DIY Wedding: Graphics & Design

Not many men get pumped over wedding planning, so you can imagine how relieved I was that my husband couldn’t wait to dive in. Ryan Leggett is another creative soul. He is a filmmaker by trade, with a passion for photography and a real knack for aesthetics and design. While I worked away on the physical crafts, He created a cohesive set of personalized design elements that gave our ceremony character.

In his own words:

“Going into this project, I knew that I wanted to keep it simple. Initially, I thought that this would save me some time in the design process – which it probably didn’t – but it did help to maintain consistency across the suite of projects. I never thought that I would end up designing so many components, but after putting so much thought into the first one, which was the video, it became easier to make more. I made sure to approach each component separately and think about how people would experience it both individually and in relation to the larger suite, so that it didn’t just feel like we slapped our logo across everything and called it a day.”

The video which he references was for our engagement announcement and save-the-date. It shares the story of our relationship from meeting to engagement.

Save the Date from Ryan Leggett on Vimeo.

The next component which Ryan designed was the packaging for our Welcome Bags. Nearly every element featured a custom graphic. (For more info on how we assembled our welcome bags check out my previous post here.)

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Next, he carried over imagery from the save the date video and welcome bags into programs and escort cards for the wedding. He used a sampling of icons that represented our personalities, interests, and heritage which clustered together to form a heart. This design was used on the backside of our wedding programs as well as our escort cards.

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photos by Chaz Curry

Ryan happily answered a few more questions as he reflected on his creative process.

How do you feel about the finished product?

I love the way that everything turned out. When I set out on the project I didn’t envision such a cohesive experience, but the more things I designed the more refined and clear the design aesthetic became, which only made it easier to keep making things with the same voice. On one hand, it was less intimidating to dive in to the project when I approached one thing at a time, rather than worrying about how the design would translate across so many deliverables. On the other hand, I think if I had to do it again I would step back and consider the whole suite right up front.

What did you find was most important to achieve the look?

It was definitely important to decide on a few fonts and colors right up front. It’s also important to determine your visual style for the pieces. We chose a very simple line art aesthetic, but you could go with a fancier flourished script, more full color graphics, or even photographs. Whatever you choose just make sure that you keep the look consistent throughout.

Can you recommend any vendors or services you used?

Definitely. We couldn’t have done it without a few really wonderful vendors. The printing of our escort cards was done with Moo. In addition to fast printing, they offer the option to print a unique image on each business card. This worked perfect for our guest’s names. We chose a simple business card layout and flipped it vertical. Our wedding icon sits in the bottom corner, while the polaroid (a nod to my love of film cameras as well as the photo-booth fun ahead) holds the guest name. For the final touch Corey added the table numbers in gold paint marker just before the event. This allowed us to make last minute seating adjustments if they were needed. For more standard printing work, like the programs, we used Photoworks here in San Francisco. I also use them for all my film developing and scanning, and it was great to be able to swing by the shop in person to check out a proof.

What advice would you give to couples hoping to design their own wedding items?

Keep it within your skills as a designer. I’m comfortable in illustrator for this kind of line art work, so I was able to spend more time designing and less time futzing with software. Had I chosen a more ambitious aesthetic, I think I would’ve wasted a lot of time. Also, know where your resources are and seek out inspiration early on. I leveraged a lot of design components from The Noun Project, which helped to speed up my workflow dramatically. At the end of the day, it’s incredibly heartwarming to see so much of your own fingerprints all over such a special day. To anyone considering designing their own wedding items, I’d say go for it. I’m grateful that we were challenged to find a common design aesthetic and happy to know that our designs will live on in these memories for a lifetime.

You can find out more about Ryan Leggett by visiting his website, following him on instagram or twitter.

DIY Wedding: Decor & More

In the age of Pinterest there is a fine line between getting ideas and getting overwhelmed when planning your wedding decor. I’m an admitted DIY overachiever and can be overly ambitious when it comes time management. That being said, the bits of advice I have to share can apply to DIY’ers of all skill levels.

1. Pick and Choose: Some projects look great on your pinboard but will have little effect on the overall look and feel of your ceremony. Consider the impact each item will have before dedicating your precious time to it. Ask yourself if the item fits your theme or vision.

2. Prioritize your Projects: You may have to scrap a project or two in the interest of time, so consider your backup options. Does an Etsy seller create this item? What is their lead time? Which items add the most value to your ceremony? Can you delegate these projects?

3. Craft Early, Craft Often: The sooner you begin your project the more you’ll thank yourself when it ends up taking longer than expected. Finished ahead of schedule? Consider making a few more paper fans, tackling that next DIY item, or for goodness sake reward yourself and just rest!

With these pearls of wisdom in mind, here’s a few of my favorite projects from our San Francisco Wedding. All photos courtesy of our photographer Chaz Curry.

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Super Ring Bearers & Personalized Confetti 

We transformed these shy members of our bridal party into heroes for the day, ensuring lots of smiles and even more priceless photographs. I enlisted my mother to sew these golden capes which they happily wore to the wedding and beyond.

We spread the good news with confetti crafted from Martha Stewart scrapbook punches in various shapes and newspapers from our hometowns (Detroit & DC) and our current home (San Francisco). Huge props go to our bridesmaid Lyndze for this deeply personal touch.

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Protea

I spotted these lovelies on Pinterest and could not wait to give them a try. They became a simple but intricate aisle decoration for the ceremony. The Ruffled Blog gives great step by step instructions on how to create them along with the PDF templates. The resulting flower was around the size of a golf ball, so I scaled the templates up to create a softball sized version. Luckily this article led me to the Etsy shop of sunny and stumpy where the artist sells pre-cut templates for this project along with other great paper flower crafts and templates. I’m dying to try the Ranunculus Ornaments from her in the future!

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Cake Topper

Another Pinterest find led me to create a custom cake topper from a few wooden pieces and acrylic paints. I searched for wooden peg people at my local Michael’s, Joann Fabrics, and Home Depot but came up empty handed. Luckily I found a set on Etsy via SnugglyMonkey which I received within a few days and painted to a pretty darn good likeness of us (if I do say so myself). Wary of your skills with a paintbrush? Shops such as Goose Grease can paint a finished topper in your likeness for you!

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Vases

In my late teens and early twenties I took a number of ceramics courses and honed my skills as a novice potter. I had purchased a wheel a few years in and hit the jackpot one afternoon when my parents spotted a kiln in the newspaper at an estate sale. While my SF apartment does not allow for the space and electricity to use this equipment, my parents were kind enough to hang onto them for me in their North Carolina home, where a few times a year I get to leave metalwork behind and indulge myself in clay.

Usually during my trips to their home I spend the week creating half a dozen bowls and platters I will pick up after firing on the next trip. This is where I got the brilliant idea to throw our wedding centerpieces. It seemed simple at first, but that idea grew to having them become our wedding favors. I had two 7-day trips planned,during which I needed to make over 100 vases and somehow ship them across the country. Yeah, having seen that logic typed out now, I understand why you’re thinking I’m crazy. Luckily I enlisted my now-husband and both parents to decorate, glaze, and package with me.

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I had our florist fill them with an assortment of protea, succulents, and other textural flowers. A few of them were perforated and held electric tea light candles. I’m thrilled with how much our guests loved them. Family and friends snatched them up one by one and twos and threes until not a single one remained! It warms my heart knowing our guests took a little bit of us home with them.

Whether your wedding crafts are big or small, complex or understated, the most important part is that they’re a reflection of yourself and your personal style. The planning process can be stressful and taxing, so pick projects that make you feel happy as well as productive!

DIY Wedding: Welcome Bags

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Welcome Bags are a great way to let your out-of-town guests know you’re thankful they made the trip. For our San Francisco wedding, we loaded up custom tote bags with city info and snacks with a bit of personal flare. All custom graphic design created by Ryan Leggett.

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Tote Bags:

These welcome bags began with totes purchased from Jakprints. They have lots of custom options and can print multiple colors if your design calls for it. We ordered their most economic option (Augusta #825) in natural fabric and found them to be great quality for the price. The material was a good weight sewn together with sturdy stitching.

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Itinerary:

A thoughtful itinerary gave our guests the weekend scoop. We included times and addresses of activities where they could hang with the bride and groom, our instagram hashtag and transit reminders. Consider waiting to print until just before your wedding to include an accurate weather forecast.

Water Bottles: 

Personalized Water Bottles are a snap with inkjet labels and a printer. The key is to use Vinyl Labels such as these to avoid ink bleeds if the bottles become wet. Then simply remove the existing label from a generic water bottle, stick on your new label, and voila!

Since water bottles vary in diameter you’ll want to ensure that you’re not covering your letters or graphics where the two ends of the label overlap. I recommend printing a sample first before committing to your whole batch.

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City Maps:

While many rely on their smart phones to navigate around town, nothing’s quite like a physical map in your pocket. We included these SF City Maps in each bag to help our guests find their way. Many larger cities will have a tourism department or travel agency that make acquiring these maps a breeze. In San Francisco, I contacted the Bay City Guide and received free maps in the mail by sending a large envelope with the correct return postage.

As an added bonus these city maps also included the local bus routes for public transportation as well as coupons for excursions and activities on the back.

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Personalized Snacks:

Consider adding a sweet or savory treat to your welcome bags as a reward for their travels. We included two snacks in each that represented our hometowns. For my husband we gave Whitley’s Honey Roasted Virginia Peanuts. In honor of my family, we included a transitional candy that’s made during family gatherings each holiday. We packaged each in cellophane bags with twist ties (found at the dollar store) and labeled them with more custom inkjet labels. You can purchase snacks that are pre-packaged such as granola bars or trail mix to save yourself the packaging step.

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Recovery Kits:

Let your guests know it’s alright to cut loose. A recovery kit including individual packets of advil, a sleep mask, and earplugs from MaskCraft will leave your guests grateful that you thought of everything.