Anatomy, part 2: Pirates without parrots. Or peg legs.

Caitie and Curt were looking for help in evoking pirate lore more subtly, so we worked with them on a design that would emphasize the things they treasure. With two degrees in English literature between them, books had to top that list.

centerpiece: Annie’s Garden, Corsicana, TX
photo: Sara & Rocky Photography, Dallas, TX

Inspired by the centerpiece at left, and loving the combination of silver goblets, vivid fresh flowers and beautifully bound volumes, we set out to translate that concept for this particular couple.

First things first: No books by the yard. Each title had to mean something to at least one of them. Eventually we settled on a stack of three per table, each one representing a different category: pirates and/or princesses, classic literature, and childhood favorites. From Captain Blood to The Princess Bride, Geoffrey Chaucer to Jane Austen, Harry Potter to The Phantom Tollbooth, we put together a list big enough to supply our projected 15 tables. And we were ridiculously pleased with ourselves for working in a nod to Disney through many of the original stories — Arabian Nights, Alice in Wonderland and Andersen’s Mermaid and Other Stories among others.

Of course, the books needed to be visually interesting as well, with gilt-embossed leather our first choice and well-loved antique editions a close second. We plundered Curt and Caitie’s shelves first, their families’ second, and then — when Curt’s parents offered to complete the collection as a wedding gift — turned to eBay and aLibris.

Personal treasures — Shakespeare, Alice in Wonderland and The Secret Garden,
plus a silver cream pitcher, antique cruet,
chocolate doubloons & acrylic gems
photo: RMN Photography, Arlington, VA

For sparkle, we looked again to family and eBay for silver bud vases and compotes, cut-glass creamers and cruets — anything that would hold a few stems of fresh flowers, a fistful of chocolate doubloons or a cascade of gems.

When we started worrying about being too subtle, we added a few more overt touches to help guests connect the dots.
•  We printed the invitations on parchment and closed each one with a wax seal (more on those later!).
•  Instead of being assigned numbers, tables were named for pirate ships both real and fictional, and we ordered hundreds of acrylic gems and even more chocolate doubloons to scatter like confetti.
•  A big glass jar wrapped in raffia was designated for messages in a bottle, in lieu of a guest book.
•  We commissioned a custom treasure map to give guests the lay of the land, chose a rum-based signature cocktail and supplemented the standard photo booth props with cutlasses, bandannas and eye patches.
•  Finally, we tracked down cufflinks made from sterling silver pieces of eight for Curt and his groomsmen.

Pirate-y enough? Stay tuned!

Next up: How color choices informed everything

Anatomy of a truly personal wedding: Laying the groundwork


No cookie-cutter weddings here

Great for Christmas.
For your wedding? Not so much.

When we met Caitie and Curt, they were very clear about what they didn’t want for their wedding — no church ceremony, no matchy-matchy bridesmaids, no cookie-cutter approach to décor  — and considerably less sure about what they did want.

But the longer we talked, the more patterns began to emerge.

Caitie loves enormous old trees, the color purple, medieval literature, and hand-made crafts. She also has a soft spot for peacock feathers.

Curt loves classic rock, literature in general, Mark Twain in particular, and obscure bits of trivia. He’s a pirate at heart, and has been since kindergarten.

They both love books, movies, quirky humor, “The Princess Bride,” Shakespeare and Disney in near-equal measure, family traditions, and pie.

So where did that leave us?

To help them design a celebration whose every detail told their story — without creating a visual hodge-podge — we needed an organizing idea … something to tie the elements together in a way that looked beautiful, spoke volumes, and made sense. We knew books had to figure prominently, but we were also determined to find a way to incorporate pirates and princesses without crossing the line into kitsch or cartoon.

Hours of brainstorming later, we realized that it came down to which books we chose. With that, we were on our way toward a “vintage treasures” concept that brought together antique copies of Treasure Island and Peter Pan, the Brothers Grimm and Perrault’s Fairy Tales, with bits of Victorian silver, sparkling cut glass and family keepsakes.

Next up: Pirates without parrots

Having your cake … and eating it too

Have your cake & eat it too

raspberries + lemon curd + buttercream
= heaven

Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done. We believe you really can have it all — a celebration rich with personal touches that tell your unique story in a beautiful, cohesive and stress-free way.

No question that it’s a lot simpler to pull off a cookie-cutter wedding: Choose your colors, pore over other people’s pictures until you find a look you like, and start ordering X dozen of these and Y dozen of those. But if your dream is a celebration that really speaks to you and about you, that’s no way to go about it.

We’re passionate about helping brides create truly unique events, where the whole is so much greater than the sum of the parts.

In the next several posts, we’ll walk you through the design of a recent real wedding, from the first lists of idea fragments through the evolution of the vision that tied them together to the incredible wedding day itself. Stay tuned!