My Garden Retreat

My Garden Retreat
photo Gridley Graves for Country Living

It's the little things

As with any destination are  pretty much at the mercy of the venue...
With a lot of things.
So, the things you do...need to stand out.

When we began working on the concept for our darling daughter's wedding and Texas reception in March...
The little things are what we started with.
Etiquette for such situations is rather vague and different for each location. So, we decided to stick with the vintage suitcase theme she had found early last year.

Remember the stack of suitcases we were painting way back in July and then again in October?

Well, they are gifts that await her guests when they check into their hotels.

I forgot to take pictures of the inside before I shipped, let me show you what's this for now.
Each tiny red suitcase has a small bottle of champagne...

Individual champagne servings? sweet idea.

And red and aqua straws from here

Dr. Seuss Party Paper Straws, ( 30 ct. ) Red Striped  and Blue Striped Paper Drinking Straws with DIY Flags

Chocolate coins...

Chocolate Gold Coins 1lb

A deck of cards...

A pair of Elvis glasses...

And a postcard from Las Vegas.
We are asking everyone to write a message to the Bride and Groom on the post card.
They will be act as April's guestbook and a remembrance of her special day.

There is also an Itinerary of the happenings while in Las Vegas!

(I promise I will take a picture of them when I get there...what was I thinking?  I probably wasn't!)

Next, I began working on the flowers.
She wanted vintage.. and we cannot have fresh  flowers at this venue... so it all worked out.

 I started with vintage millinery stems and a small fortune in vintage buttons and brooches. It took us 6 months to collect enough!
We also were able to get several family pieces to include in April's bouquet. Something she was really hoping for.

A large majority of the flowers I ordered from one of my favorite sources here

Everyone except April and Russell will  have red flowers.
So, I needed  to make several of them myself . 
Some were simply altered by inserting a rhinestone or bead.

And some...

Were completely remade...

By hand.

These roses were once hydrangea buds.

Hours and hours went into her flowers but I knew they would be kept forever.

Keepsakes of a very special day.

 Her bridesmaids bouquets are velvet roses, hydrangeas and ranunculus. Velvet leaves and vintage buttons.
The handles are hand tied with ballet lacing and french knots.

 Russell's boutonniere is a handmade rosebud with a rhinestone center. Velvet leaves,a vintage organza hydrangea  and it's buds. 
The antique button was taken from an old jacket we found at a thrift shop.
It also has ostrich feathers to coordinate with April's bouquet. (I might trim these a bit when I see it on him)

Lastly, I worked for a solid week on April's bouquet.
Each and every bead, button and brooch had to be soldered to a silver metal wire before it was inserted into the styrofoam base.
Each of the flowers are vintage and most of them are silk or velvet even though you can barely see them underneath all of that bling!

The handle is wrapped in ivory silk and them ballet tied and french knotted. At the base there are her beloved ostrich feathers!

She hasn't seen this yet so I waited until I knew she had boarded the plane this evening before I posted.
I just checked and all of these things were delivered to the resort this afternoon. (Whew!)
She will see her bouquet for the first time tomorrow when she goes to pick up the boxes at receiving.
To carry on a family tradition, April has several gardenias included in this bouquet. She will be the 4th generation to carry gardenia's on her wedding day!

The only other accessory I made for April was her handbag.

It started out a basic ivory silk but I then  applied an applique to both sides. Each applique was  then hand beaded. I did this on the 16 hour drive to Texas last month! It certainly kept me busy!
At top the beaded applique, on one side...
I put this vintage velvet corsage I made for her.

That of course had to have a touch of a rhinestone button was sewed in the center.

The handle was made using some vintage rhinestone cording and the spare set of  silk ribbons that her wedding dress came with. The back of which is corseted.
And yes...this is it.

April's wedding dress.

Maggie Sottero

Yards and yards of ivory tulle with embroidered and beaded appliqués on the front bodice.
She calls it her fairytale dress.
It was fairly similar to the one she carried a photo of when we set out on our search for her wedding dress.

She also has a veil and wonderful little ostrich feather and brooch hair pin she will be wearing.
All of these "little things"have added up to a lot of work. But I have loved every minute! 
I know she will too!

While all of this was going on...I was still in search of the perfect dress to wear.
It took me several months to find the one I wore to our son's wedding in October.
Each time I went out I was looking for both dresses.
Wait until you see what I ended up with!
I can give you a's vintage as well!
Tomorrow, I will show you my dress!


  1. The details you have put into everything will ensure a definite success for this vintage wedding. I adore it all...

  2. Donna-Everything you have done is just gorgeous. I love it all- What a blessing to see everything coming together so beautifully. That dress is breathtaking. I can't wait to see what you found for yourself- xoDiana

  3. Amazing work. All the arrangements are gorgeous and her dress is divine. Happy day for all! Love the little suitcases, very sweet.

  4. The bridal bouquet is absolutely STUNNING!!!

  5. Donna i have long admired everthing you do and would love to own anything you make but this all seems unbelievable to me all that work i don't have any children so maybe thats where my issue is just so hard for me to comprehend this kind of love all this work for your daughter i think you need to be nominated"Mother of the Year" your talent is amazing but your love for your daughter rises to levels way beyond anything I've ever known I stand in awe you never cease to amaze me EVERYTHING is so striking and beautiful as I'm sure your heart must be thanks for sharing it all with us

  6. Oh My Gosh! You have created absolute treasures with your own hands for her wedding! Everything turned out BEAUTIFUL! Each little flower and bouquet is a keepsake... and that handbag you made is incredible! Phew! You are amazing, i can't even imagine doing all this and a destination wedding too!


  7. I love your version of the brooch bouquet --- I made one too for my daughter. No silk flowers in mine - I used a roll of vintage lace for my "filler". The lace came from my grandmothers stash.

    Our wedding was a DIY thing too. Almost killed myself getting ready.

    Best wishes to the beautiful couple.

  8. Donna, these are sooo lovely! As a wedding florist ,I know the time, patience and especially love, you have put into these beautiful creations for your daughter ! N.xo

  9. Just beautiful, you did a knockout job. enjoy, laugh , cry and most of all love every moment. Di

  10. Where do I start?


    The DRESS is perfect April! (The model in the picture looks like
    Elvis's Lisa Marie!)
    I cannot wait to see April in her princess dress!

    Your posts are like reading a fairy tale!

    The flowers are exquisite. They are a true labor of love. You never cease to amaze me with your creativity and attention to detail.

    You are so correct about the little things!
    The suitcase favors scream Viva...Las Vegas!

  11. Donna, this wedding is going to be amazing wish I could have made it to Las Vagas. I can't wait to be updated on everything you all do. Have a fabulous time and give April a big hug and kiss from us.


  12. Donna, you are by far the most creative person I have ever seen! Everything you did was absolutely gorgeous, and I am in awe!! Your blog is my favorite to follow, and I always anticipate your next post. I have one question for you. When you posted the "here" button to take you to the vintage flowers you ordered, I didn't get there. It took me to a bunch of other blogs. I don't know what I did wrong, but if you would be so kind as to let me know where you got them, I would really appreciate it! Thanks so much!! Holly


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~Donna Reyné