Wedding invitations inspired by Mughal miniature paintings and Pulp Fiction


Originally from the Indian city of Chennai but now based in London, Shahina is a multidisciplinary designer with a passion for creating brands with purpose and packaging with a conscience. After moving to the UK capital during the pandemic to co-found branding studio Actual Friends with real friends Ray and Malak, the innovative invitations to her wedding were seen as the company’s first personal project.

Like most people’s plans last year, however, Shahina’s marriage to partner Akbar was caught off guard by the pandemic. With the big day scheduled for March 23, 2020 – the day before the world went into lockdown – their wedding plans in southern India and two days in the north had to be compromised. But that didn’t mean their unique invites would go to waste.

“The wedding theme and invitations were inspired by our history and heritage, especially Mughal miniature paintings,” Shahina told Creative Boom. “My husband’s name is Akbar (one of India’s greatest Mughal rulers), and there is a famous love story between Jodha and Akbar that inspired our ‘Save the Date’ invitations.”

If you are unfamiliar with them, Mughal miniature paintings are brightly colored, highly detailed images that traditionally appeared in manuscripts and art books. Although they are only a few centimeters tall, they contain a great deal of information about their subjects thanks to painting with brushes that sometimes only contain a single hair.

Shahina conveyed this painterly style to her invitations in a brilliant way by turning stamps into small portraits of herself and her future husband. The pair received a stamp each, and when placed on envelopes, they face each other and represent their coming together. It’s such a clever idea that it’s surprising we’ve never seen it before.

Floral details accompany the portraits, and for her website, Shahina went a step further by creating an animation that nods to the famous dance scene from Pulp Fiction. To make the dance more suitable for their wedding, the characters were decked out in more traditional Indian clothing. “We later realized the scene had the most oddly appropriate lyrics: C’est la vie, the old folks say, it shows you can never say it.”

With all this hard work in place, it was understandably worrying that Covid had started ground flying and international travel had become impossible. At one point the couple worried that Akbar wouldn’t be able to make the trip from London to attend his own wedding, so they decided to have a small ceremony at home instead of the epic trip they had originally envisioned. . New blueprints mean new invites, complete with clever “Save the Update” graphics where miniature portraits wear face masks.

“The day itself was unforgettable,” says Shahina. “We were supposed to get married in the evening but then found out that the government offices were about to close indefinitely from 3pm so we had to do it within the hour.

“We managed to involve some of our family and friends in Zoom and organized the first Zoom wedding in India at a time when not many people knew how to use the software (this caused absolute chaos). With Pixels and issues perfectly captured and stitched together, we’ve created an audio-visual keepsake that combines the chaos, creativity, and tricontinental joy of a pandemic wedding.You can watch that video here.


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