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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jen's Vintage Outdoor Wedding

Considering I tied the knot 10 months ago, I guess this post is a little overdue! I've been meaning to post about our wedding for forever. My brother-in-law (my husband's brother) just married one of my closest friends last Friday, and of course it just takes me back to all the magic and splendor of ours. I was a bridesmaid for them and also did the bride's makeup, which was obviously really exciting for me. Their pictures won't be ready for about a month, but lots were taken of her makeup getting applied, which I plan to share with you later. I'm a lover of all things wedding and always have been; I just love looking at pictures of anyone's wedding whether I know them or not, so I thought you might want to see some of mine. (Same goes for pregnant gals; I can't get enough of belly pics, and I hope you can't either since I like to post mine here!) Despite the tongue-in-cheek title of our blog, my purpose here isn't to show off but just to share some of my very happiest memories. The only sad part of the day was that my mom wasn't physically there...but I know she was literally there in spirit and sent plenty of little signs to let me know.

Brief history...hubs and I had been together for about six years prior to the wedding and lived together for four, not as a "trial run" but as a "marriage is inevitable, so we're doin' this." We intended to do the actual ceremony a lot sooner, but as he would often joke, we had "the other M-word" tying us together pretty tightly: mortgage! ;) He would've gone to the courthouse ages ago and done the deed, but I wanted an outdoor ceremony. I'd been married before, you know, but this time it's to the right guy and was a long time coming, and I wanted to really celebrate it big! And I also thrive on creating, decorating, planning, the works, which worked out well for us because we had a super limited budget. 2010 just somehow felt like the right year to do it, so we started planning in January. He still managed to surprise me with a ring somehow even though it's not like the engagement was a surprise. We wanted to get married in the fall since we wanted it outside and it gets dreadfully hot in Georgia in the summer (thank God the other wedding Friday was indoors). So we got married on 10-10-10...I mean, if you're gonna get married in the fall of 2010, how could you not? The weather turned out beautifully. It was much more like a spring day than a fall one, which worked out well with our springlike colors.

First on the list was: where to get married. We both agreed we'd like an outdoor ceremony, somewhere with trees. Twinkle lights and candles. A big, open field with a barn. Not expensive. One night when I was hanging out with KameraWhore at her house in the country, her daughter asked why we didn't just do it at their house...they have an open field with a barn and surrounding trees, and, as she pointed out to really get to me (she's a smart kid, that one), it was free. We kind of chuckled at first, but then as I looked out the window to their barn, which is actually more like a workshop made to look like a barn, I realized...well, why not?!? Their field is divided into two sections by wire fencing - perfect for using one side for the ceremony, one for the reception. I don't know that any of us, least of all Kam and her husband, knew what we would be getting ourselves into at the time. :) DIY weddings can be quite stressful because of the time and energy involved in, well, doing it yourself. But everything couldn't have been more perfect! It even turned out they had the perfect tree to get married under that was dead center for where the aisle went, like it had been planted right there just for us. A lot of people thought I was completely nuts for thinking I could transform the area into a wedding site, not because her house is in bad shape or anything like that at all but because they just couldn't see the vision I had in my head and were used to people getting married mostly at ready-made venues. People would whisper to my husband, "Is she sure she wants to get married here?" and he would reply, "I don't know how she's gonna pull it off; I just know that she can!" I'm really glad for his faith in me, and of course Kam, who never doubted! Anytime I've gone through some self-doubt since then, I will think back and decide if I could pull that off, I can do anything. I'm sure giving birth will trump the wedding, however. ;)

Not spending too much money was a major priority. I think the biggest expense we had was probably my dress, but before you assume anything, it may be designer but was bought on sample sale for a reasonable price, and I maintain to this day that it was worth it. I had gone into it thinking I'd wear a pretty, thrifted vintage number...until I saw THE dress in a bridal magazine, and nothing else held a candle to it after that. I wouldn't have been able to get it if it weren't for one local store, Kelly's Closet, carrying it and giving it to me at sample price. It needed some custom alterations, mostly to the top because it originally had sleeves, but was mostly a perfect fit to my body already, like it was made for me. I told you, vision boards work!

Ceremony seating was a combo of mismatched benches, hay bales, and my grandma's handmade quilts.
Tablecloths were mostly vintage sheets with some of my grandma's old textiles thrown in, with burlap runners.
The four wooden poles with string lights created our dance floor (so pretty at night!), and the canopy area was the kids' play area.
We also had a croquet set and fire pit set up.

We had SO much help along the way...too much to even list here, too many people to thank for helping us create the wedding of our dreams, and I hope I'm not leaving anyone out. The vision may have been mostly mine, but the end result was truly a family-and-friends affair. People not only worked hard that whole day but that whole month helping us prepare everything, at least. They moved heavy things, cleaned out the barn, dug holes, wired electricity...not to mention cleanup the day after. One of my fathers-in-law (my hubs' stepdad) even got ordained just so he could marry us. :) That was incredibly special. And my other father-in-law, his dad, built the kissing booth and wooden tables. Kam and I painted the booth, and few things are more fun to me than doing an art project with her.

We had a favorite local restaurant called Urban Cannibals cater an all-vegetarian menu for us, and I don't know what else to say about them besides that they're amazingly nice people and amazingly fabulous chefs (not to mention one half of the duo is Doria Roberts, a very gifted singer). We already had a super talented photographer in the family, a good friend who is an awesome singer/songwriter that we asked to be our reception band, another friend in the independent film industry who agreed to video for us, another from a local band who was our pre-ceremony guitarist (ceremony music was all 60s tunes!), and yet another good friend to do my hair who's been my hairstylist for several years now. We gratefully borrowed some things (and some wonderful ideas) from a friend who runs an event planning company. For everything that we had to rent, such as the outdoor bathroom, chairs, etc., and buying the flowers, I found places that were as close to Kam's house as possible to save on delivery costs, and let me tell you, that really saves tons of money. Kam made our beautiful and scrumptious wedding cake and groom's cake, and a pro baker couldn't have done any better, and she did so much other stuff to help as well. I got 175 yards of fabric to drape on the walls of the barn for $1 a yard because it was "seconds" fabric, which means it supposedly had some sort of defect that caused them to be unable to sell it retail, and you know, we never found a single thing wrong with it.

Wow, talk about havin' the hookup!! I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by such talent!

I did my own makeup (there might be a video tutorial in the future). I made our save-the-date magnets and vintage-style hankie invitations (with help ironing from hubs and family), plus the ringbearers' bowties, the framed silhouettes, and can't even remember what else. lol If it was crafty, I probably made it, with a few exceptions. I bought most of the vintage china we used on eBay and Craigslist. The barn chandeliers and silver table candelabras, as well as some other things, came from my crafty designer pal Sarah of Rusty Bluebird, who was also sweet enough to take me estate sale-ing. A friend made our ringbearer pillows. I don't think any of the bridesmaid dresses were more than $20, and their necklaces were inexpensive brooches on ribbon. My hairpiece and earrings were purchased from two friends who have an etsy shop full of handmade beauties made from vintage bits - they also sell gorgeous handmade wedding dresses. (I also sell custom-made save-the-dates and invitations on my other etsy shop, though, at present, I will need lots of advance notice because of our upcoming bundle of joy!)

Our friend Bon, whom I think you'll be meeting soon, is the one to my right in the group photos.

Notice how Kam's looking at me in the 3rd one down on the right - representative of our faux competitive spirit. ;)
You might notice my tattoo is repeated in several places throughout the wedding.

There are so many ways to pull off a beautiful wedding without spending too much. I admit, we still ended up spending more than we would've liked, but I can't say I regret anything either. It was very "us." And I ended up making friends with so many new people just during the planning, kindred spirits who just felt like they were supposed to come into my path to stay long after the wedding was over.

If it weren't for the cost and the way that planning a wedding can completely run your life for several months :), I would do it over and over again every single year! (To the same guy, of course!) And on my worst day when I feel like I look as bad as I could possibly look, I can always look back on that day as the day I felt completely, indisputably beautiful. As it should be for every bride. Of course, now I'm pregnant, and I don't care how it sounds; I think I'm the cutest pregnant gal who ever was!! ;)

There was a special, palpable feeling in the air the whole day and evening of our wedding; we even had several people comment on that. It was just this feeling of everything happening at just the right time and place and being surrounded by love and support from people who were just as excited about our marriage as we were. And no matter what type of wedding a person has or how much or how little is spent, what's more important than that? So many people get so caught up in the dress, the stress, the details, and "making everything perfect" that they lose sight of why they're doing this. We did get stressed out the day before while we were frantically trying to finish up some things, but overall, we kept the process fun and light; at the end of the day, it was about celebrating each other and nothing more. The same feeling, I am very happy but not surprised to say, permeated my brother- and sister-in-law's wedding.

Hope you've enjoyed this peek into our wedding day as much as I do every time I reminisce! Thank you again to Kam for hosting - and helping me create - the wedding of our dreams.