Intimate 1940s Inspired DIY Ranch wedding

This lovey wedding, nestled in rolling hills of West Texas, wasn't situated in a major mountain region, but like I told Elizabeth, I'm liberal in how I define mountains. In fact, I let the couple and the wedding pros do the defining. You see, I grew up in The Berkshires in western Massachusetts. I thought we lived in the mountains. It wasn't until I moved out west that I first heard someone tell me,”Those aren't mountains; those are hills.” Well they're mountains to me! So while these little mountains in west Texas are modest, as Elizabeth says, “I know they aren't huge mountains but we're pretty proud of them. :)” And so you should be. They're delightful.

1940s bride in an alternative floral wedding dress

Here's what's in store:

  • Small gust list (40 people)
  • DIY Flowers
  • Alternative vintage wedding dress
  • Custom Cake toppers
  • Great Hindsight Advice (including regrets and things the bride wishes she hadn't worries about)

Ranch wedding in west Texas

Vintage handkerchief table clothes

West texas rustic details

ranch wedding in west Texas

vintage hand painted invitations and sunflower bouquet

hot tamales

custom cake topper

Rustic wedding in west texas

sunflower centerppieces

dancing under the twinkle lights

Tell us a bit about your wedding:

The wedding was planned in just under a year, and we really wanted to do something that felt more like a warm, low-key family reunion than a wedding. Keeping that spirit in mind, I decided to start with what I considered decorative basics that I could work off of. My mother's vintage fourties tablecloths became the foundation; from that idea my mother-in-law found some beautiful aqua mason jars for flowers, and I decided to pick some great old family portraits from both sides of the family to display as centerpieces.

There were a few things that were unorthodox, but we chose objects and ideas that we loved. From planning this wedding from start to finish, I have discovered that weddings do not have to be a “white dress/black tie” type of affair just because that what tradition dictates [unless, of course, that is what you've dreamed of]. If you throw a wedding that you would want to attend, guests are guaranteed to have a good time. The pictures of family on the tables [both present and in the spirit world] made for good conversation starters, too. The work it took to track down the pictures and find inexpensive picture frames was more than gratifying. I was willing to spend a little more for an item that would be a keepsake. Our cake toppers, from goosegreaseshop.com, were painted to look like how we dressed for our wedding day, and now sit perched next to our wedding photo. I also took the time to sit down and make an excel spreadsheet with our budget, guest list, and wedding ideas. Since this wedding was planned overseas, I was able to e-mail this spreadsheet back and forth to my fiance, my mother, and mother-in-law; the spreadsheet made it so easy to keep track of ideas and their cost, and also a quick reference to find something if I had forgotten where to buy it.

 

Three things I'm glad we did:

  • I am so pleased that rather than having flowers sent from a florist, we picked some up from the local grocery store. I found the sunflowers I wanted and filled in the arrangement with multi-colored flowers.  Arranging the flowers the day before was also a fun little activity with my grandmother and mother-in-law.  I also put together my own bouquet of flowers from the grocery store and tied them together with a little yellow ribbon. The flowers cost about $80.

 

  • When trying to come up with something creative as a wedding favor, I realized quickly how costly this might be. Because it was an outdoor wedding and in the middle of August in West Texas, I chose sandalwood fans; and because we had many friends and family coming in from outside of Texas, we chose local Texas wildflower seed packets that were personalized with our name and date of the wedding on the paper seed packets. [wildseedfarms.com] Keeping the favors small allowed us to give something that was heartfelt and practical. The favors came in at just under $250.

 

  • Lastly, I'm glad we chose to have our wedding where my parents live; we had a great venue for the party. We stayed at the ranch, so we had the chance to say goodbye to our friends and family as they left, and visit with our friends that stayed and celebrated into the night.

Three things I wish I had done:

  • My mother had a beautiful ruby-colored glass cake stand that I wish I had put more effort into finding for the cake. Luckily, the lady who baked our cakes brought her own that fit wonderfully with the cake.
  • I should have tried on my dress with all of the accoutrements before the big day. The bra I picked out for my dress didn't work with the style, and I should have worn the black sash that came with the dress instead of the belt. I left those decisions until hours before the wedding, and made hasty decisions.
  • I should have orchestrated a better “first look” photo. The whole feeling of the day was pretty casual, and I didn't want a big entrance, so I just walked out from where I had been getting dressed…Vince was surrounded by our friends, and I wished it had been just us for the first few pictures.

Things I wish we hadn't done:

  • I should have had a better guest list in order before we ordered invitations. Now I have a stack of 40 invitations and envelopes with my maiden name on them.
  • I wish I hadn't pushed away my dinner so quickly. We had tenderloin tamales and skewers of chicken and veggies. It was so exciting to have everyone in town and see people we hadn't seen in a long time, that I only took a few bites and went back to visiting. By the time the party was done, I was STARVING!

Three things I wish I hadn't worried about:

  • I worried about finding flowers in town. Folks that lived there said that the supply of flowers changed so often, it would be hard to make sure you got the right ones you wanted. It didn't matter at all. Picking flowers from the grocery store worked out perfectly.
  • We ordered food for exactly 60 people, and only 40 showed. I worried that there would be too many left overs, but it got shared among the people at the ranch, and nothing went to waste.
  • I wish I hadn't worried about picking out a dress. I ordered a dress from David's Bridal online, and had to return it. I fretted about finding a dress and spent hours scouring the internet for just the right one. Months later, my mom and I went on a shopping trip to White House Black Market, and I found the most beautiful perfect dress. I knew it was right when I tried it on, and the light fabric was superb for the day!

Hindsight Advice

Invest MORE into your marriage than you invest in your wedding. Albeit beautiful, I've never understood the expensive weddings. Our wedding was unforgettable, and shared with the people that meant the most to us in our lives together.

Team Wedding