When we started talking about wedding planning it became apparent really quickly that we needed to focus in all of our ideas with one main purpose. You don’t realize how many choices will be coming your way (Pantone colors, flower selections, font selections, vendors, location, etc.), and we learned that the best way for us to be successful and create a beautiful and cohesive wedding design would be to set the vibe. By “vibe” I mean answer the following questions: How do you want people to feel? What do you want people to walk away and say?
The great thing about these questions is that they can actually be applied to your everyday life and are a great way to gauge your own personal impact on your community. How do you want people to feel when they’re around you? What are you doing or saying to make sure people feel that way?
For me, I knew right away!
FULLY KNOWN. FULLY ACCEPTED. FULLY LOVED.
This is how I want people to feel. We wrote down words in a journal. Words like authentic, genuine, colorful, fun, relaxing, playful, accepting, inclusive, family, love, joy–and this list of words is what we circled back to for every decision we made; from invitations to location, florals to bridal party outfits. Everything circled back to our purpose; to be fully known, fully accepted and fully loved, and to fully know, fully accept, and fully love our guests.
Sarah and I sat down at her computer months ago scrolling through hundreds and even thousands of wedding invitations! We searched dozens of popular sites looking for an option that would fit our purpose and our inspiration words, and we just couldn’t find anything that was just right. So what did we do? We pulled up photoshop and thus began the EXTREMELY ARDUOUS task of designing our own suite of wedding stationery. Lol! Now I will be blunt and honest, if you’re planning a wedding soon I would NOT recommend designing your own wedding stationery. This was one of the most time-consuming and challenging things we’ve ever worked on.
We knew we wanted watercolor but searched for hours finding the perfect fonts (again, always circling back asking questions like “does this look fun, inviting, accepting, playful?), choosing the exact perfect colors, and determine the appropriate wording. Then spent SEVERAL more hours laying out the watercolors and formatting. I will say though, I am so proud at how they turned out. I’m so proud that we did them ourselves.
There was only one place that I ever considered for such a special occasion. It was my Noni and Papa’s farm in Lowake or bust. In terms of a location setting the tone to accomplish your purpose of allowing everyone to feel fully known, fully accepted, and fully loved, this IS the place for it. The farm has been in my family for over 120 years and is the safest place. Not just safe for me or my family, but really safe for everyone. Anyone who has ever been can attest to that. Even in college our friends would come out and we’d play cards with Noni, sit on the porch, or do yard work. It was so important to me that everyone come out and experience the quiet breeze, the wide open spaces, and the feeling of peace that Lowake brings. It did not disappoint.
The Bridal Party
This is one of the most rewarding decisions we made. The decision to allow everybody in the bridal party to wear whatever-the-heck they wanted! Based on the members of our bridal party, I knew that a traditional, everyone-wear-the-same-dress kinda thing was not going to work for us. Not at all. The diversity of our friends and family was such that a mandatory suit or mandatory dress not only wasn’t going to fly, but it also wouldn’t fit our purpose. We set a color-story through our invitations and asked our party to dress accordingly! I think one of the most influential ways that you indicate who you are as a person, who you are as a family, or in this case, who you are as a wedding party is through how you treat one another. It would be impossible to communicate the relaxed, accepting, authentic vibe without allowing my people to be themselves! The outfits selected are SO true to each individual’s character and I look at this photo and my heart is so full and so blessed. Can you see our vibe shining through in this photo?
Here are a few more photos to scroll through!
Since our color palette had already been set, we stayed true to the warm inviting colors and included more playful berries to add some fun! We did just the bare minimum in terms of florals, just for the bridal party, mothers, grandmother, and me! I felt like it was the right call to go extremely minimal on the flowers because the real beauty to me was the landscape, the fresh air, the big blue sky! Flourish Studio did an absolutely beautiful job arranging for us!
Dad, Mom, Sarah and I spent so much time roaming the aisles of Home Depot determining which wood to use with which stain. How to build it? How to make sure it stays upright? What height? What angle?! Then the matter of should we drape it with vines/florals/etc.? We finally settled on this extremely simple 4×4 teepee. We chose this shape and style for the following reasons. 1. The triangle pointing sharply up leads the eye upward, creating a feeling of lightness. It also adds height to an otherwise average height couple. 2. We wanted the visual focus to be on me and Nicholas, so decided against anything floral or fussy. 3. We wanted the beauty to come from the land, the weather, the moment.
In terms of the seating arrangement, we knew it had to be a circle. I wanted everyone to feel like they were right in the middle of it. Close to us, experiencing everything like a family.
For the dinner tables; in order to create the relaxed, comfortable, fun atmosphere that we wanted, we set plain white plates (rented from Peerless Events and Tents) on colorful, vintage, German, biergarten tables. These tables are so cool! They are manufactured by different German beer companies and then delivered to Oktoberfest to represent each beer’s brand! We dip dyed napkins in several different colors to continue the watercolor motif and, of course, set glasses, silverware, and candles. That’s it! My favorite part, looking back at the design, is the hours I spent with cousins and aunts and uncles preparing for the party! Sarah, Rachel and I dip dyed the napkins in Noni’s kitchen in huge batches at Thanksgiving. Aunt Brigette would run out big loads of wet, dyed napkins to Dad and Uncle Joe who had run about 200 more feet of clothes line to hang them on. Mom spent hours ironing and folding the dried napkins. Eric and Nick spent countless hours sanding the tables to remove splinters and such, while Sarah and I came behind and washed and scrubbed them each.
Caterer: Blu Pl8 Special – TShoemake76@hotmail.com
One of the final components of the wedding design, the Christmas lights, became one of the most challenging design aspects very quickly! The first and largest issue is running 800+ feet of lights off of a 120 year old house. The primary concern was the amount of power the lights would require and if the house could even handle it. The secondary concern was how to get these lights hung. Where, and how, and would they hang too low in these huge 200 foot spaces? The third concern was would they create enough light for eating, dancing, and just general safety? Come to find out: 1. LED Christmas lights hardly use any energy at all. 2. Dad has SO many hidden talents, like hanging 800 foot strands of Christmas lights!
Light Rentals: First Choice Christmas Lights
We’ve been asked constantly for these past few weeks, how did you decide on the colors, who did your invitations, who was your wedding planner?! I’m delighted to say, Lambert Home accomplished it all. It was beautiful. It was personal. And I couldn’t be prouder of Sarah for handling it all so beautifully. From my stressing, to my complete absence at work, to the challenging emotions that come with huge life change. The extremely hard work of setting up and tearing down a wedding, the sweating, the tears, and managing everyones stress. She’s the real MVP.