Category Archives: Wedding

We did it!

I stole that title from my friend Allison Kirk’s blog, because it is so beautifully apt for how we feel: after months (OK, just 3, but still) of planning, buying, crafting, searching, managing, travelling, laughing (crying) and general mayhem, we pulled off our perfect day (definition: ‘we’ = me, Wes and assorted friends and family). So, the Brits want to know about the day, warts ‘n’ all. And while I do have a post about the craziness that got us to the perfect day (including forgetting the catering, abandoning the groom with no buddies with him the night before and having no way to get the bride to the actual wedding – yes, all those fun and games), but it took away from a description of what was, as I keep writing, our perfect day (yes, I have the Lou Reed song going round and around in my head too, and no, it is not an apt soundtrack).

I arrived and stood in the house, with the ring bearer, bridesmaids, maid of honour. I looked out of the window, and the garden where the ceremony would be held just looked stunning. Wes’ Mum’s chairs were perfect, the arch was simple but eye catching and the lake added a serene feel. I could see Wes standing patiently at the front, the minister grinning happily, and Aaron dutifully handing out rose petals, also with a big smile on his face. It was a beautiful, and somewhat sobering scene but the happiness and joy was palpable, even from inside the house. My Dad asked me how I felt, and I simply felt very excited. So we went downstairs and I got to hear Nate’s gorgeous playing, a simple, delicate sweet song that was perfect for the occasion. After a brief dilemma about where the ring bearer went in the procession, which was solved by 10-year old Sasha, bridesmaid extrodinare (the answer if the at the front, but the way) – off we all trundled down the aisle. And trundle we did, until I suddenly giggled and suggested we all slowed down. My quiet giggle turned into a ranging ear-to-ear-grin when I saw my best buddy Kim, who had made it all the way from Boston. I suddenly realized how many dear friends and loved ones had come out and it made me ecstatic (hence the grin) and this was how I made it to my fiancé at the front:

Given the million degree heat (well, spot on 100 as I exited the car), we decided not to be American, but to be all British, and let people the wedding party sit for the duration of the ceremony. Scott was a wonderful, wonderful minister. He wrote beautiful, Godly words, and involved us so that they felt very personal and meaningful. He talked about the marriage, and what we were to each other, and what we would be, as man and wife in a partnership together. Kirk read an extract from C.S. Lewis’ ‘The Four Loves’ with feeling and heartfelt passion. Wes and I wrote our own vows (coming soon to a blog post near you – see there were some very-American-and-alien-to-Brits touches), and we said these to each other, before also saying the more more common ones (coming soon as well).

Before I knew it, it was time to ‘kiss the bride’. Which Wesley did. And did again. And tried to do again, until I whispered ‘Oi’ and pulled away 🙂

After being presented as man and wife, we receded down the aisle to Nate’s acoustic version of ‘Here Comes The Sun’ and people threw rose petals.

Then a brief photo session, during which Josh Vasa played beautiful music and all we had to do was party. And party we did! It was very nice not to be sitting at a table separate from our guests – it allowed us the freedom to go about chatting to everyone (which Wes was 100% better at than me, who missed a good few of her friends, although I think I did manage to speak to / introduce myself to all of Wes’ side). I changed into a simple dress, and did what I do best: ate, drank, danced and paddled in the lake. It reminded me of a big house party, and I am very grateful to so many people for chipping in and helping out.

Time flew, and soon it was time to cut the cake, listen to Papa’s speech

and have the first dance. We left at 11.15, but the party carried on until 5 am. In fact, I am not sure it had even stopped to restart when we returned at 12 the next day.

At the end of it all, people often ask us: did you have fun? And here, a few pictures really are worth more than a 1,000 words.

My favourite pics from the wedding can be found here: https://picasaweb.google.com/103552216493168738329/OurWedding?authkey=Gv1sRgCKubuveUiNGT3wE

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Budget Candy Table – red and white

Ahhh… the dollar store. How I love thee. Each of these glass containers was $1. The twizzlers were $1. The rest of the candy was $40 on the internet (do a little searching) and scoops for the adorably named scoop-scoop.com for about $1.25 each. We just need to add one bowl of my fellow blogger and handy office mate’s very awesome red ‘n’ white M&Ms with our names printed on them. Snacks for the dancin’, and one less thing on the ‘To Do’ list.

Cnady Buffet, a Southern Classic

Thank you notes

So, I am lucky enough to already have a lot to thank people for – my bachelorette was perfect (and the topic of an upcoming post) and I got wonderful, wonderful gifts. So, now I got an excuse to trial out the ‘thank you’ notes I will be making. Given that I may need to make quite a lot, I wanted to keep them simple. Using my new stamp (which I could not resist as it was on sale in Michael’s for $2.99):

Wedding stamp

and black card (pre folded), hand made red paper, white card and two stamps I already owned (Butterflies… of course… they are inked on me… they are all over my study…. I wear them in my hair… Love the freedom they make me think about…)

Old stamps on white card, ready for cutting out

I just stuck them all together:

I liked the outcome in the end. So, this was for my two girls who went above and beyond with my bachelorette. But I also had lots of letters to write to say thank you for my gifts, so here is the paper I knocked up from some plain cream paper:

Thank you paper

Mmmmm…. excuses to be crafty 🙂

Favours boxes

OK, so nothing is going to be a surprise about my (first) wedding anymore, but I am too excited not to share everything 🙂 A little bit of bargain hunting and self assembly / creative putting together of cheap components,  gets you what I think are frankly awesome favours boxes for 15 cents a piece:

Good for butterfly / garden themes and great for putting personalized beans in.

Married in June… remarried in September. Cheek.

So, I was a little heart broken that there would not be a proper wedding in England. It had to be legally done in the US, to make visa issues a whole lot easier, but Wes and I’s initial plan was to do the paperwork here, and almost forget about it. Go to England, have a whole big wedding, and only consider ourselves married then. Wes was really supportive of this plan, but my Ma:

really wanted to be in the US when I signed the paperwork. So did my best friend Clio:

So, then I began to prepare how I would look after them, and it became a ‘thing’ and I even more than that, realised there were a lot of people in the US that I wanted to celebrate this life-change moment with. Because I met Wes here, most of the people who have been through the highs and lows (yes, the lows) of the relationship have been here. And, making the commitment was very difficult for me, and my friend David was someone I spoke to a lot, and helped me prepare to do so… it really seemed wrong not to have him there at the union. So, it became a party and a celebration… then if people were here for that they could have a ceremony, and suddenly I was getting married in the US. Which was fine, but there are so many people in the UK who can’t make it out and I wanted a wedding with them.

Again, God has provided (I don’t know why I am always surprised). I went to church today and came out to wonderful, and very exciting news: the beautiful church opposite my parents’ house in Esher is free (in September at such short notice!) and the vicar there has agreed to do a full ceremony without costing us the Earth, and without knowing us beforehand. Afterwards, we will have a reception with speeches and a cake and everything at my parents house. And amazingly, my dearest Ma is co-ordinating this entire thing (I am not sure I have the energy to do it twice), and so like the spoilt princess I am – I get two weddings. Although we will live together and will obviously make changes after the US wedding, God will be brought into the union, and His blessing into it, in England. I fully accept it is only with God’s will that I will maintain a happy, lifelong commitment, and I won’t consider myself fully married until He is standing with us in England.

All my friends in Britain, please come and be part of my (extended) wedding 🙂 I am a very lucky, and very bean.

Centerpieces

Made our centrepieces for a grand cost of  $2.50 each + some spray paint (about $3). 🙂 Just spray a terracotta pot white

 

And glue-gun some ribbon around the rim:

I also stenciled the wedding date on the back (no pic).

Keeping with the ‘garden’ theme, we’re looking forward to filling them a couple of weeks before with live dark red and white flowers – currently we are thinking white impatiens with red celosias. And it makes a nice keepsake.

Favors :)

Have finally designed our favors table. We are not having a sit down meal – just a buffet people can stand up with (like at a party) or eat on their laps, though there are a few tables inside if people need them. So I wanted some weddingy decorations in the house to set up (LOVE crafts and designing stuff like this!) that don’t break the bank. A favors table will hopefully add prettiness and to the atmosphere.

The table will have a white tablecloth with red rose petals on. To the left, we will offer a stack of CDs of Josh Vasa’s music, since (1) he is awesome, and it will make a memento of the day and (2)  he is basically playing for the price of the gas to get to us, as a kindness, so we would like to help him promote his work. Hopefully we will stamp the front of the CD insert with our personalized stamp, which I ordered yesterday for just $28 from Etsy:

 

 

Being a craft queen, and having stamped all my life, I am sort of in love with this stamp, and slightly at risk of over branding everything. But moving on… In the middle will be our version of a ‘guest book’. Given the informality of the event, and the outdoor nature of the wedding, and myself, and the fact that Wes and I first bonded over plant talk (he was doing a botany degree) we have a rough ‘garden theme’. So using an idea from Brides, but also mentioned by my friend Holly, we will fill a vase with branches, sprayed white and deep red, and leave a stack of white cards (stamped with the above) for people to hang messages on. We can then mount all the cards in a book, or keep them in a box later.

To the right will be our favors. I fell in love with (and Wes was semi-into but couldn’t deny me in the face of much excitement) these personalised beans:

They are a little kooky, sure, but at least they are unique – beans with our names on, that people can grow! We will put out little terracotta pots to go with them. I also wanted some signs to let people know what to do… we need a few signs about the place, including one with the ‘order of the day’ in place of having program printed. The programs would have cost alot alot alot relative to what they are, and the fact they probably mostly get chucked away, so for $20 we are just making signs like this:

Go to a charity or discount store and get a frame:

Spray the outside white and the inside with chalkboard paint:

Decorate as you like (we have lots of red and white [LIVERPOOL] and butterflies or bows instead of flowers as I am not very keen on flower decorations) and write on messages:

It’s a little different, and I might need to work on my handwriting, but hopefully it will be cute, and reflect Wes and I as a couple 🙂