I’m not sure what I love most about this Atlanta DIY wedding… the bride’s totally unique style, the three-tier naked cake (in three different flavors!), the staircase ceremony entrance… there’s just so much inspiration here! Read on for all the details…
“We had initially planned on having the ceremony outside, on a lawn in front of the house, however, when rain threatened, we moved the ceremony inside. At the time, I was a little disappointed, but it honestly worked out better – the wedding party walked down the staircase behind our seated friends and family. Waiting at the top of those stairs, with my dad and close friends – and hearing the start of the processional music: that was the first time it all felt real.”
Your ceremony in three words. Bespoke, Intimate, Honest.
How did you go about planning your wedding ceremony? We took the ideas behind each of the elements of a traditional ceremony, but customized the details to our taste. We also need to publicly thank Google Docs and “Wedding Planning for Dummies” for making the process easy and effective.
Who officiated your ceremony? One of the first decisions that we made in this whole process was choosing our friend Lacey to be the officiant, and that really set the tone for the ceremony. She kept everything short and sweet, but in between the necessities, she read pieces from our favorite poets and spoke to our true natures. Allen and I both know her separately, but all three of us have grown close over the years. She read a poem from Rainer Marie Rilke during the ceremony.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We kept the ceremony pretty short and sweet, but I wore my great grandmother’s handkerchief (the one she wore in her sleeve when she walked down the aisle) on my waist and Allen wore his grandfather’s pocket square.
What was your ceremony music? In keeping with the rhythm and the grandiosity of the wedding march, we walked to “Hengilas” by Jonsi (even now, after pulling it up on Spotify, it fills my chest with love). We were unable to procure young children for flower girl/ring bearer roles, so we asked two of our recently engaged friends, Walter and Leigh, to be our record bearers. They walked out first, Walter with the portable record player and Leigh with the processional and walk-out records. (We rolled up our hipster sleeves for this one). Immediately after the ceremony, we walked out to Three Dog Night’s “Joy To the World.” Everybody was cheering and clapping. It was joyous.
What were your vows like? We each wrote our own. Allen wrote a beautiful dedication that brought everyone to cheery tears. I, frankly, winged it, and blustered my committed love – it warranted some teary chuckles.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? I was at the top of the stairs about to walk down on my dad’s arm – I had been running around all day (the curse of the DIY wedding), and I was thinking about this and that, and I mentally had just been going through the list, crossing things off, making sure everything was where it needed to be – and I finally just stopped. I heard those first few chords of the processional song, and I heard the chairs shuffle as our guests stood up. My heart was filled with love and excitement.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? It was beautiful and perfect for us. Even the most stodgy and religiously strict distant relatives complimented the ceremony, claiming it was very ‘us.’ That was the highest of compliments.
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? I wore my great grandmother’s handkerchief (the one she wore in her sleeve when she walked down the aisle) on my waist and Allen wore his grandfather’s pocket square. To honor my late grandmother and partaking in the Italian Pittsburgh tradition, we had a cookie table and invited our guests to bring a batch of their favorites.
“I’d describe our reception as an effortlessly elegant garden party which apparently took a turn towards A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was my mom who said it best: it was a magical world that sprung up just for us and we were privileged to celebrate our marriage in such a beautiful space. Callanwolde is a beautiful, historic estate that now primarily serves as a community center. It’s also located right down the street from where we lived!”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? The landscapes of Dutch garden designer Piet Odoulf. The history of the space – it had been a courtyard, but had been covered, and we wanted to bring the garden back in. Scandinavian modernism (simple geometries, untreated wood, found natural elements, organic textures and patterns). The wedding of blogger Diana Moss.
What was your first dance song? Our first dance was to “At Last” by Etta James and transitioned into “Wild Thing” by The Troggs, at which point our guests joined in.
Did you have a signature cocktail? We had two! Sunset Whiskey Punch (bourbon, dry vermouth, lemon juice, simple syrup, ginger beer) and Herb Garden G+T (a gin and tonic with lavender sage honey syrup).
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? We had lots of DIY details! To name just a few… Allen built the ceremony arbor out of red cedar, and we designed and made the garland backdrop together. I designed the invitation and save the dates, and worked with Ancesserie letterpress shop for printing and assembling. We made the table markers and seating board, and Allen planted the seedlings.
What did you serve for dessert? Italian Pittsburghers will know that you must always have a cookie table at any celebration. Traditionally, everybody brings a batch of cookies to a wedding, funeral, party, birthday, etc. To honor the bride’s late grandmother, we continued the tradition of the cookie table at our wedding, as well as a beautiful cake from Sugar and Slate. Each layer of the cake was a different flavor: rosemary with buttercream icing, strawberry with lemon curd, and lavender with strawberry buttercream.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? We received a ton of advice, and honestly, we didn’t take a lot of it. Everybody has an idea of how it should be, and sometime it will align with your thoughts, but other times it won’t. Wisely pick and choose who and what you listen to.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Take everything with a grain of salt. Pick vendors that you trust, and then trust them to do their job! Be simple, be systematic – one or two good aesthetic guidelines early on can make decisions for you later on.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Include Frodo and Dino, our pup and cat.