Dolan Geiman is a Chicago-based mixed media artist creating contemporary art with a Southern accent. He and his business partner (and now wife) Ali Marie manage their Etsy shop, dolangeiman, tour the country participating in art and craft fairs, and sell artwork to retail shops and interior designers nationwide.
After seven years and five months of dating (but who’s counting, really?), Dolan and I took the plunge and were married on Friday, May 7. Thanks in no small part to the busy lifestyle that results from a full-time art career (we know you can relate) we opted for an intimate wedding with just the two of us and Dolan’s childhood pastor. Dolan’s preference might have been to wander out to the middle of a forest to exchange our vows, but I suggested an alternative: the flora–filled (but rain proof) Garfield Park Conservatory here in Chicago. Originally from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, I don’t think Dolan would have ever imagined getting married in Chicago. So, though a low-key affair, we did our best to throw some Southern flair and down-home flavor into the occasion. Here are some details from our wedding along with some Etsy finds and inspiration.
The wedding was a wonderful excuse for me to get gussied up and, through the process, support a few of our friends in the hair and make-up industry. Trisha Star, who applied my make-up, opted for all-natural products. Since Dolan and I run a green business, I’m also increasingly aware of such things, both professionally and personally. Here are a couple all-natural vegan make-up options: Vegan 10 Jars Mineral Makeup Kit by pinkquartzminerals and Vegan Rose Sugar Mineral Lip Tint by FrenchGirlOrganics.
Gia Tummillo did my up-do and thought of the button idea for my hair. The buttons were hand-sewn into my hair with needle and thread. Dolan, being a collage artist, loved their tactility and color. My buttons were purchased from Etsy sellers dirtybirdiesvintage, kandcsupplies, and kraftedkeepsakes288. There are also some great options in the Vintage Button Lot from LuckyWishesCharms and, for a retro/Americana-themed wedding, I love the idea of using these vintage game pieces from kelleystreetvintage in an up-do.
Dolan’s mother, watercolor artist Lisa Geiman, had given me the cowboy boots as a present a while back, so we decided to start our outfits from the ground up. For a “something blue” idea, one could spin it with navy cowboy boots like these from JewelBoxTreasures. Dolan wore a pair of vintage Frye boots, similar to the Frye Campus Workboot from KingDogVintage.
I’m not a big fan of wearing rings, so in lieu of an engagement ring Dolan had a friend (artist Adam Smith) modify his grandmother’s locket into an engagement necklace. You can commission something similar with Chicago-based Etsy designer Broad Street, who repurposes heirloom jewelry into one-of-a-kind pieces. Dolan’s sister, jewelry designer and Etsy seller breckengeiman, “hand-picked” my vintage floral brooch to complement my bouquet. For different inspiration, check out this woodland-inspired creation by gardensofwhimsy that would be lovely for bridesmaids.
After recently attending our first Derby party, we’ve been obsessed with the equestrian prep look. For my evening bag, I purchased this amazing vintage carved leather handbag from Coronetweedsvintage. Dolan rocked a western-style suit adorned with cowboy accouterments. Men’s clothing, especially vintage suits, can be difficult to track down, so here are a few suggestions for custom-made items. For custom men’s suits, check out AJ Machete and Sons. For custom, hand-carved leather belts, see Fabulous Phil’s Custom Leathercrafts on Etsy. And, for fun, here’s a handmade cow bolo that was too cute to pass up, by bydorothylouise.
My bouquet and Dolan’s boutonniere were created by Chicago’s Hello Darling, with the flower selection and arrangement co-designed by Dolan’s mother and sister. As an added bonus, the owner, Natalie Walsh, was kind enough to barter artwork for the arrangements. I loved all the primary colors used in the bouquet, and one of my favorite flower selections was the thistle. If we had done wedding invitations, thistle would have been a great theme for the Save the Date cards, like these by LePetitPapetier. Before deciding to work with a florist, our other idea was for Dolan to create a sculptural bouquet of colorful found objects, such as this lot of bright red shotgun shells from scenicnewyork.
My grandmother and my grandfather were married for over 75 years so I figured by wearing her wedding ring maybe some of their marriage luck might wear off on me! Dolan’s wedding ring was a modified version of this ring by Milwaukee-based mother and son team Wounded Line. Another idea we had was to commission a coin ring using a confederate coin that has been passed down in Dolan’s family. We conversed with Etsy seller SpiritualFlyer about the idea, but ultimately went with the rings above.
As you can probably guess by now, many of our friends are fellow creators and entrepreneurs, so our wedding was a wonderful occasion to support their businesses. Our wedding cake and cupcakes were prepared by Etsy seller tinycakes — note the amazing sugar buttons on the cake to match my hair! Stephanie and Tim of tinycakes were kind enough to stage our mini-reception in my office during our ceremony so that I could surprise Dolan with a cake and toast. The more significant surprise surrounding our wedding is the office itself: Dolan’s wedding gift to me was a surprise office makeover while we were out of town for an art fair. The tulips in the background, for example, are wooden tiles Dolan screenprinted and applied like wallpaper to the back wall of the office (formerly a closet).
While the structure and style of our wedding is certainly not for everyone, I hope our photos and story give all you bride-and-grooms-to-be some ideas for a wedding that falls somewhere in the middle of eloping to $50,000+ wedding spectrum. I know early on in our own wedding planning it felt very black and white: you fly to Vegas or go for the whole shebang. The fun and excitement of the wedding planning came when we finally decided on what we wanted, realized there was an alternative, and then started building the narrative. And, actually, our wedding tale continues: we’ve had follow-up celebrations with my family in Indiana (to coincide with an art fair, naturally) and are soon leaving for Virginia to celebrate with Dolan’s family (and possibly explore some abandoned houses for new collage materials). It’s been a blast and we’re so thankful for the wonderful day we shared together.
To everyone with weddings on the horizon, I say create your own story and you won’t regret a moment. And I must add a little shout-out to my younger sister, Caley Walsh (editor of Fave Crafts), and her fiancé, Dave Concannon, on their recent engagement. I can hardly wait for her homemade wedding day cupcakes.