Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Full Story {The White Wedding}

I enjoyed my four day weekend -- did you?   I had four days, so I've been brewing this really long post.  Grab your cold beverage and enjoy... if that's what you do.

*  *  *

I think any of you who blog will agree: it's hard (I'm assuming more so at first) to not pay constant attention to your statistics and your subscribers.  Really Hard.

So far, I have been overwhelmed with the number of subscribers (people who think what I have to say is worth reading?!) and the number of readers.  Really?  No, really.  I'm amazed.  They are a small but faithful bunch, and that is most important.  I appreciate everyone who has had kind words to say both about the launch of Laurel White Design, the beginning of my blog, and what started all of this in the first place: the wedding of Tim + Laurel White.

Thursday as I sorted through hundreds of amazing wedding photographs by Tyler Metcalfe Photography and Greenleaf Images trying to choose the top 50-100 to submit to wedding blogs, for the first time I really enjoyed our wedding.  I know that sounds crazy -- how could I not have enjoyed my wedding before now?  You'd be surprised.  I'm a perfectionist.  Incredibly picky.  Particular to a fault.  It's not a blessing, trust me.  I don't adjust well to change or diverting from my set path, or rather: the vision I have in my head.  So the fact that there were so many details of our wedding day that I never got to see completed just crushed me.  Oh yes, I had a great day -- I got married! -- and I partied my little heart out.  The emotions that come through those pictures are very real, but there was still a little bit of regret in my heart.  It's just something I struggle with, to be completely honest.  I struggle with contentment and finding pure satisfaction in any final product or execution of an idea.  Now, I've put myself in a position to help other brides avoid that regret.  Only now it's also part of my job to look at beautiful weddings every day and KICK myself for all that my wedding could have been.

But I digress.

I enjoyed my wedding all over again.  I had to analyze each photo and decide in which one was everyone smiling or which one best captured the lighting or which one was most expressive of our personalities.  It brought to the surface all of the good that was present on the day of our wedding.  Sure, we were stressed, I was cranky, we'd barely slept, there was family drama, I didn't finish this or that.... but in the end, I married the man I love, and nothing can make me regret that.

I'm hard-headed.  It takes a while for things to sink in, but I think . . .  finally . . . they have sunk.

Here's the full write up I'm submitting to blogs, if anyone cares to read all the minute details of what went into our planning.  I've included example pictures, for those who may not have seen them on facebook, but these are not necessarily the one pictures I submitted.

Our wedding was a DIY, very budgeted, full-of-love event.  There were so many personal and intimate details, made even more personal and intimate by the fact that my husband Tim & I, along with our families, created everything ourselves.

I knew I didn't want a strict theme or color coordination (I don't like matchy matchy!), but I did want my wedding to seem cohesive.  I wanted guests to arrive and enter a woodsy wonderland that we had created to fit and represent our unique personalities (we love all things nature & vintage).  I suppose that need to draw people in came from my theatre background and work as an actor.  We knew we wanted every invidual to feel like a key player and actively participate in our ceremony and our day.  It helped that we knew we wanted our "community" of guests to be very small.  We ended up with about 55 guests attending our wedding, including bridal party and family.  It was the perfect size for the atmosphere we wanted to create, which was - of course - intimate and personal.  For this reason, our guest book was a mock marriage certificate which everyone signed as a "witness" and we also had the guests take a congregational vow to support and love us, at the end of our ceremony.  Because our guest list was so small we had time to visit with each and every one of them, which was a really high priority for us in our planning.

Our loose theme was based on this idea of community & our tag line was "home is wherever I'm with you," because of how much we have travelled together as a couple and moved around, living in different states, and growing communities wherever we happened to be.  We first met on a road trip with mutual friends (introduced by my husband's Best Man!).  Our invitations were designed completely by us, using a USA "map of our love" that Tim and I drew and I watercolored for the front.  We designed it to look like a postcard, with the stamp containing our "home is wherever I'm with you" theme.  They cost us only $70 to have printed.

 We went with blues, greens, grey, and peach for our colors.  My two sisters were my bridesmaids and they picked out their own dresses and accessories and both wore their well-loved boots.  The groomsmen wore all different vests, ties, and dress pants and shirts all on a grey scale, but somehow they all ended up looking so well put together!  Tim wore the same baby blue tuxedo shirt and grey wool vest my own father wore at my parent's wedding.  

 My wedding dress was a key element of the wedding and really helped to accentuate the feeling of heritage, ancestry, and family love.  The dress was originally handmade by my late great-grandmother in 1951 for my grandmother's wedding.  Then my mother wore the dress again in 1980 at her wedding to my father.  Sixty years later the dress was still in good enough shape for me to be able to wear it a third time!  I did look at bridal boutiques but could never find a dress that fit my aesthetic -- nothing seemed just right for me.  As I was losing hope (and time!) I finally tried on my grandmother's/mother's dress and when my mom and I both started crying, we knew it was the right choice.  It was a priceless gift and added so much emotion to the preparation part of the day.

The wedding was held at my parent's home on 18 acres of Texas Hill Country land, near Austin, TX.  We planned the whole wedding start to finish in less than 3 months and for about $3,000.  Much of that time was spent landscaping and readying the property.  Tim put in many hours clearing & graveling paths, trimming trees, laying rock.  However, while it was a lot of effort on everyone's part, it was so much more meaningful to invest that time and money into a property we both had so many happy memories about.  I grew up on that property, climbing trees and playing in the woods, and since our relationship's beginning, Tim has helped my father to maintain the land and gardens.  My parents knew and we knew that it was worth the investment, and one that would keep on giving, rather than renting a venue with little or no sentimental value to us.

© Greenleaf Images
We had a neighbor who is a head chef at a local restaurant prepare a Greek-influenced cuisine for our dinner.  He served up tasty lamb, chicken, and angus beef (raised by my uncle) Gyros on pita bread.  His dolmades, tabbouleh, hummus, & mediterranean salad were the real deal.  Everyone drooled over the food, saying it was the best wedding food they'd ever had.  It was a huge success.  

 We offered a cheese, bread & fruit table for appetizers, and a sweets buffet on top of our traditional wedding cakes.  Tim's sister, Kelli, made some amazing cake balls in all flavors of chocolate.  My cousin, Karen, made the groom's German Chocolate cake and my wedding cake was made by a local baker: vanilla bean cake infused with sage, with champagne flavored icing.  Unusual, but probably the most delicious thing I've ever tasted. 

 The most fun part was that as guests arrived they grabbed a cold beverage (it was warm for March!) and so everyone was imbibing as the ceremony got underway.  We served Tim's and my father's home-brewed beers, and they were also a huge hit.  The beer was bottled in recycled bottles and grolsch bottles (the spring capped German style beer bottles) my mom and dad had saved from the 70s.

I was very concerned with keeping a backyard wedding classy, but also being responsible to the environment.  Guests were given one of everything: a silver fork (which also served as their place holders), mismatched vintage china dinner plate, and a mason jar for drinking.  We used no disposable anything.  People went along with it, because we explained it with fun signage!  I hand stamped everyone's placeholders, distressing them by tea-dying.  It was a labor of love. 

 My sister & mother helped me make a bunch of string globes to hang about the dance floor.  We used lots of string lights hung from the trees and candles for after dark lighting.  It had such a warm and beautiful effect.  We would have loved to have had money for a band, but with as much fun as people had dancing to ipod music, we'd never have known the difference!  

My sister, Maggie, did all the flowers, mostly the day of, using flowers I requested and others that were in season.  I wanted a lot of texture and variety.  We also incorporated my love of succulents, planting them in tea cups and little pots to add some accents.  Our bouquets were white aneomones & rannuculus, wild grasses, blue thistles, mountain laurel (my name sake), and mine had a big bromeliad (airplant) as the center.  We used a variety of jars and vases I had collected for months.  Some of the tables were actual dinner tables we sunk in the ground and some were plank boards laid across hay bales.  Everyone sat on haybales for dinner as well.  The ceremony site seating was a variety of old chairs, haybales, benches, and some antique theatre seats.  

We hung old glass pane windows from the trees, draped with spanish moss.  One of the trees had a great horizontal branch that we attached frames family photos to of our parents and grand parents on their wedding day.  We called it, our "Family Tree," of course.

The family and wedding party entered to "Daydream" by the Lovin' Spoonful.  Tim's older brother, Patrick was unable to be at the wedding, since he's working in Qatar, so Tim's dad walked down the aisle with his iPhone held up and Patrick skyped in so he could see the whole thing!  I walked down the aisle to "Truly, Madly, Deeply" by Ray Lamontange.  Our friends sang and played the song "Home" by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros for our exit tune.  Everyone sang and clapped along (they gave a tutorial so people could participate).  Our first dance was also by Ray Lamontagne, "You Are The Best Thing," & my father and I danced to "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" by Asleep at the Wheel (a spur of the moment choice since it was a great jitterbug!).  Everyone had so much fun on the dance floor!

Of course the whole day went by so quickly, but there are a couple of moments that really stand out to me.  In the middle of the ceremony our pastor, Jon, was supposed to be instructing me to put the ring on Tim, and he accidentally flipped it around.  Instead of just going with it, I corrected him saying "Isn't Tim supposed to be accepting the ring?"  There was a moment of silence and then everyone laughed.  I was a little embarrassed that I opened my mouth without thinking, but so many people told me later that it was a great moment they'd never forget and it truly made them feel like our ceremony was one big conversation between friends.

Something I had really wanted as a part of our wedding to represent my background in theatre, was an element of performance.  I never got around to planning it, but in early stages I had even considered having a friend be a mime or something crazy like that just to mess with everyone.  My younger sister, Susanna, has never liked being on stage and hates speaking publicly, so I was worried how she might handle the Maid of Honor's toast.  What she did could not have been more appropriate or entertaining.  After explaining that I had chosen March 20 because it was the last day of Winter and the beginning of a new season, she make the connection to marriage as the beginning of a new season in our lives.  And then she invited my cousin, Catherine, up to help her in a dramatic recitation of a poem called Daffodowndilly by A.A. Milne.  This reciting of poems, singing of songs, and performing together was a big part of our childhood and we have many recordings of our little "shows" that we would put on in the back yard.  The poem goes:

She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour;
"Winter is dead!"

On "Winter is dead!" groomsman Nathan jumped up from behind some hay bales with a daffodil which we presented to me.  I was laughing so hard I cried.  It really meant so much to me that she had kept with our non-traditional themes and made her toast completely fun, unique and quite unexpected.

But the moment that will always stand still in time for me was our "first look."  I am so happy we decided to share that special, quiet moment alone together before the ceremony.  It didn't rob us of any surprise moment at the "alter" - rather, it allowed us to take a step away from the whole production of things to just look at one another and realize we were about to become husband and wife.  It was the only moment I was truly nervous... I walked up behind Tim and when he turned around he said "You look so beautiful."  I was so nervous I didn't hear him correctly and assumed he said " I love you."  So I said "I love you, too!" Then we both realized my mistake and laughed and all my nerves just sailed away.  He is my best friend, and I just got lucky he also happens to now be my husband.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Craig & Me, we {heart} Lists...

Craigslist is, you know, a tricky thing.  If you know how to work it you can find some of the most amazing things people want to be rid of (remember that whole "one man's trash is another's treasure"? -- yeah that totally applies).  Sometimes they are completely FREE.  So it's especially wonderful if you are poor (like me) and want eclectic pieces of furniture that might otherwise cost a small fortune.  I used Craigslist to find both our apartments in Washington, DC, to get rid of stuff when we moved, and to pick up things I wanted on the cheap.  I think it's a great resource, even though a lot of people disagree, and I'm sure this is because most folks like to know where their belongings came from and how exactly they were treated.  But as long as it's in good condition and doesn't seem infested with some sort of bug or mold, I'm usually game for a curbside gain with a backstory I don't know.  (note: I would never use someone else's mattress, or anything from an unknown former owner for a new baby, and sofa's are questionable....unless they are vintage and/or I'd recover them anyway.)

Today I'm on the hunt for wicker.  I love wicker (usually the unpainted kind) and think it can be so perfect for your front or back porch.  In this case, since we already have a porch swing, I think it will be perfect for our back deck.  Here are some options I found today.

* * *
Don't you just love the flared arms and curved backs on this beautiful pair?  If you've ever seen Disney's Aladdin you might agree: these chairs remind me of how the enchanted flying carpet looks when it stands on it's little tassle legs and walks around.  So Cute!

image 0
2 Pier One matching wicker chairs. Each originally ~ $150, now $80 for pair or $50 for one.
image 0
$35 OBO. It is in good condition. It measures 21 inches tall by 16 inches wide.

Happy Birthday to me?  That's what I said to Tim.  He didn't really take me seriously.

* * *

This wouldn't work for our deck, but I love a good fixer-upper, so I couldn't resist!  Some people might like that green velvet.... no thanks.  I'm down with velvet.  It has a time and a place.  But this chair could be brought easily into present day with some new padding and material.  I'd have a debate with myself about painting it, but it would be on the table as an option.  I guarantee you this chair could look like $150 with minimal help.

vintage wicker chair for $45
* * *

I can't wait to have a deck porch.  I also can't wait to have some wicker to set on it.  Patience is hard to come by!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Renegade Craft Fair - Austin TX

On Saturday, Hubby & I met up with creative genius, Danielle Goates of Sunday Hatch, and her husband Rob to scope out the Renegade Craft Fair in Austin, TX.  There were close to 200 booths set up at the Palmer Events Center, with a range of crafty offerings.  I was surprised at the number of paper goods and screen printed tshirts, a lot of which were very clever.  There were some of your typical "crafts" (beaded jewelry and handpainted shirts, etc) but for the most part all the vendors were really polished and professional looking and their products were very neat.

It was interesting how few vendors I spoke with were actually based in Austin.  I was a little disappointed by this, thinking it was more of a locally attended and promotional event.  However, it was cool that so many vendors chose the Austin Fair to attend, since there are others all over, including San Francisco & Los Angeles, Chicago, Brooklyn, & London.

RCF Shoppers

There was music playing, alcoholic beverages were available, and the environment was pleasant and not pushy or overrun.  The center was a great location.  It was stifling & miserable outside and so often these booth affairs are held outdoors.  I wouldn't have gone, had that been the case.

Now to the fun stuff...

handcrafted modern heirlooms

This was a vendor Danielle and I were on the lookout for as we arrived.  This is a husband-wife team, located in Austin.  Their little etsy store has been hugely successful and they now have an actual storefront in ATX.  Her trademark is handmade ceramic ring-bearer bowls, but here were a few other things that caught my eye...

carved wooden bracelets would make sweet gifts, maybe for your bridesmaids?

"where we met" maps.

old fashioned looking wooden picture ornaments

 Leah Duncan - http://www.freshlychopped.blogspot.com/
illustration + design + textiles

I swooned over this booth just a bit.  The textiles were such cute patterns.  She had scarves, tea towels, and pillow covers that were adorable.  Leah is also a local Austinite with an etsy store (http://www.leahduncan.etsy.com/).  Here are a few of her items I really loved.

Above: scarves & fabrics. 
Below: pillow covers.

The Weekend Store

This vendor takes old typewriter keys and makes all sorts of jewelry with them.  I found their lettered cufflinks to be a neat idea for a gift for Dad on father's day, or possibly for a groom to give his groomsmen. 

B bags

Lora makes women's bags and cardholders, men's wallets, and laptop sleeves out of all upcycled materials.  The ones I found most interesting were made from sailboat sails.  Hubby purchased one made out of old menswear.

Upcycled Laptop SleeveUpcycled Billfold Wallet in Light Gray with Geometric Applique

Another booth where I fell in love with screen printed textiles was weather & noise, created by chirstine sharp-crowe.  I thought her designs were very trendy and fun.

This place just had one item that really caught my eye.  Their pocketwatch necklaces!


The ampersands and mustache jewelry at this booth were really cute.  I could see these making great wedding party gifts!  These photos are actually from their website since mine did not turn out.

Blond Mustache StudsStudly Studs
mustache earring studs

Mustache Love NecklaceHarrington Necklace in Bamboo

mustache love & ampersand necklaces

All in all, I'm really glad we went.  We were only there for an hour or so and saw a ton of crafts.  I purchased three little ferris wheel prints from my favorite booth called millions of people happy. . .
(http://millionsofpeoplehappy.blogspot.com/).  Michelle is based in LA and makes really sweet paper goods and prints, but what I really loved was not for sale... these completely recycled-goods garlands.  She sews these from tea bags, coffee filters, and scrap paper.  I kept trying to convince her people would buy them, but she said they take a really long time to make! 
Can't you see about one hundred of these as a backdrop for a wedding ceremony? 

Reminds me of this wedding with a paper receipt roll backdrop, which I adored:

Well... Michelle made at least one person happy Saturday -- Me!

Get Your {ZigZag} On


Has any one else noticed this trend in design with zig-zags?  
I've seen them every where you can imagine them 
and the options for getting your zig & your zag on seem to keep growing.

Here's the evidence in . . .



Tattoos are accessories, too, right? :)

Home Goods & Interior Design...

Notice how the zigzags seem to accompany bright or bold color, 
but I love the subtle ones best, like the wall pictured above.

What do you think about the zig zag trend . . .  do you l-o-v-e it?

I have to admit, I'm a fan.

{but you could probably tell that from my new wall paper}