Tag Archives: weddings

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!




Sweet dreams…

Sweet dreams…

One of our big plans for the wedding venue is to have icicle lights hanging over the dance floor for some extra pizzazz during the “dance party” portion of the event.  Being the frugal designers that we are, we – well my cohort – tt, I am known as LL in this capacity – purchased 15 boxes of them at an after Christmas sale knowing this was coming.  Great!

icicle lights box

However, have you ever wrangled 15 boxes of icicle lights?  To start they are twist-tied in maybe 6 little individual bundles of 50 lights per bundle for a set of 300 lights, with a precision that is really kind of stunning.

tight lightsOnce you have all of the twist ties off, the lights have a remarkable ability to retain their twist-tied zig-zagged non-icicle shape without even the slightest hint of relaxing..  We tugged and stretched them out but they sprung right back to their pre-boxed state.  (SO glad we decided to try this a good 5 – 6 weeks before the wedding.) We even Googled “how do you get icicle lights to look like icicles?”  Not a whole lot of help there but there was actually a suggestion to hangthem in the steamy bathroom after you showered like a wrinkled shirt!  That would have been interesting… but most said just let them hang.  Easier said than done since we didn’t need to put them up for another month or so.

barbed wire bed

Our solution? We strectched them across a bed frame from headboard to footboard, twist-tied them on with their own little twist ties and let them have some rest.  It has now been two weeks since we devised this medevil torturous looking set up and guess what.? STILL not so relaxed!  Our next move is to stretch them out across the garage.  We had our handy helpers nail some nails up for us but we decided to hold off hanging them until we finish spray paint

Can you imagine?  Who knew that this would be such a huge part of our little “hang some icicle lights” project!  This was not on our list!!  Sweet dreaming on our part thinking it would be that easy…

There’s going to be a Wedding, Y’all!

There’s going to be a Wedding, Y’all!

Check out my 365 Project page.  I know I have been a slacker with blog posts but I have been posting a photo every day in 2013 as part of a project to capture the essence of each day for the year.  It’s been a challenge but a great exercise.  Kind of like sit-ups!  Hard to do but love the results. (That’s what I hear, anyway.)  You will get a sneak peek at a few things that I have been working on…as well as lots of shots of my cats and my daughter.  I need a  life….

My creative journey has totally been directed toward a big event coming up…my nephew’s wedding!!!  Wooooo!!!       OK, technically, he’s my BFF’s son but she and I are truly sisters from different mothers and have known one another close to half a century….WHAT?!  It’s true. So, my nephew he is for sure.  I love him as much as I do my nieces and nephews that are related more traditionally.  And I love them A LOT!  They are such a really cool bunch of people.

Anyway, he and I shared a room at one time.  He would wake up in his crib and start singing “Beat It” by Michael Jackson while beating on the side of his crib to let everyone know he was awake!  Worked!

engagement photo

So, now, he’s getting married!  His mom and I have been busy helping the bride (who is finishing up her graduate internship with the State Police the day before the wedding!) and groom (who is currently serving in the Army in Germany!) put together a unique and special day for them.  The wedding and reception will be held in Colonial Beach at the Riverboat on the Potomac – a casino where you park your car in the parking lot in Virginia but as soon as you come in the door there is a sign that says “Welcome to Maryland”  The river itself is actually in Maryland and the gambling laws are different there.  Therefor, a casino you go to in Virginia but is actually in Maryland. Kind of crazy….

Riverboat exterior

It’s not a decked out casino like in Vegas or Atlantic City.  It’s really a bit more of an airplane hanger style building.  It was wiped off the map by Isabel several years ago and has been rebuilt to be a little more storm proof.

ceremony space b4

The good news is that upstairs is pretty much a big open blank space with a 270 degree view of the water.  That’s our “blank canvas”.  We have been planning,creating, shopping and experimenting for the last few weeks with everything our minds have been cooking up.  OK, everything that we’ve seen on Pinterest!   We are trying not to make it a total Pinterest wedding but we are definitely using some the ideas for inspiration. Being the crafty chicks we are, we do have a few interesting original ideas up our sleeves as well. ( BTW, did you know that not everything on Pinterest actually works! Yeah, I know, hard to believe, but it’s true!)


We really have some cool ideas that I think will make the couple very happy.  I know they are making us squeal a little bit.  We are really excited and honored to be able to transform this rather bland and not so grand environment into a beautiful, romantic, fun space that will have that WOW factor that will make the bride and groom glad that they put things in our hands.  We shall see….

I will keep posting our projects as we go. If I am going to post on my blog, it’s going to have to be about this wedding since that’s all we are doing.  Did I mention the wedding is in 6 WEEKS!?