So, let's talk decorations. I knew I wanted our wedding to be a big craft fest. I love making things, but I also like having a purpose for making things - which is what makes weddings so awesome. Here is a list of my favorite things we crafted for our wedding.
Question BooksI've been to a few weddings that were a little uncomfortable. You might not know everyone at the table or you might have some downtime before all the guests get there. And I love to search for avoiding awkward confrontation at all costs. So I thought it would be fun to have a little activity book at each table as an ice breaker or just something to chat about. So I made these little mini question books- each page had a different question: What should we name our kids? Where should we celebrate our anniversary? What are hobbies we should take up as a couple? And so forth...
And we got some crazy awesome answers! Some people took it super seriously and others just had fun with it. I think these will be fun to look over in a few years when we celebrate our anniversary and look back at the advice people gave us on our wedding.
These books were made with kraft paper and then I sewed them together as a book binding. Because every wedding needs sewn paper.
NatureAs I've mentioned before, I had really hoped that I would get to have my wedding in my parent's backyard. I spent lots of time growing up taking care of the yard and spending a lot of downtime by myself back there and it's also just really beautiful. When Greg and I first were talking about getting married and the timeline, we planned to wait until it got warm again- partly so we could have a reception in my backyard. But once our relationship developed enough that we knew we shouldn't make our life plans around a party, we knew we should get married sooner. So that meant figuring out how to have some of my backyard part of the wedding. Which meant collecting pinecones. In the early fall, my mom and I collected over 100 pinecones from the big huge pine trees in my front yard, the trees I had stood in front of every year on the first day of school for an annual photo. I washed all of them up and got rid of the dirt, so that we could stick name tags at the luncheon inside the pinecones. I loved seeing the little pinecones on each table when we walked in to celebrate.
For my bridal bouquets, I walked around the yard and grabbed little pieces from the bushes and added them in. I thought they helped the bouquet took a little more natural and less planned out.
For the rest of the flowers, we bought white hydrangeas and white baby's breath from Costco. My sisters and I put together the floral arrangements the day before. I wanted some element of greenery, but we were having a hard time figuring out what could give us a more natural green look than your average foliage at a floral shop. So Melissa bravely endured the wild with the garden shears and headed out to the evergreen tree in the corner of the backyard. She went to the back, partly to not mess up the front branches and partly to hide from my dad in case he came out and saw what we were doing. She trimmed tons and tons of boughs until we had enough to fill our golden cans. Her and her daughter Matilda, get the MVP award for their battle wounds and the sap that has permanently stuck t some of their clothes. In the end, I thought it was a beautiful balance between winter, nature, and fresh white blooms.
CardsI stole a few ideas from my sister's wedding back in the day. The first was what I called "reflection cards." After the ceremony we had my sister's pass around cards that asked for people to write reflections they had from the ceremony, thoughts that stuck out to them, things they had never heard before, or advice they thought Greg and I should remember. Then my sister's gathered them and we reviewed them after the wedding as we discussed how wonderful the ceremony was. On our honeymoon, we thought we lost them. I had a cold and had mistakenly put them in the medicine ziploc bag. We searched everywhere and couldn't find them, so we thought maybe they had fallen out of my purse. So we literally drove around for hours and went to every location we had visited on our honeymoon and retraced all of our steps (all while I sobbed uncontrollably). Fortunately when we got home and said a little prayer, we found the cards in the medicine bag. Ha! And that's when I learned how much I valued everyone's notes from our wedding ceremony. I'm glad we had the cards and that we now have them in a safe place. :)
For the thank you cards, I knew I wanted to make postcards like my sister had. Because a) I love postcards and b) they are super affordable and really fun! So we went through our bridal pictures and found a picture we liked and adding the same wreath motif from our invitations on the thank you card. I hoped that we could send at least half the cards out before Christmas, so I added "holly berries" to the wreath and put the note "Married & Merry!" And I'm glad I did, because it was practically a Christmas miracle that pushed us to get the bulk of our thank you cards in the mail before Christmas. The rest just said "thank you."
Crossword PuzzlesSo this decor item was a little cheesy, but I just really wanted to do it. Ha! I've never been super into crossword puzzles because they are hard. But I love them when they're super simple. Knowing that a lot of people in my life didn't know much about Greg and vice versa, I thought it would be nice to have some sort of "get to know the couple" situation. So I made a crossword puzzle about some of the basics about each of us: where we grew up, how many siblings, our professions, our cars, some of our favorite things, etc. Then we put them on each table and in the receiving line to give people a little something to do while they were waiting. Then we put up some "hints" around the reception venue that had little tidbits about us that could be answered in the crossword puzzle. So hopefully people felt like they knew a bit more about who we are and where we came from and how we ended up together. And plus a crossword puzzle kind of looks like gingham, so it even matched!
QuiltOne of the first things I wanted was a cool "guestbook." I have seen so many cool things through the years. And I really liked things that were practical but still pretty, and had an opportunity for people's names or even some advice. And then finally one day on Instagram, it came to me. A quilt! I saw a quilt that a lot of people had written on for a going away present. So I figured, hey, we could have people write on quilt blocks and then sew them together. My mom hopped on the idea immediately, and then took it even further. Since we knew we were going to use a lot of gingham, we thought we could use 3 different colors of fabrics so that when we put the blocks together, it will be in a gingham pattern. Awesome!
My mom and my neighbor laboriously ironed freezer paper to the back of all the fabric blocks so that it would be easier for people to write on. We got a big set of fabric markers and then my mom brought them to my bridal showers so people could start writing on them. By the time of the wedding, there were enough that she could display so that people got the hint of what we were doing for the guestbook. And to top it all off, she even embroidered our monogram for the center for the quilt. I thought it turned our super fun and it's something that we will treasure forever.
I made a little sign and asked people to give us their best love or life advice. Because this is a quilt I hope to have on the couch when the kids come home from school after a rough day and they could have some awesome motivational line on the quilt block, and it can be a great quilt for all of our family- not just for Greg and I to celebrate our wedding day. We have all the blocks collected and are in the process of putting it all together.
Family History TributeThrough my years in wedding magazine searching, I had seen a lot of different ways that brides and grooms have an element of tradition or ancestry. I knew I wanted something, but I wanted it to be more than just a thing. I love quilts and thought it would be fun to display some of the quilts that my grandma's and my mom had made, but that didn't seem very purposeful- weddingish to me. And let's be honest, I was worried a small child would spill some cream cheese frosting on some of our fabric heirlooms. Then I came across a picture of my parents when they were engaged. It's really cute. They just have their arms around each other with big smiles and you can see my mom's new ring on her hand. I thought it would be really fun to display it somehow and thought, of course, we can display pictures of wonderful marriages in our family history. It took several hours but I'm so glad we put in the time to track down so many photos. We went to the family history library in Salt Lake City and found a few, Greg's mom went through old boxes in her childhood home to find pictures, my mom and I went through our family scrapbooks, and Greg's aunt even mailed some original photos to us. We printed them all out and wrote their names with a plus sign, just as Greg and I had done our monogram: Elmer + Vivian. And then as a nod to the quilts, we hung them up using my grandma's quilting frames.
I hope that our families loved seeing our ancestors as much as we loved working on the project. It was nice to feel like we had a special spot for our past family members, a place of honor in our day of celebrating love and union.
L.O.V.E. BalloonsA lot of the bloggers I follow have fun events with those oversized balloons in different letters or numbers, and I think they are too fun. I thought it would be fun to have some but it would get pricey if we put our full names in balloons. Then I thought, well if I'm at a wedding I don't necessarily want a picture with someone else's name, but something more generic. So we came up with LOVE! When people entered and started the line, they could take pictures with the balloons. Big props go to Greg and my brother Jesse for getting those filled before the reception. They are huge- 40" tall each!
That last little painting is a beautiful watercolor that Lizzy made for Greg and I. You'll want to click on it to make it bigger to see the beautiful detail. She even added a little beard on Greg. She painted this and gave it to us at the bridal shower. We displayed it at the wedding and it now hangs up in our room. She is amazing!