Getting a piece of physical, post-marked mail in your real mailbox is a rare joy, but a hand-painted, hand-lettered piece of mail? That's exceptional. "I think that people really want, with the digital age, they really want—and appreciate—that hand-made process," says Nicole Rideout, the owner and artist behind Halifax's newest wedding stationery studio, Paper Pony. A classically trained painter and teacher, she's spent her life creating, but landing in the wedding industry was a happy accident she arrived at after making her now sister-in-law's invites.
"She knew I painted and she wanted something a little more personal for her wedding," says Rideout. "Then word got around and from there I just started getting requests." She combined her artistic interests with a love of the enthusiasm of soon-to-be-married couples, and officially launched Paper Pony to betrothed Haligonians last fall, opening a studio in her home to meet with clients and create her illustrated, hand-lettered papercraft. "I wanted a place where people could come and look, and feel, and touch the invitations in person," she says. "Couples really want to personalize their wedding. Every little detail is representative of them, and they want to express that in their stationery."
Bright colours, bold brush strokes, bohemian style and illustrated portraits are among the aesthetics Rideout's clients are after lately, but she says collaboration plays a major role in the process. And that's evident in the final products. "I've had couples get an eight-by-10 version of the invite to hang on their wall afterwards," says Rideout. "I just want people to walk away with their own one-of-a-kind piece of art."