Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Unique and Modern Wedding Ideas

I have a long tradition of being on the fringe of the wedding industry. One of my first jobs as an apprentice costumer for TV and movies eventually led to designing wedding gowns for a pretty fabulous boutique. I was in my early twenties and while I had no plans to get hitched to my adoring and very committed partner, I absolutely dove into my love of the actual "stuff" that goes with weddings. It became a passion of mine to study them and catalog the best, most unique and beautiful ideas I happened across. Then my little sister got a job at a boutique across the water (think west coast) in the very uppity town that I grew up in, and she would give me a weekly update on who was marrying whom and which dress they had bought and how much it cost and whether or not they should have chosen another. I ended up being involved in the planning process of many high end affairs. What I realized was that although many people would spend a fortune on their event, they very seldom took the time to think about whether or not the details actually meant anything to them. The point was definitely to trump whatever it was that the last girl in the group had done with a higher price tag and a flashier brand name. I became very frustrated with the entire industry.

Eventually, many tiara wearing parties later, I moved on and eventually found my way to my current quiet home where it seems that people do not get married. If they do, it is a bbq at the beach. This take on the whole thing actually fits my values and ideals far better than the extravagant affairs that Martha likes to sift through. But the reality is that still, I covet the idea of having an excuse to pull together all the pretty ideas that I have never stopped filing away. This is why I get excited whenever I run across something I have never seen. I mean, people have been doing this for ages, LOTS of people. It is really hard to find something unique. And there are probably seven thousand bridal monthlies out there... at least! And as a handmade anything devotee who shuns anything conventional, I especially get happy shiny thoughts over special, one of a kind, sentimental and individual touches. These products and ideas are some of my favourites, old and new.

My favourite thing to give the couple as part of their gift is something that I have never seen copied and it has brought every bride to tears. I use it at baby showers too. The only thing is that you have to give it to them after the fact. I usually ask the brides mother to steal a blossom or two from the bouquet and then take a few choice samples from the rest of the flowers... a boutonniere, from the cake, table centerpieces, etc. Press them and then arrange them on parchment or some stunning paper that you have copied either the vows or a beautiful piece of poetry. Sign it with something sentimental and the dates and then have it professionally matted and framed.

Another thought is to have one special blossom pressed and placed into a glass frame pendant for a stunning necklace.

As far as decor is concerned there are FAR too many ideas to list them here. A sampling of things that have caught my eye...

nifty table numbers

Love moss on a table

a cloud of butterflies

love the hanging vases with the ribbons

A new super brilliant idea? is now possible to engrave a band with an ENTIRE poem! Or your vows if they are not crazy long.

I have a certain kind of attachment to neato place card settings. I don't know why, but when I come across a new idea, I get all excited, thinking that someday I will throw the perfect party to use it at. I love these...

These are cups of chocolate pudding with cookie crumbs for dirt :) YUM!

Guest books have become sort of the new tradition to mess around with. The ideas that some people have come up with are pretty fabulous.

A pretty plate collection integrating signed plates

I don't actually know what this is for but it looks
to me like it could be a great polaroid camera setup...
IF that were a polaroid camera.

BellaPuzzles custom jigsaws lets guests sign
a piece, engagement photo on reverse... way cool!

I adore tiny envelopes.

Years ago, a good friend got married, and when she sent out the invites to her friends and family, she included a square of silk and pretty instructions to turn it into something beautiful that represented their relationship and that of the bride and groom. Coming from a background of artists, this woman ended up with a hand painted, beaded, embroidered and batiked collection of squares that her mother stitched together into a STUNNING quilt. It was hung at the reception and each guest had a great time picking out their square and telling everyone about it. The couple took it home and those happy thoughts and memories still keep them warm today.

I turned this idea into my current business of embroidering Celebration Quilts. These quilts are meant to either take the place of a traditional guest book, or be used as an extension thereof. Each guest purchases a square and sends a wish for the couple that is embroidered onto luxurious natural fabrics and when everyone has responded, the quilt is sewn up and shipped in time for it to be hung at the wedding. So far this has been a very rewarding endeavor and more than once it has brought a tear to my eye when I hear the background to a particular sentiment, or see the emotion it brings out in those who receive it. It means that people who are unable to attend the wedding can still get in on wishing the couple well and knowing that it won't just sit on a coffee table gathering dust is a bonus!

If you would like more information on the quilts, please follow these links...

Thanks so much to Scoutie Girl for making me get my butt in gear and setting up the listings for Etsy so i could do a proper post! Check out her blog for more great ideas.


KmoRakefet said...


Sunny Haralson said...

I love the moss, and the playing card table numbers. Good job, martha stewart.

kimberj said...

I made an art quilt of the couples home in a lakeside village. The back was solid pale green and the guests stopped and signed it to get their table number. Once everyone arrived it was hung over the gift table. Both bride (beloved niece) and groom were in tears when they saw it. We took it to the rehearsal the night before so the wedding party could sign it. The couple did not see it until it was hung.

Shugee said...

Andrea! Get out! The wedding band thing is awesome! Okay, this is like one of the best things I've heard since learning about how many fonts are actually out there. Thanks for sharing the love!
Off to look at their site!

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