Southern Vintage Charm

July 23, 2012 in handmade and vintage goods

Erika Toth

Erika is a freelance art director for movies, music videos and commercials. She and Jon live in a tiny little bungalow on a hill in Echo Park with their dog, SkirtSteak, and cat, Mittons.

Once Jon and I agreed to have a wedding, we made a few solid decisions about what the day would be like.

First, we wanted our wedding to be fun. Jon and I are pretty awkward and goofy; any attempt to have a serious or romantic wedding might have come off weird. We decided, why not be true to ourselves and skip the formalities?

Second, we wanted to get married in the yard of the home where we met, grew up, and fell in love back in Durham, North Carolina. When you get married at home there’s no hotel manager to kick you out at 11, so you can dance all night long. Another perk? This home boasts the most idyllic, Eden-esque garden on the planet. Unbeatable! Lastly, we wanted our wedding to be pretty.

Once our top three priorities were set, I went to town researching and planning for our wedding. I scoured blogs, magazines, Etsy and Facebook for inspiration and ideas. I felt like I needed to settle on a look or theme for the wedding, but after having seen so many brilliant ideas from so many different types of weddings, I realized I couldn’t box our wedding in to just one look. I decided not to discriminate against things I loved just because they didn’t jive with one style. The result was a hodgepodge of quirky insanity.

I wasn’t really interested in the monotony of rented folding tables and matching linens. I imagined our guests feeling the warmth and coziness of home while eating dinner at a big old farm table. So, my godsend of a mother scoured the state for farm table bargains. She hauled 17 unique and beautiful tables and 90 dreamy, vintage chairs one by one (with the help of my stepdad) back to her house for safe keeping, maintenance, and cleaning until the big day.

“I imagined our guests feeling the warmth and coziness of home while eating dinner at a big old farm table.”

Because we knew we’d be surrounded by a landscape in full bloom, I opted to forgo floral centerpieces and choose something that suited us better. We used vintage soda crates loaded with small toys, trinkets and magic tricks for centerpieces. We also had vintage oil lamps (the glow they gave off after dusk was truly magical), retro water pitchers, and an old milk bottle vase full of handmade ribbon wands. Side note: ribbon wands on the dance floor are super fun!

Music played a vital role in setting the mood and spirit of our party. If we were going to have a whimsical and silly party, we were going to need the music to match. We courted a phonograph DJ from NYC to spin 78s from the early 1900s at our wedding. Not only was the music insanely fun, but Michael Cumella himself was entertaining and spirited.

“When you get married at home there’s no hotel manager to kick you out at 11, so you can dance all night long.”

With the help of some very talented friends, we had a life-size, hand painted-carnival cutout of a comical Victorian wedding couple. Even our shyest guests put on a silly face and poked their heads through the cutouts to have their picture taken. We also had games for our guests to play during the cocktail hour, and toys to keep them occupied at their tables. There was never a dull moment.

Jon and I chose to serve a variety of amazing pies from a bakery in Cary, North Carolina, instead of a fancy wedding cake, but my mom had other plans. She surprised both of us with a cake she commissioned from artisans that so closely resembled a full-size baked ham that guests were completely fooled until the caterers cut it open. Amazing and delicious!

All in all, our wedding was a complete and utter success. We managed to gather all of our favorite people together in a beautiful setting to witness our union, play, dance and laugh with us all night long. We’re so thankful to have such inspired friends and family who so willingly contributed their time and efforts helping us have the best wedding ever.

All photographs by Oh, Darling! Photograhy.