November 16, 2005

Branding Your Wedding

This is the last post about the wedding, I promise. A few months ago when we were really getting into the bulk of planning, we began talking about the invitations. The wedding consumed so much of my time, that I began to think of it as a client, so I figured why not treat it like a client too. My mind immediately started racing with ideas. What better way to tackle a new venture than place myself in a more comfortable mindset. My mind was made up and I volunteered myself to do the invitations and collateral materials.

I was very excited to jump back into some print work; I quickly put together a logo, invitation, and sort of branding scheme for supplemental materials. The invitation came together pretty quickly and we got a great deal on offset printing. As we got closer to the wedding and needed more things printed (table cards, guest favors, etc), I just kept extending the brand a bit more. I grabbed some great cheap card stock from Staples and starting making menus for the tables, seating cards, and on and on. I even threw together a wedding website to work in conjunction with the invitation. I bought the domain off of a nice guy (named Jason) who had used it for the very same purpose a couple years ago. It won’t win any awards, but it doesn’t need to. It only needed to get people to the wedding and tell them where they could drunkenly stumble off to afterwards. Success!

The Wedding Brand

I know none of these are original ideas, but they were firsts for me considering I’ve never been married before. By the time I was done I stepped back and discovered I had a tight little branding package. I lost count of how many people came up to me after the wedding to tell me how nice everything looked; from the invitations to the mix-CD favors (done with Jewelboxing), everyone said they knew exactly where to go and what was for them based on how it looked. You can’t help but take a little pride in that.

This falls in line with many things I do, the designer in me jumps up from the back row and starts organizing and designing. We make a weekend movie, I make a web site for it. I cook some breakfast and wonder what the menus might look like. At times I consider design vigilantism. People laugh at me, but design truly is an affliction.

My only regret is that I couldn’t spend more time on some things… I could have made a great die-cut on the invitation…

The Santa Maria's

Lastly, Liz and I got a great present from some friends that I just need to share. My groomsman Kevin, husband of the very talented Kim who made us the sock monkey wedding cake toppers that can be seen in the photos on the wedding site, painted us how we may have looked at the turn of the century; me, rugged from a day’s hard work, and liz, fresh and waiting to go stroll around town. Absolutely beautiful.

Commentary (46):

1. Zach Inglis says… nov 16, 2005 | 6:53 am

Its fun how talents in one industry work to the advantage in something that you really wouldn’t expect it to help until you see the posibilities.

Love the picture, I am fan of Kevin’s work myself.

2. Simon says… nov 16, 2005 | 6:55 am

My god, this is brilliant! I am so using my wedding as a branding exercise, might keep me interested.

I actually took a fancy to your invitations and pointed them out to my fiancée already.


3. bearskinrug says… nov 16, 2005 | 7:00 am

You could still do a die-cut on the invitation. You should ask for ‘em back…

4. bandelin says… nov 16, 2005 | 9:06 am

god forbid I ever say something nice in my life…but I really like kev’s painting. Kevin is a big jerk though…there, now this comment is totally neutral.

5. nick S says… nov 16, 2005 | 9:15 am

Love the branding work - and what a great idea!

My sister asked if I’d put together a simple website for her wedding. I may have to push for more creative control than just the website now though.…

6. Ian says… nov 16, 2005 | 9:47 am

Oh, the branding shouldn’t stop yet. Don’t you have a photo album to put together? What about a video?
And, dude, rugged? A day’s hard work? Come on, in 1905 you would totally be a bartender. Good work!

7. Jonathan Eckmier says… nov 16, 2005 | 10:06 am

The branding is really well done, I was impressed when I first saw the invitations. Are you going to add this to your portfolio?

8. Jemaleddin says… nov 16, 2005 | 10:06 am

Afer looking through some of the photos, I want to point out that I really like that smile you’ve got plastered on your face. It says, “Can you believe that this girl is gonna marry me? I don’t know what she’s on, but I hope it doesn’t wear off any time soon!”

Lovely job branding - what will you do with all of that hard work now that the wedding is over?

9. Dustin Wilson says… nov 16, 2005 | 11:02 am

Amazing. I really like it when people do stuff like this. It’s not for the money anymore, but for something you enjoy.

When I was in college a friend of mine in the graphic design (they’ve since changed it to communication design) program decided he was going to do the same thing with his wedding, and in my opinion it was probably the best thing he ever did while he was in school.

10. Adam says… nov 16, 2005 | 11:15 am

Hi, I’m a design student, and I’ve watch your blog for inspiration, and just wanted to say congratulations! The wedding branding, and the wedding itself, look fantastic!

One, tech question, what Flash photo display system are you using for the wedding photos? It’s really sleek.

Thanks for posting! Your work has really been an inspiration!

11. Greg says… nov 16, 2005 | 11:30 am

I can see it now, the Liz & Jason line of perfume, linens, table settings, china, and the special edition Ford Explorer. You can’t lose!

12. Keith says… nov 16, 2005 | 12:31 pm

Cool stuff. I also took the jewelboxing route for my CD favors. Love the Web site too. I really wish I’d had the time to do something like that. Heck, we’ve not even gone through and chosen our photos yet!

Anyway, it all looks great and it really makes me wish I’d taken the time to do more myself.

13. Jeff Croft says… nov 16, 2005 | 12:45 pm

This stuff is great, Jason. It almost makes me want to get married again.

Wait…no it doesn’t.

14. Smallest Photo says… nov 16, 2005 | 12:55 pm

Wow, that really is a great gift. That Kevin is quite the dude.

15. wayne says… nov 16, 2005 | 2:03 pm

fresh and clean as always, mr. stan. thanks for sharing your labor of love.

p.s. i like how kevin made you look like wolverine.

16. Ara Pehlivanian says… nov 16, 2005 | 3:39 pm

Sweet work on the branding (including the site). Really great stuff man. Really.

17. charles says… nov 16, 2005 | 3:56 pm

branding, wedding. these words don’t go together - that’s satanic.

bill hicks would have a field day with this.

or, maybe not. congratulations.

18. Chris Villalovoz says… nov 16, 2005 | 7:08 pm

Congratulations! I totally agree, treat your wedding like a client, complete with a hard copy “job folder”. It was the best thing I could have done.

But to any other designer planning to get married, the best advice I got, “make a list of the ten most important things…AND CROSS OFF FOUR”

19. Jordan says… nov 16, 2005 | 8:37 pm

As someone in the midst of wedding planning, and currently working on the invitations, i am now inspired to carry the look through everything. I will be stoked if i come up with anything half as classy as what you have done Jason, it looks fantastic.

20. Stefan Hayden says… nov 17, 2005 | 12:01 am

hey everyone! Jason has a great wedding website and I was looking to find other examples.

does anyone know any other great wedding web sites that couples have built?

21. Mark Boulton says… nov 17, 2005 | 5:24 am

I ‘branded’ our wedding last year, unfortunately I didn’t see the wedding as a client until it was too late. Bloody stressful all this wedding lark.

Still, the stuff that was produced went down a storm with my wife and and the guests. Surprisingly we received more RSVP’s from the website than we did by any other means.

Kevin’s illustration is the business, now he needs to do one for 100 years in the future…

22. Matt Davis says… nov 17, 2005 | 6:33 am

The branding is fantastic! I can’t wait to see the branding that you come up with for your children, Stan Jr. and Stanjolina.

23. BD says… nov 17, 2005 | 12:01 pm

Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Cool

24. Trent Seigfried says… nov 17, 2005 | 12:32 pm

With regards to branding for the birth of a child, we used a pastel frog motif that stretched from the design of the nursery to the baby showers to the birth announcements. In retrospect, I would have done more, but the idea of thinking out the brand to such a level was something I’d never considered… marketing the newborn to family and friends just seems odd to me.

25. cpawl says… nov 17, 2005 | 3:32 pm

I had done the same thing last year (beat you to it). My wife and I had a ‘taveling” wedding in Sedona, AZ (we are from Philly). Since we were paying for all of the wedding ourselves I did this to save money as well.

I pretty much did all that you did plus made a Wedding photo album (had the photographer give me images in RAW format and cleaned them up my self). I also put together a DVD to play for our “back home” reception. For all our traveling family, I through together a road music CD since everyone would be in the car from Phoenix to Sedona.

In the end it was great fun but more work than i imagined.

26. Jason Santa Maria says… nov 17, 2005 | 3:34 pm

I did actually end up doing more than is pictured above too, in addition to a DVD and photo albums for everyone in the works. Like I said, it’s addictive :D

27. Paul V says… nov 17, 2005 | 5:03 pm

Great work, Jason!

You guys make an incredible couple. Thanks for sharing the pics and the beautiful “project”…awesome!

28. some guy says… nov 17, 2005 | 5:18 pm

blah-blah branding, great deal on offset printing, die-cut table card tray menu icon dropdown insert, who cares, Jason, YOUR TEETH ARE FUCKED UP!

29. Patrick Haney says… nov 17, 2005 | 5:19 pm

Absolutely fantastic, Jason. Like many designers (yourself included), I’m constantly thinking about designing one thing or another for whatever activity might be going on in my life. A good friend of mine moved away to D.C. a few years back, and in order to get him to come visit us again, I came up with an entire plot revolving around missing and murdered animal crackers, complete with Photoshopped Polaroid crime scene photos. He eventually cracked (pun intended) and returned for a weekend visit.

Anyway, your wedding branding went well. There’s something to be said for having such an important day of both your lives marked with your own design.

And lastly, props to you for finding such a lovely woman who somehow allowed you to work on the invitations and place settings, things normally off-limits to us man folk.

30. Jason Santa Maria says… nov 17, 2005 | 5:35 pm

some guy: Wow, I didn’t realize my dentist read my site! Can I get some of those free floss samples?

31. Steve says… nov 17, 2005 | 9:03 pm

That’s hillarious, I too find my self helping to brand things that I am not getting paid for, and at weddings I end up focusing on how the entertainment is running and what could be done better, because I have DJ’ed hundreds of them…
Sounds like yours was one of the better weddings the way you put so much into it!

32. James AkaXakA says… nov 19, 2005 | 8:35 am

Absolutely stunningly beautiful.

Great stuff.

33. Mason says… nov 20, 2005 | 11:23 am

Can you divulge the typeface that was used in your branding?

34. Jason Santa Maria says… nov 20, 2005 | 8:20 pm

Mason: Sure, it’s a mix of Mrs. Eaves small caps and Caslon italic.

35. Charlie says… nov 21, 2005 | 8:15 am

What have you done!, I just hope my fiance doesn’t see this post, I just want to turn up, say ‘I do’, and get pissed. I’ll just disconnect the broadband for the next couple of months until the invites are out, that should save me.

36. misterchris says… nov 30, 2005 | 5:15 am

Yeah, I did the same thing; not treat my wedding like a client but create (what I cleverly call) a WEDsite.
Genius. Im getting married in January 06. Wish me luck.

37. Lorraine says… nov 30, 2005 | 7:22 am

Gorgeous. That’s exactly what we did… it all went wonderfully, except that we completely forgot about our wedding mass misalettes, and spent two hours on the morning of our wedding printing them out!

38. june says… nov 30, 2005 | 4:46 pm

Great invitations! Hopefully this will inspire me to get started on my own.

Someone actually asked my fiance about our invitations yesterday. He said “june is a going to make them herself…she is a computer genius.”

Don’t know if I’m a computer genius but if thats what he wants to tell people thats fine by me! I knew there was a reason I decided to marry him. ;)

39. june says… dec 7, 2005 | 1:43 pm


Did you include any of the directions, registry or lodging info in the actual invitiation?

It’d be nice to save the paper but I’m wondering if only providing a url would be problematic for my less computer literate family and friends.

40. Jason Santa Maria says… dec 7, 2005 | 1:48 pm

June: I most certainly did, the invitation was pretty standard and could function entirely on its own apart from the website by including directions, lodging info, etc.

I had to do it that way because I still have a good number of elderly relatives who would not use the internet. But, the site was a great expansion for more info and convenience (like direct links to directions online and the registry).

41. Nathan Logan says… mar 27, 2006 | 10:42 am
hey everyone! Jason has a great wedding website and I was looking to find other examples.

does anyone know any other great wedding web sites that couples have built?

I’ve built a few wedding sites (my own, another, and another), but I have absolutely nothing on JSM. The guy’s a design genius.

The neat thing about these sites is that they were all used as the only source for RSVPs, which worked wonderfully (to keep costs down and to set up the couple’s first databased “address book”).

But back to the subjet at hand - great stuff, Jason - you do consistently incredible work.

42. Jen says… mar 29, 2006 | 8:07 am

My now husband and I did the same thing with the idea that it would be our first case study for when we start the event planning extension of his channel planning company. Friends thought we were a little crazy when I wrote a creative brief for the wedding vendors and website but everything stayed on strategy so it worked pretty well (and now I’m getting requests for the brief template). Glad to see there are others out there who thought branding a wedding was as much fun as we did!

43. june says… apr 12, 2006 | 3:08 pm

So the invitations are made and out. (i sent them out a month ago to be exact). I’ll be sure to post links to pictures and the website after the event (may 13th).

Even though there are a half a dozen things I would do differently next time, the invitations have been a hit. Aaron sarcastically said to me the other “I don’t know why nobody likes them.”

Now I’m on to making soap labels (we made homemade soaps as favors) and name cards.

44. Jason Santa Maria says… apr 12, 2006 | 3:13 pm

june: Sounds great! I do hope you’ll share some photos of your work with us!

45. Peter says… may 29, 2006 | 10:42 am

Hi, Jason, I read this post a long while back and it inspired me as well. I started designing our website and was thinking about making my own invitations as well. I was wondering where you had the invitations printed.
Thank you for you help.


46. Jason Santa Maria says… may 29, 2006 | 7:37 pm

Peter: We just had them printed at a local print shop. For a small run like wedding invites, you could go almost anywhere.