Wedding Graduate: Peony::Love

I’m super super excited to introduce Amanda, the powerhouse behind Peony::Love as a wedding graduate. I’m not sure what to say other then she’s smart, funny, stylish, and her wedding is going to make you really happy deep down inside AND sort of kill you with it’s just-right-ness, it’s super-stylish-without-even-trying-ness, it’s perfectly-them-ness, and its f*-yeah-we-can-do-this-thing-ness. So without further ado I give you Amanda, giver of wise advice:
Our approach to the wedding planning process was to keep things as low-key as possible. We chose to get married on the beach in the small town of Manzanita about an hour and a half from Portland. We wanted to escape from hectic city life and relax for a couple days with our feet in the sand. Keeping with the feel of a small town escape, we tried to keep vendors to a minimum and use as many local resources as possible. Our caterer was the owner of a small local restaurant. We rented out the local community house for the reception. The ceremony was a couple blocks away on the beach. Because of this, we were able to forgo any sort of car rental services and simply walk to and from the wedding.The afternoon before the wedding we got together at the reception venue to set up. We hung garland, arranged our fresh-cut peonies into milk glass vases, then dipped into our wedding beer supply and enjoyed the sunset. The wedding day went by in a blur. There were cocktails to be had, noses to be picked, and a whole lot of newlywed kisses. I think I’m still in a bit of denial that it’s all over.
Here’s some advice that I’d like to pass on:

-You can’t put a price tag on sanity. A few days before the wedding I started stressing out about chairs- of all things. We didn’t have it in our budget to rent them, but the thought of using the stained folding chairs at the venue was causing me to lose sleep. If you’d asked me a year ago what I thought of reception chairs, I would have snorted and shooed you away while muttering something like, “you’re killing me. a chair is a chair”, but there’s something about wedding planning that causes perfectly sane people to twitch. In the end we compromised. I got my chairs, and it was Stoli instead of Grey Goose. Both taste excellent when mixed with pink lemonade.-The key to being a successful DIY bride is accepting all the help you can get. Sure, grandma has arthritis and the thought of her hunched over a machine sewing you a gazillion cloth napkins is a little unsettling, but if she offered to do so it’s because she really wants to help out. Let her! Do you have friends willing to volunteer 6 hours of their time making garlands in exchange for cheap mimosas and mediocre snacks? Invite them over! Just make sure to reciprocate when it’s their turn to walk down the aisle.-Meg is not lying to you when she says that favors are a distraction. I spent too many precious waking hours stressing about cookies and marshmallows. Were they good? Of course. Did they look kinda neat all tied up in ribbon with our names and wedding date printed on the front? Sure. But by the end of the day our guests were too delirious from their Voodoo Doughnut sugar induced highs to even notice. I took the leftovers home, and let’s just say I won’t be eating another marshmallow anytime soon.-Lastly, and most important, enjoy the planning process. You spend a year and a half staying up at night mulling over flowers and cake and who grandpa is most likely to insult after having too many vodka lemonades at the reception. When the day comes you realize that hours go by like seconds. Next thing you know you’re returning linen rentals and picking dried marshmallows off the bottoms of your shoes. Try to take in as much as possible. Some of my fondest “wedding” memories are thrifting milk glass vases with my mom and taking a break from writing vows to enjoy East Side’s f** this series. Many many happy returns to you both! Your happiness, your comfort, and the way you so clearly grabbed your wedding and made it yours make me think we can do this thing (in less then a month). THIS is why I started the wedding graduate series, so thank you. For more on this wedding, head over to
n>East Side Bride, who did the big and awesome reveal.

Photos by In Bloom Photography, except for the amazing Polaroids, shot by Amanda’s sister

Featured Sponsored Content

  • Fabulous advice. I need to remind myself regularly not to sweat the small stuff. Looking forward to seeing more!

  • Thank you for posting this! I really need to hear all these things… And especially as I myself are planning a DIY-wedding. I LOVED the thing about the chairs, soo funny. I wouldn't sweat it if all my chairs were awful, but I do have over a year left… Maybe everyone gets a little crazy? :)

  • Great advice! I'm going to have to have to especially remember "-Lastly, and most important, enjoy the planning process" because sometimes it can be very stressful. The pictures are absolutely gorgeous!

  • Manzanita is a beautiful place. Love the advice, too

  • love this funky little wedding! do you know where she got that amazing mini dress with the long sleeves?

  • chairschairschairs


  • It's ABS by Allen Schwartz and I found it on sale at the Nordstrom wedding shop. I don't think they have it anymore, but you might be able to find one on ebay.

  • gorgeous! i love the advice and her dress is beautiful.

  • the part i need to read again and again is "The key to being a successful DIY bride is accepting all the help you can get." I know we already knew this, Meg is always talking about DIT rather than DIY.. but I'm having such a hard time delegating! I have control issues apparently. haha I say "apparently" as if I didn't know. but honestly I didn't think it would be this hard let people help me.

  • Yes, if I had to do it over I would have skipped the favors.

  • stunning pictures!!! Love photography on film.

  • BEL

    that mini dress is amazing! thanks for the brilliant advice!

    I've been a long time reader and wanted to tag you – – if you're up for it!

  • Anonymous

    Just a note from the ether…
    It is 20 days out from my wedding and I so needed to "hear" this kind of advice. These days, I find myself asking, who am I?? Who is this cwazy person that arrived 30 days before and where is the chill bride to be that didn't understand what everyone was worked up about up until 2 months ago?Perhaps now I'll be able to sleep tonight instead of worrying about how my sister in law will try to mess things up for us or how the guest book (a poster) isn't ready yet…b/c i've become a perfectionist. Thanks to you and to all you bridal bloggers for helping me inward…and outward for help!!

  • Anonymous

    OOPS – last sentence….
    "look" inward..and outward…

  • congratulation, Amanda!
    voodoo doughnuts – how rad! :)
    I love to hear about other portland brides :)

  • I do agree with you when it comes to sanity, brides really become obsess with everything and not only chairs.