Whoever said weddings have to be black tie, bow tie, fancy-shmancy affairs, hasn't met my cousin Charlene. When it came time for her to get hitched to her longtime boyfriend, Will, they opted for country flair all the way.
The first tip off? The unusual, but utterly sentimental wedding invitation. I knew as soon as I opened the envelope and took a look at the invitation that this was going to be a fun, down to earth, happy celebration. The kind more bride and grooms should have. Who wants to wear stiff shirts and uncomfortable gowns?
Charlene told me she got the invitations online at invitationsbydawn.com. They do everything from invitations to decorations to gifts and accessories. Her invitation was a bright white 5x7 card with an affectionate cartoon of a kissing cowboy and country girl on the top. Their names were on either side of the picture with the wedding details written below. Just the sight of the invitation had me thinking about a good old- fashioned hoedown. Interesting how an invitation can evoke such a strong feeling about the event.
The wedding was the talk of the town weeks before it took place. Everyone loved the invitation and was pleased that the directions for attire were to come "dressed down and ready to kick up some dirt." Got boots? became the slogan mouthed by all future guests. Charlene was thrilled invitationsbydawn.com had started her wedding off with such fanfare.
The wedding took place on a ranch on a warm, sunny day in June. The ceremony and reception were outside with the festivities starting just after five. Charlene and Will exchanged vows under a gazebo decorated with red, yellow and orange flowers. Will walked down the aisle wearing jeans, a white shirt, boots and a cowboy hat. Charlene wore white boots decorated with pearls and a simple but stylish short white dress. They wrote their own vows and had all the guests laughing and crying with their references to honoring and cherishing each other's favorite country music songs, western wear, and line dancing techniques.
The reception tables were decorated with red gingham tablecloths and tall glass cylinders filled with red and white flowers and ivy cascading down the sides. The informal table settings were just right with a special touch added to the stemware. Each wine glass was decorated with a small silver charm - either a horse, boot, or horseshoe. It added the perfect touch. When I later asked Charlene about the charms she said she got them at invitationsbydawn.com also.
The delicious smell of barbeque filled the air as chefs in white aprons cooked up some chicken, tri-tip and ribs right outside on large grills. To keep everyone occupied before it was time to chow down, the band kicked into high gear with country songs and more traditional wedding songs too. Charlene and Will hired a dance instructor to teach some country western dances and several long lines of guests filled the dusty dance floor to learn some new steps.
When it was finally time to eat, we indulged in our choice of barbeque cuisine and then added baked beans, corn on the cob, salad and flautas with salsa and guacamole. The food was exceptional and no one worried about dripping barbeque sauce on his or her clothes.
There was more on the table that I have to mention. Each guest received a small white box with a border of sparkling pearls and subtle floral design. The boxes were personalized with Charlene and Will's names and the wedding date. Charlene got them at rexcraft.com. Another great website she shopped at. It's really helpful not having to hop in your car for everything. Inside the boxes were red and white jellybeans wrapped in a black and white bandana. Several of us tied the bandana around our necks after we ate the treat.
The rest of the celebration flew by in the blink of an eye. Games of horseshoe were played in the grass with pewter horseshoes that were stamped with "lucky in love." Another accessory Charlene found at invitationsbydawn.com. The cake was served, the garter tossed and several toasts by well wishers given. My feet hurt from all the dancing but my evening ended on a high note. I was able to lasso myself a date with one of Will's friend's for the next weekend. Yee haw!