A Great Gatsby Wedding in the Mountains – Christian & Sarah
If you are a regular reader of Bespoke Bride then I am guessing you are someone who likes to do things their own way? When we started Bespoke Bride we weren’t looking for outrageous weddings, we weren’t even looking for alternative weddings, we were looking to inspire couples to have a completely bespoke wedding, a day where personality and character came first and our real wedding today illustrates that ethos perfectly!
A Great Gatsby inspired wedding with a rustic, woodland twist would be the perfect description for Christian and Sarah’s wedding. I adore Sarah and her witty writing, I love her reasons for choosing her theme and I am in awe of all the beautiful DIY touches, especially her amazing 3 door altar – this is not to be missed!
Seriously this is the type of wedding I would give up chocolate cake just to be a guest at (and if you know me you know I like chocolate cake, ALOT!).
Over to you Sarah…
Our wedding was held at ThorpeWood in Thurmont, MD. It was important to us to have the wedding outdoors but if it were to rain, we wanted a place that was as equally beautiful. They had a beautiful outdoor space that they called “The Pine Cathedral” for the ceremony and a gorgeous log cabin-esque building for the reception. Also, budget was a HUGE factor. The average wedding in Maryland costs $35,000 and we only had $14,000. They also had an exclusive caterer that was amazing and a wonderful day of event planner (thanks Julie!).
The wedding was full of little details that were important to us that the guests probably wouldn’t have noticed unless we pointed it out. Mainly the items we received from my great grandmother, which pretty much inspired most of the wedding. My Nanny lives in Georgia and can’t travel. So after we told her we were engaged, she sent us a package with a letter telling us how sorry she was that she couldn’t be there. In the package was a bowl and a pair of vases that her and her husband received on their wedding day from his grandparents and a handkerchief that she has had for ages. The dishes we green depression glass with gold details that were used on our sweetheart table and on our dessert table. To use the handkerchief, I had our florist fold it into a flower to incorporate it into my bouquet. So even though she couldn’t be there in person, she was there in spirit.
Christian works hard labor for a living and had never had a reason to own a suit…so we thought it was the perfect opportunity to buy one that he could use again at job interview or other weddings. He went with his father and bought a pinstripe charcoal suit from Jos. A. Bank. I had originally planned to find a vintage dress but after searching for a while I got frustrated and just decided to go to David’s Bridal. I honestly didn’t think I was going to find anything, especially after having a hard time explaining what I’d wanted to the woman who was helping us. Her idea of vintage was skin tight and super blingy…but what I wanted was something that didn’t look too wedding-y and looked like it had been stuck in a trunk for 50 years. She looked at me like I was crazy. So my Mom took to looking around the store herself and found this beautiful dress from a line called White by Vera Wang. It was perfect! I felt beautiful and it was only $800. I loved it!
How do I describe our theme…? Imagine the characters from the Great Gatsby took a train into the mountains for a picnic brunch in autumn. That is pretty much how we wanted the wedding to feel. However, because that type of “theme” isn’t common, I was left to DIY most of it…which is great because I LOVE it! Most of the decor was either made by me or was purchased from antique/thrift stores. We also didn’t have a color palate because we didn’t want our options to be restricted. We just wanted the wedding to reflect us. Our table runners were made from old free books that I got from The Book Thing of Baltimore and clear contact paper. I also used Etsy for a lot of things including my veil and my invites.
The bridesmaids dresses were $30.00 from Charlotte Russe! Originally, I’d just told my sisters to find something cream that they loved and wear that, but one day while my sisters and I were out at the mall, we saw a dress that they all loved. So even though I’d planned on them wearing different dresses, they ended up wearing the same one! We got married on a October morning in the mountains so I knew it was going to be cold so I asked them to pick some tights and a shawl/cardigan. I didn’t see them until the day of the wedding and they ended up picking colorful tights and shawls that complemented each other without knowing it! It was a happy accident. The groomsmen just wore whatever charcoal or gray suit they had in their closet.
My officiant ended up being the face of the catering company! My husband is Catholic so it was important for him to have a priest officiate the wedding. However, what we didn’t know when we reserved the venue, was that priests can’t officiate weddings that are outdoors! So we searched high and low for an officiant. The Episcopalian priest couldn’t do it because the wedding was on a Sunday morning and by the time we found a Methodist preacher who was available we didn’t have the six weeks before the wedding to take the marriage classes that were required. So two weeks before the wedding, I was on the phone with Mike, from Canapes, telling him my concern about getting an officiant and he said to me, “Well, if you need an officiant, I’m ordained.” We were sold! He was a great guy who had grown to know us as a couple and he ended up being perfect. He was funny and our ceremony ended up being incredibly personal.
I made quite a lot of things for the wedding, but my all time favorite was the escort card holder/guest book structure. Instead of the book or the now favorite thumbprint trees we wanted something different and more involved. So we thought, as wonderful as our photographer is, there was probably no way she was going to be able to get a picture of every single person who came to the wedding. So we bought a Polaroid camera and had my best friend take a picture every person who came to the wedding, then they would write a little note on the white section of the picture, and hang it up on the structure that my Dad and I made with clothes pins. It turned out WONDERFUL! Some of the pictures were sweet while others were hilarious! My husbands favorite thing I made for the wedding was the doors that we used for the ceremony backdrop. I found old doors for $30 a piece at a store called Second Chance in Baltimore, then my Dad and I used brackets and screwed them together. Then I hung a garland of cotton bolls (that I also got from Etsy). Easy, affordable, and made a big impact! The flowers on the tables were created with the help of my sisters, we went to a store the morning before the wedding and that afternoon, after rehearsal, we filled the bottles I’d gotten from random antique stores with flowers. Easy, pretty, and cheap!
Our photographer, Crystal from Crystal George Studios, was by far my best and favorite investment. She was beyond wonderful and completely got my vision!! Not only was she lovely and talented but she was also affordable. When you’re on a limited budget, you have to prioritize. I knew from the beginning that if I was going to splurge on anything, it was going to be my photographer and at the end of the day, I found the person I was looking for and didn’t have to hand over my first born child to get it. She drove all the way up from Virginia and was at my hotel at 5am on the day of the wedding. She also brought her sister as a second photographer, Ruby, who equally as lovely.
I have a funny story about our band! On the day we got engaged, I had gone to an art festival in Baltimore with my best friend called Artscape. While we were there we saw a New Orleans jazz band parade down the street…they were awesome and so much fun! A few weeks later, after Christian and I decided that we wanted to go with a New Orleans style jazz band instead of a DJ I found a band via searching online. When I went to see them play live I realized that they were the exact same band I’d seen at Artscape the day we got engaged! It was meant to be and I hired them on the spot. The band guys from Sac au Lait were great. They paraded the guests from location to location and the guests love it!
My advice to future couples getting married is to have a wedding that screams you! There are going to be people who don’t agree with you or tell you that your ideas are dumb. Don’t listen to them! This is your day! If you want to walk down the aisle to Metallica and have fast food at the reception then go for it! The only people who you have to please are yourselves.
Credit Where Credit is Due
♥ Photographer – Crystal George Studios
♥ Venue – Thorpewood, Thurmont
♥ Caterers – Canapes Catering
♥ Bouquets and Corsages – Blossom and Basket Boutique
♥ Veil – Lovely Ever After, Etsy
♥ Wedding Stationery – Behold Designs, Etsy
♥ Entertainment – Sac Au Lait
♥ Bridesmaid Dresses – Charlotte Russe
♥ Grooms Suit – JOS.A.Bank
♥ Brides Dress – Davids Bridal, Vera Wang
Such an amazing and thoughtful day, I am in Love with this wedding so much so I am going to have to go through and read it all over again. A huge congratulations to Christian and Sarah, thank you to Sarah for entertaining me with her own wedding story and a Massive thank you to Crystal for submitting this wedding to us, your photography is absolutely wonderful!
Much Bespoke Love