Sunday, 21 August 2011

Wedding feature: Bluegrass, burlap and lace

Bluegrass, burlap and lace

Plans for the southern country wedding of the ages were well underway. Hundreds of mason jars were stacked away, awaiting their many purposes. Red velvet cake to be fashioned like tree trunks was chosen as the first dessert Mary and Andrew would share as Mr and Mrs Rylander. Oversized invitations likened to band posters and illustrating a heart-inscribed oak were stamped and sent to all of their biggest fans. And then, less than two months before the big day, the very thing their perfect wedding was themed around actually crushed their venue: a tree.

A tornado tried to ruffle the plans but only proved a mere obstacle the couple conquered, together. The perfect wooded, waterside wedding scene in the country was decided on with three weeks to spare, and the Clinton House Plantation in Clinton, SC is where the Rylander fairytale would continue on May 7th, 2011.

Their love story began with music, and so it was fitting that this play a central part of the wedding. They met two years back, he the owner of two thousand vinyls and bassist of a band, she an avid music enthusiast herself and admirer of aforementioned bassist. Their time wasn't quite right on the first few meetings but fate’s moment arrived at one of Andrew's gigs, on Mary's birthday. A whirlwind commenced and they agreed to wed only months later. Her birthday this year would be their first anniversary--her gift a dreamy engagement ring--and the love songs that soundtracked their relationship (Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Avett Brothers, Wilco) were already being arranged on CDs to give as wedding favors to their guests in a few short weeks.

In those weeks, Mary was fitted into a flowing, layered vision in ivory taffeta, and Andrew into a three-piece espresso brown vintage 70s Western ensemble. A do-it-yourself approach took shape to transform an already beautiful setting to something that this couple's dreams were made of. Sheets of burlap eventually took the form of wreaths hung about the gazebos. Craft paper programs bearing a Kinks lyric from their First Dance song ('Strangers on this road we are on, we are not two, we are one') were folded and stuffed with monogrammed hankies for guests’ “joyful tears.” Lavender, ivory, and green-hued hydrangeas were used in centerpieces, down the ceremony aisle, and inside the bridal bouquet. Rugged tree stumps were strategically arranged where mason jars filled with sweet tea lemonade would sit upon for the most southern of cocktail hours. Mason jar candles wrapped in lace dotted the grass surrounding the reception area and as the evening progressed, the illuminated jars transformed the space. More candle-filled mason jars sat across the water along a hill in the shape of an R, a detail that would prove a defining finishing touch when the sun had set, the bluegrass band plucked away, and guests glanced over to see this final awe-inspiring surprise.

Pulling perfection together required a lot of help from their family and friends. Two of the couple’s close friends officiated the ceremony, where the couple promised to be with each other “through alien invasion and zombie infinity and beyond.” The talented Mr Brad Grizzle, designed the stunningly illustrated invitations, and a poster identical to the invites that the guests signed during the reception - a detail that stood out to the couple as the perfect way to reflect upon a day that swept them off their feet. Brad also designed the compilation CDs that were hung along twine with clothes pins for friends and fam to take away with them at the end of the eve, and are (trust me) still being played on repeat as an endearing reminder that good love really, simply, boils down to lyrics like 'and well I'm always pretty happy just kicking back with you.'

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