As We Promised: Part II

The things I love most in this world are not new or shiny. They’re used, maybe a little torn or discolored, but they have a story – even if I don’t know what it is. Thus begins the tale of our wedding. We spent hours scouring antique stores & flea markets to find the perfect combination of old things. From the quilts we had for eating dinner on the lawn (made by my great grandmother…or someone else’s) to the banner made from vintage handkerchiefs to the old doors we used as tables, very few things were new or sparkly.

Among those old things were a collection of used books. Because there weren’t even 100 people coming to our wedding, we could afford (economically and emotionally) to make something special for each guest. The books were by far my favorite part of everything we worked on, and they turned out to be even more beautiful than I had hoped. We got the idea after running across this blog about 2 months before we got engaged, and I found most of the books at an estate sale. Then I called my friend Sydney (a book hollowing expert) and she helped get me started on this tedious endeavor.  We started working on them about a week after the engagement and finished about 26 hours before the wedding.

Each included a personal note on a card handmade by me, a picture of us at our new home with our address on the back, and our marriage statement: see the card here. The back of the small card also had information about the blog we were starting and how to follow us on Twitter. Each was adorned with ribbon and a mix of eclectic buttons. Here are some visuals:

Books we handed out to everybody at the wedding
Books & Buttons

I also made my veil with a little help from this website and my mother. I planned only to wear it for the ceremony, but loved it so much I couldn’t take it off. If only I had an excuse to wear it every day.

My birdcage veil

Tomorrow: Envelopes! Bartering! The Cash System! How we pulled off a low-budget wedding…

Wedding Decor: The Tables

The Tables: Where we some people ate

It’s almost comical, and anyone who’s ever planned a wedding knows this, that you can spend every waking hour researching and coordinating your wedding, and yet it looks like it all came together in one flash of magic. Poof. Part of me was ecstatic at the thought, part of me wanted to stand on my pretty little table and yell, “You have NO idea how much work this took!!” But in the end I refrained, partly out of dignity, partly because I was wearing a short dress.

First things first: 5 years ago, the average cost for a wedding in America was close to $30,000. We’re bringing that average way down.  Here’s a little bit about how we did it:

I knew the flowers would be a big part of the décor, but I also knew how much flowers cost and how quickly they die. My self-efficacy is dangerously high, so I set out to play God and create the Garden of Eden in a little red barn. I found several websites with instructions on how to make crepe paper flowers, but it turns out Martha’s never really tried her own instructions (shocker). So I made my own version and commissioned my mom and sisters to create hundreds of them. (email me if you want instructions) In the end, it was exactly like I pictured. See below.

Our wedding tables with faux flowers

The rest of the table was pieced together over a few months. I wanted the tables to have the feel of an old quilt, so I went to the local quilt store and found colorful fat quarters for $1.25 each. The tulips (the only real flowers, picked up at Sam’s 2 days prior) are in 12 old wine bottles I found at Goodwill for $5. I found the large black vases at Big Lots for $10 each- see the before and after below- and the burlap table runner was $4 from Michaels and added the shabby to my chic.

My mom found the glass plates and hurricanes at her Salvation Army store, and paid around $5 for an entire box.  Oh, and the tablecloths? Flat sheets (yes, bedding) I encountered at WalMart and talked the customer service lady into giving me for $2 each.

So the table you’re looking at sat 36 people and cost about $95. Spread out over 6 months, it turns out to be about $8 per pay check. Yes, please.

Tomorrow: my love affair with flea markets and why they love me too.  Wedding décor, part duex.

Why The Surprise?

So in case you haven’t figured it out yet (I think some of our friends are still trying to figure out what happened), our wedding was a surprise. We invited about 100 friends and family to what we were calling an “Engagement Party.” Except that when they arrived, we showed them the video of our engagement that happened 6 months prior and actually got married that day. Some have called it brave, some call it crazy, but we just call it love.

So why the surprise?

Our general love of weddings never quite existed. They were something we both participated in because we love our friends dearly, but neither of us had a desire to spend our engagement ordering bridesmaid dresses, tuxes, registering for gifts, going to showers, or talking to caterers or DJs or florists. We just didn’t. Nor did we have a desire to burden others with cost or hassle. (One of our friends just dropped $280 on a bridesmaid dress, $50 on shoes, $50 on alterations, $150 on a shower, and one evening of awkwardness at a bachelorette party. For one wedding.) What we did have was a deep desire to honor God and learn to love one another at an even deeper level. So through much prayer and creativity, we spent our 6 months of betrothal in a state of secret anticipation and joy, pouring into one another and into our marriage. We never looked back.

Most of the wedding was handmade, with hours spent scouring vintage flea markets, second hand stores, and DIY websites. Over the next few days, I’ll post about some of the things we worked on and how it all came together. Here are a few pics to tide you over. Happy Tuesday.

"Engagement Party"
Picnic
Twinkle Twinkle

All these photos were taken by my beautiful friend and Tulsa photographer, Shari Hatfield. Find more of her work here.

The Dirty Laundry Episode

Confession: my life isn’t quite as romantic as it seems.

It’s been so fun to get emails and messages from people saying, “I can’t believe this is your life!” Or, “I’ve watched your engagement video 5 times and I’m still crying…” It’s really fun. And yet, as I sit on a half broken chair in our tiny little apartment surrounded by piles of laundry and mail and half emptied boxes, I think somehow the romance has waned. Unless you count my love affair with my new dishes.

And so, as they say, the honeymoon is over. It was an incredible eight days in tropical paradise with nothing to do but enjoy ourselves. We loved it so much that it started to feel like home, but we couldn’t afford the cocktails any longer so we were forced back to the mainland. We went snorkeling, ziplining, hiking, we read books, we ate amazing food and all the shaved ice we could handle. And yet our moon made of honey was not without its less than sweet moments. Kyle was ready to come home after day 2 after what we affectionately call the dirty laundry incident. I opened my suitcase to find my body lotion had spilled on and ruined my 3 favorite dresses. It was a debacle that ended, and I do not say this proudly, with Kyle voicing some long-harbored frustration at how I don’t take care of my things, me sobbing on the bathroom floor (muttering things about how I will someday drop our children), and Kyle wondering why on earth he asked me to be his bride. Alo…HA.

There’s something strange & exciting about being on vacation with a boy, about pretending to know what we’re doing, about pretending to be old enough to be vacationing together in a land to which neither of us has ever been. It’s a fun transition to what is about to ensue: a life that’s just life. It’s going to be full of surprises- ones less planned than our wedding, though hopefully none that require 2am feedings and diapers. There will be disagreements and dinner parties and just plain days. But in each day we’re striving to find a little adventure, to learn something new, and to love one another more deeply.

Here’s to life. Or something that resembles it.