Tag Archives: wedding planning

Handmade Wedding: I lied!

Handmade Wedding: I lied!

Yes, It’s true…I thought I was done with the wedding posts but nope, got one more in me…

7 a.m., Nov. 15th, I got this Facebook message from a very dear friend who shared with me a couple of months ago that she had found a very special “beau”, “Do you plan to be in town November 30th?”.  I had a feeling what was coming.  She was getting married!  Very excited for her as she deserves every bit of the happiness she has found.  What could I say, other than “Do you need some paper flowers?” wedding2flowers She had two weeks.  I had lots of sticks and flowers (and spreadsheets!)  Let the turbo-planning begin!   Made that four month timeline for the first wedding seem extensive!  Although that quick turnaround presents all kinds of obstacles, there is also a wonderful simplicity in planning and designing a wedding with a tight timeline. Obviously there is stress, but it is not a prolonged stress.  Decisions just have to be made.  You have to work with what you have.  You cannot worry about that which you cannot change.  And for the most part, it turned out absolutely perfect.wedding2back

Starting with the theme of joining hands to become family, we wanted to be sure that we hit the main features that the bride felt were important. Creating an intimate space, just for the two of them, was the most important with a bit of drama and a dash of glamour. Look familiar?


Since the groom was a great friend with their pastor, who also served as the best man, the venue was set. The bride’s four grown children along with her sister formed the bridal party.


A hand blessing read by the matron of honor, sister of the bride, had special meaning for the bride and her family. Gotta love that hooplah!

DSCN7741In order to include the children of the bride in the ceremony and create the family bond, the couple presented each child with a special necklace to commemorate the day.DSCN7760It was a wonderful gesture that along with their family sharing in communion together, symbolized the new oneness of their family.DSCN7762The look on her face here says it all…wedding2toast

There was a sparkling cider toast..(how do you like the giant flowers’ new role? Pretty cool way to fill up wall space.)wedding2cuttingcake….a wedding cake to cut….

wedding2ladies…great food…(I see black and white engineer prints!)DSCN7765friends and family to witness and share it all…wedding2prekiss…and a honeymoon in the mountains.   .

As we were breaking down the wedding decorations in April, some of the helpers( let’s be honest, mostly the menfolk) asked, “What do you want us to do with this stuff? Put it in the dumpster!?!?!”  WHAT!?!? ARE YOU INSANE?!?!  However, truth be told,  we really had no idea what we were going to do with them. They have been in storage ever since. To be able to reimagine and share them with this couple on their special day made the decision to hang on to them a blessing.

Now, who’s next?

Handmade Wedding: Rock, Paper, Sticks

Handmade Wedding: Rock, Paper, Sticks

The building blocks of a fashionable yet frugal wedding….


wedding rocks When’s the last time you pulled out your wedding guest book, or any guest book for that matter, and read all of the heartfelt sentiments your guests took the time to leave there? Uh-huh, that’s what I thought.  Guest books are sooooo last century! .wedding rocksThe guests at this wedding were invited to pick a special rock that they liked from our pre-sorted collection and leave their wishes, signature, caricature, whatever, on them.  Some made more sense than others…just saying.  “Leave each”? “You kids are totes vegates”? I am sure it must mean something incredibly special to the bride and groom.DSCN2837These were just landscaping rocks we purchased by the bag from the Home Depot, cleaned with much TLC and complaining, and placed in a nautically-inspired oyster basket with some fine-line Sharpies.wedding rocks boxGuests then dropped them in a special patriotic themed box in honor of the groom’s military service that will hold them all, along with extra blank rocks and a Sharpie to sit on a credenza for when they entertain at their new home….whenever it is that they finally get to live together as a couple!

Ugly ACSmall white rocks – again, landscaping rocks from Home Depot – in mason jars held down the sticks we used as camo for the u-g-l-y air conditioning units on the roof interrupting our wonderful river view.We did not want that hulk of machinery to be the focus of the ceremony space!!sticks in jars

Not a perfect solution but they kept your eye at the plane of the window and kept you from focusing on the obstruction outside of it so much.

DSCN2922Tumbled rock tile was our hot glue gun trivet as we made our paper flowers and also the base of the black and white photo take-aways.

IMG_2241There is more about them here.



This roll of Costco butcher paper about $15 –  and a hot glue gun were the backbone for our paper flower projects…


Giant paper flowers overhead…


…as well as lots and lots of smaller paper flowers in different sizes to adorn the space in different ways…

DD7_7863…on reserved chairs in the ceremony space…

Banner10 (2)…mixed with book text paper for a vintage feel in the chalkboard bannerbanner9 (2)…along with book text paper mixed with fabric to bring in a punch of color with the vintage.

cigar box

On and in the ring bearer’s ring box …


…paper envelopes from love letters written by the couple for the base of the groom’s cakeIMG_4309…the huge paper engineer print photos everywhere we could think of…DSCN3891…fun fluffy colorful paper pom-poms for the dance floor…( Say that fast 3 times!)buffet tags (2)…down to the menu cards designed by the groom, emailed from Germany and printed on paper cardstock for the buffet line. More of his awesome graphic design work in the next post.


My absolute favorite paper project were the floor vases we created out of cardboard concrete forms from Lowe’s for about $4 each, spray painted glossy black and banded by a field of our paper flowers. You can read more about the process of making these here.


branches tape measure

This room needed drama to liven it up and camo to hide those hulking AC units.  Our inspiration was metallic sticks we had seen at a Christmas display with, of course, tiny white lights.  We gathered a truck load of sticks, literally, cut from the woods and then set about measuring and trimming them to the varying heights so that in the end, our window sticks would have the suggestion of a wave pattern, naturally, since we were on the water.

branches smiles

We sawz-alled, trimmed, remeasured, and labeled all of our groups of sticks in the different heights.

branches spray can

Twenty four cans of this metallic silver spray paint later, we had these…

Day 62

Using the chrome metallic spray paint, as opposed to just a normal silver paint, made all of the difference.  These branches almost hurt your eyes reflecting the sun, they were so shiny and metallic.  There was tons of overspray, since the branches are so narrow, so we had some pretty nicely painted metallic cardboard under them all when we were done! If we had a few more ounces of creative energy left, we probably could have come up with a re-purpose for those! DD7_7841

Later, we gathered two huge black yard waste bags full of pine branches, not technically sticks, I suppose, and sprayed them, as well, to prop up the black and white photos in the table centerpieces.


This was the garage, booby-trapped with hanging bicycles, pine boughs, silver sticks, riding lawn mowers and stretched out white lights on load-in day.

truck branches

This was just truckload number one.


It was then up the ramps…


…and into the elevator. Fun stuff!


The poor beer delivery guy got caught holding the door for us with a hand-truck full of beer cases behind him on the elevator.  He was thrilled, to say the least.  That beer was for our reception so we had to be nice and accommodate him!  Actually, he was very nice to us.  It was a win-win.

DSCN3786Then there was this guy, along with his buddy, Obnoxious-Musical- Cotton-Candy-Machine, in the casino entrance lobby, staring and shouting at us every one of our 243 waits for the elevator to come down over the course of about 8 hours. We were all smiling pretty much like that at the end of it all.DSC_0765

Back to the cool floor vases, this glimpse of a shot was taken just as the ceremony was preparing to begin with the entrance of the officiant and the groomsmen. That’s all I have are glimpses of them finished and in place, the result of me wearing too many hats and photographer was not one of them.The two bigger vases were placed on either side of the ceremony space under the draped organza to fill in the corners. 


With a grand total of 17 people in the bridal party facing the guests, it was the only space that needed it up front!


The two smaller floor vases were at the bar and the DJ table filling in some around the glass racks and equipment. DSCN3935Our mason jars filled with white rocks and silver sticks created just enough of an illusion to create a distraction to take your eyes away from the AC units that we were hoping for in the ceremony space.   Wave pattern? Maybe not so much…subtle but still effective.DSC_1032

The illusion only went so far but it didn’t seem to keep anyone from having fun.  There’s that ceremony floor vase in the background.


The caterers ended up canabalizing some of our jars and table branches along with the ceremony chair markers to add to the display for the buffet line….another set of missing photos.  Sigh…next time!  

Rock, Paper, Sticks:  Dependable, flexible, and economical.  What more can you ask for from such basic elements?

NEXT: Wrapping it all up – AWK!




Handmade Wedding: The Groooom’s Cake

Handmade Wedding: The Groooom’s Cake

Grooms’ cakes can be a whole lot of fun…this one was no exception!  Traditionally, the cake is a gift from the bride to the groom and in this case it was a gift from my family to the bride to give to the groom. (Did I mention that the groom was stationed in Germany and the bride was traveling 5 hours back and forth from her home to a graduate internship the whole time we were planning this wedding?)


Well-loved photo of the groom from basic training taped to his mom’s dashboard

bridal shower1 (2)

The bride and her future sister-in-law. So cute, right?

We wanted to reflect the groom’s interests, of course, as that is the purpose. The bride and I sat and talked and came up with basically four themes: the Army, music, Jack Daniels and BACON!!! (Not necessarily in that order)

So, we started with that.  We had all kinds of ideas….

  • Army men surfing on bacon surfboards on Jack Daniels flowing out of a bottle holding music notes.  Scratch.
  • Glasses of  Jack Daniels with Army men in them eating bacon all sitting atop sheet music.  Scratch.  
  • Then we thought –  Army men, guarding bacon roses (Pinterest!) around a giant Jack Daniels bottle with a custom label reflecting all of the groom’s musical and Army career highlights all sitting on atop envelopes from the letters they had written to one another when he was in basic training that ultimately led to his proposal during a visit at Ft. Benning.  Bingo!  Now, who to make it?!!?

It turns out, through my husband’s work in the restaurant business, he had someone in mind who does some pretty awesome cakes.  Mill Steet Sweets is part of Charley’s Waterfront Cafe’ in Farmville, VA. Charley’s is a great place to have lunch when you are in town to shop at Greenfront Furniture or visiting Longwood College.  Whoa!  I should work for the Farmville Chamber of Commerce!

All we really needed was the bottle with the label, that was the hard part. We could take care of the rest.

Bacon Roses, you say?  Easy.  Take a mini-muffin pan and drill a pretty good sized hole in the center of each cup.  This allows the copious amounts of bacon grease to drain out.  Take a pound of bacon( or more) and begin by rolling one strip at a time from the end into a flower shape.  Use your imagination…it will take some finessing but nothing too technical.

bacon rose 1

Place each “rose” into a cup in the pan and set the whole thing on top of a broiler pan with the base attached, again, to capture the copious amounts of bacon grease associated with this project. (It’s not that bad but really, you want to do it this way.)

bacon rose 2

Place in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 mins.then check them.  I found that they were looking pretty good on top but the bottoms were still pretty raw.  Not appealing.

baconrose 3

I just flipped them over and placed them back in the oven for another 10 mins or so. Actually, I ended up flipping them again and making sure the tops were nice and browned for another 5 or 10 mins. If you make them, you will have to judge how long you want to belabor the point.


Although my camera flash made these appear to be almost neon and no means of editing could help, they really did come out perfectly.


Kent is a cavalry scout and this guy just seemed like he was calling in to tell someone he had spotted something GOOD!!


This guy was just standing there whistling trying to hide the fact that he had just had a teeny weeny little green finger full of fondant.  Move along.  The leaves are bamboo in remembrance of the groom’s great grandmother who had tons of it growing in her yard and every important event has to have some bamboo somewhere.


“Stand Down!  Put the fork down and back away from the roses, ma’am.”


The baker nailed the label.   (Please forgive the little bit of smushing of his last name.  That was our fault trying to get it out of the ginormaous box it was in all taped and perfect. The baker did it perfectly.)Kent was the bass player in a band called Fools and Horses and that is their logo on the neck of the bottle.  Both Kent and Amy lived in Maryland before Kent shipped off to the Army but the wedding was in Virginia, where his family is from.  In fact, the venue was on the water in Maryland but you entered the front door from Virginia. They actually had to go outside after their ceremony to get married for real on the beach in Virginia because the officiant was not authorized to conduct a wedding in Maryland! 


Speaking of ginourmous, did I mention that this cake is at least 2 feet long and probably 10 – 12 inches wide?  Those army men are 4 inches tall!  It weighed a good 20 pounds. It was massive. Of course, it had to feed 40 people, which it did beautifully..


How about the attention to detail on the bottom of the bottle, I mean cake?


I had the bride and groom each fill out an envelope using the addresses where they lived during their correspondence while Kent was in basic training.  Then had photocopies made and we cut them out and had them all around the base of the cake.


Not only did it say it all…..

grooms cake bite with rose

…it was DELICIOUS!  Super moist yellow sponge cake smeared with raspberry preserves & filled with French vanilla butter cream. YUM!  The groom’s favorite flavors.  (Awful picture, sorry!  Hard to eat, drink and be merry while holding a clipboard and a camera!)


It looks like someone is helping themselves with a spoon!  And the Army men, well, they are just overcome.  There was very little cake left at the end of the night.  Hmmmm…..

528424_10151565784623024_1338588521_nAND all of the Army men were AWOL by the time we packed up, by the way. I know they have found new assignments as I have seen glimpses of them from time to time on Facebook.  Carry on.

A perfect tribute to the groom and a great ending to a fun rehearsal dinner.

Thanks for checking it out…..



The Power of a Flower….

The Power of a Flower….

Wedding design involves many, many, MANY decisions.  Add into the mix the fact that the main parties involved are on two different continents and you have decision overload   Thanks to technology, however, we have been able to keep things moving with Google Drive documents and tons of emails.  With exactly one month left to the day, we are pretty much on schedule.

google drive

The bride does not have a specific “theme” in mind for the wedding except that the location lends itself to some beachy kind of elements although  it’s not really a “beach” wedding. Her colors are black (bridesmaids dresses) and white (bride, of course) with flower colors providing the punch – hot pink, bright orange, and deep yellow.

This was our starting pont.  We found a few ideas on Pinterest, did some test runs, shopped a LOT, made some decisions and took off. I can only give sneak peeks but trust me when I say we have done some pretty ingenious things with a few simple ingredients.  The absolute profusion of a simple material used repeatedly will give us all the muscle we need to make a stunning impact. using nothing but her colors and one simple flower design.

tearing paper

Let’s just say, there is an awful lot of ripping and  tearing going on !

petal close

Petals in all different sizes…

glue flower tile

Hot glue….

close flower fingers

…more hot glue….

flower fingers

…and a few of  these moments led to….

Als Bar Gluegun

… this!

Cam cat

and THIS!

glue flower

Some little flowers…..

pool table flower

some bigger.

All have a special place in the design.  Fun to make and lots of impact.  More later….