Good Bye to Pokeberry Hill...


Monday, May 17, 2010

Frugal Eco Chic Woodland Wedding, The Big Day and Life in Pokeberry...

Saturday we added a new member to our family-- our dear new Son-in-Law, Not-so-plump-Ernie. It was a beautiful day when Daughter and Ernie said their vows and became Man and wife before an intimate group of family and friends in a gorgeous setting at Chester State Park in South Carolina.

In order to bring this wedding in on budget everyone chipped in their best talents. The groom's family provided most all the side dishes, some beverages and sweets. The bride's family brought BBQ Pork, Fried Chicken (ala Food Lion) and a nice fruit salad as well as the remaining beverages. I did all the decorations with a little help from my Mom-in-law.

I got a great little special order sheet cake from Walmart-- no kidding! We got a 1/4 sheet cake with a 1/8 sheet plopped on top decorated like one of the Walmart wedding cakes in their wedding book. We had it done in ivory with white piping and vines on the side-- the ivory came out looking more like a yellow--but that was perfect--it matched our wedding party. The cake was $38.

I added a little twig nest that I lined with moss from my woods. I needle felted a tiny egg and set two birds from Michael's in it. I gave them a bow tie and a bridal veil to match my daughter's with the same little flower on it. I added tiny flowers and pearl beads to the veil that I got at Hobby Lobby for about $13. I bought a green orchid a few days before the wedding and most of the flowers on it went in Daughter's bouquet with some grocery store flowers and greens from Harris Teeter, the remaining orchids went on the cake and leftover fern greens were scattered on the table. The total on the cake was less than $50.

We used 15 yards of white burlap that my Mom-in-law bought and cut up for table runners and a white carpet for Daughter to walk on up to our arch. A tip for this-- burlap is dipped in some kind of petro chemical/oil and it is some strong smelling stuff-- cut it outside! Especially if you have asthma. Also-- if you leave it outside at all as we did to try to air it out--it will discolor where the sun hits it--so take care-- luckily it only does that on one side.

We got 6 large and two small table runners out of, the white carpet and a bunch of squares that I threaded on jute twine to make banners. I painted each square with one letter or a heart to make a set of banners that said 'Ernie loves Sarah' We hung those up outside the picnic shelter at the park. Burlap is a frugal choice --but try to get it on sale--and that goes for everything. It makes a very substantial difference in your final costs.

Our location was incredible. The view was marvelous, lovely shade trees and a lake, with a nice picnic shelter, bathroom and parking all nearby. The cost of renting that shelter was $38 for the day. Can't beat that! Throw in a beautiful South Carolina Spring day and you have a venue that is lovelier than the most pricey hall in the world. Nature and good weather provided by God. Awesome!

Our tables were decorated with little nests I crafted from vines on our property I felted little wool cups for the nests and we filled them with M&Ms that had the kids names on them and wedding date. I cut the vines, stripped off leaves and then soaked them in water with a touch of bleach to keep them from going sour. When wet they were easy to twist and I used them to decorate the big wedding arch I bought from Hobby Lobby for $30.

Centerpieces on the tables were either recycled painted tins-- left over from old citronella candles--filled with flowering annuals and succulents and some baby's breath or long chicken wire baskets I fashioned myself and filled with the same. I used everything but the chicken sink in the baskets-- I had some baby red cabbage plants in there as well as hens and chicks and moss roses and white small petunias... etc.. They turned out very nice. I had the baskets lined with sphagnum moss and filled with potting mix then tucked in annuals and whatever I could steal from my garden to make a pretty container. I spent about $40 on the centerpieces--not including plants I already had.

The bridal party was dressed fairly frugally. We didn't have any bridesmaids due to various circumstances, we were left only with our groom's best man--his younger brother, and our bride's best friend--her older brother. The two 'men of honor' wore pants and shirts from Walmart and ties from Penneys. The groom wore a shirt from Penneys, tie from Belk's and pants from Walmart. They can all re-use their clothes so that will be fine. Daughter did all alterations herself--which mainly were on her brother's shirt and pants. The rest of the ready made frugal clothing fit well enough without help. I did the pressing. :)

Daughter bought her dress after she was engaged at the David's bridal annual sale. Her dad paid for the alterations which due to her surprise condition--were fairly substantial. ;) However it all fit in the end and looked lovely. Daughter wore jewelry from a great aunt, and a grandmother. She was born on my grandmother's birthday and named for her, so we took Grandma's crystal necklace and bracelet and wrapped them over ribbon on the stems of her bouquet.

I did the bouquets, corsages and boutenieres with help from a book on Wedding florals and an idea in a magazine that I purchased at Michael's. I didn't follow any of the directions terribly exactly as I used mainly plants from my own garden and purchased one orchid for $15 and some bunches of fresh flowers at Harris Teeter for about $25 that I used in all my work. I also bought floral tape and corsage pins. I already had floral wire. I did test flowers by making one corsage with lots of different flowers a week early and storing it in a Debbie Meyer Green Bag in my fridge-- most of what was in it stayed fresh for days so I chose my flowers and greens that way. The orchid I stored in wet oasis foam for one day before tucking it into the bouquet on the morning of the wedding and adding the rest to the cake at the park. The flowers turned out great, the only problem was that my fingers were numb on the wedding day so the groom's sister obligingly pinned them on all our honored guests for me.

I don't know if I left anything out on how it was all done frugally. I will say though--there are ALWAYS more expenses in a wedding than one expects. Just the sheer 'stress' of getting it all done-- means tons of running about and all that. I spent WAY more than usual on groceries and gas lately--which goes with that. We also ate out a couple times when shopping, etc. We also had lots of company in the house and the groom's family had the expense of travel and lodging--so everyone had extra costs.

The whole week was a pressure cooker! I had help--but also the stress of a houseful of company--human and canine. There were many last minute changes due to the death the groom's elderly great grandmother 2 days before the wedding. We also had construction going on while doing the wedding stuff and I had an allergic reaction to my new medicine the day of the wedding--which thankfully my Mom-in-law figured out before I took any more. My feet swelled up incredibly and I guess I was puffy everywhere but didn't realize it. I also had a pretty nasty rash get going. Oy! The major consequenc e of that is that I took some benadryl and slept about 12 hours after the reception. When I woke up our company was gone, it was a nice warm day and Hubby and I enjoyed some peace and quiet in our pool.

Breathe! :)

In the middle of the week we got some nice news as well as the sad.--
We found out about the coming new baby-- ITS a GIRL, we think her name is going to be Evelyn Louise--which I know Louise is my middle name--and I am honored! not sure yet where Evelyn came from-- haven't talked to them about it. :) Anyhoo... we'll have a 2ND precious grand daughter! This is also very frugal as Ruby's Mom will be sending her old clothes and other items for her new baby cousin.
Also, my brother and his wife welcomed a baby girl the day before the wedding, very exciting she was wanted for 10 years before she finally showed up!God is good!

If you ever plan a do-it-yourself frugal wedding-- something you need to keep in mind is--
don't expect to do a frugal wedding a vacuum! All the crazy, happy and sad things in life will be going on simultaneously while you are planning and working on your wedding. But then that is what life is about-- beginnings, endings, life, love and family. All the most important things.

Its all good. Have a great Pokeberry day!
*PS* I almost forgot-- as a good frugal gal, I do plan to try to sell some of the leftover wedding things--the arch, maybe etsy some nests... we shall see--and we gave the groom's family all centerpieces to take home and still have some here to make our newly finished porch prettier too. Side bennies..


  1. Gosh mary the wedding was beautiful. And down the road will mean more to them than all the money in the world. Great job!!! and congrats to the newly weds. We wish them all the happiness in the world.
    Enjoy a nice relaxing day, you do deserve it.

  2. This wedding is the essence of what 'two becoming one' should be! Beautiful!

    Everytime I'm designing a new area in the garden, changing it up and making improvements, my inspiration is the two weddings our future holds. My daughters know, even now, that the work we do eventually pays for the backdrop of that special day- we love simple! and your wedding is such encouragement to that beautiful simplicity and good stewardship of money! Thank you for sharing-

    Enjoy this marvelous May day (the PNW-a bit cool and drippy)!

  3. Oh Mary, thanks for coming by GrannyMountain today so that I could find YOU! The wedding sounded beautiful and you are QUEEN of Frugal! We have pinched pennies a long time but I think I can learn a thing or two from you. Looking forward to reading back on your blog...see lots of posts that interest me. Come visit me often, I blog about everything so you never know what you'll get!

  4. thank you ladies... it was kind of fun today to have a little time off to just browse about and discover new blogs and see the neat things others are doing. After all that was done lately I just am so ready to relax and enjoy some R & R. :)

  5. Oh, Mary...everything looked just beautiful! I loved that shade of green...all so natural and lovely! I know you were sorry about your allergic reaction! That cake was so pretty!!! Loved your banner too! The scene with water there was just perfect! They really couldn't have asked for a more perfect day! God bless you Mary!

  6. Oh, I'm blessed. ~smile~ I love our not-so-plump ernie--just the right guy. ;) Also-- the little one is getting my middle name--and you can't shrug off an honor like that can you?

  7. Mary, everything was just lovely! You should be so very proud of all that you accomplished and the special day that was shared by family and friends. The cake was very pretty and everything themed together so well. Your dear daughter and husband make a darling couple. So happy that you will have a sweet grandbaby nearby soon.

  8. thank you! I AM proud of my work on this wedding. I've always wanted to do this to be honest. Daughter chose colors that were perfect with a natural setting and she wanted it to be outside-- Chester State Park was perfect-- the setting was gorgeous!