Whenever I begin a new design, there are a few very important steps. First, determining the look and feel of the event and making sure the lines of communication are open between the designer and the client. That may seem like a given, but seeing how much time we spend on artwork, its nice to only have to do it once!
For this suite, we started with our descriptors - organic, farm to table, green, airy, light, elegant, formal. We knew we wanted to incorporate rosemary, sage, a hand drawn map, bits of gold, and very formal cursive. The next step I take is to sketch out the entire suite. I do this for a few reasons - one, it really helps me determine what art piece I'll need, what spot calligraphy will be needed where, what pieces we're actually going to be working on and it also helps the client see the overall look and feel and how the artwork will flow from one piece to another (which can be difficult to communicate otherwise). These sketches are exactly what I show to a client as we work through the process - they aren't very clean or pretty, but the communicate the general idea.
After the sketch is done, I begin working on sketching out the artwork. Depending on the overall look and feel, sometimes I go straight to watercolor or whatever our chosen color medium is. In this case, I purposely chose to ink everything first to bring in an element of black.