Happy Monday oh gorgeous ones, and a very warm welcome to a brand new week here on the blog. There might be a million and one things that you have on your Christmas ‘to-do’ list this week, but don’t stress, you ARE Wonderwoman and everything will get done! SO, take it easy, enjoy the wind-down (and the office parties!) and put time aside to just breath, have a cuppa and enjoy our latest inspo….
Today’s real wedding is certainly for you if you’re a free-spirited, quirky kind of gal. It’s also for you if a one-size-fits-all wedding makes you want to throw up and call off the engagement; because this bride followed her heart, and created a wedding that reflected everything important to her (and husband Alex of course). Cultural background played a big part in the inspiration for this wedding, as bride Lina is from Sweden and groom Alex is from California. They weaved ancient Swedish dances and rituals with true American-style traditions and the outcome is truly unique.
We were married on Midsummer’s Eve, which is a tradition celebrated for 1000 years back in Sweden – it’s about as popular as Christmas and is considered the most magical night of the year. In short, it’s a celebration of life’s return to nature and the world. In true midsummer’s spirit, all of our flowers were hand picked wildflowers.
Lina, like many of us brides-to-be, couldn’t face trawling the net or the bridal boutiques for a dress that she only knew existed in her imagination. So, with true bohemian flair, she designed and created her own dress. 200 hours and 25 yards of raw hem, and she ended up with a custom-made gown of her dreams.
We love everything about this love story, from the handpicked wildflower crowns to the mythical Midsummer’s Eve old folklore traditions. It’s just so beautiful, and bride Lina encapsulates with her energy, radiant smile and alternative bridal look.
Here she is to tell you all about her Swedish-American wedding in Maine to groom Alex….
Wild Flower Mountain Top Proposal
We were visiting the town where I grew up in Sonoma County, California. There’s a hill there called Taylor Mountain that overlooks the entire town and during the spring time it’s covered in wildflowers. We had plans to take a hike up it and have a picnic, which I knew would be the perfect opportunity. We walked up that hill as boyfriend and girlfriend and walked back down engaged. It felt very monumental.
High Pitched Tent Pole Wedding on Midsummer’s Eve
We got married at my Alex’s Uncle’s home in Biddeford, Maine. I’m from Sweden and Alex is from California, so we thought it would be fitting to find a location that was as close to halfway between those places as possible. Being able to use his Uncle’s place also helped out with our budget! We had a high-pitched pole tent for the reception, just next to where the ceremony was held.
We were married on Midsummer’s Eve, which is a tradition celebrated for 1000 years back in Sweden – it’s about as popular as Christmas and is considered the most magical night of the year. In short, it’s a celebration of life’s return to nature and the world. The traditional flower crown is in old folklore considered a talisman: by dressing yourself in nature you can transfer the inherent luck of it onto yourself. If you pick seven kinds of flowers on this night, and put it under your pillow, it is said you will dream of the person you are going to marry. It seemed fitting! In true midsummer’s spirit, our flowers were hand picked wildflowers.
A Beautiful Mix of Culture and Big and Wild Wedding Arch
We asked our friend Jess to officiate, we trusted him and didn’t hear the sermon before the wedding. He had called us up a few weeks earlier to talk about why we loved one another and then incorporated our own words into the ceremony. We asked Alex’s friend Devon Geyer, a talented musician from California band ‘Decorations’, to improvise a guitar melody for the wedding. Alex’s dad, who is a priest, directed a Christian Orthodox choir consisting of cousins, siblings and aunt’s in two pieces and we also had a singalong moment in Swedish. It was a beautiful. A simple mix of our separate cultures.
As for wedding-arch, the only direction we gave for it was “big and wild”. The wedding party all helped out to create it; it took several days and lots of love to get it together in time for the ceremony. On the morning of the wedding they were still balancing bridesmaids on the shoulders of groomsmen to reach the top of it!
Simple Wild Flower Arrangements and Fairy Lights
We had simple white tablecloths, flower arrangements and buckets with lobster eating tools and bibs! A single long strand of warm bistro lights framed the ceiling of the tent and fairy lights were scattered in the trees and bushes around the tent. The property was so beautiful the way it was, so we didn’t need much decoration.
Our friend Jess Camacho is a talented writer, but he is also a creative hobby-florist. He took charge of the wildflower picking, leading bridesmaids and groomsmen on several field raids, and then created table arrangements that truly felt like they were straight from a meadow. I made the bridal bouquet myself. For that we complimented the wildflowers by going to Little River Flower Farm to pick some additional items, just in case we wouldn’t be able to forage enough.
Self-Made Raw Hem Wedding Gown
I knew I wanted a light grey dress, but I couldn’t find one that I wanted to wear, so being a designer I decided to make my own. It took about 200 hours and involved an insane amount of hand stitching and about 25 yards of raw hems. I got completely hooked and have been making custom wedding dresses for people ever since. I also made the bridesmaids dresses. It definitely added some stress to the whole wedding planning, but I think it was worth it.
I wore a transparent boot from Jennie-Ellen, a small Swedish brand. They had a chunky heel, which was needed as the whole ceremony pretty much took place on the grass.
Bespoke Curls and Ethereal Opal Diamond Ring
Devacurl sent me a kit for my exact hair type, which really helped me get the type of curls I wanted. We’d been given both of our Grandma’s rings, and we decided to melt them together to make a new ring. We chose a design from Wwake who make the most incredible, ethereal pieces. It included the gold from both rings, a small diamond from Alex’s grandma’s ring and three additional opals that were part of Wwake’s design. There was also enough material left to make me a pair of matching earrings.
Alex wore a dark navy suit from Paul Smith made in a subtly textured weave with a custom made shirt. We didn’t want to ask anyone to spend money on buying expensive suits of a specific colour, so we skipped the jackets altogether and got everyone shirts in a few different colours. It was a simple way to make everything look cohesive and not inconvenience anyone.
Family Member Photographer
Jack Wassell is primarily a talented landscape photographer, who shoots weddings, and he’s also my cousin – it made total sense for him to be our photographer. Having someone we knew shoot our wedding made us so much more relaxed and it was so nice to share the experience with Jack.
Flower Crown Station and Traditional Swedish Dances
We had an amazing flower Crown Station consisting of buckets of leaves, straw and flowers with the bridesmaids teaching everyone how to make their own flower crowns. Before dinner we had a couple of traditional Swedish Midsummer dances – one was the ‘Ring Dance’ which really raised the energy: we formed two rings around one of the poles in the tent. It was simple, silly and was a great icebreaker to kick things off. We had a fantastic DJ for the reception called DJ Jacob Sound.
Classic Maine Lobster and Chicken BBQ
We opted for a local menu from Foster’s Clambake, which was a classic Maine BBQ with the choice of either chicken or Lobster. It was fun looking around, seeing everyone in their bibs and flower crowns. Foster’s were so accommodating, and when we told them our budget they recommended we get wine from someone else and hire waiting staff just for drinks. This saved us a lot of money!
We had polaroid cameras floating around and a huge amount of film, so that everyone could take an instantly personalized memento home with them.
Our first dance was to ‘Impregnable Question’ by Dirty Projectors. This song was already old by the time we met, but seemed always present during the time we fell in love. It also held a simple and straight to the point message.
There was a part of the ceremony where we had everyone sing along to a Swedish summer hymn that I grew up with. I couldn’t sing, as it always makes me cry, but I could hear Alex hum along to the melody, and it surprised me that he knew it. In that moment, it felt like he was the point where my past and future met. It probably didn’t seem like much for anyone else, but that was big for me.
Do not get hung up on details. They are not what you will remember when the day is over. Maybe you always wanted pink roses on each table, but they will cost you a leg and an arm. Is it really worth it? Your guests aren’t there to look at roses, they are there because they love you and want to share this day with you.
The Line Up
Photographer: Jack Wassell: Celebrant / Florist: Jess Camacho: Ceremony Musician: Devon Geyer: Bride’s Dress: Lina Michal: Bride’s Shoes: Jennie-Ellen: Bride’s Jewellery: Wwake: Groom’s Suit: Paul Smith Groomsmen’s Shirts: Everlane: Caterers: Foster’s Clambake | Francis Ford Coppola Winery | Martini’s Etc: Flower Farm: Little River Flower Farm: Entertainment: DJ Jacob Sound: Tent and Rentals: A+ Party Rental