Invites that tell your story
Three weddings are happening at the same time in three different locations
The (barely) post-pandemic wedding rage might have some experiencing great joy, some questioning the sanity of their loved ones, and others still contemplating the vagaries of their own existence. But for Darshini Sundar, graphic designer and artist, it has brought in non-stop work in the form of ultra-personalised wedding invites. “Everybody is getting married; I’ve worked for six weddings in this November-December period and I have two more lined up. Three weddings are happening at the same time in three different locations. This season has been insane,” she admits.
While designing wedding invites might sound like a breeze, the industry has evolved to accommodate a great amount of customisation and this has been quite demanding on her artistic prowess, says Darshini. “We want everything to be personal; this takes personal to a completely new level. The invites are designed based on where the bride’s house is or where the wedding is happening. It’s not just that they want lotuses or hibiscus any more; it’s ‘I want my house/favourite location with the hibiscus that I like’,” she explains, offering an insight into the hyper-personalisation trend that people in the industry have picked up on now. “It’s very interesting to see that shift,” she remarks.
And to think it was entirely by accident that Darshini stumbled into this avenue of art. “When I married and moved to Hyderabad in 2018, I was put in touch with a design studio called MESH. It’s run by partners — Meenakshi and Shruthi. They asked if I wanted to try my hand at invites. I was in a new city and was trying to find my way through the freelance business space and they got me into this. Ever since, I’ve been doing a lot of custom work,” she recounts.
A typical consult for Darshini begins with hearing the couple’s story. “The bride or groom reaching out will give the basic specs — how many events and how many invites they need. Then, I start to ask questions — where did you meet? Is it an arranged marriage? Have you been friends forever? Are the two families friendly? What interests do you share? For example, there was one wedding where the groom was living in Hong Kong and his bride was living in Delhi; it was a long-distance courtship. So, we had the two skylines merged in the background. Some people will have interesting requests, like leopards or kingfishers. Then, I end up asking questions. So, most of the time, it starts with a really interesting conversation. It’s a really nice way of knowing someone’s story,” she elaborates.
Darshini suggests that prospective clients show up with their stories in hand — whether you want to focus on your journey or the wedding location (some of her best work includes illustrating beautiful gazebos for receptions and laidback bungalows for sangeets). “Come with reference ideas or a base clarity on what you want so that this process becomes engaging,” she says.
While wedding invites and the associated art fare have taken up quite a bit of her time, Darshini designs for other occasions too, like birthdays and baby showers. All you need is a date and a story.