Three hundred sixty one days ago my morning started off in an airplane on a red eye flight to Miami. My parents, then fiancé, and I traveled to Florida for a week of preparation and relaxation (or insanity as it turned out to be) for my wedding day. As I'm musing about the time almost one year later, I wanted to think about all the details that I stressed over and wonder if it was really worth it?
Of course as a designer, I created everything that went into this event. Save the date cards, invitations, escort cards, table numbers, signage, even a custom label for cigars. Most importantly I designed the experience of the big day. Looking back on it all, memories of planning that remain with me in the forefront are those around designing our invitations.
When the time came to begin sketching up ideas and creating a few mocks, I immediately had a vision of what was to be accomplished. My husband – a.k.a. client number two – had few requirements and overall told me to do my thing. Our friend and engagement photographer Danny shot the most stunning photographs at Point Dume beach in Malibu, CA. The vibes were on point and the weather was perfect. We all spent the day together as friends and he documented some surreal moments. Needless to say, he made the content portion of my design easy.
Photographs by Daniel Leist
The mood board was simple: a few hues of royal purple and gold, a modern art deco typeface, and simple accent graphics. This was singlehandedly the clearest I have ever seen a design in my mind and transpose it so perfectly into a tangible item. With our Save the Date cards, I was able to test out the palette and font combinations. They were timeless yet felt casual for a modern age. Being overjoyed with the results, the next design of the invitations were executed so quickly it left me feeling slightly bewildered. "It's never this easy," I remember thinking to myself.
Flying back from St. Louis to Los Angeles, I whipped out my laptop and zoned in. Two hours later I had my design. We made a single change and sent to print. My vision was one of a 5" x 7" landscape card with a gate fold. Guests would receive a royal purple envelope that had an incredible textured surface – immediately setting a tone. The most labor intensive DIY project was addressing each invitation by hand with gold ink. But damn if I, a typography aficionado, would have anything less than my hand calligraphy on my wedding invites! (Which sped up the impending tendinitis in my arm but we do it for our craft, right?) Each invitation was wrapped in gold ribbon and once the guest opened the two folds, the main text of our names, invitation script, and a full bleed photograph of us overlooking the Pacific Ocean would allude to our ceremony taking place on the beach.
Most brides play with color swatches for flowers and table linens. I play in a Pantone world where those are the only swatches that matter. At this stage of the project, we were working with our friend Jose who was our printer. I'll never forget when he called and said the test run was ready for pickup and he couldn't' wait to show us. We drove down to Orange County and I held the mock in my hands, smiling down upon it as if it were my firstborn. The alignment and colors were perfect. Two weeks later we had our invitations and off they went via post.
There is so much pride I have for this project because it came to life not only from my mind but with the involvement of my husband and our friends. It was nurtured and given such consideration and careful thought with each piece. Yet it was so natural and organic of a process. The passion to create this idea instead of chasing perfection led to my forever favorite print design.
It's easy for us designers to get hung up on an idea, a step in our process, trying to achieve the ultimate solution. What we need to remember to do is just listen to our intuition and keep in mind that these ideas and these visions we have are reasons as to why we are creatives and to roll with it. Stop thinking and just do.