#b#Fun With Footwear#/b#

The best story I have about a wedding dress has nothing to do with my own, which was nothing special, and everything to do with the creepy disintegrating shell of a decades-old wedding dress and veil we found in a decaying yellowed box while clearing our attic of junk left there by a previous owner of our new house.

On our wedding day, though, those remains had not yet been unearthed, so the most talked-about part of my ensemble were my shoes. While I struggled through our rehearsal dinner in 4.5-inch white heels the night before, I eschewed tradition for the wedding itself, opting instead for open-toed pinkish-orange heels that were far more comfortable, paid homage to my Princetonian roots, and matched pretty well with the bridesmaids’ dresses.

(My toenails, painted silver, had already chipped. I’ve had three pedicures in my life and have never made it out of the salon without having already messed up the new paint job.)

My three bridesmaids, meanwhile, were free to pick their own footwear on the theory that they would each be more comfortable in shoes of their own choosing.

They showed up in varying shades of beige and white, but they all left wearing custom-ordered flip-flops that, along with necklaces to go with their dresses, were presented as gifts at our rehearsal dinner.

So while I made it through the better part of eight hours on my feet — happy for the much-needed extra inches the heels gave my 5’3” frame but wishing I’d had the foresight to buy my own custom flip-flops — my bridesmaids danced the night away.

For what it’s worth, we did consider providing flip-flops for everyone as party favors. But after surreptitiously gathering shoe sizes for my bridesmaids and doing some comparison shopping, the expense and hassle of determining how many to buy in which sizes was too much.

Instead, we offered as party favors miniature mason jars filled with orange and yellow jelly beans. Having consumed several pounds of leftovers myself, I know they were pretty tasty. But last I checked, jelly beans are no cure for aching and blistered feet. Sorry about that.

#b#Do-It-Yourself Printing#/b#

We probably saved hundreds of dollars and lost dozens of hours of sleep by printing all of our wedding materials at home.

We purchased stationery locally, and everything from save-the-dates to thank-you cards were printed at our home with some help from PhotoShop and a decent quality photo printer — tools that paid for themselves quickly.

Among our handiwork: Our programs, above, were tied together with a fan for use in the un-air-conditioned university chapel. In lieu of a traditional guest book, we had guests fill out wedding-themed madlibs offering “advice to the happy couple.”

#b#Flowers & Centerpieces#/b#

My experience with flowers began and more or less ended with my role as a flower girl at an aunt’s wedding when I was about 3. I don’t remember much about the event — other than what has been immortalized in a family photo of me running into my mother’s arms near the end of the aisle — but I’m pretty sure the flowers I had in my basket weren’t even real, and I’m definitely sure I didn’t know the difference anyway.

Fast-forward approximately 22 years, and it’s time to plan for flowers at my own wedding. In the two intervening decades, I learned little more about flowers. Thus, there was a fair amount of sticker shock when I heard that between bouquets and centerpieces, wedding flowers can cost several thousand dollars.

That is when I decided we would have non-floral centerpieces.

The best advice I got on centerpieces for our round tables was not to get one so high that guests would be unable to see over them. Using our yellow and orange color theme, we purchased floating candles and borrowed narrow cylindrical vases that had been used for a previous wedding at our venue. With some lemon leaves as garnish, our tables looked elegant for a fraction of the cost.

With no special attachment to any particular type of flower, we sought advice from Georgianne Vinicombe at Monday Morning Flowers in Forrestal Village. We chose roses that would work well with the wedding’s color scheme and the bridesmaids’ dresses: gelosia roses for them and the groomsmen’s boutonnieres, ambiance roses for me and my groom, and white baby roses for close relatives’ corsages and boutonnieres.

#b#Cut the Cake#/b#

It is a truth universally acknowledged that wedding cake often looks better than it tastes.

To be fair, we did not actually taste any wedding cakes in preparation for our wedding, but that was the impression we had from weddings we had attended as guests. And with sinfully delicious cupcakes available right in downtown Princeton at the Bent Spoon, a cake never stood a chance anyway.

You can order small or large cupcakes, with any combination of chocolate or vanilla cake and chocolate or vanilla buttercream frosting, available in several colors.

After much debate over how many cupcakes each guest could reasonably be expected to eat, we ordered 390 small cupcakes — enough for nearly 2.5 per guest — along with two large ones for the bride and groom.

There were no leftovers.

#b#Tee Time#/b#

Every year since I was 10, my extended family has spent a week each summer on Long Beach Island: home of 18 miles of beach — and nearly a dozen mini-golf courses.

My husband has now accompanied me on six of those trips, and he quickly learned what my family has long accepted: I hate the beach, and have been known to spend whole weeks without setting foot in the sand or toes in the water.

Enter those mini-golf courses. While everyone else is swimming and tanning, we have developed our fiercest rivalry playing one course after another alongside teenagers, toddlers, and the occasional unwitting cousin who decides to come along with us.

We’ll both be the first to admit that neither of us is very good. My dad comes along for one match each year and invariably beats both of us handily. But we are evenly matched and highly competitive, and we’ve been known to hold grudges against the winner for the days or — let’s be honest — hours until our next round.

So when the question arose as to how we could make our wedding unique — and keep our handful of pre-teen guests entertained — the answer was obvious: we should have a mini-golf course.

How to go about this was not as obvious. The set-up would have to be indoors, and in a relatively small space, which made most rental options untenable. So we made our own three-hole course, complete with a windmill (promptly destroyed by some overzealous players).

We bought some child-size putters and plastic golf balls and supplied a few adult-size putters. We also had a few real balls, which were quickly hidden after seeing a few wild swings of the putter all too near the wall of floor-to-ceiling windows.

While the kids had fun, we inevitably had no time to play on our own course, other than to pose for a few photos. But most of it is still in our garage. Maybe someday.

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