Diary of a Designer Bride-to-Be : Save that Date!

Ok Tamsin. It’s your dream job! Designing wedding stationery for your OWN WEDDING! How exciting! Oh, the fun I’m going to have! Yipppeee….! But… wait…. erm, where’s the brief? I’m kind of feeling some pressure here… And where on earth am I supposed to start? And isn’t your Save the Date theme supposed to continue into your invitations and the whole of the rest of your entire stationery?! Cue PANIC!!!

Mr. R tentatively suggests just sending an email. A stationery designer ‘just’ sending an email. I give Mr. R a choice ‘look’ and emails aren’t mentioned again.

Fig. 1. Similar look given by me, Image via Google

Fig. 1. Similar look given by me, Image via Google

There are so many different avenues to go down when it comes to designing stationery and this left me feeling a little lost.  I am drawn to, and appreciate, such a varied spectrum of design styles that it’s difficult to know where to start. Without a brief! I decided that I wasn’t going to put myself under the pressure of deciding on the entire look, feel, theme and idea behind the rest of the stationery and instead just create a beautiful stand-alone Save the Date and worry about the rest later. (We are getting married close to Christmas so we needed to let people know as soon as possible!)

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*What should have happened. :The process started with me logically and leisurely compiling a mood board so I could take a considered approach to designing the Save the Date cards. I created three design options which I discussed sensibly with my partner and we jointly decided upon the most suitable concept and printing process. I calmly went through my selection of paper, card and board swatches and selected a beautiful stock and foil colour. The cards arrive back from the printer and I smiled sweetly and waited a few days until I posted them out.

Photograph by the wonderful Alex Carlile

Photograph by the wonderful Alex Carlile

*What really happened: I impatiently and spontaneously put pen to paper (or wacom tablet to Adobe Illustrator) . Only knowing the colour palette I wanted for the wedding I aimlessly started about ten different ideas all of which I stopped halfway through in a designer’s rage whilst muttering “oh god they’re all just CRAP!” to myself. Changed my mind a minimum of 12 times a day regarding the printing processes and finishes I wanted to go for.  After weeks of too-ing and fro-ing I finally decide upon a design and then spend three days drowning in, deliberating over and dreaming of GF Smith and Foilco swatch books. Ask Mr. R which grey he prefers to be answered with ‘well, they all look the same to me’. A tantrum ensues. “I’m in the wrong job” is heard more than once in my house. I decide after a while on a final combination and then spend the entire 2 weeks from sending to print to receiving them wringing my hands worriedly, wondering if I’ve made the wrong decision and whether the budget will allow for a set of reprints. The box arrives from the printers and I practically hit myself in the face while trying to open it and then pass out on the studio floor. I do a little scream in the studio to myself (a good scream!) and spend the rest of the day staring at the grey and coppery loveliness. I posted the Save the Dates the day after Valentine’s Day.

Oh, and then I then created a mood board for the project.

Disclaimer: Not actual advice.

Disclaimer: Not actual advice.

Sneak peek of my colour & texture mood board

Sneak peek of my colour & texture mood board

In the end I went with a design which sort of came organically to me. I am naturally drawn to working in silhouette form with organic florals and foliage, and I threw in a few subtle snowflakes for a December feel. I decided on a luscious 540gsm Colorplan Smoke Grey with letterpressed rose gold/copper foil (to tie in with the ring.)   I used those lovely people at Blush Publishing and can highly recommend their fabulous service. These were accompanied by 135gsm Colorplan Smoke Grey envelopes lined with 120gsm Perigrina Majestic Casino Gold pearlescent stock. Addresses were self printed onto the envelopes and sealed with a traditional copper coloured wax seal.

Hope you like the results!

Photo by Holly Booth Photography

Photo by Holly Booth Photography

Photo by Holly Booth Photography

Photo by Holly Booth Photography

Photo by Holly Booth Photography

Photo by Holly Booth Photography

Photo by Holly Booth Photography

Photo by Holly Booth Photography

*Note to existing and potential wedding stationery clients*. Please be advised that when I am designing for anyone other than myself,  I take the considered, rational approach but seem to have lost all sense of ‘sense’ when it comes to my own stationery!

Photo of the Save the Dates on the press at Blush Publishing!

Photo of the Save the Dates on the press at Blush Publishing!