Ohhhhhhh, it was nice. It was my dream, in fact.
Wait – I lie. Getting married on a beach or deep in a rainforest was my dream. But guess what? We got married in 2008 which meant banks were failing, the economy was crashing and I was askin’ way too much for people to buy a plane ticket to Costa Rica. So, I made them drive to Asheville, North Carolina instead.
Many women spend so much time and energy planning a wedding. Maybe it’s my duty as a former bride to share the details of my wedding to make it just a tiny bit easier for another bride? Maybe I am just looking for an excuse to reminisce about my wedding a year later. Either way, it’s been fun remembering what it took to make our commitment to each other an extravagant evening.
‘That Guy” proposed to me one day after we moved to Charlotte, NC. I flew to L.A. for work the morning of June 3rd, worked all day, wined and dined my client and took the red eye back to Charlotte to arrive home the morning of June 4th. It was a loooong day but when he picked me up from the airport wearing the famous “Everybody Act Normal” t-shirt from Little Miss Sunshine, I wondered if something was up. Well, let me take that back – I had a gut feeling something was going to happen and it did.
We got home, he said he had a housewarming gift for me and handed me a moving box. Remember we just moved in and there were boxes scattered around our condo. I opened the box and I found my ring under a message that said, “Will you marry me?”
I was pretty shocked it happened in early June because we just moved, he didn’t have a job in NC and I was starting working with a brand new client. But our philosophy at that time was “let’s just dive in!” and we did. What did we have to lose?
About 3 days later I made the decision that there was NO WAY I was going to be engaged for over a year and I MUST get married in the fall. “That Guy” just rolled his eyes and put on his seatbelt. He knew it was going to be a ride.
We did the normal things people do when they
are leading up to a wedding.
We picked out our invitations, programs and thank you cards from the GoldenSilhouette Shop on Etsy.
Every woman planning a wedding will tell you that the invitation sets the tone and mood of the event. We were going for a simple and elegant feel using fall colors. “That Guy” still loves to give me crap about the bronze layer that I later revealed to him cost a dollar per invite, but in my defense, it was the first thing people commented on when they saw it. Worth every penny!
I was pleasantly surprised to see that
our programs are used as an example in her shop!
Since we only invited 28 people, I listed every one of them in our program.
Bride’s BFF and her Fiancé
BFF & This Girl lived together for many “pre That Guy” years.
It seems messy because I’m trying to mask everybody’s name, but it looked nice and uniform. Plus, family was all grouped together and so there weren’t a crazy amount of friend descriptions.
We took trips to Asheville and visited the site where we wanted photos…
We thought outside of the Biltmore Inn was a good spot.
There was a lot to think about when it came to our ceremony. Neither of us practice a particular religion and because of that, we didn’t feel like we should incorporated it into our ceremony. That Guy suggested we pick poems instead of readings and ask our Mothers to read one of the poems because we didn’t have candle lighting thingy at the beginning of the ceremony. He also suggested the poems should tell a story. Boy and Girl meet, the fall in love and get married. So, we had three poems.
Our wedding ceremony:
Processional “Truly, Madly, Deeply” by Ray LaMontagne
Introduction “Meeting and Passing” Written by Robert Frost, Read by Reverend
Definition of Marriage
Declaration of Intent
Reading “Love’s Philosophy” Written by Percy Bysshe Shelly, Read by Mom & Mom
Support of Community
Wedding Vows Written by This Girl & That Guy
Exchange of Wedding Rings – Excerpt from This Girl’s Parents Wedding Ceremony
Reading “A Dedication to My Wife” Written by T.S. Eliot Read by That Guy
Recessional “Stay With You” by John Legend
My mom and I went through her “wedding box” one night and reminisced about the fashion (?), all the people in the photos who she couldn’t remember and my dad strolling in 5 minutes before the ceremony after sleeping in his car all night. We laughed. We laughed so hard, all night long. This is us figuring out if we could do the “YMCA” in my great grandmothers wedding dress (which I’m wearing).
I found my mom and dad’s full wedding ceremony written and out tucked away in that box. My parents have been married for just over 30 years and if there were any words we should borrow from their wedding, it’s the ring exchange.
“The wedding ring is a symbol of your commitment to one another and a reminder of the vows that you have made this evening. These rings are endless circles, symbolic of your endless love for each other. In these rings are found the purest, the most precious, and the most steadfast of all the stones and metals known to man. I hope that once these rings are placed upon your fingers your love for one another will be as pure, as precious, and steadfast as the symbol which the represent.”
As you can tell by the ceremony, I got crazy into the details. It’s not a surprise that I did it that way, but I only had five months to plan and really understand the all the possible DIY creations brides are capable of doing. I read blogs by the boat load and was on the internet 24/7 figuring out the easiest, but most memorable, way of creating every aspect of our evening.
For example, our place cards.
Since I only had 28 people to seat, I didn’t have to go a traditional rout. I put That Guy up to the task of finding corks to hold the place cards and boy did he execute. Somehow he found a lady who had been collecting corks since the 70’s. The next task was finding an embarrassing/funny/random photo of all our friends and “vintage” photos of our family to place as the actual name card. For example, I used my parent’s wedding photos and some 15 year old vacation photos for my cousins.
It was the exact conversation piece I was looking for.
Here are the place card holders.
Nothing extravagant, but a cool way to say “you’re sitting here.”
I purchased the photos at moo.com and found the idea on this post.
Finding the right cake topper was a task and a half, but once I saw Nicole W. Clark on Etsy, I knew it was the one. I wanted something custom (of course) and preferred a bride and groom. What’s better than a bride and groom OF THE bride and groom? Nothing, duh!
I wasn’t crazy about the cake, mainly because it wasn’t the design I sent them. The lines are supposed to represent the mountains fading behind one another but instead it turned into geometric shapes. It didn’t matter because the cake tasted amazing even though That Guy didn’t approve of having lemon cake in the fall (!?!?). We compromised and got two flavors, lemon and chocolate.
Speaking about food, one of the best parts was choosing dinner. Everybody has their “thing” when it comes to planning a wedding. For some brides, it’s their dress. For others, it’s the cake or the open bar. For me, it was the food. I really wanted great spread and I think we accomplished the desire.
Butler Passed Canapés
Duck Confit with toasted Pecans and Brie Wrapped in Filo
Fingerling Potato Skins with Crème Fraiche and Chives
Chicken and Shrimp Salad on Endive with Tomatoes
Sautéed Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with Avocado and Grapefruit Salad
Mixed Greens Salad – Orange, Walnut sand Goat Cheese with Walnut Vinaigrette
Kir Royale Sorbet
Beef Tenderloin and Shrimp Skewer, Truffle Whipped Potatoes,
Grilled Asparagus and Bordelaise Sauce
Engagement photos weren’t something we were that interested in since photographers are so expensive (and I didn’t really see the need for them) but we are lucky enough to have a girlfriend who was looking to build her portfolio. Jill at Photos by Shimmyshine did a really great job capturing who we are as a couple. She suggested we head down to Fountain Square in Indianapolis to take advantage of their unique backdrop as an eclectic part of town.
You can see more of my favorites on our Flickr site.
Thankfully, I did find fun uses for those engagement pictures but unfortunately, I don’t have evidence of the end result. I probably spent all 5 months thinking up the most creative welcome bag I could dream up (within reason, of course). Since most of our guests were coming from the Midwest, I wanted to bring a little of the South to their hotel room.
I bought brown kraft paper bags from Target that said something about “Thank you for attending our Wedding” on the front. On the back, I created a little wedding weekend timeline so our guest knew where to be at what time. Inside the bags, I shoved as much stuff as I could fit into it. They ended up being quite heavy!
- Asheville maps, town info and interesting tourist attraction pamphlets
- Two bottles of water
- A Carolina Panters cup
- Cheese Straws (“There’s no self-respecting Southerner who doesn’t have a cheese straw at every important moment of her life.”)
- Freshly baked cornbread from a great soul food joint in Charlotte (Merts Heart & Soul)
- Moon Pies (a Southern Classic)
- Lance Crackers and Peanuts (produced in Charlotte)
- Homemade Soaps from North Carolina (ordered from Etsy)
- A map to Brunch on Sunday at Deerpark Restaurant
I wrapped all the goodies in cute little clear bags then tied a written description of each item and added one of the engagement photos (mini-moo style) on the bag with bow. So cute, no pictures. Oh well. When you’re throwing them together a day before you leave for the destination, the little things just don’t get done.
Here is a photo of the wedding weekend timeline that I dug up from the large pile of “wedding stuff” I just can’t seem to part with.
We celebrated our engagement with a party that one of my dearest friends threw in Indianapolis.
Since That Guy owns a Polaroid camera, I created the infamous “Polaroid guest book” out of a Kolo photo album.
Our friends in Charlotte threw us bachelor and bachelorette parties, too.
You may notice I make no mention of a Bridal Shower. I didn’t have one and I thought this was something I may regret, but I do not. That just means I’m going to have to make up for it when baby shower time comes along!
Choosing flowers was incredibly easy. Too easy. When you’re a bride who doesn’t know (or care) about anything flower related, you just make a call and say “Hey, here is my budget. Have fun.” Blossoms at Biltmore Park did a great job with my bouquet, center pieces and lighting our uber romantic room.
When the delivery gals came in to my hotel room with my bouquet, I about died. The design was creative, classy and fit the overall feel of the Champaign Cellar in the fall.
Picking our rings was almost the same as picking the flowers. “Here is what I want, ok thanks.” Luckily, we have a family jeweler where That Guy bought my engagement ring, so Mark Grosser created a custom band that fit perfectly with my vintage ring. He also helped me select That Guy’s wedding ring which was a surprise until the wedding weekend.
It all became real was when it was time to get are marriage license. We were both excited know our day was coming and all the planning could soon come to an end!
Let’s see…what else?
- We got married at the Biltmore Estate in the Champaign Cellar which is located at the Winery
- Cori Anderson was our photographer
- The dress I was wearing was actually my second dress, both from David’s Bridal
- Cozumel, Mexico was our honeymoon destination of choice
- $2,000 Wedding was the blog that brought me down to earth