Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Introducing With Love: a Modern Guide to Birth Announcements

You've waited months -perhaps years- for the arrival of your child. An event this meaningful deserves a photo birth announcement or an adoption photo announcement that not only shares this special moment with friends and family, but is an artistic expression of love that will become a treasured keepsake.

Our modern guide to birth announcements will help you choose your perfect design, guide you in taking candid photographs of your baby, and answer all your etiquette questions. Let's get started!

Choose Your Design

Today's parents can select from an array of layouts, colors and graphics, and use their photographs to create a one-of-a-kind birth announcement that reflects their family's unique character and style.

Start by browsing different designs to see which resonate with you. Lil Sweet Prince's collection of pre-designed birth announcements come in layouts featuring one or more photographs of your baby. Designs range from simple to sophisticated, elegant to casual, uptown to art house. If you don't see exactly what you want, Lil Sweet Prince will custom design an announcement for you.

Once you decide on a layout, its time to choose a color palette. For a trendier alternative to pink for baby girls, consider rose and plum, cream and cocoa, or chocolate brown and pink. For boys, shades of green or blue, especially navy and grayish-blue, and khaki are popular. In recent years there has been a movement toward non-gender specific colors such as yellow, apple green, taupe, orange, turquoise and even natural. Simple black and white remains a chic option. The designers at Lil Sweet Prince can add graphics and "texture" to your announcements, such as dots, gingham, stripes, and even damask prints. Special paper finishes are available for a distinctive look.

When it comes to text, less is definitely more. A simple "Announcing with love..." or "We joyfully welcome..." says volumes without cluttering up your announcement. It is customary to include:

A photograph of your baby
Your baby's name
Date/time of birth
Weight/length at birth {optional}
Parents' and siblings' names

Lil Sweet Prince offers specialty announcements for twins and multiples, adoptions, Spanish speaking families, and siblings (e.g. Adam introduces his new brother...), a style that is gaining in popularity because big brothers and sisters will feel more included.

Caring for a newborn is exciting but also demanding. For this reason, many parents choose their announcement design ahead of time, address envelopes and basically complete the ordering process, leaving just the photographs and birth specifics for later.

Get the Shot

Creative design combined with stunning photography can turn a birth announcement into a fine art piece. Using portraits taken by a professional photographer is one option, but keep in mind that these carry with them certain copyright restrictions. If you wish to use professional images for your announcement, you will have to obtain a signed release first.

Some of the most touching and highly emotive photos are those you take yourself. Candid shots are un-posed and spontaneous, capturing your child's true spirit and personality. Here are five tips for taking great candid shots:

Take lots of photos. Digital cameras and memory cards allow you to save hundreds of images. The more pictures you take, the more you have to choose from. A perfect photograph is like lightening. You can't predict it. If you are too exhausted after your baby is born to take pictures, ask a family member or friend to be paparazzi.

Don't use a flash. It can distract and startle babies. Adjust your camera to take photos in low light, or better yet, use natural light.

Shoot from different angles, heights and distances. Crouch down to be at eye level with your baby, zoom in close, or shoot from a height.

Immortalize little hands and toes. It's easy to forget how tiny our babies are in the beginning. Photograph an older sibling touching Baby's fingers or Daddy cradling his daughter's foot in his hand.

Photograph your baby with people. Whether it's with an older sibling, parent, or grandparent, this type of photo can be poignant and shows a relationship.

Don't worry if your favorite candid photo is off-center or too dark. Lil Sweet Prince will crop, edit, and even convert your color images to sepia or black and white at no charge.

Birth Announcement Etiquette

Few people in your circle will be offended if you don't address them formally as Mrs. or Dr. on your envelopes, but there still are some basic rules of etiquette to be aware of when sending out birth announcements:

Announcements should be mailed as soon after the birth as possible and within three months

It is perfectly acceptable to omit the weight of your baby if you are uncomfortable sharing that information

Announcements may be sent to family members, friends, coworkers and anyone who will be excited to share in your news

Personalized, handwritten notes are not expected from tired parents of newborns so don't feel guilty sending out just your announcements

Gifts should be acknowledged within a few weeks by a handwritten thank you note; Lil Sweet Prince can design photo thank you cards to coordinate with your birth announcement

For adoptive, nontraditional and blended families, deciding how to "sign" announcements can be challenging. The following guidelines may help:

Single parents should include their name and baby's full legal name. The other parent's name may be included, if desired, with a space between.

Example: Sara Rogers

Bill Jones

Separated or divorced parents may send out separate announcements with just their name and the baby's full legal name.

Parents with different last names and unmarried couples should sign both their names and include the full legal name of the child.

Example: Janice Malone and Richard King

Gay and lesbian couples should include both their names and the full legal name of the child.

Example: Griffin Dowd and Sean Billings

A widowed mother or father may include the father's/mother's name or use their name only.

Example: Cindy Smith and the late George Smith

Adoptive parents may wish to include their child's birth date and the date their baby was welcomed home.

Parents of blended families should consider including all children, step and biological, in the announcement.

Lil Sweet Prince offers fabulous custom Birth Announcements for girls and boys , and birth announcements for twins multiples. Get your personalized birth announcements at Lil Sweet Prince Today!


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