Designing my very own wedding was a fascinating design challenge I solved over the span of 9 months in 2016. I applied my UX skills to craft the experience of my wedding and bring happiness to my family and friends.
It was a great excuse to immerse myself in creating and making things, as well as (literally) a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to wear all the hats for one project - I was the PM, the designer, the developer and the user. No feature requests from different stakeholders, I got to make decisions all by myself. No sprint deadlines, I gave myself more than enough time to do research, to iterate on design and to implement everything in the way we wanted to.
We have a list of guests we want to invite. But how are they like as "users" of a wedding? Through anecdotal research and interviews, I found some patterns to create four different user groups. Needless to say, the first and foremost group is the bride and the groom - ourselves. Besides that, the other three user groups are:
· Only speak Chinese
· Used to the Asian traditional red weddings
· Don’t dance at weddings
· Speak English (and Chinese)
· Interested in seeing Chinese elements
· Expect to dance at weddings
· 5-year-old and a 8-year-old
· The only kids at the wedding
· Not interested in drinking or dancing
· Add a traditional tea ceremony with Chinese wedding costumes and decorations.
· Prepare survival kits (color books and fun buckets) for the flower girl and ring bearer.
Survival kit for the kids
· For users who don't dance - provide games and a S'mores bar in addition to the dance floor.
· Picked some of our favorite poems in both Chinese and English for the readings.
Storyboard is yet another great UX artifact to use for this project. I created this set of illustrations with captions to show the guests our love story, and these get to used multiple times on the website and difference pieces of the stationary. See complete captions on the wedding website.
Met at CMU HCII
Got to know each other
Keeping in mind what information guests need beyond the invitation card, especially the out-of-town ones, I designed the site with the primary goal of passing the information out clearly. Besides that, I aligned the design language with the wedding theme to give the users a hint of what to expect on the wedding day. After sketching out the content, I realized coding the website by myself gave me way more flexibility than using services like Weddingwire.
Not every wedding has a logo, but I went for it treating it as a great chance for me to practice logo design. I took his initial “A” upside down to form a heart and arrow, and my initial “S” to form the two connecting rings. I used the logo in multiple places - the favicon of our website, the design of Save the date, the wax seal for the invitation envelopes, and 3D printed magnets as favors.
Another important piece of wedding planning was stationary. Save the Date, Wedding invitation, Day-of programs, Thank you card - they are presented to the guests at different dates and times, via different medias, but together they should work as an integrated experience. I wanted to make this experience a continuation of the wedding website, so I reused the storyboard illustrations in them.
Wedding stationary set
A big challenge of planning the wedding by myself was the amount of things I needed to keep track on. I had to be realistic to give up some ideas due to implementation difficulty. However, for the part I had control on, I tried to pay attention to the details to provide the best experience. Even for how to fold the napkins, I did a guerrilla test by sending the three options to 5 friends and let them vote. Option 3 came out to be the final design.
I fell in love at the first sight when we saw our wedding venue. As a UX designer, I probably should have done more market research, but I just simply thought it was the best place to get married. It’s a beautiful private garden with trees, roses, fountains, fish ponds, houseboats and access to the Allegheny river.
I wanted our guests, the “users” to be as excited as we were, so I hand-drew this map and put it on the wedding website. I wanted the users to connect what they see in the map with what they experience the day of.
Hand-drawn map of Choderwood
The big day finally came. We had a perfect ceremony. But right after that, we saw the biggest thunderstorm we had ever seen in Pittsburgh. The lightening struck a tree of our venue, the storm blew a tent over, the rain made my wedding dress all soaked and muddy, the slippery floor even made me fall down during our first dance. It was quite a scene. Was it still worth all the efforts? Of course yes. The time, love and thoughts we put into this joined the vow and became a remarkable life experience.