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Images: Amber Wilkie Photography

It amuses me sometimes how some couples will write a few sentences and others write novels when I ask for more details on their wedding day. For me, I was the noveling writing type – I couldn’t STOP talking and writing about our wedding day because we just poured SO MUCH of ourselves in to it. I felt compelled to have to share every item we made, every decision we delicately made, every detail we had discussions over. Heather is a bride after my own heart – still excited about everything they did for their Maryland wedding. So a fair warning to you all that this one is LONG today – but there are just too many fun details that I could cut back. Sorry I’m not sorry.

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We had initially discussed a courthouse wedding, which was totally his preference. But then I started thinking about wanting our people there, and that led to thinking of all of the fun things a couple can do for their wedding, and since he’s super easygoing he was fine with going for a more traditional type of wedding. Autumn has always been a really amazing time of year for me – I love the colors of the trees, especially. The rustic/vintage theme is, obviously, super popular right now, and when I went looking for ideas for venues, it just fit in with the Autumn bit so well! I showed him some ideas and he loved them, so we ran with it.

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When we were looking for venues, a lot of places were asking for thousands of dollars for just a few hours of time, and when you’re DIYing and hate to ask for help, that window of time just isn’t feasible. We chose the Tea Barn because you get to keep the place for three days (Friday through Sunday…I hear you can add Thursday as well for an additional fee), decorate it and use the space as you please, and it was insanely cheap. When we booked in 2013, it was $400 for three day rental, $150 for the adjoining paddock area, $10 reservation fee and $35 alcohol permit fee. It turned out we did require a lot of help, however, as my parents did most of the set up themselves and a bunch of us worked hard to break it all down.

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Details are important to me, and Pedro didn’t really give me much in the way of unique Portuguese traditions so I improvised. For example, I found pictures of old maps of Maryland and Portugal and we folded our paper airplanes out of the printed out maps. I started to make a traditional portuguese fiance handkerchief for him but I gave up on it half way through because I wasn’t too pleased with my handiwork. I might finish it some day haha.

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Stationery: we got our invitations and rsvps from Minted, made maps using art from someone found on Fiverr and printed by Vistaprint. Most of our signage was made using clip art I purchased from Digicrafts on Etsy and our programs were made with templates purchased from Purple Trail.

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Click inside for SO MUCH MORE of Pedro & Heather’s eclectic, Maryland barn wedding!

My adult daughter was my maid of honor, one cousins daughters and another cousins son were our “wedding fairies”, and a very good friend of mine, Miranda, was our officiant. She is currently serving as a contractor in the military in the UK, and not only traveled all that way to be by our side, but also was ordained just for us! It meant so much to us, and to top it all off, she was an enormous help in the days before and after the wedding itself.

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Pedro’s parents and sister traveled from Portugal to stand by us (their first trip to the US!) and my parents stood by us as well. My oldest friend Timothy isn’t the type to enjoy being in front of people, so he helped behind the scenes by braving the Baltimore City marathon and surrounding traffic by running to two different shops for our fantastic cakes and then made sure to keep an eye to make sure things were running smoothly. I didn’t know what to call him but it was super important he be a part of our day, so he was named Brides Guard! My coworker Kate helped out with directing flow as our day of coordinator.

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Both sets of parents, his sister, my daughter and her lovely boyfriend, our officiant, and some family friends all helped with the set up and clean up efforts, which was especially appreciated because we were EXHAUSTED!

We read our vows from little books we purchased from another vendor on Etsy. they had a good variety or styles, the vow books were inexpensive and small enough to fit into a pocket, but big enough to say everything you want to say!

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Ceremony: We really wanted a short and sweet ceremony, and wanted our family around us. His parents and sister and my parents walked to the big tree we married under, and family and friends formed a half circle around us. Then the littles walked, then my daughter, and then me. I was in a hurry, so there were no mincing little steps or slow walking, I just hustled my self to him at a normal pace. I also knew before the day came I’d kiss him as soon as I met him at the aisle – I’m sure all just about to be weds are madly in love, but man I’m over the moon about this guy!

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Clothes: I got my dress from Curvaceous Couture, and they were absolutely lovely! I think I’m a low maintenance customer, but I’m also a scattered one, especially in times of great excitement, and I’m also really uncomfortable staring at myself/trying on clothes/getting dressed up/being FANCY. they were amazing, though, and were really helpful in helping me find the right dress, make sure it was the right style and fit for me and our wedding, and most of all, they made me feel really relaxed. We initially went to a different place to get Pedro’s suit, but had issues, which led us to seeking out Jos A Bank, which wasn’t as accessible as far as location, and we had the impression they would be more expensive. While it was a bit more of a drive, we found that their prices were much better than we had anticipated.

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Bouquet – the first time I saw a brooch bouquet I knew I had to have one! Most of the brooches came off of ebay, a couple of them were already in my possession, I bought a few at a second hand shop, and my old friend Robert gave me an antique brooch with a horseshoe and a thistle. All of them were hand picked to fit our autumn/nature/vintage theme and my personal penchant for “lucky” tokens (I have a large tattoo on my right arm with all things lucky!).

The handle was wrapped with a handkerchief my friend Sarah embroidered with my new initials, and I had four little dangles: an antique charm with a four leaf clover encased in it, and little gem drops of the birthstones of my mother, my daughter and my husband. Also, though Pedro and I twisted each brooch in my bouquet prior to the wedding weekend, we hadn’t put it together until the last minute (my own paranoia), and his mom made it for me the day of!

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There are other elements that we didn’t DIY, really, but went to others with skills that could do-it-for-us. I have a friend (from Portugal) who does really cool comic-style illustrations who drew a photo of us that incorporated hints of how/where we met and we got it printed on canvas. We found a couple of artists on Fiverr who drew pictures of us that we used for coloring pages for the kids table, and one of them we liked so much we had them color it in for us – we made another canvas out of that, and had our thank you/welcome bags printed with the design on the front as well.

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Rings: his ring came from Custom Rings Designs – he was also a lovely seller, very friendly and helpful. I was looking for a non diamond ring, but we ended up purchasing mine from Helzberg. I really love it – it’s my “something blue” and was Pedro’s grandparents gift to us.

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Reception – we had a guest book but we really wanted something a little different and special, so we had these tiny little “vintage” envelopes from Creative Juice Cafe and stuffed them with tiny cards we had made on Moo using images from old calling cards (I got the images from this lovely site that scanned and cleaned up images of these old cards and offered them to download for free – i’ll try to find the site again but am coming up blank at the moment) and only the words “love notes” on the back. we hid one envelope behind a photo of each of our guests, which we clipped to one of two small pallets.

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Flowers – our florist was amazing! We picked out the centerpiece containers and they magically made it happen with the weird combo of things we brought them. they used fruit and empty wine bottles to fill them in, and considering how vague I was about what I wanted, they managed to get it so very right!

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“Rice” and scatter petals – because we got married outdoors and in a park area, we wanted to be extra sure we kept the litter to an absolute minimum, and any scatter items we used wouldn’t bother any critters, either. We thought about a lot of options before I came across some wedding ribbon wands on etsy. I ended up using an etsy vendor because of her prices and willingness to customize (number of ribbons, with or without bell, color of bell, color(s) of ribbons). She was super, super nice, and the wands were a big hit. The scatter petals were forgotten so someone thought of the great idea of giving the littles the wands, and it turned out great!

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Decor – we had a map made by Wandering Fables to celebrate our long distance courtship, and we chose a lovely saying which she printed on the bottom in English and in Portuguese (May you always have in your arms those who are in your heart). We did a lot of chalkboard paint-painting, wood staining and wood burning (I got a complete woodburning kit from [on sale!!]) to make little chalkboards and initial signs, and my parents tore apart some pallets to make us some centerpiece boxes and cut up some branches to make tealight holders for us. We bought some little pallet looking things from the AS-IS section of Ikea (no idea what they were supposed to be!), stained them and glued little clothespins that we tea stained onto them to make the photo holders for our welcome area. My aunt gathered a zillion acorns for us to use in decor, and we scattered and filled jars and other empty spaces with them. My mother bought mums, gourds and apples and pumpkins of varying sizes to add color to every corner!

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Our first wedding purchase was of a gorgeous ring box from Sparkle and Posy, which was and still is one of my favorite items from our day! Gurly Girl crafted my barrette/clip from scratch just for me, and I couldn’t have been happier with it! It was made to semi-match my necklace, which I bought from Best American Arts.

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Accessories – I hadn’t picked out a bracelet so i wore a pearl necklace around my wrist that my daughter gave me for christmas not long ago. I won a beautiful purse that perfectly matching my dress from ANGEEW, and it came with a photo of us during my first trip to Portugal! Pedro chose great cufflinks from Northern Grain on Etsy, and we liked them so much we gave them as gifts to our fathers. My veil came from SEVeils onEtsy – she was AMAZING at customizing what I wanted at the last minute (and so patient haha).

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  1. I have a question about heat? I love the space but what if im having a december wedding, iS there any heat in that shelter??

  2. Hi! I was thinking about using Fiver for illustrations, but I was unsure… I’m happy to see a bride who had a good experience! Can you recommend the artist you used?

    (Side note: I almost bought the same wedding dress from CC, too!)

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