mess the dress

We are off to a quiet start to the week which is much needed after this weekend.  It consisted of a lot of fall festivities with friends and family plus a photoshoot, a milk paint demo, a girls night out, a Halloween party & parade and a baby shower.  Well now that doesn’t look like that much listed here but I can assure it was and I’m beat so let me just tell you all about our photoshoot on Friday.

Earlier this year I met Philadelphia wedding photographers Cathie and Al from BG Productions.  We chatted about our mutual love for all things vintage and repurposed as they dig that style too.  Then I started following their fun and active facebook page where Cathie posts lots of gorgeous wedding and family pictures.  I love her shooting and editing styling.  She captures a certain mood and depth in the colors.  That is the best way I can describe it.

When they posted a contest for a Mess the Dress session, I was all in!  I particularly like the fact that BG Productions calls it Mess the Dress as opposed to Trash the Dress because I really don’t want to trash it, tear it, paint it, burn it or do anything crazy to it.  I love my wedding dress and look for opportunities to wear it again like, say, out canoeing.

Mess the Dress canoeing - Photo credit: BG Productions

Or fishing with my husband.

Mess the Dress fishing - Photo credit: BG Productions

Hiking past a covered bridge.

Mess the Dress hiking - Photo credit: BG Productions

Or people watching in the park.

Mess the Dress in the park - photo credit: BG Productions

Cathie and Al nailed our Mess the Dress session and they are fun to work with!  We’ll certainly treasure these along with our actual wedding photos.  That concludes our year of posing for professional photos as a couple which began last fall with our engagement shoot.  Now we just have to get around to creatively framing and displaying our multitude of photos.  I wonder how many pictures of yourself is too many to have in your own house?

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accessorizing the bridal party

Hello!  Hello!  How was everyone’s weekend?  We are enjoying some unseasonably cool weather here.  It is like a fall preview.  I LOVE it.  But enough of the small talk.  I’m sharing more pics and deets from our wedding along with another DIY.

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Today we are chatting about accessorizing your peeps with flowers.  When to go fresh and when to go fabric.

DIY Fabric Boutonniere

In the name of organization, we knocked out a few boutonnieres months prior to the big day.  If you are a Circa Dee diehard, you may even recognize some of the fabric used.  I didn’t get crazy about sourcing the perfect fabric for these flowers.  Instead, just pulled scraps from previous upholstery projects in blues and neutrals that would complement the color scheme.  Bridezilla?  I think not.

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Hunter, our ring bearer, and Wilson’s escort has a more playful color palette with a splash of pink and aqua – kind of like the centerpieces.  His seersucker vest is from crewcuts.

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Wilson opted for a more traditional look with a matching seersucker bow tie and leash from etsy.

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He decided he’d like to take a seat during the ceremony rather than stand up front.  Seriously, I know.

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I’m obsessed with this dog.  Judge me if you want.  But first, just look at that face…

Dana & Ryan Cape May Wedding

Oh, hey!  Look at these dapper guys.  They went fresh in the flower department.

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Shawn, the best man, sported a throwback baby’s breath boutonniere that matched Leigh’s bouquet.

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That was a bit of a vintage spin on the personal flowers.  The baby’s breath bouquet and boutonnierre were easy to DIY.  I gathered a bunch and constructed them with floral tape covered with ribbon just a few days prior to the ceremony.

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What’s a wedding without a little air guitar?  Huh?  I can only imagine some Journey was being belted out of my gaping open mouth.  Don’t stop believing, friends.

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So Ryan and I went with fresh flowers.  (I’m really tempted to say “fresh to death” here because we were at the Jersey shore after all but I am refraining.  Or am I?)  Anyway, a fresh flower bouquet of with a pale color palette of thistle, roses, lisianthus, sweet pea, ranunculus and seeded eucalyptus…

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to match Ryan’s ranunculus boutonniere.

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These I cannot take credit for.  Our flowers were created on our wedding day by my very talented friend, Renee.

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She also helped construct the fabric boutonnieres months prior (among many other things!).

DIY Fabric Boutonniere

Now for the DIY… we simply cut long fabric scraps – say about 2 feet x 2 inches.  Twirled the fabric tightly round and round, hot gluing with each pass and strategically folding the fabric over to create the look of a blooming rose.  We garnished each a little differently with either lace ribbon (left from the invitations), mossy green wire or green raffia wire to create “leaves”.  Once complete, it was glued to felt backing and then to safety pins.  Easy.  And not just for weddings.  This DIY can totally be used to deck out kids backpacks, hats, etc.

I leave you with this image.  Aqua chucks.  The must have reception accessory for my dad.  For those who know him, you know Chucks are absolutely his style.  The aqua part is all mine.

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Photos by Love Shack Photo

pop goes the easel

Hi guys! As promised, I am back to tell you how we made our wedding table numbers.  I will also be sharing the secret to making them freestanding easels as I’ve been asked a few times now…

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In case you missed them, the wedding tablescape posts are here and here.

So my inspiration for the table numbers came from those adorably rustic vintage school slates.  I originally planned to collect enough to prop them up as table numbers.  Well, I found two.  And then stopped.  Twenty slates seemed like an excessive amount to seek out.

vintage school slates

source: Pinterest

After collecting more than enough silver pitchers and aqua mixing bowls for the centerpieces, I figured it was time to straight up DIY something.  And in this case, definitely more cost-effective too.

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With the style of the vintage slates in mind, Ryan cut plywood into twenty 5×7 pieces.  He then stained each walnut.  I love the color choice as it warmed them up just right.

DIY chalkboard table easel

He left me to the chalkboarding part.  I taped off an inch border on each board and painted the centers with chalkboard paint.

DIY chalkboard table easel

The internet is filled with chalkboard projects so I’m sure I don’t need to go into much more detail.

DIY chalkboard table easel

Speaking of the internet, this is the point where I started shopping online for little picture easels to buy individually.  I quickly found that it was going to run at least another $100 which seemed unreasonable for table numbers.

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Enter Ryan again.  The man with the plan.  Refreshed and recharged from his bachelor spa weekend in Woodstock.  Riiight.

Anyway, his big secret to the freestanding easel…

drumroll…PVC insulated industrial staples.

Boom.

staples

Just hammer it lightly in the back, don’t staple it. These are intended for electrical use but sure do double nicely as an indiscreet easel!  I also like that they are permanently attached as it was one less thing to keep track of in wedding planning & packing.

The secret to DIY chalkboard easel

Plus, I will be using these chalkboards as price tags/signs at popup vintage markets moving forward.

So that is the answer to the million dollar question, my friends.

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wedding tablescape

I am a hoarder.

I think we all know that by now.  That is pretty much how I ended up in this biz.  I love old stuff.  I love making stuff pretty.  I love collecting.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about my wedding centerpieces.

For months leading up to the big day, I collected silver water pitchers and teapots preferably tarnished.  A couple of antique champagne buckets as well.  In fact, I collected more than I needed.  Because I am a hoarder.

The shapes and sizes of the centerpieces alternated on each table with the floral palette being the commonality.

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I already had a growing collection of vintage aqua blue mixing bowls.  This is my mantel from last summer proudly displaying the collection which was growing rapidly at the time.

Mixing bowl collection  and a ladybug

The color scheme was just right for our wedding so I was determined to incorporate my personal collections into our centerpieces.

We had 20 guest tables, 4 food tables and like 10 cocktail tables, I think.  In my mind, they all needed to be adorned with fresh flowers.  Arranged by me.  Large and small.

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Was I nuts?  Maybe.  I like to think I came to my senses though when I came up with the brilliant idea of only arranging fresh flowers in half of the containers – mostly the silver pieces plus some blue ball jars which coordinated with our wedding invitation.

spring mason jar wedding invitation DIY blue green (5 of 10)

My solution to remaining sane was to arrange the other half of the centerpieces the weekend prior to the wedding.  I used flowering plants instead of fresh flowers since they would keep easily and that way I could divide and conquer on the centerpiece front.

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Each mixing bowl was filled with pink flowering vinca, trailing vines and succulents.  Topped with moss and Cape May wine corks.

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Bonus, most of these plants have been flowering in my garden all summer.  The wedding centerpieces were merely a layover for them!

Another collection of yellow McCoy planters in 3 sizes were displayed on the food stations.

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So that left the larger vessels which were arranged just a few days before the wedding, packed up and then driven across state lines.  I think I successfully pulled of the task.

flowers 2

Here’s a glimpse at what my kitchen turned floral shop looked like all in the name of DIY…

flowers

That makes me happy.

So I am going to tell you the secret to pulling off arranging your own wedding centerpieces without going insane.

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#1 Be Flexible

I was not committed to specific flowers, only a color scheme.  I arrived at the wholesale florist that particular day, 3 days before the grand event, and did what I do best.

Shopped.

Lilacs were in season so I started there and then built a springy palette around it.

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Having worked in flower shops for years, I know the old requests of “no mums or carns.  No babies breath.”  I grew to dislike all of those common flowers during my florist tenure.  But guess what, I got over it.  I actually like these and as Carrie Bradshaw once noted, pink carnations are making a comeback.  Yes, still.  I’m fond of the hot pink minis so into the arrangements they went.

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And the spin on mums?  Sunflower-esque pom pom mums.  Both these and the mini carnations are great filler flowers.

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Moss covered pods were a nod to Ryan’s woodsy style.  Pink waxflower, lisianthus, sunflowers, pink tulips, variegated pittosporum, green status and more…

I took my selections home to my kitchen turned floral studio and got to work filling antique champagne buckets, ice buckets, ball jars, silver water pitchers, tea pots and a few smaller mason jars to don the cocktail tables.

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#2 Be Organized

My to-do list was mostly completed at this point in the wedding planning process.  Had it not been, I don’t know that I could have pulled it off.

This tip is also two-fold.  You have to be organized from the beginning as it relates to collecting your vessels.  See: hoarding.

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Honestly, DIYing these centerpieces was probably the most zen part of wedding planning for me.  Other than the spa, of course.

If you are a DIYing bride with some floral design abilities, I have faith that you can tackle your own centerpieces too!  If not, you can always ask your florist to use your own collected vessels and vases to personalize your centerpieces.

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Next up…Ryan’s secret to getting the mini chalkboard table numbers to stand on their own.  And if you missed it, check out details on incorporating atlases into your tablescape here.

Centerpiece photos by Love Shack Photo

directional guidance

It has been a crazy busy summer already.  We’ve barely come up for air.  Honestly, a small cry from how we planned to spend our summer.  But someone once told me life is what happens when you make plans.  So true.  Less planning, more living.

So when we do get a minute to breath, we relish in reviewing our wedding photos over and over again. We notice something new every time and relive that perfect day when just about all of our friends and family were in the same place, just a few months ago.  Which, by the way, doesn’t help us select photos to frame and to put in an album nor determine which should end up on the cutting room floor, as they say.

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Speaking of, there are so many hysterical dance floor photos that I am considering posting an outtake reel here…although I may be disowned by a few people.  (If you beg me, I will totally post it though.)  Signature dance moves, silly faces and all.

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N-E-way, where did we leave off in the wedding DIY deets?  We talked about the cake and the must have cake table.

Dana & Ryan Cape May Wedding

We talked about the DIY trailhead highlighting where all of our friends and family traveled from.

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I think that transitions nicely into the map thang we had going on…

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I racked my brain over what to do with the table settings.  We knew right away that we would have food stations for dinner. This created a party atmosphere (which isn’t hard to do with our group) as opposed to a formal sit down dinner where people felt like they couldn’t get up and mingle as they please.  There is nothing wrong with that setting but it just wasn’t what we were going for.

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With all of that said, I didn’t want the tables to be bare either since the food would be served at the stations.

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Enter 160 atlas pages to the scene, my friends.  I found old and new ones.  The blue, green and yellow colors coordinated perfectly with our springy palette.  Each page served as a charger or place mat.  Also, a subtle nod to the “On the Way to Cape May” theme.  With a splash of burlap for good measure.  Oh and here’s a secret for you if this look is up your alley:  Take your atlases to FedEx/Kinko’s to have the pages cut in bulk.  It will save you hours upon hours of time tearing and cutting pages.

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Bonus, everyone was encouraged to scribble notes to us on their map.  This ended up being totally entertaining for guests as they waited for dinner and an icebreaker at a few tables.

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Plus, we jumped on the instagram trend and incorporated our own wedding hashtag (#recanize) and encouraged guests to share their candids.  It is a blast to relive them every time and we plan to make a little album of candids with maps as the scrapbook pages.  One of these days.

For brides-to-be out there, we placed note cards at each table communicating the hashtag info to guests…

instagram hashtag

Go ahead, take a look at the hashtag on instagram.  You know you want to.

And one more map for the road….ha, get it? Road? Ok.  Our guest book was a guest map which we framed.  People signed all over the country and of course Cape May had a little heart on it.  I found this on etsy.

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I have to admit that I restrained myself from being an etsy bride.  I only ordered this map, which was made locally, and Wilson’s seersucker bowtie and leash which is just priceless as far as I’m concerned.

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Next up…the centerpieces.  And why I might have been temporarily insane for doing them all myself just days before my wedding.  What was I thinking?  Come back on Friday to find out!

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All professional photos shot by the talented folks at Love Shack Photo.

let them eat cake

Can I tell you a story?

It involves drinking wine and eating cake.

I thought that would get your attention.

When planning my wedding, I was dead set on having a wine barrel as the cake table.  Well, actually first I was set on a vintage tea cart.  I found a really cute one last fall but after our cake tasting, I realized how large and in charge our 4-tier birch log inspired pound cake would be.  Out with the cutesy tea cart and in with the wine barrel idea.  Serious stature.

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So the wedding was rapidly approaching when I went on my Bucks county wine tour bachelorette party in April. Which was a blast by the way.  Then again, drinking wine in the middle of the day always is.  A group of friends and I boarded a Tastings & Tours bus which picked us up right at my house and took us around beautiful Bucks county.  (They also do wine tours in Cape May!)

Are you thinking what I was thinking?  Duh.  We were on a winery tour and I needed a wine barrel.

Enter my new favorite Bucks county winery, Buckingham Valley Vineyards, known for their sweet wines and laid back attitudes.  Oh yeah and their FREE tastings and incredible prices.  No this isn’t a sponsored post.  Well, I guess in a way it is…

I did what any cake table-less bride would do.  I asked the proprietor if he sells or rents wine barrels.  I explained my predicament to him and my desire to have a rustic wine barrel at my reception.  Do you know what happened next?

Yup, there was a wine barrel in the back of the tour bus.  Before I even finished my third tasting.

Dana & Ryan Cape May Wedding Love Shack Photo

And even more amazing is that it was a total loaner barrel.  The vineyard didn’t charge me anything for it.  In fact he didn’t even take my name.  He simply asked for my word that I would indeed return it.

That is what this country is built on.  Honesty and trust, my friends.

And wine and cake too.  Dream come true.

Don’t worry we returned that barrel promptly after our honeymoon sans the wine tour bus.  We didn’t leave empty handed in exchange for Buckingham Valley Vineyard’s gratitude.

If you are planning a wedding and considering this move, let me just tell you the reality of transporting and storing a wine barrel.  It is a BEAST.  I know that and I am pretty sure I never even lifted it.  And it took up like 20% of the garage while we were storing it.

Plus about 3 days before the wedding, I panicked that the top of the barrel wouldn’t be big enough to accommodate the cake.  I quickly ordered a custom piece of glass to be cut which roughly cost about 5 times the price of renting a standard cake table.  But hey, who’s keeping track?

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Moral of the story:  You’ll never know unless you ask.

All of the incredible cake images by Love Shack Photo