To be completely honest with you, this is probably the post I was most looking forward to sharing! I understand not everybody enjoys a do-it-yourself wedding, but I come from the kind of family where my mother/father/grandmothers would look at something and say, "I can make that."
I wanted the family to feel like an antique garden party. I told my mother I wanted it to give the impression we just gathered some stuff out of grandma's attic and planned a last-minute party. I could not have executed this vision without plenty of time to plan, and I had a leisurely year-and-a-half to pull it together.
The weekend before the wedding, I made three wooden signs out of posts and pre-cut arrows I purchased from Michaels and secured with wood glue. Directional signs were crucial because there were three weddings in the same complex that night!
Sara and I spent two days in April punching hearts out of the "Twilight" books to make these garlands. We used twine from the $1 bin at Target, and bought the heart hole punches at Michael's. I chose to use the "Twilight" books because they were the only literature I could imagine destroying; I figured fans of the books would think it was romantic and people who hated the books would think it was funny.
My friend Bret told me it was hilarious to see people reading the hearts and saying, "Oh, this is when Jacob is teaching Bella how to ride a motorcycle..."
Sara, my stepsister Crysta and I all worked to make the glitter stars. We purchased cardboard 3d stars from Michaels, and used Martha Stewart glitter in gold, silver and bronze. They were gorgeous! We hung them from the trees with ribbon, also purchased from Michael's, and I plan to use them as Christmas decor for the rest of my life.
I picked up this sweet vintage cake topper from the 1940s at my favorite antiques store in Staunton, Va. It's called 17 East Beverley (which is also its address), and has to be one of my favorite places to while away the hours. The sweet lady at the checkout counter said it was from her collection, and told me she used her entire collection as centerpieces at her son's wedding. Isn't that a sweet idea?
I didn't want to spend a lot of money on favors and I've always liked edible favors, so I decided to do a candy bar and give people muslin bags that they could fill with candy. For our candy bar, I collected apothecary jars and vases from Target, TJ Maxx and various other places.
Our candy bar included Twizzlers, Sixlets, M&M's, Swedish Fish, cotton candy-flavored rock candy swizzle sticks and Charleston Chews (an old favorite of my mom's). I ordered the swizzle sticks and chews from Candy Crate, the only place I could find the right flavor of rock candy!
Ashleigh kindly hand-stamped each of these muslin bags, which are just so excellent for all kinds of gift bags. I always receive Anthropologie jewelry in them, but they are great for sachets, office products, candy, etc.
I ordered 100 of the bags for $25 from Celestial Gifts. The stamps were office-themed, because Sean and I met at our college newspaper office. They are made by Cavallini.
The vintage Coca-Cola crate, by the way, is from a great antique store in Newport News called Plantiques. It's located in Hilton Village, right on Warwick Avenue.
We agonized over what to do for a guest book. My original dream was to use a typewriter, like all the cool couples in blogland and Martha Stewart Weddings. But despite months of searching, we couldn't find an affordable, usable typewriter and I was becoming desperate.
When my friend Miranda was married, her guest book had cute little cards with writing prompts in a blank scrapbook. The prompts asked guests to predict how many children the couple would have, and where they would live; others had Mad Libs-style paragraphs to fill in. I liked that idea, but I wasn't having much luck finding a completely blank scrapbook. Stymied again!
THEN, a week before the wedding, I spotted John Derian's hollow storage books at Target and I knew I had found the perfect guest book for us. Using a card catalog we keep in the office as storage, I printed four newspaper-themed prompts on the back of index cards: Archive, Headline, Horoscope and Advice Column.
People filled them out, stuck them in the box and the box will go on our bookshelf. It was great fun to read people's advice and predictions for our future, and the headlines were really fun.
I was equally stuck on what to do for programs, but I knew I didn't want to spend a lot of money because experience has shown that no one other than parents keeps them.
I decided to keep our color scheme and print two pages on the cheap pastel paper you can buy at Office Max, then secure them with fabric tape from Michael's. The first page featured our bridal party and the ceremony info, while the second page had our thank you's and shout outs to all the people who helped make our wedding happen.
I bought the Canada Dry crate at the Williamsburg Antique Mall. I decided to use crates at the wedding because they can easily be used and reused for storage for the rest of our lives. That was very important to me...I wanted to see reminders of my wedding in my home.
I love this shot Ryan got of the Bentleys looking into the venue; the Bentleys were my second family growing up!
Our caterer was Sweet Madeleine's, based in Gloucester. They were amazingly flexible, and brought out all sorts of little touches I wouldn't have even known to request. We told them we wanted food that was unpretentious, delicious and easy to eat. I wanted people to mix and mingle, and make a meal out of whatever they liked.
Our menu included: cinnamon bourbon brie tarts (above), sesame chicken skewers, caprese skewers, shrimp cocktail, Virginia ham biscuits, assorted fruit and cheese and the piece de resistance -- mini burgers with a display of toppings.
Sean doesn't much care for cake, so we had a groomsman run out and buy an apple pie to surprise him. He ended up not having a bite!
I bought the napkins on close-out sale from For Your Party!