A Wedding At Home?

Would you consider a wedding at home?

I recently worked on a “Home Wedding”.  It was one of he nicest I’ve ever been to, personally or professionally.  It didn’t hurt that it was not just an “Everyday Home”.  The wedding was held at the fabulous summer “Cottage” of the groom’s family.  The “Cottage” has been in the family for four generations.  Below is a photo of the three story wonder, situated right on a lake.


It wasn’t only the beauty that appealed to the bride when she requested to be married here – although that can’t be denied – but the long standing tradition.  Many family members have been married here, right under the tree on the left, pictured below.


The couple decided to have a tent, both for aesthetics and potential weather issues.   It was a good call.   It presented an air of elegance, and festivity.  They ended up having a perfect day, not too cold, not too hot…and NO rain! But it was a nice respite for the guests to get out of the sun.  The tables and chairs were perfectly proportioned for the tent’s dimensions, the dance floor ample.


I love how the guests were encouraged to enjoy cocktail hour on the bistro tables below.  The view of the lake was absolutely stunning.


Below, a photo of the tent.  Isn’t it lovely?


And as the day turned into night, the stone wall dividing the property from the lakes’s beach was lined with luminarias – paper bags filled with sand with a candle, (in this case, an electric candle), in the center. It was an exquisite scene as night fell.


The next shot gives you a little closer view of the luminarias AND the lake.  The wedding was a huge success.  The guests had a wonderful time – and  THAT is the goal!


All photos: Mary P. Karnes

Unique Wedding Seating



Your wedding seating…It doesn’t have to be in a straight line.  If you have an outdoor wedding, and weddings in the summer and fall are often outdoors, you can arrange the seating how you wish.  This option is a definite advantage over a church wedding.  While a church wedding is of vital importance to many, it means little to others.  In a church, you can not alter your seating arrangement.  But in an outdoor venue you can.



If you choose an outdoor setting, I challenge you to think outside the box.  Try to choose the best option so the most people can enjoy your wedding ceremony with a clear view.  I know so many put the emphasis on the party following, but really…what is the real purpose of a wedding?  It’s the joining of two people into one, the joining of two families.  The top two photos employ the circular approach.  The top photo showcases the bridal couple at the top of the semicircle, the second picture centers the bride and groom in middle of the guests for optimal viewing.  The photo below is from a wedding where I was the coordinator.  The bride, groom, family and attendants were at the front in a semi-circle with the guests in a traditional formation behind.  I think of all the configurations on this page, this is my favorite.  Was the idea mine?  No.  It was the bride’s and it was brilliant.  It was my first time seeing it, and I would encourage any bride to use this plan.  The family and attendants were really a part of the rite, and the guests had a good view as well.


Mary P. Karnes photo

If your ceremony is a rustic, short one, what about the hay bales on planks below?  It think it’s novel and cute. A word or caution…If you’re going to sit directly on the hay bales, pad them wth blankets.    Those stray pieces of straw can poke one!



In mind for something really funky?  Just check out the seating from the photo below.  While lovely…not very practical.  Love it though.  Remember, whatever you decide, nothing is wrong.  If you like it, it’s perfect.




The Tree Planting Ceremony

One of the many things I love about being a wedding planner/coordinator, is to see new trends first hand.  The Tree Planting Ceremony is just such a trend.  The wedding I worked last weekend had a lovely “Tree Planting Ceremony”.  The bride and groom chose a sapling, planted it in a beautiful pot, and then add soil from their respective childhood homes.  It is to symbolize the unifying of two families.



There are a variety of ways to go about this.  The couple above used a small pot, and I would imagine it will remain inside their home.  The size of the container will keep the tree small and manageable.  The couple below, however…have something different in mind.



It appears that they are either planting a tree at their venue to be enjoyed by other guests in the future, or their are planting it at their home.  Perhaps they had a home wedding?  I’m not sure using a shovel in my beautiful white wedding dress would be up my alley, but to each his – OR – her own.  🙂




Mail order companies are getting in on the act of the “Tree Planting Ceremony”.  You can now order on-line a pre-fab kit to do the honors.  Not a bad idea, although you still might want to provide your own soil from your special locations.

Ruffled - photo by Cara Robbins Studio http://ruffledblog.com/sweet-ranch-wedding-in-las-vegas


What about getting your guests involved in tree planting?  The photo above showcases tiny saplings that are used as favors and escort cards to find your reception seats.  I love this.  I imagine a good deal of work went into the assembling of these favors, though.


And just think…maybe your tree/trees will someday look like these photos.  Yes, it will take years, but hopefully so will your marriage.


Photos #5 #6 – Mary P. Karnes




The Calm Before The Storm


Ah…The Calm Before The Storm.  There is something so pristine about a ceremony venue before it fills with guests.  It’s almost as if it’s waiting with baited breath to start the joyful union of two souls.  Soon, it will be filled with the bride and groom’s nearest and dearest.  The friends of their parents, their our friends, and family will find their seats and wait with great anticipation for the excitement to begin.


Weddings touch us.  They bring back the happiest of times for us all.  Maybe you remember being the flower girl at your aunt’s wedding, or the ring bearer at your uncle’s.  Perhaps you are daydreaming about your own wedding, and the joy you felt that day.  Or, holding your baby girl, you hope to someday be “Mother of the Bride.”


I’ve been “Mother of the Bride” twice now, and as happy as I was on MY wedding day, I think I felt every MORE joy, holding the hand of my husband as we watched our two girls marry their soul-mates.


When you meet with your photographer for your “Pre-ceremony” pow-wow to discuss your wedding photography “vision”, (and if your photographer doesn’t suggest this, request a meeting), ask for a few shots of the “Calm Before the Storm.”  Ask that he/she please take a few photos of the tranquil perfection of the venue before the guests descend.


I have included a few pictures that I have taken from weddings I’ve  worked.  Some are from churches, some outdoors.  They are all beautiful in their own way.  Then top photo was taken by the lovely Patty Cloherty, the remaining photos by me.

I rather like the outdoor wedding, but as we are Roman Catholic, one must be married in the physical building of the church.  A compromise perhaps?  How about a wedding with just the bride, groom, parents and priest in the church, and then the next day, a blow out outdoor wedding?