Sunday, February 6, 2011


As promised during my mini session at yesterday's Something New Wedding Fair, below is the "transcript" {notes is probably a better word} of my talk about branding your wedding. If you were there, thanks for coming. I hope I helped. If you weren't able to attend, hopefully you can use the information below to help you plan your wedding stationery. I am happy to answer questions in the comments.

Custom design can be an exciting and daunting process. When done successfully the final stationery will be something that is both meaningful and beautiful not just pretty. This session will give you some things to think about and ideas to consider when talking to a designer about branding your wedding. I will use some of my invitations as examples as well as give you general approaches to branding or using a theme for your wedding stationery.

branding with COLOR:
It could be that your venue has a strong color component, or that you love a certain color of your favorite flowers, maybe the first gift your guy gave you was a certain color or maybe you have a signature color that is totally you. Whatever the colors are there will be certain styles that will naturally go with the color. Do those styles reflect you? If not, how can you make sure that the color and your style are resonant? The proper compliment to the color, or maybe instead of a bright you use a tint or shade of the color

branding with PLACE:
If you are getting married in a place with a strong brand most of the work may be done for you. Mill City Museum, The Walker, the Varsity Theatre, for example, all have strong looks for themselves, picking one or two elements from your venue to play up in your stationery and other pieces will tie everything together into a theme.

branding with TIME:
The timing of your wedding could be all you need to brand your stationery. Do you love spring time blooms or images of the fall harvest. Will these things be front and center in your wedding?

branding with TRADITION:
If yours is a family with strong wedding or family traditions playing these up in stationery and wedding theme can tie you to your own {or his own} history. Maybe you don't want to wear your mom's wedding gown but the lace on it is divine and you want to play that up in your stationery, flowers and cake for example. Or maybe your family has a Sunday morning tradition of doing crosswords over cinnamon rolls and coffee. Sounds like the perfect favor material: a get to know the couple crossword and some mini cinnamon rolls. The biggest thing here is to explain the traditions you plan on using as they may seem obscure to outsiders.

branding with NARRATIVE:
Do the two of you have a special story together? Most couples do whether it's a great story about how you met or how he popped the question. Or maybe it's your common love of science fiction novels or the fact that you both adore art. Whatever the story it can be played up in wedding stationery.

Kristin & Darren {above}
Though the entire suite is custom work, the inside jokes and special dates arranged in a cd favor is the piece that truly "Introduces the Garretts". Favors were set on each place setting and served not only as favors but as conversation starters for guests.

Laura & Jeremy
Laura and Jeremy go to the farmers market together often. Jeremy always buys Laura either peonies or dahlias which serve as a back drop of this invitation suite and it's creative layout.

Donna & Rob
Loved that the ginkgo symbolizes longevity and strength. They knew they were going to give bronzed ginkgo leaves as a favor and let that dictate use of ginkgos in their stationery.

Communication with your designer is key.
If you're going the custom route with your wedding stationery, there are some things to keep in mind when communicating with your designer:

1. Have some vendors pinned down before talking about your stationery. Colors, venue, flowers anything that you may want reflected in your stationery should be decided.

2. Know what you like and what you don't like. Have verbal and VISUAL examples of both.

3. Be thorough and honest. Tell your designer everything there is to know about you and what you want for your wedding and it's stationery. Answer questions thoroughly and honestly. The designer doesn't know you, don't make assumptions about what they should know about you. If it's important to you, make sure your designer knows about it. A good designer will ask questions and will want you to be happy with your design.

4. Custom design takes time. Get the stationery process started 2-3 months before you want to SEND the invitations out. Earlier if you want save-the-dates that coordinate with your invitations.

Though branding sounds like such a corporate word to describe wedding stationery, it really does help to think of it that way. Branding is a way to communicate a single thought, theme and feeling. That is exactly what you want your stationery to do.

I was talking today about custom design, but I think considering what we have talked about today before looking for pre-designed invitations will also help you narrow down the many choices out there, as well as allowing you to have wedding stationery that is representative of you.

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