I didn't intend to let a week go by before sharing some pictures from last Friday's party, but last weekend was so hectic (in mostly good ways; we also baptized our youngest), that I guess I took a little mental break from it. Everything came together well, and I was really happy with how the decor ended up, particularly because it actually came out close to how I saw it in my head. I wanted to share what I did because it was relatively inexpensive, easy to do, has a pretty fall palette, and was very personal. I was able to include several elements from our wedding. You know I love when people make things and spaces their own!
Last Friday, my husband and I celebrated 10 years of marriage with an informal wedding vow renewal in the same location where our wedding reception was held. We didn't have a real officiant, though my best friend guided the brief ceremony; It was more symbolic, but we wanted to recommit to each other after all we've been through. We had my sister read a Pablo Neruda poem that was read at our wedding, we reread our original vows, made new ones, and re-exchanged our wedding rings.
And I may or may not have gotten my wedding dress out of the preservation box and wore it again. It may not have fit the same way, but I got it on! We also brought our toasting glasses—a wedding present from my best friend's parents (brought back from Austria)—to toast to more happy years together. It was really special to have our parents, best man, maids of honor, and immediate family and closest (and local) friends there with us.
Us, ten years ago and last week. Older, wiser, more exhausted, but still happy!
Ten years ago, the low and high floral table arrangements, and our wedding cake. You can see the square motif throughout. The cake was not what I had actually wanted. When I asked the baker for gold leaf, I had said powder, because I wanted the cake dusted with gold so it would look lustrous. What I got was really dark brown chocolate and gold foil squares instead, and no one knew it was our cake until we cut it. From the top layer. Because my new husband insisted that's what people did. I still give him a hard time about that.
This time around it was much more intimate and I opted for rounds instead of the long banquet tables. I brought in several elements from the past to tie it all together. Since we were paying for the dinner/venue I had two main requirements: inexpensive and easy to make in a short amount of time. On the table, I had light sand-colored tablecloths instead of stark white and used burgundy napkins. I put down a burlap runner on each table and used square wooden chargers (from our registry!) to contain the arrangements. I found really pretty yarn at Michael's that incorporated several of the colors I wanted, and wrapped a thick band of it around mason jars.
In 2003, I spent a bunch of money on these quirky connecting votive holders from IKEA and on colored tea lights and then that idea got scrapped, so for years I've had these in storage. I decided to use the tea lights, but instead of the white IKEA holders, we taped off and sprayed gold paint onto baby food jars, which I had saved for this purpose. The painter's tape didn't come off the jars perfectly so some of the gold edges weren't crisp, but I think I'm the only one that noticed. We taped half of them straight across at varying heights and the others at an angle. In some of the jars you could see the orange, purple, or red candles, and in some you couldn't.
Under the jars and vase I placed a square of Japanese wrapping paper I had purchased at Kate's Paperie in 2003. If you look very closely in the wedding reception photo above, you can see I used it on the escort cards) I had plenty of the paper left over, and I was really excited to bring that into the decor, plus the paper is so pretty in person. For the flowers, I bought two different arrangements from Wegman's (the local cult-favorite grocery store. If you know Wegman's, you know.) and my friends mixed them up in the mason jars for me while I got dressed.
Since my original cake wasn't quite what I had wanted, I got to do a re-do of sorts, which was fun. This time it's round, but there are chocolate leaves dusted with gold powder, and gold sugar on the layers. I had the baker use gerberas and calla lilies as a nod to my bouquet and our original arrangements. Our cake topper made a reappearance as well.
A little dark, but we also brought our wedding albums so everyone could reminisce.
Of course, it wouldn't be me without attempting something at the last minute. When I went to Michael's to get more spray paint the day before, I saw a Martha Stewart decor book with an idea on the cover for decorating chairs. I felt like the banquet room was drab because the large bright art they had 10 years ago was gone, so I thought I needed another element of decor, but I hadn't known what to do. I decided to approximate what I saw and make it fit with what I was already planning. I bought burlap ribbon, burgundy ribbon, and raided the Christmas section for these sparkly gold leaves. They were actually larger branches and I used wire cutters to separate them. Because it was decided on last minute, I didn't have quite enough burlap or burgundy ribbon, so my best friend and I had to improvise a bit, but I was happy with the overall effect.
Originally the renewal ceremony was going to be outside, but as it often does when I've straightened my hair and worn a wedding dress, it was raining. So we moved inside, which I was prepared for. I had purchased these giant 36" gold balloons from the Martha Stewart shop-in-a-shop at JCPenney (the garland for the photo album table, too). The balloons were to be weighted down and placed on either side of us. I imagined them floating around roughly at a height between my height and my husband's. When we moved inside, they were tied to the handrails (we stood at the top of the steps). The balloons were pretty high, but it was fine and the kids loved them.
The hilarious part was when I had them filled. I went to Party City, and I was a wreck because of some miscommunication from the venue. I'd had to start decorating late and my whole schedule was off. I was super emotional and stressed and I ran in to get the helium. They began blowing up the balloons and I started laughing my head off. I knew these were 36" balloons, but when I pictured them in my head, I must have been picturing them at around an 18" diameter, because the guy started blowing them up and they got HUGE. So huge, I actually had to tell the guy to take them down several inches or I wouldn't be able to fit them in my car. I drive a Murano, and luckily I only had one kid with me and nothing in the trunk, because I had to put one half of the back seat down to fit both in. So, lesson—if you buy these balloons, they are wonderful but be prepared for extremely large balloons. Really and truly three-foot wide balloons. I like this shot because the balloons look like the kids' heads (my eldest and our friends' son).
Anyway, despite snags, a change of schedule, and stress (mainly just mine), it was a really nice night and it was special to have our daughters there with us. Now, if only we could manage another honeymoon.
all images my own
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