Tuesday, August 2, 2011

real life: hand crafted in north carolina

Get ready for a treat,  my friends...this is the real life wedding of Alison and Luke.  Alison is a friend of mine in real life and I am so glad that she was excited to share their wedding story and pictures!  This is a rad couple...and a super rad bride...after reading her words I'm sure you will agree (and you'll want to be friends with her too!).  

Their wedding was absolutely glorious and was jam packed with heartfelt handcrafted details.  I love the bit where she talks about their wedding registry...and I want to SEE their handmade dishware!  Also, I adore allllll of the sentimental additions to their big day...from her turquoise earrings to their mums...just treasures all around.  Enjoy!

From the beginning I could easily picture myself being married to my man. He is just so stinkin sweet, totally smart and creative, and can literally fix anything. We call each other “Monkey,” tell each other far too much, and laugh together all the time. Ummm… you should see him chop wood. It’s sexy. I’m just saying. What I could NOT picture… however… was a wedding. I just didn’t want one. I wanted Vegas. 
What’s funny about marriage though, is that it’s no longer just about what I want. Booo. It’s this whole idea of compromise blah blah blah. Long story short the hubs wanted a wedding. I was a full time nursing student. With endless studying and crack-of-dawn clinicals (I recently graduated and I am working on a step-down unit. YAY!). I just wanted him. As my husband. Around the time these negotiations were taking place I happened upon A Mountain Bride. I fell in love. Jes and other blogs I found through her site provided a community of women who shared a lot of the values that were important to hubs and I. I floated around silently from blog to blog gathering a TON of ideas for our wedding, a lot of which I actually used…. so they might look familiar? 

…..Like the wine box idea that I thieved from a featured wedding on August and After. It stole my breath. I felt compelled to use it. So hubs built the box (nothing special… but then… it kinda is), sanded it, stained it, and burned our initials and wedding date into the top. We wrote each other love letters on the morning of and during the ceremony put a bottle of wine, the letters, and a newspaper from that day in our box and hammered the lid on. It just felt so… solid. We have it on display. It’s beautiful. And should we ever need those letters… and the wine… they are there for safe keeping.

Hubs and I live in NC on a farm that has been in his family for 60 years. We try to live our day-to-day life being conscious of how the choices we make impact the land and life around us. We wanted our wedding and reception to reflect that… good food, good fun, low waste, low stress (is that even possible??) and within my sweet, generous parents’ budget. 

My hubs runs a greenhouse… he grew mums for centerpieces. We had an old cedar fence post lying around. He cut slices of it and we burned on table numbers, drilled a hole in the bottom, attached a dowel, and stuck it down into the potted mums. It turned out super cute. After the wedding he took the mums back to the greenhouse and sold them. We had white tablecloths provided by our caterer (owner of the restaurant/B&B where we got married… she uses all fresh ingredients from local family farms) and burlap table runners that have since been handed down, and I hear handed down yet again. Our friend grew watermelons and gave them to us as a wedding gift. They were served family style on platters at each table. Such a simple addition, but it really added so much color and character to the tables. 

We opted out of programs and instead wrote one big “program” on a chalkboard we made from an old piece of metal found in one of the barns. My grandpa-in-law has this really amazing bike from the 60’s. We put our favors in the basket…. tulip bulbs. They were a last minute replacement, but ended up being kind of perfect because people have been sending us pictures of the tulips blooming. Love. 


The hardest thing for us was dealing with other people’s expectations of what every wedding… our wedding… should look like. Some people were endlessly supportive while others should-ed all over us (to steal a line from Ms. Carrie Bradshaw). It should have colors. It should be in a church. It should be officiated by a pastor. You should have a fancy dress. And on and on. I did a lot of smiling and nodding and ignoring. The most constant should was our registry. We registered with a local potter to have him hand make all of our dinnerware piece by piece as people ordered it. We were so excited about it we giggled and danced around and drooled over pictures. Then we started telling our loved ones, who then crapped on our perfectly glazed pottery. “He doesn’t have a website? People will actually have to call and do a transaction over the phone? There is nothing to wrap? GASP!” We fought it valiantly until the end…. when we gave in and registered at a “traditional” store as well. It actually worked out well. We ended up with lovely new towels, sheets, etc… AND our heartbreakingly beautiful dishes. Another weird should was a head table. We refused. It caused quite a stir. We held our ground. It’s just so hard to know what to fight for and what to give in on. 

I was born and raised in Arizona. A close family friend, like a second dad to me, made me a pair of earrings from turquoise mined in my hometown. Just the tiniest little perfect studs… I NEVER wear danglies. They reminded me of home. So sweet. My perfect something blue. My mom (that sneaky little creature) bought me a fancy shmancy bolero that I kept eyeing but had barred myself from purchasing and she also hand made all of our invitations. Hubs has an aunt that bakes the most delicious cakes ever. She made us a pineapple cake with whipped cream icing from scratch. She even tiered it! My friend… I call her Ray… painstakingly hand wrote every single place card (I write like a 5 year old). Another friend played his guitar for the ceremony and his bluegrass band played for our reception. They practiced for months. Loved ones traveled from all over the country for our little shindig. Everyone just worked so. freakin. hard. to make sure that our wedding was special to us. And it totally was. Shoulds and all ;)


  1. I love the bike with tulip and wildflower seeds...were there packet inside?

  2. wow....beautiful wedding!! now that its post-wedding for me, I have a hard time getting all excited about weddings, but gosh yours was beautiful!! Nice job on not caving into shoulds. Those shoulds are difficult to manage in unique weddings from the heart. Thanks Jes for sharing!

  3. Beautiful wedding! I am from South Carolina and I can just feel the feel of North Carolina when I look at these pictures! :) Happy planning to ya, married life is pretty sweet and it will be the best day of your life! :)

  4. Alison- way to go! your wedding looks beautiful! And yes, good job for sticking to your guns and picking your battles! My husband and I have been married a month now and we went through the same pressures- I am not sure his parent's can believe we didn't want to get married at their country club! We, too, planned the whole day around what we were comfortable with and ended up having the time of our lives (with lots of inspiration from both Jes' blog here, and Lindsey's blog at ahomegrownwedding.blogspot.com). I hope that you and your husband live off the love and energy that your day created for you for a long time, I know we are!

  5. This looks so beautiful and full of light & love: The very things a wedding should be made of.

  6. What a beautiful, memorable wedding. Clearly, lots of love was behind all of the details.

    Kudos to you for standing your ground about the head table, Alison! I've never quite understood the purpose of those either. ;)


  7. Alison introduced me to A Mountain Wedding, and we've been fans of wedding blogs ever since. We got married around the same time, and used these amazing ideas and shared them with each other.

    On Alison & Luke's wedding day, everything was PERFECT! It was a beautiful day and they were giggling the whole time. They a beautiful couple and SO MUCH FUN! Awesome dance moves!
    I loved reading her recap, it was like reliving the happy day all over again. They are totally going to grow old together and be the funniest couple. True love, there's nothing like it! Best to you, Al & Luke!



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