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Curious Collaboration

I know nothing about weddings...

Look at this couple. So happy, it could make you sick. Barf. If you haven't figured it out, that's my wife and i on our wedding day. and that twinkle in our eyes is yes, the profound feeling of love, gratitude, and exuberance you only experience on the happiest day of your life. But, at least in my case, some of that twinkle is the relief and sheer exhaustion that comes with completing a $20,000 diy wedding. it's done. praise baby jesus, it's finally done.

In the past year, the best example i can share of being an engaged and curious collaborator is (by far) the time I help my wife stage our wedding.

You see, I knew nothing about weddings. Even now, a year later, i still know very little. but, i was part of a team. and i was going to do everything in my power to make sure that team absolutely nailed it. 


But i loved learning about them.

this one makes me cringe. it's a photo of a dumb guy who's been dragged to hobby lobby on his one day off and is about to plop down $400 on fake garland. That smile is the smile of someone who, only moments before, was just majorly schooled and knows it.

"why spend $400 on plastic garland?", my fiancee explained. it looks just like the real thing, it'll save us 3 grand on hiring a florist, and we can put it in storage and rent it out to other diy brides in the future.

boom. mind blown. i was hooked.

learning on the fly was my favorite part. it became oddly exhilarating to research what other wedding diy-ers were doing and macgyvering it for our own purposes. I still know very little about weddings in general. but i got pretty good at helping my wife crush it when it came to our own - which i'm sure is how many creatives feel when building a campaign from the ground up. i know it's something i've experienced while working on clients for my book.

Keep it simple, stupid.

my wife was the creative director of our wedding - she saw the big picture, figured out what was working and what wasn't, and made sure it was implemented on time and on budget with her team (me). I was the creative: I did the driving, asked the dumb questions, and soaked up as much as i could while doing the less glamorous nitty-gritty stuff.



We did most of it ourselves. maybe too much. we made our own feather bowties and boutineers for the groomsmen, our own centerpieces and place settings, and my wife event built a website in lieu of invitations.

But i loved learning about them.

The dynamic still makes me think of my time with the Bookshop school for ads, much of which i spent with instructors at rpa. My wife and I were essentially throwing a big party, but finding creative solutions to the hundreds of micro-crises required hours of tinkering to get it just right. We pitched ideas, got shot down, regrouped, got shot down again, and found the idea that worked, over and over again.

While it wasn't perfect, our big day gave our guests an experience that felt simple in its elegance, beguiling the hours we poured into executing it. it really did feel like the times my team and i pitched our final integrated campaigns for barkbox and purell, albeit on a much bigger scale.


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