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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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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What does it mean? Charlotte + Daniel


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 Charlotte Rivers and her husband Daniel. Charlotte is a design and lifestyle writer living in England by the sea. She is the blogger of Lottie Loves, a blog featuring the lovely things that inspire her.

My husband and I married in the winter in a beautiful church in West London. We then piled all our guests onto London buses and took them to a local pub where we ate amazing food, drank lots of fine wine and had our friends spin some records late into the night. It was the most special day made all the more special by our amazing family and friends that were there with us… Aside from the memories of the day itself what we really loved about our wedding, and the lead up to it, was that we involved as many of our creative friends (and ourselves) in the process as possible. We designed the invitation, order of service, menus and coasters ourselves and had them letterpress printed (of course!). My best friend wrote on the black boards in the pub in her beautiful calligraphic handwriting. She also wrote the heart shaped signs for the tables which were named after different towns in Australia (where my late mother and her family are from). Another best friend came from India with a bag full of beautiful silk butterflies she’d made which she dotted around the walls of the pub. My little brother and his fiance created all the confetti cones and handed them out to our guests. Two of our friends sang during the service. My husband’s auntie created the beautiful flower arrangements that we had on the tables and around the pub, and my seven (!) wonderful bridesmaids created all of their bouquets, and mine. Finally my best friend’s father created our super original cake topper (he is a Royal Academician you know) which sat on top of our simple white wedding cake which was made by Meg Rivers Cakes (a company started by my late mother).

It was so great having everyone involved in our special day. It brought real meaning to our wedding and made us realize what clever, creative, generous and loving friends and family we have!

by Brittany Watson Jepsen of The House That Lars Built 

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What does it mean? Ashley & Andreas

What does it mean?” is a continuing series where we ask a blogger how they used their wedding as an expression of their union with their significant other. Today we are honored to hear from Ashley and Andreas Ludaescher. Ashley is a photographer of travel and weddings and blogger of Chasing Heartbeats. She and her husband live in Berlin, Germany.

I am originally from California and met Andreas while I was working in Germany’s beautiful Black Forest.  When we started to plan our wedding we knew we wanted something small and intimate, a long weekend for our families and friends to relax and get to know one another.  The location was the easiest decision we made, as we got engaged in Cape Cod and it has always been one of my favorite places in the world, in addition to the fact that it is pretty close to half way between our two homes.  Another reason it is so close to my heart is that my family has so much history there.  My grandfather grew up in Cape Cod and later in his life built his sister a little lakeside cottage there, which is now my family’s little home away from home.  The property it sits on has been in our family so long that it was originally paid for in British Pounds!  Andreas has also grown to love Cape Cod the way I do, and we wanted to share it with the rest of our family and friends who had never visited before.

The ceremony and reception was held at the same location where our guest stayed, a rustic lakeside resort with 9 little cabins complete with canoes and sandy beach.  The ceremony itself was held under a grouping of trees next to the lake and our 44 guests held hands in a circle, which literally surrounded us with love.  We wrote our own vows, mine were spoken in English and Andreas replied back to me in German so everyone there could understand- and the vows were both playful and romantic.

We were married by my uncle who is a fantastic writer and incredibly creative.  He came up with the idea of having all our guests literally “tie the knot”- each guest wrote their name on a piece of fabric and used rope to tie their piece to those next to them, which tied not only Andreas and I together as a couple, but our family and friends together as well.  It was not only a lovely idea, it is a keepsake from the wedding we will always cherish.

After the ceremony we had planned to go out in my boat “Lady Jane” to spend our first few married moments just the two of us out on the lake.  Unfortunately it looked like a storm was rolling in as we started the ceremony, but magically as soon as we headed out in my boat, we were graced with the most incredible sunset I have ever seen- it was extraordinary.  My mama said it was my late grandparents wedding gift to us, as they were there in spirit, celebrating right alongside us.

photography by Davina + Daniel

by Brittany Watson Jepsen of The House That Lars Built

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