August 08, 2013

“As photographers, when we have a client who is a graphic designer, it can only mean two things – attention to detail and fabulous decor! When you ask us to picture the perfect couple, Sarah and Tony are it. Their engagement session took place at the ruins of the castle at Gibbet Hill Farm, the same location as their wedding. They brought along their pup Tucker and completely worked it! But hearing about all the DIY plans this beautiful bride has, makes us beyond EXCITED for their wedding!” – Prudente Photography

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“The second I got engaged, I immediately went to work looking for the perfect photographers. I have always been an artsy-kinda gal (Bachelors in Architecture and currently a Graphic Designer/Marketer for an Architecture firm in Boston) and I admitted to myself that it was going to be a tough challenge finding photographers that I felt lived up to my personal style.

In my search, I found a TON of different portfolios, and there was always a huge mix of styles. I knew what I didn’t want: NO “80’s glamor shot” type of photography. Oppositely, I knew I wanted photos that were storytellers, more of candid type of shots. To me, the story-telling-kinda-photos appear less staged, and more natural — like they are a fly on the wall catching true emotion of our love.

My fiancé is at times artistically challenged, but when I showed him the side by side comparison between “glamor shots” and “storyteller” photos, he agreed that we need to find storytellers. And then a miracle happened … HE found Jimmy and Anya (I was so proud of him!) of Prudente Photography. He started by Google-ing our wedding venue, Gibbet Hill in Groton, MA, and stumbled upon a wedding that they had previously photographed at the same venue. Not only did I LOVE their storytelling photos, but I saw the experience of previously shooting at the venue as a HUGE plus, because they would know how to get the best shots!

If our engagement photos are any sort of insight as to what our “storyteller” photos will be from the day of the wedding, I can absolutely NOT wait!

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The real question is what am I NOT DIY-ing? I can admit gladly that I am not DIY-ing any of the dresses or flower arrangements, but everything else I have grabbed by the reigns. I am literally doing everything from custom Ceremony Programs and Menus to a Guestbook and printable Photobooth props.  It may seem like a lot, but once I established what my theme was, and what the graphic theme would be for all printed collateral, it all fell together because all of them are just variations of the other. Below are some of my favorite wedding DIY projects that will be at my wedding and that my fiancé and I are personally doing together (did I mention how fun it is to do this together!?!):

  • TABLE SIGNAGE: Instead of table numbers, we are giving each table a name that is relatable to a story that Tony and I share together, for example: The UMass Table. With 18 tables, we needed 18 different names and wrote stories for each! At Ikea I amazingly stumbled upon the Tolsby frame which was only $1 (!!!!), and it’s double sided! With that, the front of the frame displays the table name and on the backside of the frame is the story behind the table name (UMass is where Tony and I met!) – now, sitting at the table will be enjoyable and insightful! Plus, maybe people will travel to other tables to see those names and stories!
  • MENUS/CEREMONY PROGRAM: I’m in Marketing, so it was hard for me not to continue to brand the style of my wedding through every piece of collateral. I wasn’t stopping at just the table names, so I used the same graphic style and fonts and created a menu for every place setting. In addition, I made a ceremony program that includes an overview of what the ceremony entails including all the names of the people in the wedding party, and a small section dedicated to those family members who passed away and couldn’t be there to share the day with us. Talk about making something personal!
  • BANNER FLAGS: I don’t think anything screams country like fabric banner flags. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time to sit behind my sewing machine and make a million fabric flags, so instead I turned to Adobe InDesign. I developed a triangle template with 5 different colors that complement the lavender accents used throughout different spots in the wedding. In addition, I replicated 5 fun retro/country patterns to use and overlay with each of the 5 colors. By creating just one template, I can duplicate that one page and print tremendous amount of them, cutting them out, and then hot-gluing them along a long piece a rope bought in a bundle from a local hardware store. Once all attached, I plan on dressing up the front of the Gifts Table, the Bars, and the Wedding Favor table, to add color and interest while also now further incorporating my brand and theme.
  • CARDS/GIFTS SUITCASE: Going to my favorite consignment store, I found this amazing vintage travel suitcase for $27. With a hard exterior, and a rough looking, wood interior, I bought an old book from the early 1900’s for $4. I then ripped out the pages and decoupage the pages to the inside of the suitcase to give it that old look and feel. With the suitcase open, I then printed another set of banner flags with letters overlaid that read “CARDS”, and drapes across from corner to corner. I absolutely love the way it turned out!
  • WEDDING FAVORS: Where there is “country” there will be Mason Jars. One day I had a great idea: let’s kill two birds with one stone by combining our guest’s wedding favors and have them also double as their place card. I figure, I can take a Mason Jar, make my own hang tags with the guest’s name and seat placement, and tie it to the jar. Turns out that logobarproducts.com exists and even better they make CUSTOMIZED bar products, specifically a Mason Jar mug! For under $3 a piece they are perfect. And I was able to add my own custom logo at no additional fee that matches to a logo that appears on my wedding menu, thus again tying it all together!
  • GUESTBOOK: Taking my engagement photos featured here, from the amazing Jimmy and Anya, I then went to my favorite book making website: blurb.com. Blurb is amazing … you download the program straight to your desktop and work on it from there. Everything is customizable. And then, when you are all done, you simply press ‘order my book’ and the book is sent electronically to their website where it is processes for production. Again, I figured I could create ONE book that contained all my photos, while putting them on display at the wedding, within a book that could also double as a guestbook. I alternated pages between full-bleed photos and pages that contained lines for people to write on. I was able to create everything page in InDesign to the size of the page, then upload the pages directly to my Blurb desktop program. It couldn’t have been easier. And the best part? The 13×11 hard cover, and bound book cost $80. I placed my order one night this week, and already the book is en route to me! To see a preview of the final book, click here.

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..Out of all the planning, all the designing and all the tiny little details, nothing will compare to seeing Tony as I walk down the aisle. To see his face, his reactions and to hold his hand – there is nothing I am looking forward to more!” – Sarah, the bride-to-be


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