Volume 2014, Issue 8

Two Princes ribbon

The Story of
A Tale of Two Princes

by James Stapleton and Teakaau Piho


Two Princes ribbon

We came across a delightful illustrated book, A Tale of Two Princes, when we were browsing for innovative wedding books made with Blurb. It’s a charming story of, well, two princes in love. We reached out to interview the authors, James Stapleton and Teakaau Piho, and were rewarded with a yet another delightful tale⎯this time about how the book was born. Read on to see how two star-crossed lovers used Blurb to create a one-of-a-kind wedding announcement that will melt your heart. Here’s the story of how A Tale of Two Princes came to be, as told by James Stapleton and Teakaau Piho.

“As a Creative Director, I'm always thinking of ideas and creative outcomes. Add that to us as a couple, who have always looked at life as an adventure and an exciting story to be told. Combining these two things, an old school Disney-style storybook was the perfect way for us to announce our marriage.

Two Princes ribbon
A Tale of Two Princes

We had always planned on having a small intimate wedding, just for us, without the hassles/politics of a traditional wedding. Plus, having family and friends scattered all over the globe, it felt right to us to hold a private ceremony here in Beverly Hills. When we married in August of 2013, we already knew both of our families were coming to visit us for Christmas, so we decided that the book would be given out to each family member on Christmas Day. That way the surprise would be special and everyone would find out at the same time.

Before we started putting the book together, I knew that I wanted to print the book with Blurb. I had used them before for one other project, also a wedding. I had my cousin's wedding pictures retouched and edited and put them together in an album for her to treasure. We were so pleased with the quality of the album that I wouldn't have trusted any other company with producing our special gift either.

“We were so pleased with the quality of the album that I wouldn't have trusted any other company [but Blurb] with producing our special gift either.”

My husband and I wrote the story together. This took longer than we had expected—like any other married couple we wouldn't always agree on what we wanted to say! Once we had written our story I contacted Matt Skingsley, a talented illustrator with whom I had worked on a couple of other projects before. I knew that I wanted him to illustrate our story. I provided him with a detailed brief, some rough sketches of each illustration, and also photographs of some of our travels so that he could draw things exactly as we had envisioned. Once we were happy with the illustrations, we began to put the storybook together.

A Tale of Two Princes book spread

The first time I had used Blurb (for my cousin's wedding album), I had actually created a template myself in InDesign and loaded that onto the site to be printed. When it came to making our book, I realized that Blurb offered an InDesign plug-in. I was pleasantly surprised; this made things a lot easier for us when we were laying out the images and text. I didn't need to figure out the bleed lines, crop marks, and page folding boundaries—the plugin had set all this for me.

For anyone wanting to create a similar book, I would definitely recommend you start with your text and images on pieces of paper. That way you can move things around and create a storyboard. Often if you jump straight on the computer and start laying things out, you can be quite confined to the screen—drafting and storyboarding away from the computer lets the creative juices flow a little easier.

When the books were delivered we were absolutely thrilled with them. In today's society so many things remain on our screens. We show people holiday snaps on a tablet, watch slideshows of a wedding on our TVs⎯it was exciting to tell our story with a magical twist in the form of a printed book. It immediately feels more special, more personal, and becomes a keepsake instead of a computer file that lives on a hard drive.

“In today's society so many things remain on our screens. We show people holiday snaps on a tablet, watch slideshows of a wedding on our TVs—it was exciting to tell our story with a magical twist in the form of a printed book.”

It is so difficult to pick a favorite part of the book as each part of it holds a good memory for both of us. The final page is obviously one of our favorites. I wanted this page to simulate one of my favorite Disney moments—the kiss between Ariel and Eric in The Little Mermaid. But then there is also the page where we arrive in Los Angeles on a white horse that's pretty fun and iconic. Needless to say, that's not actually how we arrived in America but there's nothing really magical about arriving in a rental car.

A Tale of Two Princes book spread

When the big reveal came on Christmas Day, we were obviously a little nervous to tell everyone, “Surprise! We are already married and none of you came to the wedding.” But we were excited to show them the books and suspected the overwhelming charm of them might soften the blow of not being invited! There were 13 of us all together, so we had everyone sit around the fireplace for “story time.” We handed a book to each person and, one by one, went around the room with each person reading a page each. By the time we were halfway through the book, everyone started to suspect we were getting married and were going to announce it. I mean why else would we be telling our story?! It wasn't until the last page that revealed that we had already gotten married that the tears flowed and celebrations began. It was very special. Weirdly, my fondest memory of that moment was when my five-year-old niece (who lives in Spain and had come here for her first trip to Disneyland) said "Look Mummy, Uncle James is dancing with Princess Aurora," swiftly followed by "I didn't know two Princes could get married but that's so cool."

All in all, a total success! Everyone took their books home with them, and we sent our extra copies to our good friends in England and New Zealand for them to keep also. Ours sits proudly on our coffee table and has become the first thing people reach for when they come over. I mean who doesn't love a good old-fashioned love story? We even ended up on BuzzFeed with images of the book and from there we had some requests for people we had never met before to buy the book. They thought it was so lovely, unique and hadn't seen anything like that before that they wanted a copy! Very flattering.

Thank you to Blurb for making this process so easy and providing its customers with such high quality products. Blurb has totally become my first port of call when I need to create a book of any sort. I've also recommended Blurb to a number of my friends, and some of the photographers I work with when they want to present their work.

A Tale of Two Princes crowns




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