What does it mean? Emily and Michael

What does it mean?” is a continuing series where we ask a blogger how they brought meaning into their wedding. Today we are honored to hear from Emily Westbrooks and her husband, Michael.  Emily is the blogger of From China Village.

“When Michael and I got married in 2008, I don’t think I fully realized how much it would end up meaning to us that we tried to create a mix of my American traditions and Michael’s Irish culture at our wedding. Only hours after our wedding, we decided to move to Dublin, where Michael was raised, and four years later we’re still here! In retrospect, our wedding was kind of our send off, so I’m now especially glad we got the chance to celebrate with hints of the culture I now live with every day!

Michael and I met at Colby College during our senior year. Colby has special meaning in my family – it’s where my parents met, where my father now works, and even where my high school graduation was held! For most of the planning period, Michael was living in Spain, where he played professional basketball. When the basketball season was over, Michael returned to Maine and joined the planning process a few months before the wedding. I was surprised he had so many opinions after I was the sole decision maker for so long! In the end, though, it made up the perfect blend of both of us.

Michael insisted that we have traditional Irish-style speeches during dinner. Not American toasts, but full 5-10 minute speeches from both our fathers, the best man and maid of honor, and the groom. Having never attended an Irish wedding, I was nervous that they’d be too long, but those speeches are some of my best memories of the wedding. Everyone put so much thought and care into their words as they welcomed new people into their families. And the speeches allowed some of our guests to take part in another (slightly tacky but fun!) Irish tradition – betting on how long they’ll last!

We were also blessed to have Michael’s youth leaders, a couple who now do ministry work in Houston, marry us in the college chapel. I come from a Catholic family and Michael’s family is made up of a few different forms of Protestant, so it was important to us that the ceremony was respectful of both sides. Of course, they went above and beyond and gave us a beautiful ceremony, full of words of love and prayer that took all my worries away.

Finally, one of the most special pieces of our wedding was that my grandmother made my dress. She had made my mother’s and aunt’s dresses for their weddings, so I always had it in the back of my mind that I would love for her to make mine. I will always remember our afternoons together spent measuring, pinning and tucking.

Overall, we remember our day fondly and often!”

Thanks Emily and Michael!

by Brittany Watson Jepsen of The House That Lars Built

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What does it mean? Elaina and Mark

What does it mean?” is a continuing series where we ask a blogger how they brought meaning into their wedding. Today we are honored to hear from Elaina Keppler and her husband, Mark Alberti. Elaina is blogger of Fint og Deligt. She and her husband live in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“In a lot of ways, the things we didn’t do or didn’t have for our wedding were just as meaningful as those we did. Since our wedding date was somewhat set for us by the Danish Immigration Service (Mark’s Danish, I’m Canadian), we were free to break from a lot of wedding conventions. I found inspiration in prewar wedding traditions, when weddings were much simpler. We were married at City Hall, had a cake and champagne reception at our home and then went for dinner with our immediate family. Although I love a big party, we found this wedding model fit best with our values and for the kind of family we wanted to become. We were also able to focus on the things most important to us – family and friends, food, and photography – and leave the rest out. It was also really important to me that our wedding had a small environmental impact, which helped keep things simple as well.

Some of the little things that made it meaningful: – Knowing how much it meant to my dad that I was wearing my grandmother’s wedding ring. – Receiving a surprise bouquet from my husband the morning of our wedding, after I had hastily decided that having one would be “too much fuss”. – Getting married on the eight year anniversary of having gone on our first “date” to the beach.”

by Brittany Watson Jepsen of The House that Lars Built

photography by Hilda Grahnat

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DIY: How to make white pumpkin centerpieces

An autumn wedding does not need to be associated only with orange, red, and brown. I found some lovely white pumpkins that can create the perfect vase for an all-white wedding. They are so easy to make that you’ll want to use them all year round.

Materials: white flowers of your choice, white pumpkins, knife, flower clippers

Step 1: Like normal jack-o-lantern, cut a circle into the pumpkin. Don’t make it too small or too wide. Too small might look a bit funny with flowers in it, and too wide might make them fall out.

Step 2: I left all the seeds inside so it would be easier to stick the flowers in.

Step 3: Put some water into the pumpkin for the flowers.

Step 4: Criss-cross the flowers so they hold their shape like above.

Step 5: Keep on criss-crossing until the pumpkin has a nice shape of flowers.

Done! Aren’t they just the cutest?!

Project and photography by Brittany Watson Jepsen of The House That Lars Built 

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Fall wedding decor

I LOVE fall weddings. I love the warm colors, the leaves, the branches, the wheat. There are so many autumnal touches to create a beautiful harvest wedding. These are a few of my favorite ways to incorporate the signs of the season. (Top pic) add some baby gourds into a glass terrarium, (middle left) create some fall leaf cookies for your guests, (middle right) add rosehip and twine to your napkins, (bottom left) preserve fall leaves in wax and hang them as decorations, (bottom middle) add wheat into your bouquet, (bottom right) make a sparse wreath from pinecones).

by Brittany Watson Jepsen of The House That Lars Built 

Baby gourds  |  Leaf cookies | rosehip napkins  |   Hanging leaves  |  Wheat bouquet  |  Wreath

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What does it mean? Alison and Eric

What does it mean?” is a continuing series where we ask a blogger how they brought meaning into their wedding. Today we are honored to hear from Alison Faulkner and her husband, Eric Robertson. Alison is the one woman show of The Alison Show, a blog and series of DIYs.

“My husband and I are very different, but we both place a lot of value in two things: creativity and making others feel included. I think we brought meaning to our wedding by showcasing our creative talents, and by creating what is still talked about (almost 5 years later) as an epic dance party.

My husband is a composer and musician, so at our wedding he played the song he wrote and used to propose to me. He played it on a keyboard for all of our guests, and the parts he couldn’t play live, he recorded digitally. I loved watching my friend’s and family be in awe of his talent, a talent I continue to be in awe of.

“I’ve worked in advertising, design, and now write mostly about crafts and how to party with style. I didn’t want just a wedding; I wanted a full-blown conceptual masterpiece. We went for “Lovebirds” concept with a 1940’s feel to reflect my vintage engagement ring. I was able to put my creative touches on almost every detail, with the help of the wedding planner so I wouldn’t turn into a crazy dictator. I worked with so many creative geniuses that the whole thing turned into a creative love fest, and this was really meaningful to me. I loved hearing people “ooh” and “aww” at all the little touches.

At the wedding dinner the night before the wedding, we taught all of the wedding party and relatives a choreographed dance, and this was KEY in getting everyone up and dancing when it was time to party. That and I think the invitations telling people they were coming to “Eat, love and boogie” didn’t hurt either.

Looking back I’m so glad I reached out for help even though planning and crafting are things I love so much. If I hadn’t asked for help I would have been too wrapped up in the details and crafts and I would have forgotten about the people. And that’s what a wedding’s all about, right? People coming together and having a giant love fest.”

Thank you, Alison and Eric, for being a part of “What does it mean?

by Brittany Watson Jepsen of The House That Lars Built

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