• John Lally

Always The Graphic Designer, Never The Bride

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

I designed my first wedding invitation in 2012.

With no design qualifications or experience, I was placed in front of Corel Draw and asked by my new boss to personalise a template and send it to the customer:

Personalise template.

Send it to the customer.

Make their changes.

Confirm it for print.

Little did I know 8 years, 2 months and 5 days later, I would still be doing exactly the same thing:

Personalise template.

Send it to the customer.

Make their changes.

Confirm it for print.

It sounds a little monotonous, but the reality is far from it.

Every single customer is different. I'm intrigued, entertained and surprised every single day.

After nearly a decade of designing wedding invites, I've glimpsed at different cultures around the world, I've designed celebrity wedding invitations, seen a £15,000 wedding invite suite and also created a 'Save the date for my divorce' card.

It is a captivating industry that has kept me completely engrossed for a quarter of my existence.


In December 2019 I commissioned myself to design my own wedding invitations. 7 years of intensive training has lead to this moment. The stakes were high and the expectations were even higher. Challenge accepted.

'You would think these would be more impressive considering he makes invites for a living' is what I imagined all of my friends & family would be saying as they stared disappointingly at the invitation.

Knowing full well, this insecurity was in my head, I did the sensible thing and procrastinated for around four weeks.

'If they don't get created, they don't get slated' I thought, rationally.

I finally finished the invitations in January 2020 (just 2 months before they were rendered useless due to Covid-19).

Our invitations were designed using the TavernCreative Olive template on a grey pocketfold format.

Though the lighting in the room has made the photo look very grey, the envelopes we used were the standard TavernCreative sage green in a C5 size. They're sealed neatly with shiny gold stickers. The front of the envelopes were printed with our guest's addresses.

The pocketfolds themselves were sealed with the TavernCreative Leaves, wax seal design, in pearl white and just to be over the top, I also tied each pocketfold with rustic twine.

Our names inside were foiled in a metallic gold colour and the guest names were printed on each invitation.

We had 3 insert cards.

INFO: The guest information card showcases a map of the area, accommodation recommendations, gifts and contact information. On the reverse we included a menu and timeline of the day.

RSVP: The return cards were also double sided. On one side we had our address printed with space for a stamp and on the other side we had the guest names printed twice. Once for the response and once for the menu choice as you'll see below.

REMEMBER: The final insert card had a small magnet attached to the back, so the guests could put it on their fridge as a reminder of the key details.

Being my own harshest critic, despite an incredible amount on consideration and planning to perfect them, there are a number of things I would now change, if for some strange reason my wedding were postponed and I had to make my invites again for a new date...

Number One: Rustic twine, light grey pockets and white wax seals give me mixed vibes. There's a clash of themes here, I feel. The light grey and white wax has a crisp modern feel and the addition of the rustic twine seems to confuse the style slightly.

Number Two: The map is useless. Purely for aesthetic purposes only, this map of Dover, while fairly accurate, would be extremely difficult to follow if it were your only guide. I hope my guests know how to use Google maps.

Number Three: I didn't include an RSVP by date. One of the first things I thought of when I knew I'd have to reprint was 'thank goodness, I can include the RSVP date this time'.

Number Four: I thought it would be really interesting and arty to print the names/addresses on the front of the envelopes in a really large script font. This didn't work and in fact it looked so bad I'm embarrassed to include a photo here.


The most interesting observation I made in creating my own invitations were the little innovative solutions to the ultimate practicality of the recipient's experience.

A pocketfold invite is large, it won't be pinned to the fridge, it will be tucked away in a draw and forgotten about. The little card with the magnet ensures the key information is not tidied away.

Menu choices are always a tricky one. It's a lot of information to request on such a small piece of card. By printing the guest names with a tick box for each menu choice, it keeps it clear, concise and free of any confusion.

By making my own invitations, I've had a detailed insight into what the customer really wants and needs from their invites. Even if they don't know it yet themselves, I now feel I have a stronger vantage point to offer my advice, suggestions and solutions, to help them create the invitations that work for them.

Cue comments saying 'You would think these would be more impressive considering he makes invites for a living'

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