My husband A. and I put together the entire wedding
* ourselves (with some incredible generosity on the parts of his mom M. and my maid-of-honor Josie);
* in a little over three months (I'm not pregnant - we're just the sorts of folks who, once they've decided to do something, do it);
* on a shoestring budget (no, really - we spent about one-eighth of the national average, and that's including my strange and beautiful 1930's-ish platinum and sapphire engagement ring, the same-era weird platinum wedding band, and A.'s neo-50's white gold & diamond blingtastic ring).
More than anything, we wanted it to reflect the little things that we like to think might represent us.
I'm a would-be textiles junkie, and A. has a long history in paper printing, so we put these skills to work making beautiful (and time consuming, oh my lord, how many days they took!) fabric-and-paper invitations, complete with riveted name plates for our loved ones. See photos here and there. (We also LOVED our photographer Erica Eichelkraut, who was totally willing to put up with people who don't necessarily like to be photographed and who didn't pour over wedding materials looking for "perfect shots" - she created some anyway.)
Since we met in a coffee shop, we held the wedding in one too, though this time in A.'s hometown of Medina, instead of downtown Buffalo. (We were the first of what is bound to be many couples to utilize the fantastic hospitality and excellent space at The Shirt Factory).
We're ecologically-minded, so we employed biodegradable wooden plates and silverware, and used some of the simply-pretty octagonal plates along with reusable glass holders, filled with coffee beans and candles, as centerpieces.
We love spicy food, and A. has the biggest sweet tooth I've ever encountered, so we designed a menu (with the fantastic Mike Zambito, owner and executive chef of the small-town gem Zambistro) full of fiery savories and made our own sweet (and only sometimes spicy) treats to decorate the tables. (Take a look at coffee-light and edible centerpieces.) In lieu of the more tradional wedding cake, we also had the tastiest cupcakes ever from Zillycakes in Buffalo: dulce de leche iced cinnamon cake with toffee on top, and sparkly vanilla buttercream over white cake: yuuuuuuum.
As a lifelong native (A.) and new-but-here-to-stay transplant (me), we are proud supporters of all the variety that Western New York can offer, and as such used a regional brewer for our beer and the wine, from grape to cask to glass, came from just down the road. The lovely homemade "altar" also hailed from a bit further down the road, crafted from branches gathered, in the snow, by the outdoor-loving Aaron, supported by rocks borrowed from his father's church, and tailored by his nephew Jackson's helping hands.
We're both music lovers, so we drew on some of the soundtrack to our thus-far days and designed our own idiosyncratic playlist; this included employing the Beatles for a processional "I Will," Frank Sinatra providing recessional with "The Best is Yet To Come," along with Led Zeppelin, Camera Obscura, M. Ward, and David Bowie throughout the night. However, we are crappy, crappy dancers.
And lastly, we wrote our own vows. I mean(t) every word of mine:
You asked me, several months ago, whether my logic and tendency to rationalize were more important than what my heart had to say. Before I met you, I never even knew that I hadn't been listening to it. I followed my heart then, and I promise you that my heart will always follow you, through all the journeys we have ahead. I've never been comfortable in putting my faith in anything before, but today, I put that faith is us. In you.(P.S. - Frank Sinatra, or rather his lyricist, was totally right!)