I didn’t get to plan very much for my own wedding, so when Amanda asked me to be her wedding planner, as well as her matron of honor, I jumped at the chance. After all, I’ve always dreamt of throwing parties, with a real budget for decorations and food. Her wedding is my second, with her bachelorette party as my first.
Since I’d never really dug into party planning however much I wanted to, I knew I had to go about it systematically. Not long into the process of finding inspiration and scouting our hometown for venues and vendors, did I discover four integral aspects that would dictate further decisions and details.
To kick off a string of wedding posts, here are the jumping off points for Amanda and Travis’ wedding.
1. Our hometown is very limited in venues. And when I say very I really mean extremely. With a nontraditional church ceremony and casual reception in the works, most of the banquet halls and pavilions in town couldn’t really accommodate both. Early on, Amanda decided to have the whole shebang in her backyard and as wedding planner I had some grass, chain-link fence and a small covered patio to work with.
I will be the first to admit it wasn’t ideal in the beginning. It wasn’t the iconic backyard we always see in wedding magazines…the sprawling green carpet, the huge centrally-located tree, and space for a crisp white tent and dance floor. But having it in Amanda’s quaint yard left us with our entire budget to play with, no deposits or fees for venue. Major plus. Of course we had to put sweat into bringing it up to par before the big day, but it was well worth it.
Simple things like a new partial privacy fence, pretty strands of lights, and wooden chairs and round tables complete with classic linens truly transformed the otherwise basic backyard into a beauty.
2. Invitations are the first peak into your wedding style for your guests. I definitely have judged weddings by their paper products in the past, and knew that the Wozniak-Thrower wedding had to pop from the minute the envelope opened. But most options on wedding paper websites didn’t completely fit the look we were going for. And if you are wondering, our key words were casual and sophisticated.
Dimension came through for us first with our custom wedding stamp set hand-carved by Saint John Street Press. Later in the planning process, we used the same concept by adding smooth but speckled mercury glass elements, elementary chalk on black boards as signage, and layers of peachy fabric to the patio to soften the existing siding. We opted for heirloom quality furniture to counter the white tablescapes dotting the yard and a handmade arch of grape vines we scavenged from our aunt and uncle’s yard. I can 100% say that nothing fell flat the day of the wedding.
3. Amanda went back and forth in color schemes, and I can’t really blame her. It’s easy to get swept up in different inspiration weddings and lose yourself in all the pretty pictures. But finally after deciding on the perfect poppy red, we found it easy to work more subtle hues into the palette, like butter yellows, peaches, whites and even a few vivid greens.
The easiest place to infuse color is in the bridesmaids dresses. I did it myself with Amanda as my maid of honor, with her dress matching my aquamarine glasses to a T. For her own big day, Amanda chose to match a red anemone to the already ordered dresses to work the color into the table decor. Corn hole bean bags and an accent stripe in her groom’s tie also added to the palette.
4. Speaking of flowers, we wanted lots of them. My mom, or “assistant to the WP” as she called herself, scouted local florists for bulk ordering capability, and we did the arranging ourselves. And aside from the cut florals for bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces, we strategically placed flowers around the yard to make the most impact. In a bicycle’s basket at the front of the drive to welcome guests, in the tray of our easel chalkboard that displayed the schedule and seating arrangements, strung from the ceiling behind the cake table for a little extra something special. My mom also had the brilliant idea to tie bundles of greenery with ivory ribbon to the fence posts, completely transforming the wooden planks. Collectively we had never seen so many blooms at once before our flower party the day of the rehearsal dinner, but it was wonderful sight to behold. There’s nothing like fresh flowers.
And there you have it! The makings of a wedding. I can’t wait to share more with you as we anxiously await the photo proofs.