Let's start with the big things and work our way down to the details. In reality, we actually started with the details and worked backwards (having sketches of tablescapes before we had a date or venue).
- The dress and the lace: My mom and I haven't always been close. (In fact, it took a move to Michigan and a trip to Burning Man to bring us closer and reveal commonalities I'd never seen before.) The lace elements (very similar to the lace rose on my mom's/my wedding dresses) used throughout our stationery is a nod to tradition and the ties that bind. My mom joined me at the first meeting with Scatha (Miss Velvet Cream) when we discussed reconstructing her dress - she was 100% on board with the project. She also traveled up to Sacramento with me for the final fitting. Scatha did an amazing job transforming a very Jackie O 1960s wedding gown with train (10 yards of fabric) into a modern take on an early 19th century gown. This sense of history/story influenced the suit she is reconstructing for cubes.
- Table arrangement: When we get together as a group for sit-down meals with friends, tables and chairs - sometimes entire rooms! - are rearranged to create a single table at which we can all sit. The first time I experienced what I call - One Family, One Table - was the night I met cubes for the first time. Leslie had "one table" made up of many tables snaked through her dining room and front parlor. The next time: the combined bachelor/bachelorette getaway for Ames, Helen, Steve, and Bri. Dining tables, outdoor patio furniture, stools, and coolers were combined to create the "one table." Thanksgiving at Andy and Mella's was the third time and it was this table that led to my desire to have an intimate family dinner feel for our wedding reception. (I'm still going back and forth over the idea to find 150 or so mismatched dinner plates and water glasses for our reception. So far, the amount of time/effort involved in a eBay/thrift search for 150 stainless steel silver settings - as well as the 22 stairs we'd be carrying all these items up - has nixed this urge.) At Valentine's Day, we again all sat down at a table together. And, I'm pretty sure for Passover we'll all sit down at "one table." We won't have "one table" at our reception, but we're going to have elements of "one table." There will be two long - 24' tables down the side of the venue with one 24' "head" table (our wedding party along with their significant others will be joining us at the table).
- The table numbers: Last year cubes proposed at Burning Man. This year at Burning Man we'll unofficially get married there. Black Rock City is laid out in a horseshoe. Arterial roads are labeled with times, the man is at noon, with arterials (clockwise from the man) of 2:00, 2:30, 3:00, 3:30, 4:00, 4:30, 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 8:30, 9:00, 9:30, and 10:00. We'll be using numbers from a clock face - XII for the "head" table; I, II, and III for one of 24' dinner tables; IV, V, VI, VII, and VIII for the outside round tables; and IX, X, and XI for the other 24' dinner table. The two round tables on the inside have "extra" numbers, which are 4:20 and 8:30. These numbers signify the two camps we were involved with last year. Ardent Heavy Industries - the camp responsible for Spurious Causality where cubes proposed to me - was located at 4:20. Ocean's Serene Day Spa - the camp at which we pitched our tent - was at 8:30.
- The sterling silver platters: Growing up my maternal grandmother had sterling silver (as well as china) everywhere. She and my grandfather collected it. The platters that grace our tables are vintage, collected specifically for us by my mom and grandmother. Along with the keys, these were the first things obtained for our wedding.
- The wine and beer bottles and corks: I love candles and dining by candlelight. So when thinking/dreaming about how our tables would be decorated I always envisioned empty bottles with candles stuck in them. The bottles gracing our tables are from many celebrations with friends - a 5-year anniversary of two friends, our housewarming, and more. The corks also come from years of big and small celebrations. My paternal grandmother enjoyed white wine. Every day around 4:30, she'd have a single glass. Although this meaning was not intentional, the white wine bottles remind me of her. The Thai beer bottles are a nod to her husband who frequently traveled to the Orient (although never Thailand). The Pacifico beer bottles are also a nod to him and a reminder to always "Let the Good Times Roll."
- The keys: Years ago when I used to seek out my paternal grandfather for advice, he'd frequently remark after I'd thank him, "You already have all the keys. You just need to learn how to use them." The day cubes proposed to me, I'd woken up early with this desire to go out to the Temple. I had no plan as to what I would do there, I just felt I needed to go. Shortly after we got there, I felt moved to write a letter to three people who were no longer with us. I thanked my grandfather for always having faith that I would one day learn how to use my keys. On the way back to camp from the Temple, I told cubes what I'd written. I finished my account just as we came to Spurious Causality where he proposed shortly after. The 52 vintage keys used throughout have an additional meaning as they were collected for us by my mom and grandmother.
- The cookbooks: Once a vintage look binding past with present was dreamt of, books were the next logical element. I grew up in a house surrounded by books. Books on Art, on History, on Foreign Lands, on Cooking, and more. I started scouring eBay and Etsy for cookbooks that I cooked from with my mom, my grams, and my aunts - I wanted these happy memories to infuse our celebration. Not all of the vintage cookbooks that I acquired are here (my mom's collection is safe in her dining room and some of the duplicates of those cookbooks that I loved the most are safe at home).
- The watchwerks: These have absolutely no meaning. (I could make something up, like it reminds me of one of my all-time favorite movies "Somewhere in Time," but I won't.) cubes proposed to me at Spurious Causality which has a Steampunk aesthetic. Steampunk features watchwerks; we liked the look. And for this reason - no hidden meaning - you'll see watchwerks used throughout (including our Burning Man wedding rings). Can you spot everywhere they occur?
Have you included decor or touches that have personal meaning that's not obvious to guests? Are you going to tell your guests about the meaning?