My Complete List of Wedding Resources.
I just wrote about our wedding and the importance of choosing things that really matter over all the meaningless stuff.
I truly believe that.
I also really like pretty things. And I believe in helping to make this process a little smoother for someone else. So if you’re like me and seek meaningful moments but beautiful ones, I complied a list of cool stuff we used for our wedding.
Hopefully this will eliminate some stress in your wedding planning process. Or, if you’re not currently planning a wedding, hopefully this introduces you to some incredible businesses, makers, and ideas!
For The Locals
Krazy Cake Parlour, Quincy, IL
Okay, we adore Amber. We had a meeting set up with another bakery and after we met with Amber, we cancelled. We were sold. As soon as we sat down in her cute shop, we immediately connected with her. When we came back in for our second meeting, I'm pretty sure I didn't want to leave. Also, the cake. THE CAKE. Snickerdoodle and Caramel? YES PLEASE.
April's Creative Floral Design, Mt. Sterling, IL
I wish I could have kept these flowers forever. April even went along with my idea to wrap the girls' bouquets in scraps of Mexican blankets and the boutonnieres in copper wire. Heck yes.
Free Press Coffee House, Pittsfield, IL
We drink more coffee than we do alcohol so we thought, why not a coffee bar instead of an actual bar? The best thing? Free Press has a coffee cart! We picked out a signature drink and a few other options and they showed up with the rest. SO GOOD.
I didn't want the dress search to be a hassle. I don't think it should take up so much time and energy. But I'm also picky and wanted the only time I wear a wedding gown to feel wonderful. I'd gone to a few shops and left with a bad taste in my mouth. Finally, in January, 3 months before my wedding, in the middle of a meltdown because I still hadn't found my dress, my mom told me to make an appointment at the Chicago BHLDN (Beholden).
I'd been purchasing and shipping back dresses for months. The moment we walked in, it was just a fabulous experience. They are so genuine in how they treat you. When I made the appointment online, I'd mention several dresses I'd like to try on. They also let me look at all their dresses to see if anything else grabbed my attention. I had about 8 that all looked very similar. The very last one I took, I looked at it and said, "This is kind of fun. My mom and sister will hate it, but why not?"
And that's the one I bought.
Y'all, I've been drooling over Alexis Russell's jewelry for a while now. My favorite part is that all of her stones are conflict-free (meaning they came from non-harsh mining conditions) and all of the metals are recycled. How cool is that? I shipped my engagement ring in to get my wedding bands custom-sized and it was all shipped back to me within a week.
His ring is made of titanium, meteorite, and wood. ENOUGH SAID.
Bridesmaid Dresses: BHLDN, ModCloth, Shop Hearts
I am a firm believer in unmatched and texture. Silk and chiffon and super expensive just isn't my style. I will say though, that achieving the mismatched look proved to be harder than I thought. If that's something you'd like to do, my advice is to pick the color and guidelines, give a few examples, and then let the girls handle it.
Groomsmen Clothes: Asos, H&M, Old Navy
Again, another example of being way too involved in the process of making sure all the ensembles complimented one another. But don't they make that rainy day look good?
Chris Miller, My Husband
Both Chris and I care about aesthetics, which can be a blessing and curse. Sometimes, too much creativity and too many opinions can cause a major clash. Since we are both design freaks, there was no question that he would be designing all of our paper goods-- save the dates, thank you cards, and our entire wedding suite. Is that what they call it? He designed everything that went into the envelope.
And it looked dang good. Seriously, if you want him to design you some cool stuff, hit him up. firstname.lastname@example.org
Obviously, this was the first decision we made when we got engaged. The crazy thing though? Being in the industry of photography, I was completely overwhelmed by the options. I know and know of so many photographers. So you know what I finally did?
I searched "wedding photography" on Instagram. No joke.
Somehow I came across one of Lauren's images and thought, YESSSS. We'd emailed a lot of really amazing photographers whose work we loved. But something about Lauren's response to our email told us — this one's different. She seemed genuinely excited for us and about what we were planning.
And we were not disappointed. Our day was no picnic. The rain made everything a little more difficult. But Lauren and her husband Mark were so generous and kind and they became this spirit of calm over the whole day. I'm pretty sure my family would have adopted them on the spot.
This was a big deal for me. I'm a music freak, fanatic, lover, whatever. Chris is a musician and says that I love music more than him, so it was a big deal for both of us. We decided against a DJ, mostly because I trust my music taste more than most DJ's I've experienced. One buddy was the MC and another was in charge of music and it just worked.
I made a few playlists for the day. You can find all of these on my Spotify (or just click the link).
Full of chill, full good songs by some of our faves like Johnnyswim, Sleeping at Last, and Jose Gonzalez.
Processional: "Only Love" by Ben Howard
Bride Entrance: "Here Comes the Sun" by The Beatles
Worship: "Head to the Heart" by United Pursuit & "Scandal of Grace (I'd Be Lost)" by Hillsong United
Exit: "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen
You know, just some upbeat celebrating music.
First Dance: "Of Crows and Crowns" by Dustin Kensrue
Father/Daughter: "Isn't She Lovely" by Stevie Wonder
Mother/Son: "Fly Me to the Moon" sung by Chris's sister, Amanda (that was a cool moment)
I'm not even going to pretend I'm not proud of this one. I still listen to it all the time. It just a feel-good mix. Listen to it on shuffle. Because I didn't put the a time into organizing them into optimum listening order. Which I usually do.
All the Pretty Things
I envisioned this mix of things that seemingly didn't go together at all. I wanted mexican blankets, macrame, concrete, copper, tin cans, terra cotta pots, lots of greenery and succulents, and colored glass. Yea. So this is how we did that.
I wanted to cover the tables in either Mexican blankets or macrame runners, but that would have cost a chunk. So I ordered a bunch of Mexican blankets and cut each of them into four strips. My "runners" weren't long enough to drop over the sides of the tables but I was okay with that! Sometimes you've just got to a get a little creative. I think my runners ended up being under $2 a piece, compared to those $72 Anthropologie macrame runners. YIKES. Although, I did buy a few of those to use on our head table. ;)
You can buy succulents in bulk! What?! And they get shipped to you and they are alive and opening the box is just a wonderful experience. I picked up mini pots at The Dollar Tree (3 for $1) and bought other sizes of terra cotta pots at thrift stores when I could find them. I liked them dirty and roughed up.
The idea was to use tons of potted plants in the decor and then to offer the mini pots as favors for guests. I ended up buying a bunch of other plants at Home Depot to add variety
I love thrift shopping so naturally, I incorporated a lot of that into our wedding. I collected over 200 pieces of vintage colored glassware. (All the heart eyes.) I also had over 50 kitschy mugs that I wanted hanging from an awesome display for our coffee bar, but alas, that was one project that we didn't have time for. But the mugs still made it!
My entire family collected tin cans for months, which I then cleaned and spray painted all colors of copper and bronze. I have this thing with copper. I wanted to pix the metallic in with all the terra cotta pots, so we filled all the tin cans with fresh greenery! We used cans of all sizes, and actually arranging the greenery was a fun little project for the wedding week. Although there were already plenty of projects to keep us busy. HA.
I bought a bunch of square concrete planters during the Black Friday sale on CB2. I went to West Elm and found these awesome sea glass jar vases on clearance (sadly they don't carry them anymore). I cleaned Michael's out during their 70% fall clearance—what?! The colors I wanted for my Spring wedding were apparently ones only reserved for fall. Who stays inside the lines? Not me. Which was fine, because I got a ton of fall stuff for cheeeeap.
Cake Topper: Etsy
Bouquet Wrap: Etsy
The rest of it...
Pretty photo display thanks to engagement photos by Jacoby Andrick. When looking for an engagement photographer, I cheated and posted in one of the photographer groups I'm in on Facebook. Out of the 50+ St. Louis area photographers that responded, Jacoby is the only one that had that thing. And for someone who hates their photo taken, I had a blast at our session. I'm pretty sure she'd be willing to travel anywhere. ;) Also, we miss you, Jacoby!!
I wear a necklace from The Giving Keys every day, and that's what I wanted for my bridesmaids. I picked a work specifically for each of them and wrote a letter explaining why I chose that word for them. In addition to that, I give them each a book, either Love Does by Bob Goff or Love Lives Here by Maria Goff.
Chris and pretty much all of his groomsmen are musicians so he gave them all engraved harmonicas from The Man Registry, which I thought was the coolest. To go along with the good book trend, he also gave them all Wild at Heart by John Elderidge.
Because we were doing everything ourselves, we had to make sure we had every little thing we may need. Including all of the plates, eating utensils, etc. I didn't want to rent actual China, and I'm honestly trying to make more environmental-friendly choices. All of our bowls, plates, and flatware was made out of palm leaves! They look super cool and they were pretty affordable, so I call that a double win.
Also, do you see that rock? I collected over 200 rocks from the creek behind my parents' house and spray painted them all shades of metallic to use as paper weights!
Also, also, Chris designed that advice sheet for our guests to fill out! Maybe I'll talk him into opening an online shop. ;)
Because I really like to DIY it (gosh I tried to do too many things), I thought it would be fun for my sister and I to make some of our favorite recipes to go along with coffee and cocktail hour. So many good things. I've been dreaming of starting a cookie delivery service and my sister is dabbling in selling her baked goods, so maybe just hit us up if you want some of these sweets? Okay, thanks. :)
A lot of really good people
The people were the real MVP. I honestly couldn't believe the amount of people who were in our house and our yard, setting up, trying to make my vision come to life in the middle of the pouring rain. That's what absolutely made the day. People showing up to do the work and make sure your days goes off without a hitch, that's what love looks like to me.