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A Children's Book Becomes a Wedding

Heather Ross27 Comments

Let me begin by saying that I was an intolerable bride. 

I tried to do everything myself, including trying to put my oldest and dearest friends into a dress of my own design that made them feel, as one of them put it, as though they "should be holding a giant lollipop".  It may have been the ruffles. I was so consumed with the desire to use my good friend Michael's beautiful little orange Kharman Ghia for my photos, that I ignored his cautionary warning that the stickshift occasionally popped out of it's socket, and drove it the three hours from his house to my venue in the middle of the night over dirt roads, stopping frequently to secure the shifter into place with two rubber hair elastics and an empty Skittles bag.  My cake, made directly from a sketch from white chocolate fondant made to look like peeling bark, cost more than my first car. By the time I heard myself utter the words " the delicate nature of dew covered Sally Holmes Roses" to this genius, I knew I was far past the turning point. I had turned my wedding into an elaborate design project, perhaps the most consuming of my career.

It started out innocently enough. I had fond memories of a book that I had loved as a kid called "Frog Went A-Courtin", which I suppose might have been the only visual reference to a wedding that existed in the house I grew up in. My parents had married young, built a geodesic dome, fled to Canada, rolled a volkswagen bus, and split before I was three. In fact, I think the only detail I know about my mother's own engagement was something I heard her say one summer afternoon when we were having a party and a college friend of mine showed up with a bag of fresh salad greens that she had grown and picked. "I brought fresh Mesclun" she said, holding up the sack of lettuce-looking stuff. "Oh God", replied my mother, "I haven't had any mescaline since the day I got engaged to Heather's father." No Mom", I heard myself say,  pointing to the enormous bag of lettuce "Mary brought salad greens. From her garden. NOT illegal hallucenogenics. SALAD greens."

Anyway, Frog Went A-Courtin was to my young mind exactly what  wedding should be. The illustrations, by Feodor Rojankovsky, mimicked the rural Vermont landscape that was were my surroundings exactly, with an eye for detail that was as close to the ground as a child's. As I consulted this book for design ideas for everything from my invitations to my table settings, I shoved that book under the bewildered noses of every person involved in the event. And while most of the responses were kindly meant to humor me, I think the results overall were pretty successful, annoyed bridesmaids aside. Here are some images from the book, which can be viewed online here, plus some shots of my invites and my wedding. 



I made the invitations on my dining table using my GOCCO printer, John Gruen, who also shot the pictures for Weekend Sewing, was my photographer, and the wedding was held at Blueberry Hill Inn, in Goshen Vermont. My birch bark cake was made my this wonderful shop in Montpelier, Vermont, and my dress was made by Ghost Tailor of New York City. And no, the idea of making the map (to my extremely rural wedding venue) that was included in my invitations "look like it was made with branches, with towns being depicted as leaves" was NOT a good idea. Several people never found it, and one couple drove around on dark dirt roads for hours trying to follow the scent of bonfire until the fear of running out of gas drove them back to the safety of their Inn. The chocolates are made by a company called Caffarel, but the source I used isn't selling them anymore.  Just as well, as due to the fact that I had forgotten to provide my wedding party with brunch the morning of, they were forced to feed on them. Its still sort of a sore subject.