Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Stationery Design From Our Wedding


Reception Photo by Eva Galka

Gosh, there is just so much to share with all of these planning posts.  It feels so strange sharing this stuff now after all this time for so many reasons.  The wedding was over 2 months ago now, and not only that, but we planned it for three years prior to that.  I really didn't want to spoil any surprise for people who came, so I didn't share a whole lot with people before the day.  I think it really worked out for the best doing it that way, because people didn't know what to expect leading up to it, and that was kinda fun.  But it makes for a strange sharing experience now, as it all feels so big now to share what Andrew and I were essentially working on in secret for three years!

I thought today I'd start the ball rolling on sharing all the paper and digital ephemera that I designed for our big day.  For a long time I've had a weird little voice in my head telling me that because I never took the plunge into a design career that that meant I couldn't 'do' design.   That even though I have earned a degree in the field that somehow I was missing some secret key ingredient to be able to design things.  

So when we set out on our first stationery need, I felt we needed to turn to a 'real designer' because I figured that they must know some secret thing that I did not.  So we ordered our save the dates from a really great bespoke stationery company, and what ended up happening was that I had a really clear idea of what I wanted in my head and ended up basically telling the designer in really tight parameters what I wanted to do for them, not giving her very much room for creativity.  They turned out great, and were everything that we wanted, but I did walk away thinking that I actually could have done them myself, just without the thermography element.

So a year later (I'm telling you, we had a super long planning process!) when we went to do our actual wedding invites, I decided to design them on my own.  Somewhere in that time the website was also being drawn up, and so I wanted to keep consistency across the platforms.  I will say that my design approach was a little disorganized, and while I'm about to show you the main style guide for all of my design for this wedding, I actually didn't make the style board until after the fact!  I know that's typically not how that's done, but I had all this loosely in my head the whole time at least!

Engagement photos by KMP

Lovely Little Style Guide

I knew from pretty early on that the wedding colors would consist of berry, blush, ice blue, and navy with touches of gold, so I wanted that to be consistent throughout the graphic elements as well.   And then, since we knew our wedding was a forest wedding, I assumed that green would prevail as a consistent "neutral" of sorts since it would literally be surrounding us.  So we had our engagement photos taken in a forest setting as well, because we knew they would play a big role in our website, etc. to set the tone. 

Finally, we wanted things to be sophisticated and elegant in the forest, but we also wanted our fun-loving personalities to shine through.  So we added things like forest animal elements in here and there. 

The fox motif obviously hails from this blog, and being "The Lovely Red Fox", and so I wanted to make a mark that could be repeated across the wedding in different places that would represent Andrew and me.  So I drew and vectorized the little logo of foxes cuddling for this and had it made into a wax seal for our invitations! 

Our Wedding Invitations

With such a complex color palette comes challenges.  I think a lot of people who I told the concept to before the day probably couldn't envision what it would look like in person, and that's ok.  I kind of just had to stick to my guns on it because I was confident it would pull together.   I had no interest in keeping a 'safe' color palette with one pop color.  Years of merchandising more complex color stories made me feel it was kind of my duty to commit to something more challenging and I felt more excited about, regardless if other people could see it or not.

But this also meant balancing a lot of elements and colors across various mediums (invitations, flowers, decor, signage, furniture, clothing, etc.), so that when everything came together it would look balanced and every piece would feel like it was adding to and telling the same story.

Part of my fears of not being a 'real' designer was that I was under the impression that one had to physically create each element of a design themselves by hand.  Then we had our save the dates made and I realized that the envelope liners had a floral graphic pattern that I had seen over and over again on Pinterest and realized that I could buy those floral graphics off of Creative Market and design what I wanted with them, and not have to be able to create handmade floral watercolor assets on my own.  Mind. Blown.

And like that I was off like the wind.

For our invitations I used the Marsala collection from Graphic Box on Creative Market, and was able to layer a lot of these floral elements throughout the paper ephemera to tie it all together in different instances.  I scoured Creative Market for the most fitting floral assets I could find that fit 'the vision' for the wedding, and these were my favorite ones!

Our invites were pretty complex due to the whole destination wedding thing, and having multiple extraneous events to design cards for (wedding + reception, welcome hike + bbq, rehearsal dinner, website, etc.) so I wanted all the cards to come together in a cohesive way when everything ended up in the envelope.

We ended up having our envelopes ordered from Paper Source, which has a really excellent online tool to set up how you want your envelopes to be set up if you want all your guests addresses printed on the outside, as well as your return address.  They didn't print addresses on the small reply envelopes, but I had fun hand lettering those!   On the whole I was really happy with the way the envelopes from Paper Source turned out, and the amount of control I had in designing them and picking fonts so they matched well with the inside cards.

The small web url cards we had printed from Moo.com, and they allow you to print square business cards with a gold foil element, so I was super jazzed to be able to incorporate our fox logo in gold on the backside of those cards.

Our actual invitations I had printed by a local printer that I used to print a lot of work back when I was at school, and I got them printed on a felt cover stock that was a textured white paper, and they turned out excellent.

To finish off the feel of the invitations we wanted to do something special and incorporate a wax seal with our fox logo.  I did a lot of research online and found some horror stories of how some people had gone to all these lengths to incorporate wax seals on their envelopes, and they end up getting mangled in the mail.  The reason for this is that most mail envelopes go through a machine to get sorted.  I for one never thought about what happens to the mail between dropping it in the mailbox and it arriving at someone's door.  Turns out, a machine sorts the envelopes.  I don't know why, I had just for some reason assumed they had people reading the envelopes and sorting them by hand.  I suppose the machine makes sense!  Anyways, the slot on the machine is only so big.  So if you have some big bumpy thing sitting on the outside of the envelope as it gets fed through the machine... chances are its going to get damaged, torn off or break.

So we opted to try to work our wax seals into the inside of the envelopes, and made a belly band of sorts out of this super wonderful ribbon that we ordered from Tono + Co. in all the different colors of our wedding.  Our wax seal was made through Stamptitude.com, and we love it so much!  Heads up though if you're thinking of doing these yourself, they take a long time to do if you have a lot of guests!

Our Wedding Website

Oh, websites.

I'm not totally sure why, and I'm sure it might come as a surprise to anyone reading this as they literally read my website, but I don't like making websites.  lol.

I have a kind of tortured relationship with websites.  Much like my relationship with design, I just don't quite grasp how much of a website you have to make to say, "hey, I made this website".  If I started with a template, did I really "Design" the website?  My blog is pretty much mostly made by me.  The graphics, sidebar, top navbar buttons and banner were all designed by me (with a couple elements that I sourced off Creative Market with the leaves in the banner), but it's based off of a template from Blogger, so where does the classification actually fall?  I'm not sure.

But here's the thing: I can't code a website to save my life.  I can lay it out graphically, come up with ideas for UX, flow, functionality, etc. from a design and layout perspective, but I can't make it actually come to life.  So usually when people ask me if I can make a website for them, I have to say no.

But for our wedding website, again, I was so picky, and really wanted it to be what I had in my head, so I couldn't just pick a template and run with it.  I wanted the site to truly be a resource for our guests to go to if they had questions about the wedding.  With it being a destination wedding, I wanted to provide all the resources possible from hotel options to what to do in the area.

I had found a few templates out there that sort of fit some of what I wanted for the website, but nothing that was perfect.  And I will say that I tried very hard to hack together something on my own, but it was pretty frankenstein-y in actuality.   So I turned to one of Andrew's and my friends from high school - college who knows far more about computers and coding than me, Daniel Rasmussen.   Dan really made this thing come to life, and we are so thankful to him for making this a real, functional thing for us!  He made this site work functionally, load quickly, and exist on desktop and mobile devices — a miracle!

From the design perspective, I wanted to make a clear, easy to navigate landing page with a countdown timer, and give a little background on Andrew and I as a couple (with a funny little background story written by Andrew!), as well as info on the wedding party.   From there there were pages for Festivities as well as a Travel info page.

Engagement Photos by KMP  |  Developed by Daniel Rasmussen 

The travel page was one of my favorites because I wanted our guests to have lots of info to jump off from.  The screen shot below cuts out some of the portions of it (it's a very long page!), but I was super excited to include a map of important locations that was navigable and that I made off of Snazzy Maps, so people could chart their course before they went!  

My other two favorite parts on this page was the parallax scroll effect over the misty forest photo (visit it live if it's still up!), and the explore blocks section.  This part was a large grid of images that linked out to all sorts of fun things to do all over the Pacific Northwest.  We took a BUNCH of trips out planning and found all sorts of fun points of interest out there, and wanted to share them with guests in case they were looking for fun things to do!

And then of course there was the #lovinthewilderness Insta-feed that scrolled along the bottom of each page, and on all of our trips I would post Instagrams of our planning adventures. 

Engagement Photos by KMP  |  Developed by Daniel Rasmussen 

Day Of Paper Ephemera

And finally, we needed to design all of the day of paper ephemera — everything from ceremony programs, to signage, to place cards and menus.  

A lot of these items I was able to design and print at home on my most loved French Paper speckle tone stock, and then some of them were printed by Dixon's or Mpix.

Ceremony Programs Designed by me + printed on textured stock by Dixon's  |  Photo by KMP


Welcome Sign typeset by me + metallic printed on foam core by Mpix  |  Engagement + Day of photos by KMP

Unplugged Ceremony Sign designed by me +  Printed / mounted on foam core by Dixon's  |  Photo by KMP

Reception Paper Ephemera

And finally, the reception stationery!  

For our tables, we wanted to do something fun that tied in with our forest animal theme, and so instead of numbers, we opted to have our tables organized by animals.

For each table I designed a seating card (see seating / menu chart below), and then designed and typeset place cards for each seat.

Photo by KMP


Photos by KMP

The table ephemera was possibly the most extensive thing we made for the wedding, as each had to be hand designed for each guest, cut out, and assembled.  We bought all of the animal figures from Happy Hen Toys online, and then the little gold wire pieces we got from another seller on Etsy, UnconventionalJ.  Originally, the plan was to paint them all gold, but then when they arrived we decided they were all too cute and nicely hand-painted already, and we didn't want to cover up all that adorable-ness!

Each one was painstakingly hammered into with a nail by my wonderful now - husband Andrew, until the fragile little gold stems could fit into them.   Then once we got to the pnw we assembled them with their cards a few days before. 

For each physical table there was also a framed table animal to denote what table it was.  Those were SO MUCH FUN to get through an airport!   12 small 5x7 frames with glass in them... can't go in your carry-on, and it's a little nerve wracking to send them through your check bag, right?  So I ended up taking the glass out and taping all of the panes together into one big glass block, wrapping it all in bubble wrap and putting it in a gallon storage bag.  

Needless to say, I received a fun little note from TSA saying my bag had been inspected.  I'd imagine it looked pretty strange what with that, random serving trays, and a wire basket mixed up amongst all my clothes and camera tripod! 

Photos by KMP

So there you have it — all the details on most of what I designed for the wedding!

... There's actually a whole bunch of other stuff I designed for the bbq and what not, but I don't know how or when or if I'll share all that... but stay tuned!  I am probably going to spread out all these wedding posts over a lot of time so that I can share everything, but still be able to post some other content!  >.<

Until Next Time, 

— The Lovely Red Fox

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