From what wedding stationers tell us, there’s definitely been a rise in customers asking for something a little bit different for their big day. Behind many themed weddings is the work of designer Marty McColgan, who will cater for anyone looking for something alternative. We chatted to Marty about the huge variety of designs he works on, as well as why he thinks the industry is ever-growing.
As a graphic designer, was designing wedding stationery a natural step for you?
“Yes, while I was working as a full time graphic designer I was always getting requests to design wedding invitations. After designing my own wedding stationery, I uploaded some images of it to my website and this led to a lot more wedding stationery orders coming my way. Couples were searching for designs that were different and exciting, and not so run of the mill.”
When you began, how popular were themed weddings? We know they are all the rage now! What themes do you cater for?
“Themed weddings were becoming more popular at the time as a lot of people were starting to think outside the box on what they could do with their wedding and stationery. People began to realise that weddings can be so much more and they started moving away from traditional ideas.
“I started Wedfest around the same time and it became an overnight success. Hundreds of orders were coming in from couples looking for alternative, festival and themed wedding stationery, so clearly they’d been looking for something like this.
“We offer all sorts of themed wedding stationery, basically any theme or idea that the customer has, we will try and bring it to life. Over the years we have worked on all sorts of themes and designs, too many to list but covering pretty much everything you can imagine.
“In the past week alone we have made invitations for a couple getting married in a forest, a set for a couple getting married in a tree house, created lots of festival themed wedding invitations, cinema ticket wedding invites, passport style wedding invitations for destination weddings, heavy metal and rock n roll style invites, designed at least four sets of invitations which feature the couple’s dogs, as well as football and rugby style wedding invitations, and much, much more. It is a real mixed bag, which keeps it fun and exciting.”
Why do you think more and more couples are making their weddings into full-blown festivals and events?
“I think this is exactly the way it should be. Weddings now are much more than just the nuptials; they are full on weekend celebrations. When planning our own wedding, my wife and I were very relaxed about it and just looked upon it as planning a big party, and that seems to be the way a lot of people view it now.
“It is one of the biggest celebrations in your life, if not the biggest, so why not put on a three-day festival and get all your friends and family to come and party with you in a field or a barn for the weekend!
“You are always going to remember that wedding you went to that was inside a Tipi, had a bonfire, glow sticks, two stages of live music and a pizza truck. Why not make them as memorable as possible?! The other thing is the options are there now that weren’t before, with companies who can organise all this for you and give you a range of options for a wedding. And of course there is a company that can create mind-blowing wedding stationery for whatever theme you like. Oh wait, that’s us!”
With wedding stationery typically the first thing guests see which gives them an inkling of the theme, how would you describe Wedfest’s style?
"We do make a lot of bright and bold wedding stationery, which certainly grabs attention and won’t be forgotten in a hurry. However, we also design much more muted vintage and chic style designs. To describe our style under one term would be difficult as our style can be anything the customer wants. If you want bright, bold and in your face we do it better than anyone. But if you want something more elegant, funky, vintage, retro or whatever, we can do that too. I suppose the best word to describe our style is just awesome!"
Wedfest stationery is such a keepsake for many guests and happy couples. What is your favourite stationery to design?
"Our stationery really is great for keepsakes. Our customers always tell us that their wedding guests didn’t want to tear off their RSVP cards or send them back as they didn’t want to ruin the invitations. Likewise, with our range of festival wristbands, that is probably the best keepsake anyone could take away from a wedding because everyone loves a festival wristband.
"I love designing wedding invitations, as these are the first insight into a couples wedding for guests. Receiving and opening a wedding invitation is always a joyous moment, but getting one of our designs through the post makes it even more special. We had one customer tell us a wedding guest thought they had received tickets to Glastonbury, another told us a wedding guest thought they had received FA Cup Final tickets!
"For me, the best thing to design for a couple is their wedding table plan. The first reason is because when everyone arrives at a wedding reception they all have to gather around the wedding table plan to see where they are sitting. This is also an opportunity for guests to admire the design. Our customers are always telling us about how much attention the table plans get on the wedding day.
"The second reason is that many couples tell me they go onto to hang their table plans in their home like a piece of art. This makes me really happy and I can understand why they do it. Not only was it a customised design specifically for their own wedding, but it also has the names of every guest who attended their wedding on it, which is a great memento from your big day."
How do you see the business developing over the next few years?
"Wedfest has grown at a very fast rate from the very start and continues to do so. Last year we more than tripled the output from the previous year and 2017 already looks set to be even more successful.
"You don’t have to look far to see how our ideas and designs have influenced the whole wedding stationery landscape so we will continue to do what we do best. We’re always striving to come up with new ideas and designs to move things forward. We have always believed in thinking outside the box and we continue to do so, which is why we will continue to move forward as a leader in wedding stationery design."
What do you think of Marty's work? Are you designing for weddings with themes? Let us know by commenting, and remember to shop our Wedding Collection!