CASUAL CHIC DIY WEDDING + SEXY BABIES? | Succulents + Tats + Fights + Goats = This Killer Wedding. Also, Open Letter to Toddlers & Tiaras By Me & Tom Hanks.

↑ the “fighting” part of the title… ceremony fan creatively used as weapon – but flowers are no defense!  someone tell him!

Happy evening, peoples!  What is it, like 10:45pm EST?  Whew, YEAH it is.  Today was sort of, umm… today was pretty busy, y’all.

I just wrapped up taping The Bachelor which means I have been AVOIDING TWITTER AT ALL COSTS, so if you happened to a) talk to me on Twitter or b) asked me to live tweet or anything, I’m sorry but I couldn’t.  You see, if I had so much as peeked at my stream I would have found out everything that I’m waiting until after Honey goes to sleep to find out.  And I need to have privacy, silence and tequila shots on the side table (just in case), and also access to constant pause-play-pause action.  This does not a relaxing television watching environment make.  In fact this is considered one of, if not the, least desirable ways to watch tv, if you’re not Alison.  But this is also the way it has to be.

Anyway so we were all over the city this past weekend checking out spaces and it was insaneballs.  I forgot how exhausting that s**t is.  I’m talking about using my feet to walk long distances on pavement.  Turns out the city is like HUGE, you guys, really huge.  I *just learned* this, despite living in the city for a few years short of a decade.  But yeah, so we checked out like, every. space. and its mother space.  Fortunately Saturday was unseasonably warm which made the walking pretty delightful and also resulted in some spontaneous purchases at Kate Spade.  (Unseasonably great weather will do that to an Alison; it’ll take you by the arm and escort you into Kate Spade.  Note: an Alison is defined as a girl who is easily influenced by weather and shiny things in store windows).  But Sunday got hella chilly and the picture was not as bright/attractive.  It was more like Alison and Honey walking down the street from location to location while Alison regularly tilted her head back whenever she felt like she was about to cry out of her nose.  Because my nose runs as if a river runs through it.  Tissues, ladies.  Tissues are essential, right after lube moisturizer and condoms.   HAHAH did I say lube and condoms?  WHAT??!!  I meant lip moisturizer and tic tacs.  HAHAHH damn you, autocorrect!

In other less stupid news… here’s that thing I mentioned on Twitter that I wanted to address on the blog today:

Dear Toddlers & Tiaras, please Cease & Desist.  You are endorsing the emotional death of infants.  Seriously, this seems illegal and I would formally like to request that you discontinue the show in its current format.  But, if you *must* continue the series due to what I assume is the deplorably high level of viewer interest, then kindly change the format.  I suggest this:

1.  Assign therapists to each of the children.  For they currently have 3+ years each of emotional damage to work past; would be best to get a nice, healthy start on the work.

2.  Assign therapists to each of the mothers/fathers.  This should be number 1, actually.  Sorry.

3.  Stop filming the show.  Oh wait what?  You won’t do that– ok, sorry, I forgot.  Still that’s my first choice.

4.  Remove the makeup/hair/costume extravagance from the contests.  Little babies shouldn’t look and dress like whores.  Let them make the decision to look and dress like whores when they’re of age.  Give THEM the choice.  Don’t force the whore into them too early.  This tends to guide littles into actually BEING whores.  Bad idea, for babies.

5.  Flippers?

6.  I hate that I had to write this open letter to you, Toddlers & Tiaras.

If I’m too small potatoes for you to take any action, here… let Tom Hanks show you what I mean.

“Sexy hands… sexy feet… sexy FEET.  SEXY FEET!”

Ok, NOW.  We’ve got a little thing I like to call a WEDDING, of which to be in awe right now.  This outdoorsy chicness was submitted by the fabulous Wing Ta of Canary Grey Photography.  And I have one word for you: succulents and tattoos and hair accessories and dresses.  … Four.  I mean four.  Four words.

Here’s a bit from the amazing Wing Ta:

Casual chic at it’s finest! Ashley and Shawn’s big day was filled with lots of laughter and heart. We were so honored and thrilled to be a part of their lovely, lovely wedding! These two have been dating for over a decade.

Ashley and Shawn chose to walk down the aisle together and it was an amazing entrance for two beautiful people. Their appreciation for the outdoors made Windbeam Farm the perfect location for their laid back yet chic affair. All the charming DIY details were designed by Ashley (graphic designer) herself!

And here’s the stellar rundown from our gorgeous bride, Ashley:

After ten years together, Shawn and I decided to finally take the plunge and get married. Many of our friends and relatives have long anticipated this wedding for years, so we really wanted to make it an EVENT!

With any wedding, finding a great venue is the first step. We knew we wanted it outdoors, and representative of us. After viewing various outdoor venues around the Twin Cities, we really didn’t find exactly what we were looking for, until I came across a local photographer’s blog. She had posted a wedding she shot at Windbeam Farm, a quaint rustic farm in Hager City, Wisconsin. After meeting with Trudi, the owner of the farm, and visiting the farm we both immediately knew this was the PLACE!

Once we had our location, all the details started to come together. We wanted to create a rustic farm wedding with a contemporary, eclectic feel. One huge source of inspiration was the dress! Once I found it, all the themes for our wedding came together; simple, elegant, structural, playful, and modern. Since, my dress had hints of metallics, I decided I wanted the girls to wear various shades of metallics. I knew from the beginning I wanted the bridesmaids to feel glamorous, confident, and comfortable, that’s why I wanted them to pick out their own dresses. In the end, it was a little more work on their part, but each of them loved what they wore that day. As for Shawn, well, he wanted to go the whole nine yards and purchased a grey pinstriped three-piece suit (which worked out well for our humid, 90 degree wedding day). I really wasn’t concerned with everyone “totally” matching, I just wanted everyone to feel comfortable, and the results were AMAZING!

After deciding to have the wedding party in neutral tones, I was really able to expand my color palette elsewhere in the flowers, stationery, and decor. I started with the invitations, a tiny passion of mine, and designed a simple, yet playful set using traditional letterpress technique. After designing the invitations, I used the pattern on other small details throughout the reception; the place cards, the guestbook ( the wedding tree), and various signage. Also, the colors from the pattern in our invites were the inspiration for the BEAUTIFUL floral bouquets.

Throughout the planning process, I really tried to add meaningful details where I could. Here is a list on some of my favorite things:

My JEWELRY!! Shawn has been collecting quartz crystals since I have known him. When he finds a good one, he gives it to me. So, the jewelry I wore that day was custom-made for me by a dear friend using some of the crystals he has given me throughout the years.

The BUTTONS. Shawn and I are kind of known for making small buttons for our friends from time to time. We made buttons for our place cards with various photographs of our parents, family members, friends, and of course, the bride and groom.

My HANDKERCHIEF. Throughout the day, I carried a monogrammed handkerchief that had been passed down to me from my father’s side. It was, for me, a representation of of that side of the family and had my maiden name initial on it. I tend to like symbolic things.

The CAKE! We originally were not going to have a “wedding cake,” our caterers were going to bring Tres Leches sheet cake to slice and pass around. About two months before the wedding, a co-worker asked me what we were doing for a wedding cake. I told him, and he was very unamused. He went on to tell me that his relatives make “very good, authentic” Tres Leches cakes. He was absolutely right, those cakes looked and tasted fantastic! It meant so much more to have someone you know contribute.

The very best part of the entire day was the CEREMONY! Shawn and I decided to enter the ceremony side by side, it just seemed right for both of us. We wanted to step into our new life together, as a couple! Our officiant is a Chaplin at a local hospital and a good friend of Shawn’s father. His service was great, he tied in community, religion (but not too preachy), and some great advice for any successful marriage and relationship to thrive. We wanted to have Shawn’s sister do a reading, at first I struggled to find something, but about two weeks before, I realized the perfect poem. It was the lyrics to our favorite song, “This Must Be the Place,” written by David Byrne, here is a small excerpt:

“Home, is where I want to be, but I guess I’m already there. I come home, she lifted up her wings, guess that this must be the place. I can’t tell one from another, did I find you, or you find me? There was a time, before we were born, if someone asks, this where I’ll be . . . where I’ll be.”

Standing up there, with your best friend, in front of everyone you know is such a great and intense experience. When I remember this day, it will be that MOMENT!

For anyone planning a wedding, I know you hear it all the time, but make it your own, find meaningful things, and by all means make it FUN.

↑ This is what you call “being a sport.”  Good man, good man.

So…. thoughts?  Let’s hear it:

1.  For or against Toddlers & Tiaras?  If you’re for it, I could use some convincing.

2.  Succulents!!!  Not a question, just obsessed with everything that involves succulents.  In fact I wanna dress Bam up as a succulent for next Hallow’s Eve.  Or a bunny.  (Bunny costume = no effort; already looks like bunny.)

3.  Do you love the mismatched bridesmaids’ dresses in this wedding?  I just love mismatched bridesmaids’ dresses in general.  They just rule.  Period.

4.  That reminds me.  Welcome to Shark Week, ladies and ladies.

xoxo!  - Alison

P.S. – Unfamiliar with Lady Shark Week?  Please, visit this post, and scroll to the end.

Photography: Canary Grey Photography / Submitted via Two Bright Lights / Caterer:  Chowgirls Killer Catering / Floral Designer:  Flora Bella / Reception Venue:  Windbeam Farm / Dress Designer:  Nicole Miller / Jewelry:  Charlemagne Jewelry / Tuxedo and Mens Attire:  Heimie’s Haberdashery / Bridesmaid Dresses:  NordstromJ. Crew

Label(s): {Real Weddings}

Love all of this...


  1. Janna Lee on January 10, 2012

    All I can say is that you make my day. Kindred spirits and apparently we talk the same. Shark Week YES. Give toddlers a chance to be …well toddlers instead of living through our children to be the pretty kids we probably were but didn’t appreciate. Bambino=bunny. Love the mismatched dresses but not sure if I’m daring enough to attempt it in my wedding :-) I just love reading your thoughts at the end of a crazy day!

  2. Kelly on January 10, 2012

    WOW!! They were playing the game? So happy they were!!!And so many green plants that really fresh and beautiful!!!

  3. Tara on January 10, 2012

    Happy couple, fab details, amazing flowers … and that video is hilarious.

  4. Lena on January 10, 2012

    1. How have I missed the magic of Tom Hanks as a pageant dad? I love Toddlers & Tiaras for the same reason I love the Bachelor. I can’t look away. See also: Hoarders.

    2. Yes.

    3. Yes.

    May I also add, That gown is amazing, and I’ve seen it on a few other brides and not been sold but I could not look away this time, which means (to me) that the bride and the dress were destined for each other.

    4. Give me a few days.

    5. Can’t WAIT for the Bachelor post. I wasn’t prepared last week, which was my fault, but it will not happen again.

  5. Your San Diego Wedding Planner on January 11, 2012

    Succulents and goats and gorgeous!

  6. aurea @ pricewise events on January 11, 2012

    I super love their native fan favors! :D

  7. sam on January 11, 2012

    You are utterly correct on that!

  8. Chic Wedding Favors on January 12, 2012

    I love the garden feel of this wedding. Everything feels fresh and new. Great wedding theme idea

  9. Ann on January 17, 2012

    Oh my goodness she looks absolutely stunning. Hope you are blogging this wedding, can’t wait. Well done.

  10. Tim Duncan on January 18, 2012

    Such a cute couple! I love her flowers, and those seating arrangements are the cutest!

  11. Cindi Nicholas-Grisham on March 23, 2012

    You’re entitled to your opinion re: Toddlers and Tiaras. And, I’m entitled to mine re: your wedding. What a circus!

  12. Trent on June 16, 2012

    ooooh. That reception location was beautiful. Love the film and love the brides tattoo!

  13. bridesmaidlook on December 29, 2012

    very funny wedding theme

  14. メリッサ on June 1, 2013

    Sick and tired of so many japan trends? I’m at this site to help you

  15. Groupdress on March 21, 2014

    Such a cute couple!

  16. www on June 22, 2015

    Surfing around I noticed your website book-marked as: CASUAL CHIC DIY WEDDING + SEXY BABIES? | Succulents + Tats + Fights + Goats = This Killer Wedding. Also, Open Letter to Toddlers &. Now i’m assuming you bookmarked it yourself and wanted to ask if social bookmarking gets you a large amount of traffic? I’ve been looking at doing some book-marking for a few of my websites but wasn’t certain if it would yield any positive results. Thank you. Kindest regards www


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