My wife, Kara, and I met over our mutual love for music. In fact, our first date was a concert. We made sure that our engagement photo shoot would finish in front of one of our favorite DC music venues, The Anthem. As fate would have it, the B-52s were playing that night and it was Kara’s spur-of-the-moment decision to snap some engagement photos in front of the marquee. When we came to rest on the slogan for our wedding (Simmley Smashup – a meta-reference to the practice of mashing songs together, and a portmanteau of our surnames), Kara suggested we try to photoshop it onto the Anthem marquee and an idea was born. We may have also inadvertently influenced a pandemic moneymaker for the Anthem. Little did I suspect that my wife-to-be’s brainstorm would turn into a design system.

All photography is credit of Emily Gude Photography. All rights reserved.

The Simmley Smashup Invite

The invitation design was the first item we tackled, and ultimately it formed the design of everything else that followed. We took the idea of throwing ourselves a concert and devised a die-cut ticket as our invitation. SmartPress of Chanhassen, MN fulfilled both the printing of the tickets and envelopes and it kicked ass – beyond our wildest dreams!

Our wedding invitation

The Guestbook

It turns out if you’re going to have a concert for a wedding, you better A) curate a good setlist, and B) not have a basic guestbook. To satisfy both of those requirements, we designed our own gatefold album cover and center labels for the vinyl platters. We chose to use the album interior as a space for our guestbook — signed in metallic ink, of course 🤘🎸

American Vinyl Co. of Asheville, NC did an outstanding job of custom printing/binding both the sleeve and producing the clear vinyl records with a custom playlist that we uploaded to their website!

The Signs

As is customary for modern weddings, we needed some straightforward signage to set expectations and keep guests on track. SML Signs of Hardy, VA came through with these outstanding full-bleed, foamcore-mounted signs.

The Placecards

Our guest place cards were dynamically printed, pre-folded and also fulfilled by SmartPress. We used very clear icons on each place card so that venue staff could quickly deliver guests’ dishes of choice without much conversation or intervention on anyone’s part. We don’t have a video, but the staff delivered the main courses to our tables by surrounding them like synchronized swimmers, and then simultaneously placing each plate in front of our guests and uncovering them with a flourish. We can’t help but think the cards made that display quite a bit easier for them to pull off.

The Tables

Each of our tables were named after the headlining act of a concert that Kara and I attended in the course of lives leading up to our wedding. Our head table was ‘Alison Wonderland’, named for the DJ we saw on our first date.

We created vinyl decals printed b SML Signs to place on the center labels of vintage vinyl EPs sourced from a used record shop. I tried not to ruin anything too important!

The Party Favors

Once again, SML Signs helped us out tremendously in serving up our customized, eco-friendly party favors by printing hundreds of kiss-cut vinyl labels we could stick onto the jar lids of homemade almond butter, a Simmley household favorite.