Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wedded Bliss - Behind the scenes secrets revealed :)

If you've been following along, you all know that mine and Dan's nuptuals took effect on a beautiful autumn day that, thanks to global warming, was unseasonably warm.  The leaves were turning, the air was crisp, the sun was shining, and all was perfect in paradise.  The wedding ceremony and subsequent reception went off without a hitch (unless you count the fact that I put his ring on the wrong hand, which I don't).  All the little details really made an impact, even if only to me.

The majority of my plans/creative masterpieces were kept a secret so that it would be a surprise on the big day.  But, with only a small pat on my own back, I did everything (EVERYTHING) myself and with the help of my mom and bridal party.  The centerpieces, the cardbox (you just wait!), the tablecloths, the bouquets, etc.

So here is a personal account of all the details that, although may not have been noticed by every single person, reflect a year's worth of hard work.  I put my heart and soul into planning this wedding and I hope someone else can find inspiration for their own one day :)

The Program:
Have you ever been to a wedding where you know the bride and groom, but the bridal party is a mystery to you?  Why are these people important?  How did they meet?  The bridal party has an important role to play that day, and their presence should be well documented.  Also, people want to know about the least I do.  So I designed a program on Publisher to tell all of that.  Give them something to read while they wait for my grand entrance :)
There was the "People Near & Dear" section and the "Random Facts You May Not Know" section, designed to create a few laughs, and coincidently a few tears.  I think they were a hit!

The Bridesmaids:
I decided a long time ago I didn't want flowers.  Nothing against the rest of the sane world who uses flowers on their wedding day, but it just wasn't my style.  I knew what I wanted for my own bouquet (we'll get to that in a bit) but that left me with the bridesmaids' bouquets - could they walk down the aisle bouquetless??  After months of debate, I found floral accents at the craft store and assembled them in to their bouquets.  Glittery, pretty, and easy.

Also, they were all wearing a different black dress of their choosing and I wanted something to unify them. Plus, it was supposed to be cold that day.  So I altered store-bought shawls for them to wear down the aisle and during outdoor pictures.
Here are the bouquets in vases on the head table.

Modeled by my lovely Maid of Honor and sister :)

I also made their necklaces to wear that day:

My Bouquet:

Again with the no flowers, I googled "alternative bouquets" and was bombarded with ideas that made my creative head spin!  But one idea stuck in my mind....Brooch Bouquets.  They were beautiful, unique, and timeless - a great momento to have long after the flowers would have died.  I labored over this idea for months, trying and trying again and again to get the look I wanted.  I ended up with this:
I chose all green and silver and rhinestone/crystal brooches.  Some new, some used, some really really old. 

My Hat/Veil:
I knew right away I didn't want a long veil - again, just not my style.  My mom had given me her's awhile back, not really intending for me to do anything with it, just more as a sentimental thing.  Well, it was poofy, and long, and totally not me.  But it had this hat that got me thinking.  So I pulled all of the toulle off of it and just the hat remained.  So I altered it.  And kept it a secret from her until the day of.  Boy was she surprised!

The Ceremony Sendoff:
If this was 1955 and we were getting married, there would be rice flying everywhere.  But because it's 2011 and people are bothered by everything, rice is no longer allowed.  Bubbles are the new norm.  But it's October, and I never follow the norm.  So I (and my bridal party) made streamers to wave as we walked out to greet our guests.

They made for some really cool pictures!

The Guest Book:
All along I had intentions of doing a signature mat for people to sign and then hang our wedding picture in it.  Until I did some more googling of "alternative guest books" and found inspiration for thumbprint guest books.  I had a stationary and card boutique customize a drawing of a bride and groom for some coffee mugs my mother-in-law bought us, and so I contacted her for a larger version of the image.  She then added some "strings" for the balloons and the guests went wild.
We wanted a unique way
To remember this special day
And the people we love so much
So don't forget to sign your name
Because no two are the same
And leave us your personal "touch"

The Card Box:
I blogged a couple months back about a card box fetish I had and that mine was going to be intense.  Well, I didn't disappoint.  Made entirely of cardboard, I give you the mother of all card boxes:

I'm pretty sure there were several people who carried their cards around for awhile, unaware that it was the card box!

The Seating Chart:
I can't actually take credit for this - it is all due to my talented mother.  I just came up with the idea and she executed it beautifully.  We didn't have the floor space for an entire extra table just to lay out tiny cards with guest's names on them.  Plus, I really liked the idea of a chalkboard.  The easel came from a display at work that was being thrown out, and the rest is my mother's genius.

First names and last initials, easy to find, easy to read.
The Favors:
What's the best part about Halloween?? The CANDY, duh!  And since we all turned in our witch's hats and devil horns and tiger tails a long time ago, trick or treating has been a thing of the past.  So I decided to bring it back.  I hit up the stores right after Halloween last year when everything was 50-75% off.  I bought a ton of candy dishes in all shapes and sizes.  Then, about a month before the wedding, Dan and I hit up a huuuuge candy warehouse in Cleveland to buy all the goods.  There was some stuff there from when our parents were kids!  Everything from Milky Ways to Gobstoppers to Candy Mustaches and Candy Necklaces.  Squirrel Nut Zipper, anyone??
The table was literally overflowing with candy - we ended up with half a bag by the end of the night!  I stamped white paper lunch bags with trick or treat stamps and told them to "fill 'em up!"
And boy did they ever!

The Cake:
Now, no, I'm not THAT good....I didn't make the cake too!  My baker Uncle made it for me after I gave him an idea of what I wanted - which basically consisted of "white with polka dots!"  But I DID make the cake toppers.

Seen here, before

And here, after :)

The Centerpieces:
Again, we reach the "no flower" situation which results in un-flowery centerpieces needing to be designed.  My original thought was "just do it all in pumpkins!"  But that would require me to assemble them no longer than a week before the wedding and that was just TOO. MUCH. PRESSURE.  So I came up with 3 alternatives. 

Here's a shot of the whole thing, before it got crazy!

Liquor decanters I've collected from garage sales, flea markets, etc filled with glittery styrofoam balls and topped with drippy taper candles.  One of the bottles is actually an Eiffel Tower, if you look closely :)  The #8 pumpkin was for the table numbers according to the seating chart.

Glittery pumpkins purchased at Target last year at 60% off!  Also glittery candles from there too.

Glittery sticks and reeds from the Flower Factory in a clear vase with colored glass sand at the bottom (sorry, I didn't end up with a great shot of this one!)

The caterer provided the black tablecloths, but I had found some glittery black and green overlay on clearance at Joanns and used that for some of the tables, as well as the shiny orange runners you can see.

Well, I think that's it. Whew, that was a lot!  It was fun though!  I've said numerous times throughout all of this, I needed to get married 5 more times to be able to use all of the ideas crammed into my head.  And damn that Pinterest for providing me with unecessary ideas 3 days before as I tried to scramble things together!

I'm open for questions, seeing as I am a seasoned pro now :)  But on a serious note, you don't HAVE to hire a wedding planner/coordinator.  If one comes free with the rental or something, great!  But you can do this!  It just takes some time, brainpower, creative juices, and patience!!