I wanted to do something a little different for my engagement pictures and for our wedding invitations as well, but I also did not want to spend a whole lot of money doing it. One of my favorite places in the world is the City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri. If you have not been you need to go, as it is a child and adult playground like no other you have experienced. Secret passageways and tunnels open into beautiful caverns, ten story slides and so much more. I knew this was the perfect place to take pictures because there were so many options.
We went with one of my closest friends and bridesmaid Leslie. We spent part of the day posing, laughing, changing clothes and posing some more and got some really great shots. From there, I went to my friend Amanda.
Another bridesmaid, who along with her sister-in-law, edited our pictures. Amanda then turned the pictures into a collage for our wedding invitations that made my eyes well with tears the first time I saw them. They were perfect and we sent them off through an online print shop for printing.
I had them in my hands by the end of the week and was so excited. I had used card stock and made smaller cards to insert with our invitations. On them was a watermark of a peacock, accented with a small rhinestone that Craig meticulously placed on each card and across the top it read, "Wishes for the Bride and Groom" and explained that you could write your message to the new couple and bring it to the ceremony with you.
I have never understood the concept of a guestbook and instead wanted to do something more personal that we could keep and enjoy. I started to have cards for people to fill out at the church but I thought that if they had a little more time to think about what it was they were going to write, then they would be more likely to take part in it.
On our invitations I also included a wedding email address that I had set up so that people could RSVP, ask questions or send in their well wishes(2011WilliamsWedding@gmail.com). We took these things and placed them in their envelopes, sealed them with our monogrammed postage stamps that we had printed complete with peacock feather (thanks zazzle.com!) and sent them off as we anxiously awaited replies.
I work as a columnist at the Democrat Argus, our local newspaper, so the next step was to write our wedding announcement. I kept it very simple, including our children in it as well. I know that is it typical for people to use an up close picture of the two of them but again, I wanted to do something a little different.
This is a small town and most anyone who would care to read it knows what we look like. So instead, I went with a picture of us sitting in a window sill at the City Museum, silhouetted by the outside light. It was also used in the collage on our invitations. It turned out great and I have received several compliments.
No Flowers Here!
Did I mention that I am not a big traditionalist? Well, one thing that I do not care for and find a little wasteful is flowers. I don't like the fake version and it seems such a shame to waste the real ones that are so expensive and die so quickly. So, I am going with peacock feathers. That is right, not a flower will be found at our wedding!!
I have rented the aisle candles, window centerpieces and front candelabras from a local florist and he will be decorating them with peacock feathers, a little bit of greenery and blue velvet ribbon. Remember the wish cards I mentioned earlier that I included in my invitations? Well at the entrance of the church will be a bird-cage on a stand, sitting on top of it are two ornate peacocks with ribbons trailing down. This is where guest can drop off their cards.
The boutonniere for the guys will be a single peacock eye with an ornate pin to hold them in place. My bridesmaids will be carrying beautiful venetian mask on sticks instead of bouquets and I will have one similar to theirs, that in creams instead of the darker blues and golds. Even my "flower girl" will be wearing a mask. And no, she will not have flowers, instead she will be carrying a shattered glass blue tear drop that will be lit up. I will explain more about her role later on.
Our Reception Decor
For the reception, I discovered that I could rent the tall class Eiffel tower vases for $15 each or I could buy them for $7 each at Save-on-crafts.com. Wanna guess what I did? LOL, I bought the vases for each guest table and my talented mom and two of her sisters, my Aunts, made these great arrangements to place in them with peacock feathers, sword feathers, twisted glittered sticks and lots of sparkle. We are placing a blue floralyte in each one so that the arrangement will glow.
For the head table, we are doing a long, low piece that will stretch across the front of the table filled with greenery, a couple of peacocks and lots of sparkle along with some blue under lighting. This way no one will have to look around anything tall on the table. I am very happy with them and since they are not fresh flowers that will wilt, we were able to do them early on, allowing for less stress as the big day quickly nears. I also purchased these really pretty round glass globes that will be filled with iridescent shred over a small blue light and hung at various heights over the dance floor. The first items that I purchased for our wedding were these beautiful blue Moroccan lanterns that I got on amazon.com for a mere 87 cents a piece! They will be hung from low crooks to light the walkway into the hall.
This may come to a shock to many but I still had not found a dress and was starting to worry a bit. For most brides, this is their first buy and something that they had dreamed about for a lifetime. I knew what I wanted as far as color, but that was it. I had tried on many wedding dresses at hundreds of stores to no avail. My bridesmaids were outfitted, my flower girl and even several of my guest were telling me what they were going to wear but I had no idea.
I had decided that the reason I had not found anything yet was because I had not been shopping with my mom. So, she and I planned a day to go dress hunting. We went to Bay, Arkansas where I had been told about this great dress shop in the middle of town called Jessica's Bridal & Formal. We went and wandered the aisles with some very wonderful and helpful women. I tried on a few but nothing really caught my eye.
Finally, they pulled out this dress that at first glance I cringed at because it was ivory. Totally not what I had wanted but I agreed to try it on for mom. It was sleek and simple, comfortable, with a short train and had the most beautiful blue and crystal stones on it that would match the bridesmaids dresses perfectly. Still, I was hesitant because I had been so sure that my dress would be champagne. I had even bought shoes in that color already! We decided to go to one more dress shop, but Mom looked at the woman and with a smile said, "We will be back". Twenty minutes later we had returned and I finally had my dress! Proving that sometimes what you think you want, may not be what you want and that you should be open to try on other things. Had I not, we might be picking out sneakers to match my wedding jeans!
Let them eat cake!
I had gone to a bakery in the nearby town of Dyersburg, Tennessee on a recommendation from a friend. Craig and I both went to the meeting and had a great time sampling cakes and choosing colors and designs. I was really impressed with the woman as she made suggestions and drew out our cake in the fullest detail. She told me that she would call the next day and give me a price and that in a couple of weeks I could bring her color swatches from the wedding and our cake monograms (the wedding was almost two months away at this point). Time went by, no call, I dropped off our things but she was not there.
Two weeks before the wedding, I was finally able to reach her. Only to have her act as though she had no clue what design, colors or anything about my wedding cake. I was not sure if she had lost our information or what. I go through it all again, she promises to call with a price…again. The next day I call her back because I still had not received a call from her. She tells me that someone will have to pick up the cake because she has since promised to do another wedding and that she won't have time to deliver ours and that it is going to cost us $500.00. That is $5.00 a slice and NOT going to happen. I cancel, go and pick up my toppers and start making arrangements for something else.
Because we want our kids to have a prominent place in the wedding we had decided to have a kid cake instead of a traditional grooms cake. A friend of ours here in town is a very talented cake artist who is just starting out so we asked her to do this cake for us. It is a three separated tiered cake. Each layer is the favorite flavor of one of each kid and will be decorated with things that they like and a little figure of them. Brittan's will have him in hunting gear, with guns and race cars and all the things he likes. Brittany's will have her in her cheerleading uniform and Micah's will be covered in art supplies. I can not wait to see how it turns out.
Since we had this cake we decided not to go with a wedding cake, but to instead do a cupcake tree. Randall Crawford, a local restaurant owner and all around great guy that I grew up with, offered his services. We decided to go with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cupcakes that will be placed on this beautiful stand and decorated with ribbon and feathers to match our theme.
Dressing the guys
This could have been the easiest part of our journey yet!! I knew that we wanted to use our local men's shop for the tuxedo rental. So, we went in and in a matter of mere moments had found the perfect tuxedos and then moved on to looking for vest. Guys are so lucky, one book is all they need to chose their outfit from! GRRR!
I realize that at most weddings the groom wears the light-colored vest in white or cream, but as I have said we do not believe in having to keep with tradition and instead want to do what we like. With blue being Craig's favorite color and me having blue accents in my dress, we chose the blue vest and tie for him and the silver vest and ties for the groomsmen and my dad. From there, we contacted the groomsmen and had them go by their nearest men's shops (because they all live a couple of hours away) and had them just call in their measurements to our shop and Walaaa!
The wedding day is drawing near and there is still so much to share! Coming up next…Our final wedding day plans!