Ever get the feeling that these wedding stationery designers just aren't listening to you? This journal entry is guest-written by Mike Saunders, owner of Saunders Artwork Ltd and a guest at the fabulous Sowerby wedding, which this post is based on. Mike's career spans two decades of creative production at the sharp end of the UK's top creative agencies, academic institutions and newsprint. It marks the launch of our new wedding branding, print and website service which has launched today.
What's the best day of your life so far? That's quite a tough question if you think about it carefully, and not always one you'd answer honestly (I could tell you mine but unless you're an Arsenal fan, you'd think it was silly).
I reckon if you asked Mark and Jenny Sowerby that question though, they'd say "our wedding day" and they'd be right too.
Like most people, I've been to all sorts of weddings over the years – some really good ones (some shockers too), but Jenny and Mark's one was in that very exclusive bracket I'd call "amazing".
There are loads of reasons for this: Jen and Mark are dear friends, lovely people, well-suited and head over heels in love with each other. All good reasons and of course you can never overstate them, but what made their wedding more memorable than most of the others I've been to?
I wondered about this on the 200 mile, rain-lashed drive home with nobody to argue with except the sat-nav (my wife couldn't make the trip). I thought about the lovely couple, the vicar, the speeches, the food, the copious drink and smiled.
Then I started thinking about the details – the invitation (beautifully designed around a hand-drawing of a tractor), the church flowers (wonderfully wild-looking with rustic ties), the real-live tractor employed to tow the wedding party from the church to the reception at Huntstile Organic Farm, (an amazing venue most people wouldn't even know about). I thought about the way the whole theme was tied beautifully together in as good an example of practical brand application as you're ever likely to see. Then I realised… the best weddings I've been to have all been for friends in the creative industry.
Planning a wedding is effectively event management. Now… this lovely couple and their team happen to know a thing or two about event management and the creative industry. They knew how to brief the designer, their friend Poppy Hennig, and got a stunning result, they knew how to find a unique venue, but mostly they know the value of good design and a consistent theme, and how it can really help shape the feel of a 'best day of your life' – your own wedding.
Everything was so perfect, so memorable – the rural theme, the tractor, the bales of hay, the massive bonfire, the sunset, the tent, the band (Sheelanagig), the camping friend in the sleeping bag jumpsuit that made her bum look big, everything.
But then I felt sad. I thought about most people spending huge sums of hard-earned money on their weddings and not getting anything like as much value out of it. I like to spend my spare time helping friends with little design projects, and I did a little bit for this one too with beermats designed amid the excitement of the Royal Wedding this year as a humorous little addition to the day.
Mark, Jenny and Allie work in the creative industry, they know how to brief a project, to get things done, to get the results they are expecting. They have friendly working relationships with top-caliber creative professionals like Poppy Hennig – and me of course ;) I personally still undertake regular work for top-20 London agencies. Between us, we don't half know what we're doing.
It breaks my heart to think of the money new couples and their parents spend on overpriced, off-the-shelf wedding design that just doesn't reflect how special they really are, and says nothing about their personality. Why can't everyone have the benefit of friends in the creative industry?
And then I thought, "hang on a minute… they can!"
I held that thought when manage my website asked me to write a little journal entry about Jenny and Mark's wonderful wedding. All of the skills needed to pull that perfect day together are here.
If you're planning a big event and you want a bit of creative support, you could do a lot worse…
If you've enjoyed reading Mike's article and are planning your own wedding or big event, you can find out more about our complete event branding, print and website service by clicking here or by contacting Allie or Mark.