Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pride and Prejudice: A Country Wedding

"Mr. Darcy's letter to Lady Catherine was in a different style; 
and still different from either was what Mr. Bennet sent to Mr. Collins . . .

'Dear Sir,
I must trouble you once more for congratulations. Elizabeth will soon be the wife of Mr. Darcy. Console Lady Catherine as well as you can. But, if I were you, I would stand by the nephew. 
He has more to give. 

Yours sincerely, etc.'"

~Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice Chapter 60

A few weeks ago I was playing a trivia game with some women from my bookgroup.  One of the questions was, "How much money does the average wedding cost?"  Well, I knew what my barest-of-bones wedding cost, so I tripled that price tag in my head and came up with my answer: 

328 dollars.

Boy, was I off.  Apparently the average wedding costs $28,000 dollars to put on.  Ouch.

I've watched enough TLC shows and read enough bride magazines to know that there are people in this world who spend that and more on their wedding.  For example, Kate Middleton and Prince William's wedding cost around $34 million.  But that is only a drop in the bucket when compared to Prince Charles and Lady Diana's wedding that came in at $48 million (or $110 million when adjusted for inflation).  Jiminy Cricket, folks!  No wonder they were storybook weddings.  ANYONE could have a storybook wedding with that kind of pocketbook.

But I'm the kind of gal that likes a budget challenge---the kind where you have a $12 budget to pull off something magical.  I guess that is why I fell in love with the sweet little country-themed wedding reception that I attended this week.

The bride was a friend of our family and she married a "country boy", so they went "a courtin'" with the decor.  They booked a reception room next to a golf course to take advantage of the green surroundings and open vistas.

An adorable potted signpost pointed the way to the reception's events.

They decked the indoor tables with fresh sunflowers, monogrammed wood, and mason jars wrapped in burlap and lace that were filled with old-fashioned candy sticks.

The chairs around the tables looked adorable in these burlap bows.

Even the cake had rustic touches of burlap and sunflowers.

Outside guests were invited to enjoy the s'more station.  LOVE this idea!  The bride and groom provided little s'more kits and skewers and miniature fire pits made of wooden boxes, gravel, and sterno set on outdoor tables for marshmallow roasting.

Inside the reception, guests were served gourmet cookies and cups full of strawberries and cream.  

 Some of my favorite touches were the burlap banners that decked each of the treats.  Adorable.

The bridesmaids looked sweet as could be with their blue dresses, brown boots, and sunflower bouquets.

And even though there isn't a smidge of "country" in me, I couldn't help but melt when I saw the vignette over the fireplace at the reception.

This reception reminded me of two things: 1) How grateful I am that I gave birth to boys (a move that I hope will spare me the stress of planning and finance wedding receptions); 2) A charming reception doesn't have to cost $28,000.  It just takes a little creativity and the perfect couple to make a storybook wedding come true . . .

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pride and Prejudice: Designed for Each Other

On Saturday morning Elizabeth and Mr. Collins met for breakfast a few minutes before the others appeared; and he took the opportunity of paying the parting civilities which he deemed indispensably necessary. . . ."You may, in fact, carry a very favourable report of us into Hertfordshire, my dear cousin. I flatter myself at least that you will be able to do so. Lady Catherine's great attentions to Mrs. Collins you have been a daily witness of; and altogether I trust it does not appear that your friend has drawn an unfortunate—but on this point it will be as well to be silent. Only let me assure you, my dear Miss Elizabeth, that I can from my heart most cordially wish you equal felicity in marriage. My dear Charlotte and I have but one mind and one way of thinking. There is in everything a most remarkable resemblance of character and ideas between us. We seem to have been designed for each other." 

~Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice Chapter 38

I don't know what it is about the color red, but "she" and I seemed to have been designed for each other.  (And yes, I believe all colors have genders, as do automobiles and kitchen gadgets.)  My wedding colors were black, white, and RED.  The first wall I ever painted was RED.  And when I take those color personality tests, I always come out as a RED.

But I don't have NEARLY enough red in my yard. Each year I sprinkle my garden with the queen of colors, but only in small doses.  These are pictures of my yard from last summer.

Can you say restrained, timid, and BORING?

Well, this year is going to be different.  This is the year to "go big or go home."

I want to have sweeping beds of red like these in front of my house . . .

I want bursts of red throughout the greenery like these . . .

And I want my window boxes and porches to be as stunningly scarlet as these . . .

The only thing that could make my vibrant dream complete would be an entry like this.  Be still, my beating heart . . .

Dreaming in red is the easy part.  Now comes the hard work. 
 So if you'll excuse me, I need to head out to my garden to get planting . . .

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