The Etsy Blog

Handmade Weddings: Get Hitched With a Southern Twist handmade and vintage goods

Paloma_bio.jpgCaroline Colom Vasquez is an artist, designer and stylist living in Austin, Texas. She is the creative founder of Paloma’s Nest, and is known for her modern interpretations of traditions and heirlooms, such as the Ring Bearer Bowl™, which was introduced here on Etsy in 2007. For the Etsy Blog, Caroline offers advice on how to style your own wedding photo shoot and tips on how to help your photographer achieve the look you’ve dreamed of.

I jumped at the chance to collaborate with artist Kristy Rice on an editorial wedding shoot inspired by the original Man in Black, Mr. Johnny Cash. Kristy and I share a love of delicate details, heartfelt expressions, and paying homage to history. Produced for Volume 3 of Southern Weddings Magazine, the theme of the event was “A Little Bit Country and A Little Bit Rock n’ Roll,” with a lot of handmade, down-home style added for good measure! 

So how can you create the setting for an engagement or portrait shoot of your own and achieve the photos you’re hoping for? Gather inspiration from the things that mean the most to you. Kristy and I are drawn to heirlooms and antiques. For us that often means bringing in family photos as props or borrowing a favorite chair from a grandmother. Maybe for you it’s the first love note your partner sent to you or their scrawled phone number on a napkin from when you met.

The beauty and personality of a photo shoot is really all in the details — the handmade escort cards you crafted yourself and your name embroidered inside your gown. Be sure your photographer knows about these details and make a “shot list” to be sure that all of these items are photographed. Even better, share some of your favorite photo shoots from magazines and blogs with your photographer so they can see the range of images you are hoping to achieve.
Remember to be flexible and listen to your photographer’s professional advice and opinions. Be ready for the unexpected, whether that’s a rainy day or stumbling upon a beautiful location you hadn’t planned on. And most of all, have fun! The love in your eyes and in your hearts is the most memorable and important thing to capture on film.


For our editorial wedding shoot, the setting was the Salt Lick BBQ, a location known for its scenic vistas and amazing food. Nestled in the rolling hills of Central Texas, amidst mile after mile of pecan trees and prickly pear cactus, you find the city of Austin. Dubbed by many as the Live Music Capital of the World, it’s not just a title, but a lifestyle.


In Austin, heirlooms and antiques sing in harmony with fresh and innovative ideas, just as they do in this wedding. Origami favor boxes were folded from vintage sheet music and filled with black licorice coins and Necco waffers, tied with a black string and presented on a vintage silver tray.

A family style meal was served at embellished picnic tables set with vintage Fiestaware and mercury glass serving pieces. A watercolor table runner, hand-painted by Momental Designs, spans the center of the table. Black cushions were made for the bench tops and lined with hand-stamped cloth bags  from Paloma’s Nest, which act as place cards and flatware holders. Floral designer Brooke Howsley of Pollen Floral Art tucked petite arrangements into vintage melamine cups and saucers to complement a lush centerpiece with trailing vines.


Classic Southern details are made new with the bride’s dress, made by designer Jessica Audey. A Paloma’s Nest Ring Bearer Bowl was custom crafted using text from a classic hymn.


HW_Austin_8.jpgThe hand-painted invitation suite from Momental Designs included vintage hymnal books reinvented as menus. Fan programs were created using tarnished spoons as handles. Homemade pies and tartlets from The Saucy Tart took the place of a wedding cake.



Pick up a copy of Southern Weddings Magazine or visit their site to see additional images of this styled photo shoot.

Whether you’re a bride to be, or just love seeing what’s new in unique handmade and vintage finds for weddings, RSVP for Etsy’s new Weddings email.

Are you planning a handmade wedding anytime soon? Share in the comments below!

Handmade Weddings | Weddings Category