Verhext, A Letter To My Wedding

Long time readers will remember when Tamera (aka Verhext) wrote a wedding undergraduate post about the importance of faith in the face of a wedding. She was freaking out about her wedding, and remembering that as a Vermonter, she’d personally helped to pull together her sister-in-laws wedding from scratch. Well, she’s back, with a letter to her (beautiful, beautiful) wedding. She’s also on 100 Layer Cake today, being stunning. Besides me wanting to put her whole wedding in my mouth because I love it that much, I’m beyond honored to get to share Tamera’s wedding on APW. Since we first met at the APW/OBB meetup, Tamera has become a friend, a brunch lady, and someone whose brain I want to hack open to release all of the butterflies, so I can understand what goes on in there. Tamera and Sean threw their wedding with very little money. She made her dress, they self-catered, they made their invitations, they got married on their own property in Vermont (Tamera owns a wee cabin there, sigh). And somehow it ended up being everything a wedding can be… and a little bit of a pain in the ass. (Oh, and she wants me to mention her amazing, affordable, NYC Photographer Jeremy Harris… who once shot photos of her band!) Here is Tamera with the full scoop:

Dear Wedding,

You were really difficult, just admit it. I think you secretly liked being so difficult. Everyone knew about you and thought you were great, but I know the truth, wedding. You held us to a level of perfection we just couldn’t achieve, and made us feel like no matter how hard we worked we couldn’t live up to you. On the surface, everyone loved you. Oh, I know your sneaky ways. I didn’t even want a wedding. But you’re so flashy flashy, and so “everyone else is doing it” and the next thing we knew, we were sending out invitations. And then there was no turning back, and you just kept luring us deeper and deeper with your promises of happy families and cake. The cake was a clever ploy. Oh, you’re good, wedding.

And you know what wedding, you were really, really hard work. So much work that when you were over, I didn’t know what to do with my weekends. So much work that I thought my head would explode from making invitations and dresses and finding plates and utensils and tablecloths and buying food and agonizing over finding a suit and making sure everyone got there and planning the ceremony and realizing last minute I wanted flowers and making bouquets and feeling guilty about wanting to arrange them myself and making signs and cards and decorations and basically asking everyone I know to show me their love through sheer hard labor.

That kind of sucked, wedding, and you had the audacity to make me feel like it was pretty amazing while I was doing it, but you know what? It was exhausting.

You also made my husband and I fight so much that we almost didn’t get married. In fact, if the fight hadn’t been in front of the liquor store, we may have not gotten married. But as it was, I ended up buying 6 bottles of Perrier Jouet because the labels were so, so pretty and I wasn’t thinking logically. So maybe I needed a good reason to crack them all open. So I guess that worked out. THIS TIME, wedding. But watch your back.

But you know what else, wedding?? It would have been nice if you weren’t so expensive. Actually, it would have been even nicer if you paid US to have YOU, because 1. we’re pretty rad and 2. without us, you’re no one. If you paid us, I would have been able to see my friends the day before the wedding instead of frantically hand sewing my dress. I would have invited way more people, knowing we could feed them. I would have paid my family with more than love for the days and days of hard work they put in.

Sure, maybe the further away you get, the more I like you. Maybe I can’t actually find any photos from you where people don’t have huge grins. Maybe eating nothing but cake and champagne is pretty rad. Maybe I really like wearing fancy silk dresses. But that’s neither here nor there.

The point is, wedding, the next time I decide to get everyone I love in one place and all focused on me? I’m going to spend time with them. Not you.



PS Now, off to 100 Layer Cake you go. Because I know you want more pictures, I mean, RIGHT?

Photos by: Jeremy Harris, friend of Tamera and NYC photographer extraordinaire (clearly).

** Please do not Pin, re-post or otherwise share images of this wedding in any form. The images are copyrighted, and not available for distribution.**

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  • “The point is, wedding, the next time I decide to get everyone I love in one place and all focused on me? I’m going to spend time with them. Not you.”

    Absolute truth. Six months after my wedding, this is exactly how I feel about it. Sure, there are great memories mixed in there and some pretty things as well, but honestly, I just wish I could have spent more time with the people I love.

    Also, this the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever seen. Ever.

    • Yes. It is absolutely gorgeous.

      That’s something I worry about, not spending enough time with the people I love. We’re trying to keep that in mind by planning other events in which we see specific groups of people. I think that will help, but I don’t want to let The Wedding take that away from me.

      But it’s true, the smiles in every single picture shine through. As does that bottle of St. Germaine (which is my true love, let’s be real). What a stunning wedding.

      • I really wish I had planned some other events. It felt like the entire wedding I was so busy saying hello to everyone, that I didn’t really talk to anyone.

        • Amy

          I kind of wish I didn’t have experience planning events when I had my wedding! I was so focused on the execution and what should be happening in order to make everything go smoothly (because that is part of what I get paid to do) that it was really hard for me to take a step back for my own wedding. Grass is always greener I suppose!
          Also – dirty little secret of planning events – once people know this is something you do they automatically defer to you and put you in charge of stuff. Might be fun for other situations, but not as fun when you want to be a carefree bride. This is also why I hired a day of coordinator!

    • 16 months after mine, and I also wish I could’ve spent more time with everyone. But it’s alright; I’ll just have to make up a reason to get everyone together again. (But not a baby, because that’s too exhausting for me right now.)

    • I’m really trying to internalize this thought. Like Tamera, we are getting married across the country from where we live, so I’m trying to set a deadline for projects. Any that aren’t finished by then fall by the wayside. I really want to spend time with my loved ones when I arrive in town. I’m hoping I’ll be able to hold myself to that.

      And I agree with you Caitlin, Tamera’s wedding is definitely the most beautiful wedding I’ve seen too.

    • ashley

      That was my absolute favorite line of the letter and favorite learning of our wedding. We live in Chicago, and most of our guests didn’t, so we knew people would be around for a few days instead of hours. We scheduled in activities (bar meet ups, brunch, a cubs game) so that I would be forced to drop the wedding craziness and just enjoy seeing my friends. It was my favorite decision ever. I really felt by the wedding day that I got to spend time with everyone, so there was nothing left but to get my dance on with friends and family.

      • Not surprisingly, I feel the same about our wedding; looking back, I wish I had more time with our families and friends. The whole weekend was just so busy, and I felt like I was distracted by all the last minute wedding to-do’s to visit much. We also got married in another town (across the country) so practically everyone was visiting, and turned the trip into a vacation of sorts. As such, we also scheduled a bunch of activities, like a Padres game, lunches, etc etc. And you know what the funny thing is… I had the most time to visit right after our wedding, when I hadn’t planned A THING for our guests to do! We had a lunch time wedding which was over by 4. I assumed my husband and I would be exhausted, so I didn’t plan anything for us that afternoon/evening, and it turns out we just sat around all evening with everybody in the hotel bar where we were all staying, hanging out, eating appetizers and chilling. The chuck of time I didn’t plan was the best time of the whole weekend, except for the getting married part! Surprise. So, moral of the story I guess, is just (TRY) to take it easy!!! It’s actually more fun that way.

  • I’d like to read the post but I’m rapt by the amazing wedding I see in the photos…

    • For serious. I’m not normally the type of person that is like, “Give me more wedding porn! Must see more pictures,” but this might be the most ridiculously gorgeous wedding in the history of ever.

  • These pictures never get old. It’s sort of comforting that even the loveliest weddings weren’t perfect.

  • m

    “Oh, I know your sneaky ways. I didn’t even want a wedding. But you’re so flashy flashy, and so “everyone else is doing it” and the next thing we knew, we were sending out invitations.”

    haha love that. I had planned to be out of the country and away from most people during the wedding planning process… and I was happy about not having to make all the decisions. But life doesn’t always work out the way we want and now I have no choice but to make all the choices (no one believe the bride who says she doesn’t have an opinion about where the rehearsal dinner should be).

  • This made me laugh. So true! Except, I was really happy we had a wedding. And Tamera, I’m really glad your wedding got to be a day when you were surrounded by so much love (even if the wedding part really should have been paying YOU (can I Exactly that sentence a lot of times? Yes please.).). Your photos are amazing, and congratulations!

  • Aw Tamera, I love this! I totally relate to everything, especially the bit about growing fonder of your wedding as time goes by. ‘Cause man, mine was kind of a butthole back then.

  • ahhh!! this was awesome. everything about it. I mean you had me at the picture of Hendrick’s. but.

  • Erin

    This is such a great summary of the ambivalent relationship a wedding can have with the bride. There are definitely days (1 year later) when I give the finger to my wedding. But in a we’re-buds-now-and-I-still-call-you-a-f*cKer-for-bringing-it-up kind’ve way.

    • Ha, Erin! This kills me. I think I may want to give my wedding the finger too. Later, after I realize what a pain in the ass it was. Right now I’m happily sitting on my arse doing nothing that relates to my looming wedding. Ha!

  • What a gorgeous wedding!

    “The point is, wedding, the next time I decide to get everyone I love in one place and all focused on me? I’m going to spend time with them. Not you.”

    YES. I loved my wedding, but that weekend I felt so totally focused on pulling it all together and didn’t get to enjoy the presence of everyone I loved as much as I should have.

    • Zan

      I know, how great was that last line? Brilliant!

  • I laughed out loud when I read “The cake was a clever ploy. Oh, you’re good, wedding.” So funny, but also really genuine and thoughtful. I loved the suggestion of spending more time with the actual people at your wedding than worrying about how the wedding itself is going. This is probably some of the best advice I’ve seen. Last Christmas, I decided to take charge of Christmas dinner for about 20 people and almost cried in the bathroom during dessert. I felt like I spent the entire day working and worrying about what was going to happen next, not enjoying myself or the people with me. I’d like to spend my wedding day with the people, not the wedding.

  • Lauren

    Just wanted to say that I was loving this post and LOVING the pictures, and then I got to the last picture. Which made me cry instantly, it’s so gorgeous. You look so filled with love.


  • I know I should be focused on the sweet, funny and poignant message of this post, but I am just really distracted by those drop-dead thigh-highs.

    Also, all that VT goodness is really making me yearn for my New England. *sigh*

    • meg

      Whatever, lady. I’m ALL ABOUT THE PICTURES. Oh Tamera. Oh wedding.

      • I know, who am I trying to fool here?

  • ka

    i <3 verhext. that is all.

    (well and also I think your dress turned out lovely. so much Edwardian (?) inspired loveliness.)

  • Completely awesome wedding! Love the dress and tights together!!

  • The whole post and all the photos are great. BUT. That last photo makes me so, so happy. Look at how sweet and in love and completely “whatever, camera. we’re too happy in love to care that you’re there” they are. Love it!

    • I know, that is SUCH a beautiful picture :-) I love it!

  • Jen

    that last photo. wow.

  • LPC

    Love Tamera. Love her wedding. Hope it understands what she just told it:).

  • Tamera, you’re going to make me cry. Because I’m here right now. In the doubt and hard work and exhaustion and anger. I’m even here with the new “need” for a bouquet (handmade by moi and my friends) and desperate beeline for that tricky cake. But I loved the photos of your wedding and the snippets you shared along the way. And it’s a bit of a relief to know that you’re at a stage where the smiles are shining through. All I want is time with my loved ones, after all this darn effort and thought and crazymaking. So I’m going to try holding onto this letter when the wedding gets uppity and I’ll think about the smiles and beauty. And maybe I’ll let the day-before projects go, just to have a little more time. Love you and your wisdom. Thanks for this new perspective on the wedding and process.

    • meg

      Seriously girlfriend. Give yourself a no-stress deadline a day or two out, and let it all go. It’s most important that you show up on the day of sane. The rest of it doesn’t matter very much… in the end.

  • That was truly touching. And Tamera is obviously bada**

    That dress that SHE MADE HERSELF is quite possibly the most stunning wedding dress I have ever seen.

    Just lovely.

  • Gah. Archery wedding photo. I am dying here!!! And what a great way to write a wedding graduate post.

  • The last photo . . . wow! A great post that made me smile, laugh & shake my head because I could relate to it so well. The “wishing I had more time to spend with my family & friends than with my wedding” sentiment especially. I made a point to let go of projects so I could spend time with my family & friends. On my wedding day, I was lucky enough to have a day-of coordinator so I did little else but eat, drink & be merry. We had a rehearsal dinner & post-brunch for our out-of-town guests. & still, I felt like I didn’t spend enough time with everyone. I wonder if any Bride ever feels like they spent enough time with everyone!!

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  • april

    OH-MAH-GAAAAAHHH!!!! *swoons* Sooo unbelievably lovely!!!!

    I did read the letter, but much to fast because I was skimming so I could get to the next photo. Pinkie swear I’m going to read the letter again after my completely shallow, inner picture whore has devoured a few more pics here and on the other blog. Back in a mo’.


    • Amy

      The photos are just so, so beautiful.
      Though, I have to say, it makes me feel so much better to know that even someone who had such a lovely chic wedding still had heartache, and doubts, and tears, and troubles putting the whole thing together. It can be very odd to see those gorgeous photos out there on some place like 1000 layer cake and then think ‘oh, wow, she made it look so easy and gorgeous and chic, I bet her planning was so magical and stress free.’

      • Oh no. So not easy.

        I was up the night before the wedding sewing like mad because my dress had no zipper (though you know, the medical gown look for brides is great and all…) & I had to miss my surprise ladies night they’d planned, which seriously sucked – note to bridesmaids, surprising brides is actually not a great idea – and barely got to see ANYONE. We spent very little in wedding-dollars (a lot for us) but we really, really paid for it with exhaustion and time. It’s totally the wedding I wanted, but in some ways I really wish I could have paid elves to do it all for me.

  • Class of 1980

    I’ve seen Tamara’s wedding on her blog and the photos are AMAZING. But I love her honesty and think it’s helpful to prospective brides and grooms.

    Even if you have mad skillz, just know that everything takes longer and is harder than you imagine. And then you need to know how you feel and act when stressed by time constraints and deadlines.

    Plan accordingly.

    • Class of 1980

      Also, on Tamara’s blog, here are pictures of the wedding cake with mushrooms on it and REAL mushrooms by the bench. Nature itself smiled on her wedding.

  • Jen M

    holy moly. those pics are better than the Anthropologie catalog.

    • meg

      Well, I would HOPE so!!!

  • “The point is, wedding, the next time I decide to get everyone I love in one place and all focused on me? I’m going to spend time with them. Not you.”

    Tamara brings up something I find beautiful and troubling about weddings. A wedding is probably the event in our lives where we have the most loved ones in our community gather around us at one time. It is an amazing opportunity to bring people together from different stages of our life and different places. And yet. Pulling together a wedding is often extremely stressful and exhausting. So many things coincide at once and often the unfinished tasks shout in loud, demanding voices. Thankfully, people are usually understanding of the busy couple’s lack of time to visit. But isn’t spending time with people one of the main reasons many people choose to have a wedding instead of eloping? Or the reason we choose to host dinner parties or other events? I guess the solution would be to try to figure out how to host these events as effortlessly as possible, at least during the time when guests are actually present. But how, oh how, does one do that?

    Starting shortly before the ceremony, I made a choice to be present and let every thing else go. I am am thankful for that. BUT I wish I had somehow done better at this in the days leading up to the wedding. But, you know, stuff has to get done, especially with a DIY shindig. And when hosting holiday meals or dinner parties, I always feel pulled in at least two directions, trying to think a couple of steps ahead to keep things going smoothly. But maybe this is just a reality of weddings and life? Maybe the tension between various demands you face while hosting people is always present and you just can’t get away from that fact? Sigh.

  • hoppy bunny

    This wedding is giving me fantasies of a lost weekend at the beach, with ice cream and kittens–the coastal equivalent of this enchanted forest scene. It is sooo dreamy. I am actually having trouble focusing on work today. That incredible dress is not really helping my productivity either.

  • Dear god, where do I even start?

    MADE the dress? You ladies always amaze me. Made it and looked divine in it, Tamera! And the wedding nymphs walking out of the forest and the archery and the fighting in front of a liquor store (best idea e.v.e.r. I am, for sure, going to drag my man to that same place when the tough gets goin’) and the letter itself, well, I’m going to have to write a letter to my wedding too. In fact, I’m off to do that now. And how the wedding is nothing without you/us? Amen.

    Thanks for your sanity, Tamera. You just helped me reclaim mine. Congratulations on your marriage!

  • Crazy beautiful, and such good inspiration.

  • Kathryn in VT

    Oh, Vermont! As someone who has decided to make my life here, I can say that seeing these photos and looking forward to tromping around in my own woods next fall is making me just giddy.

    This post made my day. A few others have said this, but it’s really reassuring after seeing Verhext’s gorgeous wedding on her own blog to now read about the ups and downs of wedding planning. I’m very guilty every now and then of believing beautiful pictures translate somehow into uncomplicated wedding planning, and I need to be told that just isn’t so every now and then.

  • catherine

    The cake was a clever ploy. Oh, you’re good, wedding.

    Everyone knows cake is a lie!

    • You’d be surprised at the lengths I’ll go to get my friends to make me gluten free cakes.

  • Shauna

    Was your wedding posted elsewhere, Tamera? I swear I saw this weeks ago, and it made me cry and it made me angry because it was so pretty and so perfect looking and in the middle of the freakin’ woods and my family doesn’t have that style or talent and I should quit everything.

    Turns out, planning a perfect fairy woodland wedding sucks too. THANK YOU for sharing.

    • On Etsy! A number of the bridesmaids have shops and as everything was handmade I did a post about the handmade aspects of it.

      If you saw it anywhere else – please let me know so I can go grump at them.

      It’s like – yeah, if I’d had money and resources I would have had a Thin Man 1930s chic inside wedding with a fancy bar and a fancy dress and everyone being elegant. But I don’t, what I have is some woods & this is how my family and friends dress, this is what we do. So it reflects us, and that works. Maybe if I’d tried to force something else, it wouldn’t have worked. You know?

  • tirzahrene

    So…I have no business reading wedding anything, as I’m in the process of filing for divorce after ten years together, but I hang around APW because everybody is so awesome.

    When I read your post I felt, “Aw, I wish I could have a wedding like that.” (I most definitely intend to marry again, that’s not why I’m divorcing.) My wedding was lovely and wonderful, but it was his second wedding, and for a lot of other reasons there really weren’t many people who were all that excited for us, and we were broke, and it was very small and very simple, which was perfect at the time….

    And then I woke up and shook myself and said, “Wait a minute. You CAN have a wedding like that. F* this ‘first wedding’ stuff, EVERY wedding deserves to be celebrated.” And if I’ve learned one thing from APW, it’s the confidence to do what you know is right for you (and damn the torpedoes).

    So thanks. I loved your wedding and I have now given myself permission to look forward to my own.

  • Girl George

    Thank you… Just, thank you…