casual outdoor summer wedding on a glorious day, with family & friends is a happy occasion to have and behold! Pure creative joy...on a budget!
My new daughter-in-law had a vision of how her wedding day would be, she, like so many young women, wanted it to be 'fairy-tale' like, in that she would have the beautiful gown and walk out surprising her husband to be, with her ravishing smile and in that very moment, be transformed into that wonderland of what dreams are made of! From that time in a young girls life of make believe and wondering who her prince would be, until this very moment when all her hopes, dreams and plans came together for this enchanting moment when they gazed into each others eyes, feeling a love like no other! I was there and saw this gaze, they held it for more than a moment and we could all feel it... the love and mutual respect this couple were feeling shined from within!
She had her 'Prince' and he his 'Princess', it hasn't always been an easy road to this enchanting day, but it will be one they'll both remember happily ever after!!!
As the Mom of the groom, I wasn't sure of my role, but knew I'd happily accept any job in making this day special for my kids. Once she told me her colors and I understood there wasn't going to be a lot of help, I decided that very moment that, HER DAY would be as special as I could make it! My son's only request, was for it to be the magical day that SHE envisioned, (which in turn, would make him a happy man). Knowing I could pull from all my experiences from years of arts of crafts, along with involving our wonderful family, I could easily with their help, make this a beautiful day to remember! So I began this journey into wedding planning on a budget with flair!
The plans started with the 'Bride to be' finding the perfect dress, veil and shoes, she was so excited, the dress was exactly how she had imagined it to be, simply elegant!
Next, knowing the 'Bride to be' wanted an outdoor wedding, we chose the perfect location for their 'Summer Wedding', our hometown park, with a beautiful gazebo with river rock and timbers, a perfect spot to be married in, with a wonderful 'reception hall' for their wedding party! Luckily it was available on their special day and we were able to rent it and reserve the gazebo, all for an affordable cost (and with careful cleanup, a refundable deposit)!
Just before Easter, at a large department store, I noticed beautiful light green dresses that would be perfect for the little flower girls, I bought 2 of each size(since I wasn't sure if they ran small, the store was okay with me returning a set) for Lulu (two years old) the couples daughter and her cousin Bella (also two)! Not only were the dresses the perfect color and style, they were also a bargain at half price! I also found a dress shirt, (also on sale) to match the green dresses, for Bella's brother Spencer, the 'Ring Bearer'! The 'Bride to Be' thought they were darling and the color was perfect!
I shopped for bargains when I could, always taking 40% off coupons to Joann's and Michaels whenever I needed ribbon or any craft items! I luckily was able to make many of the wedding extra's, that would have added up quickly and might have otherwise been cut out of the budget! It also helped, that I have time off work during the summer, so burning the midnight oil was okay, as my days and nights sometimes melded together, while I was engrossed in various projects that needed so much of my time!
I slowly started buying vintage glassware at my favorite thrift stores! I was able to find beautiful creamers, sugar bowls, candy and nut dishes that were perfect!
I asked the 'Grooms' Great Aunt if she'd make the wedding cake, (she'd basically retired from making them a couple of years before), she said, "With some help, she'd love too!" We were so excited, to have our Auntie do this for us! She told me how many cake mixes, pounds of butter, shortening and powdered sugar to buy! It was to be decorated with fresh flowers all white with a hint of natural greens! How wonderful!
The Minister was chosen and the couple was able to work with her, going over different ceremonies & wording, to came up with the perfect ceremony, just the way they wanted it!
The invitations were a wedding kit from Michaels, that the couple and I spent an afternoon putting together in their colors with the wording & font they'd chosen.
I designed their wedding programs in their colors of green and made them into fans to be used during the wedding. Using 1 sheet of card stock folded in half, with a painted paint stick for the handle, (just in case it was a very hot day)! What a fun wedding memento!
The 'chair/pew bows' ten sets of two, to go down each side of the isle, were so much fun to make! A little over 4 yards of white tulle made into bows, with long flowing ends, each with flowers, ribbons(assort. green), Czech beads & vintage pearls with fresh ivy added the day of the wedding! These took a few days to make, with yards and yards of tulle, but they were well worth the time, making the outdoor seating, all the more festive!
I ordered a lot of decorations from 'Oriental Trader', their prices are fantastic and they offer a catalog full of specialty wedding items, we ordered a beautiful wedding banner with the couples name on it, heart napkins with their names and wedding date, chocolate coins, packaged mints saying 'thanks for making our day special', lacy table coverings, special flowers with beads and ribbon to tie onto their napkins! Delivered quickly and all for such fabulous prices!
We were also having the rehearsal dinner at our home, I had decided to have an Italian theme, in keeping true to (part) of the Grooms heritage! I made the lasagna a few days ahead of time and froze it, also making a second huge pan for the wedding! We had awesome breads, Caesar salad, olive salad, olives stuffed with garlic, fresh fruit and an Italian dessert of Gelato. Now to share the really important part of this wedding story...We had lots of family help, and couldn't have done this by ourselves or if we had, it's true to say, it would not have been quite so wonderful and as smooth!!! Jerry's sis and brother in law, came early in the afternoon before the rehearsal dinner and dug in helping do what ever needed to be done and they worked non stop, even waiting on tables and busing, after our wonderful rehearsal dinner!!! Honestly this was a family affair and we're so grateful for their help, beyond what simple words can convey! They also came back early in the morning to start over again in helping us do, what ever they could for the wedding, (angels in disguise)!
Since I'd offered to do flowers for the wedding, my original plan was to go to our wonderful nearby 'Farmers Market', to find a grower that I could U-pick the flowers on the Wednesday before the wedding, but as I inquired with each and every flower vendor, I soon found out they do NOT have U-pick fields, but told me (like others) that in the nearby valley there was such a farm...They also told me if I wasn't able to pick them myself, that I would find them(all the vendors) at Seattle's Pike Place Market, any given day during the week!
After 2 1/2 hours of driving from one end of the valley to the other, I realized the only U-pick fields were Dalia's in August! So after a quick drive home to pick up Jerry, we were off and running to the city ...We were quite a sight with our six BRIGHT orange, 5 gallon buckets (we'd bought the night before at 'Home Depot')! During the tourist season 'Pike Place Market' is crowded like any other famous tourist destination and hard to maneuver oneself around, let alone carrying six (5gal.) buckets!!! We had a ball though, we went from vendor to vendor and pretty much bought up everything we could find in white...We met a florist from Indiana, amazed at what we were able to buy at the Market, for such fabulous prices! She said, "she couldn't find such wonderful deals at home"! All in all, we were ecstatic about our purchases and with full buckets in hand, we weaved in and out of the crowds and back the 3 blocks to our car and SLOWLY made our way back home, in rush hour traffic, with big smiles and beautiful flowers!!! We added two dozen white and two dozen green roses to our flower buckets from Costco!
My Aunt & Uncle brought over their small refrigerator for the finished flowers, and it proved to be a lifesaver...way better control, than the coolers I'd planned on using!
When it came time to start the flowers, I was a little worried about doing the wrist corsages for the 'Maid of Honor' and the 'Junior Brides Maid', I'd never made one before! The Groom had collected all the vases to be used for the arrangements and the Bride (to be) had chosen small river rocks to put into the bottoms of each vase for a natural look, that really did add to the simply elegant look of the beautiful fresh flowers! I loved doing them, each one was totally unique! The 8 boutonniere's were quick and fun, made with green roses with cedar sprigs, off our trees! I really enjoyed making the 5 corsages with pretty ribbons, Czech beads and vintage pearls! Then came the time for the wrist corsages, oddly enough, they ended up being the most fun, using vintage pearls, beautiful green ribbons, white roses with fresh babies breath and other small flowers, they were perfect! ...until the next morning (the day of the wedding) and the greenery I'd chosen was as limp as a wet noodle! I was so upset, I had so much left to do, I really didn't want to pull those apart, but I did and it all worked out just fine!
The tables were set with white table clothes with green cut out doilies under each vase of fresh flowers. A large wedding dinner napkin was placed at each place setting with the silverware in a neatly folded green napkin tied with white wedding beads, ribbons & posies on top! (put together by the Maid of Honor)! A very pretty goblet for the toast was added for the 'Sparkling Cider', a bargain from Costco! We'd decided not to serve alcohol, the price of the hall for the 'special' insurance policy, an added security person and additional cost of the alcohol itself, seemed too much, for a family oriented party!!!
The Bride made sweet memento's of mints, almonds, chocolates & bubbles, wrapped in a filigree heart with ribbon signed the Bride & Groom, wrapped in green tulle as a little gift!
We shared with family that it was a pot luck picnic, along with our lasagna, Caesar salad, rolls and garlic stuffed olives and lots of strawberry shortcake! Topped off with our Aunties delicious wedding cake, Thanks Auntie Sally!!! Yummy!
The actual wedding ceremony was truly beautiful, the wording they'd chosen was perfect, the flower girls were so adorable and took their jobs so serious, sprinkling their rose petals ever so carefully down the isle! The ring bearer was even more serious, standing so still, eyes forward, UNTIL...one of the flower girls kept on going, (his sister)right through the gazebo to the other side and right across the park to the ...yep you guessed it, the play area!!! Her Grandfather, my brother (an usher) was quickly on the task of recovering the run away flower child!!! :) I have to say, I loved it, it was a perfect 2 yo. get away and we have a beauty of a story to tell about her later on!!!
Here's a little peek into this couples special day, and by the way, the Bride said, it was PERFECT!!!
A 'Special Thank YOU to everyone that helped, it was because of Y'all that it was so wonderful, and special mention to Pat & David, for two days of never ending help, We Love YOU!!!