Registries for Everyone!

websites, weddings

I recently saw this sweet post on Birchbox that discussed things every bride can think about to have a less traditional looking wedding. It got me thinking that I work with brides and grooms, moms and dads, every day who are beautifully less traditional in many ways, and have made some very fun choices in their registry lists. Here are my top picks for registering for a big life event!

etsy wedding registry

For the happy couple:

HoneyFund: I think in this modern day, where many couples are marrying later or living together first, it’s a reality that they don’t need or want as many physical gifts. Help the happy couple fund their trip of a lifetime and make amazing memories!

Heath Ceramics: Beautiful handmade ceramics ranging from vases and decorative items to functional tile and dinnerware.

JuliBox: If you know the happy couple is into craft cocktails, this is a fantastic gift that supplies unique monthly boxes of booze – enough for two people to have two different cocktails!

Register for Activities: Tickets to Jazz Fest, for example, or a dinner at a fancy restaurant, a wine tasting excursion or a baseball game. Create a custom registry of fun couples things to do in your first year of marriage!

Etsy: Has an easy-to-use wedding registry feature so you can make sure you’re getting the one-of-a-kind gifts you hope for!

 

For the new homeowner:

Wine Clubs: Are a great way to be party-ready (or just everyday-ready?!) at all times. If you aren’t sure about all the random wines you may get from wine clubs, you could always register for a membership at a specific vineyard.

Angie’s List: Ask for a membership to Angie’s List and you’ll be thrilled you did it later. I can tell you from experience, it’s hard to find good help around the home, especially if you are one of only a few homeowners in your immediate circle of friends!

Netflix: A gift subscription to Netflix is a great gift for people who will be home, decorating, painting and generally getting settled into a new space.

 

For the parents-to-be:

Stay local, y’all: You’re more likely to get personalized help and advice. You’ll be able to order exactly what you want, without worrying if it’s in stock or not. In New Orleans, ZukaBaby is a fantastic choice, complete with parenting and nutrition classes for the community.

Cloth diaper delivery service: Pick something local to you, but in New Orleans, family-run Better Bottoms is available.

College savings plans: Look into the 529 Savings & Prepaid plans, for example. Or start a high-interest savings account or purchase savings bonds. Or do a flash drive with Deposit A Gift.

 

On a side note…

If you are getting married sometime soon, then you might want to check out #BridalBabble and #WeddingWednesday hashtags on Twitter on Wednesdays at 4pm EDT. It’s a great collection of wedding industry professionals and brides and grooms who tweet-chat about pressing questions, concerns and tips for the big day!

Happy gift-getting!

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What Now for the Not-so-Alternative, Alternative Couple?

design, weddings

The other day I received word from one of my favorite wedding inspiration blogs that I probably shouldn’t advertise with them because my style of wedding design isn’t quite “aligned” with what their readership is looking for. I love this broad generalization, because I patronized their website when I was getting married! Regardless, it was a nice way of saying “thanks, but no thanks.” While I appreciate their candor and also the fact that they aren’t taking money from me while secretly knowing it would result in zero return on my investment, the correspondence has me thinking:

Where do the non-traditional couples, who aren’t quite “alternative” fit on the wedding spectrum?

I like to think I can create something for any type of bride or groom. I have had clients in most of the 50 states and a few areas of Europe. My pieces range from “southern” and sophisticated to totally loud, mish-mashes of themes. What I love most about my happy couples is that every single one of them comes away with a completely unique product! Weddings are about expressing how the couple feels about one another and creating an inviting space for the guests. A lot of the blogs out there today make couples feel like they have to fit into a mold in order to have the picture-perfect wedding that could be featured in a magazine. This is not true! There is a lot to be gleaned from the traditional, on-trend wedding blogs out there, but it’s easy to let them sway you into thinking you must pay a million dollars for your wedding to look like what is popular now.

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For the rest of you, paying for your weddings largely yourselves, wanting a unique experience for your friends and family, hoping to be able to have money leftover for the rest of life and working full time jobs that leave little time for DIY days, my hope is that you find something on the Fried Green Blog and in my design that fits your budget and gives you peace of mind in your wedding planning.

I’m speaking to you:

1. You don’t want to go into debt over your wedding, but love high quality details.

2. You want a unique experience that people remember for years to come.

3. You love personalization, but aren’t necessarily design-y or crafty on your own.

4. You aren’t in this for the cookie-cutter aspect of having a wedding.

It’s important to remember that your wedding stationery (among everything else!) reflects you and your future spouse, not trends, blogs or what’s popular on Pinterest. There’s a large, beautiful area between the wedding extremes (the space between comic book themes and misty-lacy-vintage) and I feel like that’s the area where most of us fit. It’s an area that is affordable, expressive, fun and approachable with fewer couple-disputes over what the big day looks like and costs. It’s a place for the non-alternative, alternative couples. Maybe you call it “non-traditional” or “modern.” You know who you are.

The internet can be an overwhelming place where you begin to feel obligated to conform to the trends, but I can attest that some of the happiest brides and grooms I have worked with have been the ones that bucked the trends and created an experience that was all their own. Forget what you’ve been told and head down the aisle in your own special way! You’ll thank me, your future spouse will thank me and you’ll have people talking about how special and memorable your wedding was for years to come.

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New Projects and Graphic Design Web Bits

branding, design, design inspiration, fine arts, freelance, guerilla art, outdoor art, weddings

Things are heating up in New Orleans, and the graphic design projects keep coming – each project fabulous and each client amazing. I seriously cannot ask for better clients. Recently, I had the opportunity to work with ISeeChange on some branding items (logo not included) for an event they took part in. I love what they are doing to try to get every one of us involved in climate change from a local, grassroots level. It’s social, it’s fun and it’s important! Check out Julia and her fantastic team and see what they have going on at ISeeChange.org.

I also got to see the finished product for the shaving soap labels I worked with Sweet Olive Soap Works on. I love, love, love her products and was super excited to design these labels! Check out her fantastic array of natural skin care products.

new orleans shaving soap

I shipped off the last of a wedding package I designed for a fantastic couple in Virginia. They had the most unique and inspiring ideas to use for the designs. I am extremely pleased with the way everything turned out. Look for a post dedicated just to their items soon!

new orleans wedding graphic design

If you have some time to do some perusing online, I came across a few design-y articles I thought y’all might enjoy!

More Tips for Your Big Day!

design, freelance, weddings

If you’ve been following for any length of time, you know I love a good wedding. I love the details, the sparkles, the happiness, the fancy shoes. Though wedding season in New Orleans never really takes a break (some of the best weddings in our city are winter weddings!), wedding season is ramping up in the frostier parts of the country and I’m working with some amazing brides and grooms this spring who are throwing truly unique parties to celebrate their love! I can’t wait to see how they all turn out.

I wanted to share with you an updated list of things to think about to make your big day even more special and memorable for you and your guests. Last summer, I shared with you a few Tips for the Modern Wedding that I think are still super relevant. I wanted to expand on that list, so keep reading for my next few Tips for the Modern Wedding!

Minimize the number of vendors you pick out of thin air.

  • By this I mean, did you pick a vendor out of an internet search list? There’s nothing wrong with that, but once you find a vendor you love (say, a photographer) you might want to see if they can recommend a related vendor, like a videographer.
  • Your stationer might know an embroiderer and screen printer, your caterer may know a great florist, etc.
  • Vendors love giving their amazing vendor friends and colleagues referrals,which can drastically cut down the time you spend searching blindly on the internet and hoping for the best.
  • Your vendors are getting to know your taste and wedding style, so they will be able to help steer you toward appropriate and related services.

Boozing on a budget? Crowdsource your choices!

  • When my husband and I got married, we decided to leave liquor off the table, mainly for the sake of our booze budget. We had our wedding in the heart of Virginia wine country and had a hard time choosing wines for our 100+ guests to enjoy for an entire evening. Our solution was to hold a tasting at our home a few months before the wedding.
  • We bought a wide variety of single bottles from our favorite vineyards around the state and did a blind tasting and light snacks with some friends who had varying tastes in wine. We ended up with two reds and two whites that were overwhelming favorites, but not necessarily what we would have picked on our own.
  • These wines, along with a keg of local brew, were plenty to keep our guests dancing and happy all night! (And we had yummy leftovers for several months!)
  • Another option we considered was limiting to wine and beer and one signature cocktail. This is another way to skirt the big budget booze and still have all the options. Find a cocktail that represents something special to you as a couple, or splurge on both “his” and “hers” themed options.
  • Remember, pre-mixed cocktails in a carafe or pitcher is best if you are skipping the bartender altogether. Ask your caterer if they will do the mixing for a small fee!

Put those maids to work. Nicely, of course!

  • Host a wine and cheese party and have your bridesmaids help you with DIY decorations, pre-cutting ribbons for chairs, handmade signage, painted mason jars, and all kinds of other tasks. Remember not to overdo and scare your lovely maids off, but one or two Pinterest parties would be really fun!
  • This is also an easy way to include junior maids if you’ve gone that route. It can be challenging to find a way to make them feel included, without taming your bachelorette party or skimping on the fancy lingerie gifts.

Don’t be afraid to have your guests DIY.

  • Pour your own beer and wine is no longer tacky in this day and age! Add some ice buckets to your centerpiece and then no one has to get up during dinner.
  • Buffets are amazing for both budget and ease of use – and the bonus is that you can easily appeal to picky eaters and food allergies.
  • Photo booths are amazing for capturing your guests all night without having to pay a photographer and assistant for the whole event – the prints also make a great take-home gift.
  • I’ve loved the idea of having many small vases/jars of flowers as the guest seating cards. When all your guests grab them and sit, they form one big arrangement on the table! This would work well with potted plants too – which could double as a take-home!

My favorite part about modern weddings is the lack of rules. Everyone can ditch tradition, guilt-free, and have a totally unique wedding! Remember to enjoy the planning, it should be fun!

Fresh Off of Winter Break!

design, design inspiration, galleries, invitations, Uncategorized, weddings

I don’t know about you all, but my winter was consumed by being a hermit. I cannot express how excited I am to see the light at the end of the super cold tunnel! Wedding season is getting into full swing and I’m working on some amazingly fun projects this spring! I can’t wait to see what else 2014 holds for me. How are y’all doing? I would love to hear what exciting things you have going on this new year!

I can’t believe it’s been since before Thanksgiving that I’ve written, but it was a much needed break, and I’m getting into a serious routine over here. I’ve begun graduate school at University of New Orleans in the Arts Administration program – a goal I’ve had for years, but have only just acted on. So far, it’s fun, if busy, but I’m enjoying every minute and soaking up every bit of information I can. If there’s one piece of advice I can give you in life, it’s when an opportunity presents itself, you need to take it!

Other than school, I’ve been working on a few new projects that aren’t quite to the point of sharing, but they are very exciting. I’ve also been making an effort to get out and see more art, and finally made it down to the Contemporary Arts Center. I also stopped by the Before I Die wall outside the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, which is the next museum on my list of places to stop in.

Before I Die Wall

I took a couple recent trips around the Royal Street galleries, and these dioramas caught my attention in the windows of the Antieau Gallery:

antieau gallery

antieau gallery royal street

We took a Thanksgiving trip to Birmingham, Alabama and came across an incredible book store downtown full of vintage maps and advertisements and more paperbacks than you could imagine. The whole downtown has such a specific vibe. It was a really great trip.

birmingham bookstore

birmingham poster

And of course, I’ve been busy adding to the Fried Green Etsy shop and creating custom pieces. Please don’t hesitate to ask about custom work. I am thrilled to work with new clients and help solve your design problems! Also, I’m now on Instagram! Let’s be friends! @FriedGreenEmily

fried green design robot invitation

fried green design cards

fried green design wedding invitation

 

Stay tuned for wedding tips later in the week! I have some brand new ideas and tricks I’ve picked up to help you prep for your big day!

 

 

 

Design is Everywhere

design, design inspiration, freelance, guerilla art, invitations, outdoor art, weddings

My whirlwind summer has come to a close and I’m settling into some really fun graphic design projects. I just wanted to take a little time to share a few snapshots from my last several months of absence from the blog! Design is everywhere, so as you make your way around every day, seize the opportunity to find the beautiful in the mundane. If you keep your eyes open and your head up from your smart-thing-of-choice, you never know what you might see!

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I cannot confirm this as a Banksy – because it seems to lack the telltale environmentally integrative storytelling – but this prisoner of Warner Brothers and Paramount (as indicated on the black balls) was spotted in the Marigny just off Frenchmen Street one evening while I walked on a street I’d not taken before. Either way, it was unexpected, clever and has been deemed important enough by someone to cover it with plexi. I love how ruthless New Orleanians are getting in the fight for decent renegade street art. There was a great live discussion recently at Nola.com with local muralist Brandan Odums and nola.com’s Doug MacCash. You can read my own loud mouth opinions over there too. I was particularly struck by the term “low brow” being tossed around last year at the G40 Art Summit in Richmond, Va and have been contemplating the idea ever since. Why would one type of art be more low brow than another? Is it style, environment, artist, concept, simply personal taste? Where is the line?

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This beauty was spotted in the Lower 9th Ward recently, and I had to get a quick, slightly blurry, snap of it. I’ve seen similar work around town and am always fascinated by the amount of detail and symmetry.

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Now, is this clarinet “high brow” since it’s on a hotel in the middle of a tourist district? And because it’s there to mark a space of historical importance? I digress… It was well crafted and I love the scale, either way.

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I’ll close my graffiti rant post with this one that is probably not terribly new to Richmond anymore, but was new to me last weekend. Greg Mike mural at 821 Cafe. I’d love to have some time to go visit all the new pieces that have been installed in Richmond since I moved!

Changing subjects, now that these items have been mailed out, I can share with you a set of wedding invitations I designed for an amazing couple out west:

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And a new set of wedding invitations I’m working on for a fantastic pair of transplanted Virginians:

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So much more to come! The fall is shaping up to be really exciting!

If you’re in the New Orleans area, there is a great speaking engagement tonight at Design WIthin Reach on Magazine by the lovely folks who run Good Fucking Design. I’m hoping to be able to check it out!

Tips for the Modern Wedding

design, invitations, weddings

I’m really getting into the wedding spirit over here! I shipped out my latest creations to an amazing couple in South Dakota this morning. I’ll post photos after I know they’ve had a chance to mail them out – I don’t like to be a spoiler! The invitations incorporate the wedding colors and the couple’s love of outdoors. I’m also finishing up a poster for a “thumbprint guestbook” for the same wedding. It’s going to be beautiful!

I thought I’d take this opportunity to give some tips for the modern couple. There are a lot of amazing trends out there right now, and I wanted to highlight a few of my favorites for y’all! These are great ways to support local and small businesses, keep up with modern trends and also make wedding planning easy for you (and future couples!).

Get connected! For couples who are connected and have very connected friends and family, I recommend adding a suggested hashtag (like #MonroeWedding 0r #ScottEmilyBigDay) to your wedding website or program. If you have friends and family far and wide, the folks who can’t make it to your ceremony can keep up with your smartphone-equipped guests all day on Vine, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Make the most of local vendors. When my husband and I were planning our wedding, we knew we were going to be moving to New Orleans at some point, so we wanted to incorporate elements of the city into our down home Virginia farm wedding. We have a friend here in New Orleans who makes handmade soaps out of natural ingredients and we felt like her craft fit with our natural, recycled, vintage feel and would make the perfect guest favor. Think about your surroundings and geographic region. What are the local treats, specialties and artisans in the area? How about a crab boil kit with Old Bay seasoning and a custom wooden mallet for weddings in the Baltimore area? Or beeswax candles for an Ohio wedding? I’m a big fan of useful favors – something that won’t just sit on a shelf.

(Images from Laser Beam Creations and Honeyrun Farm)

Indulge in the vintage trends. My favorite thing we did for our wedding was skip the tableware rentals. Years ago, I was a cater-waitress and bartender and saw just how much rentals can cost. I decided that I was happy to pay for table cloth rentals – those can add up if you purchase on your own and rental tables are huge. We found bamboo picnic plates (again, we got married in outside and had the reception in barn!) in two sizes and purchased silverware in mismatched sets at thrift stores. If bamboo isn’t your thing, think about purchasing mismatched china at thrift stores as well. If you are patient, you can even find Fiesta Ware second-hand in various colors (cheaper than online!) that will look like a matched set! What do you do with the vintage goods after the wedding? Donate it back to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. For a fraction of the cost of renting, you’ve basically made a charitable donation with your wedding money and had a unique set of dishes for your big day.

Be kind to the environment. In addition to recycling stations at weddings, I’m seeing a lot of “living centerpieces” which I love! For our wedding, we chose to support a local “pick your own” flower farm in my hometown just outside the DC area, where we felt the environmental impact was low, it was good for the bees, good for the local economy and the flowers were not being shipped in from Central and South America, like many popular tropicals. Consider cut flowers from your region when selecting arrangements. But the green alternative is to have a living arrangement – like potted miniature roses, cyclamen or hydrangeas. These come in a variety of colors and can be grown in green houses so you can find them blooming year round. If you’re on a tight budget, stick with greens – ivy, succulents, ferns, clover, shamrock plants  – or things that you could grow at home from seeds or bulbs like paperwhites, herbs, ornamental kale, chard and lettuce, or do a long trough of wildflowers from seed. Just be sure to read the package and make sure the germination time works with your schedule. You could always solicit help from a local nursery or florist. Living arrangements also make great guest favors!

Last but not least, help future couples out! And help your beloved vendors out too! Review anything and everything you use (venues, florists, suppliers, stationers, etc.) and always credit your photographer/designer/dressmaker/other artisan when you post pictures on social sites. It’s a nice thing to do and it helps future couples pick out great vendors too! You can find review spots on individual websites/blogs, Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, Google, Bing and lots of other wedding-specific blogs and magazine websites. Spread the love!

Goodbye Carnival, Hello Wedding Season!

branding, design, freelance, invitations, letterpress, poster, printing, weddings

Hello and hope you all made it through Mardi Gras with lots of throws to show for it! I had an amazing first Mardi Gras and I even claimed my Zulu coconut and one for my man too, since he had to work on Mardi Gras Day. I can’t wait until next year! I will be far more prepared with costumes next time around!

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photo photo[1]

I also bumped into this little street art piece somewhere along the parade route:

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This person’s work keeps popping up around town and I’m intrigued. I’d like to know a little more and will keep you posted if I find anything out!

But the real story today is that Carnival Season is officially over and February 15 marked the unofficial, official start to wedding season! I love weddings because I get to help brides and grooms design a little piece of their history and something that their closest friends and family have been waiting to receive in the mail since the couple’s big announcement! Invitations are the first teaser for your big day that will set the tone for the whole party. I love the challenge to create a piece that speaks for and about the happy couple on their happiest of days.

Over the last several years, I have spent a lot of time looking at amazing wedding sites and blogs, and I’m going to give you all a list of my favorites, which are especially nice for the DIY-type of couple in this budget-conscious age. But these are also great for finding resources local to you for your big day. If wedding shows in a big convention center hall aren’t your thing, these are great for finding local vendors from the comfort of your own home. So, without further adieu, here are a few of my favorite blogs:

Stylemepretty.com
Greenweddingshoes.com
100layercake.com/blog
Beau-coup.com/blog
Kissthegroom.com
Oncewed.com
Snippetandink.com
Thebridescafe.com
Weddingchicks.com
Thesweetestoccasion.com

And here’s the best bit of wedding collateral advice I can give you: Do not sign up for The Knot and their “free” wedding website option. They will spam you for the rest of your life and then their sister publication The Nest will do the same. I had a fantastic time using MyWedding.com for my personal wedding website. I highly recommend it and they do not spam your inbox for years and they have a really classy assortment of templates.

Most of the above blogs and sites can be found on Pinterest as well, for easy stocking and storing of wedding goodies. And of course, I would love to chat with you about custom wedding invitations – I can work with all budgets and styles of printing (high end cotton papers with letter press, offset printing on pearls and metallics, digital printing with recycled papers, print-at-home, you name it!) for invitations, wedding posters, table cards, and anything else printed that you can dream up! Check out templates at the Fried Green Etsy site, or email me directly at emily(at)friedgreendesign(dot)com to talk about custom pieces!

Happy wedding season!

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Website Redesign: Make Sure You Enjoy It

branding, business, design, emarketing, weddings

I’m having a really fun time searching for the perfect web designer for my day job website redesign. I’ve gotten to meet some really great designers and learn a lot about local firms and have seen some really impressive work, both on the front end that visitors use and the back end that only the administrators see. I’ve already learned a lot about what is available to customize back ends these days, and it’s come a long way since we launched our site almost six years ago.
I’m also learning a lot about what a site in the construction industry needs to both function appropriately and stand out in a very traditional and generally conservative industry. What I’ve learned in my time with my company is that our industry tends to take longer to change its ways with respect to strategies surrounding marketing and business development. We took while catching up to other industries in social media, for example, and many many construction and engineering companies also still operate with very basic websites that really just serve as contact pages.
So what’s a girl to do? Well, I started researching outside the construction industry for site ideas that would translate well in our world. I found some things that more creative-types and universities are doing to drive traffic to their sites, become an expert in their fields and highlight the latest and greatest work they’ve created. These are all things we need our site to do. I want the site to be intuitive, have movement but not take forever to load, make visitors want to dig deeper, and become an extension of our company by providing useful information that’s easy to access. I want the website to be our newest, most interesting employee.
Some sites I’ve recently been fawning over in our industry are:
Belt Collins
NTH Consultants
WATG
Ramsa
James Silverman
But we definitely want to make our site our own, so you won’t be seeing any copycats, I promise you that!
This process has made us take a closer look at what makes our company tick. We’ve taken a good hard look at who we are and where we are headed through some great strategic planning events. Here are some things I’d recommend you discuss with your cohorts before engaging in any web design/redesign:
1. What is your mission? You need a firm, formal statement, even if it doesn’t appear on your site. Sometimes this is deeply personal to your company, but your site needs to reflect the mission in every way, even if it’s not spelled out in words. Your site should feel like your mission.
2. Who are your people? Your firm represents a group of individuals who come together for eight hours a day to reach a goal. Be realistic about your team and don’t make any promises on your site that your staff can’t or won’t back up.
3. What do you give to your clients? I mean this literally and more philosophically. Your brand is nothing more than the perception that your clients have of you. So if you think you give your clients one thing and they think something totally different, you need to address this and potentially mitigate discrepancies before presenting any hollow claims.
Did I mention how fun this process is? It might sound daunting, but it really is fun. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and your goals. And if you’re not having fun in the process, then you should probably address that too!

In unrelated news, I got my new business cards back from the printer! Thanks Wythken for the awesome and quick job printing!

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Branding Your Big Day

branding, business, design, freelance, music, printing, Uncategorized, weddings

Today’s post is of particular interest to me because 1.) I got married two months ago and 2.) I would love to start heavily marketing this portion of my design repertoire. I love a good wedding and I really love it when the couple goes the extra mile to make the day as unique as possible. So many weddings are cookie cutter, with wedding planners cutting time and expense by using the same motifs over and over, but what I think we’re seeing more of these days is the DIY Bride. And in some cases, even a DIY Groom.

DIY is great for the couple on a budget. There are one million blogs out there (message me if you want a list!) from which to extract little bits of creative goodness for table settings, guest gifts, decor and lighting and endless other details. One place I hate to see couples skimp is in the paper products department – but I don’t mean toilet paper. Save-the-date cards and invitations are the first glimpse guests get of the type of wedding you’re going to have and the overall vibe they will be expecting when they arrive. Custom invitations that go beyond the standard “our colors are purple and pink and the script-y font means formal” can really make your invitation stand out among the hoards of other wedding invitations the average 25 year old former sorority girl receives in a wedding season.

I really love the idea of “branding” your wedding, which can be done on a tighter budget than you might imagine. We branded the living hell out of our wedding since I am a designer/marketer by trade and nature. But it wasn’t tacky and we received a lot of compliments on the little extra effort in making it very personalized to us as a pair.

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Before I set out to create these materials, I thought long and hard about what it was that brought us together. Among the many qualities I thought of that link us, I found that the root of our relationship was music. We met through music and stayed in touch with one another over the years through live music and we eventually bonded for good at a music event. Scott plays the trumpet, so I went very literal with the music theme. The quote on the save-the-dates was personal for me and people that know me well, thus a mix of our two lives was right there in graphic form. I decided that I could never narrow down a color palette, so we went with many colors which later translated into a beautiful display of seasonal, fresh picked wild flowers for bouquets and tables.

The invitations were next. I decided to make a mini music poster that was revealed when the subdued outside of the invitation was opened. I used actual photos of us doin’ what we do (anyone who knows us knows how I dance and has seen Scott play) and from the photos I drew the silhouettes. We also wanted to cut down on the number of questions about what to wear and would there be dinner and should I bring my dancing shoes, so we put in a lot more text than many people do. This touch isn’t for everyone, but we felt it was necessary for our wide variety of guests.

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Beyond the save-the-dates and invitations, I created labels for our guest gifts (soaps handmade in New Orleans by the fabulous Emily owner of Sweet Olive Soap Works!), return address labels, and “mad libs” with a wedding theme for guests to fill out at the tables.

With the outrageous price of cookie cutter invitations, I would recommend to any couple that they should spend the money on good design and personal touches over too many inserts and crazy heavy weight paper any day. We cut costs by using a local printer that gave me a great deal – Wythken Printing here in Richmond. If you cant work out a deal for your items, you can see if your printer will cut the price if you have all the components printed at once. Or you can order nice paper online and take it to your local Kinkos-type print shop and print it yourself.

I designed and then ordered the return address labels at Vistaprint and bought blank envelopes to stick them on. For the send-to addresses, I used my same wedding fonts from everything else and printed them on white labels on my printer at home.

I’m in the process of putting together a customizable invitation package for couples tying the knot – incorporating the individual silhouettes idea, among other ideas. If you’re interested, I’d love to talk!