Thesis WordPress Design: Zach & Jody’s Blog

It's aliiiiiive, a beautiful design is alive .. mwaahaha .. er .. *cough cough*

23 Aug 2012, posted in Design,Web Design

This is been my largest wordpress project to date with several levels of complexity that had me blinking at times in utter confusion as I tried to get parcels of code to not fight each other! Welcome to the pleasure and frustration of working with WordPress Themes!

The fact that I get to say I worked on making Zach & Jody’s blog functionally beautiful is just amazing. It’s also the first collaboration between Melissa Love and myself .. hence coming up with the slogan of Built with Love & Heart (aka me, Cathie Heart). Melissa Love did the fantastic branding and design work .. and I created their wordpress theme and underlying structure. You can see the complete genesis it’s had from original to new. Most of the same functionality is there, re-written and presented again in style.

CathieGraphy - Thesis WordPress Design - Zach & Jody (5)

If you’ve not heard of Zach & Jody and you’re in the wedding industry then I have to say: ‘what rock are you living under?!’ Their social media strategy is spot on and very personable. I’ve followed them for about three years as one of the hidden masses until one day my new (at the time) friend Melissa said .. “hey, you’re good with WordPress themes .. do you want to do Zach & Jody’s”. Well maybe not so simply as there was a good design brief too but that was the start.

The first time I logged into their blog to figure out if I had the chops to take this project on .. it was more than a few moments of ‘wow’ ..  how many comments do they get and oh my word how many blog posts have they written and yikes how many photo’s have they got! Especially when you consider that WordPress naturally makes 4 duplicates of each photo for small, medium, large and then full size images.

CathieGraphy - Thesis WordPress Design - Zach & Jody (4)

Can’t help feel a little proud that I built this theme for them using Melissa’s very clear branding guidelines. Lookit’ my business name is there!

CathieGraphy - Thesis WordPress Design - Zach & Jody (3)

This was a challenge and while daunting and frustrating at times learning a new commenting system using Facebook Comments instead of the native WordPress comments .. I now know quite a bit about Facebook Comments. Another complication was trying to migrate the database from their hosting over to mine and changing the domain url structure before importing it to mine. Boy that was a struggle but I found and now LOVE BackupBuddy because it entire websites (or just the database if the entire website is too large) and then migrates very easily .. the only proviso is that you must have WordPress 3.1 and above. If I had to do a down and dirty export of SQL and migrate it I could but the risk of loosing blogs, comments, media attachments and other oddities is higher that way.

CathieGraphy - Thesis WordPress Design - Zach & Jody

CathieGraphy - Thesis WordPress Design - Zach & Jody (1)

Suffice it to say it was a BIG project. I went over a bit on time due to outsourcing and contracting advice from the larger businesses .. but I’ve now got a great working relationship with a larger firm called LA Marketing who are willing to be my backup as needed, so that’s good. Some things even made their lead coder scratch his brain cells for a bit to figure out a solution.

This blog was built using WordPress, Thesis Theme and SlideDeck 2. BackupBuddy was used to handle the database backup and migration from my servers to Zach & Jody’s, it makes life so much easier. So here we are .. one big project .. done and delivered.

Congrats on your new look Zach & Jody .. I hope you’ll enjoy it for a long time to come.


  • Kathryn Andrews

    Wow! Great work Cathie and Melissa! All that coding would have me running for the hills. The site and blog look gorgeous :)

    • Cathie Heart

      Oooo if you were to see the behind the scenes code you would be running for the hills .. and not just running but screaming! I nearly did too but I ‘is’ a designer in shining armour!

  • Carla Thomas

    wow – fantastic work, Cathie and Melissa. Looks amazing. Your hard work has definitely paid off. x

    • Cathie Heart

      Thank you .. I think the hard work’s paid off too :)

  • Jessica Roberts

    Looks AMAZING!!! Good work and I’m glad you stuck with!!!!

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