Eesh. Oh well. I didn’t really like her anyway. One of our month-of wedding coordinators from Bellafare says she knows an alternate florist. So it looks like now we’ll be going with Verde Flowers for my bouquet and the centerpieces and boutonnieres, and then DIYing the rest of it.
The coordinator came up with a great table design involving mercury glass to fill out the rest of the table (we went with long banquet tables). I’ll own quite a bit of mercury glass when this is all done, but the pieces look great. I love these hurricanes:
I’m totally impressed by how awesome the planners have been. Absolute pros. I’ve been able to focus on work and not worry too much about planning, and I completely trust them to make everything run smoothly and look awesome. I wish I could find someone who could make the same kind of magic happen with my new apartment…I’m still living out of boxes!
This is a thwarted DIY project with a happy ending. :) Starting in late July, I went looking for an all-lace waltz-length mantilla veil. Aside from the shoulder-length Catholic mass veils or traditional Spanish mantillas (usually black), they’re impossible to find.
That’s probably because a piece of lace this big would clash horribly with most modern wedding dresses, but in the late 19th century it was actually pretty common to have a simple dress and elaborate veil. Belgian lace heirloom veils occasionally come up for auction, but they’re incredibly expensive and delicate. This was one of my favorites:
Most of them are hand-embroidered. The one above is a Russian family’s coat of arms.
So I tried to DIY one, by finding patterned lace myself. I considered buying a heavy Venice lace, pictured below, and cutting along the motif. It turns out that it sits poorly on the head, and is incredibly heavy. Failure.
I realized sewing would be required - I’m not that great at sewing - and tried to sign up for private lessons with a local SF seamstress, where the project would be the veil. How hard could it be? A circle of lace edged with other lace! Unfortunately, my teacher didn’t quite get what I was going for, so sewing lessons were a bust.
The site that always comes through: Etsy! I looked around for weeks until I found a black lace veil similar to what I wanted, then contacted the seller, Honeycomb Veils. She is amazing. She understood “the vision” right away, told me what would work and what wouldn’t, and started sending me snippets of laces in different colors. We decided to go with a thin ivory lace that would fall lightly on the head, and I found a warm silver edge lace at Britex Fabrics of San Francisco. (It was vintage deadstock from an Italian factory!)
Today I got the photos of the finished product, and I’m so thrilled with how it looks. It’s not really like the embroidered Belgian lace veils, but it has a style all its own and it’s my absolute favorite part of what I’ll be wearing during our ceremony.
The past two weeks of planning have been super fun…I’ve started looking for vintage silver & silverplate serving pieces, and it’s like a little treasure hunt. There are so many beautiful things out there. I love all of the intricate details in these old pieces.
I’ve been looking for 1930s-40s holloware and serving pieces. A lot of it is surprisingly inexpensive, especially on eBay and Etsy, and I’m excited by the idea of having gorgeous keepsakes to entertain with long after the wedding is over. :)
This is what I’ve found so far…
A Wallace Silver pierced bread basket (for programs)
A decadent little basket, stamped “Made in Occupied Japan” (for flower girl)
An International Silver basket (for confetti)
I know it doesn’t match, but finding a matching set turns out to be pretty much impossible.
I really love planning things. Especially complex things with a lot of moving parts. So, the truth is, I’m actually really excited to be planning our wedding.
What I most want to do is something black tie (at least, black tie optional; no sense making guys rent a tux) but also DIY. I love that opulent, formal “Old New York” 1930’s look, with dark wood and cognac leather and brocade curtains. That great Beaux Arts vibe that Pratt House, Explorers Club, and Lotos Club have.
But I also really want to get crafty and make things. I mean, I go looking for reasons to break out the glue gun, so I obviously can’t let my wedding go by without making stuff.
So this blog is going to be an exercise in coming up with DIY things that fit a more formal aesthetic. Vintage, but not hipster-vintage. No mismatched teacups or typewriters. And absolutely nothing that looks like it could have come from Anthropologie. ;)
Sight unseen. eBay Deutschland, of all places to find a dress. Alexander McQueen! I have a running email alert going for “1930s wedding dress” and the seller listed this as “1930s style Alexander McQueen wedding dress”. Serendipity. <3 He’s my favorite designer, and ‘1930s inspired’ seems to be a better way to go than ‘1930s vintage’ since everything vintage that I’ve been seeing is basically yellow now, or damaged, or long-sleeved. This McQueen dress has a crazy low neckline, so I’ll have to sew that up a bit, but I’m super, super excited about it.
Fingers crossed that this means I’m done without ever setting foot in an actual bridal boutique. :)
Now he’d really better propose, because I have a dress and a venue, but am not technically engaged.
Here’s the photo from the eBay listing.
Since we have only 5 months to plan this wedding, we are determined to get a venue picked by the end of the month.
Our (theoretical) wedding will have ~100 guests. The most important parts of our reception will be a kickass sit-down dinner, and a great band for swing dancing (it’s how we met). That means the venue will have to have a quality dance floor.
I’m a sucker for the more formal European style of reception, where guests move from one room to another for ceremony/cocktails/dinner/dancing, as opposed to the more traditional round tables around a center dance floor.
So here’s my summary of the “old New York” venues in NYC that do European-style receptions for approximately 100 guests. Most of the venues were built in the early 1900s, and have gorgeous architectural details inside and out. (Photos all from their own sites)
Lotos Club: lovely venue for an intimate wedding (80 or so), but too small for a larger number of guests. Exceptionally reasonable pricing (~$19,000 for 80 guests) because rentals and dinner are included, and pricing is tiered according to the style of menu you choose. The ceremony area is gorgeous, and has lovely pale green stained glass. There is a grand staircase to the second floor where the ballroom is, and that is where dinner is served. Ultimately, however, the majority of dancing is done in the small foyer adjacent to the ballroom, which is uncompelling if your guests love to dance. Also, you have to know a member to host an event here, and although I’ve heard that the in-house event coordinators will make introductions if you can’t find one through your own network, they were slightly snobby about the whole process.
The Explorers Club: this venue has more character than any I’ve ever seen. It’s a club for real explorers (proof of expeditions required to apply for membership!), and the walls are lined with treasures and taxidermy that members have collected over the years. There is a giant stuffed polar bear hanging out in the hallway! Part of the draw is the option to host the ceremony on the beautiful outdoor patio, so consider this venue for summer weddings. There is no real dance floor, so you have to rent one ($2000), and almost nothing is included. The venue fee is $6000 for 4 hours, $1500 for each additional hour (plus staffing + security costs). Beautiful but extremely pricy.
Harold Pratt House: $6500 venue fee for 5 hours (plus an additional 2 included for set up and break down), plus $1000 mandatory security fee. Tables & chairs are included, but the chairs are leather folding chairs so you will most likely wind up renting a set of dinner chairs as well. A/V is “included” but you have hire their A/V guy (minimum $350) and the equipment is too old to be compatible with an iPod. The space is beautiful, with a lounge area adjacent to the large ballroom. Cocktails are served up in the library, dinner is in the formal dining room - which is one of the few we saw that was able to accommodate banquet tables.
These other spots weren’t available on the dates I was asking about. Several of them are ballrooms only, but have a similar Old New York vibe:
- 3 West Club (fantastic prices; for smaller guest counts)
- New York Palace Hotel
- The Metropolitan Club
- Hotel Giraffe (great packages, very reasonably priced)
- The Campbell Apartment (for a very intimate ceremony with no dancing)
- Gotham Hall
- Prince George Ballroom (ballroom only)
- Jumeirah Essex House (ballroom)
If you happen across this post and I’ve missed a great one, please let me know.