Love’s a Gift That’s Surely Handmade


If you are looking for some handmade wedding love, here it is! This bride and groom went all out on this handmade real wedding and spent time + attention on each crafted detail. The result? A truly spectacular wedding. Brides and grooms – get ready to take notes… this bride and groom planned quite an amazing handcrafted event! An important key to your perfect event is selecting the right photographer to capture the details. The bride and groom selected Matt Frye of One Tree Photography who did a surreal job of capturing each element perfectly. Now, on to the details, straight from the bride herself!

She tells us, “I think the planning for our wedding actually began a couple of years ago, when Matt and I were still dating. I told him, “I’m going to have cotton candy at my wedding reception. Blue cotton candy. Maybe you can have some… if you’re invited.” He replied that he’d have a mechanical bull, and I could ride it… if I were invited. One day last fall he packed a picnic basket, went to an orchard, and popped the question with the most gorgeous watermelon Ring Pop you’ve ever seen….

“Four days later we picked a location. We’d had an appointment with our realtor to look at a house and acreage about three miles from where Matt grew up. As we stood by the pond with the setting sun and the fall leaves, it seemed unbearably perfect. I told him I thought we should get married there. “I can’t imagine any place prettier,” he replied, a man of few words. Deals were made and papers were signed.

“One of the major reasons I was (still am, of course!) attracted to Matt is that if he doesn’t know how to do something, he will find out. He went to school for welding and I have a BFA in jewelry design/metalworking. There’s enough overlap in our fields that we find common ground, but there’s enough difference that one might have an approach that the other hadn’t considered. He does the heavy lifting; I provide the finesse. We make a darn good team. Needless to say, our wedding was going to be heavy on the DIY.

“My mom taught me how to sew when I was a little girl in 4-H, so I had always planned on making my dress and my bridesmaids’ dresses. For the girls, I chose an Anna Maria Horner print that I absolutely adore. My dress was inspired by a vintage dress that I bought at a thrift shop for $2. It’s made out of silk with a rhinestone buckle. The skirt has big pleats and is delightfully full, which allowed me room for pockets. I had almost finished the dress when I decided I hated how the bodice looked. Ten days before the wedding I ripped the skirt off and completely started over on the bodice, drafting a whole new pattern for it. Unable to find the right turquoise petticoat, I bought a ruffler foot for my machine and made my own. I made my own turquoise veil and had my shoes dyed to match it all. You could probably guess that it’s my favorite color.

“Like I said, our wedding was heaving on the DIY (and CIF–Calling In Favors). Because of the slope of the yard, Matt decided to make picnic tables and sell them after the wedding. With the help of his best man and his uncle’s shop, he made fifteen gorgeous cedar picnic tables. I got to work as well, block printing invitations and cutting and hand painting signs. With the help of friends and family, I made foot upon foot of garland and piles of tissue paper flower confetti. One of my aunts made chair covers and another made mints for the reception. My mom made our wedding cake the day before, using a frosting recipe that I found in a 40-year-old book but had never tasted. (It was delicious when we finally cut the cake the day after the wedding.) Another friend worked tirelessly helping me on a Shrinky Dink topper that I still haven’t finished!

I have a tendency to try to work song lyrics into everyday conversations, so I wanted to use a lyric as our “theme.” I had come up with several possibilities but wasn’t thrilled with any of them. At the end of an email newsletter was their quote of the month: “Love’s a gift that’s surely handmade.” Perfect! I’d heard a cover of the song, “L.A. Freeway” by Guy Clark, a few dozen times but for some reason had never caught that line.

“Matt’s vest and pants were the last articles of clothing I finished for the wedding. I almost forgot the belt loops on his pants, so I was sewing them on at 5:30 the night of the wedding. We hurried over to a Catholic church near our home where a lot of Matt’s dad’s family went to school. Upstairs in the now-defunct school building is a stage with an old hand-painted velvet backdrop. I was mesmerized the first time I saw it, and once I saw Matt Frye’s photos I knew he was the photographer that could see what I saw.

“I love vintage…everything…and have a tendency to collect (others say hoard; tomato, tomato) a lot of a lot of things. I’ve been going to flea markets and such since I was old enough for my parents to take me, so it’s kind of their fault. My cake carrier/cake stand collection was called in to hold pies. Vintage tablecloths covered the food tables. It turned out that the two boxes of vintage sheets I’d been stockpiling were perfect to cover straw bales for seating during the ceremony. Old blue jars held candles and flowers. The glassware that I used as candleholders, as well as the punch bowl and a cake stand, is a pattern called Wexford. My grandma would give me milk in a Wexford glass every day. I thought that they were so fancy, with the stem and facets, that I called them the “princess glasses.” A few years ago she gave them to me and I’ve been collecting the pattern ever since. All of the porch posts were in my dad and grandpa’s hoards. Er, collections.

“The bridal party walked in to the “Hell’s Bells” intro, with my brother escorting my mom then standing up as a ‘bridesman’ for me. Being a Kansas girl, I walked with my dad to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” In the candlelight we exchanged vows, including the ever-romantic “I love you more than all the squirrels in the world.” (Oh. That was just me…) During the ceremony I spoke about how I had designed my ring three years prior, hoping that it would be my wedding ring and hoping that Matt would be my groom. It was absolutely surreal to be standing there wearing the ring, next to the groom, surrounded all the people who did so much for us. We kissed, rice was thrown, and I proceeded to gorge myself on blue raspberry cotton candy. It was awesome.

“As a surprise, I made a faux pocket watch to showcase Matt’s parents’ wedding photo, which he carried in his vest pocket. His father passed away about ten years ago, so I knew he would appreciate having a memento of his dad near him on our wedding day. The ‘fob’ is a photo of the tow of us the day he proposed last fall. I made my necklace with a photo of my parents the day they got married, surrounded by rhinestones. My mom had a pretty serious health scare tow months before the wedding, which emphasized how lucky I am that they were both around for my wedding. They’ll celebrate their 35th anniversary this year.

I had designed my ring while in college, using 3-D jewelry design software. Phil Voetsch of Jewelry By Design taught the class and offered to have the ring milled, cast, and the stones set for me. Matt couldn’t decide what he wanted, so I pitched a couple of ideas to Phil and he worked up a few renderings. Without Phil we might have ended up with Ring Pops for wedding rings.”

Want to see more? Check out One Tree Photo Services for photography and videography in Missouri and surrounding areas. Also, be sure to check out Matt’s Missouri ad in the Emmaline Bride Bridal Book.

All images courtesy of One Tree Photography. All Rights Reserved.

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10 Comments on "Love’s a Gift That’s Surely Handmade"

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October 21, 2011 8:19 am

SO much to drool over, I’m a bit overwhelmed! Love that she made her own dress, the pops of color, AND the cotton candy machine. Yum!

April 3, 2011 12:20 pm

I love how you included the “behind the scenes” shots of the bride actually “doing it herself!”

April 3, 2011 9:51 am

THIS is what a wedding should be – a reflection of the couple and all abou the love and fun!


wow..the whole wedding was DIY! My own wedding was mostly DIY but wow, she made the men’s pants too…we rented the suits…my hat goes off to the bride and groom..congrats guys! Job well done! Just curious on how much did this wedding cost?

January 10, 2011 3:43 am

Hi Margaret!

Do you have photos from your DIY wedding? We’d love to see them! Isn’t it amazing how they handmade the dresses AND the men’s pants? I was telling Lizzie, that’s pure DIY dedication right there. Not sure how much it cost… but it sure took a lot of time, I’m sure! Thanks for stopping by :)


January 7, 2011 10:29 pm

this wedding is so beautiful…i love the handmade details and the vibe…i can’t believe she made those dresses!! holy bananas…everything is stunning.

January 10, 2011 3:42 am

Hi Lizzie! I know… she seriously put her heart + soul into those dresses! That takes total diy dedication. And, to top it off, everything came out beautifully! Thanks for stopping by!


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