handmade wedding

Sarah & Matt’s Casual, Handmade Wedding at Stillhouse Manor in Virginia

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Images: Holly Cromer Photography | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Sarah and Matt were married at Stillhouse Manor in Hillsville, Virginia which is not your typical wedding venue, the families rented out the house for a long weekend so the true wedding celebration lasted much longer than just the wedding day. Sarah wore a pair of blue lace Toms as her “something blue”. Her mother brought along a bracelet for her to wear that had a church charm on it because her grandfather was a pastor. The whole wedding was handmade by family and friends and made for a very sweet & touching affair.

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From the couple:

The venue/weekend was special for multiple reasons.  Not only was the venue perfect in my opinion (130 acres with no cell phone reception down in a valley) it was the same weekend as my husband’s family’s annual family reunion in the town his dad is from.  The same weekend the previous year we found out Matt’s dad had cancer, and had experienced other family losses.  We just wanted a place where we could get together with loved ones, relax and celebrate together.

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Matt and I met at Campbell University my freshman year, he was a junior. A friend introduced us during welcome week activities. We shared mutual friends and throughout the school year we would see other at activities off and on campus. We were dating other people that year. My sophomore year we contacted again during early move in/welcome week activities. This time we were both single and started dating :)

Matt and I talked about marriage off and on for many years. After Matt’s uncle, Charles passed last June we decided we were ready to have a celebration of something we knew was going to be forever with our closest family and friends. We started planning (I actually bought my dress the day before he proposed). I had been gone for almost a week for work and when i returned, it was late and I needed to repack because we were leaving the next day to meet my matron of honor in DC. Matt made me go down to the sound by our house and proposed so we could celebrate with friends while in DC.

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Our colors…I knew the venue would be lush and green so we just really wanted soft romantic colors.  Pinks, off whites, pale blue…to be honest it didn’t really matter too much.  My bridesmaids were told they could pick their own dresses they wanted to wear and we purchased Khaki pants and ties for the groomsmen.  I just wanted everyone to feel comfortable, happy and like themselves as much as possible.

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Our wedding was basically hand crafted with the love and generosity from all of our family and friends.  Our flowers were mostly wildflowers handpicked in the area that morning by my husband’s two brothers.  The bouquets were assisted with purchasing some roses and hydrangeas and my matron of honor made the bouquets and flower arrangements.
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Some of my favorite things were the boutonnieres and corsages I ordered from a shop on Etsy called dustyluck-I wanted something that would last.  The flowers were made out of lace, burlap leaves and little details like buttons.  I LOVED our bourbon barrels that we wrapped in these little wire lights as cocktail tables.
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The mason jars we used for the flower arrangements were from Matt’s aunt/godmother that she had at her house and I decorated them with burlap and lace. Our officiant was my husband’s best friend from college and he wrote our ceremony for us.  I did not want things to be too matchy-matchy.  Instead of renting linens I bought different fabrics from the store for the tables.  I made the banner that hung above the sweets table with burlap and fabric.  My husband made the mason jar lights and wine bottles lights that were either hung or placed around the venue.  Our videographer/late night DJ was a good friend of ours from the OBX.
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Click inside for more of Sarah & Matt’s handmade Virginia wedding!

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Katie & Kendra’s DIY, Backyard Virginia Wedding

Other then a holiday mini-session round-up, this will be our last post for the week! We are headed to (hopefully) sunny Key West for the next week for my sister in law’s wedding and my 3-year wedding anniversary! As always though, when I get back there will be a giveaway and a new discount promo for you all to make up for the lack of posts while I am gone!

Today’s real Virginia wedding feature is just so beautiful in its simplicity. It nearly broke my heart though to read the first line of the bride’s email, saying: “I’m a little nervous as our wedding wasn’t that awesome by wedding blog standards – we didn’t really have cute and kitschy details that I can think of. But I still ended up marrying the world’s most perfect woman, so I’ll take it.”

Nothing pains me more than having a couple feel their wedding was less than spectacular because it didn’t have the details that a blog would consider “worthy”. This is where wedding blogs, quite frankly, really piss me off. They are sending the wrong messages about weddings — it’s NOT about the details, it’s about the love & commitment of two individuals. That is why I am downright honored to share Katie & Kendra’s intimate, backyard wedding today, full of love and happiness, regardless of the number of details. Katie & Kendra’s love story is beautiful (brought tears to my eyes) and their wedding is no different. Thank you to Olivia Jacob Photography for submitting!

Katie & Kendra’s Intimate, Beautiful Backyard Wedding in Virginia

same sex LGBT backyard Virginia wedding

Photographer: Olivia Jacob Photography | Cake: DIYed by Mother of bride | Brides’ Dresses: Maggie Sottero via BlueSky Bridal & Handmade by Kendra’s mom | Venue: Parent’s Private Property | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

How they met:

Kendra was selling torpedoes for the government and I was working a public library. We met online, where all librarians and torpedo-sellers meet. From our first date in DC (breakfast burritos from Tortilla Cafe eaten sitting in Lincoln Park), we were inexorable.

same sex LGBT backyard Virginia wedding same sex LGBT backyard Virginia wedding

The proposal:

A year after that first date, we got engaged, and I don’t mind saying that I wobbled on one knee, went to two, burst into tears, and ruined the speech I had. She understood the gist, so she said yes and we were blissfully happy.

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Details on their DIY, Virginia wedding:

I had known for ages that I wanted to get married on my parents’ five acre property in Stafford.

same sex LGBT backyard Virginia wedding

^I can see why they’d want to have their wedding here!! Gorgeous! Click inside for the rest of Katie & Kendra’s intimate, DIY backyard Virginia wedding!

Jen & James’ Handmade & “Family Love” Warrenton VA Wedding

Though I’ve never been to Warrenton, Virginia I think I might need to spend some time there. I have had a recent influx of wedding submissions from the area, and it’s only about an hour from Washington, DC. Also, these wedding venues/locations are STUNNING.

Thanks to Ever After Visuals [submitted via Two Bright Lights] we get to share the beautiful wedding of Jen and Jim at the Airlie Foundation Center in Warrenton VA. The couple is extremely close to their family, and it was evident in their wedding pictures that they included this closeness in all the details and events of the day.

The couple and their family spent a lot of time hand-crafting this wedding. Jen’s Godmother spent hours baking all the homemade cookies for favors and the bride’s father spent countless hours hand-carving, sanding, and staining 16 different walnut boxes, branding Jen & James’ names and the wedding date into them as well.

Jen & James’ Handmade Warrenton, VA Wedding at the Airlie Foundation

Floral Designer:  J. Morris Flowers | Reception Venue:  Airlie Foundation | Dress Store:  Ellie’s Bridal Boutique | Cake Designer: Edibles Incredible Desserts | DJ:  Good Note DJs

From the photographers:

If I had to pick a theme for Jen and Jim’s wedding, it would probably be: Family Love. We love how incredibly close to their family each of them are and how, because of that, they had an amazing wedding day. It was very important that each and every person feel loved and cherished throughout Jen and Jim’s wedding. The wedding itself Jen described as a “group effort”.

Jen designed the earrings she wore using small diamonds from a ring of her late grandmother and pearls from her great grandmother given to her by her parents as a birthday present.

Each bouquet had a special pin from Jen’s grandmothers attached to it. Jen’s bouquet attached a pin to her bouquet that Jim’s aunt gave her that belonged to his late grandmother.

Click inside for the rest of Jen & Jim’s handmade Warrenton, Virginia wedding from Ever After Visuals ~ including tons of information about their families efforts on the wedding details!

Tatiana & Ben’s Offbeat, Retro Wedding in the Catskills ~ Part 2

“In the end, I married my favorite. Nothing else matters.”

 We are back with part 2 of Tatiana & Ben’s awesome, retro small-budget wedding up in the Catskills. Part 1 featured some pretty amazing ceremony shots [so much laughter and happiness!] and Part 2 focuses more on their handmade wedding decor and smashing reception. We also still have some additional great advice from Tatiana for all those planning a wedding. Here we go:

 love these touching shots from their first dance

Advice from Tatiana continues:

“THIS IS YOUR DAY.”  Um…no.  I just could not buy into that.  It was OUR day, as in Ben and I, but also it was a day for everyone to celebrate.  This meant a bunch of things, but above all, we tried to make choices that ensured that everyone was having a good time.

Since everyone spent money to travel out to the Catskills for our wedding, we made sure we could act as good hosts.  For us, this meant people were fed well and had access to an open bar all night. This also meant having a reception where our 12 nieces/nephews/cousins could act like kids and run around. Also meant having accomodation suggestions that spanned all price ranges.

We didn’t compromise on any aesthetic choices and everything reflected us to a T, but it was important to us that family and friends were comfortable and having a great time.



On their DIY wedding projects:

Because of the budget, we did practically everything ourselves.  My incredibly talented best friend, Shana Hale, designed invites and programs.  Ipod playlist. I did my makeup.  A good friend did my hair.

Centerpieces (which were a PROJECT) were crafted out of paper and made months in advance. Favors were CDs of the first soul music mix Ben ever made for me.

Saving so much money made it possible for us to throw a party with amazing food and open bar for 80 people.

love these paper flower centerpieces!

Advice on finding a venue that already has character ~ saves you money on decorating!


Getting married in a restaurant that already had its own funky thing going on meant that we just had to put out some centerpieces and call it a day.  They had the cool mural, the lights already strung, the crazy bar, the fire pit with marshmallows, the beautiful setting overlooking the Catskill mountains.  We didn’t need to do anything more.

Click inside for the rest of Tatiana & Ben’s budget-friendly, retro wedding in the Catskills

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