Sienna Orlando-Lalaguna, known on Etsy as siennaorlando, is a maker of handmade ceramic buttons and ring holders. She studied ceramics in Northern California, where she still lives with her husband (also an artist), their dogs, cat, chickens, organic garden and pantry full of home-canned goods. Besides buttons, she makes quirky ceramic sculpture and tries to balance a life as an artist, copywriter and modern homesteader.
My husband, Trevor, proposed last fall in our organic garden. Down on one knee, he pulled a funny-looking tomato from one of the monstrous plants and opened it; inside there was a red, fabric-covered box and a ring.
I was dreaming of a May wedding, but the family cabin we chose as our sacred grounds is located at almost 4,000 feet. The cabin is tucked away in the coastal range of Northern California, and springtime comes pretty late up there. We picked a site overlooking the sloping meadow and the snow-capped mountains in the distance. We found a natural open area, and one snowy winter day, Trevor and his father made a trip to the site and built pews from log rounds and old railroad ties. It was back-breaking work and absolutely heartfelt.
We made darn near everything ourselves. We saved money by making our own invitations with hand-cut lino blocks that we stamped on brown cardstock with brown paint. (Using paint instead of ink creates a slight raised effect, almost like embossing). We scoured the thrift stores for mismatched dishes in our colors and I cut napkins with pinking shears out of vintage fabrics. Trevor spent a secluded week at the cabin building a dancefloor covered in linoleum printed to look like wood. He built a large fire pit, a shower for guests (we had invited our 150 guests to all camp out), and a honeymoon suite tree fort between two black oaks. At home he worked on a mobile bar built atop a flat trailer that could be moved from the ceremony to the reception (or anywhere, for that matter) via an ATV.
I made the wedding favors. I decided early on that I was going to hand-throw each guest a ceramic mug that could be used instead of a throwaway cup. We came up with little words that reminded us of the cabin like “barn bat,” “sugarloaf,” “blackberry” and “Ponderosa” and we stamped them in the sides so each cup would be unique. For our cake toppers, Trevor sketched us sitting side-by-side wearing squirrel suits, our tails creating a big heart behind us. We made it together out of clay, and it was just perfect leaning against our giant chocolate log cake. I threw all of our flower vases and we made hanging lanterns out of old mason jars.
My seamstress, Siobhan Barrett, was amazing! She made my green wedding dress from a gorgeous hemp/silk satin I found from Conscious Elegance. I wanted a tea-length dress that I wouldn’t trip on in the woods, and I bought some fancy cowgirl boots that were perfectly comfortable to dance in. I also purchased my gold wedding band and pine cone necklaces for my bridesmaids from Etsy seller Elizabeth Scott. I wore this vintage brown velvet blazer from Hinterland Vintage during the wedding. The flower girl dresses came from Lillipops Designs, our custom guest book was from Lazy Lightning Art and the groom’s ring came form Hawaii Titanium Rings.
I found six-and-a-half yards of vintage barkcloth in a green and gold floral pattern from antique that Siobhan made into two perfectly fitting bridesmaid dresses. The leftovers were gathered up by Trevor, who made them into the groomsmen’s ties and a ring bearer suit for our dog, Tubby.
Two weeks before the wedding we lost our caterer. As we scrambled to find someone with a BBQ trailer, our friends stepped up and insisted on helping us out. I had my family enlisted to make copious amounts of eggplant lasagne, and two days before the wedding I made five gallons of pasta salad and an obscene amount of cornbread. My future mother-in-law made an enormous pot of cowboy beans and my sister and her fiancé brought a crate full of farmer’s market strawberries (as well as all the flowers).
The weather report said there would be a 30 percent chance of rain; instead it was just really cold! We woke up early and got to work setting up tables, place settings, and making flower arrangements. Halfway through, the first flecks of snow came down. I put on a big fake smile and kept going. We adorned the chapel with wild redbud, lilacs, farmer’s market flowers and apple blossoms from the late-blooming orchard across the meadow. Our guests arrived to intermittent sunshine and snow. The weather was wild and the forces of nature had obviously heard about the party and showed up for a drink. Trevor and I said our vows with snow coming down, and my sister later told me she watched it glitter and melt in my hair.
The food our friends and family had put together was better than any caterer could have produced, and Trevor and I decided to create a new tradition of lighting the bonfire together with a single torch. There was hot coffee and plenty of whiskey. Our guests danced with us, talked beside the fire or took a cozy refuge inside the cabin. And yes, we did spend our wedding night (despite the temperature) in our tree fort.
Thanks to Sienna for sharing her special day! Do you have a handmade wedding to share? Submit your photos to our Flickr group.
Sienna Orlando-Lalaguna is a maker of handmade ceramic buttons and ring holders. She studied ceramics in Northern California, where she still lives with her husband (also an artist), their dogs, cat, chickens, organic garden and pantry full of home-canned goods. Besides buttons, she makes quirky ceramic sculpture and tries to balance a life as an artist, copywriter and modern homesteader.