Marriage Material: Step Inside Claire’s AMAZE Backyard Wedding

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I’d never really harbored any wedding fantasies before I got married, except for one: I’ve always wanted it to happen at my childhood home in Wilmington, Delaware. It’s such a personal space: My dad has poured countless hours and his whole heart into the garden, and my mom’s design sensibility is evident everywhere you turn. So when it came time to do the damn thing with Chris, I wanted all of the elements to feel just as personal as the setting.  —claire

 Here’s how it went down:

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My Grandma Shirley was an amazing artist whose work perfectly embodied her personality. She died in between the time we got engaged and got married, so using her paintings of my parent’s house on the invites and program ended up being a really special way to give her a presence. My cousin Anna (who also designed the Of a Kind logo!) did the graphic design and layouts of them, so they were 100% a family affair.

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My dress is by (CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist!) Juan Carlos Obando. I had a vision of nineties, Calvin Klein-style minimalism in my head, and this really delivered. It’s not a wedding dress—just a white cocktail dress pulled off the rack at Barneys—which is the first piece of advice I give all my friends who are stressing about their wedding dresses: Go try on fancy dresses somewhere that is not a bridal salon. It’s a laid-back and low-pressure way to figure out what types of silhouettes actually look good on you. If you’re lucky, you might even find the dress, but if nothing else you can go into the rest of the process with a much clearer idea of what you’re looking for.

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My mom made my veil herself (using a YouTube tutorial, even). And that’s our nephew and ring bearer, Lucas, who picked out his outfit all by himself. (More on that here!)

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The so-sweet and so-talented Lauren Wolf custom-designed our rings and, man, do I love them. That’s a gray diamond on my engagement ring. Right after I said “yes,” I excitedly pointed out how well it would go with my collection of chambray shirts. And the wedding band is a bunch of tiny white diamonds in Lauren’s signature stingray setting.

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Armed with my new favorite technology, the curling wand, I styled my own ‘do—if you have curls, you know that basically nobody else can be trusted. My girl Chelsa Crowley is the best makeup artist I know, so I roped her in for my face. We came up with a term to describe her signature look: “aggressively natural.” She kills it every time. 

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My dad made that trellis from two of these $15 bad boys from Home Depot and some lathes of wood. The musicians who played during the ceremony are my dad’s community-orchestra posse—he plays the french horn. Cute, right?! And the tall guy is our friend the filmmaker Ben Nabors, who officiated.

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My attitude about party decor is that if you pick three or four elements and repeat them over and over (and over!), it’s gonna look good. We brought in a bunch of peonies, ranunculus, and baby’s breath and stuck ‘em in brown glass bottles from SKS. Farah Sit of Light + Ladder told me Russell’s Bromeliads has the best air plants around (and she would know!), so we got 100 and scattered them all over.

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Caroline Z. Hurley made metallic-printed table runners for us—which I’m now having cut and sewn into cloth napkins for everyday use.

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But let’s get real: I let my dad’s garden do most of the heavy lifting when it came to decoration.

What we didn’t do:

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We didn’t have a photo booth, but I passed around my Fuji Instax and adore the shots we got from it. They’re a totally different feel from the professional pics, and they’re  just so…tactile.

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We didn’t have a set dinner hour or assigned seating, which I was a little worried would throw people off, but it turns out everyone was psyched about not being told where to sit or when to eat. The pros at Talula’s Table served everything buffet-style and we bought lightweight, disposable, and earth-friendly plates and bowls from Verterra that were sturdy enough for people to eat standing if they wanted, and they also helped convey a more casual vibe.

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We didn’t have bridesmaids or groomsmen (my brother and Chris’s sister served as our witnesses), but our friends did come over to keep us company beforehand—which turned out to be one of my very favorite memories from the day. 

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We didn’t luck out with the weather. But we did have 50 white golf umbrellas that created a really pretty scene when they were all opened up. And by the time the dancing got going, barely anybody noticed what was falling from the sky.

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And, speaking of dancing: we did not sit still. We danced so hard the cops came to shut us down at the end of the night. And we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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THE END.

Photos courtesy of Brigitte Sire, John Cary, Ann Street Studio, Winnie Au (and our instagram army!).

Want more wedding? You got it.

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Make Marry: 4 Bits of Wedding-Planning Wisdom from 3 Way-Savvy Designers

As we get deep into the heart of wedding season, it feels like the right time to dive into a trio of the so-gorge ones we’ve featured on this site—which, by the way, all have one thing in common: The designers who tied the knot were all down to do things their own way. Get into it. —erica

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Don’t feel like you have to do the wedding-dress salon thing.
Julianne Ahn of the line Object & Totem went off-the-rack with this Suno awesomeness.
Get the deets.

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Look beyond peonies and poppies.
Erica Weiner’s flower arrangements included beets, carrots, and kale. And! She highlighted all of the veggie action happening by using clear glass containers.
Get the deets.

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Let an unexpected backdrop set the tone of the pics.
Um, how crazy-amazing is this shot?! Lauren Wolf and her husband got married in Death Valley and did photos at Zabriskie Point (where part of Star Wars was filmed).
Get the deets.

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Get creative with seating.
Want to avoid renting 100 chairs—or, in Erica Weiner’s case, hauling said chairs a quarter mile to a lake? These hay bales were happy to stand-in.
Get the deets.

Want to fall down a bridal rabbit hole? Here’s the way…

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Couple Up: Johnny Depp and Kate Moss

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If it was possible for us to do a reader poll in this space, we’d have to ask who you <3 <3 <3 more, Johnny and Kate or Johnny and Winona? Tough decisions, these. A look at the former pairing’s style, while you ponder. —erica

Johnny Depp: A yellow-and-black knit cap from Eugenia Kim, a no-nonsense leather jacket by Scotch & Soda, and an Apolis gingham shirt.

Kate Moss: Simple-but-cool Lauren Wolf studs, a pretty major LBD from Motel, and a wide belt c/o Alice + Olivia.

For more couples we miss, click here.

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Of a Kind

Faceted Claw Studs by Lauren Wolf for Of a Kind 

BUY / 85 of a kind / $104

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Of a Kind

Mauve Pearl Claw Studs and Ring by Lauren Wolf for Of a Kind

BUY / 200 of a kind / $95-$110

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Of a Kind

Silver Spikes Necklace by Lauren Wolf for Of a Kind

BUY / 40 of a kind / $125

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Recommended Reading: Look at All the Amazingness Lauren Wolf Dug Up for Design*Sponge

Did you know we pull together a column called "Obsessions" for Design*Sponge every couple weeks where we ask an Of a Kind designer to give us the scoop on the stuff he/she’s sweating right now? WELL, WE DO. And this go, we tapped the amazing Lauren Wolf, who between her jewelry line and her Oakland store, uncovers boatloads of coolness daily. Read on…erica

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Alumni Sunday: Brown Sugar Druzy Ring by Lauren Wolf

This is the sort of ring you put on yourself. Not only is Lauren Wolf’s creation ridiculously stunning, but it’s also complex: the soft, taupey druzy is sparkly and girly, but the irregular, oxidized silver setting and band are a little gritty and a lot interesting. In summary: It suits you. —erica

BUY / 58 of a kind / $120

Read more about the designer behind the line:

+ On heading to Mexico do dive into jewelry.

+ On three of the hyper-talented artists she showcases at her Oakland store.

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Are You in SF? Oakland? Menlo Park? Palo Alto?

Well, all you Bay Area-ers, come out and see us tomorrow night and meet some way cool designers. We’re co-hosting a low-key little shindig at Lauren Wolf's aaaahh-mazing Oakland shop Esqueleto, and it’s a total come-one, come-all affair. So: COME. —erica

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Of a Kind

We didn’t have much druzy experience until Lauren Wolf turned us onto the glisteny, rocky stuff, but these earrings have turned us a little obsessive. What makes the sparkly finish wearable everyday is the way the designer surrounds it in a little toughness: oxidized silver prongs that are not messing around. —erica

BUY / 20 of a kind / $180

Read more about the designer:

+ On ditching advertising for jewelry-making.

+ On Oakland’s raddest neighborhood.

+ On the artists she supports big time.

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