THE SCENE: The Tim Burton film Big Fish inspired our wedding. So we knew we needed a place where we could have creative freedom to add all the magic and whimsy the movie emotes. Our goal was to create an escapist experience with our wedding that transported you to another time and place. The planning process was very organic; it grew and evolved over time. And we were happy to let it happen, because we were looking for a homespun quirky wedding. Almost everything was handmade as it was difficult to find the things I was dreaming up in my head. Both the ceremony and reception took place outside at my childhood family home. My dad was totally on board to the point of redoing the landscaping in the colors of our wedding! 80 guests attended.
CEREMONY SITE: For our ceremony, Chad and I wanted it to have the feeling of the town of Specter. We achieved this by crafting handmade rustic church pews. My husband, his father, grandfather, and a few friends cut down and saw milled trees that were dangerously close to his house. They then used the lumber to build 16 pews for our ceremony. We hung string bulb lights from the white tent to mimic the scene where Specter is first introduced in the movie and centered the tent in the grass to welcome the guests to take their shoes off. Julie McKinney our design taught me how to hand shape copper for the pew decorations. We were married under a gazebo my father built years earlier. We hung raw muslin from the sides and two swags of green silk for color. Then we hung a chandelier made of mason jars with candles in them as the centerpiece. The day was beautiful which was a lovely break from all time record high temperatures in Atlanta that summer.
RECEPTION SITE: Our reception was on what was at one time a tennis court at our house. We had a 50’ by 100’ tent provided by Georgia Tent Company. They generously offered to provide the gorgeous tent liners for both tents at an unbelievable price. The chandeliers were from the movie Sweet Home Alabama as GA Tent Co had provided the reception essential for the film (a fun surprise for us). Under the buffet area we hung even more mason jar lanterns. The major centerpiece at the buffet table was housed in a tree stump vase and filled with twisted copper in the spirit of the legendary Tim Burton swirl. The vases on the tables were also mason jars and just to be funny the vases on the drink table were moonshine jars. The tablecloths were floor length chocolate brown with overlay cloths I bought at Anthropologie that had a green filigree pattern on them. We used classic white chairs. For the decoration around the stage there was homage to fall with white gourds and apples in rustic wooden boxes. The groom’s cake was on an old Whiskey barrel we begged to borrow from a local hardware store. We set the silverware and cake plates on a twig chair. And my favorite part was the smaller handmade bench we used as our guest book. It is a piece of furniture we can have in our home and see the sweet words of our family and friends written there everyday.
GOWN: The dress I wore was picked out by two of my best friends Liz and Jane. While shopping for a dress for Jane, they came across the Melissa Sweet Dora dress, which was nothing short of perfect. (Sometimes your friends really do know best) It had tons of lovely vintage details such as the sweetheart neckline, ruffled bust and dotted silk organza detail covering the dress. Three of our four grandmothers wore dotted swiss dresses on their wedding day so it seemed only fitting to carry it on. After we cut the cake, I changed into a 1940’s cocktail dress I found online.
ACCESSORIES: I wore an unadorned birdcage veil that felt way too cool for me! As a gift for my something old, my mother-in-law gave me the earrings she wore at her wedding. They were clusters of diamonds and pearls. My shoes were J.Crew metallic flip flops because that was the only thing that made sense to me. Finally, I was married in my grandmother’s wedding set. It was tied to my wedding band as my something borrowed so her spirit could be with us.
HAIR AND MAKEUP: My hair was done by Shane Bufkin from A Shane Bufkin Salon and was totally his creation. I only knew I wanted it down. He did the rest. For my makeup, I was totally lost and then redeemed by LeMone Portwood. I had ideas about what to do, but as it turned out none of them were very good as my makeup knowledge is limited. He kept it natural but enough so it would show up in the pictures.
BRIDESMAID DRESSES: The process of finding the bridesmaids dresses was one of the most difficult ones. I knew I didn’t want them to have the same dresses, as my sisters have very different personalities. I spent weeks looking for dresses that reflect each of them and the tone of the wedding. My maid of honor wore a yellow pin tuck silk Betsy Johnson babydoll dress that we altered the sleeves to reflect her more. My younger sister wore slightly different shade of yellow silk strapless a Saeyoung Vu dress she fell in love with.
FORMALWEAR: Chad and the groomsmen all wore black suits of their choosing. We were going for that Buddy Holly look. They wore white shirts with skinny black ties Chad picked up at a vintage store in Atlanta. Chad knew he wanted everyone to wear tennis shoes, but wanted something a little different than the black Chuck Taylors so he chose the heather gray ones. Those shoes were one of the most noticed details!
CEREMONY PROGRAMS: We made the programs from this lovely vellum with green leaves. The printers made a mistake on our invitation so we had an extra batch. You cut the leather piece with our names and wedding date off the invitation and attached it to the vellum. The used the font from The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s not as scary as you think when you unfold it and turn it a soft shade of brown. Here is an excerpt form our program.
We are honored you decided to share with us the sacred establishment of our life together. For us, home is a place of sanctuary and refuge where we are founded and developed, where we explore and discover, and finally where we are supported and accepted. It is our desire you experience the familiarity of home with us today. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the family and friends who believed in the homespun vision of this wedding and worked tirelessly with us to achieve the impossible. Many of the unique touches you see here today are a direct reflection of love and friendship. It is our prayer we will continue to incorporate the same creativity, dedication, and community it took to accomplish this day throughout our marriage.
FLOWERS: Our entire wedding day was made possible by the lovely and talented Julie McKinney, who reservedly became our wedding designer. She was responsible for all the live flowers. I knew Julie was an essential to our lives once I pitched the idea of had sewing the bridal party flowers out of vintage ribbon and fabric and she was totally on board. I knew this because there were people I pitched the idea to and got that blank deer in the headlights look like are you kidding. We had what my friend Liz lovingly named a “bow party” where everyone learned to sew a different style flower. The flowers mean so much to me because my friends and family made each flower and they will last forever. The idea behind the live flowers on the table was to look a little like unruly gathered wildflowers.
CATERING: Everyone has been to the weddings where the food is less than up to par or it was so obscure you aren’t sure you could eat it. So we went with a hardy country style meal to reflect our families and our taste. Low Country Catering provided Whisky glazed beef tenderloin, garlic whipped mashed potatoes, a lovely vegetable medley, whole corn of the cob dipped in butter, and homemade rolls. Working with Low Country was a dream. I would recommend them to anyone.
MUSIC Ceremony and Reception: Chad is a musician so the music was exceptionally dear to us. For the ceremony Chad and I collaborated together for the selection. It was mostly a blend of indie folk music and a couple of classics. Chad arranged all the songs so they would work for the wedding. I have a very talented husband. The instruments consisted of the ukulele and acoustic guitar (played by Michael Westbrook), the marimba (Jonathan Macadow), the standup bass (Brandon Dubose) and vocals (Mark Blankenship). All of the ceremony musicians were friends of Chad’s and some of the best in Atlanta. Prelude: Acoustic “Such Great Heights” by Iron and Wine. Wedding Party Processional: “Everyday” Buddy Holly. Bridal Processional: Acoustic “Mushaboom” Feist. Recessional: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Isreal Kamakawiwo Ole’. We were thrilled with the outcome and felt it really refected us. For the reception, we hired the Moxie Band. Per our request the only played oldies and film score on their breaks. They were so solid there were times you couldn’t tell if it were the original recording of the song or them playing the song. They were so easy to work with and tried to make us happy.
ENTERTAINMENT: Dancing was certainly encouraged and I tried to initiate it myself though it took some making a fool of myself at times! We also had a photo booth provided by Our Labor of Love and we treasure the “gems” that came of it! We had quotes from some of our favorite movies and songs hung around and had tons of pictures from our childhood placed in the floral arrangements.
CAKE: Our cake was a three layered green cake with the silhouette of two birds about to kiss nestled in what I think looks like a hill with tiny white and yellow flowers all around. It was white cake with white chocolate moose and raspberry filling made by The Perfect Wedding Cake. We are planning on naming our first born at the chef.
FAVORS: Our favors…were a bit of a task to say the. We had a running theme of using textiles that we thought would have some longevity. I hand sewed 75 acorn sachets (they could also be used as ornaments) from vintage fabrics. They were scented and had sayings attached to them. It took 45 minutes to make each one. I saw something like them on etsy, but was deterred by the $12 each price tag! Looking back I think they were worth that.
TRANSPORTATION: My dad surprised us with 1950 Bel Air station wagon to leave in! Ultimately, my sisters ended up driving us to the hotel (we are very close ).
[images by Our Labor of Love]
We were married (for the second time) in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. We did the whole legal ceremony thing at Brooklyn city hall in January – which was low-key and intimate. The real celebration in Mexico was anything but.
Our invitations were meant to give everyone an idea of what we had planned with Sesame Letterpress coasters mounted on top of a tin of margarita salt. We attached moo cards with the website URL so guests could get all the details and RSVP.
We rented a great house which became our home for the week. The house also served as the location for the wedding and reception. For our ceremony Thom and I each selected a reading for our vows and we asked a family friend to ordain – it added an emotional touch that he knew both of us before we knew each other. And, thanks to months of careful plotting, I was able to surprise Thom with a ketubah that I painted.
One of the best – and unexpected – results of the wedding was all the friendships we formed with artists that provided little details to make the experience personal. We had boutonnieres made for all the guys, as well as custom Converse. We ordered gorgeous paper products from Letteria for the rehearsal dinner, custom pillow boxes by Field and Sea and coordinated candy from Papabubble. We had a fantastic local band that got everybody going – Pila Seca. Although I think my favorite detail was the specialty cocktails, stolen from Alchemy.
We chose San Miguel because it’s a small, artist town with vibrant architecture. With that kind of backdrop we wanted to make sure we had the right photographers that would capture it all. Jesse and Whitney from Our Labor of Love definitely fit the bill. They are incredibly talented and were able to capture the experience perfectly – even all the crazy little details. Plus they’re so much fun – my entire family fell in love with them immediately. These two took a moment that meant the world to us and enabled us to relive it for the rest of our lives.
The full set of Our Labor of Love images is up on flickr – http://www.flickr.com/photos/24540754@N02/collections/72157604467244954/
[images by Our Labor of Love]
So I don’t know where I’ve been the past few months since having the blog, but I’ve only recently discovered Our Labor of Love, a photography studio in Atlanta, and just love them! I’ve got a couple of wedding to showcase that they’ve shot with commentary of the day by the brides themselves! I’ve been endlessly amazed at their creativity and know you will be too…..
THE BRIDE: Ashley Summerlin, 25, Graphic Designer
THE GROOM: Dusty Meaders, 27, Systems Analyst
THE DATE: October 20, 2007
THE SCENE: The reception and ceremony both took place in a photography studio called Studio 900 in downtown Atlanta. The ceremony was in the “gallery,” a room painted in all white with concrete floors. Then the reception was down the hall in the studio with a huge graffiti wall, brick walls, and a cyclorama wall. 150 Guests.
CEREMONY SITE: The ceremony took place inside and the space was an all white room, with concrete floors and two big garage doors on one wall. We had 150 chairs set up in the room with the aisle down the middle. On every other aisle was a flower arrangement. I purchased some small sized plastic containers and spray mounted the blue and crème fabric we used throughout the wedding onto them to create flower holders. Then Little Sparrow Floral Design came in and added the red carnations. I made “reserved” signs for the first row for our parents and grandparents hung with baker’s twine. The only other décor were these Chinese lanterns covered with cupcake liners that I made and hung with baker’s twine near the front of the room. Every chair had a letterpress program, guest info form to fill out, which was later used to form the guest book, and a packet of circled confetti that Dusty hand punched himself.
RECEPTION SITE: The room where the reception took place had an awesome graffiti wall that was done by local Atlanta artists. The other walls were brick and the floors concrete. There was a cyclorama wall where our guests got their pictures made. We were able to use a HUGE letter “a” light sculpture that was used for an Akon photo shoot the week before. We had flower arrangements throughout the room. On one wall was a “prison line-up wall” that our guests loved and we ended up doing our family portraits on. Our theme for both the ceremony and reception was bespoke, handmade, modern, and vintage. Dusty and I made almost everything, from the invitation wedding boxes to the confetti packets, and we enjoyed every minute of it. It made the wedding that much more special to us.
GOWN: My wedding dress was a Suzanne Ermann. It combined both modern and vintage styles, which was the idea we wanted to carry throughout the entire wedding. The dress was a light crème with a variety of fabrics (tulle, lace, and satin), textures, and shapes. My favorite part of the dress was the hoop on the bottom.
ACCESSORIES: The shoes were red suede Chie Mihara mary jane’s that I purchased off ebay. I loved the vintage look that they had, plus the way they stood out underneath my dress. I decided not to wear any jewelry because I liked the idea of having only my wedding rings on.
HAIR AND MAKEUP: I wanted my makeup really natural because from day to day I usually don’t wear that much. My hair was back and loose in a unique wavy concoction.
BRIDESMAID DRESSES: My gift to my two bridesmaids were their dress and shoes. The dresses were purchased from the Betsey Johnson. The fabric was red and white thin stripes. The dresses had straps, and came up to just over the knee. There was a red bow in the middle of the chest. They kind of reminded me of candy striper dresses. Their shoes were red mary jane’s that were purchased online from Anthropologie.
FORMALWEAR: Dusty’s gift to his two groomsmen were their suits, shirts, ties, belts and shoes. The suits were chocolate brown and had a unique stitching on them. We purchased the suits from the store Zara. The shirts were red and white striped Ralph Lauren Polo. They wore brown and crème Chuck Taylors, and Nautica wool ties that were chocolate.
CEREMONY PROGRAMS: The ceremony programs were consistent with all the wedding stationery and had the same look and feel. They were letterpressed on Crane’s Lettra in Pearl White with chocolate, red, and pool blue ink colors by Dolci Odille (www.dolciodille.com). In addition to having the normal order of ceremony info, we stapled a ticket to the bottom of the program to get people interested in the Smilebooth that will follow the ceremony at the reception. It also had a link to our website www.dustandash.com on which they could view the wedding, honeymoon, and Smilebooth photos. The programs were placed in the seat of the chairs along with the guest book pages that the guest were to fill out.
FLOWERS: The main flowers for the wedding were Red Celosia, Red Carnations, and Red Dahlias. We also had Red Vanda Orchids and Viburnum Berry to add some special touches. We provided vases we purchased from IKEA and the florist made them look beautiful with the unique flower arrangements. The pool blue and crème fabric that we used throughout the wedding was used on the handles of the bouquets, and the stems of the corsages and boutonnieres.
CATERING: When Dusty and I go to other weddings, the only thing we ever want is cake…and what goes better with cake than ice cream! So, that’s what we decided on, cake and ice cream. We had Ben and Jerry’s cater. We had sweet cream & cookies, chocolate chip cookie dough, strawberry, phish food, mango mango, and vanilla fudge chip.
MUSIC Ceremony and Reception: Dusty and I are not big dancing people, especially when 150 people are staring at us, so we opted to not have any dancing at the wedding. We had an ipod playing some of our favorite songs on a playlist throughout the reception. For the ceremony we had two songs, one going down the aisle and one coming back down the aisle.
ENTERTAINMENT: We had Our Labor of Love’s Smilebooth at the wedding. It’s like a photobooth, but more modern and interactive. Our guests loved it and had a lot of fun even after the wedding looking at the pictures online. Dusty and I used the pictures from the Smilebooth to put on our letterpressed guest book pages that each guest filled out.
CAKE: The cake was a simple four-tiered white cake with butter icing. It was the best tasting cake Dusty and I had ever tasted!
FAVORS: We had a candy bar for our guests. “Thank you for coming to our wedding” was letterpressed on glassine bags, and then we provided blue and red round stickers to close the candy bags once filled. We had a sign hung with bakers twine above the candy bar that said “thank you for coming to our wedding.” We also made labels for each candy container that were tied with baker’s twine.
TRANSPORTATION: Dusty and I made confetti packets with glassine paper and punched out circles that Dusty spent hours punching for me. We put the circles in the glassine paper and sewed the edges with a piece of paper attached that said “Throw at Ashley and Dusty as they walk back down the aisle as husband and wife for the first time.” We waited until all our guests left, so we didn’t really have an official sending off.
We started off with a budget of $5,000… but it broke. We did the wedding for around $13,000.
The main expenses were the photographers, my dress, the attire for the wedding party, and all the wedding stationery… although I was able to do the stationery for a lot less since I did it myself. The only décor that we had were the cupcake liner balls, and the floral arrangements. We bought the vases at IKEA which saved a lot. I was able to find the cupcake liners and chinese lanterns online in bulk, so that was very cheap and helped out a lot. So… If we had gone cheaper on the attire, we probably could have done the wedding for about $8,000 because of all of the DIY stuff.
[images by Our Labor of Love]
Photographer Daniel Krieger sent me these photos of Erin and Lauren’s commitment ceremony, and I just loved them…there’s such a light and happiness captured in their faces…all weddings should be so lovely. Erin wrote a little bit about the day….
Lauren and I are a lesbian couple who live and love in Brooklyn. We talked about having a commitment ceremony/party/wedding for several years, but we could never figure out what to call it, how to plan it or what to wear. But we knew one thing – we wanted our event to take place in Brooklyn. Beyond that our priorities were good food, great friends, and an open bar; flowers and formality were of little importance.
Our planning came together in an event for 100 guests at iCi restaurant in Brooklyn. We had an intimate ceremony for 40 friends and immediate family under a durable tent and an intense rain storm. Lauren’s good friend emceed, our Mothers read poems, our Fathers handed us our rings, each of our best friends shared kind words, and we exchanged a shared vow as well as our own set of dedicated words. After the ceremony, guests signed a Quaker-style wedding contract promising to help us uphold our vows. Although we were surrounded by a heavy downpour, thunder and lightning, it was beautifully intimate and just what we wanted.
After the ceremony we hosted an additional 60 guests for a celebration with passed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. We had so much fun! In all of our planning, we tried to balance things we loved about traditional weddings with things that were unique to us. We think Daniel did a beautiful job capturing the celebration–from the intimate moments to the raucous good times.
[images from Daniel Krieger]
[images from flickr]