So, believe it or not, our theme was not always going to be sailing. I started out just wanting to do navy blue and white colors, and I told myself I wouldn’t do anything that was obviously nautical in theme. Then piece by piece I found nautical stuff that I just could not refuse. First we just had to do our engagement shoot on the boat. It was too good of a backdrop. Then I used one of our engagement pics to do a nice printed post card save-the-date at Walgreens very easily and inexpensively online.
Things started to get more obviously nautical with our wedding invitations. I found some really great looking ones on Etsy, that were just what I wanted. In hindsight I should have just copied these myself, or taken a template to a printer to print off. The invitations ended up costing us a fortune, and then when they came, Fred’s first name was misspelled…of all things. Then she refused to redo them, and we ended up reprinting, and re-glueing them all ourselves.
For our ceremony location I chose my Grandparent’s church in Nauvoo, Illinois. And for the reception my mother’s farm a few miles south in Warsaw. Admittedly this is not a very nautical location, but obviously the river plays a huge part in the lives of the people there, and boating is a popular activity. In fact the most popular for my family when I was growing up.
Since our wedding was up in Illinois Fred was feeling pretty left out, and I wanted to include our friends, and co-workers here in Houston who would not be able to make the trip up. We decided to have an engagement party at the marina. We originally intended for it to be at the pool, but when it happened that our marina friends closed on a beautiful new 56ft Carver on Thursday the party ended up on their boat. My sisters came down, and trying to make the most of the weekend, we decided to have a very fun, albeit extremely tame (we even forgot the booze) Bachelorette party aboard Captain Kidd.
I spent over a year planning the wedding (way too long), so I had plenty of time to look up so many nautical ideas on pinterest etc, and try to recreate them. Some of the better ideas included a life saver ring pillow, a “message in a bottle” guest book, sailboats as escort cards, and lanterns decorating all around.
I bought my bridesmaids matching clutches with anchors on etsy, and spent many, many days hunting for nautical themed jewelry for them. I also foolishly decided to sew all the napkins out of some lovely blue and white striped fabric I found at Joanns. This took just about forever, and probably cost the same as buying them, but they were exactly what I wanted.
As our reception included a formal dinner, we took my mother’s large tractor shed and transformed it into a dining hall. My mother hung wire all along the ceiling on all sides, and then taped white plastic table cloths together to cover the shelves along the walls. We took combinations of blankets, large lace pieces, and some table cloths and covered all the work benches and tables. My mother hung about 100 paper lanterns from the ceiling of the room at different heights, and backed them with white Christmas lights up near the ceiling. It really looked great.
My mother took charge of the center pieces and spent a considerable amount of time hunting for the right ingredients. We did a theme of old bottles with little scenes inside, surrounded by driftwood from the Mississippi, lanterns and other tiny sailboats and light houses. It may have got a little piratey with some pirate chests on one of them, but people really enjoyed them. I loved how fun our cake turned out, everyone was so excited to see it.
When the day of came, It poured rain. (That’s good luck, right?) So we were a little limited in useable space. Our cocktail area had to be limited to the porch, and our boats were not able to go float on their lake. Everyone was in good spirits though, and the live music was a nice touch. Unfortunately me and Fred enjoyed none of that as we were out taking pictures in the rain, and walking through puddles in my dress. Thank goodness i’m use to ridiculous demands from photographers (Fred) trying to get the perfect shot.
There were a few minor issues from the rain…like the total collapse of our DJ/Dance tent. But we all shoved into the barn/dining hall, and had a great time.
Right after dessert the sun started to come out, and there was a perfect moment where we all got to run outside and enjoy that after the storm glow.
All in all a fantastic day, and a new beginning.