Friday, March 18, 2011

Feature Friday: Graphic Design as Premarital Counseling

Ever since we got engaged back in July, one of the few things my fiance wanted to happen in the process of wedding planning was for he and I to design our own invitations.  With him being a graphic designer and me being an artist, it made sense to both of us and we knew it was the most surefire way to bring some of our own taste to the wedding.

Then, as the months passed, we examined our budget and what we really wanted, our wedding got smaller and smaller and smaller.  If you've read any of my previous posts about the wedding (all one or two of them), you know that we are now running off to Florida and getting married in his grandparent's backyard with only closest family and immediate friends.  You could count all of our guests on your fingers and toes.  Of course, with a wedding that small (and fast, as we only decided to do it this way about two months ago), invitations seemed sort of silly to design and print and send out, nixing on of the major things my fiance has wanted.

In spite of this, there were two things I still wanted for our wedding: a guestbook of some sort and a program.   The program is as much for me as for the guests, since I have always been the kind of person to save that sort any sort of paper thing that marks a memory.  I imagine myself, ten years from now, showing the program to our children, telling them about the music we chose, and the fonts.  As for the guest book, I wanted something nontraditional (it always seemed ridiculous to me to have people stand in a line to sign their names) and after some interwebs research came up with the idea of a sort of questionnaire that all of our guest could fill out in their seats, which I can glue into a scrapbook after the wedding, along with one for each of us to fill out at the end of our wedding day, to capture how we felt about everything, before it slips away from us, as moments so often do.

I told Nate my ideas about all these things and he jumped on the idea of designing something immediately. Since we don't really have a theme and, without things like massive bridal parties and a huge reception, our wedding colors have become kind of a moot point, it was free reign from there.  I drew up a sketch of what I wanted on the guest book page, thinking Nate would take it and run with it, my original design looking being little more than scribbles on a piece of printer paper.

I emailed it to him so he could start to brainstorm and within a day he'd come back to me with a rough sketch.  He'd taken my most basic of drawings and made something very workable.  That night we sat down together and started to tweak.  Before a few days ago, I had never designed anything with him, and it was an experience.  He takes any sort of work very seriously and treated me much like a client (if perhaps a problem one). I discovered that he and I have very different design styles that actually work well together, if we compromise.  He likes things to be off-center and sketchy and very bold.  I like things to be very balances and delicate.  We found out really quickly that those aesthetics can work together if two people just communicate, which we did.  By the end of the evening, we had designed this.

Over the next course of the next day, we conferred the same design elements to the bride and groom questionnaire pages and to the program pages.  The programs are not quite finished yet, in matter of assembly only, which my maid of honor and I will be doing tonight.  I will post a picture of them complete, then, but for now, here is one of the inside pages.

Of all the things I've had to do during wedding planning, from location scouting to budget calculations, I have to say, these projects have been one of my favorites, because it's the one wedding related thing we have truly made together.  I recommend that anyone getting married, whether you're a DIY queen or you have an endless amount of cash to blow on your wedding day, should sit down with their future spouse and make at least one thing.  It will give you a good idea of how the two of you are going to work together in the future.  Me and my husband-to-be? We're going to work just fine (and we have excellent design taste, if you ask me).


  1. Your program looks absolutely stunning, it is just gorgeous. I know it seems silly to make invitations, but just like you said about the program...the invite will also be something you will want to hold on to forever, and your closest family members will likely do the same! Of course it doesn't have to be as involved as a 'traditional' invitation but it would still be a joy for you and your soon-hubby to make together!

    Best of luck with the assembly! I'm sure it will be amazing :)

  2. Really beautiful! I love it... when inspiration hits... you just have to go with it!