Friday, February 13, 2009

The Women Who Came Before Me

Unlike the title would imply, this post is not about my mother, my grandmother, or even my great-grandmother. Not that I didn't like my mom's wedding--she got married in a chapel on a grassy knoll over the ocean in Malibu. Not too shabby. I even looked into a venue nearby, a venue I'd dreamed about since I was a child playing in the sand on the beach that it borders: The Adamson House, a historic spanish-style casa that edges right up to the most popular surfing beach in Los Angeles. Turns out, The Adamson House was ridiculously out of our budget and, in the moment I found that out, it dispelled any dreams of getting married in my hometown of Los Angeles. Okay, true, I didn't look very hard, but when I get my heart set on something, I have trouble seeing anything else.

Until I started sifting through design blogs and magazines and falling hopelessly in love with all things barefoot, earthy, rustic, wide open and natural. I feel warmth when I think about these ideas, especially within an industry that mass produces all things uptight, too-poised, well-coiffed, and picture perfect. Thus, Ian and I decided all we need is a field for our ceremony and a barn for all of our friends and family to gather and dance.

My fiance is the main reason for our choice. He's a country boy who grew up amidst maple- and apple-trees, who had dirt under his fingernails every afternoon as a child, and has taught me how to plant trees, build fires, and walk barefoot in the grass. His love for barns was born because he grew up in one. His father renovated a barn into their home with his own two hands so we felt like this structure was very meaningful to celebrate in.

The second seed of inspiration comes from a couple brides I came across who pulled off warm, unique, and country-inspired celebrations of their own. The first was Maie and Jim, a couple who got married in upstate New York, where Ian is from, on a private estate. That launched my search for an estate, a farm, a lodge, a summer camp, anywhere we could rent out for all of our guests to gather for the entire weekend. They pulled off details I'd never seen before: hay as benches during the ceremony and antique doors as an alter of sorts. Not to mention her Monique Lhuillier gown had me drooling at my computer.

The second bride I saw was featured on Once Wed, a favorite blog of mine, under the name "Oh My Deer." That also happens to be the eponymous name of her shop on, an "ebay" for people selling crafts and homemade goods. The thing I love about Chelsea and Tec's wedding was the way all of their friends and family members became a part of the wedding by contributing things (a great budgeting tool). The trinkets on the tables were donated by friends, the trees on the tables--thought to have died--came to life about a month before the wedding after debuting in her sisters wedding, and the property was also a friends. Chelsea's designs inspired me to be unique, collect vintage bottles and tins as vases, and mainly, she taught me not to worry about it looking so "pulled together." If each thing has a reason for being there, it will all fall into place.

My mom still tells me stories about her wedding--how she doesn't remember ever feeling the pressure that brides do now, to pull off some overly-designed event. She hardly remembers where she got her flowers, she mentions the chapel being donated to my father and her, and that her dress, a long-sleeved, Victorian-style gown (that still sits yellowing in her closet) cost $300 from a store ironically named Country Bride. Maybe the lesson here is one from her: It's been over thirty years since my parents had their humble celebration and they're still married. Regardless of cost or showiness, their wedding was a symbol of their love, and that's what stands strong in her memory.

Which brides have inspired your wedding? Are they friends or did you find them via internet? Which of your details were inspired by that bride?

Photos 1 and 2 by Vallentyne Photography
Photos 3 and 4 by Jose Villa

1 comment:

Martha said...

Dear daughter Alicia - I am so moved by your beautiful writing and the way you have developed into such a lovely young woman of substance! To add to your 'wedding roots,' I remembered that the flowers that your dad and I had at our wedding was a group effort. My mother helped pay for them but it was three or four friends who donated their time to go to the flowermart, purchased the flowers and then made all the arrangements themselves. They were gorgeous and it was a wonderful wedding gift!