fireflies and cottonwood

our wedding blog

This Magic Moment: Recap 1 February 23, 2010

We need to begin some sort of recap. We have so much to say!  We also want to post our wedding play list, our budget, and other behinds the scenes details– the sorts of helpful details I scoured wedding blogs for, in ideas for ours.  But first, we have to recap it!


Where to begin?  When I think back, I remember being in St. Louis the week before, with friends and family.  Some snapshots:


1. Staying the night with Amy, while Mike went to the bachelor party.  We had Mexican food, went to Target, and watched girly movies while finishing up bridespeople gifts.  Too fun.


I was too excited to sleep, even though we went to bed late. I got up and kept writing notes to the bridespeople, and was awake when Mike stumbled in at around two o’clock in the morning.  He had some funny stories, or the beginnings of stories, to share, and then he went to bed.  Then, I went for a walk.  And got lost!  In Affton!  But the roads are so curvy!  While I walked, I prayed a little, especially praying that I would be able to stay present for all of the beautiful parts, and that the wedding day wouldn’t go by too quickly.


When I got back to the house, darling Buttons the dog pictured me as an intruder–everyone else was asleep!–and growled at me, and wouldn’t let me past the dining room. So I lay on the couch until he went away. And then fell asleep, finally, at 6AM, in Maeve’s sweet pink butterflied bedroom.


I woke up a little before 10AM. Nick was supposed to come grab me for brunch, but he–shall we say– had had a long night at the bachelor party.  So I hung out until Matt could come get me–we had a noon meeting with the photographers. Who we hadn’t even met yet, incredibly!


2. The photographers. Amazing, and so meant to be.  Our previous photographers had fallen through, and I had been a fan of Jodie and Kim for as long as I’d known about their photographs online.  The week before we left for St. Louis, I e-mailed Jodie– hoping that they might do weddings. I was beginning to think I’d have to fly someone down from NYC!


The initial meeting with them was beyond, beyond. Our energies met and took off immediately, and they were really excited by my “vision.” I told them about the Green World, and all of my beloved friends, and how I love old photographs, and the Edwardians, and the Victorians… I said, “I want it to be like we’re in the middle of a grand dinner party. It’s the middle of a great war, in England perhaps, and everything is rationed. No butter, no sugar, no candles. But we’re pulling everything together, for one brave and merry night. We’ve gone up to the attic, and dragged down everything fine: candlesticks, mirrors, furniture. We’re dressed, and candle-lit, and having a time.”


Their creative minds were amazing to see in process, thinking out loud, and throwing back and forth ideas, and immediately making calls to see how we could get props and make this happen.  You’ve seen the result.  Breath-taking.  Kim said, of those sneak peeks, “Those pictures came right out of your brilliant head.”  Not my head– the hearts of me, our loved ones, and Kim and Jodie.  But yes: they seem unreal.


Then!  After our lunch meeting, we ran across the street to my beloved Pearson House, to take some “engagement” shots. We had been disappointed by the ones we had taken here, and Jodie and Kim wanted to make that up to us. We had thirty minutes.  Thirty minutes, and it was very cold!  We waltzed, and laughed, and shouted across the lawn at one another. And, another testament to their genius, those results are also incredible.


Then, Matt headed to the hotel, to meet up with the Varnons (at large), and check-in.  I met four of the bridespeople for nails– and saw Jodut for the first time in a while, as well as Jennifer and Erin.  That’s when I started to get the sensation of, “Oh my goodness– my friends, my best friends, the women I love… they’re here in this salon, with _me_.”  It was strange, like Christmas or a birthday…but more.  I kept shrieking, “Jodut!” “Erin!” “Jennifer, you’re here!”  Oh, the goodness.


Then, Eric and Tom came to pick me and Jodut up, and take us to the hotel. I walked into the lobby, and started seeing Varnons.  So happy!  We had dinner in the restaurant at the hotel.  While we were eating, I got a text, “Is this Stephanie H.?”  I texted back, “Yes…”  The reply: “Do you recognize the man in a Yankees cap sitting in front of you?” I looked, and saw, John T.!  A boy I went to eleven years of school with, first through twelve grades, and was close friends with–a pack of us–in high school.


Then… up to the hotel suite, the Sky Cove, as we called it.  Posh!  Spacious (bigger than our NYC apartment)! Amazing view!  A platter of treats waiting for us.  I don’t know how I slept at all in that beautiful room, with all of the exciting thing going on around me.


This must have been New Year’s Eve, because there was a big party going on in the hotel that night, and Mike and Amy came downtown to it. So I joined them for a while, and drank wine and danced with Amy. And looked at all of the crazy dresses people had on, and met some DJs.


And then, I finally went to sleep, in the Sky Cove bed– so big that Matt and I could barely find each other in it. When we would awake, it’d be the day of the rehearsal.


The sweetest flower girl in the world June 14, 2009

Next week, I will be spending a few days with one of my dearest friends, Amy–she’s my madame du honore, and her lovely daughter Maeve is our flower girl.  While recently unpacking, I came across a photograph of me holding a newborn Maeve Kathleen in the hospital.  And I can distinctly remember making the trip, on the way from class, and how small and perfect she was.  It’s unbelievable that she is know walking and talking, brilliant and school-going.


Given my old-fashioned tastes, it’s no surprise that my favorite flower girl dresses are sweet, simple, and romantic.


Look at this first dress, very simple, but so sweet.  I would only change out the sash so that the ribbon was much, much wider, and much, much, longer.

with brown sash

from Us Angels


This one looks a little tiny bit too prim, but I love the little gloves.  I imagine putting an even more voluminous crinoline underneath, and adding large blooms to the girl’s hair– that would soften the whole look.

with white gloves

also from Us Angels


Now– _look_ at this darling little jacket!  How Jane Austen is this?


from The Briar Patch


Or this?!  I’m totally smitten with this little capelette.

fur capelette

also from The Briar Patch.  I’m so torn between the capelette and the little blue jacket that I want Maeve to have both, for different sets of photos.  Or one for the night before, or something.


Clearly, I’m going gaga over these little frocks.  Look at these two heirloom lace dresses, also from The Briar Patch.

heirloom lace dresses

Perfectly darling, no?  And lovely Maeve has the most amazing golden-red hair.  These muted ivories and whites will make her look like some little faerie right out of a pre-Raphaelite tapestry.


Just one more– I’m absolutely smitten.  Look:

bridal lace

also from The Briar Patch.


Finally, I must mention Maeve’s little brother, Braden– how blessed are we to also have the most adorable ring bearer!   And how perfectly tiny Mr. Darcy is this?

tiny tux

also from The Briar Patch.  


_And_— what if we had a little vest made out of the Dunbar tartan, to match the groom’s family kilts?  How sweet would that be, peeking out from this perfectly proper suit?


Classic beauty March 10, 2009

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I love this old advertisement from Ivory Soap for so many reasons.  First, we don’t have many advertisements nowadays that use drawings or sketches– ads today use “real” women– but they aren’t very real.  The bride in this illustration doesn’t even look like she has any make-up on; this is appropriate, of course, because the ad is for Ivory Soap.  As in, your skin will be so naturally beautiful that you won’t need any make-up.


I also really like the beautiful lettering, and the illustrated roses around the phrase, “The Bride.”  It’s so simple, and old-fashioned.  It makes me think of book labels, or place cards, or personal stationery. 


The greenery and flowers are also lovely– notice that there are fresh flowers on the bride’s veil, and we can see one of the bridesmaids’ bouquets.  The bridesmaids themselves look so sweet, and serene, and are sending the couple off with rice.   And the bride herself– the very picture of calm.


Finally, I really appreciate that the bride and groom are pictured together. Again, in many ads, and all throughout bridal magazines, it’s only about the bride.  Even in Martha Stewart Weddings, which does a great job of showing off the uniqueness and beauty of each couple, there are few photos with the groom, or with the groom as equally pictured as the bride.


I understand that the finery and choices for the bride can be more exciting than those of the groom…and that the consumers of bridal ads are mostly the women themselves.  But I don’t like the idea that it’s all about _me_ on that day, that I’m a fashion plate existing in a one-day fantasy.  I prefer the reality: that Matt and I are sharing a sacrament, with our families and loved ones around us, and _together_ are beautiful and glowing on that day.  Somehow, this old advertisement captures some of that sentiment, in lovely, muted pastels.  Perfect.


Hair vines, enchanting combs, and other lovelies March 3, 2009

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Given that I already have a cathedral-length veil to wear, I have to be careful about what else I choose to put in my hair– of course, I am all for festooning myself with all manner of lovely things, but a girl can’t wear everything at once.


A quick trip through Etsy made me eager to entwine my hair with fancy things.  Perhaps I’ll need something for the rehearsal dinner, and then for brunch the day after the wedding… for all wedding-weekend long.


From Esty seller Lulu Splendor.




From Etsy seller Miss Ruby Sue.  I’d like this one just for every day.



From Etsy seller Feathers and Frills.  This looks like little more than a simple piece of lace, perhaps with a ribbon at the back to tie it, but I love how beautiful it looks, without being over-done.



Also from Lulu Splendor.


I know more and more brides are going without a veil, or choosing other options: feathers, fascinators, hats, or fresh flowers.  I think definitely if we were still having a summer wedding, I would want to incorporate fresh flowers.  I wonder if the brides-ladies would like to wear something romantic and sparkly in their hair…


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!