Today is our fifth wedding anniversary. The years have flown by and everyday I am thankful that I was blessed to marry a man who challenges me, supports me and constantly makes me smile. It is with a full and joyous heart that I flipped through some of our wedding photos this morning. I wanted to be married in the thick of Autumn, I love the joy that the season brings and liked the idea of having our family gathered together during the season of thanksgiving. We were married in a beautiful little church outside of Chicago and held our reception at the Hotel Baker in St Charles- both were beautiful historic venues. In honor of our anniversary I wanted to share some of our wedding photos. To respect the privacy of my friends and family I have chosen not to include many of my favorite portraits, however, let there be no doubt- strip this wedding of the flowers, the decor and the bubbly and it would have been just as special because of the people who were gathered there that day. I designed the wedding decor and graphics and most of it was made by hand with the help of friends and family. I have very sweet memories of times spent with those dear to me crafting, sewing and creating. I hope that the photos provide inspiration and ideas for those of you who may be planning a wedding in the future.
I have included a list of my vendors at the end of the post. I highly recommend all of them.
My mom sewed this purse using the lace from her wedding dress. The green material was leftover from the sashes that she sewed for the flower girls.
I couldn’t find any bridesmaid jewelry that I liked- (read “that fit in my budget”)… So, I made my own. My mom pitched in, helping attach ribbon to the beaded strands.
My mother-in-law found these adorable dresses on the sale rack in a small department store. The price was great, and coincidentally they looked exactly like a dress that I’d drooled over in the window of an expensive boutique. She bought them off the rack and my mom made the satin bows to tie them into the color scheme. I love teamwork!
I loved the bright chartreuse flowers that the flower girls wore. I purchased them from Etsy, the seller has since closed their store but there are many similar items available for sale.
The ceremony programs were a labor of love. My dear co-workers spent a few lunch breaks forming an assembly line around the office conference table. Cut, fold, stamp, pass! My boss took the green squares home and she and her family helped punch the leaves out. What a blessing to have such sweet friends.
We found a vendor at the local farmers market that was willing to provide a few bushels of green apples the weekend of our wedding. We used them as place markers, each with a name pinned to them. The gray velvet favor bags were purchased from Uline, as were the miniature shipping tags. My Mom, Aunt and Grandmother helped me stuff each bag with a dark chocolate, punch the leaf shape out of the tag and tie them onto each bag. I hand wrote “thank you” on each tag in silver pen.
To save money we didn’t have the florist create the centerpieces for the wedding. Instead, we used a combination of birch logs, moss and candles and made them ourselves. This process is a very special memory for me because I got most of the help from my dad and my grandfather. Since I was still working as a designer at the time I was able to order 9′ sections of birch logs at a wholesale price from one of my vendors. We saved a lot of money by doing this and then cutting them ourselves. I wanted the cuts to look ragged and natural and my dad relished the opportunity to use his ax, so he chopped them all by hand. You can buy small section of logs at Saveoncrafts or similar vendors. The votive holders were purchased from the Crate and Barrel Outlet store. We placed the logs into glass containers with some river rock and moss. My grandfather helped remove stickers from all the glass items and we sat in the garage together cleaning each one of them. My grandfather passed away just a few years later- I deeply cherish those times sitting with him talking and working away together.
There was an upper level mezzanine that had some very small tables where we simplified the centerpieces. Working with my Dad and Grandfather, we created bundles of three logs and secured them with silver wire. Each table got votive candles just like the lover level as well.
Lastly, My unqualified wedding advice?
- Almost everything made for weddings is over priced, but good photography is worth the money.
- Even if you do everything else yourself…. Hire a “day-of” wedding coordinator if possible. This will keep Aunt Bertha from having to miss the cocktail hour because she is setting up centerpieces.
- Focus on the people. The candles will get blown out, the flowers will die but the memories with family and friends will last forever.
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