Once I finished the three hardback wedding albums for Austin's parents and two sets of grandparents, it was time to work on my parents'. I knew it'd become a labor of love because there was so much to include---they are the reason we got to have the little wedding of our dreams and it's a gift that keeps on giving! I ended up using Shutterfly yet again, but did everything custom page-by-page, using their blank canvas option. I love the image wrap hardbacks for our parents/grandparents' albums, as long as they have the matte finish. A sampling of the seventy-page book is below. Next up is ours, which will probably take me six months (let's be honest here.)
Since I was a little girl, I've dreamt of having my wedding announcement in Charleston Magazine one day, and here it is. Honestly my favorite part about this full-circle moment is the particular issue we landed in---could the cover BE any more up my alley!? And there's also a huge spread on all the farmers markets in town. Wow, lovely coincidence! The April issue is absolutely killin' it and it has nothing to do with our little mugs on page 184. But that certainly did manage to tickle me pink. All the sweet notes from friends who spotted it made me giddy, especially since I was far from Charleston magazine racks and hadn't seen the announcement until a few days ago. My copy has finally made it to our mailbox!
Planning our honeymoon is far more fun that I intended! Perhaps it's all the organizing and scheduling, precisely timing things out that I enjoy--it's so reminiscent of my old job. Perhaps we're just excited to go somewhere we've never been, but what excites us the most is obviously the FOOD. Food, views, food, views, that's enough for us! Every time we travel, we are quite budget conscious, and this trip is no exception. We were lucky enough to get help with this thanks to our sweet wedding guests who went the adventurous route and ordered something off the "honeymoon" category of our registry. We already have a handful of gift cards towards restaurants and hotels in wine country! We are timing things out due to restaurant hours, farmers market times, sunset times, driving routes, tee times, etc. Other than that Type-A tendency, it'll be a relaxing respite from everyday life, especially since we've vowed to unplug for most of of each day, a much-needed task to take on. We scored a cute little cottage in Sonoma on airBNB that we will call home base (it includes bikes, woo!) but from there we will explore quite extensively in our little nugget of a rental car. Another strategy to cover more ground for less money: we are taking the FIRST flight out of Austin (crack of dawn) to San Francisco and taking the last flight out of a different airport (San Jose) in order to see more stuff, optimize our days, and avoid an additional night of lodging.
Day 1: Land in San Francisco, Pick up tiny car.
Ferry Building Marketplace, picnic overlooking Golden Gate, explore hipster neighborhoods like The MIssion, dinner at April Bloomfield's Tosca.
Days 2-4: Based in Sonoma, but explore by car:
Yountville, Napa, Calistoga, Berkeley, play a round of golf
Eat at Solbar at Solage, Auberge du Soleil, Chez Panisse, Ad Hoc, Bouchon, try to loiter around The French Laundry and its garden, etc.
Day 5: Drive down Hwy 1 for a scenic route to Pebble Beach, Carmel-by-the-Sea, fly out of San Jose that night
So I finally got around to making the first of three different wedding albums. Hallelujah. We gave it to Austin's parents on Easter and it is filled with photos considerate of the Morgans as an audience---photos of their family and such. We're ordering smaller versions through Shutterfly of this Morgan album for Austin's grandparents. Next up will be my parents' album, which will most likely be thoughtfully designed in InDesign and printed through Blurb or Artifact Uprising. It will be filled with detail shots, since they gave us this wedding and I want them to be able to look back on every last detail. Finally our album will most likely be an InDesign file submitted to Blurb or Artifact Uprising with either an artistic image wrap cover or a linen cover. Gotta keep it classy, haven't decided. LOVE how this first one turned out though! Another goal is to actually share and print photos before our six month anniversary. So I officially have just a month left until I'm a slacker.
I realized one day I got a taste of the kool-aid and became quite interested in these mini wedding trailers you see these days. I knew I couldn't afford the major-motion-picture worthy vendors, but I knew a talented photographer who happens to also shoot video, and from there our friendship also allowed creative license and (generously enough) my input along the way. So Michael Parks Photography covered the wedding day via cinematography and the results are so entertaining. We have hours and hours of raw footage to peruse in the future (a gift from my friend, not a common provision) and the final trailer is a great clip that encompasses the bliss felt that day.
I knew I wanted a veil despite having an outdoor wedding. The only kicker was I wasn't going to pay $650 for the one the boutique recommended. So I found a woman in California who makes custom veils however you want. She let me choose the lace type for the trim and everything. The biggest decision was choosing between silk tulle (think Kate Middleton) and bridal illusion tulle. At first instinct, I chose silk tulle. (You can blame my obsession with the Duchess for that). But after doing the bridal portraits, I realized it was far too opaque and heavy for the deep-V back of my dress, which was my favorite part. So I called Candi back, shipped it back to California, and she literally took the trim off the silk tulle and reattached it to illusion tulle for me. What a sweetheart, I highly recommend her, and it cost me a FRACTION of all other estimates. No joke.
Comparison between silk tulle and bridal illusion illustrated below:
Above bridal portraits at Fenwick Hall © Michael Parks Photography. See how the silk tulle is less translucent? I totally felt like a nun, hence the quick switch-out.
bridal illusion tulle
Wedding day veil photos © Tim Robison Creative. The illusion tulle achieved the sheer delicacy I was hoping for. I plan to keep this veil just in case it can be used in the future. Or maybe I'll just wear it around the house while eating Oreos and watching Netflix.
The icing on the cake that resulted from designing our own letterpressing plate and letterpressing our invitations had to be all the leftover materials! I was able to make all sorts of awesome thank you notes for wedding gift thank you's and beyond. Love it so much! Below you'll see the plate design and once the plate is sent (it's plastic and rubber-like) you just cut the plate into mini plates and go to town! It's all about optimizing the square inches and making the most of wholesale letterpress paper prices.
When our videographer Michael recommended he bring a go pro device to accompany his video, I was game. But I had no idea how much fun it would be for the boys to run around with this thing and capture all sorts of parts of the wedding that would be blurs in our memory. We have hours of raw footage to look at when we need a good laugh, but the experimental video from when we first came out after signing our marriage license has to be one of my favorites. Plus, with go pro video, you can grab awesome screenshots like the one below. It's funny how as the booze started flowing the go pro probably began to compete with the photography and videographer a bit. And it's hilarious how by the end of the night it turned into an interviewing game, as it seems we have tons of testimonies and "personal messages" to the bride and groom at the end of the video files. I'd highly recommend succumbing to the trends of today and throwing a go pro in the mix. We have so many fun (granted, Blair Witchy) videos to watch for years to come! A sampling below.
Here's a tip: click the settings button to enhance video to HD. That should reduce any nausea...
I've had a few sweet friends ask for a copy of the fun Charleston recommendations I pulled together for our wedding website. Sure things are constantly progressing and morphing (when in doubt, just assume things are getting cooler and cooler as you travel north on the peninsula) but I think this generalized map of stereotyped food pockets helps any interested tourist.
Austin and I also put our heads together and made lists of our top food spots and tour recommendations, but as mentioned below: the best thing to do in Charleston is WALK. Just. Keep. Walking. You won't be sorry!
Instead of a boring old guest book, I considered a photo book for guests to sign. Then I decided I would prefer something we could see everyday. So I brainstormed items that could be hung on the wall. Once I saw samples of certificate-style guest books, I was sold. So I created a file (a derivative of the invitation) and made it like the Declaration of Independence a la a marriage license. In hindsight we should have made a request for folks to sign one name per line so we didn't have so many spaces leftover but it's such a wonderful keepsake to have!
The bachelorette weekend was so fun and I was so thankful to have my besties for the whole weekend in the mountains. Being the dork that I am, I knew I wanted to use these stickers from my sticker binge so I baked some cookies and accompanied the tastemakers’ goody bags with sparkly sequined headbands. It was so much fun.
Music was a HUGE component for us. Austin was EXTREMELY picky when it came to song choices. 1) He wanted to avoid anything even on the verge of cheesy. 2.) He wanted an original song for our first dance. (WHAT!?) And 3.) he wouldn't even let me have To Make You Feel My Love play at the ceremony because there had been too many mainstream covers of the Bob Dylan song. Well turns out we lucked out since the absolutely amazing Lowhills agreed to do our wedding. In fact, the first time we heard their original song Since You Came Along, we were at brunch and I immediately felt like I had known the song forever. The words made me cry and reminded me so much of Austin it was unreal. So bingo, we had our first dance song. Next up was coming up with the intimate song list for the ceremony that agreed with my musical style and his cheesy lyrics test. So me being me, I completely mapped everything out for Lauren and the Lowhills gang. She was incredible about it. You gotta love Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes' songs Home and That's Whats Up. In fact, this cover by the adorable Lennon & Maisie made the song a household name while we were wedding planning. But I had NO IDEA that Lauren would be sweet enough to have her little sister join her for the ceremony and cover their rendition of the song. Luckily I have an audio of it since I was busy getting ready to come down the aisle! Then I had to have something like Cat Power's Sea of Love and many others. But the theme of the night was certainly Home is Wherever I'm with You. I mean it literally got played 3 times at our wedding, ha! Anyway for the super curious, you can check out my Type A song list from start to finish here. (Fair warning, it's obsessive.) The most amazing part of the whole night was our ability to have them play acoustically at the ceremony, amplified and with drums at the cocktail hour, then break for an iTunes playlist of fun dance songs I created, and finally come back for a last set that wrapped up the night with the booziest of songs like Kiss by Prince and Wagon Wheel. God we had so much fun. We have so many great videos to treasure forever! And an added bonus: the first dance song and their last song of the night, entitled Lay Down with Me can both be found on the Lowhills CDs that were given out as one of the favors.
I couldn't think of anyone better than the two little girls I've babysat (with their respective brothers) for the last dozen years or so---more even! Ashlyn and Ellie are now teenagers, but these girls have piece of my heart. I've watched them grow year after year and look back on all our memories and wouldn't trade them for anything. They were so gorgeous that day, wearing grey dresses of their choice, handing out doily cones and programs. Love these girls. I thanked them with these photos framed in an engraved frame thanks to Croghans.
Wish I could go back to when they were babies but before I know it, I'll be attending their weddings (goosebumps) and they'll be babysitting my kids!
We originally wanted light grey suits for the guys, and we found a suit sale through Jos A Bank that we could not pass up. The manager was kind enough to let me order all the oyster poplin suits at the same time to take advantage of one of those "buy one get three free" deals. We got all the orders from the guys and placed the order, then we they came in I worked with the guys at Jos A Bank to ship each out to our out of towners. I think the soft colored suit worked wonders with our color scheme---many thought they looked khaki in certain light but it often had that oyster grey color in other lights. Regardless all the guys have a suit to keep forever that they scored for under $100 each. The Pacific Boulevard ties were reasonably priced at The Tie Bar were part of their groomsmen gifts .
Austin did an awesome job surprising me and scheming the plan for the custom ring with a jeweler in Houston. I still find myself studying the intricacy of bye engagement ring--shamefully I've counted the shimmering 99 diamonds and constantly check on them. When it came time to figure out what sort of band we wanted, I wanted it to be as thin as can be. I wanted it to differ from the engagement ring, and I wanted it to be stackable and wearable solo. He knew he wanted a classic white gold band and I wanted to insure he got something that could be cut worst case scenario. I find it cute that my rings came from his hometown and his ring came from mine: the one and only Croghan's on King Street.
It was a blast deciding on our food for the wedding. We wanted to blow everyone away with lots of choices that represented where we’re from and how much we love food. So when the combo idea was developed we went full steam ahead on it. Then guests could mix and match nine different combinations to make grits, tacos, or sliders. Then we had a table of toppings and threw in some salad and green beans for the vegetarian friends and called it a day. Nothing too fancy, just good food. The caterer used my recipe for shrimp and grits, which resembles many in town and always makes everyone happy. Our original food proposal I sent to our caterer can be found here. When the time came to determine how to present the menu, I knew I wanted to use an old door or window, but I had NO clue how lucky I’d be to borrow this amazing piece thanks to my favorite restoration contractor in town. My dear friend/second mom who contributed her calligraphy on all our invitations hand-wrote the menu for me, with the help of a chalk marker.
The entire invitation suite consisted of some wacky details, many of which probably went unnoticed, which is totally fine. I am the steward of details so it was more for my sanity. The letterpress paper (Crane Lettra Pearl Letterpress paper) and envelopes were purchased by me (blank) and I did the letterpresses invitations and envelopes which you can learn about here. From there I lined the envelopes with a suitable grey wrapping paper I found--it had a sheen and quality texture about it that I really liked. I used a glue stick but if I had to do it again I'd be more meticulous about this part---who knows what condition the liners were in upon arrival. The piece of tissue to traditionally separate pieces is simply a piece of drafting trace paper that I stamped with our custom logo in pearl ink so it's ridiculously subtle. Then the pre-stamped reply card postcards and invitation were slipped in. The whole thing was sealed with a wax seal, embossed by the fleur de lis stamp. Luckily after all those pieces and parts, it still weighed in at the one-stamp weight. Phew! Bryan at Quik Mail in dowtnwon Charleston was my hero throughout the entire postal process. (pictured below--that was a big day for me--I had a hard time letting them go!)
Using www.myregistry.com, our wedding registry was a bit more unconventional than your average gift list, but it seems this trend is taking off and becoming more and more common in the wedding registry. I have been working on my dream kitchen inventory for 15 years now (yep, I started collecting stuff as a teenager) and so a lot of your usual pots, pans, KitchenAid mixers, and knives would have just been an unnecessary addition to our gift list. We did venture to Williams-Sonoma and Target to get the whole scanning experience, which was super fun. From there, we were able to pull unique items like art, gift cards for our honeymoon, and websites that sold specific items for more reasonable prices than your average department store (some things are just completely irrationally priced!) This made our registry very personal and fun, and it was fun to see how people interpreted it and what they chose to purchase for us. Now each and every item is so appreciated and treasured because a) it's genuinely something we wanted and b) each item reflected the gift-giver's personal style or interest, which is quite special. Fun perks of this site: you can install a button on your laptop or through a mobile device that allows you to add a hyperlinked product from ANY website to your registry in a split second. It's awesome!
How silly is it to labor over your dress bustling decision?! Who cares, right!? That's what I was saying until I had the boutique telling me one thing and my seamstress telling me another. So here's a quick comparison of American bustle (what I went with) vs. the French bustle. To be honest, I think they both looked awkward so I went with the less awkward/more comfortable option.