Handmade Real Wedding: Vicki & Tim

Earlier today, we introduced you to our Real Bride Bloggers, all of whom we’ll be following along with as they plan their wedding day. One of those Bride Bloggers is a recently-wed bride named Victoria (Vicki), who found her wedding photographers, Cat & Al of BG Productions Photography & Videography, from The Bridal Book here at Emmaline Bride. We are so excited to share her wedding with you today! Since Vicki provided us with an in-depth look at her day as told in her own words, we figure it is best for her to tell you the beautiful story as it unfolded. So, without further adieu, take it away, Vicki!

Handmade Real Wedding: Vicki & Tim

“As I sit here after the wedding holding onto as many memories as I can, I am getting floods of comments of how special our wedding was from start to finish. We knew how meaningful the wedding would be just from where we got married – Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania. It’s a vacation spot of my husband’s family for a couple generations now. His whole family rents houses for 2 weeks over the summer, and it’s an amazing chance to bond with everyone. I knew it would be the perfect wedding spot. Everyone could rent houses together and make a weekend out of it! The ceremony would be at the Tabernacle, an outdoor, giant gazebo and the reception at a dinner theater/restaurant among the trees. I was sold when I saw the high raftered ceilings that reminded me of a barn. The space was a blank canvas, so my work began.”

I had a year and 5 months to execute an amazing party. I knew I mostly wanted to do things handmade, because my husband (so fun to say!) and I were paying for the wedding. Our priorities were awesome food, an open bar, and the best photographers out there who I found in the preferred vendors section of Emmaline Bride (Cat & Al of BG Productions!). The rest of it fit in where we could.”

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I made these myself, with assembly help from family members! We wanted to convey a relaxed and fun mood from the start! I used thick kraft paper and designed the invitation myself, down to the poem in the middle. The RSVPs were also a special touch, with funny responses! The assembly was done with the help of some awesome family members, cutting off the extra paper at the bottom, folding the invites, and tying it all together with light blue and plum twine.”

Here’s the wedding day as it unfolded, along with DIY details along the way…

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Bouquets / Boutonnieres

Going along with the no fresh flowers, I led my bridesmaids to believe we would be carrying bouquets of dried lavender. But I ended up getting them customized clutches from Allisa Jacobs (who I found in the Marketplace on Emmaline Bride) as their gift and what they would carry down the aisle. Functional, cute and reusable! For the boutonnieres my MOH pitched in and made guitar pick boutonnieres, since my husband was in a band, along with 3 of his groomsmen. I also made boutonnieres with leftover burlap, twine, lavender and baby’s breath for the moms, grandparents and aunt (who “officiated” our self-uniting ceremony).

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Escort Cards

This was a decision that kept changing, even with the last weeks of planning! I wanted to use something like pallets to tie twine to and attach cards to that. However, I ended up using a blanket ladder from my grandmother, tying twine across and attaching 100 hand cut leaves (using the leftover bottom scraps from the invitations!) and wrote everyone’s names and table names on them.

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I knew I didn’t want to use real flowers because I felt that it was a lot of money that could be spent elsewhere! I used blue mason jars, tied with plum and brown twine (our colors were plum/lavender and light blue) filled with dried baby’s breath and dried lavender. The mason jars were placed on a wide piece of burlap fabric with 2 candle holders (from Ikea!) with electric tea lights. A very special touch was the wood burned table name signs (all places in Mount Gretna) that I did myself using Harry Potter chapter font! On the topic of wood burning, I also wood burned wooden planters to use for the s’mores bar.

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Additional Real Wedding Details

Ceremony Decor

The back of the Tabernacle had a big cross in the back of it (even though it’s not totally a church). So my dad made a PVC pipe frame and my MOH also pitched in big time by fabric painting our song lyrics on black fabric chalkboard style. The fabric was framed by light blue curtains, along with grapevine wreaths covered in baby’s breath and lavender (made also by my MOH).

My husband and I are not overly emotional, mushy or PDA kinds of people. So I wanted the ceremony to reflect that. I found the idea for Dr. Seuss inspired vows (a surprise to the guests!), and since we were doing a self-uniting ceremony, we weren’t limited by what we had to say. I found ones that I tweaked to include our personalities (i.e. would I love him even if a touchdown pass is blown? because we met playing football). I also used non-mushy readings: “The Art of Marriage” by Wilferd A. Peterson and “All I Ever Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. His aunt officiated the ceremony, making the it even more personal.

We had people hula hoop if they wanted to see us kiss (hate the glass clinking!). I painted a corn hole board with our initials and the “LOVE” sculpture design with the “O” in love with a football in it. A random special touch was the blue flower hair clip that was my great grandmothers. My husband and I danced to our song (“Little Wonders” by Rob Thomas) and broke out into “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley. My husband and his mom danced to “Bangarang” by Skrillex (both dances were a surprise to everyone!). We used Jenga blocks for the guestbook because we’re both really into playing games!

All in all, I had some people say I was crazy for doing so many of these things myself (and sometimes I wondered as well if I was crazy!), but ultimately it totally paid off and I was able to totally embrace the weekend (and the day!). We were thankfully able to decorate the day before the wedding, with my whole family and bridal party pitching in to help! Everyone said it was the BEST wedding they’ve ever been to because there were so many personal touches. Everyone felt that every single thing I did, no matter how small, let everyone fully embrace the day and it also let me and my husband’s personalities shine through. There were of course minor hiccups, but with the help of my AMAZING photographers – who also became friends and wedding planners during the process – we were totally able to soak in every single moment. It does go as fast as everyone says it does!

Thank you for sharing your big day, Vicki! And a special thank you to Cathie and Al of BG Productions Photography & Videography for capturing these beautiful photos.

Meet our Real Bride Bloggers!

Have you ever wondered what other brides are doing? What centerpieces they are picking, whether or not they’re also freaking out over guest lists, and if they’ve found the perfect dress yet? Now you can! We’re excited to announce a brand new feature at Emmaline Bride called Real Bride Bloggers. These are Real Brides–just as the name suggests!–planning a wedding in the next year and filling us in on the wedding planning adventures as they happen!

And today, we’re doing a short little introduction so you can get to know them!

Real Bride Bloggers

How They Were Picked

Our Real Bride Bloggers were hand-picked by our team after a call-out we had on Facebook a few months ago. Miranda, Sam, Vanessa, Victoria, and Virginia all anxiously emailed as quickly as they could, all excitedly wanting to join in on the fun. These fantastic brides are from the United States, British Columbia, and Australia, so we’ll have a few different perspectives on planning across the globe. We’ve had a chance to get to know them a bit and we just know you’re going to love what they have to contribute behind the scenes. They’ll be posting in the blog coming up soon, so stay tuned + subscribe so you can follow along. To follow the Real Brides, you can also visit this category page.

Now let’s meet them!

Meet Miranda

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Name: Miranda
Wedding Location: Kelowna, British Columbia
Wedding Date: October 3, 2015

♥ | ♥ | ♥

Meet Sam


Name: Samantha Robinson
Wedding Date: January 17, 2015
Wedding Location: Werribee, Australia

Engagement Story

Our engagement was a complete surprise to me, Otis had picked out a beautiful ring for me (who knew I like gold!) and proposed to me at the state rose garden during a walk in May. We then celebrated our engagement with friends and family with a Mexican themed party at my parents place in Geelong.

♥ | ♥ | ♥

Meet Vanessa

vanessa blogger

Name: Vanessa
Wedding Date: September 6, 2015
Wedding Location: Outside Philadelphia

How They Met / Engagement Story

In October 2011, Boyz II Men – an R&B group known for their sumptuous love songs – unknowingly brought my fiancée Jason and I together; the group was holding an album listening party in New York at a swanky gallery, and while others were sipping champagne and feasting on hors d’oeuvres, I was meeting the man with whom I’d spend the rest of my life. I was one of Boyz II Men’s publicists at the time, and he was a music journalist covering the event. We became friends and kept in touch via email after I had deserted publicity soon after that night, and six months later, I held a birthday party at a Manhattan dive bar and tossed his name into an invite list. When he came to the party, he told me he had to leave in 10 minutes, but wanted to stop by and say hello. Those 10 minutes grew into an hour, and then a few hours, and he ended up being one of the last people to leave.

Since that night, we haven’t stopped talking to each other. When we began dating, I was living in Philadelphia, plotting my next move after leaving publicity and choosing to start a long-distance relationship. Whenever I would visit him in New York, he would leave for work in the morning and I would leave his apartment to catch my bus back to Philly soon after – but not before leaving him a post-it note, or a hastily written love letter, in his bedroom. I thought they would be smiled at and tossed away when he came home later that evening, but fast-forward two years, and the post-its resurfaced.

Last April, my brother was in New York on business from Boston and I was doing dinner with him; Jason said he couldn’t make it, because he was stuck at work. I was waiting with my brother at Penn Station but his train kept getting delayed, so I texted Jason that I would be home shortly but was staying with my brother while he waited for his train. Who knew I was supposed to be in a rush to go home and find a surprise!

When I got home a few hours later, I opened the door and found the dozen post-it notes I had written Jason to be taped to red ribbon and hanging from the ceiling, along with roses and candles everywhere. In my mind, I was thinking that this was simply a sweet gesture for my 30th birthday, which was only a few days away. Then Jason appeared from behind our bedroom door in a suit, holding a rose and a new stack of post-it notes. He began handing me the post-it notes one by one – each one saying something sweeter than the previous message. Finally, he handed me the last one and it read, “I guess it’s time to get down on one knee…”

I made the craziest noise of excitement and of course said “YES!” when he asked to marry me. After the proposal, I found out that he had been sitting at home playing video games in a suit that day, anxiously waiting for me to come home from dinner with my brother! It may have taken a little while, but it all worked out perfectly.

♥ | ♥ | ♥

Meet Victoria

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Name: Victoria

Victoria is our newly married bride who will be giving us tips on planning her DIY wedding, along with what to do as it gets closer to the big day. We’ll be featuring her wedding later today!

♥ | ♥ | ♥

Meet Virginia

virginia blogger

Name: Ginny
Wedding Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Wedding Date: will have determined right before Christmas (shooting for Spring 2016). Got engaged May 23rd, 2014

Engagement Story

Josh came back from checking the mail and there was a note in our dogs collar that he told me to open and read. It read: “Will you be my mommy?” Next thing I see is him with the ring in his hand, I’m freaking out, and he ask me to marry him. Best surprise of my life. It was 100% unexpected and absolutely perfect.

Please join us in welcoming our Real Bride Bloggers! We’re excited to learn more and share with our readers as each of you plan your big day.

Giveaway: Win a Monogram Silver Locket

Emma here and if I was allowed to enter these giveaways, I would be trying my hardest to win this monogram silver locket! How amazing is this piece? I’ve been a fan of all things monogrammed for awhile and I just adore this piece from White Truffle Studio. This locket is just one amazing piece from their collection; and it could be going home to you!

Monogram Silver Locket Giveaway

This locket is an heirloom classic with a vintage feel. It opens to reveal a photo and has a monogram right on the front. Chain measures 28″L with pendant measuring 1″W. It is handmade in the USA by Jamie Riley for White Truffle Studio and comes in its own White Truffle gift box.

o Enter between 11/21-11/27/14 (11:59pm EST)
o Prize: One (1) monogram antiqued silver locket from White Truffle Studio
o Winner has 72 hours to respond to email or new winner will be selected
o Free shipping worldwide
o No purchase necessary
o Winner has 3 months to claim prize
o Prize value: $84 | No cash value
o Past giveaway winners within 30 days not eligible to win
o Use entry form below to enter…

This Crystal Bridal Headpiece is Positively Stunning

When bride-to-be Rhian wanted a bridal headpiece with a boho-inspired Moroccan look, she headed to Bo and Luca who fitted her with this Hera crystal bridal headpiece. If you’re considering a bohemian headpiece to replace a traditional veil, this is one stunning option.

Crystal Bridal Headpiece

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bw of bride in car with crystal headpiece

I love how the bride paired this headpiece with a classic top knot. Stunning! Oh, and that gown? It’s by Grace Loves Lace. I know, seriously gorgeous. That’s what I was thinking, too.

photos: brooke adams via the lane

37 Best Tips to a Happy Marriage

When you’re planning your wedding, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of tulle and china patterns and wedding gown styles. It’s important to remember the important part of the big day: marriage. Today we’re sharing thirty-seven tips to a happy marriage that you can put into effect right now, even while you’re engaged. Bookmark this list, Pin it, Tweet it, and Facebook it so you always remember the importance of a happy marriage. A wedding day lasts twenty-four hours; a marriage is forever. While I’ve only been married for five (amazing) years so far, I know this much is true: I’m so blessed to have married such a wonderful spouse and we wish happiness for you, too. So… on to the list!

37 Best Tips to a Happy Marriage

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photo: eric boneske | see the real wedding

1. Marry your best friend.

Your spouse should be your best friend. Your best friend is someone you can get silly in front of. You can be yourself. You can marathon episodes of Gilmore Girls and make fun of the storyline; this person will get equally frustrated with you when Lorelai chooses Christopher over Luke, or Rory ditches Dean (again). Your best friend will go on midnight Taco Bell runs when you’re craving a Chalupa or let you sleep in on Saturday morning to catch up on extra sleep.

2. Respect.

Aretha knew what she was talking about. It’s important to respect your spouse. The meaning of respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

3. Be generous.

4. Laugh.

I think laughing is a requirement of a happy marriage. Life is too crazy and unpredictable and sometimes your basement will flood in the middle of the night and you’ll need someone to look at, roll your eyes with you, and have a good laugh. Because in life, if you don’t laugh you’ll cry, right?

5. Take care of yourself.

You can’t take good care of someone else if you can’t care of yourself, too. Eat well. Exercise. Look your best. It’s not saying you have to look good to impress them, it’s more about feeling good because when you feel good and have a positive inner glow, it radiates and makes you a happier person. I think happier people have happier marriages because the happiness radiates onto every part of their lives.

6. Date night.

Never stop going on dates together. Here’s a list to help.

7. Be positive.

Don’t say things like, I wish you would or You always or Why do you because it just throws out negativity. If you need to talk about something, use your words in more positive way. Can you please ______ or Would it work with you if we ______ work well.

8. Marathon shows.

There’s something about watching a really good show together in marathon mode (or every night for like, weeks on end) that bring a couple together. It’s fun to watch something together and talk about it, pausing it every so often to refill the coffee or get another scoop of ice cream.

9. Steal a kiss.

When he or she isn’t looking, run over and grab them and give them one of those giant, movie-style kisses. It’ll surprise them and they’ll love it.

10. Always say I Love You.

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photo: bri mcdaniel photography | see the real wedding

11. Never go to bed angry.

That’s pretty much the oldest trick in the book.

12. Surprise them with little gifts.

A little something just because is always a sweet way to tell your spouse you were thinking of them. Order flowers and have them delivered just because. Saw something neat on Amazon? Have it delivered and leave it for them when they wake up. It’s like Christmas morning all the time. It can be something small, too, like a ice-cold Pepsi from the grocery store or a York peppermint patty. Those things are amazing. Or make one of these! It’s super sweet.

13. Make the coffee.

Or tea. Or refill the Brita pitcher. Or get the morning cereal ready. Or buy that creamer that tastes like peppermint patties straight from the North Pole. Do something that starts their day on a good foot. Last weekend, Andrew let me sleep in and took Baby Andrew downstairs and played with him; brewed the coffee and when I woke up he had a hot cup ready and waiting for me. I’m not trying to brag but, I mean, totally awesome, right? It’s all about going one extra step to make the other’s day just a little easier.

14. Let them pick the movie.

Or the show. Or the video game. And really get into it and don’t complain. It’s not always up to you; sometimes you need to sit through Alien vs. Predator even if you don’t really get it or watch Prometheus even though you can’t stand watching Charlize Theron prance around in yoga pants for two hours (jeans would have been fine, no?) or play endless games of Halo (and realize that you’re totally killing it at Lockout, if you do say so yourself). But it’s always way more fun when the other person picks what they want because you get to sneak a little peek of them grinning ear to ear because they are loving it and that’s happiness, baby.

15. Clean up after yourself.

Do the dishes. Don’t leave wet towels on the floor. Don’t push the toothpaste from the top of the tube. Don’t do annoying things that make the other person have to clean up after you. And for the record Andrew doesn’t do any of these; I’m learning to not leave clothes around and I’m normally not a messy person but being married makes you mindful of things that could really annoy someone if you just stop caring. So don’t stop picking up after yourself.

16. Put your spouse first.

Always. Every day.

17. Remember your vows.

And don’t just remember them; turn those powerful words into actions.

18. Take care of them when they are sick.

Bring them medicine and a glass of water when they have a headache. Tired after a long day at work? Rub their feet. Are they so tired they can barely move from the couch? Bring them a blanket and let them doze. You know they would do the same for you.

19. Encourage their hobbies.

It’s healthy to have hobbies that are unique from yours; encourage theirs! If they want to do them solo, let them. If they want to let you in on it, give it a try! It might be your new favorite activity together.

20. Exercise.

I mentioned it earlier, but it is worth giving its own subheading. Exercise makes you feel good. Those endorphins get kicking and suddenly the annoying traffic or the weather or the things you didn’t accomplish today just sort of fade into the abyss and you feel rejuvenated. And that means you will have a positive outlook. And that means you’ll radiate happiness and joy and unicorns and rainbows and your significant other will see your happiness and it will rub off on them. Plus, exercise makes you feel super good looking.

21. Spice it up.

Don’t let things get boring; spice up your life every so often. Go out instead of staying in. Order take out instead of cooking. Rent a hilarious movie instead of a drama; pick the thriller instead of the chick flick. Put on that super dark red lipstick one morning and wait until he notices. Wear a skirt instead of pants for the eight hundredth time. Guys, throw on her favorite cologne and then wrap her in a bear hug; tell her how amazing that skirt makes her legs look (and mean it). Try a new hobby together, something exhilarating like riding roller coasters or mountain climbing or kayaking. Plan out a weekend in advance with tons of activities you both love and talk about how much fun it will be all week.

22. Cook.

Learn how. Everyone should know how to cook for themselves and for their significant other. It can be simple or complex, but surprise him or her with a meal and they’ll really appreciate it.

23. Be their biggest fan.

Support them. Show up to their competition. Be in the front row at their rock show. Be at the finish line. Cheer them on. Everyone needs a #1 fan.

24. It not always about you.

One person does not a happy marriage make. It takes two, baby.

25. Money isn’t everything.

I’ve always heard that the number one gripe in marriages is money problems; don’t fight over money. Don’t stress over money. Don’t spend all the money and accuse the other of buying too much or say that you never get to buy anything. Things? Things mean nothing. However, a good marriage is priceless.

26. Compliment the other.

It’s always nice to get a compliment. But giving a compliment, a sincere one that makes the other person feel good, is just common sense. I mean, seriously, you are totally rocking those jeans.

27. Be present.

Today is a new day! A fresh day unto which you can start over. Let today be today, and don’t let the tiny things leak into tomorrow. And those sweet little funny things all equal a big part of your life. That roof leak won’t seem so big and the dishes will totally get cleaned and the laundry pile that seems endless will get washed and your crying baby will eventually fall asleep, promise. Someday you’ll yearn for the days when you had funny little house projects that crept up like annoyances and you’ll wish you had a little crying baby to rock in your arms. So enjoy today, together.

couple together

photo: bri mcdaniel photography | see the real wedding

28. Chat.

Lay in bed early in the morning or late at night and just chat. About stuff. Something funny you read in the paper or heard on the news. About that tv series starting up again on Friday. Tell him how you finally figured out the secret to better tasting coffee, and tell her about the blog you read every morning. Keep it light, and entertaining. Just little quiet chatter before the day begins or before bed. Don’t get so busy that you forget to have real conversations. Even those silly little ones, about whatever. It’s a really fun and easy way to connect.

29. Communicate.

30. Be faithful.

31. Be fun.

Life’s too short to take yourself so seriously all the time. Have fun. Be a fun person to be around. Don’t lose your kid-like sense of humor and whimsy.

32. Me time.

Equal parts of “me” time and “we” time are essential. It’s important to take time out for yourself to do things you enjoy, too.

33. Take a vacation.

Plan a trip together and go. Sometimes you just need a chance of scenery and a chance to kick back and relax. It can be on the cheap or a dream luxurious excursion. Plan ahead and save up, and then enjoy every minute of it. What are you waiting for?

34. Make decisions together.

35. Be someone they can confide in.

They should want to come to you to talk about things. Be someone that will listen. Be a secret keeper. A confidant. Cue the Golden Girls theme.

36. Complain with them.

We all need someone who will listen to our complaints about things that grind our gears and can help us be mad, too. Things like I can’t believe they would cancel Longmire! A&E is bonkers shows that you get it. You’re on their team. And we all could use somebody on our side.

37. Be grateful.

It’s been said that people who are grateful for what they have are the happiest people. Remember to be grateful for who you married, what they do to help you, and how they improve your life. Remember why you married them and put your love into action. Don’t waste a day; enjoy every day you have together because life is unpredictable.

What tips to a happy marriage would you add?

Add them with a comment below!

Giveaway: ‘Hello, Darling, You’re Just My Type’ Print

Hey… quick question: where would you display this adorable print?

hello darling just my type print

In your office? On the bookshelf next to your guest book? Or maybe in the entryway where you kick off your favorite pair of heels and toss your purse on the table? Well, you can start dreaming it up because it’s time for your chance to win it! The lovely Lindzi of The Trendy Sparrow is giving away this hello, darling, you’re just my type print to one lucky reader. All you have to do is enter the giveaway form below and you’ll be entered for a chance to win!

Win a You’re Just My Type Print

The “Hello Darling, You’re Just My Type” pink vintage typewriter print is perfect as decor for your bridal shower, engagement party, or to use as wedding decoration. It also makes a lovely home decor gift for a favorite bride-to-be, friend, or yourself! It’s vintage with a hipster and retro feel. Print size measures 8.5×11″. It is professionally printed on high quality 110lb white card stock. Frame is not included, but I’m sure you can find a pretty inexpensive one to fit the bill (like this which comes with mounting squares–genius!). Also, your print will not have a watermark.

hello darling just my type print

Good luck, lovelies. May the luckiest lady win!

o Enter between 11/20-11/26/14 (11:59pm EST)
o Prize: One (1) “Hello Darling, You’re Just My Type” print in pink. Frame not included.
o Winner has 72 hours to respond to email or new winner will be selected
o Free shipping to U.S. only
o No purchase necessary
o Winner has 3 months to claim prize
o Prize value: $15 | No cash value
o Past giveaway winners within 30 days not eligible to win
o Use entry form below to enter