Wedding Craft Tour, Part Two

Back for Part Two of my wedding craft extravaganza. Are you sick of it yet? I’m not! (But let me confess.. oh my GAWD was a sick of it by the time the big day rolled around!)

I went back and forth on my bouquet forever. I always wanted to DIY them, but I couldn’t decide on a tutorial. At first, I thought I’d do the book page flowers we used in the centerpieces, but those were so labor intensive! I couldn’t imagine making 50 of them for the 4 bouquets I had to make. And what about boutonnieres? Corsages? I was knee deep in wedding craft hell when I finally saw this tutorial and felt a wave of relief pass over me: 

Fewer, giant flowers meant a big impact with much less work. Here’s what mine looked like. Because of the stage of the planning process I was in, I opted for bouquets for myself and bridesmaids and no one else. I don’t think they were missed: 

Side note: I managed to WAY over order the dark pink, light pink, and green crepe paper I used for this project. I’ve got like 8 rolls of it left and no idea what to use it for. So if you’ve got a project that could call for it, let me know. I will give them to you! Throwing a spring party? Want to make your mom a giant, hot pink bouquet that will last forever for Mother’s Day? Someone help me out here. 
Often, I found that an idea I thought was original had been used in many, many weddings before mine. And that was great because it helped me clarify details that were too hazy in my mind at first thought. We cleaned out the basement of the building Brett and I lived in when we were first engaged and there were all these old doors that appeared to come from a school. We snagged them to use before I even knew what I would do with them. They became the altar and helped create a “wall” in the barn as well. 

Here they are in the barn, with some other DIY decor: 

Fun fact- I didn’t have to purchase a single piece of vintage “shwag.” It all came from my parents house- mason jars, vintage boxes, old pop bottles. Major score. 

After we had our collection of doors, I found this image that inspired how I wanted to set up the ceremony: 

Our programs were another example of a not-so-original original idea. I had seen the idea of printing on brown bags for a Valentine’s Day project I did: 

It was easy to apply this same principle to our wedding programs.
Of course, lots of brides applied this principle as well! Our programs were basically the baby of these three ideas: 

My step-ma committed to making her delicious pie cocktails pretty early on and I won’t lie, the thought of them got me through on some of the tougher days! She picked up these fancy dispensers at Sam’s Club and I jimmied up some drink labels. 
I got the idea here: 

Our wedding night was unseasonably cold. Way colder than we expected. Luckily, we planned to have a bonfire all along and it provided some much needed warmth for our lovely guests. We also did up some s’mores for their frozen enjoyment! 

I loved these jars of s’mores goodies and made my own version above: 

Favors were another element of the wedding that I had a really hard time deciding. Should I buy them? Make them? Include them at all? My step-ma’s mom gave me a bunch of medium sized mason jars to use for whatever so we opted to create drinking glasses with chalkboard name tags. We painted the lids with black chalkboard paint, drilled a hole in the top, and tied them around the mouth of the jars with twine. Simple! 
I got the idea here: 

I looked at endless photos of barns. I loved the whimsy of putting up white curtains at the door.
I saw the idea here first: 

I wanted to include really personal touches to our wedding as well. I framed love letters and hung them on an extra door inside the barn. 
Which is an idea I saw here: 

We didn’t really want a flower girl or ring bearer because neither Brett nor I are particularly close to any small children and we didn’t want to include some random kids in our ceremony! My little brother and sister Ty and MaKenna were a pinch too old for those roles but I wanted to include them by carrying our “Here Comes the Bride” sign! 
There were lots of sources of inspiration for this. I liked this sign a lot: 

I did borrow one idea for our ceremony that I fell in love with. I’m so glad we included it because it made me feel incredibly close to our wedding guests and solidified their role in our married life. It was a ring warming ceremony: 
My entire wedding was a birth of so many creative ideas, so much help from my friends and loved ones. My dad and stepmom were incredibly supportive during this whole process and my stepmom Shawn did more for me than I could ever thank her for! 
I love my photos so much and it’s great to look through them and remember the story behind each and every project. Thanks for following along! 

Wedding Craft Tour, Part One

My wedding was nothing if not a labor of love. It was months and months of pulling down favors from friends and family. It was gluing and painting and cutting. It was beautiful and I loved it.

I became a master at distinguishing at a glance the difference between a tutorial that would be inexpensive, high impact and thus totally worth it and one that would be expensive, a pain in the ass, and cause more trouble than I could handle.

One of the reasons we decided to use Katie Day [photographer, designer, mother extraordinaire] was her attention to the small details of a wedding. I wanted to remember each paper flower, each hand painted sign, each strand of lights. She did a marvelous job.

I’ve already waxed poetic about the pros and cons of Pinterest inspiration in terms of wedding planning, but I will say this- virtually every element of the wedding (less the ceremony itself) was pieced together from other people’s ideas. In spite of that, my wedding felt like it was a total reflection of Brett and I and our relationship with each other.

Here is a (probably incomplete) walk through of the DIY elements of my wedding with sources and inspiration linked.

I got lots of comments on my sweater.. This was easy. I just cut red felt and sewed it on the elbow spots. 

These signs were simple and added a fun, rustic touch. Dad had lots of plywood laying around. He cut these and I hand painted the lettering. 

We had a pretty casual wedding, but I still liked the idea of escort cards. Here are mine: 

Inspired by this: 

My step-ma’s mom snagged this great vintage suitcase (see how I repurposed it here.) She added the “Cards” letters and found a nice lacy fabric. 

I was inspired by these: 

I’m pretty sure my dad and step-ma came up with the idea of the guest quilt. We went through several incarnations of the idea, and ended up with this. An antique lap quilt- 

Loved how it looked here: 

I became a little obsessed with putting together the perfect centerpieces. When I saw this photo on Pinterest, it became my ultimate source of inspiration for the rest of the wedding. I went back to it time after time: 

Here are my centerpieces. My handsome hubby Brett helped me paint the numbers on the books: 

I hit farm wedding jackpot when I found boxes of vintage agriculture text books at a local thrift store. I probably would have gotten in a fight with anyone who tried to wrestle one from my grip! 

The book table numbers were inspired by this photo: 

My flowers were a real group effort and can I just say THANK YOU again to my awesome bridesmaids who made so many of these things? Mary (and Michael) made all the book page flowers and Amanda (and Andy) helped with the coffee filter peonies. Kimberly sported red hands for weeks after she helped me dye some of them pink. These girls kicked bridesmaid ass… 

Flowers made by these tutorials: 

Side note- If you are looking for big impact, low cost, low effort flowers, I highly recommend the coffee filter flowers. So inexpensive and very easy to make. 

If you’re getting married in the Kirksville area, let me say I totally recommend Amie of Amie Cakes. Her prices are great and she did an amazing job with my beautiful wedding cake:

Unfortunately I can’t find the exact pin I sent Amie, but I showed her several styles like the one below and we both really loved the one with the artichoke “flowers.” It was beautiful, without being what I thought was too girly: 

To keep this post from getting too long- I’m splitting it in two parts! Back tomorrow with part two!

Unsolicited Advice for Brides to Be: Part Two

Back with the second half of my wedding reflections!

3. The Internet is your best friend and your worst enemy. 

Getting married in what I can only refer to as the “Pinterest Age” created a unique set of circumstances. Pinterest provides a wealth of resources and insurmountable challenges.

We’ll start with the bad news:
The fact is you can only have one wedding. So each time you visit a blog that features a beach wedding, a farm wedding, a blue and yellow wedding, a Hindu/Jewish fusion wedding, an urban wedding, and so on, you fall in love with it and you have to kill the other wedding you were already planning in your head.

Brett and I imagined the following weddings:
-A wedding at Red Barn Farm in Kansas City
-A rooftop wedding at the Kansas City Public Library
-A wedding in a loft in Downtown Kansas City
-A wedding on the beach in Dauphin Island, Alabama
-A wedding at my grandparent’s house

I also imagined decorations running the gamut from deep jewel-toned Moroccan flair to Dr. Seuss inspired bright colors and fantastically shaped centerpieces. The wedding we ended up with? One with a rustic, antique decor at my parent’s farm. But the cascade of ideas didn’t stop there! Hay bales for seating or chairs? Escort cards? Centerpieces? Altar?

A little inspiration is good. A lot is bad. Very bad. Your wedding won’t look as good as the gorgeous ones you see featured on blog after blog. It will look better, I promise. It will turn out better than you ever imagined. That’s the good news.

My advice regarding sites like Pinterest is to harness its energy in a controlled way. Limit your time just browsing for “inspo.” Let your style and good taste guide you. From there, use Pinterest and wedding blogs as a tool. Want to make your own invitations? Search “DIY Invites” and focus your time on that project. Too cheap to use a florist? (Me too.) Pinterest helped me find a tutorial for coffee-filter flowers that was easy and saved me a ton of money.

My final piece of advice is the most important. If you forget the rest of it, please remember this:

4. Plan a marriage, have a wedding. 

Note how this is remarkably different than planning a wedding and having a marriage. Your marriage is not a by-product of your wedding. It’s not a consequence. It’s is the foundation, the gas, the lifeblood. A wedding isn’t a party for you. It’s not a party for your soon-to-be spouse. Or your parents, or families, or friends. It’s a celebration of a lifetime commitment. If you spend the duration of your engagement focused on the wedding day without spending significant time considering what comes after, you’re doing it wrong.

In past incarnations of my life I have been a lot of things: bossy, demanding, dramatic, bitchy. I wanted my wedding to be an opportunity to be the best version of myself- focused, considerate, gracious. I consider my family and friends to be my A-Team. These are the people on whom I know I can call when things are not always as magical as our wedding day. When Brett and I inevitably experience the valleys of life, it is on this support group that I know we can lean.

Because I expect so much from them (we had our wedding guests make a vow of commitment to us during our ceremony…) I wanted to give them the best of me as well. Put your relationship(s) front and center during this process. Be a kinder, more patient, more forgiving person. Do this for your spouse, your friends, your parents, and yourself.

It isn’t about not being a “Bridezilla.” It’s about cultivating the blessings of deep, committed love. Dig into it. Invest in it. I already know how valuable the returns really are!

Unsolicited Advice for Brides to Be: Part One

Coming fresh off planning a wedding and better yet, getting married, I thought it might be prudent to write down a few of the nuggets I uncovered during my journey. I know a gal or two who are getting ready for their own weddings (I’m looking at you Sarah!) so I thought I’d share what I’ve come to know.

I read a lot of articles before I walked down the aisle, hoping to prepare myself for what was to come. Some of it helped, some of it didn’t, and there was still a lot that caught me off-guard.

Reading my tips won’t help you avoid mishaps any more than anything else, but perhaps it might offer some auxiliary guidance! I learned a little about planning the big day and some about experiencing it as well. I’ve narrowed it down to four thoughts, and I’ll share the first two today.

1. If it’s a detail no one will notice, don’t spend any emotional energy on it. 

I think this was the biggest lesson I learned during the planning process. There are a lot of details to be decided and each one offers opportunity for frustration- if you let it. 

I implemented this rule when we were printing our invitation envelopes. Knowing that we couldn’t afford professional calligraphy and not wanting to burden any of my friends with nice penmanship, I considered handwriting the address myself. Then, realizing that was an absolutely insane idea, I opted to download a pretty font and print them from our home printer.

For the life of me, I couldn’t get the addresses to align in the center of the envelope. I changed the page size, I printed from a pdf, I changed the font size- all useless attempts. When I called for back up and even Brett couldn’t figure it out, we decided, in so many words: “Screw It.” These envelopes are literally going in the trash.

And so our mantra was born: if no one will notice, we aren’t allowed to worry about it. Remember that no one else is in on the planning process (except those you chose to involve) so they won’t know that you really, really wanted brown gravy, but your caterer only offered white. They’ll never know they had any other choice.

2. Don’t underestimate your ability to forget. 

Even if you are a list maker, a reminder-setter, a Grade A organizational all-star, you’ll forget something  on your wedding day and you’ll forget something big. If it’s important and you want it to happen on your big day, tell someone else. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it. You’ll forget about that too, but no one else will notice anyway. This goes back to number 1.

I really wanted to stop as my dad was walking me down the aisle and give a big hug to my godfather. Knowing that I would already be a bundle of wild nerves, I made sure to tell my dad, our officiant, our usher, and the entire wedding party. I think just telling other people made me remember it.

However, I did end up forgetting our checkbook at the hotel, fabric markers for our guest quilt, forks for our cake- these things had to be brought to us later. We also completely forgot about the marriage license until our officiant had already left the reception! Our witnesses remembered to sign it only right as we were leaving the farm.

I would suggest not letting these things bug you, but there’s hardly a chance in the world that they will. You’ll probably be so over the moon seeing all your friends and family at once and trying your hardest to hug each and every one of them, that you won’t remember what you forgot until a week after your wedding. Then it won’t even matter. (Unless it’s your marriage license. That matters. Deal with that.)

Back tomorrow with more wedding tip goodness!

Twelve Days

So we are twelve days out from the wedding and I feel like I could just start crying (tears of happiness) today and not stop until October 7. This whole process has honestly been so fun and heartwarming. It’s given us the opportunity to grow as a couple, to work out favors from our friends and family that we’ll never be able to return, to exercise our patience muscles. Putting on a DIY wedding is a lot of work, requires a lot of glue and paint, and sometimes, whether you thought so or not, a lot of money. But as much as Brett and I joke about going to the courthouse, I already know that next Saturday will be the best day of my life and that I’d never trade it. 
Because most of all, during the 14 months we’ve been engaged we’ve been doing a lot more than planning a wedding- we’ve been planning a marriage. On October 6, we are going to tie a knot that no man can pull apart. 
Some photo updates (a few crafts, a marriage license, a bachelorette party): 


So it’s getting to be that time of year again when I think that someone, somewhere might be interested in the things I have to say… So here I am again, blugging. You know- crummy blogging.

I have this thing about consistency. I can’t stand that I can’t make up my mind about what sort of blog I should have. Have I mentioned this before? I hope so, because at least then I’ll have been consistent. Anyway, I’m going to resist the urge to go through the archives and purge any posts that don’t fit my current vision and just move forward. Keep typing. Post a while.

Brett and I are knee deep in wedding bonanza right now and while I’ve tried to stay pretty mum about the process unless directly asked, let me say this about wedding planning. It’s like death by snu snu:


Totally wonderful and just exhausting at the same time. We had a vision for a simple, humble farm wedding and yet . . . it still costs so much.  I will just tell you all one thing right now- we’re in the wrong business. Unless you are in the wedding business, in which case, onward.

After the honeymoon it will be life as usual, except it won’t. I’ll be starting a part-time position when I return and it will be a new adventure, both professionally and personally. I’m excited about the idea of having more free time to keep our new family’s lives in order, to pursue old hobbies and craft new ones. I’m anxious about living on a reduced budget and making the lifestyle change necessary for the transition.

Being a young adult is just a freaking ride sometimes, isn’t it?

On that note, I’ll leave you with a philosophy I’m earnestly trying to seek as I move forward: