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Designing an OK wedding

It turns out that planning a wedding, no matter what the scale, is an awful lot of work. From booking venues, to flowers and tents, sending invitations, following up on RSVPs, crossing your fingers about the weather, etc. etc., it has a way of eating up your life and the contents of your wallet.

While my recent wedding was tiny (like under 50 guests tiny) and an exercise in working with talented friends and family to get everything done, a somewhat odd question came up during the planning process of who would do the graphic design.

The answer would seem easy given my line of work, the fact that my now-husband (still feels weird to say that) went to university for graphic design, and my brother is a successful graphic designer.

However, I don't design my own book covers because I feel like I am too close to the work to turn in anything acceptable. I figured the same would apply to the wedding designs, but with everyone else already helping with a million other things, the job ended up being mine.

Luckily, we had the honour of having my very talented illustrator and designer friend Ivy McIntyre create our beautiful foiled invitations for us. This meant that I had an aesthetic starting point.

Also luckily, my husband (still weird) is incredibly meticulous and a talented artist, so when I needed some pen and ink drawings for table numbers, he was able to do them with far more skill than I have in that area.

My parents were lovely enough to make our wine, but the options for the "custom" labels were...less than satisfactory, so I made my own based on Ivy's invitations.

Due to the way the labels were sized and the fact that I was paying per sticker sheet, not per label or per perforation, I was able to add on some extra labels at the bottom of each sheet. We used the round ones to seal invitation envelopes, and the long ones for our thank-you cards.

For our table numbers, we wanted to personalize them and give the guests something to read. Each of our tables was named after a different bicycle (or in one case roller skate), and the back of the sign featured a little blurb about how it fit into our story. Oliver's drawings on these are so precise that people had a hard time believing they were hand drawn.

Of course, we also needed a seating chart, which I designed to match the table numbers, but also included this cheeky little header:

Finally, we wanted to make sure our guests had details on all the food and drink we were serving (especially as we personally have food restrictions and find this useful at other people's events!) Plus, we wanted to highlight a custom beer that Oliver's brother had brewed for the occasion. We displayed these in mismatched frames, which went with the cozy feeling of the whole event.

I hadn't anticipated how much design work we might need for the wedding, so in the end I am glad I was able to do it myself in order to keep on my own timelines and not have to bother another designer with the inevitable last-minute changes.

And that's how I accidentally ended up designing my own wedding.

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