Karen Rustad Tolva

Portfolio > Weddings

Marit and Eric

In 2023 I made a last-minute wedding program design for a nerdy Minnesotan couple.

Front: Welcome to the wedding of Marit & Eric / 2023-08-26 Eagan, MN Back: Circular Gallifreyan design using varying shades of black and grey Program interior with attendant bios, ceremony items, and reception timeline

Given the timing, the bride and groom were preoccupied with other tasks so I had minimal guidance on the design, other than that it should be grayscale and fit on a single sheet of paper. For typefaces I took my cues from the couple's wedding website. The bride provided me with most of the copy, but I edited it down so that all the attendant bios would fit. The program needed to include a reception timeline because, unusually, this wedding would feature a Taiko concert.

I had noticed that the save-the-dates for the wedding were Doctor Who themed, so for the back side of the program I decided to add a message in Gallifreyan, the constructed language used in the show, as an easter egg. I found an automatic Gallifreyan generator, but the output was unattractive: lines stuck out every which way, colliding awkwardly; the word scale was perfectly even and boring; the smallest dots often merged with each other. So I looked up a language guide so that I 1) could better adhere to the language's phonetic bigram model and 2) make the design more "calligraphic" by positioning circles and reusing lines idiomatically.

For those not in the know, the back design would just look like a geometric pattern. For the über-nerds in attendance, however, it said:

(([Ko] N G [Ra] [Tu] [La] [Shu] N S)
([Ma] [Ri] T])
(A N D)
(E [Ri] K) !)

The bride's reaction when I sent her the first draft:


I was hoping for a cover that was similar to the invite but I totally forgot to mention it

Thank you SO much. You have no idea how much stress you [sic] taken away.

Aaron and Eleanor

In 2018 I designed programs, placecards, and the menu board for a Jewish wedding in northern California.

Front: Welcome to the Wedding of Eleanor Joan Fraser & Aaron Richard Sofaer, with drawing of a storm-blue olive branch and rosemary sprig and salmon sweet pea flower / Back: the final reading of the ceremony and a list of the wedding party members. Ceremony items, with the full reading texts in both English (left aligned) and Hebrew (right aligned).

The reception was customary and didn't need a timeline printed; the couple didn't desire in-depth bios for their attendants, so I made that content compact. However, it was important to the couple to include all the ceremony readings, in both English and Hebrew, to help attendees follow along (especially since the bride's side was not Jewish).

The programs and placecards were printed in color on medium-weight, light pink paper.

The wedding color scheme was storm grey-blue and salmon pink. I made the couple a drawing of an olive branch (for peace), a rosemary sprig (for faithfulness), and a sweet pea flower (mentioned by the bride as a favorite). This graphic was used in all three designs.

Menu header with drawing of a storm-blue olive branch and rosemary sprig and salmon sweet pea flower.