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DIY Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning

A Summer Wedding with DIY Details at Local Roots Farm in Washington

 Casual, DIY, J.Crew, Pronovias, Real Weddings, Romantic, Rustic, Summer, Washington  Comments Off on A Summer Wedding with DIY Details at Local Roots Farm in Washington
Dec 102013

Etiquette advises against dating your boss so, even though Jesse was merely an older student working at Peri's college's calling center, it took the couple six years, two graduations and many ski trips to move from coworkers to friends to something more.

In July of 2011, Jesse was in Europe for work, so Peri hopped on a plane to visit him for a vacation in Provence. They rented a VW bus and drove around the region, tasting wine and enjoying the scenery. On their last day, they had a picnic lunch in a lavender field, where Jesse proposed. Unbeknownst to Peri, a few weeks earlier he had flown from Washington to San Diego and back (all in one day!) to pick up the engagement ring.

This Northwest couple took the farm theme a step further, planning a wedding on a real working farm near Seattle that belongs to Peri's sister. Their authentic, natural wedding on August 11th, 2012, featured local vendors, a late-night bonfire, and lots of help from family and friends.

The invitations featured hand-drawn plants and leaves found around the farm.

Peri dressed up her lace Pronovias gown with her diamond engagement ring and a sparkling floral necklace from J.Crew "to add some glamour to our rustic-chic wedding," she says.

Bridesmaids in Mismatched Coral Dresses

Both the bridesmaids and groomsmen were mismatched. The girls chose their own coral dresses, while the guys wore gray suits. "It looked more organic than having everyone in the exact same color," says Peri.

Peri and one of her bridesmaids hand-made the bouquets using white, pink and coral flowers like hydrangeas and cabbage roses. She wrapped them in pieces of tulle from her wedding gown. The groom and groomsmen's boutonnieres featured flowers and berries from around the farm. "Making the bouquets was fun, but in retrospect I'd rather have spent the day before the wedding at the spa!" Peri says. "I'd recommend doing as little as possible the day before your wedding so you can really kick back and enjoy the ride, rather than worrying about last-minute projects."

The ceremony took place beneath an old maple tree in the center of the farm. The couple had an open bar before the ceremony and were out greeting guests as they arrived. A few minutes before the ceremony, the coordinator had guests take a seat while the wedding party hid in Peri's sister's house. The entire group walked down the aisle together.

Peri and Jesse exchanged vows that they'd written together. "We started each line with 'Let's...', listing things like living in France and having a family," she says.

Blue Window Place Card Display

Jesse assembled a free-standing window and shutters, which were painted blue like the ones they'd seen in Provence when they got engaged. They used the shutters to display their guests' place cards. Strands of light and streamers decorated the open-air reception area.

White and Coral Reception Table

Vegetable Table Names at a Farm Wedding

The focus was really on the food, so table decorations were kept very simple. White linens were topped with brightly-hued bouquets of daisies. Table names were hand-made signs that the couple found laying around the farm. The menu incorporated one of the drawings used on Jesse and Peri's invitations.

Forgoing a traditional guest book, Jesse made a wooden jigsaw puzzle that Peri's mother painted. Guests were asked to leave messages for the bride and groom on the puzzle pieces, then put them in a box handmade by Jesse's father. On their first anniversary, the couple assembled the puzzle and read all of the messages their guests had left.

Almond and Stone Fruit Wedding Cake

The wedding cake was made by a friend of Peri's. Almond cake was layered with fresh stone fruits and créme fraîche. "Unfortunately I didn't take the time to stop and eat much of the cake that night, so I had Abby make us another one a month later for my husband's birthday," says Peri.

Strings of lighting hung from the barn roof, lighting the reception as the sun set.

Peri was so glad that she and Jesse were able to marry on her sister's farm. "We had full access to the venue for months leading up to the wedding. The whole family pitched in to help get the farm ready," she says. "And we could stay up partying as late as we wanted! Several of our friends camped out under the stars after it was all over."

The couple's advice is to really identify what is important to you, and stick with that. She also recommends hiring someone to help. "I think hiring a professional to assist with planning and logistics, as well as day-of coordination, is a good idea and would have been worth the money. But we did alright without one!"

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Local Roots Farm || Day-Of Coordinator: A Friend of the Family || Bride's Wedding Dress: Pronovias, from A Princess Bride || Jewelry: J.Crew, and Kate Spade || Hair: Tonic Salon || Groom's Suit: Indochino || Engagement Ring: Custom Design by Robbins Brothers || Wedding Bands: Bride: Beverley K., Groom: His Grandfather || Florist: Flowers from Marigold and Mint || Invitations & Paper Goods: DIY || Music: The Rolling Retreads || Catering: Foraged & Found || Cake: Abby's Hot Buns Bakery || Rentals: AA Party Rentals || Photography: O'Malley Photographers

—Jaimie Schoen

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Mad Libs Meets Marriage: Write Your Own Wedding Vows Just by Filling in the Blanks

 Brides Magazine December 2013, Ceremony & Vows, DIY  Comments Off on Mad Libs Meets Marriage: Write Your Own Wedding Vows Just by Filling in the Blanks
Nov 192013
Write Your Wedding Vows - Fill in the Blank Wedding Vows

Photo: Brides

Writing your own wedding vows is a daunting task to say the least. Just because you want to recite straight-from-the-heart vows that capture your relationship with your future spouse, doesn't mean you have the time to write an Oscar acceptance-worthy speech. (And when it comes to professing your deep and profound love in front of a pack friends and family, even the coolest cucumbers break a sweat.) To help quell your nerves and save some hard-to-find time, we've created three different wedding vows that only require you to fill in the blanks! Each are romantic, thoughtful, and what's best, all of the good parts (like what you love most about each other!) come from you.

Click here to download the printable PDF!

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A Whimsical Wedding at Maravilla Gardens in Southern California

 California, Casual, DIY, Green, Outdoor, Real Wedding, Real Weddings, Romantic, Rustic, Yellow  Comments Off on A Whimsical Wedding at Maravilla Gardens in Southern California
Nov 182013

When Dipak, 27, a director of sales at a software company, first laid eyes on Alisha, also 27, a marketing assistant, he knew he'd marry her. It's an ultra-romantic way for anyone to meet, but for these two it's positively adorable—Alisha and Dipak were just junior-high tweens at the time. They started dating in high school (their first date was a three hour walk—aw!), and the rest is history.

To celebrate their love and history together, the couple threw a sunny, whimsical garden bash with a palette of yellow and green. After a personalized ceremony, guests moved to outdoor tables at California's lush Maravilla Gardens for dinner, mohitos, and lots and lots of dancing. The reception was filled with sunflowers to give the party an extra-playful, vibe. Add DIY details like homemade escort cards, a wooden bench made by a friend to replace a guestbook (guests wrote well-wishes right on the wood!) and a bouquet made of jeweled brooches, and you've got a completely unique—and beautiful—affair.

Dipak proposed at the Santa Barbara Zoo, one of Alisha's favorite places to visit during their college years at UCSB. He set up a "fishing" game, a nod to Go Fish, which Alisha loved as a child. Each box Alicia "fished" contained a love note from Dipak, and when she read the last one, she turned around and found him on one knee.

Alisha wore a strapless Chantilly lace dress by Augusta Jones with lace accents peeking out at the top and on the train. Her sleeves were added on from leftover lace cut during alterations! Antique earrings borrowed from her mother, and a silver Tiffany & Co. necklace gifted from Dipak moments before the ceremony, completed the look.

Alisha's flower girl was just two years old. "Her mom was so worried she wouldn't make it down the aisle," she says. "But as soon as she saw dad at the front of the aisle, she ran to him. Guests loved it!"

Each bridesmaid wore a sunny, knee-length yellow dress by Ralph Lauren. The 'maids picked their own shoes in shades of gray.

The groom wore a boutonniere made of a white dahlia in fitting with the couple's sunny yellow and green palette.

The couple chose Maravilla Gardens in Camarillo CA, because it offered a secluded spot for the ceremony. "It felt like Tuscany with its rolling hills, but still a quaint and hidden gem to both of us!" Alisha says.

Alisha and Dipak decorated their ceremony and reception primarily with sunflowers, to set a sunny mood and signify the cheerfulness of the day. Ceremony aisles were decorated with mini-bouquets in glass vases.

Alisha and Dipak chose to go non-traditional for their interfaith ceremony. Their officiant told the story of how they met, their first date, and their courtship. "Guests raved about the ceremony," Alisha says. "It was all about celebrating our love and giving everyone a piece into our history, so they'd want to celebrate it with us even more."

The couple also observed a unique unity ceremony—each wrote their vows and the values they hoped to uphold during marriage on a wooden plank meant to hold wine glasses. "We didn't want to put our vows in a box and to bring out during hard times," Alisha says. "We wanted our vows to sit on our kitchen countertop every day as a reminder of the commitment we made."

Alisha carried a bouquet of jeweled brooches, assembled by her mother. "When people heard we were collecting brooches, everyone started giving whatever they had," Alisha says. The bouquet included lace from Alisha's dress, and was strung with her grandmothers' lace locket. Talk about a family heirloom!

As they entered the reception, guests signed a wooden bench instead of a book, for a keepsake Alisha and Dipak can look at every day. The bench was hand-made by a friend of the family, and Alisha's mom decorated it with painted flowers.

The sunflower centerpieces were grouped with mason jars collected from friends and family and wrapped in lace. Each bridesmaid was responsible for wrapping over 50 jars!

The centerpieces themselves were held in giant cracker jars, the perfect complement to the variety of jars surrounding them.

During cocktail hour, guests munched on Thai chicken skewers, meatballs, sweet potato fries, and Alisha and Dipak's signature mojitos. Dinner was herb-roasted chicken breast in a tomato and fig sauce, served with green beans and potatoes.

"The dance floor was always full!" Alisha says. After the couple's first dance to Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up", the Best Man twirled the pregnant MOH to Justin Bieber's "Baby."

In the center of Alisha and Dipak's three-tier buttercream cake, a mini chalkboard spelled out their initials. "It was a creative (and less expensive) alternative to a cake topper," Alicia explains.

The two hardly got a chance to sit down all night. "Everyone was either at the bar, on the dance floor, or mugging for the photo booth," Alisha says.

After a fun-packed night, female guests took home pashmina scarves, and the under-12 set walked away with bags of candy.

A week after their American wedding, Alisha and Dipak threw a traditional Indian wedding with both their families. Next, it was off to Kawaii for the honeymoon! Alisha's most important advice? "Make your wedding your own."

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Maravilla Gardens || Planner: None || Bride's Wedding Dress: Augusta Jones || Hair: Katie Lee || Makeup: Cynthia Lauran || Veil: None || Shoes: Nine West || Jewelry: Vintage; Tiffany and Co. || Wedding Band: Tungsten || Groom's Suit: Black by Vera Wang || Invitations: Paper Source || Florist: The English Garden || Catering: Command Performance Catering || Cake: Janna's Creative Cakes || Officiant: Dean Merrill || Music: DJ Michael McNeil of Ovation Entertainment || Photographer: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

—Amanda First

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Exclusive! Brides’ DIY Gold Leaf Bouquet Tutorial with L’Atelier Rouge

 DIY, Flowers, Wedding Flowers, Wedding Style & Decor  Comments Off on Exclusive! Brides’ DIY Gold Leaf Bouquet Tutorial with L’Atelier Rouge
Nov 152013

Photo: Brides

We're always looking out for unique flower arrangements and stylish details for your wedding day. When we came across these gold dipped orchids on wedding planner Tamra Sanford of Ever Swoon's Instagram, we had to find out more!

Floral design studio L'Atelier Rouge was the first to create this gilded idea for show-stopping floral arrangements, and head designer Nicolas Cogral showed us how to recreate this beautiful arrangement in a fun and easy DIY tutorial! The steps are easy to follow and guarantee great results:

step-by-step-tutorial-latelier-rouge-nicolas-cogral.jpg Gold-Leaf-Flower-Latelier-Rouge-Nicolas-Cogral.jpg

Photo: Brides

1. Gather All the Proper Materials

You only need a few items for this project. A paint brush with soft bristles, spray glue, gold leaf paper, scissors, and of course, flowers.

2. Decide Which Flowers You Want To Use

For this arrangement, Nicolas chose delicate lavender-hued Vanda orchids (he says these work best) as the statement flower, bright green cabbage roses for the foundation, and a Sago palm leaf for added drama.

3. Spray Glue On Flowers

Nicolas advises to spray 8-10 inches away from the flower so the glue won't dampen the petals. Because gold leaf paper is so thin, a little bit of glue goes a long way.

4. Lay Flower Onto Gold Leaf Paper

In order to create the gilded effect, press petals very gently so flakes of the gold leaf can stick without damaging the flower. Do this method as many times as you want to get desired results.

5. Place Flowers in Arrangement

This is where you can get creative! Nicolas gathered a dozen green cabbage roses and placed the orchids on top. He surprised us by also gold leafing a Sago palm leaf and tied it around the vase for more drama.

Voila! We ended up with stunning, glam flowers that will wow guests at a glitzy, formal wedding. It's pure luxe without the high price tag. Have fun!


Photo: Brides

—Donna Kim

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A Remote Mountain Wedding in Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado

 BHLDN, Classic, Colorado, DIY, Glamorous, Green, J.Crew, Outdoor, Preppy, Real Weddings, Romantic, Rustic  Comments Off on A Remote Mountain Wedding in Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado
Nov 112013

With family coming from across the country and around the world, this couple had a hard time deciding where to say "I Do." But once they picked the Dunton Hot Springs in Colorado, they had merely two months to plan a wedding to celebrate all of the people who got them to this point in their lives.

Karine, 27, a sales analyst, and Carl, 29, a product distribution manager, met through friends in 2010. The pair bonded as they trained for an upcoming half marathon–their evening runs were a perfect opportunity to chat and get to know one another. "I have never run so fast in my life," says Karine, "which Carl picked up on when he finished the half marathon an hour before me. The things you do to impress a man!" Well, whatever she did worked. Two years later, after a romantic dinner at their favorite Houston restaurant, Carl proposed on the couple's walk home to their new house. They had a whirlwind six-month engagement, but didn't choose a venue until four months in. In only two months, Karine and Carl planned an adventure for 43 friends and family members in the remote Colorado town of Dunton for their wedding on May 5, 2013.

"We booked the venue sight unseen," says Karine. Dunton is a restored ghost town-turned-resort nestled in the mountains an hour from Telluride.

Because everyone was from out of town, Karine and Carl gave each guest a welcome box complete with water, traditional Scottish treats, and an illustrated map of Dunton.

With a rustic mountain venue, Karine chose to go simple with her wedding dress. She got her cream-colored dress with a lace overlay from BHLDN. Says Karine of her gown, "While not very traditional, I couldn't have been more comfortable."

Weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, and temperatures dropped into the 30s on Karine and Carl's wedding day–even though it was the first week of May. The bride borrowed a fur stole from a friend of her mother's to fight off the chill.

Karine's all-white bouquet featured roses and scabiosas. The loose, natural feel of the bouquet was completed with twine wrapped around the stems.

Bridesmaids wore the J.Crew dresses of their choice in cream. When the temperature began to drop the week before the wedding, Karine ordered peach pashminas to keep her sisters, sisters-in-law and maid of honor warm.

One of the few things Karine was adamant about was the inclusion of her Scottish heritage in the wedding. Carl obliged, wearing a kilt of his family's tartan, with all of the traditional accoutrements. The groomsmen rented kilts for the weekend and, says Karine, "we were a bit concerned they would be wearing them home!"

The intimate ceremony was performed outdoors, with Karine's mom doing a reading in honor of all she did during the wedding planning process. Thick wool blankets were provided to keep guests warm as the bride and groom exchanged their personalized vows.

"Because Dunton is so remote, we were limited in what we could bring in without large costs," says the bride. This allowed the couple to simplify the planning process and focus on enhancing the inherent beauty of their location.

Having the wedding at Dunton allowed the couple to spend the entire weekend with their family and friends, sharing communal meals and playing lawn games. "We were incredibly lucky that we had so many of our family and friends join us on such short notice. They made the weekend so special," says Karine.

The barn reception was cozy and casual. The couple served a gluten-free meal that included prime rib and ruby trout.

With only 43 guests, Karine and Carl seated everyone at a U-shaped table, perfect for conversations and lots of laughter! Their signature cocktails were a Manhattan for the groom and a French 75 for the bride. As she says, "I don't think I drank anything but champagne all weekend!"

Flowers were kept loose and natural, playing off the forest green and gold color scheme. White hydrangeas and ranunculus were beautifully accented by the aspen bark vases.

The décor was simple and clean, giving the wedding a luxury camping vibe. Gold flatware and gold-rimmed plates elevated the natural wood tables.

Karine's mother made the couple's wedding cake, as Carl is gluten-intolerant. Cutting the cake was a memorable moment, but for an unexpected reason. "Mum still doesn't quite know what went wrong with the icing," says Karine, "but we couldn't cut through it–it was rock solid." It was an unexpected test of teamwork only hours into Karine and Carl's marriage.

After dinner, guests joined the couple outside for a fireworks display against the pitch black sky, a dramatic ending to a beautifully simple celebration. With the added challenge of planning a wedding at such a remote venue, Karine's advice is for couples to "learn early on how each person handles communication and work with that when planning; most people don't pick their partner based on how well they work together in these types of situations." What's up next for the duo? A Thanksgiving honeymoon road trip from DC to Charlottesville, then on to Nashville and Louisville. Says Karine, "It's going to be an amazing trip of local food, drinks, and exploring." Bon voyage!

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Dunton Hot Springs || Planner: Jessica McTaggart of Pink Champagne Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: BHLDN || Hair & Makeup: Angie of Sahaira's Salon || Wedding Bands: Jannie Bean Designs || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew || Groom's Kilt: Tailor-made in Scotland || Florist: Tess Jordan of Jordan Design Consulting || Invitations: Paperless Post || Paper Goods: Rocket Ink || Catering: Dunton Hot Springs || Cake: Made by the Bride's Mother || Photography: Laura Murray Photography

—Jaimie Schoen

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Rebecca Thuss’ New DIY Book, Paper to Petal, Arrives Just in Time for Winter

 DIY, Flowers & Decor, Wedding Flowers, Wedding News  Comments Off on Rebecca Thuss’ New DIY Book, Paper to Petal, Arrives Just in Time for Winter
Oct 162013
paper to petal book

Photo: Courtesy of Paper to Petal

We've had our heads buried in a mountain of Bridal Fashion Week runway photos, so excuse the delay in getting to Rebecca Thuss' beautiful new book, Paper to Petal: 75 Whimsical Paper Flowers to Craft by Hand, which landed on our desk just in time for the frost.

Filled with dramatic photos and inspired ideas for crafty DIY types with an affinity towards paper, Paper to Petal answers the call for anyone whose ever mourned the loss of a live floral arrangement. "Real flowers may come and go with the season," says Thuss, a noted wedding and event designer, "but paper flowers are a possibility anywhere, anytime."

photos paper to petal book japanese peony Photo: Courtesy of Paper to Petal

Above, one of the 75 projects beautifully photographed for the book: Japanese paper in dark pink and pale pink, paper twine and cotton balls combine to create a White Pine and Japanese Paper Peony which can be used as a delicate wedding centerpiece, an escort table accent or as a single-stem bouquet.

If Spring's prettiest buds—peonies, daffodils, lilacs and the like—are threatening to blow the floral budget for anyone planning a fall or winter wedding, the answer might lie with a stack of pretty pastel crepe paper.

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A Relaxed Summer Wedding at Brooklyn’s reBar Restaurant

 Casual, DIY, New York, Real Weddings, Romantic  Comments Off on A Relaxed Summer Wedding at Brooklyn’s reBar Restaurant
Sep 052013

Neither Kim nor Justin—both born and bred in Brooklyn, New York—ever considered getting hitched anywhere but the place they call home. But equally important was having a stress-free big day. "So we kept it really simple," Kim says of the couple's June 24, 2012 wedding at Brooklyn's reBar.

The venue offered a one-stop-shop type set up for the easy-going pair, with space for both ceremony and reception and a Sunday package that included everything from liquor to music and flowers. "It was a no brainer," Kim says.

The couple announced their summer wedding with bunting-inspired invitations from Brides own line, Brides Fine Wedding Papers. But despite a splash of pink on the invitations, "we didn't really love any color enough to use it as our wedding color," Kim explains, "so we just went with classic black and white."

"No beading, no lace, no bling," Kim says when she describes her Jim Hjelm Occasions dress, a bridesmaid's dress in a shade of ivory. "I fell in love with the portrait neckline and open back. I tried it on in fuchsia and still knew immediately it was the one. I didn't think it would happen like they say it does, but I remember putting it on and immediately locking eyes with my bridal consultant in the mirror and we both knew this was it."

The bride neglected a veil, but spun her brown locks into a classic braided bun accented with a single white orchid. Her teardrop earrings were purchased online for a song, she says. "They look expensive but were from Overstock!" Kim reveals.

Even though Kim's mother paid for the dress, the bride remained budget conscious. "I just didn't see the point in paying thousands of dollars for something I was going to wear for a few hours," she explains.

Kim was also conscious of her sister and maid of honor's expenses. "I wanted her to be able to wear her dress again so I told her to get any dress she wanted in black," she says. The maid chose a tea-length strapless ensemble.

A florist combined the bride's favorite flowers, pink peonies, with ivory roses to make Kim's fluffy bouquet.

"My husband didn't want boutonnieres, and I didn't feel like it was necessary either," Kim says. "It was just him and his brother up there." The best man donned a boutonniere that read BM in place of a bloom.

Kim and Justin were impressed with their officiant, who weaved stories of the couple into the wedding ceremony. "The whole ceremony felt very personal," Kim says. "She told the story of how we met, and met again, and it was so humorous and heartfelt."

The couple exchanged traditional vows "we tweaked ... to be a little more modern," Kim says.

"reBar is in a great spot in Dumbo with views of the Brooklyn Bridge." the bride says. "We wanted a venue that felt homey and rustic, not ornate or formal. reBar is full of dark wood and wrought iron, funky art, and antique furniture. We loved that we didn't have to do much to decorate the space because it looked great on it's own."

"I'm not a DIY girl," Kim admits, "but there was one thing I couldn't find—a nice card box." The bride nearly gave up on having one at all, until she "was at another wedding where I saw guests going crazy looking for one." She realized she needed a spot for guests to deposit their cards, so she purchased a white-washed box and asked her mom to paint the word cards across its front.

"We're not really big dancers," the bride says, "so our wedding was more about mingling, drinking, and eating. It was super casual and more of a cocktail party." Guests could place their cocktails on custom coasters made for the big day.

"We didn't want a wedding cake that looked nice but no one really eats," Kim says. So the couple asked their favorite local bakery to make not one but several cakes for the reception. "Little Cupcake Bakeshop made us a tiered vanilla butter cream for us to cut into, and three smaller cakes in our favorite flavors, including chocolate peanut butter, red velvet and chocolate cloud. Our guests went crazy for our cakes! There were no leftovers!"

The couple's cake topper was a custom purchase from Etsy—two wooden hearts etched with the couple's initals and wedding date.

"We also had banana cream cheese, lemon vanilla, and honey cinnamon cupcakes, and these amazing little dessert shooters," the bride says. "I feel like every dessert in creation was represented at our wedding!"

Even though Kim and Justin aren't big dancers, they still spun across the dance floor to their song, Can't Help Falling In Love. "But the Elvis version can get a little hokey so we chose a slower, more romantic version by Ingrid Michaelson," the bride says.

"Keep it simple," Kim advises other brides as she reflects on their wedding day. "We saved a ton of money by forgoing things like favors, boutonnieres, expensive limos, etc. Our family members were used to cookie-cutter formal weddings, so our wedding seemed odd to them, but everyone ended up loving it. And I know everyone says this, but really try to enjoy the day. It goes by so fast."

—Jillian Kramer

Ceremony Venue: reBar || Reception Venue: reBar || Bride's Wedding Dress: Jim Hjelm Occasions || Bride's Shoes: Kate Spade || Bride's Wedding Ring: Diamonds by Janet Ltd. || Groom's Tux: Hugo Boss || Groom's Wedding Ring: Diamonds by Janet Ltd. || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jim Hjelm Occasions || Groomsmen Attire: Men's Wearhouse || Florist: reBar || Caterer: reBar || Stationery: Brides Fine Wedding Papers || Cake Baker: Little Cupcake Bakeshop || Entertainment: reBar || Photography: Kristi Drago-Price Photography

A Rustic Summer Wedding with a Cultural Theme

 California, DIY, Elegant, Pronovias, Real Weddings, Romantic, Rustic, Summer, Traditional  Comments Off on A Rustic Summer Wedding with a Cultural Theme
Aug 152013

Grace's grandparents knew Bradley long before she did—they babysat him as a boy, the bride now says. When Bradley showed up to a few family functions, including a pirate-themed party, "we really re-met as adults," Grace says. "A few weeks later, he was at several other family functions and we really started to notice each other. Then, he finally asked me out!"

Bradley proposed at a more private family function—the couple's third Christmas together. As Grace dug into her stocking, Bradley swapped Charlie Brown Christmas for their favorite Hawaiian tune and stuck his hand between the couch cushions. The bride admits, "I kind of knew what was happening," but says she was "in complete shock and burst into tears when he got down on one knee."

Their August wedding at Twenty Mile House was "natural and green, as well as stylish and modern," the bride describes. "It was also very important for our cultures to be a part of the wedding weekend and for our guests to have a wonderful time."

Six children participated in the couple's wedding afternoon ceremony, serving as flower girls and ring bearers dressed in tutus and Chuck Taylors. "There were so many little ones that it was difficult for there to be any kind of order going down the aisle," Grace recalls. "The ring bearers pretty much ran down and then the flower girls walked and two of them threw petals. At the very end, the last flower girl remembered she was supposed to do something and dumped her entire basket of petals out on the grass."

Just before the bride descended down the grass aisle with her father, two junior groomsmen—Bradley's nephews—carried a sign that read "Here Comes The Bride."

"We put a lot of thought into [the ceremony] and made it ours," Grace says. "We both wanted it to be short, but still very special and spiritual." Bridesmaids walked down the aisle to the song that played when Bradley popped the question, while the bride read a Hawaiian love poem to her new husband. Above them hung 1,000 paper cranes the bride and her family had folded in the weeks before.

Instead of a boutonniere, "Bradley wore a traditional maile lei and kakui nuts to show his Hawaiian culture," the bride explains.

The junior groomsmen also carried a sign that read "There goes the groom" at the end of the ceremony, Grace says.

The bride wore a sweetheart neck Pronovias gown that at first didn't strike her as just quite right. "Originally I didn't think I wanted lace, but I tried it on and fell in love. It felt very me." She also wore drop earrings she picked up in a San Francisco boutique and "my husband's grandmother's pearl ring that was handed down to me," she says.

The bride's something blue? Her shoes. "I found these awesome Dolce Vita navy blue wedges," Grace says. "They were comfortable and cute!"

The couple's white gold wedding bands were purchased from San Francisco jeweler Padis Jewelry, the bride says.

Grace's eight bridesmaids chose their own knee-length navy blue dresses, which they paired with nude heels. Their bouquets matched the bride's—a mixture of succulents and full, white flowers made up the round arrangements.

"Oh man!" Grace says as she thinks back on the couple's reception. "It was so beautiful. We were surrounded by our favorite thing in the world, the sky and the mountains!" The couple made sure the food was amazing, too. The menu included comfort-food staples like chicken and mashed potatoes.

"We wanted there to be a huge dance party, and there was!" the bride says. "But we also wanted the food to be good and for people to have a great time."

Grace's father and Bradley built more than 20 containers from reclaimed wood for the couple's centerpieces, which were made of succulents the couple grew themselves.

"Each table was named after a park where Brad and I had either gone camping or hiking," Grace says. The couple attached a photo of the park to each centerpiece.

Grace and Bradley grew hundreds of succulents to give to their guests as favors. "We really wanted something that people would keep for a long time," the bride explains.

In lieu of a cake, the couple offered a donut bar. "And we got the donut shop to make a giant donut for us," Grace says. "There were all kinds of flavors—chocolate, glazed, sprinkles, sugar, donut holes. Our giant donut was sugar."

While the couple didn't host an official after party, "we did party all night long at the venue," the bride says. "Our caterers hooked it up with late night sandwiches and leftovers from the reception dinner. It was so necessary to soak up all those drinks!"

—Jillian Kramer

Ceremony Venue: Twenty Mile House || Reception Venue: Twenty Mile House || Bride's Wedding Dress: Pronovias || Bride's Wedding Ring: Padis Jewelry || Groom's Tux: Ben Sherman || Groom's Wedding Ring: Padis Jewelry || Florist: Gray's Flower Garden || Caterer: Southern Accent || Stationery: Vincent Sacco || Cake Baker: Papa's Donut House || Videography: Stevens Ink Productions || Photography: Stevens Ink Productions

Aug 142013
Bridal Portrait by Jenna Wakani

Photo: Jenna Wakani

At their first introduction, Patrick White made Ariel Brewster an offer she couldn't refuse: A free room, complete with a private bath, inside his Riverside Drive apartment. "The catch was that he lived with an elderly woman—a retired logic professor—who kept student boarders to help her with groceries, household tasks and errands," says Ariel, who, along with Patrick, was attending Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism at the time. After "we'd lived together—and shared eldercare duties—for a few months," Ariel says, the pair started dating.

It was years later, while attending a wedding in Scotland, that Patrick proposed. "One rainy afternoon, we took a gondola up to see Ben Nevis—supposedly the tallest mountain in the United Kingdom—and Patrick proposed at the top," Ariel says. "It was cold, windy and wet, so we were actually crouched behind a boulder when he pulled out the ring."

The couple exchanged vows huddled beneath a tent on yet another rainy day, in what the bride describes as a camp-inspired wedding weekend. "The whole weekend had a cabin-in-the-woods, drinking-around-the-campfire vibe. Gingham, lace and burlap. Old-timey. And wet," she says of their wedding day. "Very wet."

Camping Inspired Wedding Venue Chalkboard Wedding Sign

Photo: Jenna Wakani

"We never wanted to do something big or expensive or traditional," the bride says of the couple's unusual choice of venue—the Loch Lyme Lodge, a summer-camp-turned-rustic-family-resort in New Hampshire. "I wanted something cute and small-town. I had always dreamed about serving strawberry rhubarb pie at my wedding instead of cake--that kind of thing."

The lodge "is furnished with patchwork quilts and old New Yorker covers and very rustic antique furniture—a total hodge podge, but we loved it," Ariel says. "When we visited and were walking around, we said to ourselves, 'This could turn into a really fun summer camp-style weekend for our family and friends.'"

Blue Flower Girl Dresses Blue Flower Girl Basket With Rose Petals

Photo: Jenna Wakani

Rain ruined the couple's plan to wed by the lodge's lake. At the last moment, the ceremony was moved beneath one of two white-and-yellow striped tents, where there was no defined aisle. The last-minute location change "made the flower girl duties kind of tricky," the bride says.

Patrick's nieces and the pair's flower girls Eloise and Simone White were asked to hand guests white daisy mums as they entered the tent. "I think Eloise was a little too shy for it, though," Ariel recalls. "Simone loved it."

Traditional Wedding Vows Bridal Portrait by Jenna Wakani

Photo: Jenna Wakani

The couple, though both writers, declined to write their own vows. "I guess I wanted to avoid all those cheesy poems I've heard a million times at weddings. And the overwrought lovey-dovey stuff. We just wanted to be married," Ariel says.

A justice of the peace—who doubles as a neighbor and family friend—married Ariel and Patrick, and "had a nice little spiel about growing old together," the bride says. "Short but sweet."

Polaroid Pictures At Wedding Reception

Photo: Jenna Wakani

On a clothesline strung up in the ceremony tent, two friends hung photos of guests throughout the ceremony and into the evening. "It made a nice little arrangements of guest photos in real time," Ariel says.

DIY Wedding Bouquet Ideas

Photo: Jenna Wakani

The bride, with the help of her sister and mother, designed all the couple's floral decor, including matching bouquets. Ariel ordered flowers from a local grocery store and picked them up "Friday morning before the wedding and kept them on the porch of our cabin until we arranged them Saturday morning," she says. The blooms were a pastel-hued mix of freesia, peonies and ranunculus.

Pink Peony Nosegay Bouquet.jpg Stylish Mismatched Bridal Party Outfits

Photo: Jenna Wakani

The bride's sister, Emma, "and I carried matching bouquets we arranged ourselves with sprigs of mint, yellow and peach ranunculus, white freesia and pink peonies," Ariel says.

Emma wore a calico print dress, while Patrick's brother and best man, Silas, sported a blue gingham tie.

Wedding Blues Band For Cocktail hour

Photo: Jenna Wakani

A local bluegrass band, Old Fogey Mountain Boys, crooned to guests during the couple's cocktail hour and into dinner. Guests sipped on craft and domestic beers and wine, and lemonade from a "jar from Pottery Barn, full of Pimms, but it fell off a table during set-up and shattered all over the dance floor. Oops!" says the bride.

Gray Striped Straws Checkered Napkins Wedding Decor DIY Escort Card Ideas

Photo: Jenna Wakani

Guests sat at two rows of 12 burlap and lace-covered picnic tables as they ate bar-b-cue buffet fare. "Bonus: picnic tables come with free bench seating," the bride says. The bride purchased bamboo cutlery that she tied with grey and white twine and placed atop red gingham napkins. "We also put rolls of brown paper towels on the tables, since we were serving ribs," she says.

Purple and Green Wedding Centerpiece

Photo: Jenna Wakani

"My mom put out sap buckets filled with flowers, flea market-sourced whiskey crates and wooden fruit crates filled with annuals, and a few potted white shrubs," for floral reception decor, the bride says. On the tables sat a "combination of teeny bud vases and some birch-bark-wrapped vases I bought on Etsy."

Unique Favors For Wedding Guests

Photo: Jenna Wakani

"We also had lots of picnic blankets and wool Pendleton blankets—all second-hand-store finds, or borrowed—for extra seating, but because it was pouring, people ended up using them as throws and wraps, huddled under the tent!" Ariel recalls.

Strawberry Pie For Wedding Dessert

Photo: Jenna Wakani

The couple didn't have a wedding cake. Instead, they offered guests strawberry shortcake and apple pie on palm leaf plates for dessert.

Bridal Portrait by Jenna Wakani

Photo: Jenna Wakani

Ariel, Patrick and their guests danced until "the music had to be turned off," the brides says. But the party "reconvened around the campfire," with beer, Jim Beam and marshmallows making the rounds around the fire pit in true (adult) camp style. "The next morning, the campfire was littered with empties and soggy hot dog buns!" Ariel says. "Tres chic."

—Jillian Kramer

Venue: Loch Lyme Lodge || Bride's dress: The English Department || Bride's Shoes: Lands' End || Hair Piece: Pemberly Collection || Suit: Tom's Place || Bridesmaid's Dress: ModCloth || Catering: Blood's Catering || Band: Old Fogey Mountain Boys || Photography: Jenna Wakani

Trying to Save Money on Flowers? Here’s How To Make Floral Centerpieces Like a Pro

 DIY, Flowers & Decor, Wedding Flowers  Comments Off on Trying to Save Money on Flowers? Here’s How To Make Floral Centerpieces Like a Pro
Aug 132013
DIY centerpiece book

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

From ingenious wedding favors to top-shelf beauty finds, our editors are always uncovering the next best thing in weddings.

Right now, we're obsessed with this DIY floral arranging book that will help you fool even your closest friends into thinking you've hired a florist for all of your wedding events. Though you'll likely call on a professional florist for the big day, there are plenty of other events—your engagement party, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner—that could use pretty floral centerpieces. And don't forget the fabulous dinner parties you'll throw after the big day!

"If you're thinking about making your own centerpieces, check out The Flower Recipe Book, by the florists at Studio Choo in San Francisco. The step-by-steps are easy enough for an amateur, but the designs are so beautiful, everyone will think they were done by a pro."

—Heather Lee, Senior Editor

The Flower Recipe Book, $15, Amazon

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