They say that June is wedding month. I'm not sure I've ever been to a wedding in June, though! After yesterday's near 100 degree temperatures swept across the Commonwealth, I think I know why.
Almost four years ago, we scheduled an October wedding. My husband and I are fall and winter people. I love Central Kentucky in the fall - the sharp chilliness of the mornings that blossom into beautiful blue skied afternoons full of a backdrop of brilliant leaves.
Our outdoor wedding was billed as a backyard barbecue party that just so happened to have a wedding thrown in. My husband had already done the wedding thing once before, so he gave me a few of his "must-haves" for our wedding/party and left me to go crazy. Funny enough, I was never a girl who spent her adolescence planning her nuptials. I had no idea what I wanted, but I knew I wanted something that felt authentic to us - fun and casual with touches of sentimentality that reflected our individuality.
While my wedding may have taken place before Pinterest, it did not take place before Martha Stewart Weddings, Rock n Roll Bride, or Weddingbee. I may not have had pinboards galore, but I had Google docs full of links, pictures and lists of ideas! Since we wanted to keep our wedding small and personal, I decided to do quite a bit of DIY. I also had lots of help from my wonderful family and friends. These are just a few of the personal touches that I feel made our wedding special for us.
The bridesmaids found dresses off the rack within the color scheme (green and brown) and rocked their favorite boots while groomsmen wore button-down shirts and their most comfortable jeans (as did the groom). I made my own wedding dress - wonky hem and all, I loved it.
I made our bouquets - sheaves of wheat with brown ribbon - from supplies in the bargain bins at the craft store.
photo by Clay Jackson
The wedding took place in the backyard of my parents' home. We decorated with handmade votive lanterns along the fencerow - my family and friends saved all their salsa, peanut butter and spaghetti jars for months!
Luckily, we had a tent with walls that kept out the chilliest October day in recent memory (boo!). Also luckily, my parents had a supply of firewood for a late-in-the-reception bonfire. Of course, that bonfire was the site of quite a few rounds of bourbon passed around the circle - something of a family tradition. I, eventually, donned a pair of blue jeans underneath my dress because I got so chilly.
Inside, the tent was filled with lanterns, votives and table decorations that were simply squares of fabric topped with centerpieces that featured photos from our travels and favorite quotes.
With the help of the internet, our officiant (who also happened to be my cousin) and my own flair for the dramatic, I wrote the marriage ceremony and our vows. In true Jason-and-Lydia inappropriateness, we first sealed our marriage pronouncement with a high-five (we got to the more traditional kiss later).
photo by Clay Jackson; I also made the banner in the background here
Food was handmade by my awesome aunts, uncles and friends of the family. We had some authentic, kick-ass, best-in-the-whole-world Western Kentucky barbecue (St. Augustine Catholic Church recipe) made by my uncles paired with potato salad, pasta salad and appetizers made by my aunts and served buffet-style. No one needs fancy flatware with that menu, so I made easy-to-carry and cute flatware packets.
photo by Clay Jackson
My handy dad crafted a dance floor for the reception. On the backs of our RSVP cards, I asked our guests to write three songs that they'd request from a wedding DJ. I used those, plus our own favorites and family traditional wedding songs (we do an awesome number to Shout! but aren't big on The Chicken Dance) to construct a 3+ hour dance-til-you-drop playlist.
Our wedding was a labor of love for me. I relished choosing and crafting all the little details. During one of our dances together, my not-always-enthusiastic-about-the-details husband whispered, "This is perfect. I'll never doubt any of your crazy ideas, again! Thank you."
In the end, of course, it was one day - one awesome day - but only one day of so many that make up a marriage. For us, it was the perfect way to publicly commemorate our commitment to one another and to share the love with our families and friends.
If you're planning a wedding, you don't have to DIY everything or have the biggest and best of everything for your day to be special. Look for ways to make sure that you and your relationship shine through. Make it meaningful, make it real and you won't go wrong.