(Photos by the one and only Cassie of FireRose Photography)
I haven't posted much about new work in my studio this year as I've been deeply involved in another creative pursuit: planning my wedding! I sometimes am hard on myself for not producing new ceramic work frequently, for not feeling that pull to be out in the studio all the time. But I'm letting myself pursue a little creative cross-training. As a creative person I'm always needing to make something or come up with a new idea, a new plan. While ceramics are my chosen medium, they are not my only medium. Sometimes I need to express myself through dance (especially aerial silks), travel sketching, my journal, decorating, or in the kitchen. In this past season, the creative energy has focused on planning our March 3 wedding in Asheville. I'm so grateful I gave myself the time and space for that; it was a most perfect, beautiful day.
Some of my favorite details from our big day were the handmade touches. I wore my dream dress: my grandmother's 1940's satin wedding gown, with a few alterations and a lace bolero jacket and hair flower I made to match. The dress, along with our vintage-inspired invitations and the historic venue, Homewood, were the style guidelines for creating an evening of jazz-age glamour in the mountains. Our cutting cake was completely covered in gold sprinkles, made by my dear friend Larissa at Cakes by Lala. I used the gold laurel leaf motif from the invitations to carve a custom stamp I used on the paper wax guards for our candlelight exit (think Christmas eve midnight mass).
Of course I had to make pottery for the wedding, too. Instead of using floral centerpieces, I made wheelthrown planters and handbuilt star plates to hold candles. I have made these forms before but this time I decorated them with a starburst motif from our invitations and added gold luster dots for a special wedding edition line. Not only did I save money on decorations, I also have decor to reuse at home and give to friends and family as a wedding souvenir.
If you're planning a wedding and are short on time, consider using a few handmade details instead of trying to fit in every DIY idea you find on Pinterest. We only had a five-month engagement, so we had to make our decisions fast and focus on what made the biggest impact. I've never cared about wedding favors so we didn't have them. We didn't have programs either because our ceremony was short and the wedding party was tiny. Our coordinator said most programs get thrown away at the end of the night anyway. I adore handmade paper goods but it just wasn't worth making invites, place cards, and table numbers after finding affordable, awesome designs online at Minted. As my friend and fellow potter Grace told me, "If it's too much work or stress and is not a necessary part of your wedding, don't do it." What I've always remembered from weddings are the food, alcohol, dancing, and atmosphere of the venue. So we splurged on those things and didn't worry about the other details. Here are the tips for focusing on essential details for more impact with less fuss:
- Don't give yourself a hard time for not being a DIY wedding superhero. No one will hold it against you.
- Do DIY elements you enjoy, pay for someone else to do the one's you don't. I made my lace jacket but left the heavy alterations to a seamstress.
- Use FREE email save the dates, especially when you're short on time.
- Simple but lovely invitations serve the same purpose as elaborate ones. And did I mention online RSVP's???
- To keep decor and imagery consistent, use design elements from one source like your invitation, gown, vintage ring, or venue.
- Candles make much cheaper centerpieces than flowers and look great for evening receptions.
- You can layer several items to make a fuller-looking centerpiece: Base (mirror, placement, etc), main container, and surrounding tiny candles.
- Shop clearance Christmas or seasonal decor for candles, wreaths, glass containers, garland. It doesn't all scream "Santa Claus is coming to town" and can be reused at home. I shopped TJ Maxx, Target, HomeGoods, Restoration Hardware.
- Amazon. I got handheld candles, votives, and gold cupcake sleeves here without having to pay "wedding tax".
- Ask around among friends and family for glass containers, linens, ring pillow, garter, etc. Why buy when you can borrow?
- Have the ceremony and reception in one location so you don't have to decorate two spaces and guests just have to navigate to one place.
- Consider renting a large home or Airbnb for the immediate family instead of individual hotel rooms. By doing that we spent more time hanging out with family the days before the wedding and hosted a casual dinner at the house for guests the night before, complete with hot tub and foosball.