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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

When Bookworms Wed

When Alida told us back in January that she
and her boyfriend Josh were engaged,
and getting married in June . . . my mind kicked into gear:
how to take a fairly standard New Jersey style wedding
and make it special for these two young people?

Their major requests were pretty simple -- great food and a big dance floor.
Easy.  A good catering hall with an excellent kitchen and a savvy manager handles that.

But what about something different for the table centerpieces at the reception?

 Josh and Alida are both bibliophiles; they'd have their noses in books even if they weren't in graduate school.
So, my first thought was to use antique philosophy books and old books with romantic titles in the table centerpieces. 

But the thought of finding at least 3 dozen vintage books that weren't too icky to put on the tables was, well, daunting.
I looked around the house; we have zillions of books of our own, including some vintage, but not enough perfect ones.

If you can't find them, you make them.

Daughter Anne, the maid of honor and an artist, pulled 36 hardcover books at random off our shelves,
removed the original dust jackets, and substituted beautiful paper covers in fresh, clean bridal white.
Cheating here -- this is in our dining room, taken 3 days after the wedding, not at the reception.

The flowers are not only wilted, they've been abused.  We took them out to dump the water as we were leaving the reception, and just sort of shoved them back in afterward.  Not a careful procedure!
Anne wanted to write funny, pun-y titles on the book spines, but I decided that we were dealing
with siblings here, and you never know quite where that will take you.  They stayed blank.
Now I'm kind of sorry she didn't do it, but then I would have wanted to save the book covers, too.

The table numbers on the satin ribbon bookmarks?  Cheating again for the camera.
Anne made them, but we didn't get them to the catering hall in time to use them.  Bummer.
The books and flowers stood on a square of mirror, in the center of each big round table.
Tablecloths and napkins were ivory damask, nice and heavy and brand new.
I hope someone else got pictures of the tables, because I did not!

Scattered on each table, frosted white votive holders with long-burn candles (unscented) inside.
I have 83 of these votives (one broke).  What am I bid?   :-)
They do look very bride-y, and give a softer glow than clear glass.

But even I don't need 7 dozen votive holders.

Perfect centerpieces?  No.  I had asked the caterer's florist, who did the table flowers, to use a lower container, and use trailing greens, so the flowers ended up higher than I had wished.  But that's a small thing, and they were beautiful and looked as if they'd been gathered from someone's garden -- roses in creams and pinks, with pink Peruvian lilies and delicate ferns.  All good. 

Now someone come and force me to toss all the flowers in That Old House!  -- Cass

Our obligatory wedding pic of the day:
Josh and Alida, in the garden at Zeris Inn in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey


  1. You did good!
    I love the idea for the centerpieces and she looks so very happy.

  2. What a great idea for centerpieces!!! That's always a tough call -- and I agree, probably would not have had the spines lettered but then would have wished we had!

    The thing about wedding flowers -- you hate to see them go, they are always so beautiful. We shared some with local nursing homes. But that was when they were almost at their best!

    Your daughter is a beautiful bride!

  3. .... a little bit of cheating is OK :-)

  4. What wonderful ideas !! Love the wedding pic of the happy couple.... May they always be as happy as they are now!!

  5. I love the centerpieces! So unique. What a lovely couple. hugs ~lynne~

  6. I am a huge fan of black and white wedding photos. It makes them so timeless.


  7. I love the books! It was sweet to have them all white. chose well with the frosted votives. They are classic.

  8. The books were an inspiration!

  9. You mean all the weddings in New Jersey aren't like the ones we see on The HouseWives of New Jersey? Seriously? No cut down to the navel gowns with boobs bought with Sugar Daddy's money busting out (pun intended)?

    I love the simplicity of the books...what a great idea. The flowers are lovely and perfect I think. It is hard to let go of the flowers, isn't it? Been there! I think not only is it that they cost so much but that when they are gone you know the festivity of the wedding is truly over. The bride and groom...beautful together! xo Diana

  10. This is the first time I've commented on your blog so please forgive me. I've enjoyed every single posting-watching the changes to your house, the plans for the wedding and then the wedding itself! How exciting for all of you. I've been a "drive-by" looker and am trying to comment on those that I enjoy the most. You hosted a most beautiful wedding- congratulations to you and the newlyweds. Keep posting new photos and narratives. I do love your blog!

  11. *sigh*
    Beautiful. We may have a certain big 'do' here next summer - but I don't know about 7 dozen votives!

  12. Thanks for sharing all these wonderful stories and photos from a most awesome event! Clever Anne designing those book centerpieces...just for fun, what WOULD she have written on the spines?!

    Hmm, that's alot of votive holders, imagine them at Christmas encircled with pine boughs? The Old House would actually BE the tree!

    Oh, and she looks mah-va-lous in white!

    Looking forward to the rest of the story...

  13. P.S. I meant that Alida and That Old House both look stunningly mah-va-louse in white!

  14. I love Love Love June weddings and outdoor events afterwords

    The flowers were just lovely like the bride, groon Mom & House

  15. loving the wedding pics and details. Lezlee

  16. Great idea. I love books!!!! They look wonderful and the wedding pictures do to. What a happy couple.


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