Tasha Moss has been crafty her whole life. A web geek by day, she spends much of her spare time knitting, sewing, and obsessing over everything from the 1930s through the 1950s. She blogs about her vintage-filled life and escapades at By gum, by golly!
In June of 2011, our home state of Illinois began offering civil unions. My partner and I decided it was the perfect time to officially get hitched, and we did it the first month the law went into effect. I admit it was pretty exciting to go the clerk’s office to apply for our license.
We’d been together more than nine years and knew that we didn’t want our wedding to be a huge affair: not big, not expensive, not lengthy. We wanted a little ceremony in a private spot with our immediate family. We decided it would be a guerrilla wedding before we even knew there was a term for it. We would just scope out a spot, hold the ceremony, hope we didn’t get in trouble, and all go out to a dinner afterwards to celebrate.
The spot we picked was a large nature preserve tucked in the middle of Chicago. The space was perfect, as it had several paths winding through woods and wetlands, which we thought would be fun for grown-ups and kids in the family alike. On a Friday afternoon, we figured we could easily find a secluded spot away from other park visitors.
Because of the nature of the wedding and dinner being held at a restaurant, the planning was blissfully simple and incorporated the DIY and vintage elements that Mel and I so love. For our ring bearer pillow, I bought a vintage handkerchief from Vintage Clothing Dreams and embroidered our names and wedding date. I secured two ribbons with buttons, used a ball of yarn as a makeshift pillow underneath, and placed it in a pine needle basket made by my step-grandmother. Our two nieces shared the duties as our ringbearers, holding the basket together.
Mel and I wore lots of vintage for the ceremony, including Mel’s hat, shirt and 1940s hand-painted tie and my 1940s cowboy boots. For my something blue, I wore my great-grandmother’s handkerchief tucked into my belt. My wedding dress – a non-traditional printed cotton dress from the 1940s – came from ReEnhabit. It was just the right amount of casual and fun that I was looking for, with a kicky built-in peplum to boot. My jewelry consisted of family pieces, except for a carved white celluloid bangle, which was my own contribution, from Vintage Great Gets.
My mom, whose shop is called That Clever Clementine, knit my wedding shawl out of a gorgeous skein of silk/wool yarn from Yarn Chef. I knew that I certainly wasn’t going to need a shawl in the middle of June, but I absolutely wanted to have a wedding shawl, even if I only wore it for a few minutes.
The day of the wedding we met in the parking lot of the nature preserve with our photographer, Kimmy Noonen, and our small group. It was a gorgeous day – warm and sunny. We were thrilled because Plan B was simply Plan A with umbrellas.
We all meandered through the preserve until we found a grove of trees Mel’s sister thought looked nice. We held our short but sweet ceremony, with Mel’s father presiding. A few minutes later we were married, and we all happily continued along the trails, capping off the afternoon with bubbles. After the ceremony we went out to a Southern-inspired restaurant with family and friends, went out for drinks later that evening, and spent the night in a gorgeous hotel overlooking the Chicago River.
During our entire wedding proceedings we only saw two other people, so it was as private as could be and didn’t even cost a dime. It was a gorgeous place to get married and really felt like a special spot for everyone who attended. Mel and I decided that on our first wedding anniversary, we’d like to go back to walk along the trails of “our” nature preserve. It sure was ours on our wedding day.
All photos by Kimmy Noonen.
Thanks to Tasha for sharing her special day! Do you have a handmade wedding to share? Submit your photos to our Flickr group.