And now it's time for a very special process post...my sister and brother-in-law's wedding invitations!
It seems that all of the Rados were born to be artists and that, as adults, we've all been trying to find ways to be artists that don't involve starving. My sister Sarah is no exception—she's a painter and a singer. Sarah really wanted to her wedding invitations to incorporate vibrant watercolor artwork, so my challenge was to work with her paintings and incorporate them into one cohesive design. Oh yeah—and did I mention that I agreed to printing 100-something of these on my Epson inkjet? More on that in a minute.
Sarah and Stu live in Philly and also had their ceremony in the city, so they really wanted to incorporate the city into the artwork. Sarah ended up painting the Ben Franklin bridge, the Philadelphia skyline and the wrought-iron gate of the community garden where their ceremony took place, the Spring Gardens, for the invitation artwork. Because they wanted to incorporate these three scenes, we decided the format should be a z-fold that opened up into one long panel with the entire silhouette of the scene. On the back would be the essential details for the wedding ceremony and reception.
Once Sarah had done the painting, I scanned everything in, pieced it all together, cleaned it all up and added color in Photoshop. We went back and forth for a few more rounds on the gate, trying to get it right and make sure it looked more like a flowery arch appropriate for a wedding rather than the entrance to a decrepit graveyard. Sarah also made it clear from the get-go that her wedding invitations would absolutely require some form of rainbow, so that made the background on the three panels an easy choice.
For the wording, I came up with the line "Sarah and Stu are saying I do!" (Thanks to Stu's parents for providing the great rhyme-abilty here.) But since Sarah is much better at writing poetry and lyrics than I am, I asked her to come up with a few rhymes for the inside of the invitation. She wrote:
Before they met on that fateful day,
the city seemed so dull and grey.
He took her out, their friendship grew
into love so deep and true.
Now that they are hand-in-hand,
the city skyline sure looks grand!
It fit perfectly with the invitation art.
The final piece of the puzzle was the printing logistics. We relied on my old Epson 1280, which I had bought used when I was in grad school (circa 2007; it has basically been collecting dust in my closet since I graduated) and I knew that it had a tendency to be very temperamental at the most inconvenient times by randomly spurting out blobs of black ink on an otherwise flawless print and banding for no apparent reason after cleaning the print heads several times. I had the added challenge of printing fronts and backs separately and then gluing them up, cutting them and folding them. This was mostly because we were using one-sided coasted matte paper, but also because my printer doesn't line up when it comes to registration, so printing front to back wouldn't have been an option anyway. Amazingly, I ran into no big issues with printing, and the only downsides of gluing, cutting and folding all of the invitations were tedium and a sore back. (Nothing some downward dogs and child's poses couldn't fix.) I gave myself two weeks for printing and assembling the invitations, but towards the end, I just went into full-on assembly machine mode so that I could get the invitations finished and reclaim the printing disaster area that had once been my living room.
It was one last but very triumphant hurrah for the Epson as I delivered these babies. They turned out as colorful as their bride and with their delivery, I announced my retirement from the invitation printing business (but not the invitation designing business—I will gladly continue to design invitations). Sarah and Stu were thrilled with the final result, and once again it was confirmed that Stu was the man for Sarah since he was totally fine with having a giant rainbow on their wedding invitations. What a mighty, might good man.