Inspiration Everywhere

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

My re-introduction to the “modern” online-inspired wedding came several months before Todd and I got engaged.

Hell, I hadn’t even decided that I wanted to get married again, yet!

But I was looking for diy outdoor lighting options that wouldn’t break the bank when I search brought up the concept of LED throwies on a site called Weddingbee. I ended up not going the way of the throwies, but I did remember the ‘bee and would check back from time to time as I started to think more and more about the prospect of having another wedding, myself.

It was a bit of an eye-opener, all the things that were popping up in wedding-world compared to what I knew of weddings in the pre-Internet planning era (aka the Dark Ages).

And, of course, as soon as we’d talked it over and decided that marriage was back on the table, I started picking up all and sundry bridal magazines I could find. I also added a wedding folder to Google Reader and subscribed to some of the major wedding blogs around.

Easily obsessed? A bit. But I think it’s okay to go through that you-mean-I-get-another-shot-at-this-party phase, especially when it’s not your first time down the aisle and you might have some tiny detail-oriented regrets about the first (or second) walk.

But it doesn’t take long, really, to start noticing patterns. Like certain sites have a penchant for the “vintage-rustic” vibe, others love the washed out photography and Anthropology-inspired compositions. Others corner the market on non-traditional with pride. And each have their place, but they pretty much cover the same bases just in different ways.

Overload sets in, and you think you’ve “seen it all.”

At this point it’s good to do two things:

  1. Step away from the wedding media
  2. Look for your inspiration elsewhere

The first one is simple: set the magazines aside, don’t open the blogs or reader folders, and don’t watch those DVR’d episodes of Say Yes to the Dress.

The second? Well, where else do you look for wedding inspiration if not in the wedding-centric magazines, blogs and shows?!

This is where having a theme can really help. If your theme is circus or carnival, rent movies on those subject, do some research into circus history, or visit one if you have the opportunity. Soak in the details and let that guide some of your decisions. Find a hobbyist-level blog or magazine to subscribe to on your theme.

If you’re working with a color scheme but no other theme, do some mind-mapping or free association of items and ideas that those colors inspire, and find the threads that you want to tug and add to the event.

For Todd and I, with wine as our theme, a subscription to Food & Wine might be a smidgen more useful than one to Brides. I picked up a wine course book when Borders was liquidating (a moment of silence, please…) and have gotten a lot of design inspiration for our invitations from the scads of wine labels throughout the book.

And, then, once you’ve had time to take a tulle-free breath, you can wade back into the wedding industry buzz, feeling a little more in control, a little less frantic, and more sure of what does and doesn’t fit your idea for your wedding.

Pretty Book and Flower Icon


Do you ever feel the need to step away from the wedding magazines? 

Variations on a Theme: Wine Time

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

So we’d tossed aside the 40s and 50s as era-inspiration and monkeys were dubbed a little too childish (well, for the wedding at least). In our earlier discussions we’d also talked about and nixed pretty darn quick the costume-heavy weddings of any of our geekier interests: Comics, RPGs or Star Trek. And while Mr. RT said he would be open to a Renaissance-style wedding (since I used to play in the SCA–Society for Creative Anachronism), I wasn’t as interested in that as I once might have been.Where was our theme?! Was there no single idea that would guide our decision-making process and steer us towards a color scheme while we’re at it?

And then the answer arrived.

Even have one of those ‘duh’ moments? In retrospect, this was one of them for us (or at least for me; T understood my need for a theme but wasn’t too worried about it himself). We’d already discussed doing a wine ceremony instead of a more traditional unity candle (blending yes, merging not so much, or something like that) and, obviously, food and wine were going to be major considerations as far as the reception was concerned–a wine-themed wedding was practically staring at us in the face!

Yay, a theme!

Collage of wine-themed images

Sources: Style Me Pretty 1 (photo by Miki & Sonja Photography), 2 (photo by Lisa Lefkowitz), Strictly Simple Style, Apartment Therapy (image by Green is Universal), Style Me Pretty 3 (photo by Kristi Odom Photography), 4 (photography by Mike Larson, event by Touch of Style) , 5 (photo by Apertura), 6 (photo by Kim Seidl Photography, event by Simply Chic Events)

With that decided, many other details started to fall into place. Color scheme? Green and Red-Purple from the grapes and leaves, with a brown accent/neutral from the vines. Centerpieces? Why, all those empty wine bottles we’ve been collecting may have just found their re-purpose! And the corks from said bottles can be used in all manner of crafty goodness. Even a couple of wine-related favor ideas floated around my head and, oh, there’s that ginormous cork monogram that we just *have* to make!

Wine-themed color palate

our working color scheme

Now, with a direction in mind, I finally felt like I could actually start to plan!

Was your own theme obvious when it presented itself
or did you even bother with one?

Variations on a Theme: Monkey Love!

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Early 2006. Friday after work. On I-10 heading towards New Orleans.

Out of the blue I decide I want a stuffed monkey (preferably one with Velcro hands and feet) to carry around the French Quarter and take pictures of and with. The entire weekend (only one night of which was spent in the Quarter) I could find no such monkey. I found monkey beads and at least 2 monkey signs but no stuffed monkey I could name George. And then my friends, after we got home, called me up to say I’d left something in their car. I was pretty sure I hadn’t, but whatever, they stopped by my apartment that evening and presented me with just the stuffed monkey I’d been looking for.

Ever since then, I’ve had a thing for monkeys.

And Mr. RT frequently indulges my monkey obsession by bringing home the odd stuffed-simian on any given day and encouraging me to decorate our Christmas tree with monkey ornaments (along with cocktail-themed ones).

We even call our home Monkey Creek (monkey for my obsession, creek being the Dutch translation of his last name).

So a monkey theme seems a natural one for our nuptials, right?

Sketch of 2 monkeys with tails entertwined to form a heart.

personal sketch


As quickly as the idea occurred to me (driving home from work one evening) and a potential invitation design popped into my head, colors and all, I immediately thought back to my early years working at the printing company and seeing the wedding book updates each year. There would be at least one if not a handful of designs featuring children playing dress-up and cutesy animals (teddy bears, for instance) in wedding wear and Mom (we work together) would always say “Anyone who picks that for their invitation isn’t old enough to be getting married.”

Monkey-themed wedding collage

Sources (clockwise from top left): Etsy seller Passion Arte, Licorice International, Sock Monkey Party (from Oh My Gluestick), Fresno Weddings, McKnight Foundation and Walker Art Center (photo by Gene Pittman of Kingfisher Photo) , Etsy seller Bubble City Soap, Florida Weddings and Special Events (photo from, Preston Bailey (Photography by Beach Bonita)

I’m not sure I 100% agree with that, but it did give me pause. And even though the monkey licorice we found in T’s hometown would have made such cute favors, I really think trying to incorporate monkeys into the event would skew towards being either too childish or too jungle-y. And we’re really not the outdoorsy type.

Was there ever a theme you considered
that might have been fun but not quite right?

Variations on a Theme: 40s Romance

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

So the 50s idea didn’t fly when placed under close scrutiny, but what about a hop, skip and a jump back about 10 years to the fabulous 40s? Mr. Road Trip’s favorite movie is Casablanca and one year for Christmas a certain little elf bought him the deluxe gift set that had just been released. I’d actually never seen the movie all the way through in one sitting (I know, there are some serious gaps in my classic movie history course; just like there are some major one’s in T’s pop culture movie appreciation) so our plan for New Year’s Eve became a quiet night in with Rick and Ilsa, champagne and strawberries and enough of a break to watch the ball drop. It was a fabulous night.

It was also followed up by a viewing of Carrotblanca–the Looney Toons parody of the feature film that, I have to admit, was more my speed than the source material.

Still, can you imagine the WWII fashion options, the dreamy music playing during the reception and the old Hollywood glamour; silver, black, and white decor with a hint of icy Tiffany’s blue, and–of course!–black and white photography!

1940s glam wedding inspiration board

Images via (L to R, top to bottom): Fairytales & Chandeliers; All Made Up Team (photography by Duc Pham of Tacolayo Photography); Paperspines; Best of Texas; Dirty Fabulous Vintage; Wedding by Color (uploaded by mechelle); Retro Art Glass; Saks;

Wait, why didn’t I want this theme?

Oh, right! As wonderful as it all was, to do it right–for us–would have meant a much more formal ceremony and reception than we really wanted and it could easily veer towards stuffy and trigger some major perfectionist tendencies. While there are many elements of this theme that I really loved, overall it just wasn’t the right fit for us as a couple or the event we wanted to host.

Are you as in love with the WWII era fashion and feel as I am?

Variations on a Theme: Little Things

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Coming up with our first-dance song (something I didn’t have at either of my first 2 weddings and, therefore, something that was important to me to include this time) was actually pretty simple once I gave it some thought.

Yes, I.

It was a song Mr. Trips had shared with me when we were first emailing back and forth, a song I’d never heard before but the lyrics were very sweet and I tracked it down on iTunes shortly thereafter. It’s an old song (from the 50s) and one evening I mentioned it to T as a possibility for “our song” and he liked the idea well enough. One thing down! Woot!

Song titles or lyrics are quite the treasure trove of theme possibilities and this song spoke about Little Things, those tiny gestures and courtesies we grant each other that mean more than possessions and trappings. Nice, huh?

Well, mulling around the concept I could see centerpieces built of miniatures, a vintage feel and maybe dollhouse-sized items scattered about.

Images via: So You’re Engayged (photo courtesy of Michael Bonfigli), HV Green , Dollhouse Collectibles, Amy Bayliss

Taking a page from the era of the song the maids could be decked out in full-out crinolined dresses with little birdcage veils and–swoon!–wrist-length gloves. Oh, sure, I could see it. I even popped Mona Lisa Smile into the DVD player that night for inspiration.

50s Wedding Board
50s Wedding Board created on Polyvore (full links available at the source)

It isn’t a bad idea, but here’s the thing:

  • We’re not really into the vintage thing in general
  • Or dollhouses/miniatures (though I used to pine for one as a child)
  • We’re also not little people (he’s 6’ and a bit and we’re both on the fluffy side of things–the visual inconsistency would have driven me nuts)
  • It could easily get a bit costume-y with the dresses and so forth, and costume-y bits were mutually outlawed the first night we started discussing the wedding

So, Little Things–as a theme–was out. Next!

Anyone out there use miniatures or dollhouses as a theme?