DIY Wedding on Block Island with a Watercolored Gown
June 9, 2014
New England
RomanticOutdoor WeddingsHotels + Resorts Weddings
Watercolor details are fast becoming a wedding world darling and this Bride has embraced them with open arms. Painterly tid bits are woven throughout the day from the stationery to the dress - yes, that gorgeous gown crafted by her fashion designer Mom is indeed watercolored - and to say it's a beauty is a gross understatement. The whole affair is a fusion of approachable, fun elegance captured by Katie Slater Photography. See it all here.
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From Katie Slater Photography...Julia and Jonathan are one of our favorite couples of the year! They totally win the award for "cutest, most laid back, totally madly in love couple of the year" if there is such a thing. This wedding is filled with DIY touches made by the bride. The girl water colored everything she could get her hands on....including her custom made silk ballgown! She's such a free spirit. You'll want to be her bestie as soon as you see these pictures. Speaking of....this. gown. It's to die for. It was lovingly created by her fashion designer Momma! We can't stop looking at it.

From The Bride...I'm not a formal human being. Jonathan is a bit more proper than I am, but also generally really jovial and easy-going. So, having a big wedding and keeping it approachable and lively and equal parts elegant and casual was our biggest goal. I didn't want anything to feel put on. (Though having said that, I am extraordinarily particular, visually, so I wanted to perfectly curate all of that informality. Now you're probably getting a sense of my particular brand of insanity.)

From the beginning, I was in pretty deep on the whole DIY thing. I'm fairly hands-on, generally, and I also felt that if this was going to be a big extravaganza, per my husband's wishes, I wanted it to feel as personal as possible. This was a celebration of our life together with our most-loved-ones; I wanted my own hands on every single inch of it.

I knew almost immediately that I would paint my dress, so I was testing various paints and dyes on different kinds of washed and unwashed silks before we even had a venue. Secretly from my husband, of course. Interestingly enough, he never asked why I had so many paints when I am not a painter.

I then designed our Save The Dates and decided to hand-letterpress them. This did not go quite as planned, so I ended up blind embossing and then hand-inking each one. This was my lowest point in the process, probably. But! It led me to the wonderful people at Coeur Noir when it came time to print our invitations. I was so psyched that I got to work with such an amazing hometown business and they executed my designs beautifully, while walking me through a lot of specs and details very patiently.

I water colored and did the calligraphy for each invitation's envelope and designed a return-address stamp as well. Designed/calligraphied/drew the welcome letter, map, and menus. And then subsequently did the calligraphy for the top of each (pre-printed) menu. And also the table assignments. Man, looking back, that was a lot of paper.

We also put together little welcome baskets in those lovely teal berry containers and dropped them around the island. Block Island's signature cocktail is a banana mudslide, so Jonathan and I (and a couple AMAZING friends) put together small bottles with mudslides, and added them to the baskets with a banana, some Cape Cod chips, and water. Again, I water colored the bottle labels. Oy.

I made a morning-of decision to buy all the mason jars I could at the local grocery store (I don't think anyone even knows I did this), which I then handed to my mother and her amazing friends, along with scraps of leftover rose-gold sequin fabric from my rehearsal dinner dress. They put together our votive holders with the jars, sequins, and extra fabric from my blush-colored veil.

I'm trying to think if there was anything else we did beyond the piles of paper. Do the globe lights I bought online and then forced my family to hang day-of-wedding count? I did also write a song for Jonathan that my younger sister and father performed during our ceremony. Music is not really what you think of as DIY, but... well, I did do it myself.

I feel so materialistic saying it, but the dress reveal was SUCH fun. My mom is a designer and we've been trading ideas on my wedding dress for years. The shape was modeled on a 2008 Oscar De La Renta dress that I've loved forever, though we rounded the neckline, inspired by another gown she had done. That original Oscar dress had had flower apliques as well, and I think those played a big role in my ultimate desire to paint. Designing, making, and painting the dress was such an amazing mother-daughter experience and one I wouldn't trade for the world. And (per my mom's prediction) when Jonathan saw me walk down the aisle, he give a great big laugh. That was the best.