fireflies and cottonwood

our wedding blog

More book inspiration March 1, 2009

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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?


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 rehearsal dinner! September 28, 2008

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So, once I get started thinking, I get started looking for images, photographs, and ideas to inspire me.  I can’t remember how Matt and I started talking about the rehearsal dinner this weekend…but once we got going, the ideas happily flew.

Of course I returned to Style Me Pretty, but in the meantime I’ve also discovered Hostess with the Mostess, who has darling themed party ideas.   This first inspiration board is from a “real wedding” from SMP–obviously very different, as they are on a beach, but I like the details.

I especially like her dress, and the fancy soda.  Somehow things like fancy soda, or special candies, always make parties more festive.

Hostess with Mostess put together a theme of “Double Happiness.”  I know a lot of couples use this for weddings, or showers.  I love the paper lanterns and bright colors.  We have a great idea already for centerpieces…but we can’t tell, because it will be a surprise for our guests.  

Imagine little colored take-out containers, for the actual take-out and for the treats for our guests…  I even have a darling handbag that is shaped like a Chinese take-out container, but with gold and gilded fabric.

Now, some images from Pho Grand, and India’s Rasoi–two or our most favorite St. Louis restaurants.

Here’s a pretty photo of an “informal” rehearsal dinner buffet.

Finally, I can describe Emmanuel’s parish hall.  (I’ll have to check with the office this week to see if this is even possible.)  It’s a large room, with a commercial kitchen off to the side, and the kitchen has a long window that opens to a counter.  There is a small stage at the front, that small children love to climb upon.  Matt and I were thinking of projecting a series of photographs from my laptop to the wall throughout the dinner, and having music.

We would also have readings.  The BCP does not allow for secular readings, and some of my favorites are from poems and novels.  I definitely want to include this sort of reading, and allow friends and family to participate in this way.  I know that Matt and I will also take this opportunity to toast our families and friends, and perhaps receive toasts.

Logistically, we can have gotten and placed wine, beer, and soft drinks in the kitchen ahead of time, and can send uncle-type people, or friends not involved in the rehearsal itself, but coming to the dinner, around to pick up the food from the restaurants.  Matt’s mom suggested Panera, which I think is an excellent addition, especially for the kiddos.

And, with potentially seventy or more guests at this little shindig, it might turn out to be a mini-reception.  But I’m still not going to be a “two dress bride.”


Wedding decorations June 22, 2008

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Our friends Jeremy and Sara Jane are getting married next Saturday.  They’re an incredible, gifted, kind and extraordinary couple. 

(Their wedding website here: )

They wanted decorations that were more home-made and heartfelt than expensive and consumer-ey.  Sare Jane has an MFA in printmaking and paper design, though, so they also wanted them to look good, and original. 

Early in her wedding planning, hearts became a major theme.  We struck upon the idea of stringing “garlands” of paper hearts, feet and feet of them, and hanging them from the ceiling of the oh-so-formal social hall here at Union.  They could puddle in graceful puddles on the floor, or arch from chandelier to chandelier.  I also suggested we could make enormous, whimsical but elegant, tissue paper flowers.  So each high window will have a tissue paper flower hanging in it, and they will also hang from the real trees in the Quadrangle.

We’ve been cutting paper hearts for weeks now, and last night we began stringing them.  They are so lovely!  And unexpectedly lush–really good looking.  I can’t wait to start hanging them before the wedding.

I told Sara Jane yesterday that this is the way a wedding is supposed to be–not paying eighty dollars a stem for true-blue hydrangeas flown overnight from Chile…but with the hands and help of a community.  For how many years have communities of women, ladies, grandmothers, aunts and maiden girlfriends gathered to bat lace, collect extra punch bowls, gather taffeta and bake merengue for the weddings of their loved ones?  This is the way it is supposed to be.