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Lady Ties and Vintage Finds: A Ginger Root Wedding

Wedding photos—and DIY advice—from one of our favorite DC fashion designers

By Samantha Miller Published

For the past year, Kristen Swenson has been crafting sustainable garments and accessories for her U Street boutique Ginger Root Design. So when her boyfriend of two years, Louie McCoy, popped the question, she knew her May 29 wedding in Barrett, MN (near Swenson’s hometown) would be a DIY affair to remember.

“Weddings can be pretty wasteful, and a lot gets thrown away after,” says Swenson. “We just decided to come at it from a different angle. Whenever possible, we recycled and shopped local so that money was going back into the community.” 

Just about everything from start to finish was made using repurposed materials. Swenson stitched “Kristen and Louie” clothing labels on to each invitation, the wedding bands were melted from reclaimed family gold, and the programs were made of seeded paper. Even the savviest of thrift store shoppers would be envious of the groom’s dapper $3 suit, which was paired with a vintage blue vest, wingtips, and his grandfather’s tie. But no one outshone the bride, who glowed in a dress constructed from three gowns—one of which belonged to her mother.

“The tricky part was that my mom’s dress was white, and the other two dresses I recycled together were ivory, so I had to figure out how to pull off a two-tone dress,” she says. “I decided to just trust myself and do what I do best—go for it with scissors, a seam ripper, pins, and my dress form.”

After a quaint ceremony at the Barrett Lakeside Pavilion, the party moved to a retro roller rink on the lake.

At the reception, gluten-free cuisine, homemade beer, and pastries were served on antique dishes, along with signature cocktails named after the bride and groom. The “Kristin” was a spiked ginger lemonade, while the “Louie” combined peach schnapps and vodka. A playful cake fight, reminiscent of the couple’s first date, broke out before Swenson’s father’s jazz band took the stage.

Swenson was especially touched by a DIY gift from Ginger Root co-owner Erin Derge—a giant pink gingham lady ascot (the signature accessory of Ginger Root Design) and a hand stitched tuxedo dickie left at the bride and groom’s place settings.

Before the newlyweds departed on their West Virginian honeymoon, guests released biodegradable lanterns into the moonlit sky—a nod to the bride’s love-affair with hot air balloons.

For fellow DIY wedding planners on a budget, Swenson has some deliciously simple advice: “Check with friends who recently got married and see if they have any of the decorations still,” she says. “Besides that, remember to have fun, because if you’re so stressed out that you can’t even enjoy your special day, what was the point of all the hustle and bustle?”

For fellow DIY wedding planners on a budget, Swenson has some deliciously simple advice: “Check with friends who recently got married and see if they have any of the decorations still,” she says. “Besides that, remember to have fun, because if you’re so stressed out that you can’t even enjoy your special day, what was the point of all the hustle and bustle?” 

All photographs by Tiffany Bolk.

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Posted at 11:47 AM/ET, 08/01/2011 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Blogs

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