to hit that elusive sweet spot between sophistication and fun.

Aaron and Catherine had been dating for four years at the time of their engagement. When Aaron proposed, Catherine already knew where she wanted to have the wedding. Catherine, who “grew up spending summers on Pawley’s Island [in South Carolina],” said she and Aaron chose Charleston, South Carolina for their wedding because “it [had] become a very special place to Aaron and me.” The wedding was held at Lowndes Grove, an 18th century waterfront estate, which provided a stunning and refined, yet relaxed, backdrop for the event.

The couple set their wedding date for October, 31st - Halloween! – and wanted to incorporate the spirit of the holiday, particularly for their young nieces and nephews, without letting Halloween take over. They put their wedding in the capable hands of event planner, Calder Clark, who re-interpreted some of Halloween’s traditions to create an elegant fall wedding with a touch of Halloween whimsy. Calder swapped the holiday’s ubiquitous orange and black for much more palatable shades of daisy yellow and dove grey, and slipped in playful details like a treat-filled candy bar and waiters wearing pirate eye-patches.

Catherine wore a modern-yet-classical Jin Wang dress that perfectly matched the serene and sophisticated ambiance of her wedding. After exchanging vows the newlyweds and their guests celebrated at the tented reception with seasonal dishes, such as lobster salad tossed in lime-cilantro dressing, and with wonderful wine, flown in specially from California. After a quick costume change, the youngest guests had their share of fun at their own table, which was filled with crafts and sweets. “The combination of Halloween and our wedding was tons of fun for them and us,” said Catherine. “It was a beautiful weekend.”

Halloween Wedding Themes

Guest blog post by Cassandra Harris.

Halloween-themed weddings are just like any other wedding, really. The only difference is that instead of your typical flower girl waltzing down the aisle, there’s Tinkerbell, and instead of the traditional happy couple cake toppers, there’s a bride and groom corpse. Okay. It’s nothing like your typical wedding. Check out these unique wedding photos with Halloween-inspired themes!

There are several ways to propose to your loved one, but who knew that it could take place on a Jack-O-Lantern?  The Halloween fun doesn’t start for guests at the reception though- it starts with the invitations! “Save the date… if you dare!” Finger-shaped pizza dough with pepperoni nails bring a whole new meaning to the words “finger foods”. Candy corn cocktails and margaritas with fake blood around the rim of the glass make for such fun wedding receptions. Another great opportunity to work in a Halloween theme at the reception is with the table place settings. Instead of having just your guests’ names on them, why not add a theme to each table such as Phantom of the OperaElm Street, and The Exorcist.

It’s great seeing some of the brides who went all out for the occasion and even donned black, Gothic style wedding dresses, while their bridesmaids wore similar, dark dresses.  The wedding cakes are as impressive as the decorations. The tri-tier wedding cakes with spider webs were a nice touch. These brides and grooms really knew how to think outside the norms and create some fantastic wedding ideas. Enjoy!