Born and raised in Vermont, Tamera Ferro, a.k.a. verhext, now lives in a 1930s cottage in Berkeley with her husband Sean and their two cats, Huey and “this cat has no name yet.” Her professional life revolves around digital marketing, user experience, and project management, so her wedding was a chance to break out of the corporate world and step into a wildly creative, family crafted, handmade event.
I’m a hand-maker from a long line of hand-makers, so the idea that we’d do anything but have a handmade wedding never crossed my mind — it’s just what you do in my family. Our woodland, rough-around-the-edges-yet-gilded theme lent itself perfectly to a handcrafted event. When we sat down to plan our wedding, it was a toss up as to which elements of our personalities would help shape our theme. In the end, budget won out — our “Fancy in the Forest” idea was by far the least expensive of all our ideas, though a Thin Man style 1930s wedding still tugs at my heartstrings! Our talented photographer, Jeremy Harris, is an old friend from the Bay Area, now living in New York City. He popped out of the woodwork at the last minute and we couldn’t be happier with the results.
To set the stage, we put a lot of work into our invites. Each guest received a wooden box with a gocco printed invite, a wooden mushroom, trinkets and a story that asked them to incorporate the trinkets into their wardrobe for the wedding. We printed RSVP cards on vintage postcards culled from all over, including Etsy.
We were married at my cabin in Vermont and, since we live in the Bay Area, only had a week to set up. Panic ensued on my part, but my brother was an absolute dream, calm and reassuring. He built a stage with tree branch railings, a bar from stumps, birch stump chairs for the ceremony, and stone tables. It was truly a wonderland. My friends who came early were put to work arranging flowers, folding napkins, handwriting menu cards, sewing, and coming up with cocktail menus.
The bridesmaids wore grey and taupe, and they looked stunning against the backdrop of an autumn forest. Just look at my friend and fellow Etsian, Anna, pictured above! Two of the bridesmaids patterned and made their own dresses. They’re both so talented — I need to get them on Etsy immediately! Instead of bouquets, we made crepe paper flags from dowels and wooden beads, painted gold. They were lovely fluttering in the light breeze.
With help from my friend Holly, my mother and I stitched the dress I designed. My main concern was to hide my tattoos, so I ended up with a long sleeve, 1960s inspired duchesse silk meringue of a dress. I love it, though it was a bit of a rush at the end. Someday I’ll redo the skirt, I’m too much of a perfectionist to leave it! This is the third wedding dress I’ve made — perhaps a career I should look into.
My veil is not a proper veil but instead a long strip of netting. I thought I’d have more time to make my own veil, but alas. Brides, making everything yourself is wonderful, but I wish someone had told me to put down the scissors and let other people do the work!
We stamped and gold embossed recycled brown paper bags, then wrapped silverware (some thrifted, some family) in linen napkins, tucking them inside. My aunt and mother spent days preparing the food. Our friend Holly baked the cakes with friendly helpers to make all those tiny marzipan mushrooms! My mama also made scalloped linen tablecloths, to fit the picnic tables that stay up at the cabin, so now we can have fancy picnics from here on out. My friend Angeliska hand-wrote the menu cards. The cocktail sign was a mirror found in the thrift shop the day before for $2, with Dresden paper letters glued on. We added a sparkling touch by hanging antique chandelier crystals from the trees. We used moss from the nearby stream to fill milk glass urns, most of which went home with a few people as favors!
One of my favorite parts of the reception was our archery range! Karie made the gold and green heart targets, in addition to our wedding signs made of moss — an experiment I’d love to try again.
Though our wedding looks nothing like a traditional wedding, we love it! Despite the many tiny meltdowns throughout the process, the handmade pieces hold so much weight, love, and magic that I will treasure always.
Check out more pictures from Tamera’s wedding on her blog!
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