Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Story of the Outdoor Chapel

The entrance to our Outdoor Chapel

I originally saw the idea of building an outdoor chapel over a year ago in a wedding planning blog. The story was covering a couple’s wedding day and showed the amazing structure they built to sit out in a yard where the ceremony would be. I was in complete awe. What a great idea. What a neat way to make an outdoor ceremony intimate without closing it off or using a tent. I loved how it seemed like it had always been there, it wasn’t obstructive or out of place, it was the perfect rustic place for a wedding.


From that day forward I would randomly Google images to see if I could find other examples that couples had built. I wanted to see more! I was addicted to the idea of the chapel. I imaged my wedding day and how elated I would be to get married outside in a place like that. I soon stumbled on a blog written by a girl in California. Her father -in -law was conveniently a contractor and had the means and access to materials to build something this. In fact the wedding was to take place on their property, so they could build it on location and take their time. I checked up on her each month to see how it was coming along. Of course it was amazing. They put in a stone walk way and a fire place!

At this point, I decided I had to have one too. I emailed all the photos and information to Steve and said Build this please! And he did.

Most of the outdoor chapels I found online were built from scrap wood pulled of shipping pallets. The kind that gives you mad slivers if you have ever worked in receiving at a store! That wood is thin and cheap and best of all, light weight. Steve however, had a better idea. His family has assisted in numerous demolitions over the years. They have kept all the scrap wood, barn wood, junk wood, you name it wood, from these projects. All the materials we needed were sitting in his parents yard. Only thing missing were single pan
e vintage windows…hmm…. where would we find those? Well, it just so happened that I started collecting those windows when I was in high school. As an avid garage sale-er and swap meet attendee I had a small pile of precisely what we needed.

As luck would have it, Steve’s dad is a wood shop teacher. Together he and Steve had all the tools and know how to build these structures. The wood had been sitting for years and was perfectly weathered and worn. It only took a few weekends to build 4 sides and the entry way, each with their own supports to hold them up. Although, when a friend asked how they would stand on their own, Steve’s brother replied “Well, they ordered a couple wizards and they are going to be in charge of that.”

Pretty much the best answer ever.

Each structure weighed about 200-250 lbs and took 2 men to carry. We loaded them onto a flatbed trailer and hauled them to the wedding venue the morning of and set them in place. Unfortunately, the venue was booked the night before so we were unable to set anything up ahead of time. They turned out Awesome.

The back side

Before Adding the windows in

Ready to load!

Our guests didn’t realize we had built them, they thought they were part of the venue!

I kept thinking about how at the end of the night our families and friends in their tired and drunken stoopers would have to tear down and pack everything up. Including this entire outdoor chapel! The venue was yet again book the following day and we couldn’t leave anything behind that night.

As the ceremony was wrapping up, the owner approached us and asked to buy the chapel from us. What better way to top off our wedding night?! We had planned to sell them on Craigslist anyhow! So, we made some extra cash and didn’t have to move them again!!! I would say that was definitely a win- win situation, with or without the wizards!

Thank god it didn’t rain that day, or all this work would have been a complete waste, as the ceremony would have been moved inside the barn! Here are some photos of the process and the final product.

A view from the side during the ceremony

Heading down the aisle to see Steve for the first time

We added childhood photos to the entryway. Bride on one side and Groom on the other. It was amazing to walk through as my dad took me down the aisle. To see the photos as we passed through the doorway. To feel like I was coming through the church doors like I had always imagined I would while growing up. To have the sun shining down and the warm breeze at our backs. It couldn’t have been more perfect… and Steve built it all for me. 


Coryazy said...

This is amazing! Seriously some of the coolest wedding pics I've ever seen!!!

You are such a freak though ... why have you been collecting windows?

I love you Grace! Congrats on everything!

Graciepie said...

Thank you! Yeah I guess collecting single pane windows is kinda odd huh? lol...This chapel was in the making 8 years prior apparently, I just didn't know yet!

love,natalie said...

So cool! What a great way to make a wedding venue your own. Steve did an amazing job. He should make them and sell them to other venues or wedding planners!