September 6, 2019

Designing a Wedding

Role: UX design, web devel­op­ment, brand­ing and visu­al design. Worked with partner/fiancée to inte­grate feedback.

Brief: Cre­ate an ele­gant, and deeply per­son­al wed­ding expe­ri­ence for wed­ding guests. Con­nect phys­i­cal and dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences from pre-wed­ding, to wed­ding day, to post-wed­ding. Use tech­nol­o­gy to reduce com­plex­i­ty and effort wher­ev­er pos­si­ble for guests.

Exploration

Plat­form: I start­ed by inves­ti­gat­ing the plat­form to use to han­dle man­age the save the dates, RSVP, and din­ner menu selec­tion. The first option was to use a wed­ding site builder like “The Knot”. The sec­ond was to use a plu­g­in inte­grat­ed into Word­Press. The third was to build every­thing from scratch. The wed­ding site builder made things very sim­ple, but at the cost of flex­i­bil­i­ty. Build­ing an RSVP sys­tem from scratch had me wor­ry­ing that I would spend more time debug­ging than design­ing. After explor­ing for a cou­ple weeks, I decid­ed to go with Word­Press and the RSVP plugin. 

Brand: I start­ed by gath­er­ing visu­al styles, type­faces and colours that seemed to fit the style we were going for. It soon became clear that my fiancée and I had dif­fer­ent ideas of what the wed­ding brand should feel like. Del­i­cate and for­mal, and robust and casu­al respec­tive­ly. I was ini­tial­ly attract­ed to super fam­i­lies like Speakeasy, and Bonadaro, which had a wide range of script, serif, and sans styles, but lacked elegance. 

Dif­fer­ent type­faces we con­sid­ered. 1. Speakeasy Mod­ern 2. Bonadaro Spur 3. Speakeasy Flare 4. Speakeasy Script 5. Fine­day Script 6. Bib­lio­phile Script 7. ITC Edwar­dian Script 8. Duende 9. Diplo­ma Script Pro 10. Auberge Script 11. Bonadaro Script 12. Al Fres­co 13. Adorn 

We even­tu­al­ly set­tled on Diplo­ma script, which does a great job of hav­ing a bit of stur­di­ness to it, feel­ing semi-for­mal, with­out being osten­ta­tious. This type­face would serve as the visu­al anchor for all expe­ri­ences and arti­facts, phys­i­cal and digital.


Implementation

I cre­at­ed a basic out­line which illus­trat­ed all of the design com­po­nents from start to fin­ish. Save the date, RSVP + wed­ding, phys­i­cal arti­facts, and thank you’s. Review­ing all of the parts quick­ly became over­whelm­ing. Instead of solv­ing all the prob­lems at once, I focused on the most press­ing design com­po­nent, com­plet­ed it, then moved on to the next most important.

1. Save the Date

The approach of solv­ing each com­po­nent at a time pre­sent­ed a major chal­lenge for the save the dates and RSVP. I had to be sure the RSVP sys­tem would work, but did­n’t have the time to ful­ly test and imple­ment it. After some pre­lim­i­nary test­ing, I decid­ed to com­plete­ly sep­a­rate the save the date and RSVP sys­tems. Decou­pling these two sys­tems meant that if any­thing went wrong with the RSVP it would­n’t affect the save the date setup. 

Since the save the dates would be com­plete­ly dig­i­tal, I want­ed to make them feel very per­son­al to each guest. I built out a sim­ple sys­tem to gen­er­ate cus­tom save the dates, which pre­sent­ed the guest names’ for each party.


2. Brand

After cre­at­ing the save the date site, I start­ed plan­ning how the colours, fonts, and styles would come togeth­er, and be extend­ed in fur­ther expe­ri­ences, like print. The ear­ly brand­ing explo­ration heav­i­ly informed the sec­ondary type and colour choic­es. The pri­or­i­ties were flex­i­bil­i­ty, clar­i­ty, and elegance. 

After a bit more iter­a­tion, the type­face Admin­is­ter Book Ad worked real­ly well for the invi­ta­tions, but strug­gled with long form read­abil­i­ty and leg­i­bil­i­ty, and so I opt­ed to use Gen­tium Book for the web body font.


3. RSVP System

After the save the date went out, I start­ed build­ing out the RSVP sys­tem, along with the web­site. Graph­i­cal­ly, I want­ed to reuse the cur­sive Lor­raine and Rus­sell, but it felt a bit off for a RSVP, which typ­i­cal­ly has the full names of the bride and groom to be. Diplo­ma script proved to be very flex­i­ble with the alter­na­tive swash characters. 

For the RSVP sys­tem, I relied heav­i­ly on RSVP and Event Man­age­ment for Word­Press, which han­dled most of the tough stuff, and I was able to focus on visu­al presentation.

View RSVP
https://lm-rb.rustle.ca/
Each guest par­ty received a unique link to RSVP. When the link is opened, they are auto­mat­i­cal­ly logged in, and don’t need to pro­vide their name or a password. 

4. Website

The web­site was launched along­side the RSVPs. The web­site was designed to pro­vide two groups of infor­ma­tion to guests.

1. Wed­ding day infor­ma­tion: What time is the wed­ding? Where is it? How do I get to the recep­tion from the wed­ding? How long does it take to drive? 

2. Infor­ma­tion about the city, for those vis­it­ing for the first time: Where are the most con­ve­nient neigh­bour­hoods to stay in? How can I get around Ottawa? What is there to do while I’m in town?

View Web­site
www.lm-rb.rustle.ca
Var­i­ous parts of the wed­ding site. Water­col­or illus­tra­tions by Lor­raine Monteiro 

5. Print and Physical

The design of the print, and phys­i­cal arti­facts was built out using much of the same col­ors, and fonts that were used in dig­i­tal. The wel­come to our wed­ding chalk­board was done with a com­bi­na­tion of trac­ing for the let­ter­ing, and flow­ers above, and free hand for the vines below.

Wed­ding chalk­board, seat­ing chart, place­cards, and table num­bers. Pho­tos by Grace and Gold Studios. 

Learnings

This project was long run­ning, and had many facets: devel­op­ment, web design, expe­ri­ence design, and print. It rein­forced the impor­tance of break­ing a com­plex prob­lem down into small­er goals and tasks. It required care­ful plan­ning, and accep­tance of future unknowns, so that for­ward progress could hap­pen. The stan­dards for qual­i­ty were high, and the time­line was fixed. Instead of low­er­ing the qual­i­ty bar, I opt­ed to take on less, focus­ing on mak­ing the essen­tial pieces powerful.