A Lakeside Storybook Wedding: 20 Lessons Learned

I thought I’d interrupt my regularly scheduled wedding recaps (haha, riiight) to post about various lessons learned from my own wedding. Keep in mind: the wedding was the shiz-nit. An amazing, fun, without-a-care-in-the-world day and all-round hootenanny of hilarity with most everybody pitching in to get ‘er done! The following is just some information I personally could have used before the big day. Just nitpicky things. Not huge regrets. So hold on to your wedding hats, hive, cuz I’m about to get all up in the nitpick-pickety.

(Tip: scroll allll the way down to read the super short version of this post.)

All photos unless otherwise noted are by the lovely and amazing Tanja Lippert.

Here’s what I learned:

1. It’s sometimes easier to say you’re sorry than ask for permission. I know, I know, shouldn’t I be a tad bit more ethical, being a journalist and all?

I’m not talking anything illegal, but when it came to my at-home wedding, it was definitely easiest to just go for it, rather than ask, when it came to things like our parking-in-the-meadow-across-the-street-situation:

Personal Photo

See far left for nose of car poking out. Here’s maybe a better pic, showing the cars blurry in the background in the meadow:

*Side note: also, if you make lanterns streaming with ribbons in shades of peach, pink and taupe, be aware that in photos they’ll remind you of flying octopuses. Or a flying spaghetti monster. Anyone else get that?

My parents were all “oh, just ASK the land-owner for permission to park there!” But, what would have happened had he said no? Where would we all have parked? Plus, I doubt he was in any sort of liability trouble-zone, because technically we were on the side of the road next to his meadow.

2. You can totally get away with ignoring county music/sound ordinances, as long as you know and love your neighbors.

I’m passionately against ending weddings before 11 p.m. It’s just not right. In my ideal world, all us Americans would do it up Spain-style: dancing till 6 a.m. followed by breakfast with the whole wedding party.

Our band played past 11 p.m. despite county sound ordinances that mandated we be quiet at 10. If you’re in a rural enough area, and know your neighbors, I say go for it. I even investigated what could have happened had anyone complained, and the police chief and sheriff deputy I asked told me they would only come out and give a warning. Not too big a deal.

3. It takes three times as long as you’d estimate to do your own flowers. I love that I did it, it’s just, I didn’t take into account all the time it takes unpacking the bunches, filling up buckets, prepping, cleaning and clipping. For my 100-person wedding with about 30 centerpieces, it took half of the day Thursday and Friday before the wedding with two helpers.

And I didn’t have time to do all the ‘maids flowers.

Maid of honor bouquet:

Maids’ “bouquets” (i.e., didn’t have time to make them, so they carried lovely single stems of matilija poppies!):

4. Making 10 of these lavender-filled mason jar arrangements took way freakin’ longer than I thought it would:

5. If you’re an insomniac like me, a good thing to try is to stay up ALL night the Thursday night before your Saturday wedding. That way when Friday night rolls around, you will be sure to sleep very well and awake fresh and ready to go. I didn’t intentionally not sleep Thursday night. See #4 for the reason I was up all night. Yes, those containers of lavender took me all night to arrange by myself into the perfect little bunches that they were.

But you know what? It was fun. I was out there by the lakeside in the fresh summertime night air, surrounded by bushels of sweet-smelling lavender and my gorgeous blue mason jars. The waves were lapping against the shore, and I finally had some peaceful hours to myself after a week of harried, hurried wedding preparations. I sat there clipping the lavender and sticking them in the jars until each one was just how I wanted. When dawn began to break, I crept into bed and got a few hours’ sleep before the day-before-the wedding preparations began.

6. Do not attempt to harvest tons of lavender bare-handed when there are a bunch of bees. You will get stung on the palm of your hand and then by wedding day it will be all itchy.

7. If somebody tells you that baby wipes will take care of the dirt marks on your Melissa Sweet double-faced satin gown don’t listen to them. They don’t do anything, actually.

8. Also, if somebody tells you that putting antiperspirent on your thighs and behind your knees will help prevent sweat on an 86 degree day underneath several layers of tulle and satin — it doesn’t.

9. If you have a DOC who is not doing all that you’d hoped/discussed, don’t forget to mention to her to fix it. At the time, I was more concentrated on having fun, but I WISH I had asked her to do things like clean up the random sticks/trash/empty boxes scattered over by the bar area, and trim the plastic flowing out of the rowboat ice holder:

I saw that and minutes before I walked down the aisle, I ran behind and opened up my screens behind the bar to try and hide the mess, haha:

Aluminum rowboat, filled with ice containing beer…

… was supposed to look cute, but ended up with the clear plastic spilling out over the edges uncut looking hideous (See far right of photo):

Personal Photo

So hideous my pro photographer tactfully avoided taking any photos of it. Sigh. I wish I hadn’t listened to the DOC who said to line it in plastic, and wish I had just left it with the ice and beer alone in the clean rowboat instead. She said it was a health safety hazard that way. Pppppppfffft. Is what I say to that. Whatever. I’d cleaned it. It would have been just fine with the ice and closed cans of beer alone. It’s not like I was putting hors d’oeuvres on ice in there.

10. If the idea of being in front of a crowd makes you very nervous, you may be surprised on your wedding day. I wasn’t nervous in the slightest. I was afraid I would sweat in my armpits. I didn’t. You’ll amaze yourself.

11. If you make a huge, detailed timeline for your helpers outlining what they can help out with, and email it to them, and verify that they received that email, take the extra step to make sure you talk with them about it all in person, too. Because chances are, they might not read it and thus not be there at 3 p.m. as planned to help out. They might show up at 5:30 instead. Still others will pleasantly surprise you and totally go the extra mile, like my rocking MIL, and sisters-in-laws who put out the flowers despite a coordinator barking at them not to, and who helped make these lovely boutonnieres:

Be ready to roll with it all.

12. Make sure your DOC is totally OK with “rolling with it.” Otherwise, due to #11, your DOC might be the one who unexpectedly ends up having to put all the plates, napkins and glassware out on the tables (unfortunately while acting “put out”). Also, make sure that DOC understands you when you tell her numerous times prior to the wedding that she can put the flowers out on the tables starting at 4 p.m., because otherwise she might yell at your MIL and SIL’s — at 5:30 p.m. when all the guests are already there — that they can’t be put out until 6 p.m. because they might wilt?!? Um, no they won’t. And furthermore, so freakin’ what if they do! It’s better to have flowers out on the tables when you want them out there rather than no flowers at all. Thank you, MIL and SIL’s, for putting them out despite her yelling at you!!!

13. If your totally awesome band you booked seems to be the slightest bit confused/apprehensive about also being the ones to make all the announcements/MC’ing your event, don’t expect them to somehow miraculously be on the ball with said announcements on the day of the wedding. They’ll probably welcome your guests to the incorrect location (Napa instead of Lake County) then nearly drop an f-bomb into the microphone when the guests shout out the correct location… among other announcement goofs. ;p

14. When you talk to your parents about giving a toast and they agree, try asking them what they plan on saying, otherwise your mom might get up to the microphone and — in order to prevent your dad from making a completely inappropriate joke as he is known to do — grab the mic from him and thank everyone for coming in fewer than five words and go sit back down again.

Well-meaning, loving, yet exceedingly brief toast-giving parents.

15. Put all wedding items/decorations in marked boxes with lids on them. Putting things in marked boxes without lids is dangerous. All the lidded-boxes with stuff in them resulted in items being safe. All the un-lidded boxes with stuff in them resulted in items walking off and getting lost. Even 10 large white linen hemstitched table runners from Pottery Barn *sniff* placed in an un-lidded box mysteriously disappeared into thin air never to be seen again. Don’t underestimate the ability of large items to dematerialize. Better yet, keep all boxes of items in a locked room until it’s time to set them out on the tables.

16. Be prepared that you might spend a million hours making 200 lace-covered glass pillar candle holders, but only about 60 of them get put out on the tables. If that happens, maybe don’t just “roll with it.” Maybe consider taking them out yourself or getting someone to take them out and put them on the tables at nightfall, otherwise you’ll still be a little bit bitter about the whole dealy-bob eight months after your wedding ;p

17. Condensation and paper goods do not mix well:

Before:

After:

18. Remember to provide ample lighting for your caterer in their little catering tent set up. Oops. Sorry, Julie!!!

19. Inform caterer/day-of coordinator to plug the 100-cup coffee maker into separate outlet than the same one running the lights, otherwise all the lights might go out for a few minutes.

20. Thank your husband when he’s the one who remembers to grab one of the long lighters to make sure all the piller candles throughout the property and tables get lit, even though you paid the day-of-coordinator, and the caterers’ staff extra to do it (tsk tsk, forgetful wedding staffers!).

And there you have it!

SHORT VERSION OF THE ABOVE: Make damn well sure you communicate, communicate, and over-communicate with all your helpers/coordinators about what you want done and how you want stuff set out. Even if you communicate, and get it in writing and hire an expensive and good-Yelp-reviewed day-of coordinator, not all your !@#$ will get set out or performed to your specifications. Let it go. Or hold on to it, bottled deep inside, and then write a long-ass blog post about it eight months later.

EVEN SHORTER VERSION OF THE ABOVE: Not all of your wedding !@#$ will get set out. Let it go. Or do something to fix it.

Next up, back to the regularly scheduled recaps. If you’d care to catch up, please check out:

A Lakeside Storybook Wedding
A Lakeside Storybook Wedding: Leading Up

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Elegant, Gold and Red Wedding

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I’m so excited I get to design an inspiration board and buying guide with an elegant, sophisticated feel to it for my friend and his beautiful bride-to-be! The wedding will be held on the San Gabriel Hilton rooftop underneath a GORGEOUS white gazebo with city skyline views.

The color palette is primarily traditional Chinese wedding colors of gold and red. The bride also loves cherry blossoms, so I’ve carried the delicate pink of cherry blossoms throughout the design.

Here is an inspiration board and buying guide I created for the happy couple!

Here’s how to pull off this look while still sticking to your budget:

Manzanita Trees

1. Make the Manzanita tree centerpieces yourself. California — and indeed many Western states — have abundant Manzanita. Drive out into the country a bit and you’ll see some! Trim the trees of any leaves, wipe down the branches, and finish with some matte or metallic gold spray paint.

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While you have the spray paint handy, another inspiring centerpiece idea would be to spray paint regular wine bottles and use them throughout the venue as vases:

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Reception Decor

2. Vintage keys hanging from Manzanita branches are another look the bride loves. Find keys to decorate escort cards from Etsy or eBay.

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You could also create an amazing wedding favor by tying a vintage key to just about any keepsake or leaving it by itself for guests to use as an ornament.

Try working the vintage key theme into other aspects of your wedding:

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Wedding Favor Ideas

3. Since the couple are in need of some other wedding favor inspiration, I came up with these very usable options guests would enjoy:

Soaps in a cherry blossom scent, from the always-elegant L’Occitane

Another cherry blossom soap favor idea:

A bottle of wine with a personalized label:

Remember, this doesn’t have to be an uber-expensive gift. It could be a special favor to give to family members only. Also, many guests will neglect to take favors, so you may not even need a bottle for each guest. Another idea to cut costs is to leave a bottle of wine for each couple attending your wedding (and of course each single, above-21-years-old guest!) Get thee to BevMo quick! They’re having their 5 cent sale. :)

A cherry blossom candle:

Or how about something tasty as a favor? Edible favors are always a big hit! You won’t have to worry about left-behind favors with these ideas.

Try cupcakes or cookies decorated with the same cherry blossom motif:

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Petal shaped cookies. Yum! And SO totally unique.

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For an even more low-cost favor, try slipping a home-baked cookie into a simple favor box or cellophane wrapper and decorating it with a personalized label

or personalized tags!

Ceremony Site Decor

4. The ceremony gazebo would look amazing either draped in florals, or with hundreds of origami cranes:

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Pick up some lovely red and gold origami paper and do the folding yourself. Hey, if even I could figure it out after a few shots, I bet anybody could!

Another lovely look would be ribbons and origami cranes, together:

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I envision the gazebo’s white columns flanked in rich, red organza fabric, with a border arrangement of flowers along the top, and streams of ribbons and origami cranes making up a backdrop behind the bride and groom. I sort of picture it like this, but imagine the appropriate colors instead of green, and cranes and ribbons instead of crystals:

Source: Designs by Hemingway, LLC

Underneath the gazebo, the table holding unity candles or other ceremony items could be decorated like this:

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And finally, for that total “wow” factor that only costs a couple hundred bucks, order rose petals from your florist and have a creative, artistic friend scatter them down the aisle in a beautiful design:

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And there you have it! An elegant, red and gold wedding for the lovely bride and groom! Good luck planning, my friends, I know it’s going to be simply gorgeous!

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A Modern Purple Wedding Inspiration + Buying Guide

purple modern wedding buying guide

I would just die if I saw a wedding using the details and colors in the modern purple wedding inspiration board and buying guide I created above! Just die and swoon and instantly demand of my husband that we get married all over again just to use this design.

Paper Goods

For this gorgeous, modern wedding with deep purple colors accented with bright chartreuse, I would recommend this Paper Source invitation that you assemble yourself choosing this backing card in the 5×7″ size in the fig color.

For a truer purple, try this backing card in eggplant. Use glue dots or double-sided tape to do the assemblage. Doing it yourself will save a ton of money to create a layered and high-end look! Use the matching fig envelope in A7 from Paper Source, or a matching eggplant envelope.

I’d line it in this shimmeringly STUNNING purple and chartreuse paper from Paper Source. Make your own liner template and hand cut out the liners to save tons. (Ask me for advice on how to do that if you’re curious!) But if cutting out envelope liners isn’t your thing, you can always take the paper to a local printer who can do it for you!

Display escort cards in both chartreuse and fig to get an effect just like this:

purple wedding escort cardsSource

If you don’t want to go the print-em-on-your-computer route, get an Etsy seller to do the printing and assembling for you, in the colors of your choice. Etsy is also a good spot to get a custom monogram designed. You can always message the seller with an inspiration photo of a design (like the fabric print above) and get them to create a digital file incorporating that design into a monogram of your initials. That would be simply uh.maz.ing. A monogram could be printed on cute circular tags and used to seal a ribbon belly band tied around your invitation suite, or used as tags/labels on your favors.

Create Ambience

With all these rich colors against a clean, white and modern backdrop, they’d really pop! I’d serve up a signature cocktail in a similar deep purple hue. Try a signature drink like Sangria. Make it yourself the day before and save tons off your bar bill. Sangria’s always a crowd pleaser. If you want the recipes for several 5-gallon signature cocktails (3 containers will be enough to satisfy a crowd of 130) just let me know. I have them!

Some accent throw-pillows tossed on a clean white rental lounge sofa and chairs made out of this fabric pattern I found would tie in the whole design perfectly. This print mimics the colors and design found in the envelope liner paper. Alternatively, try a few of these gorgeous fig-inspired pillows from Etsy.

It also comes in a more vibrant hue:

purple modern wedding throw pillow

Another small detail I would add using the fig-inspired design is using the same fabric linked to above to line a basket holding flip-flops (for high-heel-weary guests), and to line baskets in the guests’ bathrooms holding complimentary essentials like soaps, q-tips, etc. It’s funny how you can find wedding inspiration almost anywhere: fabric prints, magazine tear-outs and architecture to name a few. Find a pattern and go with it!

Try taking an extra sheet of the Paper Source invitation liner paper and use it to wrap soaps, then place those in clear glass cylinders in the bathroom. Such gorgeous little details really help take a wedding to the next level.

Bridesmaid Dresses

For bridesmaids’ dresses that would compliment this palette, try the vivid silk faille dress in wild plum from J.Crew. Or add in some nice layers of purple hues with J.Crew’s silk taffeta bow dress in spice wine, driftwood and caspian blue.

I found the dresses in sizes ranging from 4 to 12 on sale on 100 Layer Cake!

purple bridesmaid dresses

Reception Flowers

At the reception, repeat the hydrangea pattern found in the lovely Paper Source invitation above, by using large white hydrangea blooms in large, glass cylinder vases, like in this photo:

wedding reception flowers, hydrangea bloomsSource

Something like the above would be SO easy to DIY! Just head to a florists’ wholesale store (try the flower district in downtown LA) and pickup large glass cylinder vases. The day before the wedding, assign somebody to help with flowers or hire a just-starting-out florist who can pick up dozens of large white hydrangea blooms along with white gladiolus.

To arrange the flowers, place them into a circular piece of floral foam cut to fit in the vase. Cover the foam entirely with flowers, ensuring the top part overflows with flowers that will rest over the edges of the vase.  Fill the cylinder with water, place an orchid or a few gladiolus’ facing down into the water (to add interest and also obscure the view of the bottom of the floral foam from guests’ vantage point), then place the floral foam arrangement on the top.

Oh, such a wedding would be so gorgeous! If you want to hire me to pull off this design and get tips on even more amazing, totally original details/ideas you could use, don’t hesitate to ask!

Are you a bride who’s struggling with creating a color palette or styling your wedding? Or simply struggling to pull together your vision or find the items you need? I do custom design and buying guides for brides! Give me a holler! elizabeth@clementineandclover.com

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New Wedding Recap Post is Up!

I’m back with the leading-up-to-the-wedding events I hadn’t yet covered in my very first recap on Weddingbee.

It was pretty much a bunch o’ yardwork as we prepped a long-neglected backyard for a wedding!

Here’s an “after” shot of the ceremony site:

Photo courtesy of Tanja Lippert And:

Photo courtesy of Tanja Lippert But just a few weeks earlier, it’d looked like this:

Personal photo

Starting a year before the wedding, my Dad and I began to prep the acre-large property for reseeding.

Long story short long, we should have started completely from scratch and torn up the old lawn, because there were just too many weeds. Spring of ’10 was an epic rainy-weed-season in NorCal, with rain comin’ steady all the way up to the month of June! For some reason, the seeds we planted in August ’09 didn’t take. Nor did the seeds we planted twice in the spring.

Morning glory, hollyhock, delphinium, zinnia, cosmos and other seeds planted at just the right time in March/April barely grew an inch by the time the wedding rolled around in late June. Even the 80+ lavender bushes and plants we kept in our greenhouse didn’t fare well. It was just cold and unsunny all winter/spring long! Equaling NOT a good gardening year for even the greenest of thumbs.

Lesson learned–if you’re planning to landscape your backyard for a wedding, just be prepared for anything Mother Nature may have up her malicious-wedding-ruining-weather sleeve!

What ended up–somewhat–saving the day? Emergency fast-growing grass seed planted two weeks before the wedding (when the sun had finally decided to shine again). And some last-minute cosmos to hide ugly spots by the rosemary bushes on the lawn terraces we built (where we had the chairs for the ceremony lined up):

Photo courtesy of our friend, Allie Gergley

The terraces:

Photos courtesy of Tanja Lippert

Oh, btw, since I’m sure it will be helpful to somebody, somewhere … you know how long it takes two people to build 10 lawn terraces out of a huge slope completely covered in overgrown rosemary, that will fit at least 100 wedding chairs? About five days.

We didn’t bother with seeding grass right by the lakeshore. The grass looked OK there (in a natural, rustic kinda way):

Photo courtesy of Tanja Lippert

And so did the piles of tule reeds. (That I had considered removing, until I scooped some up and realized the pebbly sand underneath covered with rolly-polly bugs was far less pretty than the dried reeds!)

Photo courtesy of Tanja Lippert

It truly was a labor of love, fixing up the property. We even worked it into part of the ceremony, lest any guests forget all that damn work we did to help tell the story to our guests:

“They are blessed to share their wedding day with you, their family and friends, And thank each of you for making the long journey here. They have invited you to this beautiful place, to Clear Lake, where the bride grew up. She played on the lake shore here at her grandparents’ house, and had a special bond with her grandfather, Grandpa Paisley. Miss Paisley spent many days, weekends and summers with her grandpa–baking pies, gardening and taking the rowboat out on the lake. And most important, the two of them were always sharing a good laugh or inside joke. If there could be one person, other than Professor Paisley and her Dad, who meant the world to Miss Paisley, it was her grandfather. During their years together, Professor Paisley and Miss Paisley have come here many times, on days like today, together, so humbled and awed by the purity of their surroundings. Mt. Konocti became a shelter, a respite, and a temple to them. In the past year, they have enjoyed restoring this property to a portion of its former glory. A garden the bride’s grandfather envisioned more than 40 years ago when he built this house, but since his death four years ago, the garden had fallen into neglect. So it was with great joy that Professor Paisley and Miss Paisley brought it back to life. They wanted to show you the beauty of these lakes, fields and ancient oaks. They wanted you to get away from LA, or Utah, and breathe in not only the cleanest air in the state, but the third cleanest air in all of the United States.”

That last bit about the air elicited lots of laughs from our guests. I was proud of my comedic writing!

Some of the words above, though, we stole borrowed from Mrs. Cherry Pie’s ceremony vows. Thank you, Mrs. Cherry Pie for the inspiration! We weaved in words and meaning to help make it our own. Mrs. Cherry Pie’s vows were so great, Mrs. Cowboy Boot also used them as inspiration for her personalized vows.

Funny, I just realized that means those vows (or very similar ones) were used three years in a row by Bees! Mrs. Cherry Pie in ’08, then Mrs. Cowboy Boot in ’09, then Mrs. Paisley in ’10. Who will be the Bee to use them in ’11, I wonder? ;p Them sure is good vows, and I’m not joking. Loved. Them.

Now. Just because. I have some old-timey photos of the property to show you. Since I grew up here (we lived in the same town as my grandparents), and have so many great memories, I just have to share them! So, if you will, let’s rev up the DeLorean and wisk ourselves back to the heyday of the early ’90s!

But first, check out the lakeside lawn on the day of the wedding, won’t you? Because this shan’t be a good time-travel without due comparison of lawns then-and-now:

Photos courtesy of Tanja Lippert

And here is that same area 20 years ago. About 15 yards of lakeshore eroded over that time, so the lawn was much, much bigger! And oh so much smoother-looking, boo hoo!

Yes, that’s little Miss Paisley at age five or so, on the left in the red shorts.

For perspective, directly above my head and up from the alligator head is where the base of the dock ramp starts (just out of the picture). When the lawn eroded, we had to build an extension to the dock ramp! (Which much to her chagrin, was NOT weathered enough to Miss Paisley’s liking by the time of the wedding. Gasp! So, yes, the day-before-wedding-day also involved some beige paint to help the new-and-old railings all blend in together.)

Would it sound less miss-snooty-perfectionist if I mentioned I was the one who was workin’ the paint brush? No? Well OK then.

In the front yard, my totally rad maid of honor Morgan helped me prep the dance floor area on the lawn. OK fine. She also helped with the painting of the dock railings. But back in April, she spent about five hours shoveling old dead plants, leaves, a few rotten tennis balls and a badminton birdie:

15 years ago, that exact area where we’re standing used to be my grandfather’s rose garden. He’d clip roses from them for me and leave them on my pillow, along with a chair (yes, he’d put a chair on top of my bed and leave it there for me to find when I got home from school. It was my way of knowing he’d stopped by my parents’ and my house–he was a funny one like that).

That’s me again, this time around age nine, in my Easter bonnet. Here’s another shot of that area at the wedding. We had the band set up on the brick patio in front of the guest house. That’s the carport to the right, completely covered in white canvas painters’ cloth to hide the catering setup:

Photo courtesy of Tanja Lippert

It really was so wonderful to restore the property a little bit. (Non-sarcasm.) I mean, it hadn’t been touched since my grandfather’s death in 2006! It was like the Secret Garden. Most of the plants had died and been overgrown with weeds. I would cry “It’s wick!” every time I discovered some old plant still struggling along.

Check out this clip at about 3:10 to get the reference:

Let me tell you, bride-to-bride, I wouldn’t have had it any other way or the wedding at any other location, but it did take a lot of bride-sweat and bride-hours. A solid four weeks of work (by Professor Paisley and me) plus at least a dozen weekends by my Dad and a few by my maid of honor. PLUS a full four days’ labor by the men in our bridal party, to get that property ship-shape for a wedding!

All that time, and the fact that my grandmother invested $4K on an arborist to trim all the oak trees (to prevent dead branches from nailing a guest on the noggin) and it probably would have been a leetle less expensive for everybody had we gone with our first venue choice, which had been Nestldown in Los Gatos.

But, I honestly don’t regret the time and work it took to have the wedding there. Our friends and family volunteered and enjoyed helping, and while it all seems like a lot of work and stress, it wasn’t stressful at all. It was fun. Honestly, there were no pre-wedding tears involved! We were just worker bees who took the time to sip a beer, have a break, go for a swim or kayak paddle. It was a chance to bond with our friends and families.

Plus my parents viewed our free labor as an investment in the property. (Eeeek, God forbid it gets sold anytime soon!!!! :( Professor Paisley and I better start saving our pennies now so we can buy it and keep it in the family after my grandmother passes away!) Furthermore, during those days and weeks of working, I almost felt as though my grandfather was there watching over me, smiling with approval at each shovelful. Ahh, the memories at that place! And oh, how it used to be such a lushly landscaped spot. Here’s one more view of the front-of-the-house steps, back in the day:

Here’s the same area by the house on wedding day. See the front steps? Well, the bushes got bigger. Annd they’re about the only things that survived:

Photo courtesy of Tanja Lippert

OK, I lied. ONE more photo from the early ’90s and I promise I’ll move on! (I can’t help it, I swear! I’m a Cancer, and as we know, Cancers are ruled by their childhood and place great importance on such memories … says the lady who doesn’t believe in astrology but uses it as an excuse for being a nostalgic sap.)

Here is that same area of lawn/fence, minus the old hollowed-out tree, which got removed around ’99:

This photo taken by our friend Allie really sums up the days before the wedding!

It was dirty, dirty work.

A few more pre-wedding-prep photos taken by brother paisley, showing general assemblage of crafts, mason drinking jars, straw flair, lights and our homemade tables:

The catering table we built was perfect for holding all the projects on the day before the wedding:

One of my favorite stories post-wedding was hearing how my Mom, just as guests were arriving for the ceremony, realized her feet were filthy from running around doing last-minute things, and so she went and stood in the day-old bathtub water where all of my DIY wedding flowers had been stored–to quickly give her feet a scrub.

I told her at least her feet–literally–smelled like roses.

Makes you kinda glad you’re not having a country, DIY, backyard wedding, no? Oh, wait, you ARE?!?! Heh. Well, you’ll probably have some broken finger nails, blood, sweat and bruises in your future. Annnd, you’ll probably look like this at your rehearsal:

Photo courtesy of our friend Allie

Barefoot and dirty.

Flanked by a group of ragtag and weary groomsmen/slave laborers.

Well, if the above wasn’t a riot enough for ya, just wait until I come back next with the deets from the rehearsal. OK fine, nothing dramatic or exciting really happened. Hm. So do you want to hear about the night before rehearsal day?!? The one where I stayed up alllll night arranging my DIY wedding flowers? Do ya, do ya? You guys do realize me telling you these pre-wedding-work stories is replacing months worth of therapy sessions for me, right? J/K

Tell me, any other extreme-backyard-wedding-DIYers out there?

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Black & White Den With Pops of Color

Nellie, the winner of my very first giveaway last week, came to me seeking a makeover of her and her husband Nick’s den, which needs some pops of color. She’s a girl of my own heart in terms of loving style and design, which she writes about over on her blog Wired, Witty and Well-Dressed. Here’s what she says:

We’re kind of into the sophisticated modern look with a hint of classic antique-iness. For example, we really like dark brown leather couches with the brass rivets.

We tended to do black stuff in our den since our computers and electronics dominate the room and they’re black. We both like shades of blue. Nick loves orange (he’s a University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign fan).

I’m a huge fan of DIY artwork. We actually have a pile of framed photos that we haven’t gotten up on the walls yet. I also have a newspaper from the morning after the last election when Barack Obama won that I’m dying to get framed and put over my desk in the office. We also don’t have any wedding photos up yet.  We really need to figure out a way to get them up.

Here are a couple photos of the den as-is. It currently has two matching desks and desk chairs and lamp, which will stay, and two matching black bookcases, which will go.

Looking in:

The right wall:

Here is a layout of the den, which has five walls and is 9×12′:

Now here’s what I have planned for the makeover, using Nellie’s $250 gift card at Bed, Bath & Beyond she has from her wedding, and about $200-ish extra for additional items:

1. This leaning bookshelf will replace the two black ones and create a much more open, airy feeling in the room, while still storing the couples’ needed work-books. The height of the shelf will go well with the height of the room. The more attractive books can be left out to display on the shelves, while clutter and little-used texts can be stored in the woven baskets (#8). The printer can either be placed on the bottom shelf here, or kept on its current small black table but moved to the wall directly to the left of the double doors.

2. This gorgeous chair is on sale and includes the couples’ favorite colors: orange and blue, along with beige and brown. Positioned against the wall directly opposite the double doors (to the left of the closet), it will help brighten up the room from the vantage point of the living room, looking through the doors into the den.

3. We’ll push the two desks together onto the 9′ wall to the left of the double doors to create one long workspace. High up above it will go two floating shelves, to create one long shelf where more books can be stored along with propped up pieces of large artwork, and even that framed newspaper from when Obama won the presidency, like Nellie wants to do. The artwork on top of this floating shelf will add color as well as make great use of the room’s high walls.

In between the highly-placed floating wall shelf and the tops of the desks, we’ll place a long sheet of cork board covered with fabric (see #4 for fabric color and pattern), much like in this inspiration photo Nellie provided me, courtesy of http://www.fancyhouseroad.com (which looks like it got it from Martha Stewart):

Rolls of cork board can be purchased at places like Michaels or online. Here it is on Amazon pretty durn cheap! And since Nellie mentioned she and her husband adore that brass-rivet-studded leather look, I thought it’d be fun to frame the new cork board with brass-colored upholstery nails. You can buy those here. To apply the fabric to the board, I’d use a spray fabric adhesive, smoothing out as you go along. The upholstery nails around the edges will help secure it, too.

There is space on that wall in between the two desks (which I should mention are the same model), for a small storage cabinet the same height as the desks (like in the inspiration photo above) as a place to store and hide the computers and cords. In the meantime, cords can be easily corralled up to the underneath of the desks and secured with Velcro tape.

4. This artwork would look fabulous arranged leaning on top of the floating shelf above the desks. Try a trio of different-yet-similar framed $4.99 coral prints, a large 19×19″ framed tropical dock print to bring in more blue hues, and a huge, gorgeous $39 floral framed print that does a great job of containing all of the colors of our palette!

5. This collection of frames can hold artwork, such as DIY pieces like pressed fern leaves, silhouette cut-outs that are all the rage right now and a couple of wedding photos. Placed art-gallery-like above the chair midway on the wall will create a striking feature.

6. I couldn’t pass up this great leather charging station to hold ipods, cell phones AND hide those unsightly cords. This station could be placed on the desks or leaning bookshelf. What a steal — it’s under $10 on sale!

7. Here’s the fabric I talked about above, that will cover the cork board above the desks. The oversized dandelion pattern echoes the chair’s pattern. Bonus — it won’t be too distracting as the new-cork-board-wall above the desks since it’s a muted natural linen color. In fact, it will help define the space and make the combined-desks-arrangement appear more unified. $12.95/yard.

8. Finally, snag this set of durable woven baskets to bring in texture and tame unsightly stuff, placed on the new leaning bookshelf on the wall to the right of the desks. Lastly, I’d suggest clearing away unneeded papers, clutter and even picture frames (that are currently on the black bookcases that will be tossed). Try putting those smaller frames up on the wall instead, grouped in the nicely-arranged art gallery (above the new Target chair).

Happy decorating Nellie!!! When you’re finished, shoot me the after pictures! I’m so digging these colors myself I’m thinking about purchasing the same artwork for my living room. If I do, I’ll be sure to post pictures here on the blog.

Readers, how do you bring color into apartments where you’re not allowed to paint (or only allowed to paint just one wall per room, as in Nellie’s case)? Do you go ahead and paint just one wall? Do you break the rules and paint all of them anyway, knowing you’ll have to go over them with the original white paint before you leave? If you painted, are you afraid of getting caught or even getting a fine? (Can you tell yours truly might have broken aforementioned rules in her own apartment recently? ;)

Somebody please comment, I’m getting lonely on this here blog o’ mine and wondering if anybody’s out there reading other than Alexa and my Mom?

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Jackie-O Inspired Mood Board

I’ve always had a thing for long, ruched leather gloves, the kind Jackie-O used to wear beneath a ’60s-style coat like this one I found on sale at J.Crew. When I spotted these gloves at Dillards for under $20, I squealed with glee. Although I generally only purchase gloves in-person to ensure a great fit and color, I just might bite the bullet for these babies!

I hope you like this style board I built inspired by the former first lady. I think this is an ensemble a modern, color-loving Jackie-O would wear.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this mini skirt at Gap for only $14.99! It would look so great with this outfit, because the hem would definitely be at or above the coat’s hem length, making for a nice, streamlined silhouette.

My ears might just need to be pierced so I can wear those adorable baubles, under $20 at Anthro.

I probably wouldn’t personally spring the $198 for the brown snakeskin clutch at Fablogue, but I’d definitely use it as inspiration to find something similar at a vintage clothing store.

The J.Crew dollop coat and the Frye boots, on the other hand, are definitely investments worth making, since they’ll last years. I’ve spotted those exact boots on eBay, too.

I never knew Target carried Dolce & Gabbana sunnies, but boy, am I glad they do! And who’d a thunk you could beget a cashmere cardi on Overstock for under $30 bucks!? Yes, please!

That pink ring is so cute, at $78 it’s a splurge, but it’s still on my wish-list! Hue tights are perfection. I have a whole mess of them and wear ‘em regularly! Check the sale bins at Anthropologie, there always seems to be several pairs hiding there!

Sigh. This whole outfit would be so chic, colorful and warm! I picture myself wearing it while driving a vintage convertible down the Pacific Coast Highway. I’d throw on an elegant Hermes scarf like this one, to tame my hair.

Happy shopping … or in my case, dreaming!

Are you still in winter-mode, or are you craving a bit of springtime color? How do you add color to your wintertime wardrobe?

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Giveaway Winners!!!

Yep, you read that correctly, we have not one, but TWO winners of this week’s custom mood board giveaway!

How did that happen?! Let me explain with this picture sequence of my random-drawing method:

1. Write giveaway entry names on pieces of sticky note paper I had lying around and place in a hat:

2. Shake hat around, close eyes, and dip in for the winning folded-up-sticky-note-name:

3. Open eyes to discover this:

Sammie is the winner! Wahoo! But oh wait, what’s this? A tag-along sticky-note-paper:

Nellie won, too! Time for a happy dance! Not too surprising Nellie was a winner as well, since she had a total of four entries in the drawing for tweeting, blogging, subscribing and following–a great way to maximize yo’ chances, girlfriend, and it gave me a boost in readership this week. Thanks to you and to all who entered!

Side note: I clearly hadn’t thought through the whole using-sticky-note-paper thing in my drawing. Those suckers all stuck together after I shook the hat up. Obviously I’m still in the primitive stages on this here ol’ blog of mine. I could have used random.org, but I just thought seeing as how I had a manageable number of entrants this time around, I might as well have a little fun and use the old folded-up-papers-in-a-hat method.

BUT, I definitely don’t regret that the two stuck together. I’m very excited to have two winners, especially in two categories: Flowers and Decorating! This means I’ll be whipping up a DIY-flower-arranging and buying guide for Sammie, a bride-to-be, AND an interior design mood board for Nellie. It’ll be a fun weekend of shopping, planning and mood-boarding to be sure. I just eat this stuff up.

Winners, I’ll be in touch but if you see this post first, give me a holler at elizabeth@clementineandclover.com and we’ll get started.

If you didn’t win this time, no fear, this will be a weekly feature so be sure to pop back in Tuesday for a chance to win again. Between now and then, keep your eyes peeled for my first-ever fashion mood board. I was just flipping through a four-year-old photo album of ours, and realized I haven’t shopped much since then. I still have all the same clothes in those photos. Realizing that was the jolt I needed to whip up a colorful, late-winter wardrobe shopping guide. If you like shopping at places like Anthropologie, Modcloth and JCrew, I think you’ll like the mood board I’m currently working on.

Stay tuned, lovely readers, and have a wonderful weekend. Colby and I plan to spend some quality time together outdoors. It’s my turn for a piggyback ride.

 

 

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