Heather & Steve’s Epic Eco-Friendly DIY Wedding (with a Bowling Party!)
Well the week sure went by quickly — as usual I can’t believe it’s Friday already! It’s also time for me to finally present this EPIC wedding that I’ve been itching to show you since receiving it from Kristen Schueler Photography last month, and it’s SO worth the wait actually as you’ll see in a bit! I love all the green & pink motif and eco-friendly DIY elements, the FOOD (you won’t believe how hungry I got working on this layout), Kristen’s beautiful camera work, Heather and Steve’s sweet, cuddly moments, and the bowling party they ended up having afterwards, and I’m sure you will too! Here’s Kristen with more details:
There were two aspects of Heather + Steve’s wedding that meant a lot to them: locally sourced food and flowers, and hand-made elements from friends and family. To say that they reached out to their friends and family would be an understatement. It was really important they had the smallest environmental footprint possible. The food was locally sourced and grown from local farmers. Heather’s cousin also handmade her garter belt, complete with charms that represent Heather. Their cupcake topper was made by a friend. Their centerpieces were flowers and herbs planted in clay flower pots they hand painted; these were also available for the guests to take home with them. While they weren’t able to bring their home brewed beer to the reception, they brought it for their guests who attended the after party. While I had hoped to taste this, we didn’t end up making it to the after party, as I think we were passed out from fun/exhaustion at that point in the day! Another unique aspect of their wedding was the traditions they decided to include throughout the day, a mix of old and new traditions: a Jewish chuppah for the ceremony; an ancient hand fasting ritual; personally written vows; Jewish breaking of the glass; Horah dance; and a Jewish blessing. Did I mention the bowling party after the reception?? Heather + Steve’s relaxed, go-with-the-flow attitude laid the groundwork for an amazing day, that couldn’t have gone smoother!
Isn’t Heather a gorgeous bride? I’m also delighted to have her here with us to share all aspects of their wedding, from how they met to how they made their celebration uniquely their own. Take it away, Heather!
Steve and I have been together for 7 years, we met a few months after I graduated high school — I was working at the local Blockbuster video while I was in beauty school and he was back in town on co-op from Northeastern University, working at a 6-month job a few towns over and living with his mom. He came in to rent videos and we instantly caught each others eye. Steve is a computer geek (engineer) and had access to an unlimited rental account and would copy the movies onto his computer and come into the store 2-3 times per day to rent movies, so we ended up seeing each other a lot! We often joke that his hacker tendencies brought us together. 🙂 We would walk around the store and chat, and finally he asked for my number and ended up driving all the way across town in his ’92 Civic in a snowstorm to pick me up for a lunch date! We spent almost every waking moment that we weren’t at school or work together for a few weeks until he had to go back to Boston for school. We decided to maintain a long-distance relationship rather than live without each other, and about a year later, 2 days after I graduated beauty school, I moved up to Boston to be with me. I guess you could say the rest is history! 🙂
Steve is the most generous and kind person that I have ever met. He constantly encourages me to be the best that I can be and has brought out a side of me that I never even knew that I had. When I met him, I was studying to be a hairdresser, and now I am a high school science teacher in an urban, low-income school. He makes me want to be better and his faith in me keeps me going. I am so lucky that he is my partner. 🙂
We were going for rustic, eco-friendly, and epic. Our colors were green and pink. We were going for dressed up casual and wanted our family and friends to love Maine as much as we do, and a lot of them were able to explore a bit during their trip. I planned every detail basically by myself, accepting input from Steve wherever he had any. I did DIY stuff where I could and the jacket I wore during the ceremony was custom made for me out of material I had spotted in a seamstress’ shop.
Both of us are pretty non-traditional folk. Neither of us are religious, but I feel very culturally tied to my Jewish heritage. We decided to include cultural traditions rather than religious ones — we had a make-shift chuppah (a trellis that we wove my dad’s tallis [prayer shawl] through), breaking of the glass, blessings during the reception… but we also included a handfasting ceremony based from Steve’s Celtic heritage!
Our best friends (they are a couple) wrote our ceremony, got ordained online, and married us and the ceremony was unique, personal, and so very special. We had talked about spending our lives together from the very beginning, and he joked around one day that we should get married on a cliff, so that if I said no, he could push me. Ironically enough, our ceremony was held on the top of a mountain overlooking Penobscot Bay! Our friends couldn’t resist throwing a joke about that in there and offered Steve his opportunity, which he thankfully declined! Our friend (the female half of the couple) made our handfasting cords and the ceremonial drink we shared was beer that Steve had brewed for our event 🙂
Having all of the wedding party wearing the same stuff wasn’t important to me, so I told the girls to get green knee-length dresses an the guys to get grey suits. Since they were paying for it themselves, I wanted them to at least buy dresses and suits that were in their tastes and their price ranges and that they would wear again. Some people were really skeptical but it looked SO AWESOME!!!
The venue itself was really unique. We live in Boston, our parents all live in CT and we have friends and family all over the country/world! We love traveling and love Maine and settled on Point Lookout Resort in Camden, Maine (his company has a data center that he runs in the town over, Belfast. We had stayed at the resort together a few years prior and I exclaimed that it would be the perfect place to get married! His company (Athenahealth) actually bought the resort during the summer while we were planning the wedding and looking for a venue… it was fate!).
Rather than having one big hotel, there are instead 106 individual cabins (1, 2, 3 bedroom) that have all the amenities of a hotel room, yet are wooden, separate, and rustic. It was the perfect combination of rustic and luxury! The wedding was on a Sunday of a 3-day weekend, and since people were traveling so far (7 hour drive from CT!), we decided to host a barbeque the night before in lieu of a rehearsal dinner for anyone that wanted to attend. We had local meats, craft beer, lawn games and a firepit with smores. I wrote up a human bingo game to encourage/force our friends and family to mingle!! It was a great success, and by the time the wedding came around on Sunday morning, everyone had met and was comfortable and everyone had an absolute blast!!!!
One more aspect that contributed to that feeling were the cabins themselves. Steve’s sister and her friends had a 3-bedroom cabin and volunteered for it to be the “party cabin.” Steve brewed 3 types of beer for the wedding, which we stored in kegs in that cabin, and it became the after-party central! The whole weekend, Friday through Monday morning was one long, epic party with 110 of our closest family and friends all getting to know and love each other!!! And then there was the keg stand that I did after the wedding in my wedding dress…..!!!
We both have our own geekdoms – his computers, mine geology and all things earth science. (I have actually since switched careers and am now a high school Earth & Environmental Science teacher!) Eco-friendly living is hugely important to us and we wanted to throw a wedding that was in line with those values.
We started with plantable save-the-date postcards, made from recycled paper with seeds. Our invitations were sent via e-mail (a good friend of mine is a graphic designer and designed both designs for us!). Rather than using imported cut flowers for the bouquet, I found a local woman who grows flowers and sells them to a local farmers market, and bought her week’s supply for the bridesmaids bouquets and groomsmen’s boutonnieres (we had 10 on each side – crazy! but it worked!).
My mom and I painted flowers pots and planted flowers and used these as the centerpieces (the one on our sweetheart table had heather and stevia flowers!). We originally wanted to use the seed paper save-the-dates but since the wedding was May, it wasn’t warm or sunny enough for them to grow in time beforehand. My bridal bouquet and his boutonniere were actually made of silk flowers so they are a keepsake that we will have forever!!
Another really special detail was our food and beer!! Steve and I are huge foodies and are really into craft beer. We also love brunch and were thrilled to have a brunch wedding on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. We really wanted to embody that and serve the same quality of food and drink that we would normally enjoy and not betray our values. Our venue was able to order locally grown meats and vegetables which was really important to us. We hand-picked almost every item on the menu! Deviled scotch eggs, tomato bisque with grilled cheese, and bacon/chipotle (meat/vegetarian) bloody mary’s were served at our brunch cocktail hour. 😀
… Oh, and BACON!!!!! Bacon bloody Mary’s, bacon cupcakes, bacon at the egg station… we love bacon.
The resort has a bowling alley on site, and we rented it out for the after-party of the reception since it was over at 5 or 6. We took the whole wedding party down after the wedding with our photographer. We did a photo shoot in the bowling alley and it rocked!!!! We had so much fun and the pictures came out so well. 😀
The weather was incredible — we really lucked out, and the day (and the whole weekend) was as magical and full of love as we could have ever hoped. We really wanted it to be a showcase of our personalities and interests and to celebrate our love and commitment with with 100 of our closest friends and family. Our best friends married us, our siblings and my best friend participated in the ceremony, and the rest of our wedding party was my 1st cousins and a handful of our close friends. It was perfect because I hate leaving anyone out and love being surrounded by people! The least eco-friendly aspect was 100+ people traveling to Maine, but it was such an epically fun and loving weekend, it was so worth it!! We really succeeded in hosting a weekend weekend rather than a day or just a night.
And now, some parting words of advice from our lovely bride:
FOLLOW YOUR HEARTS! Don’t let anyone else tell you how your wedding should be. This is YOUR day and it should be how YOU want it to be! Also, there is SO MUCH that can be done that it is easy to feel overwhelmed with all the options. I second guessed myself a lot and when it came down to it, just pick something and stick with it. And don’t be afraid to ask for help!!!! Plus, crafting parties are fun ways to spend time with people while being productive as well. 😀
Thank you so much Kristen for sending this (to borrow Heather’s phrase) epically fun wedding my way, and congratulations Heather & Steve! Thank you for sharing your special day with us, here’s wishing you a lifetime of married bliss! 🙂
Photographer: Kristen Schueler Photography (bride’s note: she’s actually a friend of mine from back in CT!)
Venue: Point Lookout Resort and Conference Center, Northport Maine
Hair: Jahmilah Green (bride’s friend)
Makeup: Morgan Kluss (bride’s husband’s sister)
Bride and groom’s flowers: Little Bouquet Shop (silk!)
Wedding party flowers: Barbara Walch, Fire Flower Gardens
Dress: Alfred Angelo
Custom Jacket: Darlene Rivard, Deva Designs – Ormond Beach, FL
Garter belt: custom made by bride’s cousin Denise Mayer
Wedding bands: custom made by couple’s friend Cheryl Etu
Graphic design of Save the Dates and emailed wedding invites: Hannah Hoar de Galvan
Cupcakes: East End Cupcakes, Portland Maine
Cupcake stand topper: Sasha Frenkel, groomsman
Centerpieces: painted and planted by bride and her mom (and some friends)
DJ: Ryan Chua, couple’s friend
Cupcake stand: YourDevineAffair – Etsy
Image submission via Two Bright Lights