Plan a wedding, they said – it’ll be fun, they said. Don’t get me wrong – because this is all sorts of fun; but a kind of detail-oriented, take-charge type of fun where you’re always second guessing yourself because most likely, you’ve never done this before – nor are you planning on ever really doing it again type of fun. Thankfully, I’ve discovered some clutch resources that have made the initial steps infinitely easier.
Pin + Plan
The initial planning stages always seem the hardest, going from the grandiose, umbrella idea of a fabulous wedding to whittling down nuanced details on color, style and formality. Now that your wedding date is tangible, the reality of your ideas have manifested into a horse of a different color where compromise is key, so at the very least get a grip on your ideas with a solid brainstorm session with your significant other.Hands down, Pinterest has proven to be a great resource for both researching and cataloging ideas, especially now that we can have collaborative Pin Boards. I’m sure there’s a lot of us whose Wedding (and Engagement, and Bridal Shower…) Pin Boards are older than our relationships, but in our defense – it’s not like we haven’t been dreaming of this day since we were little kids, we’ve just been waiting for the perfect way to organize it.
Capture Your Love Story
If you asked me what I thought of Engagement Photos a year ago, I probably would have laughed at you – not that I don’t think they’re beautiful, I just always found them to be superfluous, ostentatious, pseudo-omnipotent views of love. But then I thought about the idea of love, letting it’s truth wash over me like a light rain and I realized that love is supposed to be larger than life, or at least larger than us as individuals, and it should be opulent in all of it’s hidden riches that hide deep in the heart, so – yes, let’s capture it, let’s capture love in it’s purest form. And the more it truly sunk in that Danny and I were tying the knot, the more I wanted to capture this version of our love in a time capsule that I can hold close to my heart. So, tl/dr – a thousand times yes, invest in your engagement photos because it’s really a gift to yourself.
When it comes to your photos, my suggestions here are twofold. First -pick a location that resonates at the same frequency as your relationship, pick a special place that the two of you find as beautifully unique as your relationship. For our pictures, we spent a weekend frolicking around the stunning Sequoias hand in hand, kissing around every corner – and it reminded me a thousand times over why I’m over the moon excited to be spend the rest of my forever with him.
Second, and equally important: find a photographer that you can feel vulnerably yourself with, and in effect ‘naked’ in your love for each other. If you’re around the Southern California, or East Coast Area – I highly and absolutely recommend Juliana Bernstein, better know around these parts as Get Tiny Photography, for any and all photo duties. I met Juliana back while I working with The DJ List but it wasn’t until my time with The Confluence that I finally had the pleasure of getting to know this sorceress of creation. Even though we got to know each other under the neon lights and late nights of music festivals, what turned me on to her as our engagement photographer was the way she can capture an effervescent moment in time, full of vibrant colors, depth and shadow play. Beyond being a beautiful soul with a keen eye and a mind sharp as a tack, Juliana is literally the cutest, sweetest thing in the entire world and I’m still trying to figure out how to keep her in my pocket, feed her skittles and take her with my everywhere.
For more of Juliana’s work – check our her website and socials:
There are a few ways you can go about making your Saves the Date and your Wedding Invitation. First, you could hire someone to take the reigns and do it for you – which I’m sure is nice, but as someone who gets off on the creative process there’s no way I would just give that up. So, if you’re trying to DIY the damn thing, there are a few great online resources at your disposal. The lovely folks at Minted will send you a sample package of their wares so you can get a grip on the types of paper and color combinations at your fingertips, while PaperSource has a whole host of links available for the scatterbrained bride-to-be.
Customize Your Creation
As beautiful as the invitations are for Minted and Paper Source, the only way to have a truly customized invitation through Paper Source is to have their corporate office approve your design to actually be on their website (which is damn cool), but it was a round about process that left me wanting – thankfully, I stumbled across Basic Invite and all my problems were solved. After getting a feel for the wedding invitations that were already out there, I realized that I saw everything as a wonderful jumping off point; a rough draft that I wanted to paint in technicolor. I literally caught myself wanting to customize very well every facet of the Saves the Date, the Wedding Invitation – and even the RSVP card. With Basic Invite, you can upload all of your own images to create completely customized creations – yasssss.
Now, I’m definitely not a pro with Photoshop but I’m not graphically impaired, either – so with some ideas in mind, I took things into my own hands, made everything from the ground up. The biggest issue I ran into was having a file in a large enough resolution and format to be loaded. After some trouble, I found that saving my Photoshop Files as .TIFF files, and loading them into a private Flickr album did the trick.
After just a few round of tweaks, I’m pleasantly surprised with how everything turned out, but for the record: let’s just say that every meme you see about Graphic Designers and their clients is very, very true. Now, I don’t want to spoil the surprise until after the New Year when the invitations are sent out, and trust me – it’s worth the wait 🙂
Pro Tip: Flirt with Free Fonts. To quote my Fiance – all of the stock fonts in Photoshop look like they’re out of a middle school science fair presentation, so if you’re thinking of going all the way customized – I would think outside of the text box. Of all the sites I found, I would recommend Brushez and Fonts 101.
Stamp of Approval
Sure, regular stamps are cool – but romantic, whimsical, wedding inspired stamps are invariably so much better. Check out the USPS website, or even take a gander inside one of your local Post Offices (yes, those artifacts of buildings still exist!). If like Kanye, you’re accustomed to customizing – you can always order out custom stamps on Shutterfly. It was a fleeting thought, but in a moment of pure serendipity last night, my Aunt-in-law sent me the very stamps were were looking for – and they arrived in the mail at the same time as our final invitation prints! Suffice it to say, we’re set to send.
So, Now We Have These Pictures?
So, finally – almost three years after we got engaged, two months after we took our engagement photos – we’re ready to ship! We used maybe 4 or 5 of the 150+ engagement photos for our invitations…and as much as it’s killed me, I’ve basically kept the good ones a secret from almost all of our friends, family – and most importantly, social media. Not to be a curmudgeon, but I truly feel that the first time someone sees your Saves the Date photo should be when they physically open the envelope; maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, maybe I have a thing for ‘Wow’ factor – but these photos are special, you should really treat them as such. Since we used literally less than 3% of our photos, that means we invariably have a plethora of pictures for other avenues: post them all over your Instagram and feel the love of your love, reuse your photos as Holiday Cards for your friends or framed photos for your family, crop yourself a fancy new LinkedIn profile picture; the options are basically as endless as your romance, so use as you desire!
What are your favorite Wedding Invitation resources? What creative ways have you reused your engagement photos? Let me know in the comments below!