fireflies and cottonwood

our wedding blog

Inspiration: pewter March 1, 2009

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I described before how we’re hoping to use old pewter containers (as yet unfound) in the entry-way of our wedding reception room.  I’m crazy about the unshiny lustre of pewter.  It’s elegant, but not flashy, old-fashioned, but not ugly, and mutes the colors of flowers in a most romantic way.




Notice that a monochromatic bundle of flowers like this can be picked up in a grocery store for just a little– but they look amazing in this gorgeous container.





I never thought of using fir boughs on a table!  How lovely and perfect for a winter wedding!  I don’t think pine boughs are expensive that time of year, and I know a lot of youth and student groups sell them for fundraisers.  And, the wedding is _after_ Christmas, so perhaps we could pick up several swaths for a good price.  Fir, pewter, candlelight…  remaining inspired!


More book inspiration

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Here, Martha Stewart uses stacks of books to complement, in color and texture, kinds of invitations.  But I still love it– and can’t wait to start gathering and playing with stacks of my own.

Table ideas (instead of table numbers): Shakespeare, CS Lewis, Whitman, Tolkien, F Scott Fitzgerald, Nabokov, (Matt says he could go with Douglas Adams), Chekhov… we need some women writers…: Wharton, Willa Cather, Jane Austen (except she’s always wry about marriage)…  

Help us out here, reader friends.  Or, do you have any favorite quotes about love?


Books as centerpieces February 24, 2009

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Walk into our apartment, or talk to us for very long at all, and you will realize that books are a major part of our lives, and have been for years.  (Matt, feel free to jump in with a post about the “packing for Canada” story.)  During our courtship, we talked about books, recommended and shared books, and filled our e-mails with references to favorite books.  Many a subject line was a quote from a favorite character or story.  (Again, Matt, feel free to go through the old e-mails for a historical post giving some examples.)


I think I saw an example in an issue of Martha Stewart weddings of a ring bearer’s pillow made from a stack of old books, tied with beautiful ribbon.  This immediately struck a chord with me.


Not only are our shelves filled with books, but I also end up decorating with me.  First, because we have so many.  But also, because we have some gorgeous ones.  A tiny collection of green and golden bound books on the early history of Christianity makes a sweet stack against a gospel hymnal from the turn of the century.  A third grade reader from 1867 supports a French copy of a life of Christ.  The French book is also small, and heavily decorated; the cover is broken so I’ve tied a pale green ribbon around it, like wrapping a gift, to hold it together.


And I have to share the title of the third grade reader before I continue. _Third Grade_, mind you:  “The National Third Reader: Containing Exercises in Articulation, Accent, Emphasis, Pronunciation, and Punctuation; Numerous and Progressive Exercises in Reading; and Notes Explanatory of Different Words and Phrases, on the Pages Where They Occur.”


I love the way the ribbon looks on the French book– it is the same shade of green as the cover, and the satin is such a nice contrast with the worn nature of the book.


We’ve already described how we want to decorate with luminaries we make ourselves, and thousands of candles.  We also want to use old and antique books in our centerpieces.  We have a great florist, and when I mentioned this idea to her, she was happy for us and even gave me some more ideas. (Good florist, right, to not push flowers as the “only” possibility for centerpieces?)


I imagine that the muted colors of these old books will go beautifully with the candlelight.  We also intend to be reusing books, and can offer them as take-away favors for guests, if they like.  By gathering books over the year, often for less than a dollar a piece (or free), we also intend to save, instead of spending a lot on fresh flowers.


(Minor detour: I adore fresh flowers, and Jane Winter at Wildflowers has sent me the most heavenly proposal for my personal flowers and the few arrangements we will be using… more on that later.  But we will have lush, unexpected, and amazing flowers.  Just not as many.)


The entry into the reception space is at the top of a staircase, in a sort of foyer before the room, before a beautiful window.  Jane and I imagine that I’ll find two old pewter vases or containers in the meantime, and they will be filled with two old-fashioned arrangements that spill out onto the table.  The arrangements will be amidst a stack of old, beautiful books.  Imagine a stack of large books, with one floral arrangement to the side of the stack, and one on top.  Smaller books can support picture frames with family photos and more candles.  Rich colors, lots of textures, and candlelight.


Similarly, many tables will have stacks of smaller books, with arrangements of candles.  Our current idea is to use writers instead of table numbers– each table would be a different writer; when guests find their name, it will come with a quote from that writer (on love!) instead of their table number.


I should do some mock ups and photograph them to show exactly what I mean, but I found a few examples that are in the right vein online.




Notice how the texture of the tablecloth is beautiful, but in a similar color scheme to the books, the ribbon, and the amazing bouquet of mistletoe.  Bouquet of mistletoe– how amazing is that!  I would just wave it around all night for kisses.




Ooh, look!  Beautiful books, a lovely blue and cream color scheme, and a tiny arrangement in an old pewter container.



If you have ideas for books, or places to get old books… let me know!  We’ll start collecting for all of our DIY wedding decorations soon.

Both images from


Illumination October 25, 2008

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One of our plans for our centerpieces (non-floral) is to make luminaries.  

Currently, the wonderful Jane Winter (at Wildflowers) had amazing ideas for a lush, romantic, old-fashioned floral arrangement for the table at the entry-way of the reception room (upon which might be, for example, the table numbers), and she and I are thinking that we might also use old, antique books in that tablescape.  Perhaps with old pewter containers for the flowers?  But I digress…

Books are a theme for our decorating as well.  I’m imagining tablescapes for each table, with old books, stacked at different levels, and our luminaries.  Plus hundreds of small candles, all over the room.  (My mom and her best girl friend have already begun snatching up unscented white candles at dollar stores and sales.)  

I think candlelight is so, so beautiful and memorable.  

Inspiration images of candle-lit weddings:

(Boards from Style Me Pretty)


And besides the tiny candles, here is our idea for making our own luminaries: 

We will use tin cans of various sizes, from soup cans, to large crushed tomato sized, to coffee can sized, and larger.  My idea is to punch holes into them in either random patterns, or in lace-like patterns.  Matt would like to paint each can with a simple landscape scene (sky, ground, a few quick trees), and then the lighted holes would be like fireflies.  

Lots of people have asked me how I’ll make the luminaries: you fill the clean, empty cans with water, and freeze them.  Then, when you tap a nail with a hammer into the can, you punch a small hole, but the solid ice keeps the can from denting.  Very, very simple.  You can use pre-printed patterns to create a lacy effect, or for a pattern.  And–at the end of the reception, if people would like to take one or two home, of course they may.  Otherwise, we just recycle the cans–they were free and plentiful, and we would have recycled them anyway.

Here are some images of tin can luminaries:

(I don’t like just one image, as opposed to many small pinpricks of light, but this shows the powerful effect one “cantern” can have.)


Finally, I don’t think this knitted candle-cover goes with our general aesthetic, but I just love this idea so much, and think it’s so simple and beautiful, I can’t help but include it:

I can’t wait to see the faces of all our loved ones surrounding our tables and lit by so many beautiful little lanterns.


More location photos September 21, 2008

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While last in St. Louis, I had the opportunity to take lots of photos of both Emmanuel and the Tap Room. Now, I can officially begin making decisions about decorations!  Flowers along the aisle?  Emmanuel has a very, very long nave, and is dark, with dark wood and green carpet.  One idea would be to have flowers or greenery with ribbon along some of the pews, but there are so many pews!  The only other place we are allowed to put flowers is up on the altar, in the official altar guild vases.  But maybe with a bride, groom, 16 attendants, a ring bearer and a flower girl, there will be enough human decoration.

I didn’t have time to take interior shots at church, but took one from my friend Jodie’s blog from her wedding (she is an _incredible_ photographer, by the way.)

(So exciting to see Emmanuel during a wedding!)

Exterior of Emmanuel:

The outside of the front door.  To the right is Jones Lawn, which is really quite large and filled with huge shade trees.  We are thinking of having lemonade and sparkling water on the lawn, directly after the ceremony and receiving line.  We could have a clown making balloon animals for the children, and maybe some live music…  While the bridal party and families are being photographed, people can mingle, have something to drink, and relax a bit before the reception.  This could also prevent a long lag at the reception, while people wait for the bridal party to arrive.

This is the memorial garden, to the left of the main entrance.  There is also a side entrance to the Chapel here, and up along the path on the left is the door into the parish hall.

(The church was built by a family from “back East,” and Mrs. Lockwood used memories and sketches of her own home church to influence the architects.  The cross on the steeple is exactly the height of the little Lockwood girl when it was built.)

The Tap Room–I love, love, love the hardwood floors, exposed bricks, tall windows, views of the city–I can’t wait to dance the night away with my love and everyone we love.

The first thing to consider: head tables.  Do we have our spouses and dates of our attendants at the head tables with them?  My first instinct is to say yes, because it seems odd to have people separated just because that’s the way it’s usually done.  I would never do that at a dinner party.  But we have 16 people. Maybe two head tables, at opposite ends or something?

Matt and I are thinking doing a writer as a theme for each table.  So instead of “Table 5,” you might have “the Whitman table.”  I’m thinking of doing tablescapes of old books and many, many candles as centerpieces at each table.

The bar.  They also have tiny white lights strung all around the wooden pillars and windows.

The outside patio for the upper room where our reception will be held.  I suppose people can mingle out here as well.  Candles out here, as well.