Meet Megan and Neill. Beautiful couple cutting beautiful cake above. This happened last September on a farm in North Carolina...and I was lucky enough to get to work with them on their stationery. Ok, not them...but her, because, I quote, "his eyes gloss over at the mention of envelopes or watercolor," so for his sake, we left him out of it. (And I'm just going to go right ahead and say it...This.Rocked. With one or two rare exceptions - past experience has proved grooms and stationery do not and should not, mix. But remind me to elaborate on this another time).
One of my favourite things about Megan was that she knew exactly what she wanted from the start. Most people come with, or think they come with, a fairly certain idea of the style they're going for, but at some stage always stop to umm and ahh at a particular decision. "Hmmm...maybe we should go for hand lettering, no, type, wait, can we see that first option one more time? Just to compare?" (And please, don't mistake this for any judgment - with regard to anything for your big day, indecisiveness and uncertainty are totally understandable and I'm happy to show you any and all variations of options one and three over and over until you're sure). It's just that with Megan there was none of this. She sent a short sweet email describing the style of the wedding and included a link to the venue. "If you look through the photos, you'll see lots of cowboy hats and burlap and such," she said, "and while that's all lovely, it's not what I want." And then came one of my favourite lines ever..."I may be country, but my wedding won't be." Elegant, white, grey, a touch of blush, letterpress obviously, and most importantly, your handwriting. The instructions were clear, simple, unwavering.
Of course, just as we began working on the Save the Dates, I was going through a bit of a type (and specifically Didot) obsession...and sort of ummm, well, kept trying to sway her towards type instead of handwriting or calligraphy. But that sweet and unwavering response always came back the same: "while that's all lovely, it's not what I want." So handwriting it was. All the way through to the wedding invitation...and I mean here the entire wedding invitation, not, as it normally happens, just the bride and groom's names. So it goes without saying...that it became a very special, unique and memorable project. Not only because there ended up being dozens of handwritten options with dozens of my sneaky type ones in between...but because to this day, every time someone leafs through my portfolio, they stop at the gorgeously letter-pressed, watercolor framed, fully handwritten wedding invitation Megan insisted on, and go Woah. What. Is. That.
And because I never quite seem to "get it together" enough to sit down and print or do something with all the options that end up on the cutting room floor, I thought...this could make for a (laborious but) fun blog post! Somewhere in between her absolute certainty and my type obsession, we created a rather impressive volume of beautiful work. Think farm, not country, think fall in North Carolina, and fall in love...
Petals&Patterns: Save the Dates
Ok that was a lot of stationery. Let's take a break and look at that cake again. That CAKE!
How about type? Still no? A Few Invitation Concepts...
When it came to the invitations...I was still going through a bit of a type phase...lowercase to be specific...and also, clearly...a white stripe fetish. Funny how whatever I'm designing is always somehow informed by whatever else I'm designing at the same time...and I clearly recall working on a cool and cold Scandinavian style gig poster back then where the white stripes totally worked. In retrospect, I'm not sure how I feel about them here...but I'm definitely going to have to bring that wild vertical watercolour background back somehow. Love it! Of course, again...these were all "lovely," but not what Megan was looking for...so carry on scrolling to see the final, fully handwritten and letterpress printed invitation set below.
Your Handwriting: The Final Invitation Set!
I must have written that whole wedding invitation text out a hundred times. With pencil...with pen...with various calligraphy nibs...in various sizes...on various paper stocks. If we were in fact going for a handwritten invitation...I wanted it to look like exactly that - hand written. I didn't want it to look like it was done by a professional calligrapher who practices circles and swooshes all day long, I didn't want all the t's or r's to look the same, I didn't want it to look like it was a font. But attaining that "perfect" level of imperfection was um, torture. Sort of like when you're following a Jamie Oliver recipe and trying to serve it in that same rustic, delicious, carefree way it looks in the photo but end up with an unappetising pile of stuff, and then start over...one by one cherry tomato, one by one olive. (No? Is that just me? Anyway, that's how it felt.) But we got there in the end! As John Lennon once said, "Everything will be ok in the end. If its not ok, its not the end." I still remember the response, concise and sweet as ever..."Anja! This makes me so happy!"
In fact, she was so happy that she even finally conceded to one of my type options for the ceremony programme. Small caps Adobe Garamond Pro all the way through in a dark grey. The photo below is just a mock-up, the final was printed on natural white feltweave with rounded corners. And still to this day, every time I see this programme...I think, "This makes me so happy!"
And then I remember waking up on their wedding day and thinking, "Hey! I know! Today's Instagram post can be a congratulations message to Megan&Neill somehow featuring the calligraphy from their stationery." (Because sometimes it feels like that's what running a small business these days comes down to isn't it? "What am I going to post on Instagram today?" #fml #jk #sortof #noiloveit #reallyido)
And now that I think about it...it was probably this post that first got me really thinking about the idea of working on fabric. About sentences as lines, lines as layers, words as texture, but more on this another time. (There are some new cushions in the works!) Thanks for following this journey. I'll leave you with one of my favourite wedding photos yet. This gorgeous, grainy, black and white photo of a very happy, and very certain, moment.