Our DIY Wedding: The Reception

We wanted our wedding to be relaxed, warm, and inviting but still elegant. I tried to incorporate as many natural elements as possible to sort of give the feel of an outdoor reception. I really liked the idea of mixing rustic elements like bark and moss against pretty, vintage elements like lace, milk glass, and pearls. I know the "rustic vintage" thing has been all the rage in the wedding world recently but I tried to put my own spin on it. It was just too beautiful and fitting for us to do anything else.

I'm pretty proud of Scott - these mazanita branch centerpieces were totally his idea! He even brought in his love of aqualife by adding a little surprise...

Don't worry, all the fish made it home just fine and they are now swimming around in our big aquarium :)

I was amazed at how expensive it is to buy wood rounds (slices of trees, basically). Most were selling for anywhere from 50 to 100 dollars a piece! I searched Craigslist for months looking for something suitable and finally came across someone giving away some large oak logs. We had them cut into slices by a local tree service for 20 bucks. Not bad! We got at least 10 big rounds and around a dozen medium to small sized rounds out of those.

We bought 80 of these little 2" succulents from SanPedroCactus on Etsy to use as wedding favors. I love the variety we got from them and they were super nice and easy to work with! I was surprised all of the little guys made it to our house in perfect condition after travelling all the way across the US!

I really enjoyed the teamwork we had going on in assembling these favors. We cut out squares of burlap, then wrapped it around the pot and tied it with crochet thread. We made the placecards by printing the names on business cards and then going around the edges with a paper punch. I then printed some care instructions on a sticker sheet and used some leftover cake pop sticks to make them stand up over the plants.

I used some decorations I already had in our house like the embroidery pictured here (made by me a while back) and the vintage floral sugar dish. I already had quite a few succulents and of course this just gave me an excuse to hoard even more :) It's like succulent city in our sun room now!

The big, wild looking succulent to the bottom right is called a Texas Rose. It started out as a very neat looking rosette shape and the longer I had it the wilder it got...then these tendrils sprouted up with pink and orange buds all over. It's definitely my favorite! I planted it in this piece of hollowed out log that a co-worker brought me from his yard. I love how many freebies and scraps I was able to use that would have been tossed otherwise!

My mom made the photo display out of an old picture frame. Of course she had to bring some really awesomely 80's and 90's photos of me. Check out me in my Easter dress with the crimped hair and poof bangs. Classic!

My stepmother collects vintage milk glass and decided that she just had too much of the stuff. She asked me if I wanted it and uh, yeah - of course I did! I used those for the succulent and flower arrangements.

Whatever I didn't have time to make, I tried to either thrift or buy from another maker. I purchased our guestbook from Etsy seller Sschemata. I think my jaw dropped as soon as I saw these books. They're hand bound in coptic stitch with real wooden covers. They're all customizable with different colors of binding and screenprinted images for the cover. I added the lace after receiving it.

I really wanted to do a Poloroid guest book. I've never seen much use in having a fancy book with everyone's names in it...it's not something I could see myself looking through after the wedding. So I thought it would be nice if I could actually have a picture of all of our guests from that day along with their names and well wishes. I did some looking around online and found that since Poloroid stopped making film the prices are insane! Guess I'll never get to use that old Poloroid we have sitting around.

Instead we bought a Fuji Instax, which makes little credit card sized instant photos. One of my bridesmaids took photos of each guest as they came in and then they could insert their photo in the guestbook. I love that it's beautiful, fun, and something we can keep and show our kids one day.

My maid of honor did all of these flower arrangements as we were setting up the reception space. I was really impressed, they turned out lovely and so creative looking. If this whole environmental science thing doesn't work out I think Amy may have a future in floral design!

My friend Sarah works for a bakery and decorates some amazing cakes! I showed her this picture as my inspiration cake. I love how the texture makes it look like milk glass and the colors are just gorgeous. I ordered the gum paste flowers from Kara at A Cake To Remember (yep...more Etsy!). They came as individual petals which Sarah then arranged into one big flower that flows diagonally across the cake. The bottom is a dummy layer to give extra height, then the others were chocolate, strawberry, and red velvet. She really outdid herself here!

The topper was made by me, which I posted about here.

The wooden cake stand was the hardest piece to find. I didn't want to order online because these things are so heavy, I knew shipping would be nuts. So I checked out a shop in a small town nearby that sells cypress and other tree parts to woodworkers. Everything was either too small or too weirdly shaped (or in the case of the cypress, too expensive!). I finally found this huge, perfectly round slab of pecan tree around back. After a little sweet talking (time to break out that southern accent I usually hide - it comes in handy sometimes!) I was able to get a good deal on it. After bringing it home (and sort of feeling like a cavewoman rolling it around like the primative wheel across my driveway) Scott, Mom, and I all worked on sanding it down and sealing it. Then I burned our names and wedding date into the top edge - which was a lot harder than I'd expected! I'm hoping to turn it into a table for our back patio at some point.

So, there you have it. I'm officially done gushing about my wedding!

I actually have some sewing posts coming up very soon that I'm pretty excited about. If this crazy idea I have works out, that is.

Happy stitching, blog land!