Green Cheap Wedding

Just another WordPress.com site

Molas! January 10, 2011

Molas are a type of folk art from Panama!

I knew when I started this planning I wanted sort of a Central American, Latino feel to my wedding.  I’m serving Mexican food.  I plan to play Buena Vista Social Club and other Cuban music during the cocktail hour and dinner.  I picked out bright, bold colors.  My signature drink is going to be margaritas.

But I didn’t want to do a Dia De Los Muertos thing (even though I LOVE Dia De Los Muertos) because I see that done SOOOO much lately.  So I wasn’t really sure how to tie the whole thing together.  I’ve been feeling like no one understood my vision (except my co – maid of honor, who, upon hearing my colors – and no other details – said, “Are you going for a Mexican theme?”).  My mom, who is doing my invitations, had this idea about pressed flower invitations since before Jeremy even proposed.  I keep saying that it sounds too stuffy, formal and girly, but she wouldn’t let it go.  She’d say “flowers aren’t formal” (no, fresh ones aren’t, but to me, pressed flowers say dusty old Victorian stuff) or “weddings are formal”.  Well, not mine.  My wedding is going to be fun.

The other night, my mom asked me again, “What do you want to do with your invitations?”.  My mom has been a graphic designer for over 20 years.  She’s won tons of national awards, and she’s done an amazing job at designing paper stuff for our family in the past.  She’s done wedding invitations, baby shower invitations, birth announcements, funeral programs, you name it.  I have every confidence in her abilities to make some kick ass wedding invitations.  I just haven’t liked her vision so far.  She brought up pressed flowers again, which I shot down, and she looked disappointed.  I tried explaining “Look, I’m wanting to do a sort of Mexican theme.  We’re doing Mexican food and margaritas.  I want to stick to that one theme, and not be mixing stuff up too much.”

She looked perturbed, but un-muted the tv and stared at it for a few seconds.  Then she pressed mute again and laughed “I just got an idea!  What if we did molas?”

Molas are a type of folk art created by the peoples of the region from Panama to Columbia.  My family is familiar with molas because my father grew up in Panama, and my grandmother and grandfather have a great deal of mola artwork around their house.  I loved my grandmother’s mola pillows as I was growing up, and her mola jewelry.  This seemed like a marvelous idea to me!

Molas aren’t Mexican, but I don’t feel the need to stick to one country.  It’s the entire culture of Central America that intrigues me, and what I’d like to showcase during my wedding, even though neither myself nor my fiance has a drop of Latino blood in us (my father grew up in the Panama Canal Zone because his father piloted ships through the canal as a Merchant Marine, not because he’s Panamanian.  The Stones are very likely Irish, though we don’t know for sure – that’s a whole other story for another day).  All my life, I have felt drawn towards that world, I can’t say why.  But I spent a year in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and I grew up hearing stories of Panama in the 60’s, and I was born and raised in a state with a huge Mexican influence, so maybe it’s natural.

Of course, mola invitations would be hard to make, we’ll be doing a lot of paper cutting, but I think it’s well worth the work.  I love the mola idea so much, I think I’m going to use it throughout my decorating.  Maybe a mola ring bearer pillow?  Mola placemats at the tables?  Mola purses for my bridesmaids?

Now, traditional molas are quilted.  It’s very intricate quilting done with little strips of fabric, which I don’t think I could do (especially not with my old sewing machine), and I don’t think I’d want to take the time to do if I could.  I can purchase molas pre made on fabric, which I might do for my ring bearer pillow, but that would get pricey if I did that over and over again for all the placemats, fabric, etc., that I might want to use a mola on.  However, I think I could easily paint or batik molas onto paper or fabric.  Though they wouldn’t be a true mola, I think that they would still be beautiful and compelling.

My mom really is a great visionary when it comes to creative stuff.  I’m very excited about this new development.

 

DJs and DIY January 7, 2011

Well, I found a DJ I like better than the home birth woman.  Okay, I don’t know if I like him better, I like him about the same, but he charges significantly less, so we can afford to have him during the entire reception.  It just goes to show that it pays to put out feelers on Facebook to see if your friends have any recommendations for vendors.  I asked about DJs and got a few suggestions, including one from a friend from high school who suggested a local DJ who spins regularly at area gay bars.  I wasn’t going to contact him, because I had my heart set on the home birth DJ, but I have another friend getting married next year, and she’s looking to hire only LGBTQ friendly vendors, so I thought about this guy.  After looking at his website (and learning he recently graced the cover of Westword!), I knew I just had to see how much he charged.  So I gave him a call, and found out he was far more reasonably priced than the home birth DJ, or any DJ that responded to my Craigslist posting.  My friend is also hiring him!

I like that I too am hiring and LGBTQ friendly vendor.  And I secretly, deep down inside, like that this pink mohawked, makeup wearing DJ is likely to freak out the more conservative members of my family and Jeremy’s.  I feel bad about not going with the home birth DJ, but I have to think practically.  I can hire this DJ for a longer period of time for less money than what the home birth DJ would have charged.  I wish her all the best, but I’m going with Rockstar Aaron for my wedding music.

Other than that, I am compiling a list of DIY projects I want to create for my wedding day.  I made my first wheel of cheese two weeks ago, a simple gouda that is aging in my basement at this very moment.  Currently, I am working on a banner that will read “Jeremy and Jessica, 8-13-2011”, out of scraps of fabric in our wedding colors.  It makes me feel so happy to be crafting for the wedding.  This is the part of wedding planning I’ve been looking forward to!  This is the part that’s going to be fun.  I’ve got tons of decoration ideas for my yard, and I’m thinking about little bridesmaids accessories, maybe little purses?  I can’t wait to start learning about flower arranging.  I looked into making my own cake, but decided that I’m probably going to be better off having a professional do that.  I’m so, so, so excited!!

Here are a few projects I’m thinking about for my wedding

Fabric Flower Garland

I really like paper and fabric flowers, I don’t know why.  They’re so bright and cheery, sort of like if flowers and stuffed animals had babies.

DIY Pinwheels

Who doesn’t love a pinwheel?  They’re so fun and whimsical!

Rock Candy Chandelier

Oh man, I can think of about a million cool things I could do with rock candy on a string.  Not only that, but it will be a fun science experiment for me to do with my son.

Pom Pom Vines

Can you see these hanging from all the trees on my property?  I can!

 

 

Success! Venues and other news November 23, 2010

So, I’ve found a reception site.  It’s nothing special, beauty wise, but it has plenty of space, is handicapped accessible, it’s open until the wee hours of the night and it allows me to bring in an outside caterer and my own booze.  Score!  Really, it’s not nearly as important to me to have a beautiful venue as it is to make sure my guests have a really, really good time.  That’s just not possible in a beautiful but small space, or a place that makes us be out by 10:30 (as my runner-up choice did).

It does some nice features for a reception hall.  A fire place and a large, pretty patio space chief among them.  It’s next to a golf course, which doesn’t exactly thrill me, but you know what?  Who cares?  We’re going to have yummy Mexican food, open bar (well, only beer, wine and margaritas will be served, but that’s enough) and good music.  That’s all that matters.

The reception venue is also just a few miles away from my church, so I’ve decided to go ahead and do the ceremony there.  I got all the paperwork and now am overwhelmed with options I hadn’t even thought of before.  Do I want my guests to sing hymns during the service?  Do I want our mothers to light the unity candle for us?  What order will our attendants be walking down the aisle in?  Will we be serving communion during our services?  Hmmmm …. probably not, that sounds kind of cool, I don’t know, and maybe?  I didn’t even know that was an option in a Lutheran service.  We do serve some kick ass yummy communion bread at my church.  Not those lousy wafers Catholics eat.

My church offers the services of two wedding coordinators to help me with these planning issues, which is awesome.  They’re also cool with interfaith marriages, which, if you count non practicing Catholic / vaguely agnostic as a faith, our wedding will be.  But it’s costing more to do a church wedding than I thought it would.  We have to pay for our pre wedding counselling, which I didn’t expect, and I don’t know how much the donation to the church in thanks to God for our union is expected to be.  Even if we didn’t get married actually in the church, though, we’d still have to pay these things if I want to use my pastor.  Which I do.  I don’t want some stranger to marry us when the guy who confirmed me and baptized my son is right here.

So now I have to start thinking about decorating and vendors.  My mom works with a photographer who does really cool work, and I totally planned on hiring her, until I looked at her prices.  She’s about $1000 over our budget.  So now I’m looking for someone else and feeling pretty disappointed because I’ve already fallen in love with her stuff.  I also found a DJ I really like, but she’s kind of expensive.  She had two home births though!  I know, that’s not a good reason for hiring a DJ, but she also has an extensive collection of indie music and that’s hard to find.  I promised I’d look at other options before hiring her though.

As far as decorating goes, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this wedding.  If I could add a Mexican flair to this type of decor, I’d be all over it.  Don’t know how my family would feel about such a shin dig.  They’d probably think it was cool, for any other event but a wedding.  Why does everyone think a wedding has to be so super formal?  It doesn’t have to be.  Why can’t it just be a big, fun, comfortable party for everyone involved?  I mean, if I’m going to be spending this much money, I want my wedding to be really enjoyed, not just appreciated aesthetically.

Something I really love about this wedding is that the couple made almost everything all by themselves.  It is my instinct to DIY as much of my wedding as I can, but all I hear from everyone is “Don’t do too much DIY, you’ll drive yourself crazy.”  Well aren’t you equally as likely to drive yourself crazy trying to control every little detail that you’re depending on someone else (who you ultimately cannot control) to provide?  Doesn’t it make more sense, if you’re going to drive yourself crazy, to do it on your own terms?  This couple inspires me.  I don’t think I want to be building my own dance floor, or anything, but I would love to make my own napkins and thank you cards.  Come on.  I have a year.  I just need to time everything.  I’ve already plotted out a timeline for cheese making (which reminds me, I need to buy the stuff I need to make the gruyere – I’ll bet Jeremy could make me a cheese press for cheap!)

In other DIY news, I harvested honey and wax from my bee hive over the weekend (and got stung once!  It’s the first time I’ve been stung in 8 months of bee keeping!  I have a welt the size of my palm, and it’s super itchy).  I have so much wax, I’m going to attempt to make my own unity candle out of it.  It might be the ugliest candle in the world, but it will be super meaningful, having come from the bees that my mom and I raised in the hive Jeremy built.

 

DIY Wedding Resources November 10, 2010

As a bit of a crafter, I’ve been really drawn to the idea of a DIY wedding.  I know it’s not always cheaper and it’s not always more environmentally friendly, but it is more unique and more fun on my end, and I think I’m the type of person who can get creative and make it cheap and green.

But I need some kind of inspiration to get into crafty mode, usually.  I suffered from a bit of a wedding magazine obsession for a while, but all that inspires you to do is feel like you have to spend more and more money, sometimes on things that other people DIY’d.  I mean, I love Etsy as much as the next person, but I have no desire to buy a faceless, clothespin cake topper for a hundred dollars, thank you very much, when I know for a fact that I could spend a whopping $5 on two clothes pins and a hot glue stick to make the exact same thing (I already have the paint and scrap fabric).

Wedding magazines also cost a fair amount of money, and, much like I discovered about Cosmo’s sex tips when I was 19, you quickly realize you’re reading the same crap over and over, and half of it is so unrealistic (or frightening) for real people it might as well be science fiction.

So I’ve been looking instead for inspiration to websites and books, which I check out from my local library (nothing’s cheaper than free!).  There are some really good websites out there, my favorites include DIY Bride, Offbeat Bride and Ruffled.  ReadyMade, my favorite DIY magazine, even has a Wedding Wednesdays portion on their website.  For more traditional ideas there is of course Martha Stewart Weddings (I love her classy alternative to Jello Shots), and of course, one cannot over look Instructables for any kind of DIY project, just search for weddings on their site, and hundreds of projects will pop up.

Books can get a little more tricky.  I’ve checked out just about every wedding craft book at the library and looked at every wedding craft book at Barnes and Noble (then requested those books at the library).  Most of the wedding craft books out there are super lame.  Maybe if you’re planning a super frilly wedding in the 80’s, you’d like these books, but for the most part, there’s nothing to be gleaned from most of them.  My favorites so far have been The Paper Bride, DIY Bride, DIY Bride Countdown and The Artful Bride.  Martha Stewart’s wedding books are okay, if you’re super traditional (which I am not).

But honestly, I’ve gotten more inspiration from regular craft books, so don’t over look them at the library if you’re looking for DIY ideas.  If you’re planning a holiday wedding, holiday craft books are going to give you some great ideas.  While I’m not super big on Martha’s wedding stuff, her holiday stuff is awesome.  I’ve had a good time with books like AlternaCrafts, Handmade Home and 1001 Ideas for Creative Reuse.  There are tons of books out there on crafting cool things out of things you would otherwise throw away, incorporating those kinds of projects into your wedding would be both green and cheap.  Seriously, ReadyMade is the best source of ideas for those kinds of projects, I think.  Not only does it have a million ideas for recycled DIY projects, but their projects are hip and modern.