I feel silly talking more about the weddings, but on the other hand, who isn't interested in 120 home-made napkins?
|The super fabulous photos in this post are from Nicole Montmarquet Photography.|
There is a lot of craziness in weddings. But -- One woman's craziness is another's obvious must-do. I personally get a panic attack thinking about flowers, but somehow not about fabric. I can bake and cook with the best of them, and will, and in fact made two pies on the day of the wedding (crazy!!), but draw the line at decorating a cake at the last minute. Possibly because I decorate cakes (of two layers, max) by covering them in whipped cream and/or ganache. Period. Classy, but not wedding-worthy, perhaps.
Every time I say to one of the girls, "Can you believe so-and-so did that for her daughter's wedding?" they remind me that others might say the same about sewing six dresses. But to me, sewing is less panic-inducing than shopping for a specific dress.
So you have to know yourself. And you have to keep on saying, "It's a Mass and a party." And try not to go flying right off the deep end.
There are just so very many things to spend your money and resources on, and I feel like it's easy to get
sucked into the vortex of spending and stress sidetracked. Lots of things are nice, but not every single thing is important to everyone. To us, real glassware was more important than real plates, and we wanted good food without knocking ourselves out. Choices everywhere.
The main thing is that you are all together, enjoying the ceremony and the party! People hardly notice the things you leave out. If you can afford things that will make people more comfortable or better fed, then go for it. If you can't, don't sweat it -- they will be happy for you anyway! And not notice.
Permit me to discuss a few random details.
When we knew we'd have Sukie's wedding reception at the barn (which is the barn of Rosie's in-laws, our dear friends), we knew we'd need to focus on bringing in color and brightness, and we were determined to embrace the rusticity of it all.
Here is the "before":
|You will note that some fairy lights are already in place. There had already been two weddings in this barn before ours! So we knew it could be done :)|
Don't worry. Wait until you see.
And in trying to be frugal, we had some fun ideas. One of our ideas was to make cloth napkins! I don't know exactly how it came about, but the truth is renting cloth napkins is a little expensive, and unless you just get white, paper napkins aren't cheap either. I mean, not for something that you are purposely getting dirty! And the colors are not always fitting in with your
crazy vision palette. If they fit with the palette, then go for it :)
This idea would not be particularly cost effective if you didn't have a combination of the following:
1. A big fabric stash, including some failed ideas for the backing for a big wedding quilt for the bride's sister, which just happen to be in the current wedding's color palette.
2. Friends willing to sacrifice fabric on the altar of your wedding needs.
3. Some linens (like sheets and curtains) you are willing to cut up for the cause.
Yes, it was crazy. But it was all done ahead of time, and actually contributed so much to the overall look of the barn, and took not that much time to execute, that I do recommend it.
Another idea was to use burlap as table runners. I spent a fair amount of time pricing burlap. Found out that burlap comes in different textures. And colors. Started dreaming about burlap. Ended up getting it at Home Depot. The other day, a neighbor left a roll, still in its packaging, out in her "free" non-trash pile (she's moving). Sigh.
|Real clothespins are way cheaper than cute little craft clothespins, and have the advantage of being quite useful afterwards.|
The rolls at Home Depot can be divided to make 3 foot-wide lengths, and thusly each roll will run down the center of a bunch of tables.
Cut it by pulling one thread out of the length, and cutting along the resulting gap.
Here we have Sukie hard at work at something -- seating plan? While Rosie gets flowers in shape.
The girls were quite excited about doing their own flowers, which suited me just fine. Most of the flowers were ordered from Blooms by the Box, which we found not only good price-wise, but also just having excellent customer service. The hydrangeas were from Costco online.
And lots of the extra flowers for the tables were from our very own garden, lovingly tended by Habou. Sukie really envisioned lots of little jars with small posies on the tables, which ended up looking fabulous with the napkins and votive candles (no open flames in the barn!).
|The bunting was made by dear Annie for Sukie's shower, and re-purposed at the barn. Sukie worked hard on those programs!|
Of course, other than the venue itself (and I highly recommend mooching off of friends), the big-ticket item is the food.
And what you do about food depends a lot on what kind of event you are having. For us, with lots of out-of-town guests and lots of intensive work in other departments, catering was a must. Luckily, we found a caterer who could provide good food at a good price. (Some caterers come with linens and napkins and lots of things like that, in which case, go for it. This one just did the food, so we opted for making the napkins and borrowing the tablecloths from a friend who had bought hers for her daughter's wedding off of Craigslist for $50. For 25 tablecloths! And generously shares them. Since renting them costs $10 a piece, that was a great boon.)
Sukie wanted food with a Middle Eastern flair, and the caterer had a good source for appetizers that were exactly what she had in mind. We figured it was worth springing for it.
|Middle Eastern: Feta, olives, stuffed grape leaves, spinach and meat pies. Western: Cheese and fruit platter.|
|Along with appetizers and lemonade, some fabric-covered hay bales out on the beautiful lawn.|
For the dinner, we chose lamb kebabs and chicken kebabs, salad, rice, potatoes, and grilled vegetables. We had pita bread instead of rolls.
But a huge savings comes with doing your own dessert.
As anyone with the merest acquaintance with our family knows, ice cream is #1 on our list of desserts. And as it happens, we live very close to a wonderful dairy that produces the best ice cream around. When Sukie and I were discussing dessert, we felt that if we could incorporate Rota Spring ice cream, we would be super happy. And what goes with ice cream, I ask you?
She decided on apple and strawberry rhubarb, and here you have my happy helpers cutting up apples for me!
I made two pies, and seven of my wonderful friends (I think it was seven) chipped in two pies each, bringing them on the day of the wedding to be set out by the caterer!
Brilliant! With chocolate chip or vanilla ice cream (3 gallons each!), it was just so wonderful.
A sweet homemade touch -- this one from Annie (friend, sister-in-law of Rosie) -- is the wedding quilt that everyone signed with their good wishes. She put the top together, and can quilt it at her leisure.
|Watching Sukie's dance with Papa, which was epic.|