On October 1st, I had the privilege to officiate the wedding of my two best friends, Pammie and Blake. Before the wedding though, there was a lot of planning and creative that needed to be done. As part of my favor to them, I offered to design their save the dates, invitations, website and any other pieces they needed for their special day.

First up, the save the dates. For their engagement photos, they chose the background to be Washington, DC – a beautiful city setting. Their photographer, The Harty, did a fantastic job on capturing great photos for their engagement set. Pammie gave me guidelines on the look and feel she wanted, and this is was the final product:

save-the-date-pbj

Next up, design the website. This one was up to me and I wanted to keep it inline with the rest of theme from their engagement photos, invitation and wedding plans. I went with a one page design to keep it simple for the guests coming to the website to RSVP. The website was built using WordPress and the skeleton framework for the theme foundation. I had to do a little tweaking to the CSS to make it responsive, but I enjoy the simpleness and terminology of Skeleton as it really lets you start from a blank slate without massive reset overhaul. I used the plugin, RSVP and Event Management, as it allowed me to use the functionality of a RSVP system, but still have control over the look and feel. The overall process of inputting the guest list and configuring the settings was fairly pleasant, some of the features took trial and error, but eventually, we found the best solution to accommodate the needs of the guest list.

The website needed to be designed first, but while I was working on that, I started the invitations. Pammie and Blake did their research and went to a bridal shop to get a glance at some already designed invitations so they could get a feel for what they wanted. After sending me several photos of layouts, they finally agreed on one, with the assumption that there would be personal touches included. I used the overall layout that they picked out but changed all the design elements: typeface, colors, and patterns. Here are the final results:

invitations-pbj

This would seem like it was it for designs, but I wanted to go one step further. For my final design piece, I opted in to building a Snapchat filter. After discussing the idea with them, they joking thought it would be cool to have themselves transformed into cartoons. Of course I was going to go with this idea because I thought it would totally fit the whole Snapchat experience. After a few iterations, I finally nailed down their caricatures and a playful design. The whole thing set me back $15 for a whole day and the radius set was more than enough space – not bad. Here is the final design in action:

snapchat-pbj

This post wouldn’t be complete without some details of the actual wedding. As the officiant, I felt honored to be chosen to be such a large part of their life so the pressure to make sure the ceremony nothing less than perfect was a priority. I wrote my speech towards their personalities and my own personal judgement. My concept was to keep it light, but also to maintain the seriousness meaning behind the sacrament of marriage. Below is my final speech:

Welcome everyone and thank you for joining me here on this special day – my debut as a wedding officiant.

It was like a little boys dream come true when Pammie and Blake asked me to be their officiant. I couldn’t be more honored to be standing here in front of the two of them today.

I met Pammie about 7 years ago and our first experiences were not the most pleasant. Her first impression of me was the guy who woke her up from her afternoon nap before class. From there I was doomed. The next couple of months we only exchanged a few words, mostly dirty looks whenever I would come over to her dorm room. I don’t remember any significant event happening but one day, Pammie and I were pleasant, marking it the start of our friendship.

Over the years, I’ve gotten to know Pammie very well, through good times and through rough times. From coming in second place at Tour De Franzia to anxiously waiting together to find out her bar results, Pammie and I have been there for eachother during the big events in our lives. Pammie is the type of person that will give everything she has to not just achieve what she wants but also to help her friends and family, no matter the cost. She is driven, devoted, hard-working, and insanely smart. Pammie is an amazing woman, someone that I truly look up to. She has always been there for me, no matter the time or the place, and I am grateful to be able to call her one of my best friends. You mad bro?

Speaking of best friends, I met Blake a couple of years after I met Pammie. It was the early morning of Easter Sunday, around 2 am, and Pammie had just texted me asking if I wanted to go to a power hour with her coworkers from Bahama Breeze. As a young college student, I agreed even though I was already in bed. When we arrived at the party, I met some of her coworkers that I hadn’t already met, one of them being Blake. By the end of the night, I had a memory of someone ordering pizza, but the delivery was taking a long time, over an hour to be specific. All of a sudden I heard Blake call 911 to report the missing pizza but more importantly, to ask if the driver was okay. That’s just the type of person Blake is.

Over the years, Blake has shaped up to be one of the finest people I have had the privilege to know. He’s honest to a fault, courageous, sincere, loyal and intelligent. He’s the person you can always count on. The guy who comes through for you even in the toughest of times. Blake is a man of his word. He couldn’t be more deserving to be taking Pammie’s hand in marriage here today.

I’ve had the experience to be best friends with both the of these incredible individuals and as many of you have witnessed yourselves, these two are perfect for each other. I have no doubt in my mind that these two can truly achieve anything together.

This new journey will be at times rewarding and extremely difficult, but, most importantly, it will be a journey you take with one another.

Marriage is much more than your signatures on a legal contract, even if my signature is on it as well.

You are promising, in front of all these people, that you want to be with each other and only each other for the rest of your lives, and that you will do everything in your power to honor the promises you are making here today.

[Vows]

Pammie and Blake, I would ask that you always treat yourself and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together today.

Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your marriage deserves. When frustration and difficulty assail your marriage – as they do to every relationship at one time or another – focus on what still seems right between you, not only the part that seems wrong.

This way, when clouds of trouble hide the sun in your lives and you lose sight of it for a moment, you can remember that the sun is still there. And if each of you will take responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and happiness.

[I do’s]

Pammie do you take Blake to be your lawfully wedded Husband? (“I do”)
Do you vow to love him and care for him for as long as you both shall live?
Do you accept him, with all of his faults and strengths, and offer yourself to him with all of your own faults and strengths?
Do you promise to be a faithful and loving companion and to always put the promises you make this day above all else?

Blake, do you take Pammie to be your lawfully wedded Wife? (“I do”)
Do you vow to love her and care for her for as long as you both shall live?
Do you accept her, with all of her faults and strengths, and offer yourself to her with all of your own faults and strengths?
Do you promise to be a faithful and loving companion and to always put the promises you make this day above all else?

There are 3 rings of marriage. The wedding ring, The Engagement ring and the suffering. We hope the latter can be held to a minimum.

[Now for the Rings]

I Blake, take thee Pammie, to be my Wife, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, in joy and sorrow, and I promise My love to you. And with this ring, I take you as my Wife, for as long as we both shall live.

I Pammie, take thee Blake, to be my Husband. To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, in joy and sorrow, and I promise My love to you. And with this ring, I take you as my Husband, for as long as we both shall live.

[Tree Planting]

And now Pammie and Blake will partake in a unity ceremony. They have chosen to plant a tree, using soil from Blake’s home in Mechanicsville and Pammie’s home in Laurel.

You’ve both chosen to wear rings as a reminder of these promises. People often say wedding bands are a perfect circle, with no beginning and no end. But these rings did have a beginning. The stones were formed a long time ago deep within the earth. Eventually, a series of lucky events caused them to rise to the surface, where someone dug them up. Metal was then liquefied in a furnace at a thousand degrees — molded, cooled, and painstakingly polished. Something beautiful was made from raw elements.

Love is like that. It comes from humble beginnings, and through a combination of serendipity and effort, imperfect beings shape it into something extraordinary. It’s the process of making something beautiful where there was once nothing at all. As you look at these rings over the years, I hope you remember that. You’ve created something invaluable, and just as I know you will protect these rings, I’m confident you will protect the commitments you’ve made to one another today.

Now by the power vested in me, I now pronounce you Husband and Wife.

Overall, the ceremony went perfectly, not because of my speech, but because of what the two most important people had to say. I couldn’t have been happier to have an up close experience of a real confession of true love and to be so engaged with the whole procedure. This was truly one of the most treasurable moments of my life.