Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on August 14, 2015
A Victorian Royal Wedding
It’s time for me to write about planning my wedding!! My Victorian royal themed wedding, to be exact. With an ivory silk and lace ballgown that I made myself, and the two mothers in coordinating Victorian ballgowns, and music from royal weddings of recent years, and maybe with a piece or two from “The Sound of Music” thrown in as well… (I couldn’t get myself to leave out my life-long affinity for the von Trapp story on the most meaningful day of my life!)
It is a wedding planned with peach cascading roses and long satin gloves on the bridesmaids, a red carpet down the aisle as a nod to England’s royal weddings, wedding programs printed with gold Chantilly lace, and at the end of the aisle, the happiest couple you’d ever want to see.
When choosing what theme I wanted for my wedding, I knew I wanted something perfectly elegant, classy, and sumptuous. After all, you only get married once, and you really ought to make the celebration of your marriage as lovely as possible, I think.
I must admit I’ve been very disappointed with wedding styles over the last several years – flip flops on brides and bridesmaids, groomsmen in very casual attire, and tablecloths made of… burlap! Honest to goodness burlap! 😉 Really? I mean, if you want a farm themed wedding that’s perfectly fine, but why are they using burlap decor in reception halls? 😉
The weddings I always loved and wanted to emulate were some of the elegant ones I grew up attending, plus many of England’s royal weddings which set the bar for the rest of the world. (A few inspiration photos below.)
Princess Diana’s silk gown and cascading bouquet were utterly sumptuous.
Sarah Ferguson’s silk satin wedding gown had the most elegant train. <3
Ivory trains on red carpet ~ a must for any royal wedding!
These were Princess Elizabeth’s bridesmaids in 1947, and my bridesmaids gowns looked remarkably similar to them!
I doubt that any girl who watched the royal wedding in 2011 didn’t immediately file away some ideas for her own wedding after watch Catherine Middleton walk down the aisle, and I was certainly no exception! The last time I was in England in 2013, I actually went on my own mini “royal wedding tour” and visited Westminster Abbey (where William and Catherine were married), and St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was the site of Prince Charles’ and Princess Diana’s wedding back in 1981.
A blustery day at Westminster Abbey, nearly two years ago now.
Both cathedrals were absolutely stunning, and I came back to the States thinking that there was just no place like this in America… I seriously wondered whether it would be possible to have a cathedral style wedding on the West Coast, and consoled myself with the idea of finding a decent ballroom somewhere.
Well, lo and behold, right before I got engaged, I found photographs online of a historic building from the 1800s that had the loveliest sanctuary with high, vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows, ornate carving in the woodwork, and two balconies above the pews.
Best of all, it was less than half an hour from where I lived! That same building also housed an ivory and gold ballroom, complete with chandeliers and a shiny wood dance floor. Then I realized that as a tiny little girl I had actually attended two weddings at this venue (it took my mother’s memory for me to learn that), and I was completely sold! In fact, the first wedding I ever attended took place in this very building when I was two years old. <3. I think the Lord must have had it all planned that I would get married in the same place where I first witnessed a marriage ceremony. Wow!
The ballroom in the middle of a decorating switch.
I want to share with you some behind the scenes photos of the wedding planning process!
I had my trial hair done by an absolutely top-notch lady (Janelle @ The Prettiest You), and she was able to help me achieve the late Victorian updo I’ve always wanted. (I knew I should have this hairstyle since I saw it on a bride back in 1999… It was the loveliest wedding hairdo I’d seen in person, and my mind has been made up on the subject since.)
I decided to wear the sparkling gold and crystal tiara which I wore to the grand Regency ball in England, so I took it along to my hair appointment.
And I picked out a frilled, ivory veil to match my gown! I have sewn a number of veils before, but this one at the store was perfect.
Naturally, I started planning and sewing my gown very early on, but I’ll admit it took a little while to finish – when you’re engaged, you’d much rather be talking or dancing with your fiancé than cooped up at your sewing desk. Nevertheless, I did finish it, and I took lots of sewing pictures to show you all next time.
And my wedding colors are – Ivory, Gold, and Peach! <3 I have always loved the combination of ivory and gold for elegance, and peach is possibly my favorite pastel. I think that these colors are well suited for a Victorian theme, and peach roses are so timelessly feminine and romantic.
The bridesmaids gowns are peach (just wait till you see them!), but I decided to be nice to the groomsmen and let them wear gold bow ties rather than peach. 😉
I knew that any good “royal” sort of wedding would needs lots of tea trays, so my dad and I (mainly my dad, actually), worked on making a couple dozen of these for the reception tables. <3 My thinking was to put chocolate covered strawberries, truffles, and fruit on the various trays, just to have some extra snacks in addition to the actual dinner and dessert.
I am particularly excited to talk about this part, because I purchased my bridal petticoat at Adorned in Grace Bridal, which donates all of its proceeds to helping rescue victims of human trafficking here in the United States. It is a really fabulous organization that takes donations of gently used wedding dresses, then sells them at a discounted price and puts the money straight into rescuing girls trapped in sex trafficking here in the Pacific Northwest. (There’s way more of that going on than you might realize.) So I was very happy to be able to support their cause in even a small way!
Music! No wedding would be complete without some gorgeous music! Without giving away everything about my wedding music (there’s going to be a two-camera shoot video made of the wedding), I will say that it will be very regal! I wanted to incorporate pieces from a few of my favorite films, and if you have been reading my blog for a while, you probably have a pretty good idea as to what movies those might be! 😉
As you probably read in my last blog post, I met my future husband while dancing! At a ball! (While I was wearing my Scarlett O’Hara ballgown, no less.) So I think it goes without saying that we wanted a lot of dancing at our reception. In particular, there’s one certain dance from my favorite movie of all time that we started practicing right before we got engaged… And I am thoroughly impressed with how well my darling man picked up on it! He’s really an amazing dancer, and we’ve put in so many hours of dancing together since we met last year (even before we were officially a couple), that we dance quite well together, I think. <3
I hope you all enjoyed the pictures, and I can’t wait to share some wedding gown pictures next time!
All the best,
Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on July 3, 2015
My Courtship Story
Dear, dear readers,
I have the very best of news to share with you – I’m getting married! And the hilarious thing is that many of you who follow this blog will have already seen my fiance on here a long time ago, though I had not a clue back then what would happen! 😉 The ways of the Lord are amazing.
You may recall that time that I sewed the Scarlett Ohara ballgown for a dance – you know, that huge ivory and dark green dress that I crafted using an extremely rare 1940s pattern – Hollywood Pattern 1988… Well, it just so happens that the first man who asked me to dance at that Civil War ball, would later end up asking me to marry him! So yes, I met my fiance at an English Country dance!! For real! (I must warn you that there will be a lot of Jane Austen quotes in this story – so if you don’t recognize some of the British sounding lines, a thorough viewing of Pride & Prejudice may answer your questions.) 😉
“Do You Care to Dance?”
It was a humid summer day in 2014, when 150 of us dancers were crowded into a large barn, all clad in 1860s attire… The dance caller announced for all the men to ask someone to dance, when out of nowhere a rather dashing young man showed up in front of me and quietly asked if I would like to dance. He had a very cute smile on his face, and led me up to the top of the line in the set. We introduced ourselves, but didn’t have any conversation beyond that. Well, the dance was grand fun, and I never have more fun than when I’m dancing!! I grew up in ballet, so any time I go to a ball I’m always having the time of my life. I had no idea at the time, but it turns out that this man took a liking to me right then and there, though it would take a little while for me to get a clue…
Lars is in the very far right of this picture.
After that Civil War ball, I started attending a regular class for English Country dance, which Lars (the man I told you about), also happened to be at. Before too long I realized that he was always asking me to dance for the first dance… But he was so quiet and studious that I didn’t think he liked me at all! He hardly talked and rarely smiled, and he was always very careful around girls (a rare quality in guys nowadays!). So I would have been utterly shocked (and pleasantly surprised!) if I had known way back then that he was praying about me… Aw!
“An Accomplished Young Lady”
Everything changed at a rather monumental ball, where his very sweet mother started telling me all about her son and of how I needed to get to know him! She told me that I was “a very accomplished young lady”, which as you probably know, is quite a compliment to someone who values Victorian ideals and Jane Austen novels! His mother told me all about Lars’ achievements (there were an awful lot of them!), and about how many similarities we had and how we really needed to talk! I was extremely honored that she thought I was possibly someone who should “get together” with her son, but I really didn’t think he wanted to talk with me – I was concerned that if he did talk with me, it would just be out of kindness to his mother…
Later that night, we had our first official conversation while waiting for the music to start to the dance he’d asked me for. Our dance caller could mysteriously not find the music (I think it was ordained if you ask me – our dance caller ALWAYS has the music for this dance!). 😉 When Lars started mentioning specific details of things he had seen on my Facebook page from months earlier, I thought, “Wow! He looks at my Facebook page?” I mean, he had sent me a friend request months earlier, but I’d never once seen Lars “like” or “comment” on anything. I also noticed that he was an amazing conversationalist, was refreshingly genuine, and had a very sweet spirit.
“I Like Him Very Well Indeed”
Well, there were a few teary weeks when I didn’t exactly know what was going on… I did very much want to talk with him, but I wanted it to be *his* idea if that was going to happen. We had no communication except for dance class, so I just had to wait every two weeks to see him. Then I got extremely sick and had to miss dance class, and I was concerned that he’d think I was not there because I didn’t like him! So to solve the problem, I posted a quote from Pride & Prejudice to let all my dancing friends on Facebook know the real reason I wasn’t at dance class! 😉 Thank God for Jane Austen, right?
Meanwhile, I had a lot of time to think and pray, and I did quite a bit of research online about Lars. I read his blog and his Facebook page *very* thoroughly, and you know what I found? I hope you will believe me. 😉 He had written as the caption of his college graduation portrait some years back, “It is a fact universally acknowledged that a young man in possession of a college degree *must* be in want of a job.” Um, wow!! He just basically quoted the first line from Pride and Prejudice. But of course what meant the most to me was the fact that I saw he was a very upright person of good character from everything I read on his page and blog. My faith in Jesus is incredibly important to me, so I always knew that anyone I would consider would have to be a strong Christian. After reading more about him, I sincerely started hoping a lot that we could get to know each other!
I finally told my parents what had been weighing on my heart. My mom’s first words were, “What if he’s liked you this whole time and his mom is trying to let you know?” “Oh, that’s ridiculous!” was my immediate response. “This is real life, not Anne of Avonlea!”. 😉 Because, let’s face it, girls – there are a whole lot more bad guys than good guys out there nowadays. And when we see that, it makes it hard to think that there are still the good sort of man who wants a “good” girl; and it can tend to make us think that the really good love stories don’t exist in real life, that they’re all figments of some sentimental author’s imagination…
Well, apparently, the Author of my story had a pretty good imagination, too, because after 26 years of waiting for the right man, it happened! I mean, it really really happened in an amazing way! <3 And yeah, my mom was totally spot on in her analysis of the situation, by the way. 😉 Months later I’d learn that he had in fact liked me the whole time…
“A Most Agreeable Young Man”
The next time I went back to dance class, everything was different! Lars started talking with me quite a lot, and I was very excited! The Lord answered a very specific prayer about something – I had prayed that very day that some of us could go out after dance class that night (a thing which had never happened before). Lo and behold, a newly married couple invited several of us to go to a restaurant with them after the class. There were about twenty people there, but they only invited four of us. And two of those four were Lars and I! 😀 I could hardly believe it. <3 God is soooo good, and I had a wonderful time talking with Lars. He was a total gentleman, by the way.
After that, every dance class we talked a LOT, and we started dancing together more than was considered “proper”. 😉 In these dance settings we’re a part of, it’s considered improper to dance more than two dances with the same person unless you are courting or married to them… So when Lars started asking me for three dances an evening, I kind of thought things were going somewhere…
Having a Ball
When Lars arrived in a tuxedo, I was pleasantly surprised! 😀
Then there was this advanced ball we attended, where I knew we liked each other quite a lot. And he showed up in his tuxedo, no less, which I don’t think he’d worn to one of these balls since 2011! Being the clothing enthusiast that I am, I was thoroughly impressed when he showed up looking so dashing! It was the most wonderful time of talking and dancing, and I was thinking, “I think this is *the guy*.” Afterwards, while walking me back to my vehicle, he told me that the pink umbrella he was carrying was “a very dapper color”… No, I’m not kidding you! 😀
This was the dress I wore to that ball. It was a 1950s purple taffeta that I sewed, with ruffles at the neckline.
“They Seem to be Very Fond of Each Other”
Two days after that ball, Lars started messaging me on Facebook. Quite a lot. Like 13,000 messages in the first two months. Or 19,000 messages in the several weeks following that. <3 We discovered that we lined up spiritually on basically everything. And wow, does this man have a heart for the Lord! His knowledge of the Bible was astonishing to me, and I’d never in my life had such in-depth spiritual conversations with someone! One Scripture would lead to another, and before I knew it, it was eleven at night and we had to sign off…
In a few short weeks, my whole life changed in the most wonderful way. I found myself spending all my weekends with him, sitting next to him at church, and being spoiled rotten while he serenaded me with “Edelweiss” on the piano. (Lars is an unbelievably talented concert pianist, by the way.) Lars took me to see The Sound of Music when it was re-released in the theaters for the 50th anniversary, and any man who will do that is a serious keeper! 😉
We took long walks and went on a hike that reminded me of something from Anne of Avonlea, and he even took me to a retro 1950s diner for dinner one night. I suddenly found all my vases being put to use as Lars brought me tulips or carnations or roses every week or so. <3 <3 He is an ABSOLUTE sweetheart, and is kinder to me than any other man I’ve seen. (He puts Mr. Darcy to shame!) 😉
It is worth noting at this point that the man I described earlier as reserved and not very talkative turned out to be one of the most romantic men on planet earth. If he were to be in a Jane Austen book, I’d put him as closest to Mr. Bingley, but with a lot more depth of character to him. (Because anyone worth marrying must have some comparison in a Jane Austen story, right? LOL! 😉 Just kidding.)
A Funny “Coincidence”…
One night while messaging, we both felt that the Lord gave us specific confirmation that we were on the right track:
We’d been talking about the book of Acts, when an idea popped into my head. I wrote on Facebook chat, “Have you ever heard of the book called The Heavenly Man?” (This is a book which describes a Chinese pastor who was tortured for his faith in prison, and had literally miraculous escapes from jail.)
About half a second later I saw the comment get sent again, and I thought, “Now that was weird! How did I send it twice?”
Well, no indeed! Lars had asked the exact same question less than a second later, and we both sent them at the same time… His read, “Have you read The Heavenly Man?“
Now, lest you think that this is just a coincidence, let me assure you that we had never talked about this book before. It is not a well-known Christian book. In fact, Lars is the only other Christian I’ve ever talked to who had already read it. Then, it would have been entirely possible that we’d both read it, but hadn’t thought of the same question at the same time. And lastly, it’s also entirely possible that we could have even been typing it at the same time, but I could have sent it early enough for him to see it and change his question… So we both realized, “Wow! God is trying to tell us something!” The odds that we would both randomly ask the exact same question about an obscure book within half a second of each other are not good. In fact, they are astronomical. <3 The Lord has a way of communicating with us when He wants to! 😀
An Engaging Announcement!
So I think our close friends and family were not surprised in the least when we got engaged earlier this spring! <3 (In the merry merry month of May!) I knew, absolutely, without a doubt, that this was the man God wanted me to spend the rest of my life with.
We had our engagement pictures taken at my all-time favorite photo shoot location, which many of you will recognize from the “Liesl’s Dancing Dress” pattern, my gold silk ballgown, and my Edwardian tea gown.
I have had the most amazing time sewing my wedding dress and planning my wedding, and I’ve been so busy that I’m awfully late in letting you all know about it!
If you want to follow along with much more up to date wedding planning pictures, you can follow me on Instagram where I post regular behind-the-scenes updates. But rest assured that I will let you know all about my wedding plans on the blog here very soon!
For My Fellow Young Ladies
And to all the single girls who have not (yet!) met the right person, I just want to encourage you to not settle for anything less than what God has for you! I’m not talking about finding a “perfect” man, because there are no perfect men or women. What I do mean is that when the Lord brings the right person along, you’ll know! 😀 I know that it’s not always easy to be the only “odd one out” who’s not “in a relationship”. Our culture has put way too much emphasis on a girl’s value and worth coming from what men think of them (and it’s found in the church, too!). So don’t believe for a minute that you are any less valuable or loved than a married woman or the girl who has a boyfriend! Stay faithful to the Lord. I know what it’s like to finish reading one of these courtship stories and go back to “normal” routine life and think, “Gosh, I can’t imagine what it would be like for that to happen – I’ve never met any good guys.” I remember well going back to normal work and normal serving and feeling a bit let down at the end of reading a story like this, and wondering where in the world a good man would actually exist, and how I would meet him. But let me tell you, girls, when God decides it’s time, He will knock your socks off with His blessings! God saved Lars and I for each other, and I know He is doing the same for each one of you! Yes, good men are rare, but the Lord has been in the matchmaking business a long time, and He has a way of bringing them together! I *almost* didn’t go to that Civil War ball last year. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have met Lars. But do you think that God would have let me stay home from it? Not a chance in the world! When He knows it’s time, He will do whatever it takes to make it happen. <3 <3
I see now why the Lord didn’t have me get married at 19 like my mom did, because He had a lot of things for me to do first, and there are ways that I needed to be prepared. Oh sure, I could cook and clean and all that stuff since I was a little girl, but looking back I see so many ways that the Lord made me stronger than I would have been if I’d kind of relied on a man from early on. God’s will is different for everyone, and if He hasn’t brought the right person yet, it’s not because He’s withholding it from you! He just knows when the right time is for each specific person! And I totally understand now that my future husband had things he had to do first too, before he would have been at the right time in his life to get married. Also, I think that whole thing of, “Once you’re content, God will bring you a spouse,” stuff is bologna. 😉 I was content for years, though of course I prayed a lot for my future spouse, so that wasn’t what the hold-up was. Similarly, there are tons of people who got married while they were discontent! So please don’t feel like, “Well, since I’m not married, it must mean I’m not good enough yet or I’m not content enough or God is unhappy with me.” The Bible never says that that’s the reason single people aren’t married yet. So don’t think any less of yourself! <3
Well, dear readers, I should get to sleep so I have energy to do more wedding prep tomorrow. But I hope to write an update very soon describing my wedding theme, colors, and gown construction! 😀 It’s going to be the closest thing to a “royal wedding” I can manage, complete with huge, elegant gowns for the bridal party, gorgeous music, a stunning, almost European sort of venue, and, of course, LOTS of dancing! I promise to fill you in on all the details soon!
Love and blessings, and happy sewing!
P.S. I’m marrying the first man I ever kissed. <3