When Spence and I got engaged, I was overwhelmed by the idea of a “grand vision” for our day. We had no wedding planner, no strict guidance; it was simply yours truly with her Pinterest board of ideas, trying to mold a day that felt both US! and EXCITING! and VINTAGE! and US!
Emphasis on the “us.”
But I’m sure you got that.
Very early on, I mentioned finding a way to combine our mutual passions — science and literature — into an event paying homage to the joining of our lives. My husband and I are both lucky to do what we love for a living, so it was easy incorporating elements of physics and the written word into our wedding. I also love that we’re an example of opposites (on paper) attracting: though we’re similar in all the ways that count, our backgrounds are very different.
Planning a wedding is no joke, and honestly? I look back on so many of the details and smile, because everything over which I fretted and fussed worked out just fine. I give so much credit to Sandy, my dear friend and coworker, who totally manhandled Nov. 10 into a gorgeous vintage-inspired affair far nicer than anything I could have cooked up alone. She took care of all the flowers, bouquets and centerpieces, and really did an outstanding job.
And she didn’t have to. She volunteered. When I walked into our venue the morning of and found Sandy running around in a baseball cap, pearls and cut flowers pouring from her hands, I felt an indescribable rush of gratitude. Combined with the super-human powers of Jen, our on-site coordinator who has become a great friend, I suddenly felt that famed wedding zen. I knew everything was going to be swell.
So how did we bring our books-and-science theme to life? Well, I knew I wanted some kind of book on each table — and got inspiration from other bookish weddings. Spencer and I scoured secondhand shops and library sales for months to collect more than 70 hardcovers in red, black or gray. Three or four novels went on the guest tables to form the base of our centerpieces, which were capped with Erlenmeyer science flasks full of fresh snapdragons.
Concerned the whole thing would look too industrial, I asked Sandy about adding a feminine element atop the books — like lace. Some kind of fabric. But then we worried we’d have a doily-in-a-parlor thing going on, so Sandy thought of the excellent idea to add pearls.
If you’re budgeting (like I surely was), the used books cost us roughly $1 apiece. We removed the dust jackets and saved them for later. If you’re concerned some novels were harmed in the making of these nuptials, fear not: Spencer and I donated every single book back to the library when we were done. And we even managed to reunite each dust jacket with its rightful owner before then!
The faux pearls were bought in bulk in long strands from Oriental Trading Company, cut in smaller strands to serve our needs, and the flasks purchased from a supply company. The total cost of my glassware order was around $100 with free shipping, including a discount for buying more than 12 at once.
We wanted more than simple flasks and novels, though. Rather than a traditional number, each table was assigned a famous writer or scientist — and we had a ball coming up with our honorees! Mine included Ernest Hemingway, Megan McCafferty, Jhumpa Lahiri, JK Rowling and William Shakespeare, while Spence’s leaned toward the more obscure with Nikola Tesla (his hero), Marie Curie and Robert Oppenheimer. Sheldon Cooper may have made an appearance there, too!
With the help of my good friend Wikipedia, I typed up brief biographies for each person to include on the tables — just in case, say, you had no earthly idea who Schrödinger was. (Cat.) I also tried to make mention of any personal connections to the author or scientist, such as when Spence and I caught a play honoring Curie early in our relationship or I read The Great Gatsby (for Fitzgerald’s table, natch) for the fourth time during our engagement. We printed these at home on heavy cardstock using a free business card template to make table tents — Spencer’s brilliant idea. We did the same with the escort cards.
There were other hand-created elements, too — ones made by Sandy and me, like the paper roses, or a talented Etsy seller. I really utilized my love of the craft site to find special items embodying our wedding, and loved the banners I ordered to hang from Swan Point’s fireplaces. The one behind us at our sweetheart table, pictured at top, was a last-minute purchase.
We had books shaped into our initials, found at a vintage store; a flask for a cake stand; paper hearts as confetti punched out by a friend at work that also adorned the escort cards. I found a book-shaped box with typewriter-style writing that we transformed into a card box, as well as bookmark wedding favors with the e.e. cummings poem my sister read and an Einstein quote shared by our officiant during the ceremony.
Oh! And no science- and literature-themed wedding would be complete without a little “radioactive” liquid, right? Spence had the idea to make the water in our flasks glow — you know, like a science experiment gone terrible awry. Very romantic! — by using submersible LED lights, which we bought in bulk on eBay. They were fantastic! Because the glow was initially more strobe than subtle, though, Spencer used hot glue to dull and scratch the outside so the arrangements would be lit without causing anyone eye damage.
Always a positive.
So there you have it: our very bookish wedding! It was truly a labor of love, and it’s such fun to think back on the multi-layered processes of putting everything together. Though it was an outstanding year, I’m intensely relieved it’s over. Like, sometimes I just look up at the ceiling and think, Thank God it’s done, and everything was awesome.
Beyond the 1,001 other reasons I shed a few tears that day, there were definitely some relieved sniffles for just having that behemoth of a wonderful day complete. Emotions were high . . . and almost as high as my tension level. No more lists; no more contacting vendors; no more frantic runs to Michael’s on my lunch breaks. We got married! We celebrated! It was beautiful!
Thank God is right.
All photos by Birds of a Feather Photography