Wedding Behind the Scenes: Tree Tablecards
We had beautiful succulent-inspired invitations designed for us by Rachelle Somma. Originally when we were tackling table cards, I took her invitation design and simply numbered the tables… in binary. 0001, 0010, 0011, 0100, etc. I sent them over to Ryan for review. Then I heard something I never thought I would hear Ryan say.
“I’m not really feeling the binary.”
Ryan and Binary not getting along?!? This is a man who has binary on his license plate. Heck, this was a man who kept track of his Relay for Life laps in binary!
Ryan had a brilliant counter suggestion, “Why don’t we do trees instead?”
With that, our tables went from one of his loves to one of mine! Ryan quickly found a website of public domain leaf silhouettes and he embarked on getting all the table cards ready in Photoshop.
NOW…. I don’t think I’m a Bridezilla. At least not yet– I do have 10 more days to completely lose it. BUT I am very particular about trees. And there on the computer screen, this “Treezilla” spied some troubling leaves.
“That tree doesn’t grow in the Virginia.”
“That’s a bush.”
“Click on that– do they have Black Locust instead Honey Locust?”
“I think we need a Tulip Poplar– that’s Uncle Chuck’s and Carolyn‘s favorite.”
“I never even seen THAT tree!”
Patient, patient Ryan gently reminded me, “Sweetie, they don’t all have to mean something.” and he was absolutely right. I sat back down.
But when we decided we wanted to have an American Chestnut tree and we had to hand edit a leaf logo from the American Chestnut Foundation, that opened up the door for leaves that weren’t on the website! Along with American Chestnut, Tulip Poplar and Sassafras snuck in.
When it was all said and done we had quite an array of table cards. Eleven trees and two bushes. With one exception I have personally seen each and every one of these leaves in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Ryan was right– they all didn’t have to mean something. But it just so happens with our three additions, I have a memory associated with each (which isn’t an especially unique property– there are a number of species I could say the same about).
- Black Locust— probably one of the first trees I ever learned! It was prominent in my childhood home and is my father’s favorite tree because it burned so hot in his fireplace. : )
- American Chestnut – a persistent species which after a century of defeats from the blight fungus continues to sprout again in hopes for better odds. This is a tree that reminds me of our birthdays. On Ryan’s 35th birthday, we stumbled on an American Chestnut bur on a hike. On my 34th birthday, we attended the planting of a blight resistant hybrid.
- Cherry – A cherry tree grew in my maternal grandmother’s yard. Each year we would tie plastic alligators and baby dolls to the branches in a futile effort to scare the birds away from the fruit.
- Tulip Poplar – My Great Uncle’s favorite tree because it grows fast and straight. My sister’s favorite because it is easy to identify.
- Mulberry – Ryan, my mother and I ran across Mulberry bushes together on a walk in Occoquan. The leaves are so oddly and uniquely patterned. I remember thinking at first that they were eaten by insects.
- Silver Maple – A tree that grew in the front yard of my home in Blacksburg.
- Red Maple – A tree I learned after moving to Elizabeth City. By seeing its spring flowers at Fun Junktion and its autumn leaves at Camden Causeway, I truly learned why it earned the distinction “red”.
- Lilac – A bush with such an amazing scent. A townhouse I lived in Blacksburg had a common area full of them. Their purply goodness was phenomenal each spring (and readily covered the usual scent of dog poo).
- Horse Chestnut – My Dad tried to trick me once into thinking a Horse Chestnut was an American Chestnut. It’s a common mistake even though the two trees aren’t even related. The tree Anne Frank peered at from her attic is also a Horse Chestnut. Ryan and I visited it in November 2008 when we were in Amsterdam.
- Northern Red Oak – the gnarled, mutated trees that show us just how rough conditions are at the top of Virginia’s Apple Orchard Mountain
- Sassafras – I found two turned Sassafras leaves on the backside of Dragon’s Tooth October 2005. One was burgundy. One was orange. They looked like little Hokie Bird tracks.
- Black Walnut – My childhood home had two enormous black walnut trees– one was home to our makeshift tire swing!
- Cottonwood (Poplar) – This one I hadn’t seen in Virginia. But I did see its brilliance last August in Wisconsin. My co-workers took me on a boat ride down the Mississippi River. The delicate, white seeds were everywhere. They floated like feathers and made the Mississippi seem magical.
I wish I could say I let Cottonwood make the cut because of my Mississippi River memory. But really it was because I was waaaaaay too lazy to make a Sycamore leaf into a silhouette. Have you seen all the points on those suckers?!?
We printed out all our cards on green card stock. For stands, my immediate family had been diligently drinking wine and saving the corks for months. Using an idea we heard on NPR, Ryan sliced them in half with a box cutter and made a slit in the top.
I’m not especially looking forward to making the table assignment cards, but I do look forward to the end product. We’ll have of own little forest of family and friends. 🙂
P.S. To White Oak, American Beech, Bald Cypress, Virginia Roundleaf Birch, Rhododendron, Pawpaw, Mountain Laurel, Pecan, Dogwood, Sycamore, Wollemi Pine, American Holly, Shagbark Hickory, Long-leaf Pine and all the other missed species– I’m sorry. I still love you all! 🙂