A year ago right now, I was fighting a head cold, getting my eyebrows waxed, and thinking about all the last minute details that needed to get done before my wedding. My love surprised me by getting to town a whole day early (right after the eyebrow wax…I was still all pink and surprised-looking!), and we had a romantic late-night Walmart run for I don't even remember what.
In all the time that I was planning things, I was browsing lots of wedding planning blogs, checking out all the great details that other brides were working on…seemingly on an unlimited budget of both money and time. How they managed to not only do the planning of every intricate detail, but also blog about it is a mystery to me. Except that I've come to the conclusion that most of the more successful blogger types (the ones who post a lot and attract thousands of readers, etc) are much more type A personalities than I am. I'm so type B…not a single driven bone in my body.
So, in the true spirit of a total procrastinator, I have decided to post some of the wedding details now…a year later! I did manage to take some photos along the way, but not a ton…so we'll see what I can dig up.
As a graphic designer, I simply couldn't have anyone else design our wedding invitations. I've been doing invitations for others for years, and it just seemed silly to turn elsewhere for my own. Besides, the ones I would have really wanted were insanely, crazily expensive. Like eight bucks PER INVITATION. Nope. Can't do it.
I really like the look of bare branches, so went with that as a theme of sorts for our invitations and decor. I figured it would fit with the January in New York thing. My husband jokes that we decorated our wedding with dead trees. He's got a point there.
I had the printer letterpress the branches in silver ink. I failed to say "hey, the thing I love about letterpress is the nice deep indentation that adds texture to your final printed piece." So he didn't really hit them all that hard, and no one would know these had been letterpress printed. However, 98% of the people I sent the invitations to probably don't even know or care about the differences between offset and letterpress printing. But I still get that disappointed feeling in my stomach when I think about it too much.
I was going to put in dummy text so I wouldn't be annoyed about the blurring…but I didn't have the right typeface handy at the moment, and I'm not taking the time to hunt it down. Sorry.
If I don't tell you there's something wrong with these, you won't know, right? Okay. I won't tell you. I'll just say that I need to learn to communicate more clearly to people whom I am paying to render a service. Like hair stylists. And printers.
I have this mild obsession with really nice paper. Thick, textured and beautifully colored. I went with a heavy barely-ivory paper for the invitations, and these gorgeous silver envelopes. I've known for years that I wanted an odd size for my invitations…something to make them stand out a bit. So I went with the long skinny envelopes that open on the narrow end. I designed mailing labels with the branch art that wrapped around from front to back, so I could get the return address printed on the same label as the recipient's address. The green love stamps worked out okay, though they're not my favorites.
I had grandiose plans of scouring the woods and harvesting branches myself. But then I found bunches of willow branches already trimmed and bundled at the Christmas Tree Shop for maybe 2.99 a bundle. Yep, that saved me some time. A few cans of silver spray paint later, and we had "décor," thanks to a very helpful bridesmaid and her basement!
The mom of my maid of honor also came to save the day when she found these white branches on clearance after Christmas. She loaded up her trunk full of them for me!
Another good friend had a mother-in-law who had owned a bridal shop for years, but had just closed it down. She had a few dozen dresses that she just really wanted to be rid of. So my friend brought a bunch back with her after a visit, and we played bridal shop for an evening. I found a lovely dress that was "me." Very simple, with really long flowing chiffon sleeves. Do you know how hard it is to find a wedding dress with sleeves?? Bummer that it was a size too small. But yet another friend recommended a seamstress for me to go see, and it turned out that this seamstress said she could let the dress out enough to work…but I would have to find a lace to match what was there already. She was pretty doubtful I'd be able to. But the Lord really does care about all those silly little details, it seems, because the first place I went, I found the perfect lace. I have looked and looked at the dress, trying to find the seam where she added to the original, and I can't find it.
Having the dress given to me was great…especially since when all was said and done, the alterations cost as much as many dresses out there!
For centerpieces at the reception, I grabbed a bunch of glass trifle bowls from the Christmas Tree Shop, poured in some white sand we got at Home Depot (it was stored outside, and frozen, hence how clumpy it was!), sprinkled some stones on top that I had gathered from the shore of lake Ontario and spray-painted silver, then stuck some of the white sticks in there.
Bead garlands around the base added a pop of color. I can't find any photos of them in the photographers' shots, but here's one somebody snapped during the set up the day before the wedding.
My maid of honor had the idea of getting mugs custom made and having them be used at the reception and taken home as the favors. We ended up going with a standard coffee mug style, since the cappuccino style mug was so huge and way more expensive. These were a huge hit, and since there were lots of extras, people took home entire sets of them (in the white paper gift bags we provided)! I wanted them to be a design that didn't scream "wedding favor" yet still reminded people of Dave & I and our wedding day. So I used the graphics from the invitations and put the date on the back of the mug, really small. Another advantage to this mug style was that it could be printed all the way around. perfecto.
The paper lanterns were a challenge to hang. I have to say that being rather sick the day before the wedding worked out to my advantage. I showed up at the reception site with all the stuff I had collected for decorating and promptly got sent home to rest because I felt (and looked!) so awful. The team of volunteers was amazing…pulled together by my oh-so-amazing maid of honor. They transformed the place into a happy, bright fun space for our afternoon reception of soups, espresso bar & desserts.
I went home and from a mostly horizontal position on my couch, designed the programs for the ceremony.
I had seen another bride and groom use sand instead of a unity candle, and really like the idea. I have been to a lot of weddings, and have found that as far as symbolism goes, the unity candle falls rather short. The main candle is supposed to symbolize the joining together of the two individual lives into one…which is great, except that so often, the bride & groom have a hard time getting that candle to light (I've seen the pastor step in and do it for them on occasion!), and then ten minutes later, that candle gets blown out so it can be taken off the stage. I liked the sand, because once you pour the individual vases of sand together, there is no way you can separate them.
We took it one step further, and had some people who had played an important role in our lives (including the bridal party) add small vials of sand to the vases our moms carried. So that is the part that I called "the walk of our lives" on the program.
I am so grateful to so many people who helped plan our day. The ladies who baked desserts, everyone who showed up to help decorate, the musicians who practiced and practiced and played/sang so beautifully at our ceremony, my maid of honor who totally took over working with the caterer, the family friend who made the lovely & delicious cake, the caterer and her team who worked in less than ideal conditions and made us a delightful lunch spread. To tell you of the brie appetizers and the various toppings she created would be another post entirely.
I'm planning to share more of the finished details in another post soon, with photos from the professionals. Stay tuned!