Donia & David Part I – The Dreaming

So Donia and David’s wedding first hit my radar screen via the fabulous East Side Bride, and then lovely Kathryn over at Snippet and Ink shared the whole shebang. I loved it. So creative, in a totally original way from start to finish. And the picture of Donia, as a bride, playing the piano at her wedding, creating art and sharing her true self while a marriage was born? well that image helped buoy me through the last months o wedding planning. So I’m excited to share Donia’s beautiful essay on the ways she thoughts about creating, in this case creating a wedding. I love that this is coming the day after Leah’s wedding, because they are both weddings that make me shiver with joy, but their approaches to the day were so different. As someone who’s approach to our wedding was half ‘honest creative endeavor’ and half ‘f*ck it,’ I appreciate both weddings, and wise brides, so much. So today I bring you Part I of Donia’s thoughtful words, with Part II coming tomorrow.

I’m a dreamer and visionary by nature and even to me, the wedding David and I planned seemed almost impossible. Almost. But, to all of you who believe in positivity, our wedding became everything we wanted and more. So Part I is a description of our wedding, how we did it, etc. To those of you who are more practical like my husband David, Part II highlights how we planned an under-$8,000 wedding without compromising meaningfulness in two months and then what we found to be important to us after our wedding was over.

David and I are busy like the rest of the world seems to be. When David proposed to me in September of 2008, we knew that even if we planned, plotted, and charted a beautiful wedding two years from the date of our engagement, we still would be scrambling to put together something nice. More importantly, we both did not want to wait any longer to get married after dating for six years. So in the middle of my final year of graduate school and a new job for David, we decided to plan our wedding in two months. It was probably the first, best decision we made as a soon-to-be married couple.

Part I

Do you remember the five senses you were taught in elementary school about the human body? Yeah, they were a great guide for us when planning our wedding. The sixth sense I would add is emotion or spirit. Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, Touch, and Spirit.

Sight: We wanted our own aesthetics to be the stamp on everything we touched for our wedding. To begin, we had the most incredible outdoor property to work with…a reed-filled pond with a gigantic oak tree and cabin right next to it, rolling hills with broken down farm equipment, and basically, 26 acres of the glorious, great outdoors for us to form our wedding around. Light and the reflection of light became one of our symbolic and physical themes. We had candles in mason jars hanging in most all of the surrounding trees (I wanted the illusion of fireflies, the only pre-conceived idea I had for our wedding), bulbous Christmas lights strung around the trees and in the barn, luminarias lining the walkways, creme-colored enormous balloons also lining the walkways. It felt like most everything in sight had David or my touch all over it. I hand-painted our directional signs, our invitations were printed on organic muslin and hand-sewn onto this origami-square shaped cardstock by David, myself, and a troop of dedicated friends. We wanted people to see a manifestation, representation, or what-have-you of what David and I envisioned for our day of love and in honor of our guests.

Hearing: Music is a huge part of mine and David’s life together and individually. We became friends because we played music together, fell in love during that time of a budding friendship, and we continue to enjoy singing and playing songs together. Beyond the natural sounds of creaking oak branches, crunchy leaves being stepped on, and ducks swimming in the pond, we invited our musical friends to play during our ceremony. David worked with them on an interpretation of Clair de Lune which happens to be my favorite (albeit cliche) piece to play on the piano. During our reception, my father sang a tear-jerker of a song to us, we had our other friends play some music, and David and I wrote and played a song together. When it was time to boogie down we had another dear friend who loves to spin as a deejay get the party started…

Smell: I write this next part without wanting to sound even more mother nature-ish. But, I’ve got to say, the outdoors smell the best after it has rained…we did not plan for Southern California to be hit with a week’s worth of torrential rain right before our wedding (my parent’s home got 6 feet of snow!). It stopped however, a day and a half before our wedding which was a good thing because we hadn’t rented a tent, but more importantly, the rain gave us an even better gift of well-fed green plants and the good earthy smells that only exist in the aftermath of rain.

Taste: Problem: 300 wedding guests = a lot of mouths to feed = a lot of money we no longer had. Solution: we found a local Taco truck that was willing to feed all of our guests for really inexpensive. The taco stands gave our guests delicious, ultra tasty, and warm food while we also helped support a small, local business during a time of economic hardships. Instead of having a traditional cake at our wedding, we enlisted all of our family members and friends who we knew to enjoy baking and asked them to bring enough of their classic desserts to feed 1 or 2 dozen people. For beverages, we asked people to bring a bottle of wine if they wanted more alcohol than what we provided with the Trader Joe’s wine, the amazing berry-filled sangria I made the day before, and the coffee and tea. It all came together.

Spirit: We wanted to be able to invite everyone who mattered to us. For us, that was a lot of people because we met at age 17 and had the support, encouragement and love of so many different spheres of people. We knew our relationship was supported and made in part successful because of our loved ones and so a wedding ceremony that included our community was essential. However, we had a very limited budget. We weren’t about to, nor could we even if we had wanted to, spend an exorbitant amount of money on our wedding. Our limited budget forced us to enlist our friends and family for help in every part of our wedding. Without their help and resources, we could not have had a wedding. Their support for our special day became an intrinsic part of our wedding “spirit”. All of the “senses” came together to create the spirit of our wedding. Each sense played an important role in creating what became the best wedding David and I could have had.

Part II to come…

Photos by Ira Lippke

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