I’m always saying, you don’t need to sacrifice beauty if you want to have an ethically and eco-conscious wedding. Even just a few meaningful choices can make a huge difference.
So, I’m thrilled when we received weddings where couples have made such decisions within their soirees like Stephanie and Ross’s photographed by Michelle Lieb of Lieb Photographic.
Words from the bride:
What is your favorite wedding day memory?
Ross and I walked into the reception while the guests were enjoying tea at their tables. Without saying anything, we poured ourselves some tea before Ross picked up the alarm clock, rang it, and then and loudly proclaimed “Change Places!” It was very unexpected and quickly changed the mood to a busy icebreaking social scene.
Did you DIY anything for your wedding? If so, what…?
I drew out the designs for the invites and save the dates which were printed and cut using a craft cutting machine (the Cricut Explore), and some were pressed with an embossing machine (the Cricut Cuttlebug).
For yard signs, I got some pre-stained wooden pallet-looking signs from a hobby store and hand-painted direction and quote signs with cut out stencils using my craft cutting machine.
For centerpieces, I collected small glass vases and put some white decorating stones in the bottom. For table numbers, I found almost tea-bag-shaped white blocks of wood from a hobby store and painted numbers on them with cut out stencils using my craft cutting machine. Using a small hand rotary tool (a Dremel) I cut holes in the bottom of these wooden blocks. I then covered thick wire with florist tape, folded it onto itself, and then wound it together in a spiral. This wire was hot glued into the hole made into the bottom of the white block. One of these went into each glass vase along with a few gum-paste flowers (made with edible gum paste, glue, and painted on dust) with the same wire stems as the place number blocks.
For the Tea Party, I collected tea cups, saucers, and teapots from thrift and consignment stores which were placed on each of the tables. I ordered small glass jars with cork lids and made simple syrup to go in each for sweetener for the tea (which was served cold). Each glass jar got two paper signs reading “Simple Sugar” and “Drink Me” made from my craft cutting machine. Each teapot also got paper signs of the same design showing the flavors. Hats for the party were collected from thrift stores.
Having made two wedding cakes in the past and a gluten-free baker I made our own wedding cake and mini cupcakes for the guests. All of the eggs came from our backyard chickens. The flowers on the cake were also made at the same time as those in the centerpiece vases.
Instead of hiring caterers we hired servers and a cook then ordered some hard-to-find equipment such as chafers and tablecloths but almost all serve-ware was borrowed or collected over time from thrift stores and consignment shops including all dishware, cake stands, flatware, glasses, coffee cups, coffee percolators, pitchers, and carafes. When collected over time and with some luck the cost of these things can be even cheaper than renting it all. Napkins were made by my mother.
My dad made our wedding trellis and side benches.
My dad coordinated mowing with our neighbor to give us a free flowing countryside.
My mom planted flowerbeds including a bed of sunflowers.
What is your advice for brides currently in the planning process?
Plan on not needing to do anything on the big day, so be sure to delegate jobs out and that everyone has what they need to make their jobs easier/possible. Get in the heads of everyone that has some kind of job on the day of the wedding to determine what kind of materials they might need or problems they may run into. It is worth supplying extra tools and supplies for your peace of mind. Also, think about your day from the guests point of view. Will it be obvious where to go and what will their first instinct be to do when they get there? If there is something you don’t want them doing, such as start dancing or drinking without you, don’t offer it until the appropriate time. You can also instruct them to do or not do things through your DJ or officiant. Don’t feel bad for making them play be your rules, it’s an experience you are creating for them. They are just along for the ride.
Pool as many jobs from friends as you can.
If you feel overwhelmed by a theme or feel for the wedding pick one thing you care about and branch everything off it. Also consider something fun you could only do given the circumstance that all of your friends and relatives are in one place.
Words from the Photographer:
Oh my goodness! I truly work with some of the most creative folks…and it’s not always other wedding professionals…sometimes my brides are pretty incredibly talented creatives. I loved Stephanie and her vision for her big day from the first time we met. She planned and created so many amazing details for her wedding with a bright and beautiful color palette and one of my personal favorite details of the day…her own wedding cake…gluten free and vegan! Seriously, this girl is one talented, compassionate and intelligent woman.
A little background on our beautiful bride:
Stephanie draws much of her inspiration from her life and travels. She lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico until she was 12, when her family moved to Culpeper, Virginia. During high school her family moved to Rome, Italy (where she and Ross honeymooned!). Stephanie loved exploring Italy and by her senior year in high school she was Captain of the Women’s Cross Country and Basketball teams. After high school she followed her sister to the University of Mary Washington, where she studied Environmental Science. After college Stephanie traveled to Wisconsin to do agricultural research in Soil Science. After returning to Virginia, Stephanie began exploring her passion for experimenting in gluten free baking and began managing the Farmers’ Market in King George County.
And a little background on our dashing groom:
Ross was born in Virginia Beach and lived there through his high school years. He was passionate about sports and computers, played basketball and baseball all the way through high school and has been building, fixing, and programming computers since he was 14. At the University of Mary Washington he finished the Computer Science Program in 3 years.
So how did they meet?
Ross and Stephanie met at Mary Washington in 2006 in a Chaos Theory Freshman Seminar class. (Right?!!) During their college years they connected over their love of Italian food and culture, basketball, as well as topics in science and mathematics. Once Stephanie moved to Wisconsin, they kept up a long distance relationship for over three years, traveling back and forth between Virginia and Wisconsin, often on a monthly basis. Once they were both back in Virginia, Ross helped Stephanie with her first year of selling her baked goods at the Farmer’s’ Market and continued his position at InfoReliance as a principal consultant.
And the details of the day…
I love the details! The girls prepped for the day at the downtown Marriott in Fredericksburg. Their gorgeous fair trade necklaces were a gift from Stephanie from Ten Thousand Villages and the bridesmaid dresses are from Anthropologie. Stephanie’s incredible tea length Ellis of London dress is from Urban Set Bride in Richmond, Virginia and doesn’t it just compliment her pixie cut perfectly?
Stephanie and Ross decided on a first look in downtown Fredericksburg close to where they met in college prior to driving to her parents’ home for ceremony and reception. Their memorable first look took place on the downtown square.
And then we were off to Stephanie’s parents’ home in Culpeper county for the ceremony and reception.
Seriously look at the incredible details! The ceremonial arbor was made by Stephanie’s father and the flowers were beautifully arranged by her aunt. This is what happens when your aunt is a florist. Then everything was set for the tea party to follow the ceremony. Guests enjoyed a rotating tea party before the reception and the vintage tea cups, saucers and pots made it so enchanting. Every time the clock chimed, the guests moved to another table, getting to know everyone! Now that’s how you throw a Mad Hatter style tea party. There was a vintage suitcase of hats and some guests wore their own. The table centerpieces featured tiny vials of “drink me” simple syrup and flowers that Stephanie made of fondant to match the gorgeous cake she baked as well. After breaking the mad hatter clock, the reception began.
Having a sister and a brother-in-law to get the party going is always a plus as well as a friend who DJs.
The evening was incredible as Stephanie and Ross can REALLY dance. I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect wedding day for these two and then on to a honeymoon in Italy!
Thanks for stopping by!
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Photographer: Michelle Lieb, Lieb Photographic LLC | Florals: Shirley Ludwig with Wild Orchid Flowers | Wedding Dress: Ellis Bridals, Alexandria, Virginia | Bride’s Shoes: Blue by Betsey Johnson | Bridesmaids Shoes: Toms | Groom’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse | Catering and Servers: T&T Event Staffing, Latanya King, Cook: Joe Peruzzi | Hair and Makeup: Studio Dior, Fredericksburg, Virginia | DJ: Michael Geddes Productions | Officiant: Friend, Ryan Greene | Cake and Cupcake: Bride, Stephanie | Bridesmaids Necklaces: Ten Thousand Villages | Bridesmaid Dresses: Anthropologie | Second Shooter: Len Jenkins Photography