I have a confession to make. I’m a bit embarassed about this. As you may remember, I’ve just moved. And SOMEHOW during the move, I have managed to lose track of three things (four, if you count my sanity):
1. my mint green enamel colander
2. my stick blender, and…
3. my camera. As in, my nice camera. My Canon Rebel XT. The one I use to take pictures of food for this blog. The one with the pictures of the Austin to Boston food swap still on the memory card. Sigh. I spent all day Saturday reorganizing and scouring the basement in search of said camera, to no avail. It will turn up. It HAS to.
All of which is to say, with no new photos for you, I thought this was a good time to give my wedding its due here on the old blog!
Mr. M and I were married at 4pm on 9.10.11 at The Herb Lyceum in Groton, MA. Our previous “dating anniversary” was 9.11.04, so I liked the idea of keeping it close to that date, while changing it to something more socially acceptable for celebration. I also knew I wanted to get married in September, as it’s the least risky month for weather here in New England — if such a thing truly exists.
As you may have gathered from the intro to my pictoral overview, planning the wedding was not without stress. There’s just so much to it. I needed the wedding to fit with our values, so I tried to define a set of guiding principles early on that would help shape the wedding — the important things to keep in mind as we prioritized the many decisions that come along with wedding planning. (I should note that there was only one thing that was important to Mr. M, and that was marrying me. God bless him.) In the end, we agreed on the following top priorities:
1). Good food. This is a big surprise to you all, I know. I simply couldn’t bear the thought of mediocre catering, and this priority was instrumental in our choice to get married at the Herb Lyceum. Having eaten there on two previous occasions, I knew the food was spectacular, and would incorporate fresh herbs and seasonal, local ingredients. The icing on the wedding cake? No set catering menu — we got to work with the chef to customize the meal 100%.
In addition to the quality of the food itself, I was equally concerned with the quality of the dining experience. I know, I know…I’m a little obsessed. I can’t help it; I just adore a good meal, including all the intangibles that bring it together: the ambiance, the pace, the company, the conversations… The goal was a European-style sit-down meal with multiple courses that lingers into the evening and encourages relaxed conversation. (To that end, the seating chart was well thought out. What’s the point of being a Type A personality if you can’t enjoy seating charts and Excel spreadsheets?) Last but not least, the dessert course would not be an afterthought. The cake. would. rule.
2). Supporting local. This phrase can mean many things to many people; for us, it meant being thoughtful about where our money was spent, giving preference to local vendors and ingredients, and selecting small, independent businesses whenever we could. We placed high value on vendors whose skills we admired and wanted to support, and chose people we enjoyed working with and wanted to support. We used Etsy a lot. This translated further into supporting handmade in general, be it by talented artisans, talented friends, or, well, li’l ole me.
3). Not breaking the bank. I don’t think it’s news to anyone that weddings can be ridiculously expensive. It simply is not in either my or Mr. M’s value system to spend outrageous amounts of money on, well, much of anything. (Fabric doesn’t count. Ahem.) On the other hand, we were getting MARRIED!!! We had officially found the love(s) of our life! This was a BIG DEAL! I wanted to give ourselves enough rope to have a celebration befitting the enormity of this milestone, without putting a damper on the yelling-from-the-rooftops joy I felt.
So we settled on a budget that was certainly below the average cost of a wedding in the US, but still large enough to allow us to splurge on the things we valued most. We splurged on food. We splurged on our photographer, bagpiper, and stationer. In exchange, I got my dress on eBay for a small fraction of the price some folks pay. I did my own makeup. We bypassed many of the traditional elements that weren’t meaningful to us, such as engagement shoots/parties/announcements; dancing (and consequently DJs and floor rentals); boutennieres, garter and veil; and videography. We kept the guest list as small as possible, in keeping not only with our budget, but the intimate, familial vibe we hoped for. We did our own flowers. Our rings are simple, but classic. We used an iPod for the bulk of the music. The bar, while open, was limited to homebrew, wine, vodka and gin. Non, je ne regrette rien.
Having those priorities set, I then dove into defining themes to help further direct the more minute decisions. There were actually several themes to our wedding — if one is good, why not many? To wit:
1). Chocolate. I mean really. Does this need any explanation? Why WOULDN’T you have a chocolate wedding?
It started with the food. Doesn’t it always? Mr. M and I are both chocolate fanatics who, our whole lives, have always insisted on chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for our birthdays. So it was decided early on that the cake (yes, THE cake. The one that rules, remember?) would be all chocolate, with two layers of mocha frosting and a center layer of chocolate mousse…all covered with chocolate buttercream and finished with a chocolate cookie crumb coating. The favors were the ever-fabulous Chocolate Salty Oats cookies from Kayak Cookies on Cape Cod.
From there, it was only logical to go with my natural affinity towards the color brown, and make chocolate brown one of the main wedding colors. The color extended to the wedding party, my pashmina and handbag, and invitation envelopes. Parallel to this theme was a light brown/naturals color scheme. The mens’ suits were subdued shades of brown, the paper goods were all printed on kraft cardstock, while burlap and twine (both cotton and jute) were used throughout. And in a nice local touch, the kind folks over at Taza Chocolate donated one of their burlap cacoa sacks to me to be used as a table runner for the photo booth table.
2). Herbs. Getting married at The Herb Lyceum, this was a no-brainer. In addition to the herbs incorporated in the meal, each of the three tables used a different potted herb for centerpieces, and a sprig of rosemary was placed on each napkin. (Hubby was going to have a rosemary boutenniere, but…apparently the line of “whatever you want, dear” gets drawn where shrubbery gets attached to his person.)
Our photographer also snagged some gorgeous photos of us in the lavender garden, in the greenhouse behind several flats of basil, and in a growing field of potted herbs. Ivy encircled and adorned the cake. Out of this theme, green naturally became a secondary color, further incorporated through the use of green bakers twine and moss.
3). Liberty of London. Liberty, sweet Liberty. The crafter in me couldn’t help it. I’ve always loved these fabrics, and once the idea crossed my mind, I desperately wanted a Liberty-themed wedding. Can you imagine a farm table with a melange of brightly-colored Liberty napkins? Liberty hankies for all the ladies? Liberty bunting adorning the sides of the tents? Well yes, so could I, but that doesn’t mean I could justify the expense. If you’re familiar with Liberty of London designs, you’ll know that these gorgeous William Morris-era inspired tana lawns are generally priced around $40/yd. Sigh. So, I did a couple things instead:
I found a particular print that I loved and used that as my main inspiration piece for both color scheme and design. I purchased a small swatch from Etsy, due in part to the aforementioned cost, but primarily due to the fact that this particular print was only produced for a limited time in Japan, and honestly CANNOT BE FOUND anywhere. Trust me, I tried. And I’m good at that sort of thing. The 8″x8″ square I bought may be the last piece in existence.
With the precious swatch in my possession, I scanned it into my computer and printed copies out onto a thick glossy paper, and used the printouts to make custom envelope liners for the invitations. I then used the same scan to add color to the enclosed accommodations card and the address labels for the RSVP envelopes. Next, I enlarged the print and outlined several of the motifs to incorporate the designs into the hand-embroidered table numbers. With that done, I finally used the fabric itself as the underside of the ring pillow I sewed (the top side being knit by my Mom).
While the bulk of my colors remained muted (chocolate, herbal green and pink), I indulged my playful side at the photobooth where I covered ~60 clothespins with a variety of bright Liberty fabrics. A great way to stretch that fabric, for sure!
4). “DIY-Faux vintage.” This is the loose term I coined to capture the style of the day. As an outdoor, artsy DIY wedding, it’s easy to fall into a very rustic, camp-style feel. A fun and well-loved theme, for sure, but I wanted my outdoor artsy wedding to fall more on the elegant side than the whimsical side (due in no small part to Mr. M’s wariness of all things “hipster.” How I managed to get the photobooth past him is still a mystery to me). So, with the desire for elegance, the love of the vintage Liberty designs, and an awesome stationary design from Papier Lapin featuring an old vintage typewriter, I began trolling the wedding boards for more old-timey inspiration. Add in a lace wedding dress, jewelry from La Vie Parisienne, faux vintage glass vases, antique books and hand embroidery, and you have yourself a theme, ladies and gents.
Armed with these principles, themes, and a 21-tabbed Excel workbook, somewhere, somehow, we did in fact pull off the wedding of our dreams. Our wonderful wedding photographer, Maureen Cotton, put together the following slideshow for us, which seemed a fitting way to close. Listen closely — the music is by none other than Dan Meyers, the bagpiper who played at our ceremony!
I’ve got a few more wedding posts up my sleeve to keep us occupied until the camera turns up…details on the ceremony, the music and some DIY projects. If there’s anything in particular you want to hear about, leave a comment and let me know!