REAL WEDDING | Mary Elizabeth + Christopher | Chanel inspired DIY paper flower arches are my favorite kinds of arches…

When we think of mothers in law, what typically comes to mind?  Eh?  EH?  Be honest.  Ok, maybe you have a great one – if you’re one of those lucky ones, CHERISH HER.  Because great mothers in law are not considered the norm in society.  Heck, in the world for that matter.

Enter stage left, Mary Elizabeth, today’s bride.  Vania and Christine of Simply Bloom – the lovely ladies who shot this wedding – consider Mary Elizabeth… and I quote… “the type of girl as fascinating as a rainbow.”   WOW.  If I could choose to be described as anything I wanted, it would totes be THAT.  Anyway, back to the matter at hand… tell me, what’s she got on?  If you guessed “a dress,” you’re right; I made that question pretty easy for you; I realize today’s Monday and you might need a gimme.  But, getting to the sheer heart of the matter… this dress is not your typical, everyday wedding dress, my dears.  Not by a long shot.  This dress?  The dress that Mary Elizabeth wore on her wedding day?  I’d like you to take a guess at who made it.  Go ahead, guess.

Ok I’m sure you’ve guessed it by now since I totally made it obvious with the intro.  That was another Monday morning gimme; you’re welcome.  But, for the sake of discussion and those who haven’t yet sipped any coffee… Mary Elizabeth’s MOTHER IN LAW, Sandra, made her dress.  Her just-sheer-enough, gorgeously textured, perfectly fitted, complete and total sewing-win of a gown.  Go, THAT!

I like to think that I can tell from a set of photos how loving a relationship actually is in real life.  Yes, that sounds like a God complex.  But moving right along… it seems clear to me that Mary Elizabeth and her brand new husband, Christopher have a very loving relationship.  But what’s more, it seems quite apparent that a parent didn’t get in the way, and, in fact, has served only to augment the bond of love between her son and her lovely new daughter in law.  And that, I love… more than most things.

Relationships are everything… and when they work, oh boy do they make life grand.*

*For the record, I’m assuming Chris’ Mom didn’t shove this dress down Mary Elizabeth’s throat.  … Kidding, Sandra, just kidding.

By the way, this arch of giant white paper flowers was put together by the cute couple you see beneath it.  They constructed their own altar, people.  Wow Factor numero dos in the hizzy.

Some words from our bride about her Big Day:

Our wedding planning was centered on two elements: music and design.  For the music, we chose an eclectic array of songs that were meaningful to us by artists as diverse as Sigur Rós, The Replacements, and a whole lot of classic soul.  We wanted the music to represent us as a couple and the story of our relationship in a way that everyone present would understand and be able to share in.

Working within a small budget, DIY methods were essential to implementing our design vision on a grand scale to compliment the venue.  We were inspired by giant white paper flowers that appeared in a Chanel advertisement.  The flowers brought a romantic softness to the venue’s sharp modern lines and served as the prominent visual element for the wedding decor.  The construction of the flowers was quite a challenge due to the sheer [wo]man hours spent to handcraft enough flowers to make the impact we needed for the space.  We are so grateful to both our mothers for spending countless hours cutting and gluing petals together for months leading up to the wedding day.

The dress was the other truly remarkable DIY element of the wedding. Christopher’s mom handmade the dress, personalized at each stage from the fabric choice to the shape of the bust and skirt line.  It was a truly unique experience to have dress fittings every few weekends in an upstairs media room where we would deliberate for hours about every detail.  Wearing the finished product was so special and the addition of my’s mom’s tiered veil with lace detail made the look all the more sentimental.

Hey, it’s Alison… I’ve got one more for ya, for the road…


That shot’s the kind you don’t take home to mama.  It’s like the finale of a fireworks display… totally awesome.  (You thought I was gonna say “bangin’ hot,” didn’t you.  You thought I was taking advantage of the perfect metaphor between the loud bangs and oppressive heat of a fireworks finale, and relating it to the slang the kids use these days to describe a pretty lady.  But that wouldn’t have been tasteful, now would it have.  No… no it wouldn’t have been.)

* * *

Photography: Simply Bloom Photography / Bride’s dress: Constructed by Sandra Watson (Groom’s mother) / Hair Stylist: Becky Dobbs of Elleven Salon / Make-up: Sarah Thomas / Shoes: Nina / Bridesmaids’ dresses: Anthropologie / Florist: In Bloom Floral Design Studio / Mullins Rentals & Party Plus Event Rental / Caterer: Bubba’s Silver Spoon Catering / Cake: Ellen’s Creative Cakes / Band/DJ: Billy Laing aka Captain Crunk / Venue: The Summitt at Big Spring

What’s your favorite part?  The handmade-with-love dress she wore?  The hand-made-with-love paper flower altar the couple constructed?  Or is it imposseeblay to decide?

Also, did you ever think, in your wildest dreams, that a parking lot could be such a fabulous location for a shoot?  (Me neither.)

xoxo!  – Alison


Become a part of the launch… find out more here, and here.

*Subscribe to weekday blog posts via RSS*

Label(s): Color, White, {Real Weddings}

Love all of this...


  1. Sara on November 15, 2010

    That wedding arch is unbelievable! I definitely don’t have the skills, and my fiance DEFINITELY doesn’t. :) I wish!

  2. Tabitha on November 15, 2010

    Love everything about this. She looks amazing in that gown, i love the sheer, and the arch is perfection. In disbelief that the couple made it themselves! Sounds like a very loving family (I’m green with envy ;)

  3. Super Burbs on November 15, 2010

    We are SO on the same page today! And can I just say, I think everything Simply Bloom touches turns to gold. Just gorgeous.

  4. Annie Packman on November 15, 2010

    Some thoughts: 1. What a rad mother in law 2. Gorgeous dress 3. I love the paper flowers!

  5. Alexandra/bWed Exclusive on November 15, 2010

    I can’t believe that her MIL made her dress! It’s gorgeous! What a lovely thing to do. Wow! And that last photo is fierce!! Pure perfection!

  6. Postcards and pretties on November 15, 2010

    her mother in law has some major skills!! this wedding is a dream!

  7. Melissa @ The Loveliest Day on November 15, 2010

    Love the dress, love the cake, love it all!!!

  8. Kim @BrideGoggles on November 15, 2010

    Wow, my MIL-to-be is nowhere near that crafty… but she’s pretty awesome in other ways :)

  9. Aileen@LoveandLavender on November 15, 2010

    SimplyBloom’s work is always the best…and I’m totally impressed with that DIY arch! And the fact that the dress was made by the MIL, of course!

  10. Lena on November 15, 2010

    That dress is absolutely stunning, and you’d never guess it was a homemade creation-lucky girl’s got a pretty fantastic mother-in-law! What a perfect way to start off this week!

  11. Liz on November 15, 2010

    She looks incredibly sexy in that last photo, if I may be so bold. I have got to get me a bed of those paper flowers, stat. Worth the papercuts!

  12. Liene Stevens on November 16, 2010

    Can we please discuss the fact that both Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson are engaged at the same time? And by “we discuss”, I mean you analyze it in a blog post.

  13. Lauren Elise on November 16, 2010

    Before you mentioned it, I was totally guessing that was a parking lot and was thinking, wow, if that’s a parking lot, it sure is amazing as heck! I am a big fan of the handmade flower alter but I’m a total sucker for paper flower anything. And the dress with the alter has such a stunning effect…the beautiful photography of Simply Bloom helps too!

  14. Megan Acosta on November 16, 2010

    Soooo in love with that dress! Simply stunning!

  15. Katherine on November 18, 2010

    the dress is my favorite part for sure! also, that wide shot of the bridal party with the arrows is pretty rockin’! very cool :)

  16. Amma // Beyond Beyond on November 18, 2010

    Wow, Wow and Wow!!!

  17. WB Wedding Flowers on February 22, 2011

    Love the flower bouquet! I can see salal tips or lemon leaf. What other flowers did you use?

  18. Cathy Trenkle on January 20, 2012

    Can you please tell me how to get the directions and/or templates for these flowers and what kind of paper did you use?

  19. Tulsa Bridal on March 23, 2017

    It’s fantastic! I couldn’t believe the paper flowers may look so gorgeous and sophisticated! The white is the king of this wedding, the Bride looks amazing. What a brilliant idea!


1 Pingbacks & Trackbacks

  1. [...] 50’s prom dress with bow Photography: Simply Bloom Via: The Knotty Bride // Poppy birdcage veil by Lily Bella Via: Vintage Styler // Milkshake bottles Via: Luxefinds // Rainbow bouquet Photgraphy:  Katie Noble Photo Florist: Whim Events Via: Style Me Pretty // Funfetti naked cake Via: Kitchen Heals Soul //  Bride with lollipop Photography: Abby Jiu Photography Via: United with Love [...]


Leave a comment