Complete with dinner and drinks, an emotional ceremony and a dance-party reception, The NotWedding has become a killer alternative to a bridal show. The hand-selected vendors perform their services as they would at a real wedding, and the “wedding guests” get to hear the music, taste the cakes, and smell the flowers… while enjoying a night of great food, dancing and surprises, leaving brides-to-be saying “I want my wedding to be just like that!”. For brides and grooms, the event serves as a source of inspiration, a resource in finding trusted wedding vendors and an emotional reminder to plan for what comes after the wedding: a marriage! For participating wedding vendors, the event exposes their business to new referral sources, while also exposing each vendor to a wealth of inspiration, resources and confidence to take their business to the next level.
For the wedding we imagined thin, mismatched dripping candles along the long dinner table. I searched online, but I had in mind something more organic and imperfect. I’ve worked with beeswax plenty of times, so I thought I would give it a try myself… Candle-making without any real instruction. I created my first candle, sent it to Joy and she agreed this was the way to go. So I set off to make candle-dipping dates!
Melted Bleached or Unbleached Beeswax. We used Bleached Beeswax for a lighter color candle. Wax be found on Amazon.com or an art supply store.
A small piece of wood
Candle Wick. Also found on Amazon.com or an art supply store
A glass of water
A tall heat proof container. I bought a pouring pot I found online, but I believe you can use anything that is heatproof and tall enough for your desired candle length.
Prepare by heating your wax in a double broiler until entirely melted.
1. Create your dipping tool by putting two nails into a small piece of wood about 2 inches apart. We just used a small branch from outside but you could also use a ruler or perhaps a pencil.
2. With the wick draping over your dipping tool, decide how long your want your two candles. Remember to add an additional 2-3 inches to each candle since you will not drop your wick all the way to the wax. Since the wick is doubling over, double your math and measure out the rest of your wicks accordingly. *
3. Take each of your cut wicks, and quickly dip them entirely into your wax and remove and allow to dry. If you bought pre-waxed wicks, you can skip this step. This allows your next few dips to have something to grab onto.
4. Place your cooled & waxed wicks over the two nails and dip into the wax quickly. Alternate between dipping in the wax and into the water, which will quickly cool the wax before diving back in again. Watch the candle start to form.
5. Repeat until you find your desired width of your candle. For my candles, I dipped them 10-15 times.
*Remember: How deep your hot wax container is will determine how long your candle will be. Decide how long you want your candles to be and find a container to match your needs.
Tip: Halfway through the process, your wax may start to cool off. Take a break, put your pot back into your double broiler, and heat again.
Here is a really easy (cheater’s) way to get really aged looking flower pots without all the age!
Months before my wedding, we had plans to hand make really organic hypertufa pots (natural, rock-like containers) for our centerpieces. We imagined planted flowers that grew between moss and cascaded over the tables.
As all weddings do, ours came quickly and 2 weeks before the date the pots still weren’t made. All hypertufa recipes online encouraged weeks and weeks of aging… and we didn’t have that. Brand new concrete is not what we had in mind, so we had to find a way to age the concrete pots. We threw the previous recipes out the window and started from scratch. My dad had been making his own natural looking pots for years (unbeknownst to me) so he showed me his own tricks.
And here is what he taught me…
Portland Cement (mixed according to directions on the bag)
Dried or fresh moss
A bowl or object to create a mold
Rubber working gloves
1. Pour concrete over molding piece.
To allow the pot to mold really organically, avoiding straight lines or sharp edges, we put the molding piece only on the interior of the pot. This is unlike most tutorials which will encourage you to mold the exterior of your pot as well. This molding piece, which is more correctly only a ‘shaping’ piece, is placed on the table or ground and then poured onto with the concrete, to encourage your pot to shape naturally. This molding/shaping piece can be anything- an old bin, bowl, tub, pot…. Or for even more control of shape and size, you can create your shaping piece out of making a mound of wet sand (think building a sandcastle) then pour your concrete thickly over your sand mound. We did this to create our 3-foot long flower pot on your main dinner table, and it worked perfectly.
2. After pouring your concrete, make sure it’s plenty thick- otherwise it might crumble. Fill in any thinner spots with more concrete. At this point, also create a drainage hole by pushing your index finger into what will be the bottom of the mold, to allow drainage for your plants.
3. Heavily sprinkle peat moss over the concrete and massage it in. Sprinkle a second layer to really coat it.
4. Soak a small piece of moss with water the squeeze out the extra liquid.
5. Vigorously pat the small piece of moss onto your wet concrete pot. Make sure your moss is gripping onto your concrete and will be able to hold onto it once its dry. The concrete will start to soak through the moss– this is a good thing. You want it to hold nicely. From here, you can add more moss randomly around your pot & even add small pebbles or other natural textures.
During my creative session with Joy I remember saying “I think I want the wedding to feel like this scene in my head: A group of family & friends attending a baptism at a fountain in an Italian city & then together celebrating the baptism over dinner at a family’s small garden in the village.” It sounded weird saying it out loud, but that vision embodied the refreshing, life-filled, warm, intimate celebration I imagined ourwedding to be. We were blessed with amazing family and friends who are not only incredibly talented but also so selfless & giving. All of these people made our wedding more than I could have ever imagined & filled our hearts more than I knew could be filled. My Italian grandmother and aunt made the delicious feast, while Caitlin made the perfect little panna cottas for dessert. My sister and I made the hypertufa pots for each table and Katie potted beautiful, unruly arrangements in them- which I proudly still nurture & keep today! The candles were a therapeutic project my sister and I took on; making them tall, thin, and perfectly imperfect. And my dad, who gave the most of all, built our long wooden dinner tables and hand laid century-old bricks for a patio for us to eat on- both of these tasks being completely new to him.
I’m so thankful for this celebration we have of beauty, love, and family. I’m grateful for the beautiful process of planning for a wedding & every conversation leading up to ours with Joy, Ginny, Tec, Meagan, Joanna, Katie, Emily, Caitlin and our sweet family & friends…. Our hearts are so full. We are so thankful for each of you.