Rebecca’s Home Garden Wedding

Guests gathering before the ceremony.

Guests gathering before the ceremony.

With all the upcoming June weddings, I thought you might enjoy our family’s adventures preparing for our daughter’s nuptials, as well as all the sewing I did for this important event.

11 years ago Rebecca and her Louisiana-born fiance traveled each corner of the county exploring venue options for their Cajun themed wedding. After checking out virtually every possible location, the groom-to-be said he would like to be married at our home. (dab, dab, dab my leaky eyes!)

We had almost 10 months advance notice so my husband and I went into high gear to spruce up the house and garden, get the preacher and musicians on board, hire a photographer, rent a tent, etc. etc. Stetson University’s string quartet set the mood for a joyous but solemn occasion.

It was perfect until just before the bride marched down the aisle with her father, the musicians broke into Darth Vadar’s Death March!!!! That surprise was the work of my new son-in-law. It certainly lightened the mood.

Meanwhile, the bride and groom-to-be were living and working across the state where they met.

For months we sweated in the yard by day

garden xx

and I sewed in the house all night. I sewed and sewed and loved every minute of it.

Table toppers were made for the cocktail hour before the vows were read. Guests sat around the pool and at the side garden enjoying hors d’oeuves.

seating in the side garden

Seating in the side garden. Under the floral square is a pink twill square, much brighter than shown here.

The edges were simply serged. That’s no big deal but, trust me, with 15 pink twill and 15 pink floral toppers, each 60″ square, that’s a lot of serging mileage. And there were more to be done. The color added by the gold, solid pink and pink floral squares was a pretty addition.

guests seated around the pool

guests seated around the pool

For the reception dinner tables, 14 gold toppers were made, not to mention those made for the serving tables. More miles of serging!

gold table toppers for the reception dinner

gold table toppers for the reception dinner

We rented the white table cloths. I surely didn’t want to launder anything more than all those table toppers and my 120 dinner napkins after the wedding.

Once we had an approximate guest list, fourteen table numbers were embroidered and framed.



Then I embroidered chair backs for the bridal couple. A very special lace edging was chosen for an extra embellishment.

King Tut lace

King Tut lace

The story is that before they were married, Rebecca and Harvey had taken a trip to Egypt where they visited the pyramids at the Valley of the Kings. This Binche lace is a perfect reminder of that adventure and an extra special, personal touch. I doubted that anyone would notice, but I knew Rebecca and Harvey would….well, because I told them about this detail. What would be the point if their starry eyes overlooked it?

In addition to the pyramids, they went on safari and hiked Mount Kilimanjaro. When they reached the summit, Harvey knelt onto one knee and proposed to Rebecca. He offered her the engagement ring he had hidden in his gear the entire trip.

She was absolutely taken by surprise and was thrilled to say yes. But my flatlander Florida girl was a little light-headed from the altitude and very cold. She asked Harvey if she had to take her gloves off and if he would ask her again when they reached a lower elevation. He is a very patient, understanding young man!

Can you see the pyramids and King Tut in the lace edging?

Can you see the pyramids and King Tut in the lace edging?

Two days before the big event, the family gathered to stock welcome baskets for out-of-town guests. Then grandmothers, aunties, daughter-in-law and close friends filled the embroidered goodie tote bags for guests departing after the Sunday morning brunch at the hotel and tended to a variety of other tasks.

I had so much fun combining and editing to get this customized goodie bag design for out of town guests' trip home. It was filled with an orange, cookies, an embroidered fingertip towel and other goodies.

I had so much fun combining and editing to get this customized Cajun goodie bag design for out of town guests’ trip home. It was filled with two oranges from our grove, homemade cookies and brownies, an embroidered fingertip towel and other treats. Note: this wrinkled bag was packed away with Rebecca’s wedding souvenirs. She took the photo for me when I realized that I had no picture.

For each family worker bee, a souvenir chef’s apron was embroidered with her name and family designation—MOTG (mother of the groom), GMOTB (grandmother of the bride), etc. It was a fun way for the two families to get acquainted. We all had such a good time working together for the young couple we loved.

my mother's apron embroidery

my mother’s apron embroidery

I didn’t expect Rebecca to help those two days, but she pitched right in. I hadn’t made an apron for her, but at her request one was ready when she returned from her honeymoon.


Out-of-town guests were entertained Saturday afternoon with a 2-hour riverboat ride on the St.John’s River. Souvenir golf and baseball hats were embroidered for each cruiser.

cruise hat

The text is hard to read in this photo as the hat was squished on the scanner bed. It reads, “St. John’s River Wedding Cruise.

The cruise and the hats were a big hit, though many ladies chose not to muss up their hair. But no one turned one down.

wed cruisers

More sewing was done as special accommodations for each of the smaller guests. A plastic dinner set and an embroidered bib reflecting the wedding theme was placed on each of 10 borrowed high chairs.

The kiddie set up allowed mothers to relax a little.

The high chair confined the little ones and allowed mothers to relax a little. This is the pastor’s precious little daughter.

A goodie bag for each child was placed on her mother’s plate. It included a Mardi Gras necklace, glow bracelet and wand, bubbles, and a zip lock bag of goldfish crackers to tide the little one over until his dinner was served. The ultrasuede nametag could be used on diaper bags or other items.

And here is another of my beloved teepee bags.

And here is another of my beloved teepee bags.

Just outside the reception tent, two child sized tables were arranged with embroidered linens, porcelain tea sets and tiny silver dollar sized cookies I made and froze weeks in advance.

Two identical tables for 4 were set with china and homemade cookies. But the flower girl ate every cookie before any other pint sized guests could enjoy them.

Two identical child-sized tea tables for 4 (beautifully hand painted with Rebecca’s monogram when she was 4 yo by a dear artist friend) were set with china and homemade cookies. But our little flower girl ate every one before any other child could enjoy them! She even raided plastic container under the table with more! Busted and caught in the act, she had no remorse. That was a lot of cookies.

At the reception a fabulous Cajun band kept the dance floor filled and lively.

No one enjoyed the music than 2 yo granddaughter Laurel. She and her favorite doll “Tinkles (The Potty Training Doll)” danced the night away.

The wedding was the culmination of a great team effort with family and friends, as well as a very satisfying experience for my husband and me. We planted and organized and re-arranged, having about as much fun as two parents are allowed when it comes to wedding planning.

We had so much help. Rebecca Susanne’s namesakes, Susanna and Rebecca Kay, spent three days arranging all the flowers, except those for the wedding party and the dinner table arrangements. Susanna appropriated a huge room at her physical therapist husband’s clinic and filled it with cut flowers. Blossoms spilled out into the hallway. All the leatherleaf and asparagus fern were cut from our home garden.

Susanna and Rebecca Kay, both trained floral experts, spent 3 days making arrangements. There were flower arrangements in the house, in the bathrooms, in the potting shed, on the cocktail hour tables and virtually everywhere else. It was breathtaking and an amazing expression of their love for Rebecca.

Flowers spilled from wicker cones hung from shepherd hooks along the center aisle at the end of each row of seats.

cone flowers xx

Even the dressed-up garden statuary had tiny bouquets.

garden children xx

My brother provided the plentiful and excellent wine, and also served as wine steward.

wine steward Jon

The matron of honor, Rebecca’s sorority sister, college roommate, and microbiologist for Annheuser Busch, provided all the beer. Even with all that alcohol available, no guests overindulged. Whew!

The ever-faithful PlayGroup Mamas and other friends spent Friday and Saturday setting the tables, doing prep work for the food, hanging floral garlands on the front gates, and more. They loaned dishes, silver, high chairs and baked desserts. Gale, our exceptional, official PGM chef, prepared all the delicious Cajun dinner food and hired the wait staff.

 PGM Gale prepared the delicious dinner food.

PGM Gale prepared the salads, gumbo, etouffee and other Cajun dinner dishes.

Even children helped out. In addition to the cookie monster flower girl, an especially loved 10 yo family friend provided a perfect ending to the ceremony. As the sentence “I now pronounce you man and wife,” was completed, bells rang. Grey had slipped away from the ceremony and waited at the old farm bell (see the bell behind the garden children photo above) in the back garden.

Grey waiting near his bell ringing station

Grey near his bell ringing station

His mother had rung the cell phone in his pocket at just the right moment.  Grey rocked that bell! It was better than fireworks.


Rebecca and Harvey were as pleased as all their loved ones who put this wedding together. What a memorable experience it was for us! And now, more than 11 years later, the couple is as happy as they were that day, loving and enjoying family life with their son and daughter.

That surely makes this mother happy.

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