Real wedding: Lauren + Chad part 1

THE SCENE: The Tim Burton film Big Fish inspired our wedding. So we knew we needed a place where we could have creative freedom to add all the magic and whimsy the movie emotes. Our goal was to create an escapist experience with our wedding that transported you to another time and place. The planning process was very organic; it grew and evolved over time. And we were happy to let it happen, because we were looking for a homespun quirky wedding. Almost everything was handmade as it was difficult to find the things I was dreaming up in my head. Both the ceremony and reception took place outside at my childhood family home. My dad was totally on board to the point of redoing the landscaping in the colors of our wedding! 80 guests attended.

CEREMONY SITE: For our ceremony, Chad and I wanted it to have the feeling of the town of Specter. We achieved this by crafting handmade rustic church pews. My husband, his father, grandfather, and a few friends cut down and saw milled trees that were dangerously close to his house. They then used the lumber to build 16 pews for our ceremony. We hung string bulb lights from the white tent to mimic the scene where Specter is first introduced in the movie and centered the tent in the grass to welcome the guests to take their shoes off. Julie McKinney our design taught me how to hand shape copper for the pew decorations. We were married under a gazebo my father built years earlier. We hung raw muslin from the sides and two swags of green silk for color. Then we hung a chandelier made of mason jars with candles in them as the centerpiece. The day was beautiful which was a lovely break from all time record high temperatures in Atlanta that summer.

RECEPTION SITE: Our reception was on what was at one time a tennis court at our house. We had a 50’ by 100’ tent provided by Georgia Tent Company. They generously offered to provide the gorgeous tent liners for both tents at an unbelievable price. The chandeliers were from the movie Sweet Home Alabama as GA Tent Co had provided the reception essential for the film (a fun surprise for us). Under the buffet area we hung even more mason jar lanterns. The major centerpiece at the buffet table was housed in a tree stump vase and filled with twisted copper in the spirit of the legendary Tim Burton swirl. The vases on the tables were also mason jars and just to be funny the vases on the drink table were moonshine jars. The tablecloths were floor length chocolate brown with overlay cloths I bought at Anthropologie that had a green filigree pattern on them. We used classic white chairs. For the decoration around the stage there was homage to fall with white gourds and apples in rustic wooden boxes. The groom’s cake was on an old Whiskey barrel we begged to borrow from a local hardware store. We set the silverware and cake plates on a twig chair. And my favorite part was the smaller handmade bench we used as our guest book. It is a piece of furniture we can have in our home and see the sweet words of our family and friends written there everyday.

GOWN: The dress I wore was picked out by two of my best friends Liz and Jane. While shopping for a dress for Jane, they came across the Melissa Sweet Dora dress, which was nothing short of perfect. (Sometimes your friends really do know best) It had tons of lovely vintage details such as the sweetheart neckline, ruffled bust and dotted silk organza detail covering the dress. Three of our four grandmothers wore dotted swiss dresses on their wedding day so it seemed only fitting to carry it on. After we cut the cake, I changed into a 1940’s cocktail dress I found online.

ACCESSORIES: I wore an unadorned birdcage veil that felt way too cool for me! As a gift for my something old, my mother-in-law gave me the earrings she wore at her wedding. They were clusters of diamonds and pearls. My shoes were J.Crew metallic flip flops because that was the only thing that made sense to me. Finally, I was married in my grandmother’s wedding set. It was tied to my wedding band as my something borrowed so her spirit could be with us.

HAIR AND MAKEUP: My hair was done by Shane Bufkin from A Shane Bufkin Salon and was totally his creation. I only knew I wanted it down. He did the rest. For my makeup, I was totally lost and then redeemed by LeMone Portwood. I had ideas about what to do, but as it turned out none of them were very good as my makeup knowledge is limited. He kept it natural but enough so it would show up in the pictures.

BRIDESMAID DRESSES: The process of finding the bridesmaids dresses was one of the most difficult ones. I knew I didn’t want them to have the same dresses, as my sisters have very different personalities. I spent weeks looking for dresses that reflect each of them and the tone of the wedding. My maid of honor wore a yellow pin tuck silk Betsy Johnson babydoll dress that we altered the sleeves to reflect her more. My younger sister wore slightly different shade of yellow silk strapless a Saeyoung Vu dress she fell in love with.

FORMALWEAR: Chad and the groomsmen all wore black suits of their choosing. We were going for that Buddy Holly look. They wore white shirts with skinny black ties Chad picked up at a vintage store in Atlanta. Chad knew he wanted everyone to wear tennis shoes, but wanted something a little different than the black Chuck Taylors so he chose the heather gray ones. Those shoes were one of the most noticed details!

CEREMONY PROGRAMS: We made the programs from this lovely vellum with green leaves. The printers made a mistake on our invitation so we had an extra batch. You cut the leather piece with our names and wedding date off the invitation and attached it to the vellum. The used the font from The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s not as scary as you think when you unfold it and turn it a soft shade of brown. Here is an excerpt form our program.

We are honored you decided to share with us the sacred establishment of our life together. For us, home is a place of sanctuary and refuge where we are founded and developed, where we explore and discover, and finally where we are supported and accepted. It is our desire you experience the familiarity of home with us today. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the family and friends who believed in the homespun vision of this wedding and worked tirelessly with us to achieve the impossible. Many of the unique touches you see here today are a direct reflection of love and friendship. It is our prayer we will continue to incorporate the same creativity, dedication, and community it took to accomplish this day throughout our marriage.

FLOWERS: Our entire wedding day was made possible by the lovely and talented Julie McKinney, who reservedly became our wedding designer. She was responsible for all the live flowers. I knew Julie was an essential to our lives once I pitched the idea of had sewing the bridal party flowers out of vintage ribbon and fabric and she was totally on board. I knew this because there were people I pitched the idea to and got that blank deer in the headlights look like are you kidding. We had what my friend Liz lovingly named a “bow party” where everyone learned to sew a different style flower. The flowers mean so much to me because my friends and family made each flower and they will last forever. The idea behind the live flowers on the table was to look a little like unruly gathered wildflowers.

CATERING: Everyone has been to the weddings where the food is less than up to par or it was so obscure you aren’t sure you could eat it. So we went with a hardy country style meal to reflect our families and our taste. Low Country Catering provided Whisky glazed beef tenderloin, garlic whipped mashed potatoes, a lovely vegetable medley, whole corn of the cob dipped in butter, and homemade rolls. Working with Low Country was a dream. I would recommend them to anyone.

MUSIC Ceremony and Reception: Chad is a musician so the music was exceptionally dear to us. For the ceremony Chad and I collaborated together for the selection. It was mostly a blend of indie folk music and a couple of classics. Chad arranged all the songs so they would work for the wedding. I have a very talented husband. The instruments consisted of the ukulele and acoustic guitar (played by Michael Westbrook), the marimba (Jonathan Macadow), the standup bass (Brandon Dubose) and vocals (Mark Blankenship). All of the ceremony musicians were friends of Chad’s and some of the best in Atlanta. Prelude: Acoustic “Such Great Heights” by Iron and Wine. Wedding Party Processional: “Everyday” Buddy Holly. Bridal Processional: Acoustic “Mushaboom” Feist. Recessional: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Isreal Kamakawiwo Ole’. We were thrilled with the outcome and felt it really refected us. For the reception, we hired the Moxie Band. Per our request the only played oldies and film score on their breaks. They were so solid there were times you couldn’t tell if it were the original recording of the song or them playing the song. They were so easy to work with and tried to make us happy.

ENTERTAINMENT: Dancing was certainly encouraged and I tried to initiate it myself though it took some making a fool of myself at times! We also had a photo booth provided by Our Labor of Love and we treasure the “gems” that came of it! We had quotes from some of our favorite movies and songs hung around and had tons of pictures from our childhood placed in the floral arrangements.

CAKE: Our cake was a three layered green cake with the silhouette of two birds about to kiss nestled in what I think looks like a hill with tiny white and yellow flowers all around. It was white cake with white chocolate moose and raspberry filling made by The Perfect Wedding Cake. We are planning on naming our first born at the chef.

FAVORS: Our favors…were a bit of a task to say the. We had a running theme of using textiles that we thought would have some longevity. I hand sewed 75 acorn sachets (they could also be used as ornaments) from vintage fabrics. They were scented and had sayings attached to them. It took 45 minutes to make each one. I saw something like them on etsy, but was deterred by the $12 each price tag! Looking back I think they were worth that.

TRANSPORTATION: My dad surprised us with 1950 Bel Air station wagon to leave in! Ultimately, my sisters ended up driving us to the hotel (we are very close ).

[images by Our Labor of Love]

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  1. Emily@oncewed

    what a fun and unique wedding! Our Labor of Love did an awesome job documenting the day!

  2. danielle

    dying to see more photos of the tent and set up!

  3. magpiefound

    i’m absolutely aching to see more pictures! i’m so envious of the theme and the fact that you had such great help from your father and the rest of your family and friends in making every touch so uniquely yours. absolutely inspiring and i wanna see more!!

  4. meredith

    I’d love to see more photos too. It sounds lovely!

  5. alexis

    One more vote for more photos please! It looks and sounds incredible.

  6. Melissa's Greetings

    I love that the movie Big Fish inspired their wedding! The photographs are great!

  7. missbeesknees

    What a gorgeous & fabulaous wedding theme! I'm dying to see pictures of the tent.

  8. ofifteen

    That green is absolutely gorgeous! perfect color green.

    ‘designing your life’

  9. melissa jad

    i NEEEEEEEEEEEEEED to see more pictures. i love big fish

  10. La

    Our Labor of Love is just so amazing! I guess I need to go find a husband now that I have the photographer!

  11. Jenna

    One of the only wedding recaps where I have thought to myself “Where are the rest of the pictures?” I want to see a shot of every single detail she described above. Absolutely fantastic wedding!

  12. Mindy

    Can we please, please see more pictures? This is my favorite wedding of the year! And my favorite wedding mood ever. It is unbelievable that I just watched this movie a week ago and thought it would make a great wedding inspiration. Especially because Edward Bloom is such a romantic! And, Tim Burton has the most creative set designs. Ever.

  13. babypicturethis

    ANOTHER vote for more photographs!

    Sounds like a wedding full of love, not only in the bride & groom, but in all the details too!

  14. Rona's Home Page

    I really enjoyed your photos – great job at capturing your day.

  15. nanno

    Must. Have. Tabletoppers.

  16. sarahrivero

    I absolutely love the fabric/tablecloths. Can someone please tell me where they are from?

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