Apparently, I use the term “month” loosely because I’ve decided to continue “June Wedding Month” into July for a couple of reasons. One, I’m at the time in my life wherein everyone I’ve ever met is getting married so it’s always on the brain and two, I couldn’t live with myself without posting this board!
I don’t know whether it’s the dry heat, rough terrain, or quirky attitudes that make me love Albuquerque, NM, but I sure do love it. It’s especially been in my mind since my mom was just there visiting Miss Liza from www.goodtogrow.wordpress.com, and my boyfriend, Jason has been applying for a quite a few jobs there. For the last 10 years or so, I’ve had dreams of moving to New Mexico. When I was a kid I wanted to go to UNM to study art. Then again after college, I had my bags packed and ready to go find my way out West. Why I could never pull my bootstraps up high enough to march out there, I’ll never know.
One of the main things that warms my soul for New Mexico is it’s culture–something that I think DC gray-ly lacks. New Mexican culture is a melting-pot manifestation of religious beliefs and cultural norms of Mexican, American, and even some European backgrounds. If you “marry” that plus my love for all things Halloween, and you’ve got this post. And please, pardon my Spanglish.
Theme: Dios Mio! Me Voy a Casar! (“Oh Lord! I’m Getting Married!”–A Cheeky Dia de los Muertos Wedding)
Color Palette: Black, White, Yellow, Blue, Red…anything VIBRANT!
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
If you know me, you know I LOVE LOVE LOVE Halloween. You also know that I LOVE LOVE LOVE color. When those two things come together, I’m happier than a new soul in a Mexican graveyard. Why are they so happy? Because they are celebrated, not mourned.
For those of you who may be living under a cultural rock, Dia de los Muertos (or the Day of the Dead) is a holiday celebrated on November 2 by Latin Americans living in Latin America, the US, and Canada. The day coincides with the Catholic November 1 (All Saints Day) and November 2 (All Souls Day) holidays, and actually has more to do with those holidays than it actually does with Halloween. I’ll forgive it. Dia de los Muertos is a time when family comes together over the graves of the recently departed to break bread, pray, and sing songs in the celebration of the passing on of loved ones. Family members leave offerings on the grave stones such as favorite foods, sugar skulls, and flowers. Sure beats mourning in a dark, dank, church! (God, please don’t smite me!) Can you think of a better time to join in that celebration than when you’re getting married? How appropriate! It’s almost a nod to the phoenix-like notion that from ashes comes new life. That, and it’s just COOL!
Instead of marking where you can get each of these items in the inspiration board, let me walk you through it (mainly because, again, it’s all etsy or your local florist, etc.)
The tablescape in the middle of the inspiration board above is just awesome. With vibrant colors and floral-decorated skulls, you really can’t go wrong. Throw in a few (and I mean VERY few) maracas on white table cloths with stark plating, and you’re all set. Although, what wedding would be complete without a little uniqueness? Print the some background about the origin of the Dia de los Muertos celebration on colored paper, and post them using picture holders and place on tables. Cute right? I also love the idea of using Loteria cards as table cards. Loteria is a Mexican board game, similar to Bingo. Awesomeness. Colorful traditional pinatas hanging from rafters or trees bring the color palette up above the head. One more thing. Sugar skulls are a must. They are a staple of New Mexican Dias de los Muertos decor and come in wild sizes and colors. Each artist’s rendition of the traditional skull is refreshingly unique!
Flowers are actually relatively easy for this theme. Traditionally, marigolds are left on graves and altars during Dia de los Muertos. I’m also really into ranunculus (we know this from previous posts) so of course what would be more perfect that the bouquet on the bottom right corner of the board? Marigolds and ranunculus (ranunculi??), are matched with area-appropriate succulents to give a colorful nod to the desert surroundings. Similarly, the bridal bouquet in the top middle features succulents with fiery orchids or lilies or whatever those flowers might be. Further, it’s actually quite a misconception that nothing grows in the New Mexican desert. Miss Liza from Good to Grow has created her business in New Mexico around what DOES grow out there…and let me tell you it’s quite a bit. From lavender to pathos, cacti to moss, New Mexico plant life is rich and full. Why not use some of it in your wedding? (And please when you’re done with is give it a good home!) My favorite are the “living art” vertical gardens that Miss Liza is fond of as well. How great would these look hanging from iron stakes in the ground? Of course, this was done by professionals and probably doesn’t come cheap. Lucky for us, Miss Liza has featured a vertical garden how-to on her blog here: http://goodtogrow.wordpress.com/2010/05/24/monday-lizas-plants-another-plantastic-vertical-garden/. Lastly, I don’t know about you, but I’m kindof tired of the little bud boutonnieres that find their way on every tuxedo lapel ever created. Instead, I’d use the habanero pepper boutonniere (bottom middle of the board). So much more personality!
What to serve? Also easy. Anything from tacos to paella to chicken in mole sauce will work. And the signature cocktail? TEQUILA! I really like the tasting section idea with different tequilas lined up like inthe bottom middle of the board. Of course, if that’s a little hard-core, have margaritas and a tequila toast instead of champagne. Just be careful in New Mexican venues–liquor licenses are expensive and hard to come by in “the Land of Enchantment” so you may end up with agave liquor (or wine?) instead of tequila. It’s not bad, just different and not as potent. Either way, don’t forget the salt and limes!
At the end of the meal, of course, people expect a cake. If you’re not down with cake, don’t let anyone talk you into that added expense. Do Mexican Wedding cookies instead (third row left). Yum! If you are into cake, what a great cake this theme would make! Did that rhyme? Sorry. And Day of the Dead cake toppers are not exactly scarce in New Mexico. I love the cake and cake topper below. The trick is finding a baker that can do it! In Baltimore, we have Ace of Cakes (duh!) but I would just take a picture of what you’re thinking of and shop around to see if someone says its doable within your budget. I feel as though this might go without saying, but I LOVE the color! It’s not white! In my book, it’s never a nice day for a white wedding. Sorry Billy Idol.
Alright, so let’s talk fashion. I might have to eat my words a bit. I did feature a white-ish wedding dress (it’s totally ivory!) in the inspiration board. But I kindof love how it’s so lacy and flowy. It’s so traditionally Mexican and pretty! And how appropriate! Moreover, with this much of a hodgepodge of color, it’s nice to have a neutral. In this case, since color is everywhere, the bride in white actually stands out, rather than gets glossed over. And to be honest, my real issue with the white wedding is that it doesn’t make the bride and groom pop. This would. Along those lines, for this wedding, I would do different, clean-lined, dresses for each of the bridesmaids in a different bold solid color that accentuates her undertones. Keep the icy pale brunette in red, the beachy tan blond in yellow, the sultry redhead in green, etc etc. I’m sure your girls will let you know what colors they look good in. Do the same for the groomsmen. Keep them all in a neutral suit or tux, but alternate their vests, cummerbunds, etc, with wow colors. Keep your groom in all neutral.
Lastly, favors. While not necessary, if they’re functional, I think they’re great. I’m not into the box of jordan almonds that no one eats. Jason’s cousin, Alyssia, said that she went to the wedding wherein the groom was a great chef, and their favors were little whisks. She said she uses hers all the time! How great is that? So what can everyone always use in life? A little spice. New Mexico has some of the BEST hot sauces made from jalapenos, ancho, chili, and habanero peppers alike. Choose your favorite and get some mini bottles of it to serve as favors (top middle of the board.) You can even print little tags with something cute like “To Have and to Hold, and to Make Your Food Bold.” Or you know, whatever you’re feeling.
So that’s it! And that might round out wedding month! Sad face! But with so many birthdays, baby showers, and lifetime milestones coming up, I’ve got loads of material to work with. Let me know if you like the weddings and maybe I’ll feature another month in the fall. Until then, party on!