It’s amazing that Marissa and William’s happily ever after was sparked by a blind date, but it’s even more incredible that almost every detail of their literary-inspired
wedding was hand-made by the couple and their friends. That’s right – everything from Marissa’s insanely fabulous brooch bouquet to the décor for her book-themed reception tables was DIY.
“William and I met on a blind date four years ago. We got engaged on August 4th, 2013 and married on September 20th, 2014. Since we often flirted, fought, and communicated through Scrabble, words were a natural theme for our wedding. Couple that with my allergies to all things green and natural, our competition over GPAs in college and many long nights of editing papers/debating literary themes, and my “books and branches” wedding theme was born!
Planning a wedding during senior year was challenging, and the dress may have been the hardest part. Having seen countless – who knows, thousands? – of dresses in 7 years of being a consultant, I was terrified of picking something unflattering or trendy. My dream came true with a classic, comfortable, simply elegant gown. I am especially grateful for my “Stephanie” sample gown because my father-in-law was diagnosed with stage four cancer and funds were tight; we weren’t sure if we would have to move up the wedding or cancel it all together. He did make it to the wedding, thank God. Will and I decided to stay in Lancaster, PA after college instead of going back to the Philadelphia suburbs where we both grew up. We chose to hold the wedding at a historic mansion in downtown Lancaster for the convenience of having the ceremony & reception in one venue. I fell in love with the 150-yr-old architecture and the crystal chandelier in our ceremony space.
One of my bridesmaids is very talented with crafts and sewing: she put hundreds of hours into the décor. Her and I decided that each table centerpiece would be a different book, with stacks of them in the center and items representing the story spread around. We thrifted, antiqued, and made 13 tables like “Shakespeare” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Treasure Island”. For the bridesmaids, we hand-folded paper flowers out of book pages & origami paper – we even hand-inked the tips, which seems excessive now but was absolutely necessary to the final product! For my bouquet, we made a brooch bouquet by hand. It weighs at least 10 pounds but it really stands out against my simple gown. Our flower girl threw heart-shaped cut outs of book pages, and strands of the same paper hearts hung from bare willow branches at our “alter” – a fireplace. We did a “memory lane” with our grandparent’s photos and our parent’s wedding photos, since our parents were married (ironically) on the same day of the same year. Even our cake topper was a handmade (by my brother in law) paper page cut out of two sparrows, which matched the sparrow guest book & our champagne flutes.
We did a first look so that we could do all of the photos before guests arrived, and it was a very touching moment. My dad had a mini-reveal by accident with me which ended up being one of my favorite memories. Will and I exchanged vows that we wrote ourselves, and my father choreographed his ballroom dance with me. Overall our day was personal, memorable, and expressed us as a couple, which is more than I dreamed it could be.”