Hey y’all, it’s our first post! What better way to start off the blog than with a cool project that we did when we first got engaged. We’re going to take you behind the scenes to show our process for designing our wedding save the dates and invitations! We’ll show you how and why we concepted everything from the general ideas, down to the specific executions.
When we got engaged, we knew that we didn’t want to go the standard-uber-cutesy-peeking-out-from-behind-a-tree route when it came to announcements and engagement photos. That’s not really us and we wanted to do something a little more meaningful, that could be fun and have a broader stretch than just a photo. In brainstorming, we decided that we wanted the concept to go the route of the old movie industry. Something we both love and spend a decent amount of time immersed in. Me being a designer and photographer, I knew that this could be a fun project to not only design, but photograph all of the elements involved. We decided to make a mock movie poster as our save the date, and a movie ticket as the wedding invite. Bringing the concept full circle for all involved.
We got started by digging through the internet to find typography, old movie posters, portrait poses, color combinations, etc that we really liked. From there, we made some mood boards with all of the samples of art and styles that we could mimic.
We worked on a few different rough poster layouts that we knew would work with Rachel as the hero, her ring, and of course a group shot of us. We had to think of some clever headlines that could also double as a mock movie title, along with some nice copy taking real elements of our lives and making them sound like the plot of the “movie.” We landed on “Getting Married” as the title and this as our subhead: “She was a Nashville girl who loved traveling the world. When she moved to Milwaukee, she didn’t think it would end in Love.” After all of that, we needed to find some props. We checked out plenty of thrift and antique stores in search of the perfect 50s dress and and old suitcase, which would play into the concept. Once that was found, we were able to make time for the photoshoot.
As usual, in lieu of a proper studio, I’ll often turn our living room into a working space. Move a couple pieces of furniture, and you soon have all the space you need to pull off a proper, high end shoot. Beautiful model included!
We ran the gamut of capturing Rachel in a ton of different poses that felt like they could have been from a real photoshoot from the 50s. Then we moved on to capture ourselves in a pose reminiscent of old film-noir. Complete with a guy wearing a suit and a fedora, protecting the lady by his side. The photos were shot in color, knowing that we would then convert them to black and white and add some custom colors on top. You can see that Rachel’s original dress was tan, but I changed it later to a salmon color to fit the vibe a little better.
From there, I spent a decent amount of time digging into photoshop and essentially building up all of the color on top of those black and white images by hand. It was a long process, but one that I knew was worth it to pull of the authentic, retro feel of the “poster.” As mentioned before, I changed Rachel’s dress to a different color, also added in darker nail polish, and bumped up the look of the colors to make everything quite a bit more saturated. Oversaturated colors seemed to be a staple amongst all the old movie posters that we came across in our research.
After that was finished, I added in all of the copy, taking time to customize some type, add in the engagement ring, and roughen everything up with a little noise and texture so it didn’t feel so clean. We wanted it to look like it could have been hand printed , so I even made some of it look a little off registration to add to the realism.
Next up was the actual wedding invitation. We went back and forth a ton…Should they be standard, classic invites? Should they have the same flowery feel that the Save the Date postcard side had? Should they be more literal keeping in the “movie” theme? Rachel had mentioned a movie ticket as an option. I thought it was too cheesy, and was just too much, even though we played up the concept for the Save the Date. The more we thought about it, it just made sense. We even put “Premieres April 2015” on the announcement. Once we narrowed it down to the movie ticket, things really started to fall into place. We could make a cool, somewhat interactive piece, tie it into our overarching concept, and even save some money by incorporating the RSVP’s into the same card as the invite!
Again, we got started researching retro typography, printing styles, old movie tickets from the 40s and 50s, and pulled examples for some mood boards from the internet.
Knowing that this would be a unique piece, it didn’t need to directly follow what had already been done in the world. We also knew that we wanted it to feel significant, so having thick stock and going the letterpress printing route was the perfect solution. Our buddy Adam over at Clunk Supply pulled through and did a great job with all of the printing.
So there it all is in a nutshell. We spent a little time digging into our own interests, developing an overarching concept that illustrated those, and executed it accordingly. It was something that kept us both involved with the wedding planning, and made something that would normally be stressful, super fun and exciting. Doing projects like these aren’t always about doing the coolest, most ground breaking things. It’s about the team work and growing that you can do together while learning some new things! It definitely helped us to step out of the box of doing just what was expected. Engagement photos and wedding invites don’t have to be boring and just like everybody else’s. Do what you want!
CJ + Rachel