BIZ: The Big Fake Wedding
Last October I had the pleasure of participating in The Big Fake Wedding: Seattle! You may be asking yourself, "what in the world is a big fake wedding?" Well, it's exactly that! A fake wedding to showcase what vendors in action are really like - everything from dresses and suits, flowers, table scapes, paper goods, desserts, and DJ's. The amazing team at the BFW coordinate a ceremony, with a real couple renewing their vows, and real vendors to put on an extraordinary event complete with dining and dancing!
The mood and styling was based on "the Fair Isle" - like the sweater - rustic and comfy, but also beautiful and romantic. It would be perfect for a fall or winter wedding, especially in the PNW. Here's the mood board we were provided:
When I set to designing invitations for this event, I was most excited to use textures. The mood board had soft textures, wood textures, and everything in between, so I wanted to incorporate that. What do you think? How'd they turn out?
I love incorporating fresh elements into invitations when I can. In this case, I added some freshly trimmed white heather, which is often incorporated into Scottish weddings because it is a symbol of luck and good fortune!
These invitations were designed to be mailed in a box with vintage stamps, held shut with a wrap around address label (DIY tutorial coming soon!). I love that the box mailer gives a boost of sophistication to an otherwise very simple, and almost plain. It wraps it up in this elegant, versatile, cozy presentation - perfect for your guests to unwrap and know that they're in for an amazing wedding!
The antler monogram was developed after many different tries at bringing the design from boring to interesting (with much tearing of drafts in the interim). I wanted something clean, modern, sophisticated, but also not overly girly *side note: I often think weddings get too feminine; I mean, it's half the dude's day too, right?!*
I knit little swatches of extra plush, soft, fuzzy yarn as a bed for the invitation to rest in, all tied up in a cute little knot. Might have been excessive, but I wanted that hint of "sweater" comfort to go with this suite. There's also a pocket on the top of the box to hold all the extra cards so they don't bump all over in the mail.
One of my favorite things about being a designer, is creating a cohesive design for the whole spectrum of paper pieces - in this case, once I had settled on the antler monogram, I created the invitation suite, menu and place cards, and a thank you card. It's so nice to be able to carry a theme, color, vibe, or specific element all the way through from engagement to happily ever after!
Bixby + Pine created a modern and textural design for this table (above) with wood chargers, individual names on each place setting (so creative!), and rope blankets for the chairs! The little card has a note from the bride and groom - a great idea for a "thank you for coming" or a story you'd like to share with your guests.
The second table B+P did was the modern and romantic table (below and below left). The circular menus, crisp white plates, and gold chargers made a beautiful statement. And aren't those antler place card holders awesome? Custom shapes for menus add interest to what may otherwise be a very simple design.
Kelli is a very talented floral designer who created these other lovely table scapes! The first was subtle, natural, and romantic (above right and below). The menus almost blended into the place settings, which kept up with the ambiance consistent. I did a simple water color wash to create an ombre effect (DIY tutorial coming soon). Her skeleton leaves (I learned that's what they are called) are so fragile and beautiful - they really tied the natural elements together.
The second table with Kelli was great because I was able to use the designs I had already done to coordinate with the invitation. They worked perfectly with her slightly masculine plaid, wood, and chestnut table design. I wanted to keep the antler motif from the couple's monogram running through the day-of pieces. And those plaid chargers are SO fabulous!
For those looking to participate in the BFW or another wedding show, I encourage you to do it! It is an awesome place to be inspired, learn, and network with fellow creatives.
What I wish I'd known in advance were things like - "how to make an impression on a guest in 5 seconds". With all the guests streaming through our booth display section so quickly, it easily became overwhelming, and it felt like I couldn't make a real connection with anyone. I don't like to "pitch" myself to people - I like my work to speak for itself, and really, the event is for the guest more than it is about my business.
The huge (accidental) success of the booth ended up being these mini succulent planters that I made! They're only about 2" high, and ridiculously cute. Want to see a DIY tutorial for these? They were intended to represent a custom favor and place card display option and were a hit! I had guests coming over to my booth asking for them because they saw someone else walking around with one! I lucked out. Tip - make sure you have something memorable at the show.
And lastly, follow up! (I'm terrible at this!) When you have your list of names and emails for that contest you offered or for the free thank you cards - use those emails to reach out and connect individually with those guest after the show fever wears off. It's a great opportunity to extend your business reach as well as to possibly book a client (or five!) for the year!