Our Night to Remember

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.

photo by Clay Jackson 

I made our bouquets - sheaves of wheat with brown ribbon - from supplies in the bargain bins at the craft store.
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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!
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photo by Clay Jackson
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.

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photo by Clay Jackson

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.

photo by Clay Jackson 

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).

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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.

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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.

Wedding Dance
photo by Clay Jackson

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.

Her Kentucky Entertaining: A Piece of Home in the Big City

Her Kentucky is thrilled to present a guest post from Amy Hille Glasscock.  Amy works on energy issues as a lobbyist by day, and by night she likes to throw parties of all sorts.  Amy is from Berea, Kentucky, holds degrees from Berea College and the University of Kentucky and currently lives in Washington, DC with her husband, Will and their cat, Kira.  When she isn't planning a party she likes to blog about her party adventures at MidCitySaturdays.com

This past weekend my husband and I held our annual holiday party at our apartment in Washington, DC. I think the most comments I received came from one item of holiday décor we had prominently displayed over our dining table. It was rustic, yet elegant, modern yet timeless, rough yet sparkling. And I’m going to tell you how to make it too!

You see, a few years ago I saw a picture of a white branch with Christmas ornaments hanging over a dining table as a DIY suggestion in the cb2 catalogue. It seemed like a fun idea, but utterly impossible to recreate in an apartment in the city. First of all you have to find a branch. This requires some sort of recent severe storm to have occurred so that you can walk to a park and find a branch worthy of your project. If I were to find the perfect branch I would hope that it would be in the exact length I desired because I certainly do not have a saw in my small tool box! Then I would have to walk to the local hardware store and buy a can of spray paint, which wouldn’t be that hard, but there also wouldn’t be a great selection (I do love and support my local hardware store though!). But then where do I spray this thing? The only options would be to borrow a friend’s yard (I have no friends with yards) or carefully cover my patio in newspaper so that I do not spray any of the concrete. It’s just not easy.

When my husband and I decided to drive home to Kentucky this Thanksgiving instead of flying, a light bulb popped up over my head and I thought “branches, painting, sawing, crafting, Kentucky!” Yes, my old Kentucky home, where all things are easier. As soon as I got to Kentucky, I picked up a can of glossy white paint at Lowe’s. Then my dad and I walked around in the woods at their home outside of Berea looking for the perfect branch. His recommendation was to look for cedar or pine as most of the bark would already be gone. After about 45 minutes of searching (so many options!) my dad went to get his saw and I sawed a great branch off of a fallen cedar tree.
I was able to spray to my heart’s content outside at my parents’ place without ruining anything except for some grass that will grow back. It took me a couple of days to spray the branch. I ended up getting a different can of paint with a built in primer which worked much better than the first can (dried wood is very absorbent). It didn’t end up being super glossy white, but it looked more rustic and I was definitely okay with that. I asked Dad if he could spare some extra fishing line for hanging the branch, and he gladly cut off about six feet. When it was time to load the car and head back to DC, the branch fit in the back seat easily.
Fast forward to last week (oh, and yes, we had a lovely Thanksgiving, and you?). We used the fishing line to attach the branch to our light fixture above the table and found some sparkly purple and silver ornaments at Target to hang from the branch (with white thread). I saw a similar purple and silver branch display in a Manhattan store front the week before and was inspired by the color combination. 

Come party time last Saturday, with the lights down, and candles lit, our branch looked suspended in mid- air and absolutely fantastic! The total cost was about $15 and the new ornaments accounted for $10 of that. You may already have some you’d like to use! 

While the hanging holiday branch was beautiful, it also represented in some ways a combination of where I’m from and where I live now. I couldn’t have done it without the resources available to me back home and help from my parents, but the inspiration came from a catalogue and a city sidewalk dressed in holiday style.