Real Wedding: Alaina & Elizabeth

Chris had the pleasure of working with Elizabeth & Alaina on their Canopy invitations for their super-sweet, homegrown wedding, and we’re thrilled to share photographs from their big day. This wedding is seriously overflowing with creativity – Elizabeth and Alaina spent two years planning, and their hard work paid off. They put special thought into every last detail (just wait til you see the paper goods…the place cards + table numbers = genius!), and Elizabeth was kind enough to fill us in on everything that went into planning their beautiful, backyard wedding.

Bella Figura Canopy Invitations

Can you share with us a bit about your wedding and your inspiration for the event?
We had a backyard wedding for our friends and family at my parent’s house in Olympia, Washington. My parents live just outside of town where my mom raises chickens and has a huge garden. We spent two years before the wedding replanting the flower beds and getting the yard ready.  We DIY-ed almost every aspect of the wedding from the yard to the decorations. I read a lot of wedding blogs leading up to the wedding, so I’m sure I was influenced by them in a lot of ways, but our wedding decor and feeling was very uniquely “us”.

My mother and I have a love of blue mason jars and both have a large collection, so we used those for flower vases. I thrifted some soda bottles for cheap and used those, too. I’m a librarian so we had books on the tables, and my wife is a math teacher – so flash cards as table numbers were perfect. There wasn’t a detail of the wedding that didn’t have meaning to us in some way.

The antiques that were around the yard were all family pieces that we already owned. The ceremony backdrop was made of old doors Alaina picked up for me on her way home from work one day because she thought they looked cool and knew I would love them. They hung out in our backyard for nearly a year before I figured out how to use them. The church pew was from the old brick Methodist Church on the hill in Englewood, Ohio that my grandfather grew up in.

The morning before the wedding, I picked up buckets of dahlias from the farmers market and we had a flower bouquet making party with grandmas, aunts, mothers, and bridesmaids. It was one of the most fun things about the wedding, and the flowers were amazing.

Perhaps the most meaningful DIY was that my father, an ordained minister, performed our ceremony. Despite the words that were spoken, the rings that were exchanged, and the love that was shared, our marriage isn’t legal in the eyes of our state or national government. It was incredibly meaningful to have our friends and family around us, supporting us as we shared our vows with each other, and even more meaningful to have them standing by our side as we continue the fight for true marriage equality.

What advice do you have for couples currently planning a wedding? Breath. We were incredibly lucky that we were given the opportunity to plan a day that was meaningful to us and to have our parents and family support us every step of the way. Because we were doing so much ourselves, there were times when I was very overwhelmed, but in the end it was totally worth it – I wouldn’t change a thing. If you have the desire to create details for your wedding, I would encourage you to do it because I think it really shows in the end. However, it is imperative that you let people help you. I had some great craft parties where my bridesmaids helped me cut, stamp, paint, and sew. We’re even going to continue with the craft parties after the wedding! As a detail-oriented Virgo it took a conscious effort on my part to let go of control and trust that people honestly wanted to help. Oh, and hire a day-of-coordinator. It is worth it. Totally. Completely.

What surprised you most about your wedding? It’s going to sound silly, but I don’t really cry. Titanic, didn’t shed a tear and I always chuckle when Alaina tears up over Hallmark commercials. I was sobbing – ugly big tears – for most of the wedding day. They were very happy tears, but I soaked through a couple antique family hankies. Alaina, totally dry-eyed. Go figure, and carry a hankie!

What was your favorite moment? I really think the ceremony has to be my favorite part – I loved the twinkly lights and the dancing (our bluegrass band was AMAZING!) – but the vows we spoke and the songs we sang will stay with me in a really special way.

Favorite design element of your big day?  I spent many hours designing our wedding program and a recipe book as our favor for our guests. They turned out amazing, and while they were a major time commitment, they were worth it. I also contacted Ellie Snow of Hello Ten Fold (who created the design for our invitations from Bella Figura) to design a wedding certificate for all of our guests to sign, which also turned our quite lovely.

What’s next for the newlyweds? We’re settling  back into life. Alaina is teaching 6th grade math this year and I’m currently looking for a full time library job, but am loving this time off to write thank you notes and figure out what life after wedding planning looks like. You can follow me on my food blog or look back at all the wedding details on our wedding blog.

Thank you so much for sharing your inspiration & photos from the big day, Elizabeth! Congratulations to you and Alaina from all of us here at Bella Figura – we wish you nothing but the best and a lifetime of happiness together.

Day-of-Wedding Coordinator: Brianna Saunders
Photographer: Ashley Forrette and Aaron Courter
Location: Family Home
Catering & Cupcakes: Bearded Lady Food Co.
Pulled Pork: Oakland Bay Farms
Bluegrass Band: The Blackberry Bushes