Category Archives: Thrifty Wedding

Let’s Get Dressed Boys and Girls

I know I mentioned a while ago that Future Mamma-In-Law Veggie is taking care of our flower girl and ring bearer outfits (isn’t she great?). This is no small task given the quantity and varying ages of the Veggie Sprouts. Seems like a good time to give you an update on how its going.

First off were vests and paper boy caps for the boys. In hopes of saving her sanity FMIL Veggie started keeping her eye out these months ago, thinking she would have her hands full with sewing three dresses. When these cute hats went on sale she snatched them up. Then she found these great pin striped vests. A set in size 6 and a set in size 12mos. Boys done.

Onto the girls. FMIL Veggie (that’s kind of a mouthful) has nearly finished one flower girl dress. Here it is in all its glory modeled by the oldest Veggie Sprout-ette (she has a bit of a Calvin Klein grunge waif look going, no? Look out Tyra).
The material is a very light organic cotton swiss dot in ivory. Supposedly this dress needs to be taken in on the sides, hemmed, and the straps need to be finished, but honestly I didn’t notice any of that. I just can’t believe that someone could actually make a dress, a beautiful dress, appear out of thin air. Don’t even get me started about those crazy talented bees who make their own wedding dresses (eh-hem Sewing, Poodle). Unimaginable.

One down, two slightly smaller versions to go. I’m so psyched about how they look already, and now just have to figure out how I want to finish them off. I plan on coming up with an idea and then stepping back to allow FMIL Veggie and Veggie Sister Kale to turn that vision into a reality. Go Team Veggie! They’re too good to me.

So hmmm… finishing touches for the dresses. The bridesmaids are wearing shades of gray and the men are wearing vests and gray pants. So I guess I’m thinking casual, cute, and I hate to say it, vintage-y.

Perhaps a nice wide sash at the empire waist (a la Mrs. Penguin).

Maybe a simple ribbon instead?

How about a flower?

Or two?

Or a few?

Or a dozen?

So many choices.

Now that there are less than 100 days to go until the wedding it is both exhilarating and calming to see some projects starting to come together. I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by all of the love our family and friends have already put into our wedding. It is amazing.

Are loved ones stepping up to make your day special? Any ideas on how to finish off the Veggie Sprout dresses?

We’re Not Sending Invitations?!?! *gasp*

Too dramatic? OK let’s try again.

We’re not sending invitations.

We’ve been thinking along these lines for a while. But I haven’t really discussed it with anyone fully besides Mr. Veggie. I guess I was a bit afraid of people’s reactions.

Will they be shocked at our lack of decorum?

Confused at why we would forgo such an important detail?

Disapproving of our decision?


Well, Willis, this is what we’re talking about. Tough choices.

We have a strict budget, financially and ecologically. When we decided to splurge on a photographer we knew there would be other things that we would have to cut out. And, when we looked at all of the components of a wedding, invites just seemed to make the most sense to us, ecologically and financially.

Don’t get me wrong. I love getting mail. I love the idea of people opening our invites all over the world and getting excited for our big day. I would love getting back RSVP cards. I love envelope liners. I love twine. I love wood block carvings. I love letterpress.
I love this set of invites:
And this one:

And this one:

And this one:

While I swooned over our Save The Dates design, I didn’t like that they arrived in the form of an attachment on an email. Where’s the fun in that? No one gets excited over receiving a mass email. Verdana font on a computer screen just can’t compete with letterpress swirls and twirls. And the second it takes you to click on an attachment hardly holds the anticipation and glee of opening an envelope.

And that’s why my heart broke a little the day I realized that paper invitations were not in our future.

But then I found Paperless Post and the skies began to clear. They have solved the excitement v. eco, pretty v. functional, paper v. e- dilemmas. When you send an invitation through them they send a personalized envelope to each recipient’s email, which they can click on to “open” the invitation. The invitation they open is created by you using one of PP’s gorgeous templates, which are designed to look like letterpress. They can click on the invitation to RSVP. Genius.

And then I saw this video… and I swear I heard a choir of angels.

I began to realize that there are some advantages that e-invites have over their paper counterparts. Not only could we do a rad video, but depending on what company we use, we can also link directly to our website and registry, manage our RSVP’s, link to a mapquest or google map, and even allow people to add our wedding as an event to their blackberries.

So what I’m imagining now is a Paperless Post-type e-invite where the email guests receive will have a personalized envelope. But instead of opening up to a beautiful one-page invite, it will open to a multiple page invite. The first page will contain our video, the second will look like a traditional invite, and the third will link to our wedding website where guests can RSVP, check out maps, registries, etc.

Ok bees, so here’s my question to you. How do I make this happen? Paperless Post says that their system is only set up to do one-page invites. Any ideas?

Equinox Flower Thoughts

We’re quickly approaching the equinox, which for us means that its getting harder and harder to get out of bed and go for a surf in the chilly mornings, but for those of you on the other side of the world, it means spring is coming! Which means, I really need to start thinking about what kind of flowers I want. Pronto.

We still have 5 months until the wedding, why so early? Because we are hoping that our talented friends and family will be able to grow us all of the flowers we need for the wedding. Which means said flowers need to be planted. Which means this veggie farmer needs to start thinking blooms.

Looking back I see that I went about this process in the complete wrong order. You see I scoped out ideas, fell in love with certain flowers, and then figured out what they were called and when they were in season. This whole process involved some mild heartbreak when I found out that peonies and ranunculus (two of my faves) will definitely not be in bloom in the Eastern U.S. in August. I probably should’ve found a list of what is in bloom, then picked some off of that that I loved. Oh well… live and learn.

Here were the inspiration for my flower choices: (You knew I’d have an inspiration board or two for you).
Sources: Top: Left, Center, Right; Middle: Left, Left-Center, Right-Center, Right; Bottom: Left, Center, Right

Sources: Top: Left, Center, Right; Middle: Left, Center; Bottom: Left, Center, Right

And here are the blooms that are involved in making these dreams come true:
Sources: Phlox, Brassica, Aster, Craspedia, Chrysanthemum, Zinnia, Peony, Dahlia, Poppy, Garlic Scape, Ranunculus

Yep, included in that list are brassica (cabbage) and garlic flowers. What would a veggie wedding be without some veggie blooms?

Luckily after researching what is in bloom, almost all of these are possible. We’ll probably need to say goodbye to peony and ranunculus, but I’m still holding out hope for late blooming varieties that might be grown by our guests coming from Maine and New Hampshire. Garlic scapes are also an early summer flower, but here’s hoping that one of our creative friends finds a way to set some back (Piling snow on top of the garlic bed? Planting them in shade?).

There are some drawbacks to our approach to flowers. Will we know ahead of time what our centerpieces and bouquets will look like? No. Will we have to spend time the day of putting it all together? Yes. Will I have strict creative control over how it all turns out? No. But we’re O.K. with all that. For us, the upsides: no money spent, the love of our friends and family going into our big day, and a low carbon footprint, definitely outweigh all the drawbacks.

How did you decide on which flowers you wanted to be included in your wedding? Are you including any non-traditional flowers?

Pho-to Pho’-Sho’

Remember the internal struggle that was my dressshopping experience? Well hiring (or not hiring) a photographer was even worse. Let me set the scene for you:

We have several amateur photographers coming to the wedding as guests, and SIL Veggie is a professional photographer. We’re trying to keep our budget as low as possible, and literally every cent we don’t spend on the wedding goes straight to the non-profit organization we run.

Also, a brief confessional here: I am a photography snob. After looking at many wedding photography websites, I  have come to the realization that the cheaper photographers don’t do much better than I do when I go to weddings. If we are going to pay someone to take photos, we definitely want the photos to be great, not just ho-hum. So it seems like we are left with two choices:

Either spend quite a bit and get someone great.
Spend nothing and get what we get from our guests.

I looked at many many many photographers’ websites  and made a spreadsheet that classified them by price, package details, and how much I loved them (ranging from eh.. to LOVE!!). I was hoping that I would find someone that I was in love with that had reasonable prices. But the major problem was, I didn’t really have a good idea what “reasonable” was to me. I think I was hoping that some magical photographer would surface that was willing to do our wedding for nearly free, just based on the fact that we were such a charming couple. Right.

I was torn. I asked my friends, I asked my family (including SIL photographer), I polled everyone I could think of. About 99% of the people I asked (again, including SIL photographer) said “Hire a photographer”. Their reasons were well-rationalized and well-stated. But I still wasn’t sure.

So I browsed more photography websites, asked more people, and finally sat down with Mr. Veg.

I verbalized the reasons why I thought it was important to have a photographer: I want nice pictures of our day, I don’t want any of our guests to stress over taking great pictures, I don’t want to regret not getting certain pics, and finally, I love good photography.

I verbalized the reasons why I thought we didn’t need a photographer: saving money, our talented friends will get lots of good pics, and how many pics of our day do we need anyway?

He verbalized his concerns that photography would be the first of many splurges and that our budget would grow exponentially as our planning progressed. And then he said if it was really important to me, I should decide how much I was willing to spend on it, and what other things would get the ax.

We looked at our overall budget, and armed with my trusty spreadsheet we decided on a number that we felt was reasonable. I decided that I would contact all of the photographers in the LOVE!! category, tell them about us, tell them about what we were looking for, and ask if they could make something work within our budget. I set a firm number that I didn’t want to go above. If no one could give us what we wanted within our budget, we would forgo photography (gasp!).

But guess, what? Someone could! Someone would! Someone will! We have a photographer! (Well actually a team of two photographers). And they are fantastic!! Oh, you want a sample of their work, well read on, or check out Miss Snow’s engagement pictures. Yep, we have the same groovy photographers!

Above Photos by Oh Darling! Photography

I feel really good about this decision. At first I felt like I was wasting money and self-indulging. I felt really guilty for spending that much money on something Mr. Veg was ambivalent about. But now, I feel differently. I feel like I made a really thoughtful, not-impulsive decision over something I was really excited about and normally would have jumped right into. I feel like I’ve done a good job of researching options, prioritizing, and expressing myself to Mr. Veg. Am I justifying a costly decision? Maybe.


Things to be aware of when sending out electronic save the dates:

1) If the file name attached to your email includes “STD”, non-wedding-savvy folks on the guest list may be a bit hesitant to open it. And you will be the butt of many family jokes.

2) Yahoo will actually freeze your account for a few hours if you try to send an email to too many people (apparently 300 is too many).

We hemmmed and hawed about sending e-STD’s, but in the end it fit with the overall feel of our wedding. No frills, budget-friendly, and most important, a low environmental footprint.

Our STD’s were designed by our good friend Shari Amos, a graphic designer who does wedding invites (lucky us!). I am in love with them. I couldn’t fall asleep last night because the 18hr time difference meant that people might open our email as early as 1am our time. I might even sacrafice a small tree and print a few up as keepsakes… that’s how much I love them.

Wedding Farmers?

Remember my Camp v. Farm dilemma? Well, the more farms I looked into, the more wise to the “farm wedding” industry I became.

Most of the farms that I found that hosted weddings were not working farms any more (of course there are exceptions). While many of them used to be farms, they now exclusively do events. Some have a small veggie garden, and a few are actually working farms, but many don’t grow any food at all.

I asked one of the owners about this. He had been farming for 40 years and just started doing weddings 5 years ago. “The truth of it is, I can make more money on a wedding weekend than I can in practically a whole season of growing food. It’s a better investment for me to keep renovating for events than to put money into growing food”. Huh? Wow.

So, if the food wasn’t going to be grown on the farm (in most cases), what were we getting for our money? A beautiful venue. A finely catered meal (generally organic, some local). Great service. All this for a fairly high price tag.

Sigh. Buh bye beautiful farms.

I love your refurbished barns and picturesque settings. I love your waiters and your matching dinnerware. I will dream about being one of the beautiful brides on your website enjoying her elegant wedding. You host gorgeous weddings that I swoon over, but I think we are just too rustic and hippy for you.

Too rustic and hippy for a farm? Go figure.

Of course, this is just our experience. I know that there are some great farms out there that do wedding events. And when you choose to host your wedding at places like these, you are helping to support local farmers (of the produce, not wedding variety). One that I came across is Broadturn Farm.

Any others out there that you know of? I would love to restore my faith in the farm wedding industry by finding other food-producing venues. Or did anyone have a really great experience at a non-food-producing farm venue that might help change my mind?

Have I mentioned…

…that I love inspiration boards?

This was my first attempt at an inspiration board for our “green” wedding. It was actually the first bit of planning that I did for the wedding. I think I started it about 2 days after Mr. Veggie proposed. He scoffed.Image Credits: Top row (l-r): Bridge, Dresses, Ceremony. Middle Row (l-r): Centerpieces (a la Mrs. Cowboyboot), Tea, Lanterns, Flowergirl, Groom, Bride, Cake Topper, Hankie.

Bottom Row (l-r): Chair, Card Tree, Personal Photo, Birds, Lanterns, Bouquet, Bikes.

I was going for a late summery-rustic-relaxed vibe. We’ll be getting married at a summer camp, but at the time I just knew that we would be outdoors. Colors that have been popping up all over my life lately are saffron/grey/brown. They seem like perfect end of summer colors.

The little one on the trike is my niece Annie. I thought she might have fun riding down the aisle, plus since we are bikers (of the non-motorized variety) it would incorporate biking into our wedding in a interesting way. That was pretty much my only original idea, the rest of these gems were swiped from wedding websites.

Since then some of my ideas have changed a bit. We’ve firmed up a venue and I think I bought a dress (YAY!). Seems like its time to update this board. I think I’ll work on inspiration 2.0 in the next few weeks. Keep your eyes peeled.

Is it possible?

Dresses, invitations, flowers, food, venue, honeymoon. Yikes.

When I got engaged, I didn’t have the slightest idea about the world I would suddenly be thrown into. And I love it.

I’m not afraid to say it. I love it! The inspiration boards, color pallets, dress shopping. I love it!

But wait, this isn’t how we live. We are compost-loving, veggie-growing, non-profit-working farmers. We live in a house truck. We wear jandals more often than shoes. Let’s face it, we are dirt-lovin’ tree-huggers. We know more about PV (photo-voltaic) than STD’s (Save-the-dates)…

But those inspiration boards are just so pretty. I can’t get enough.

Mr. Veggie Farmer is a bit ambivalent about the whole wedding thing. Excited to be a husband? Yes. Excited to have me as his wife? Yes. Not so excited about the planning of an event. Less excited every minute that he sees me spend drooling over pictures found on wedding sites of people’s beautiful weddings. There has been many an eyes rolled at my excitement over invitation suites and hair accessories.

His main concern is that we would cast aside our values to put on a celebration, just on the day when we should be vowing to help each other work to uphold our values. His other concern is financial. We are starting up a non-profit, and we just are the kind of people who enjoy simple things. No need to spend tons of money when what we really love are our family, friends, good food, and fun times. He has a point. Well, he has two points.

But I’m convinced that we can have pretty and simple. Relaxed and amazing. Eco and affordable.

Is it possible? Absolutely. We invite you to join us as we enter the treacherous world of wedding planning.