In an earlier post, I teased (read: threatened) that I would share more details of handmade triumphs from my sister's wedding. Well, finally, I have culled through the 8GB worth of pictures my husband took that weekend to try to highlight a few of those details here.
Handmaking was a family affair for this wedding. One aunt made the invitations (with a little help from me); another aunt arranged--nay, architected--the flowers, my sister's fiancé designed the entire menu (he's a fantabulous chef); and I whipped up earrings and fans, hemmed pants, and whip-stitched necklines at the very last minute. Our aunt contributed her Badgley Mischka (pause to breathe) wedding dress, and incredibly generously gave my sister the go-ahead to have it completely remade (by hand, of course) to suit her willowy frame. My best friend also contributed another handmade something borrowed--a beaded bag I made for her wedding 6 years ago. I hope you enjoy these snapshots of a few of my favorite details:
The wedding we held on the lawn at Garden Creek in Yonges Island, SC. Garden Creek is a tiny, private tidal creek below a bluff on which our aunt and our uncle each own homes, side-by-side. The water laps at the bluff and is dotted liberally with the vibrant green of the South Carolina salt marsh. So my sister wanted to evoke the gentle waves of the marsh grasses on her invitation. Our aunt designed a two-layered invitation--a vellum overlay with the invitation wording (handwritten by moi, then sliced, diced, and vectorized for printing) and an underlayment with swaying green grasses imprinted on it. They came out beautifully, I think.
It was a given that our other aunt, who is a landscape artist known all over town for her amazing plantings full of color and movement, would do the flowers for my sister's wedding. She had done them for mine, and they were, without a doubt, my favorite detail. She asked my sister for guidance. My sister, who has short, pixie-like hair said, "I want them to be really colorful. And I want them to look like my hair."
With fuchsia orchids, yellow freesia, blue delphinium, red gerbera daisies, coral snapdragons, swirling sweet peas, green hydrangeas, and tiny ranunculus, these flowers captured the essence of my sister's life-long love affair with color. And when a couple of the arrangements came home to live with me, they were so well made that they lasted for days and kept the memories of the day just as fresh.
My sister and her fiancé didn't want a big, fussy wedding, so they had no attendants. But they did want my little boy to help them when it came time for the rings. Because the groom, who is the idol of all children with whom he comes in contact, wore a beautiful, tailored chef's coat, rather than a tuxedo, my son wanted to wear one too. Of course, to get the look right, he also needed black pants. Do you know how hard it is to find black pants for a three-year-old? Hard. Luckily, the uniforms section at Target had them in a size 4. They fit beautifully (thanks to the invention of those adjustable elastic/button waist-bands--whoever came up with those is a genius!), except for the 5 extra inches in length. For the sake of verisimilitude, I overcame my fear of hemming, lopped off the excess and set to sewing. Which was working great until I ran out of black thread. On the morning of the wedding. With three hours till we needed to leave the house. And with my jewelry and 50 fans left to make.
Somehow, though, the stars aligned. Thread was purchased and hems were sewn. Green paper was cut and punched and glued (while en route to the wedding--all hail the Martha Stewart ballpoint glue pen!) to giant popsicle sticks for fans. My sister hadn't asked for the fans, but I was worried about bugs, and, in the end, I think a lot of people were glad they were there--even if they weren't the extravagant papercut design of my dreams--during the buggy witching hour at dusk.
And, of course, I needed jewelry. Which, naturally, I had been planning in my head for weeks--fierce coral to contrast with my taupe dress and coordinate with my coral patent leather flats--with only one small problem. I had no fierce coral anything to work with. Lucky for me I was already out on a thread buying mission--I stopped in at the bead store and found exactly what I'd been imagining--tiny orange-y red glass beads and dyed quartz briolettes in shades ranging from cherry to chinese red to coral. I tend to design more heavily architected pieces than this, but I think the loose, organic zigzag was just right.
Truth be told, "the bag" (it is known amongst my family and friends simply as "the bag" for reasons that will shortly become apparent, I think) didn't really even make an entrance at this wedding. And even though I made it, and I carried it at my wedding, I am kind of at a loss as to why a person would need a foufy little handbag at a wedding. But, practicalities aside, my sister deeply appreciated that our friend had shared it with her; perhaps a tradition has been born--the bag can be passed from woman to woman with a wink and a nod, a warm presence during the surreal twilight hour before the actual wedding takes place, a reminder that others have been in this place before. It never really needs to be used.
The bag came about during a cold and lonely winter when I was living alone in Columbia, SC, while my then-boyfriend (now husband) was still in Los Angeles. I lived in a crummy apartment (no, I mean REALLY crummy--think fake wood paneled walls and brown molded shag carpet IN EVERY ROOM--even the woodwork was painted a high-gloss brown) whose miseries were mitigated only by the fact that I, through no effort on my part, had been the beneficiary of free cable since moving in. So with endless episodes of TLC shows at my disposal, I was totally up for a craft challenge. When my best friend showed me pictures of the bags she was pining for--$300 and $400 and $500 bags--I felt sure I could do something just as lovely and for next to no money.
4500 tiny white seed beads later, I had fashioned a fabric made entirely of beads, each sewn to four other beads. And I had gone slightly insane. By the time I was ready to line the bag and add the marabou I was about an hour late to catch my plane. Still, in the early morning hours of a post-bachelorette hangover, in the Koreatown Red Roof Inn on 32nd street in New York, I finished the bag. I had put a lot of love into that bag, and as much as each stitch had been made with my friend in mind, I felt a pretty powerful sense of ownership. So it is so gratifying to have had "the bag" make an appearance at my wedding and now my sister's, and hopefully more to come. (If my friend has her way, the next time the bag will be in service will be at the wedding of our two children. To which I say, "Down, girl!")
Whew! Thanks for indulging me in all this wedding-y stuff--back to the more general crafty bits next time. If you have questions about any of the projects we did, contact me or leave a comment--I'm always happy to offer advice, especially when asked. And if you are looking for an awesome destination wedding site, Garden Creek will soon be available--contact me for if you want more details!