Monday, October 28, 2013

We Do! Our Lakeside Wedding Ceremony

Hey, look! This one time, I was a really lucky bride who got to stand by the side of Old Hickory Lake on a beautiful day and marry the nicest, smartest, silliest, gentlest, most thoughtful man I know. And he looked really great in his gray suit. But I'm getting ahead of myself!

Early that morning, the back porch at my parents' lake house looked like this. I sat on the steps and sipped my morning coffee while my Mom painted my toenails. I kept channeling Jesse Pinkman and giggling like mad: "It's my wedding, bitches!" In a few hours, the back porch would be filled with friends, reunited family, happy chatter, and gold chiavari chairs. For a few peaceful hours, though, it looked like this. And it was glorious.

While friends and family took their seats, I waited in the house with our friends and my parents. Aside from a small worry that my tulle skirt might catch on the wooden steps, I don't remember feeling nervous until the processional music started, and then I just felt like I might cry out of respect and awe for what we were about to do.

Our friends walked out to The Luckiest by Ben Folds. I chose it because Ben Folds is one of the first musicians Keith really loved, and when Keith was younger he traveled to see him play on a regular basis. Our attendants stood at the front in order by how long we'd known them; the longer they'd been part of our lives, the closer they stood to us during the ceremony. So our newest friends, Lauren, Brent, and Stephanie walked out first...

Followed by a friend who values her online privacy very highly, so I'm not going to post her picture. Next our youngest siblings, Keith's brother Sam and my sister Kelly, entered...

Followed by Keith's brother Ryan and my sister Erin...

And finally our very best friends. Keith's friend Cal was his best man, and Samantha was my maid of honor.

Samantha's son Isaac was our ring bearer, and he was wonderful. He carried our rings so gently and carefully, and he ascended the steps very, very slowly. I think he was loving all the attention! I vividly remember the moment Sam told me she was expecting Isaac: Keith and I were on one of our first dates when I received the call. I was so excited, I went outside and jumped up and down and screeched on the sidewalk in front of 3 Crow Bar. Isaac and Keith came into my life at the same time, so it was surreal and sort of perfect to have Isaac carry our rings.

And then... the big reveal! I walked down the aisle to Flowers in the Window by Travis, and if you don't know that song I urge you to look it up on Spotify right now. I've put Flowers in the Window on at least half the music mixes I've made since I first heard it eleven years ago. And it describes exactly how I feel about our relationship: When we first met, Keith was sort of "a melting snowman," and being together has warmed and changed us both for the better. Once I selected it for the processional, I had to practice listening to it without crying--it wasn't easy.

I walked down the aisle with both of my parents. I don't believe in "giving away" the bride, but since both of my parents raised me, loved me, and showed me what marriage looks like, I was glad that they both showed their support for me and Keith by walking me down the aisle. Also, I kind of wanted someone on either side of me in case I stumbled on the steps. *grin*

And then it all clicked into place, and I don't have words for a lot of what happened next.

Keith's mother read "Union" by Robert Fulghum:

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way.

All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, "When we're married", and continued with "I will" and "you will" and "we will" – all those late night talks that included "someday" and "somehow" and "maybe" – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.

The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, "You know all those things that we've promised, and hoped, and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word." Look at one another and remember this moment in time.

Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same. 

For after today you shall say to the world – This is my husband. This is my wife.

We did it!!! We exited to Do You Realize? by the Flaming Lips. We both felt completely JUBILANT!!!

All photos in this post are by Aaron Yung Photography.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Let Them Eat Wedding Cake.

Sweets aren't really my thing, and one of the few wedding details I didn't think about very much was our wedding cake. Immediately after we got engaged, someone asked me what kind of cake I wanted. I said, "One with parakeets on top." That's all I cared about. So I'm surprised that I ended up loving our cake so much. It was made by Becker's Bakery, and I walked into their shop about two months ago and told them I needed a cake. "What kind of cake?" they asked. "Umm... a wedding cake?" I was so clueless! 

I flipped through their portfolio and quickly realized I like simple cakes that actually look like there might be some food under all the icing. The book shaped cakes were tempting, but I skipped the artistic shapes and scary food coloring. Instead, I chose something more classic. Our florist, Elaine McCord, decorated the cake with fresh flowers and leaves. I think she did a wonderful job! Of course, the parakeets are my favorite part. Normally, the blue one sits on top of my monitor at work, and the green one sits in Keith's cubicle. 

There's a story behind them: When we were still getting to know each other, I learned that Keith took Russian in college. I asked, "How do you pronounce your name in Russian?" He said, "Keet." My eyes lit up, and I said, "Oh! So when you get married someday, instead of being Mr. and Mrs. Williams, you can be a pair o'Keets!" That was bad, right? Despite the bad pun (or maybe because of it?), Keith fell in love. And parakeets became our thing. At the wedding, we displayed the parakeet story in a picture frame next to our cake. I barely even got to taste our wedding cake, now I smile every time I look at pictures of it.

Also: Dress teaser pic!!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Our Wedding Decor: An Eclectic Mix of Books, Mercury Glass, Birds, Texture, and Shine

I'm so excited to finally share our wedding pictures with you! I spent the last six months designing and assembling the look of our wedding and reception, and I'm thrilled by how it all came together. I wanted a classic, timeless look. And since we were married at the side of Old Hickory Lake, we chose a palette inspired by the natural landscape: Watery blue, driftwood brown, and metallics that mimic sun glinting off of the water. All these photos are of our actual wedding, and they were taken by Aaron Yung Photography.

I started from the bottom up, with linens. I wanted simple white tablecloths with an interesting runner to draw the eye toward the centerpieces. I envisioned runners with neutral colors and luxurious textures; I wanted something interesting but not loud. Most of the colors offered by our rental company were too bright, and their neutral linens with interesting textures were very expensive. Since my mother is a seamstress, she offered to sew table runners. WIN! We chose a metallic bronze and a champagne and icy blue brocade. Then we waited and bought the fabric during a sale, and used a coupon to get an extra discount. It ended up being cheaper than renting!  

For centerpieces, I wanted floral arrangements with an assemblage of pretty books, candlesticks and tea lights, mercury glass, and objects with architectural shapes. I really wanted variety in the height and items, so the tables didn't all look the same. My Mom and I spent months collecting tea light holders, candlesticks, objets d'art, and silver trays from thrift stores. I collected all the books. We rounded it out with some pieces from TJ Maxx.  

I originally intended to make all the flowers, but that was crazy. So we hired Elaine McCord to do floral arrangements for the tables, and I love what she made. I asked her to mix white lilies, roses, and hydrangea with lots of things that aren't flowers. I chose fuzzy Lamb's Ear and Dusty Miller, spiky artichokes, round green berries, delicate ferns, and woody lotus seed pods. I love the juxtaposition of textures!

The table numbers were the finishing touch. I designed them myself and used clip art from The Graphics Fairy. I used lots of bird clip art, because parakeets have sentimental value to us--but I'll explain that later. The table numbers sat on the tables in vintage picture frames, which I found at Southern Thrift for $0.39 apiece. I was so proud of that deal.

The books, birds, and colors were perfect. It felt so US. It was magical!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Just Married!

After six months of planning, one amazingly beautiful wedding day, and a week in Oahu, Keith and I are officially Mr. and Mrs.! Everyone says this, but I'm surprised by how fast the wedding day came and went. It was pretty perfect: We both cried just a little during the ceremony, ate dinner together privately while our guests had a round of cocktails, and then we partied all night with everyone before making our getaway to the Opryland Hotel. We both felt completely triumphant at the end of the day!

I'll share all the details and more pictures as soon as I receive all the digital images from our photographer. For now, here's a breakdown of our wedding day, by the numbers:
  • Zero: Number of dogs who peed on the bride. My parents' dog tried to pee on my dress during our first look! Keith's quick reflexes saved the day.
  • One: Number of arachnid wedding crashers. A white spider parachuted in out of nowhere and landed on my cheek during the ceremony.
  • Three: Number of times I jumped up and down after kissing my husband and before proceeding up the aisle.
  • 854: Photos taken by our photographer... And I promise you'll get to see lots of them soon!
  • 8,192: Number of miles travelled by the guests who came the furthest to witness our nuptials.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Hello, WarLock Manor! Or, Meet the New and Improved Shock the Bourgeois.

I'm getting married tomorrow, and there are no words for how excited I am. So instead of discussing that, I'm going to point your attention toward a completely different piece of happy news: My favorite blogger is back, and I'm thrilled! I told Keith, "The internet is giving me a wedding present."
Dark walls and classic lines, as seen at Shock the Bourgeois
I discovered Elizabeth's former blog, One Must Shock the Bourgeois, in mid 2010. I quietly followed like, um, a shy person who is shy, never commenting much but greatly admiring her style and restraint. She embraces an aesthetic I don't see anywhere else: She has a very traditional, classic style, which she embellishes with touches of gothic glamour. Think Ballard Designs meets jeweled skulls and strange but beautiful cabinets of curiosity.
Elizabeth at Shock the  Bourgeois' cabinet of curiosity
I thought she was wonderfully sophisticated: Everyone else was into kitsch and Mid-Century, while she eschewed the trends and went for classic glamour with a gothic twist. She makes jewelry and enjoys tablescaping, too, which is something I'd never even heard of until I read One Must Shock the Bourgeois. The idea of setting a beautiful table really took hold in my mind when we got engaged, and I went through her old posts to get ideas for our wedding registry.
A beautiful place setting from Shock the Bourgeois
Elizabeth abruptly stopped blogging in early 2012, with no dramatic flounce... just radio silence. She continued tweeting, mostly pictures of cats, but I missed her interior design updates. So I was THRILLED when she recently tweeted that her new blog would be live on October 3! The new blog is called War-Lock Manor, a clever combination of her surname and that of her husband. It looks like they've been busy making a brick Tudor their own, and they're going to "open the doors" to various rooms online in the coming weeks. Bookmark the blog now. You won't regret it.
Mood Board by Elizabeth as seen on Shock the Bourgeois
I'm not going to be blogging for a while, and in my absence I hope you enjoy exploring Elizabeth's nuanced aesthetic. Wedding festivities begin in earnest this afternoon, and I'll be back soon with a new name and husband! Please wish us luck.