Photography by Becca Dilley | www.beccadilley.com
When Andy and I got engaged, we were so excited to fill our wedding with our style and lots of personal touches. For him, this meant a fall date, great food and fun music. For me, this meant a vintage style and lots of hand-crafted elements.
Andy’s mom, a super talented crafter, knew just where I was coming from. We decided to knit shawls for the bridesmaids and hand stitch signs for the church and library reception. Certainly no small feat. Our excitement blinded us as to how large (and slightly crazy) an undertaking this was—and I’m so glad it did!
Andy’s mom, Mary Jo, stitched the larger signs for the church and reception. It was truly amazing to see her amazing crewelwork highlighting the two spaces. The signs are so detailed, personal and (as you can see) gorgeous. They added so much beauty to our day.
When I first saw all the embroidery she completed, I was so humbled. I could only think of all the hours she devoted to this project—and making my vision a reality.
I imagine all the time she spent stitching, all the while dreaming about the big day, reminiscing about Andy when he was a little kid and praying for our happy marriage. I think about how generous she is with her time, not just while we were planning the wedding, but every day. These stitches are proof to the joy and creativity she brings to everything she touches.
When I look at the photos of her embroidery now, I’m overwhelmed by my gratitude. I have not one, but two loving, supportive and joyful moms (and dads, too!), whom are my best friends. Working with them on different wedding projects was one of the best parts of the entire process, and something we’ll cherish forever.
We enlisted help from women throughout the families to help knit lace shawls for the bridesmaids—Andy's mom and aunt, my grandmother (my dad's mom), who coincidentally was the woman who taught me how to knit, and I knitted the six shawls. One of my favorite moments from the wedding was seeing all my bridesmaids together with their beautiful shawls knitted by women throughout different generations and branches of our families.
My first stitching project was an impromptu one that I took on after deciding to wear my grandmother’s wedding dress, which my mother also wore when she married my dad. I stitched our three names and wedding dates onto a blue ribbon, which the seamstress sewed into the bottom edge of the dress.
Even though this is a touch that no one could see, I loved that this small detail paid homage to my grandmother and mom—and their loving marriages—and made this heirloom dress that much more special.
I also began working on a larger project: a quote by Joseph Campbell that I found on pinterest (of course). I didn’t have a clear vision of how it would be used in the wedding, but I was so inspired and got stitching right away.
With a large scrap of Anna Maria Horner’s voile in a pretty light blue color, I used a chain stitch to create the letters, and added some subtle detail with backstitches. In the end, this sign decorated our head table. It’s one of my favorite embroidery accomplishments to date.
My other stitching projects were much more simple and smaller in scale. For the table numbers, I drew inspiration from BHLDN’s Hollyhock numbers and found the perfect silk dupioni fabric in a champagne color at a fabric store in St. Paul.
I stitched simple numbers surrounded with a floral and leaf motif, using the backstitch and lazy daisy stitch, then placed them into five-inch wooden hoops. I love how the table numbers, along with the beautiful flowers, soften the library space and add handmade charm.
About a month before the wedding, I finished all the table numbers and decided to keep stitching (I’m crazy, remember?) With the remaining silk, I created signs for our chair backs, echoing the floral motif from the table numbers and the light blue color from the Thomas Campbell quote. I also stitched a sweet phrase for the cake table with our family photos.
While our wedding would have been just as fun and special without all the stitching, I’m so glad that we took on this labor of love.
I can honestly say that it never stressed me out. Actually, it was the opposite: settling into the couch with our little puppy sitting on my feet, focusing on one stitch at a time helped me to relax and remember what was really important: marrying my best friend and the support of our amazing family.
With hand embroidery, there’s no choice but to embrace the slow pace and find beauty in your imperfections. It’s what I love about stitching any day, but especially in the months leading up to our wedding.
Thank you, Grace - for sharing your photos and stitching with us! For more on Grace, visit her blog.
All photos are credited to Becca Dilley, view more photos of the wedding on the photographer's blog.