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?

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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

© Love Shack Photo

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

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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…

© Love Shack Photo

to match Ryan’s ranunculus boutonniere.

© Love Shack Photo

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

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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…

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

#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.

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

#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.

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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!

© Love Shack Photo

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.

© Love Shack Photo

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?

© Love Shack Photo

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

All of the incredible cake images by Love Shack Photo

a DIY trailhead

Ryan and I will be celebrating a big ol’ 2 months of marriage tomorrow.  In honor, I’m sharing a wedding DIY.

Remember our big tent?

We popped up a party under that thing just like we pop up a shop under our 10×10 at various markets.  Except this was like 100×100 or something cray-zay big.

© Love Shack Photo

For someone like me, it was a dream to be able to build my reception setting from the ground up.  In the beginning, I insisted on not having a narrow theme as I thought it was too kitschy.  Our theme sort of evolved as we continued to plan details.  So did the color scheme.  I will give you one guess.

Yeah, aqua blue.

And the theme was a little more subtle with a nod to “On the way to Cape May, I fell in love with you”.  How could we not, seriously?

© Love Shack Photo

Once there was an established theme we conjured some fun details to deck the bare corners of the tent and tables.  With our guests in mind, we put together a trailhead highlighting all of the cities they had traveled from to be with us on our big day.  It was essentially a destination wedding since about 3 people invited (and, ahem, not invited. I haven’t told you about our wedding crasher yet, have I?) actually live at the shore.

The trailhead was also a subtle nod to Ryan’s love of hiking.

making a wedding trailhead (3 of 7)

I’ve seen a number of versions of wedding trailheads on pinterest pointing to the direction of the cake, dancing, drinks, etc. but never one quite like this.  We were pretty excited about our concept.  Feel free to pin it!

We started with an old coat rack since we wanted something that was freestanding and didn’t need to be staked into the ground or anything.  I don’t have a true before pic but it was a wooden coat rack with 4 brass hooks.  One was totally busted so it was super cheap.  I saved the 3 good hooks for a future project.  The base of the coat rack got a wash of milk paint in Ironstone.

making a wedding trailhead out of a coat rack

Here’s a roll of fencing that I’ve been hoarding.

making a wedding trailhead out of old picket fencing

I bought this at a yard sale a couple of years ago.  I share that because I don’t want you to think I stole it off of a sand dune that is now blowing away without the fence allowing the ocean to recede onto the road flooding everything in sight.  No.  Someone else probably did that and then I paid for it.  Or maybe it is actually just guilt-free garden fencing.

Anyway, I pulled each picket out after making a list of how far our guests’ home towns were in miles from Cape May.  With nothing more than a sharpee marker, I printed the city and miles shifting the orientation of the trail point somewhat haphazardly.  No one said it had to be exact.  We left the fencing color as-is since it gave some character to our trailhead and matched the Ironstone base pretty well.

making a DIY wedding trailhead

Enter Ryan.  The man with the power tools who assembled the project.

How to DIY a wedding trailhead

In the making, we had a bit of a duh moment.  We were destined to have white screws so they’d sort of blend in.  After searching the hardware store high and low for the right screws we turned to spray paint. Duh.  I paint everything else, how did I not think of that off that bat?  It took 2 seconds to pop the screws into a discarded box and lightly spray the heads.  Let that be a lesson to you my friends.  Spray your screws any darn color your choose because they pretty much only come in silver, black and brass.

poke screws in box to quickly change the color with spray paint

And of course, we couldn’t forget Cape May 0 miles, known locally as Exit Zero.  And known to us as Happily Ever After.  I’m so cheesy…

© Love Shack Photo

This was a lot of words for a 1-2-3 project.  But I’m chatty today.  I hope you like our version of the wedding trailhead.  By the way, don’t our friends and family live in some great cities?

© Love Shack PhotoDIYing a trailhead

All wedding photographs were shot professionally by Love Shack Photo.  All DIY photographs were DIY’d by me.

i do

Waking up this morning, I felt like Charlotte York the day she married Harry in season six of Sex and the City. You know the episode when she sprung out of bed as soon at the NY Times hit her door step. Only to find that there was a smudge on the page above her lip giving her an inky mustache.

I can assure you that there is no smudge on our love story in the Philadelphia Inquirer today.  You can read all about how Ryan and I met and how our wedding day played out on philly.com or in the paper.

If you are new here, welcome!  I certainly hope you’ll stick around for a while.  I’ll be posting wedding DIY tips and snippets throughout the summer plus the usual vintage furniture rehabs.  You can also learn more about Circa Dee and how Ryan & I spend our time on the About page.  Details about where you can find Circa Dee goods are listed on our Shop page.  In the meantime, I’ve included photos below from our wedding day leading up to the big “I do” at the Cape May Ferry Terminal.

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Love Shack Photo: Portraits-Ferry Terminal © Love Shack Photo

Photo credit: Love Shack Photo

pops

Happy Father’s Day to the best Dad out there!

Dana & Ryan Cape May Wedding Love Shack Photo

My Dad.  Pops as he’s known to most.

Dana & Ryan Cape May Wedding Love Shack Photo

I hope you had a marvelous day with the Dads in your life!

Dana & Ryan Cape May Wedding Love Shack Photo

Photo credit: Love Shack Photo