Yeah! It’s tilUNdeath.com
I am living proof of that old saying “love finds you when you AREN’T necessarily looking.” During the summer before my last year of graduate school, I met a fellow Baltimorean who was also into higher education. He was a doctoral student at John Hopkins University studying philosophy, writing a dissertation focusing on race and language around racism. He was into metal music and horror movies and didn’t look like any other phD candidate I had ever met. Yeahhhhh…he was amazing and we fell in love quick.
So after he proposed, I took my graphic design skills to compose us the most unique horror-themed, while community-focused wedding branding, wedding website, and wedding decor and favors.
First, I took a page from the process that I knew well for branding — start with a moodboard and get a vision going and then start exploring logo options. So I used not only my fiancé’s opinion, but also tapped our wedding party and a few design friends for feedback and helping with the honing process.
MOODBOARD to LOGO DESIGN PROCESS
Little did we know when we set out date that…uhhhh a GLOBAL PANDEMIC would happen!
We did consider all our options: post-poning (what if the pandemic doesn’t get better, what if it only gets worse?)….holding only a four person wedding (Bring only ONE parent each? Exclude siblings, nieces, and our fav Aunties?)…or doing a lot of work and holding a socially distanced wedding (which we would pioneer every step of the way)?
Well, with the idea that we were doing this TIL DEATH do us part, we decided to turn into the skid…move foward and embrace the chaos of the world around us. This theme/idea expanded to the Save The Dates illustration, which evolved into our loose Zombie/Skeleton theme — where two skeletons, modeled after Patrick and I, were holding what was left of our zombie hands. Because we would be together til we are UNdead. After the initial illustration, I did three more illustrations off that theme for the invitation, the day of program, and finally the thank you card.
CuSTOM ILLUSTRATION + EVENT PROGRAM PRINT DESIGN
Again trying to embrace the chaos, while also being as smart and safe as possible, I went to work on posting a six month long social media campaign that educated our family, friends, and community not only details about the wedding — like who was in the wedding party, where we had a room block, attire, the usual — but also about the safety precautions we were going to be taking, including quarantining before the wedding, mandatory mask mandates, and even tips on how to incorporate PPE into their wedding fashion. Because I decided to invite the wedding guests to “OUT DO THE BRIDE”(AKA wear the most amazingly ostentatious or LARGE outfit you want) with the hopes that folks could have fun with social distancing and mask wearing and try to bring as much JOY as we could to this dark global time.
BRANDED SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN
FUN FACTS: You can have a socially distanced wedding…and it not be a super spreader!
All 75 of our in-person guests abided by quarantining two weeks before we met, upheld the mandatory mask mandate when intermixing with folks outside their family “pod,” and respected the boundaries of the socially distancing comfort levels of each guest according their color coded name tags, and later submitted to contact tracing.
MORE FUN FACTS: We also brought the entire staff of the Tempe Mission Palms, the venue for our wedding, back to work after being furloughed (which they all thanked us for every single time they saw us). And we (and the Tempe Mission Palms) made the local-Phoenix news for hosting the first wedding in the state post the pandemic’s start…that was NOT being a SUPER SPREADER event.
Final website that includes details about the wedding and a robust library of the guests who had committed to being apart of the wedding party and/or attend. PLUS I researched and wrote a series of blog posts for out of town guests to see what they could do in and around Tempe, but also what they could do if they chose to travel out of town.
WEDDING WEBSITE: tilUnDeath.com
I have been told this blog not only helped the attendees for the time they were there for the wedding, but it also inspired a few to return to Arizona in the months to follow to retrace my suggested road trip steps and destinations.
Logo and branding
Using feedback from our wedding party, created a brand that represented us two as individuals and created a look and feel that was both explanatory of what we saw the wedding to be, but also representative of our likes, interests, and style.
Built custom digital illustrations based off the theme that could be expanded into multiple elements throughout the campaign and event, including Save the Dates and the invitations, to the day of program and some of the event signage.
Social Media Campaign
To help inform, explain and reinforce the boundaries of our COVID wedding, I created what I coined as an “edu-taining” campaign for our wedding guests. I introduced family members who had the same name as each other, shared the best practices about social distancing, gave updates on the COVID case numbers in live time (and then went reverse hockey stick the closer we came to wedding which was amazing)…as well as photoshopped or animated silly custom made graphics that will really be a time capsule to see in the years to come.
Beyond the usual print related pieces for an event…I also created a custom print program that not only again educated and reinforced the mandatory mask and social distancing protocols, but also illustrated the intense assigned seating chart schematic for both the ceremony and the reception that podded common families together as well as broadcasted their social distancing comfort levels.
Trying to keep the “edu-taintment” idea going, as well as trying to create a real hub for information for our wedding guests, I created a website that was part family tree, part travel guide, part wedding website. The website covered all the usual things a wedding website does — couple’s story, the wedding event details, hotel room block information…but I also included deep profiles of all those who were planning to attend and their histories. In case those watching via Zoom had no idea who was there…or if they were in person, a resource for ice breakers and what not. I also did an expanded set of pages on what was near the hotel — bars, restaurants, but also a travel guide for those who this would be their first time in Phoenix and possible north and south-bound road trip itineraries.