Something Old & Something New...

What a week this is gearing up to be!  After the hilarity of April Fool's Day everyone will be buoyed to the end of the week by the prospect of a four day weekend!!!

And of course, with April comes the promise of warmer weather.  The first day of Spring may fall in March, but for many April 1 marks the beginning of the Spring & Summer season.  And after a three month break from frivolity, we are ready to celebrate again.  Bring on the showers, graduations, and weddings!

For anyone with a major event happening in June, July, or August, April marks the time when you really need to start getting your ducks in a row.  If it's a university graduation you're facing, then right about now you are putting the final touches on a thesis and cramming for finals.  A June high school graduation means that if you haven't picked out your prom dress yet, you'd better hurry up!!! And if you're getting married, then you are probably blissfully scanning items into a registry in anticipation of your shower.  Regardless of the event, there's lots to do, plan, and look forward to.

This post is the first of three about weddings, specifically, homespun weddings.  Weddings have really evolved over the last decade, thanks to increased reporting on celebrity nuptial trends, the internet, and magazines such as Wedding Bells  and The Knot.   While brides were once dependent upon tradition and family dictates input to determine what a proper wedding should entail,  thanks to these magazines and their websites, they can query anything from cakes to etiquette concerns as well as search the very latest trends in vows, apparel, and decor.

The great thing about this?  Anything goes!  Brides and grooms are free to have the event of their dreams and to celebrate their day (and indeed, their life together) any way they choose!  And what we're seeing is fabulous!  In fact (and this is just my personal observation) to me it seems that, since the rules of engagement have loosened up, the grooms are getting more involved and are happy to do so!

A trend (or lack thereof) that I personally love is that, once the stale traditions started evaporating, brides began seeking out unique, traditional and homespun elements to include in their special day.  What I love about this is that from the most elegant of weddings to the downright down home, there is always a way to bring in some meaning and tug at the heartstrings.  I've recently started following Jenna MacNeil's blog My Bridal Bouquet.  Jenna and I met a few years ago when we were both working for the Suas e! International Choral Festival.  A few months ago she announced her engagement and is planning a summer wedding (Congrats!). Instead of a  traditional floral bouquet, she has found a stylish and meaningful alternative.  I want you to visit her blog so that's all I'm going to say, but it's absolutely one of my all-time favorite wedding ideas!

I could go on and on about all the nifty things I've seen at weddings over the last few years, but instead, I'm going to showcase three weddings in particular that totally embraced the idea of having a personalized wedding full of homespun, homemade and heartfelt delights!

Just Married!  Jamie & Mike share a smile.
Today I'm introducing you to my sister Jamie Crane and her husband Mike MacSween.  They were married on July 11, 2009.  When it comes to weddings, you can't get much more homespun than theirs, which took place on the beautiful property of their lovely home. Jamie and Mike were engaged when they bought their house and they were contemplating a destination wedding to Cuba.  When my mother, her best friend, and I saw their home and property for the first time, we all agreed it would be the perfect place for a wedding!  It literally looks like it belongs in a story book.  However, since we aren't busy bodies, we kept that to ourselves.  We were of course delighted when, a short time later, Jamie and Mike announced that they would be having their wedding at home.  Their house has a delightful history filled with love, family, and devotion, but that's a post for another time.  The property borders on Mike's childhood home so it really was a homespun wedding all around!

Unfortunately,  I wasn't able to attend their wedding as I had just relocated to BC a few months before and logistically I couldn't make it happen.  But I was home for most of the planning meetings and was familiar with many of the ideas she was hoping to incorporate.  In the days following the wedding I waited impatiently patiently for pictures!  All joking aside, for such a busy gal Jamie got her pictures out very quickly and I had a great time (and a few sniffles) looking over each and every one.

Look close!  Those are cowboy boots on the bride!
Beside the obvious fact that their wedding was held at home, there were many other factors that made Jamie & Mike's wedding unique and heartfelt.  Jamie and her children are all avid riders and love all things western and equestrian.  This theme presented itself subtly throughout the event, from the quilt covered hay bales for seating to the bride's cowboy booted feet.

Wedding Cake with Floral Accents
  All of the decor and landscaping was designed and executed by family.  Our Aunt Dale, a floral designer, and her daughter Ainsley (of Patty Cake Manners) were responsible for the flowers and many of the decorative touches.  Our family is very blessed to have many creative people, and Aunt Dale's floral creations have set the style for many family celebrations, including all three of the weddings I will be featuring over the next few posts.  Jamie's bouquet was a joyful explosion of sunflowers, daisies, and ferns tied up with raffia.  The bridesmaids carried bunches of white daisies, also tied with raffia.  Throughout the property the theme of sunflowers and daisies continued, with pink and cream rose accents, in arrangements, on the cake, and in corsages and boutonnieres.  The effect was charming yet still stylish, relaxed enough to fit the theme of the wedding yet modern like the couple.

Here Comes the Bride!
Jamie & Mike's home and property was picture perfect for the flow of the day.  Conversation areas of outdoor furniture dotted the area and provided comfortable, shady seating for those who required it.  A large white wedding tent accommodated the catering area as well as the dance floor. Once the ceremony began, the wedding party left the house by the front door, walked up the lawn and down an aisle formed by quilt covered hay bales to a bower built by our father and his best friend out of found wood. The ceremony took place under this bower in the fresh air surrounded by family and friends.  The signing of the register took place on a barrel decorated with a floral arrangement (see photo above). After the ceremony, guests could mingle the property and enjoy a home cooked wedding feast of barbecued chicken and salads.  Gifts were gathered in a wheelbarrow inside the tent.
Conversation Area
 Jamie and Mike also assigned a camping area where guests could pitch their tents and spend the night. This "tent village" was a very popular idea and many guests took them up on this suggestion.

In the days leading up to the wedding, the couple, along with their family and friends were busy with preparations, including cooking, decorating, building, assembling, rehearsing, you name it!  Add to the fact that Jamie and Mike are both very busy people professionally and that their wedding took place the same weekend as one of their daughter's main horse shows, and they were really going full tilt all weekend!  And yet, in all the hundreds of pictures from their wedding and the days leading up to it, I don't think there was one where everyone wasn't smiling.  Indeed, there are many where everyone is laughing.  And I think that is the best indicator of a successful wedding; a happy, content couple enjoying their day with their guests.  Indeed, true to form as a well organized "saddle mom" Jamie was up bright and early the next morning and left her tent villagers soundly sleeping off the effects of the night
Bridesmaids Ashley & Ainsley
before as she and her daughter headed to the horse show.

I'll leave you with a few more images of Jamie & Mike's wedding.  On Wednesday, I'll be featuring the wedding of Eric & Ainsley Latwaitis (she of Patty Cake Manners) which took place almost 10 years ago!  Time flies when you're having fun!

Make time for Hugs!  Jamie & Mike under their bower.

Good Morning, Campers!  The Tent Village.
Hay Bales waiting for quilts, and guests!
Wheelbarrows full of gifts!  It's good to be Jamie & Mike!


  1. Just finished reading the entry Tim,was so great it made me cry! It brought the entire fun of the day back, we really did have a killer time!!!Thanks so much for writing this:) Loved reading every word. You rock xoxox

  2. Ah, your welcome, it was my pleasure, and thank YOU for sharing your photos and letting me write it! You also rock xoxo

  3. I just adore all the "rockin'" and the "lovin'"!! xo


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