Most designers I know love to create wedding invitations, but often find that certain parameters—cost, size, client requests—can limit creativity. That’s why some of the most unique invitations I’ve ever seen have been those designers create for themselves. I had that opportunity in 2013 after my fiancé Stephanie and I set a date for our September wedding.
Challenge: Some brides collect wedding ideas throughout their lives, focusing on venue, dress, bouquet designs, or decór. As a graphic designer, I had collected an entire file of ideas for my eventual wedding invitation. Once we finalized our plans, I had a week and a half to design the product.
“I had collected an entire file of ideas for my eventual wedding invitation. Once we finalized our plans, I had a week and a half to design the product.”
We wanted the theme of our wedding to involve doors and doorways, settling on the phrase “a love story about opening doors” as a title. We viewed our relationship as shutting doors on separate pasts and walking through a door into our new future together. I was faced with a several prominent questions: How could I capture our two personalities in a single, memorable, door-related piece? How could I assemble these long-treasured ideas and multiple sources of inspiration into one invitation without ending up with a Frankenstein’s monster of design? And how could I do that in a single card?
Solution: I quickly realized my vision wasn’t containable within the space of a traditional card invitation. Working closely with my preferred local printer, we decided on a multi-page book solution. The cover uses another phrase describing our relationship—”Dearly Be Loved”—which is a message to each of us to accept what the other has to offer. I used three symbols throughout the booklet invitation: a doorway, a key, and a tree representing new life. Cross elements representing our faith are hidden in the key, as is our monogram. A few of these elements appear throughout the coated linen pages using clear ink and silver foil in order to subtly reflect the light.
Throughout, we alternated photos of Stephanie looking at me and vice versa. Since both of us love to read, we sprinkled favorite quotes throughout the piece, balancing out the images of doors and doorknobs. A highlight of the book is the center spread. Against a stock photo of a striking black door with silver hardware, the invitation showcases our timeline of meeting, working together, becoming friends, then finally dating and beyond. The final inside back cover includes a pocket with an inserted map and response card. Somehow, I was able to pull all this together against a pressing deadline, though it required several late nights.
Result: In the days prior to our wedding, the response we heard most often from recipients is “I have NEVER seen an…invitation…quite like that!”
“I have NEVER seen an …invitation quite like that!”
On a related note, part of our honeymoon took us past the Prague Castle. Little did we know that it was home to the black-and-silver doors from the center spread! I had no idea where these doors had come from. Needless to say, we took plenty of photos in front of “our” doors.