Emma from Illustries told us all about the imaginative and exciting products they offer and how they’ll help you share and relive your wedding memories for a lifetime.


Illustries are a brand new and unique way to capture your wedding day from the very beginning to the proposal and the big day itself. We bring your story and beautiful wedding photography to life with lots of thoughtful design touches. All this, beautifully presented in a must-have bespoke book that reflects your once-in-a-lifetime day.


We – Samantha Neal, creative director and artist, and Emma Penrice, writer and marketing consultant – created Illustries when Emma got married and struggled to find that elusive ‘memory book’ – a place where words and pictures come together – for her own wedding. We’d worked together before and we knew our styles complemented each other and after many brainstorming sessions, Illustries was born!


We are specialising in wedding memory books at the moment, because weddings after all are one of the biggest days in your life. And we’re seeing a real trend for making every aspect of the wedding very personalised and unique to the couple. We think that approach should extend to remembering the day – and although there are some impressive albums out there, there certainly isn’t anything like Illustries.


We’ve done quite a few wedding fairs, so we’re lucky that we’ve met most of our clients in person and they’ve been able to see and feel our Illustries – once you’ve seen them it’s a little bit like falling in love, nothing else will do! But our website is coming into its own as we’re growing. We’ve tried to make it as engaging as possible and we’re adding new Illustries all the time, so that potential clients can experience how individual our Illustries are.


Illustries are still very young! We launched about a year ago, but there was a lot of planning (and blood, sweat and tears!) before that. We have nearly thirty years of experience between us in helping some of the UK and Europe’s biggest brands grow, and so we’re really enjoying creating our own unique brand.



We will happily tell anyone’s love story! But at the moment, we have only worked with UK clients. One of the real benefits of our business though is that we do pretty much everything over the phone and via the internet, so we cover the whole of the UK and can easily deal with international orders.


We work really closely with our clients – we get to know them so well over the process of creating their Illustry that we consider them friends by the end! Everything is geared around them – we interview them and their nearest and dearest after the wedding and we make sure we get a real feel for them and their day. Emma writes their story (and cries every time, even now!) and then when we receive their photographs Samantha starts crafting their Illustry, always based around their colour scheme, theme or general ‘feel’ of their day. We have so many ways of telling their story, and we always choose ways that suit the couple and the style of Illustry they’ve chosen. Once we’ve combined their story, photographs and some beautiful design, the couple have plenty of time to read and check their Illustry before we send it off to our specialist printer to be made, we don’t go ahead until they are absolutely happy.


We have three main creative styles of Illustry. Quirky and bang on trend is the Avant Garde – as funky as the couples who choose it. The Avant Garde is packed with graphics, illustrations, large quotes and relaxed typography; we call it the Kate Moss of the Illustries world! The Classic is as cool as Audrey Hepburn, storybook-style with large photographs and a beautifully written story, all complemented by elegant, stylish and contemporary design – a true classic to be devoured from cover to cover. And finally, we all love a bit of celebrity gossip, but we think a fabulous ‘Wedding Special’ shouldn’t be just for the rich and famous. The bespoke CELEB magazine makes the couple the stars of their very own special edition – 48 pages of wedding reporting, packed with features and just like everyone’s favourite magazines from start to finish! It really depends on the couple’s individual style, but probably the Avant Garde just edges it as the most popular. Although the Life Map is getting very popular too!


I don’t know if we could choose our favourite – that’s like trying to choose your favourite child! We love them all, but for different reasons – Emma loves writing CELEB, as it’s so much fun and she gets to flex her journalism degree. Avant Garde lets Sam get really creative (and even get her sketching pencils out!) and Classic just looks so beautifully elegant when it’s finished. Let’s say our favourite is usually the one we’ve just finished as we get so involved in the couple’s story.


We’re adding a range of new wedding products this autumn, which we’re really excited about. And our Life Map – which started life as just one element of our Avant Garde Illustry – has proved so popular that we’ve made it available on its own. It’s a hand-drawn ‘flow chart’ of how a couple got together and their plans for the future, with loads of funny notes to bring it to life. Couples are choosing it as a centrepiece at their reception, it really gets everyone talking!


We’re yet to have any celebrity clients but we’d love to create a tongue-in-cheek CELEB magazine for Chris O’Dowd and Dawn Porter – that would be a dream job! We can even do them as a ‘thank you’ for the bride and groom to send out after the big day, complete with a lovely ‘belly band’ with their message, we think Chris and Dawn would love that!


We have plenty of new Illustries ideas in the pipeline – babies, school years, birthdays, there’ll be an Illustry for all of life’s big occasions. On the wedding side, we’re expanding our work with photographers and other partners. We’ll be creating an Illustry that is exclusive to photographers for example, so they can offer an Illustry more easily alongside their album packages.


Bridal Soup are really looking forward to seeing what other amazing ideas Illustries come up with in the future. Huge thanks to Emma!

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