How did I brand the biggest day of my life?
The biggest days of my life… There’s certainly has been a few. The birth of my children was two of them, meeting my wife was another but the main big event that everyone would associate with “the biggest day of my life’ has to be my wedding day.
The brief was simple and from my two most difficult clients – my wife to be and my mother in law.
The invitation needed to look good and it needed to be easy for people to RSVP.
Now being a designer that provides me with a ‘biggest day of my life’ challenge. I have the tools, the knowledge and the experience to create great literature for my clients. I have the logistical knowledge of making it happen within a certain timeframe and hitting very tight deadlines, been there and worn the t-shirt. I even have the know how to produce the end result in a very cost effective manner but when it comes to designing something that is very personal to me, my (now) wife and sharing it with people whom I have know for years, it was a different matter altogether.
As all designers around the world would agree… we’re are never happy with what we produce. Not in the way of the quality of the design piece or the idea behind it, more in the case of it needs a tweak here and a tweak there or how would the text look at little bigger, if I moved the logo there how would it affect the look or how about a new image altogether – I think you get the picture.
The main reason for this is that we have conditioned ourselves to always help our clients improve how their business looks in terms of branding and online presence and when it comes to ourselves we are our own ambassadors of what we offer to our clientele – so it needed to be perfect!
I looked at it as how would I provide a solution for a real-world business client who needed this for say an event that they wanted to promote. I thought of branding my wedding with a simple online solution where people could easily get in touch and say yay or nay.
The first issue was the theme and overall look…
For me that was easy. The venue we had hired for the day was a great quirky seafront place call The Pullman in Sunderland on the Seaburn coast. What was quirky about the venue was that it had actual Pullman train carriages on the front of and integrated into the actual venue. So the theme was famous trains, which tied in very nice with the idea of “All Aboard” and the of a start of a journey.
The next issue was the amount of people we had to invite.
As any bride or groom would tell you, say the word wedding at any venue and the price shoots up. You get offered packages allowing x amounts of people on the day and x amounts of people on the evening and if you wanted to go over that it was x amount per head. If you are on a budget like we were, the X amount becomes very important.
We were allowed a sum total of 50 people to turn up to the day part and up to 100 people to arrive at the evening element of the ceremony. Now the issue was how do you create an invite that would allow me and my wife to invite day people, who will attend both daytime and night time, and evening people who are there for the night time element of the day. I went with a simple solution of creating two invites. One of which I themed for the day time and the other which I changed the colouring so you could easily associate it with a night time element. I kept the invite information generic with the usual dates, times and venue, leaving a clear space so I could write the names on them.
The final issue was managing the response and how they respond.
For people to respond I looked at how they could respond in the easiest way possible. So I placed my contact details on the invite but further to that I also placed a website address on there. The web address pointed to a domain I had set up specifically for the wedding. On that domain I setup up a WordPress solution where the navigation was very simple. You had three choices, Wedding Day Guests, Wedding Party Guests and Venue information. I wanted people just to respond to what was relevant to them and not confuse them with anything else. On each of the Wedding Day or Party options, I gave them a simple form to fill out so they could easily RSVP their intention. I got an email sent over with who was coming to the day and night and who they were bringing with them. It was simple and it was very effective as I could update an excel sheet with who said yes and who said no. This allowed me to manage the numbers and sticking to the critical X amount of people. It worked very well and was very easy to manage. By the way forgot to mention that the website worked beautifully on mobiles and tablets as well so I made it even easier for people to reply.
It didn’t stop there with the branding though…
Not only did I brand the invites, envelopes and website I also moved the branding over to the table names and table plan which in my opinion looked great. Each of the table signs was named after famous trains such as Hogwarts Express, the Mallard etc and the table plan tied up with the names and the illustrations of each of the trains. It really looked nice and have to say was very proud of the final overall effect. The Pullman commented saying it was the best that they had seen. I also took it to the extreme of branding the speech. A bit much but hey it was the most important day of my life.
I won’t lie, it was a challenge but if you ever get the chance to brand your own wedding don’t be afraid to do it. I loved the whole process and in theory I would do it again, though I really don’t aim to anytime soon.