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

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.