Posts Tagged ‘DIY Wedding’
Today’s Wedding Graduate post is especially moving because it’s a Wedding Graduate post and a Wedding Graduate Returns post all in one. We’ve been in the process of cleaning out our Wedding Graduate archives (so much brilliant stuff in there), and following up with people on what has happened since they wrote their posts. Sarah‘s post talks about all the work they did to create a green wedding, and about how in the end, what really deeply mattered were the people there loving them. In the past year, their lives have changed enormously (more at the end of the post!), and it’s that tremendous sense of love celebrated on their wedding day that acts as an anchor for what came next.
My husband (gah!) and I live in New Zealand. For those who aren’t quite sure where that is—and that is fine, there aren’t that many of us down here—it is south east of Australia in the South Pacific Ocean. We got married on the 3rd of April on a remote beach called Wai iti in Taranaki. Taranaki is where I grew up and it’s where all my family lives, too. It has this great wild coast of beaches with high cliffs and slapping seas. It is beautiful there, and it’s where we wanted to get married from the start.
Our wedding was a truly magical weekend at the beach, filled with love, wonderful family and friends, fun and games, and lots and lots of very special moments. When we first started planning, Marcus and I brainstormed together everything we wanted our wedding to be. We stuck our brainstorms on the wall in the office and they framed our approach to the weekend. While admittedly, in the end, we did have smack loads of help and luck, I think focusing from the start on what made sense to us, and doing it, made it the epic occasion that it was.
Right from the beginning, it was paramount to us that we got married in a sustainable way—both for the environment and for our own wallets. We are really into being low impact in our lives, and it was important that our wedding day reflected that. It was quite the challenge, but we relished trying to put it all together without using too many of the Earth’s resources.
We bought a great deal second hand. I did get mildly obsessed by charity shops as I hunted for vintage fabrics (to be sewn into tablecloths) and mismatched cut glass vases. We not only went second-hand, but we also up-cycled things that you might otherwise throw out. My friends and I had a ‘Wedding Bee’ at our house to create decorations. Actually it was less a ‘Wedding Bee’ and more a small sweat shop as we furiously made all the place names and then fifty tin can lanterns out of recycled cans. It was a great girls night in.
Though a word of warning: if you are thinking about making tin can lanterns, wine, hammers and nails are not a good mix! Continue reading Wedding Graduates: Sarah & Marcus
Remember when I wrote that post about going dancing? (Of course you do!) Well, one of the people I went dancing with is Kelly Wilkinson. Kelly is an NPR reporter here in the Bay Area (David is always saying, “I can’t believe you know Kelly Wilkinson, OH MY GOD,” because he has that kind of relationship to NPR), but she’s also an excellent crafter who writes at Make Grow Gather. She has a soft spot in her heart for us lazy girls, too. So I’m thrilled to announce that she has a book out called, Weekend Handmade, which is full of beautifully styled super easy projects, perfect for your kind-of-lazy-DIY-ish-wedding. Kelly has created a whole step-by-step tutorial just for us for making easy (seriously, I could do them, and I’m not a crafter) luminarias. She makes them with greenery, but you could clearly go crazy on design choices here. Here is Kelly:
I promise, you don’t need to think of yourself as crafty to whip up these lanterns. If you know how to measure, cut, and iron, you can make these. And you should! The most time consuming part is collecting flowers and greenery to press and waiting until they dry nice and flat. Once the lanterns are made, they give off a soft, gauzy light from the fused waxed paper.
- Flowers and greenery
- Heavy book
- Paper towels
- Waxed paper
- Craft knife (like an X-Acto)
- Cutting board or self-healing cutting mat
- Ironing board or cloth for pressing
- Washi tape (I buy mine here)
Press Flowers and Greenery
1. Collect leaves, flowers and foliage, keeping in mind that delicate, thin leaves and petals will dry faster than thicker specimens. Put flowers, etc. in between two paper towels and place inside a heavy book to dry.
Measure and Cut Waxed Paper
2. Measure and cut four 4 ½ x 9 inch rectangles. You can adjust and make these any size you want, but I’m partial to a nice-sized cube, which makes the math easy. If you adjust, cut the rectangles twice as long as they are high, so they fold into a square.
3. Fold the waxed paper rectangle in half to make a square. Open square, place flower or greenery inside. (photo #2) Close the square so the flower is sandwiched between the two layers of waxed paper. Continue reading How To: Luminaria with Kelly Wilkinson
Today I’m delighted to introduce wedding grad Michelle and her beautiful DIY Pennsylvania wedding. She wore her mother’s wedding dress (with some modifications), figured out how to make her wedding her own, and dealt with a runaway vendor (by hauling him to court and winning… BAM!). To make this wedding graduate post even richer, the photos were taken by APW sponsor Kristy Rowe of Moodeous Photography, who is an exceptional person and photographer (Denver ladies, take notice!), but also happens to be one of the bride’s best friends. She notes that she shot this wedding ages ago, but it’s no less lovely for that. So dig in, and enjoy.
I found the planning process overwhelming. My husband Tom and I struggled to balance our decisions with what felt comfortable to us, and what we felt was best for all the family and friends involved. Some people say to just be true to what you want, since it’s your day, but Tom and I both felt strongly that at its core, a wedding is about celebrating family.
We both dislike being the center of attention and we are very laid back. All we knew was no church wedding. So after a lot of agonizing over destination weddings and endless research, we decided that what felt right (even though it was bigger than what we wanted) was doing a more traditional wedding in Pennsylvania, near my childhood home and family. All in all, it took us about three months to figure it out and just get a date booked.
After we booked a day at the Pearl S. Buck House, a lot of the other decisions seemed much smaller and easier to make. I wore my mother’s dress and we worked with a seamstress to alter it. Photos were shot by my best friend Kristy Rowe of Moodeous Photography (excellent Denver APW sponsor) plus a second shooter found on craigslist to shoot the reception so she wasn’t working the whole time. I am a graphic designer and really enjoyed the chance to be in creative control of designing the invites and other paper items. Printing was gifted by an old family friend. Flowers were done with a local grower. My family and I baked the cake. While we wanted to write our own vows for the ceremony, we chose a nondenominational minister who created the ceremony, which felt more comfortable to us.
We tried to identify the priority areas and spend the bulk of our budget there. Having those priorities made it much easier to focus on the big picture stuff, while using resources other than money on some of the less important things.
We hit a major bump four months before the wedding when we found out that our caterer had gone out of business, taking our deposit and first payment with him. We lost a lot of money and it made an already financially stressful situation even worse. It made for a horrible month of scrambling around trying to find someone new and trying to rework our numbers. It’s very hard to continue to trust your gut and ability to make decisions when something like that happens. Continue reading Wedding Graduates: Michelle & Tom
It’s hard for me to not fall deeply in love with a wedding in a half-finished tobacco warehouse, where the couple served Indian food (why doesn’t everyone do this?), and where the pictures are gorgeous. But that’s not the kicker on this Wedding Graduate post. The kicker is that Jessica is smart, and her advice is so dead-on, that it’s hard not to fall head over heels in love with the whole thing…
Wedding planning opens the floodgates for advice… advice from Mom, Grandma, sisters, soon-to-be family, long-lost family, good friends, work friends, frenemies, colleagues, ladies at the grocery store, bloggers, bloggees, and just about anyone else out there. It’s exhausting. And, you know what, most of it can (and perhaps should) be ignored. So, as I am about to do some advising of my own, please—I invite you—to make your own path. Don’t do everything I say; it’s your wedding—for you, your partner, and your newly joined families and dear ones. Just do what feels right and have confidence in your vision.
Early in our planning, I read a post on APW in which a commenter said, “The theme of our wedding is marriage.” Matt and I loved that; we wanted something that felt inclusive, authentic, and bursting with love, without excessive pageantry or unmanageable expense. And, though certainly our marriage was the reason for the day, we would say that the “theme” of our wedding was community. As we transitioned from sort-of-adults (i.e. grad students) to adults-full-stop, it was our desire to use our wedding weekend as a way to express our gratitude to all of the family, friends, mentors, and advisers without whose support we would not be even half of what we are. We wanted all of these dear people to feel welcomed, appreciated, and loved… and we wanted them to have a blast. That’s a tall order…
What did we learn planning a community wedding on a small budget, while simultaneously starting our first job (Matt), graduating from medical school (Jessica), and buying a house? Well…
Stop Worrying About Whether Your Guests Will “Get It.” I worried and worried throughout our planning that our guests would not “understand” our wedding. What does that even mean? Well, I worried that they wouldn’t be able to find our ceremony venue (a still-being-renovated downtown warehouse), that they wouldn’t “get” the Indian food that we served at the reception (we love spicy things and Indian catering was affordable); I worried that they would wonder why our secular ceremony didn’t look like all the other wedding ceremonies they remembered, and that they would begrudge us our cake table, since we didn’t have a true “wedding cake,” etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum.
On the day of the wedding, I kept worrying. I worried that guests couldn’t hear our officiant’s gorgeous words during the ceremony; I worried that more people weren’t dancing; I worried that no one understood the toast that I thought was so heartwarming.
And, fact of the matter is, that worry pulled me from the moment. It brought stress to an otherwise blissful night. And—perhaps worst of all—it was unfounded. Numerous unsolicited comments in the days and weeks after the wedding showed me that my worries were not only off-the-mark, but in fact totally unnecessary. Our guests “got” it; they understood.
What I realize now is that, I didn’t give my guests enough credit. These are “our people.” They know us and they recognized and appreciated our sensibilities all over this wedding. So, when you plan your wedding, know this: these are your wedding guests—people you know well and love. They’ll “get it.” You have my word on that. Continue reading Wedding Graduates: Jessica & Matt
We haven’t had a serious how-to post in a long time, so I’m delighted to introduce Christina (you remember her wedding graduate posts) writing about canning jam for her wedding. I can personally vouch for this jam, as she sent you some as a thank you, and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it at breakfast. I used to make jam with my grandmother when I was small, and this post has me dying to try it again (and I’m usually a lazy girl). So here are some lessons in (not so lazy-girl) canning. Enjoy.
Canning is not necessarily cheaper than buying your own favors and it’s certainly more time intensive, but it is unique and awesome. It keeps for a long time, so you can do the majority of the work for the favors well before the wedding. Also, who doesn’t like jam? No one, that’s who.
- Canning jars with lids and rings
- Pectin (optional)
- Fruit Fresh (optional)
- Lemon juice
- Canning pot
- Jar lifter
- Supplies for tags (sticker paper, merchandise tags, etc…)
Step One: Pick Your Fruit
Decide what kind of preserves you want to make. Are you apple people? Peach? Strawberry? Raspberry? Or are pickles something that call to your soul? When selecting your fruit, you have to consider price, growing schedules and your preparation needs. Raspberries are delicious, but they’re $5 a pound at my local pick-your-own and start to mold in the blink of an eye. Cherries are OMG so addictive, but do you want to pit enough cherries to make jam for eighty people? It takes me twenty minutes to get enough to make a cobbler. Apples, peaches and pears are good, durable fruits with a lot of possible recipes you can try. Yes, you have to peel, chop and core them, but all in all, the prep work is not that bad.
Step 2: Do the Math
Once you pick your fruit, you have to go and… pick your fruit. Well, you don’t have to, but the prices at a pick-your-own are far better than the farmer’s market and the fruit is usually riper, fresher and more flavorful than what you would get at Costco or the supermarket. It’s also more environmentally friendly and a ton of fun (and addictive. Join us.). Pickyourown is a great website to find a farm near you. Continue reading How To: Make Homemade Jam Favors