Perfecting DIY and Elegance


Being artsy and crafty on your wedding details is one of the growing trends for decorating your special day. Not only is it fun to do with your friends and family, but there’s this certain kind of pleasure you can get upon seeing your guests enjoy and coo over your creations. However, DIY decors usually give out some sort of casual vibe so it’s a bit tricky to maintain elegance with this vision in mind. But fret not our dear readers! For our feature today is about a wedding that has perfected DIY and elegance (add some ‘vintage’ too for a little bit of oomph). We’ll let the pictures do all the talking – for now. Oh and before we let you scroll down, I wanted to point out how cute the little pink bowties the groom and his entourage wore. Adorable! Congratulations Kylene & Jared!

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And apparently the sun is shining down brightly on us today because we have acquired the bride’s comprehensive insight on this amazing wedding!

What is the overall story for this album?

After spending over a year planning our wedding, months hammering out every last vintage-inspired detail, and days personalizing ever aspect of our big day, when everything came together on July 5th the result was leaps and bounds above anything we could have ever imagined. Besides our love for each other and our families, it was the details that made our day so special to us. From the chalkboard signage that was made by my talented mother, to the fans that were tied to tips for how to “flirt like a Victorian,” to the hundreds of origami cranes that were hand-folded to act as our guest book, and finally the bacon bar at cocktail hour (yes, I said bacon bar, it was a surprise I planned for my husband), everything came together beautifully on our cool summer wedding day. We scattered vintage furniture around the venue — white upholstered lounges throughout the garden, vintage-looking cocktail tables and seating near the personalized corn hole game, and masculine couches in the bourbon and cigar bar that we created on the terrace. Add all this to an incredible Guilded Age mansion that sits on a beautiful estate and you have the stuff our dreams are made of.

What inspired the wedding day outfits?

The overall feel of Cairnwood Estate is very vintage and glamorous with lots of metallics and intricate details. We really wanted the wedding day outfits to blend well with this vibe. I’ve known that I wanted a lace, vintage inspired wedding gown for as long as I can remember and I found the perfect Marisa Bridal dress to complement the mansion. I loved the two-toned look of the dress that really made the Alencon lace pattern pop and the vintage details one the gown. I paired the dress with the pearls my mom wore on her wedding day (re-worked into a bracelet) and a brooch bouquet made out of old and new pieces of jewelry. I’ve always loved Sue Wong’s glamorous designs and beaded details, so when I found her blush cocktail dresses on Rue La La I jumped on the opportunity to incorporate them into our wedding as the bridesmaids’ dresses. The men donned grey suits with blush bowties, plaid suspenders, and argyle socks which looked great with our color pallet and the summer season.

What was your favorite part of the day?

The day as a whole was everything we have ever imagined. Everything went off without a hitch thanks to all the fantastic professionals involved and Erin Proud’s team at Proud to Plan. We were able to relax so much more on our wedding day than we have ever imagined. Our favorite part of the day was just seeing everything that we have planned for so long come together in such a fantastic day. We were really able to spend time with our friends and families and enjoy everything we had planned. Something that really sticks out sitting down at the end of the night in our bourbon and cigar bar, on beautiful vintage furniture, with our people we love, smoking a celebratory cigar and having a toast with those around us. It truly was a magical day for us!

Was there any Do it Yourself (DIY) projects? If so, can you describe them in detail?

We incorporated multiple DIY elements throughout our wedding day. I’ve already mentioned my brooch bouquet which was created with from jewelry from my mom’s collection as well as additional pieces that were bought for the bouquet. My talented mother created chalkboards that we used throughout the estate (as the wedding program, a “menu” of events for the evening, signs near our corn hole game explaining the rules, and menus at each bar to name a few). She also framed and placed old family wedding photos on the bookshelves in the mansion’s library (a.k.a. our dancing room). My groom and I folded hundreds of origami cranes that we used as our guest book by asking guests to write a wish on the wings for us. We also offered vintage inspired fans to our guests for the ceremony (we had assumed it would be MUCH hotter than it was! We got married on July 5th, but ended up lucking out with a day that was 78 degrees and sunny!). To each of these fans we tied little cards with tips on how to “flirt like a Victorian.”

We incorporated DIY elements to the table settings for dinner. Each place setting got a signed “thank you” card printed on top of a watermarked drawing of the Liberty Bell that my grandfather had previously sketched (the wedding was outside of Philadelphia and on 4th of July weekend). The table numbers were framed cards that were hand embroidered by my grandmother. She also created a quilted “Happily Ever After” banner that hung from the mantel in the mansion’s dining room. The caterer helped us create a “Bacon Bar” as a surprise for the groom and we decorated it with metallic and antique-looking pig figurines that we collected. Along the same lines, we also created an after dinner “Bourbon & Cigar Bar” on the back terrace of the mansion.

What were the highlights from the ceremony & reception?

We hired an acoustic guitar duo from Synergetic Light & Sounds to offer music during our reception and cocktail hour. Their acoustic renditions of Can’t Help Falling in Love With You, God Only Knows, Make You Feel My Love, and All You Need is Love were beautiful additions to our ceremony among a grove of trees next to the mansion. One of the highlights for me was the beautiful pieces of vintage furniture courtesy of Maggpie Vintage Rentals that we used to decorate the mansion. We placed white upholstered pieces to create a lounge in the side garden, antiqued cocktail tables around the terrace, vintage chairs and side tables as a sitting area near the corn hole, and masculine pieces in the bourbon and cigar bar we created on the terrace.

If you ask my husband what the highlights were I’m sure he would mention the surprise bacon bar we set up during cocktail hour. Karen Spire Catering created a bar that had all different types of spiced and sweetened bacon, bacon donuts, bacon-wrapped bites, bacon lollipops… I even snuck a bacon cookie before walking down the aisle!) He also thoroughly enjoyed the personalized corn hole set on the terrace with “Mr. Utah” and “Mrs. Utah” bean bags. My husband and I met and feel in love at Penn State University, so we highlighted some PennState details throughout the night. From the “We Are” cake topper, to the Penn State Creamery ice cream, to the surprise appearance from a flat cutout of Joe Paterno everyone (Nittany Lions and not!) felt like they were in Happy Valley for a second.

Was there a theme for the ceremony and reception?

Aesthetically we stuck to a vintage and romantic theme. We really tried to build off the amazing character and details that Cairnwood estate already has by adding the additional vintage furniture as well as an abundance of mercury glass pieces, candles, and beautiful flowers. I really cannot think of a more beautiful place to get married, so our goal was to add details to the mansion without taking away from everything it already offered.

What part of the ceremonies do you think was the most memorable for you?

Walking down the aisle, seeing my (now) husband, and seeing so many friends and family who had traveled from so far was by far the most memorable thing for me (and from the opposite viewpoint for my husband!). The acoustic music, abundant flowers, and setting amongst a grove of trees was just perfect for our ceremony!

Anything else you would like to add ?

One of the unique aspects of our wedding was the venue. Cairnwood Estate does not have a typical ballroom set-up. The space was divided up into three separate dining rooms, a grand hall where we had our first dance, a library where the dance hall was, and a slew of BEAUTIFUL outdoor terraces and gardens. While this set-up is not for everyone, it fit right into our dreams. By incorporating many DIY features, bringing in vintage furniture, and filling the space with so much love, Cairnwood Estate truly became our own personal castle for the day. I wish I could go back and re-live the day over and over again — and thanks to Rebecca Barger Photography, I can!


Photographer:  Rebecca Barger Photography
Dress Store:  Bijou Bridal
Reception Venue:  Cairnwood Estate
Makeup Artist:  Dylan Michael Cosmetics, LLC
Caterer:  karen spire catering and events
Equipment Rentals:  Maggpie Vintage Rentals
Event Designer:  Proud to Plan
Hair Stylist:  Up Your Do
Floral Designer:  Valleygreen Flowers & Gifts

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