Here’s a gander at Sh’Aaron and Cornell’s final wedding program. The ceremony was beautiful and went off without a hitch, save Staples printing the programs incorrectly (le sigh). This was after I’d spent time redesigning in order to compensate for their printing program’s strange tendency to add a quarter inch to the left and right margins. What happened in the end kids? The guides for the holes didn’t match, causing the middle section to flare out a bit when tied together at the top. Needless to say, I was crushed, which is why you don’t see a photo of the real deal here. Not to mention, I lost the test version amidst all the hub bub at a nail salon. Don’t ask.
So after several, I think maybe even 10 stabs at designing and redesigning this piece, here are a few lessons I’ve learned:
1. Just as with a text project, only agree to a certain number of drafts. Otherwise, people will change their minds all day long. This isn’t a huge departure from the first couple of prototypes, but it’s different enough for anyone to tell that a lot of design evolution went on here. Even though I did this as a favor for a friend—and as her maid of honor, I would’ve done 50 redesigns if she asked me to—several design overhauls for a client might not be a deal breaker, but we’d definitely have to renegotiate some things.
2. Work with a professional printing company. Printers understand how sophisticated design tools like InDesign and Illustrator work and can provide specific solutions for printing problems.
3. Test out the print. This is something I actually did in-store, punching holes in the cardstock and tying it up with spare ribbon (a Girl Scout is always prepared), but some kind of way when we got the job back to the lab to put them together, the margins were off again. I don’t know if the woman behind the counter didn’t save the settings, but I should’ve tested again just for good measure.
4. Do things early if you can. The programs were printed a few hours before the rehearsal dinner and the other bridesmaids and I started putting them together around 11 p.m. the night before the wedding, which meant we had to roll with whatever was wrong with the job. There simply wasn’t enough time for a do-over. Catching the error earlier would’ve allowed us to reprint the programs and get them right. It would’ve cost more money, but it would’ve been up to snuff.
So there you have it, kids, my top four whacks in the head as a first-time wedding program designer. It was a great learning experience and I definitely look forward to doing it again and maybe getting into more sophisticated design elements once I’ve finished my Illustrator class.
By the way, congratulations to the happy couple, and I hope you guys have enjoyed your first two weeks as newlyweds. Thanks for allowing me to be part of your big day and for letting me make my lame speech. It was a blast!