It may be Summer in the UK right now but it’s sure feeling a lot more like autumn at the moment. Where on Earth is the sunshine?! Well at least that means that some autumnal wedding inspiration won’t feel totally out of place on the blog today – because I love this wedding and couldn’t wait that long to share it!
“I can literally remember the first time I saw my husband Ben,” Nicole told me. “It was in the 8th grade and we hadn’t even met yet. We were both at a local high school for a math/science magnet school entrance exam, and we were both wearing oversized Bush t-shirts. So much romantic potential, I know. I took the test and crossed my fingers that we would both be accepted and that I would get the chance to meet him. Lo and behold, come that Fall, there he was in my 9th grade geometry class. Still, shy and anxious as we both were, it wasn’t until ten years later that we would fess-up to our decade-long crushes and start dating. I went to college in NYC and Ben traveled between Michigan and Ohio for an engineering program, but we never lost touch. We instant messaged and sent real paper mail. Once he even collected all the J.D. Salinger short stories he could find (I was big Holden Caulfield fan), compiled them in a binder, and mailed it to me. I know most brides would describe their wedding day as a ‘dream come true’, but I’m not sure they all mean it so literally. I have a stack of high school journals chronicling my crush to prove it.”
“Though we were living at Chicago at the time of our engagement, we knew we wanted to have a Michigan wedding, she continued, “it’s where we met and where most of our family lives. After a lot of frustrated searching (and many hideous chair covers), we found Wellers. Located near downtown Ann Arbor in the city of Saline, Wellers is Henry Ford’s old soy bean plantation. It’s a historical landmark with beautiful grounds and simple, rustic interiors, and best of all, owner Wendy Weller is first and foremost a chef. Charm and really excellent food.”
So they had their perfect venue, but the personalisation of the decor was also really important to this couple. “In my more relaxed moments of planning I had faith that following my instincts would lead to a look that was ‘us’, without needing a set ‘theme’ or a ton of paper goods in the same shade or blue. Though I’m sure it isn’t obvious, I took inspiration from the Alice in Wonderland Little Golden Book: tea length dresses, bows, nature as it is, colorful and random. I wanted whimsy and sophistication, but I need simplicity.”
“Handmade, personal details were also really important. I’m a freelance illustrator, and knew I wanted to handle the making of all the invitations and whatever design elements I could myself. I designed our save-the-dates, shower invites, and wedding invitations and had them printed locally. One of the biggest projects I undertook was making a zine-style cookbook that served as both wedding favors and escort cards. I compiled, edited, and illustrated it and it’s filled with some of our most-made, best-loved, and fondest memory-inducing recipes, including Ben’s (who is a top notch baker) tried and true recipe for scones with lemon curd, our most memorable Christmas dinner, and a friend’s pumpkin bread recipe I used to nibble on in the library during cram-week in college. The silly hungry ghost illustrations inside match the ghouls featured on our invitations. I also cut out some speech bubbles from foam core for silly photos, and the ‘I do/Me too’ photos have turned out to be unanimous favorites. My friend and bridesmaid helped make a ‘just married’ banner and my mom was my patient ally in selecting perfectly shaped pumpkins and lugging them around in a heat wave.”
The butterfly centrepieces were also a handmade effort and had significance to Nicole and her family. She explained, “My sister Michelle has an insect display business she started about two years ago called Alfred & Alma’s Insect Shoppe. Before a date, location, or dress were decided on, I knew I wanted Michelle to create butterfly (and some beetles, though I had a strict no moth policy) filled domes for our centerpieces. She spent months selecting butterflies and beetles, collecting flora and bell jars, and created a total of 17 displays for our reception in various sizes. Not only were they beautiful and unique decor, they were lovingly created. Plus they seriously cut down on our flower budget and made great gifts for friends and family that had helped with the wedding.”