Colorful Paper Flower Wedding: Caitlyn + Joe

paper flower wedding arch

Caitlyn + Joe live in east Africa. For the two years leading up to their August wedding, Caitlyn was in the Peace Corps in Rwanda teaching at a large government high school in the village, and Joe has lived in Kenya for the last four years doing sustainable and social business with internally displaced people with an organization called Uhuru Child. Thus they knew from the get-go that they wanted to have some east African flair at their wedding! They did this by using Rwandan fabric or igitenge for – well everything!

They wanted their wedding to be a colorful, casual celebration where they could just be comfortable and enjoy the time with friends + family (especially since they rarely see them!). Their wedding took place at the beautiful venue of Cedarwood Weddings in Nashville (the bride’s hometown) and their outdoor ceremony was perfect (especially with the giant paper flower arch Caitlyn and her friends made) for their bright fun vibe complete with lawn games + burgers. Big congrats to Caitlyn + Joe and thanks so much to Rylee Hitchner for the photos!

wedding program fan

sunflower wedding bouquet

bridesmaids with sunflower bouquets

For my dress, I decided to buy a slightly less expensive one so I could make it my own. I sat with the seamstress for hours drawing out my ideas before we got it just the way I envisioned it! We removed the under layer of the dress that had lace appliques on it. Then we cut out the appliques to construction a snazzy new back and straps. I loved it more than anything I saw on the rack!


groomsmen in suspenders and plaid shirts

The most memorable moment of our wedding was probably the first reveal. It started raining about 2:00 on the day of our wedding and the anxiety set in. We had planned an outdoor ceremony with a GIANT paper flower arbor (made by me and some trusty craft buddies) and rain was simply not going to fly. When it was time for the first reveal (which we kept delaying and delaying because of the downpour) I shakily made my way to the dock where we had chosen to meet. When I saw Joe and we kissed under the umbrellas, I knew it really didn't matter if it rained or not because I was about to marry my favorite person in the world. And thats just what we did. As an extra bonus, five minutes before the ceremony was set to begin the clouds cleared, the sun came out and it was absolutely perfect.

bride and groom black and white portrait

bride and groom

bride and groom black and white portrait

paper flower wedding arch

bride walking down aisle

paper flower wedding

paper flower wedding

Processional: Ought to Be – Audrey Assad

Recessional: I Do – Colbie Callait

First Dance: By the Way They Dance – Jump Little Children

flower girls

colorful banners

cedarwood weddings

cedarwood weddings

bride and groom red truck

My advice for those planning right now is to feel free! Don't conform to tradition if thats not your thing. Be expressive and creative and YOU! Don't be afraid to be too bright or too colorful or to cut your dress! Also, get as many people involved as possible. We had so much help and support from friends and family (since we were planning the wedding from Rwanda!) and that just made the planning process so much more fun. We had craft parties to make pom poms, iron parties to get bunting just right, baking parties to practice desserts we would serve and sing-a-longs with my sisters who sang for the ceremony! The group effort just made us feel so loved, supported and pumped about our big day instead of stressed!

photography: Rylee Hitchner // venue: Cedarwood Weddings // event design, planning, and floral design: Cedarwood Weddings // wedding dress: Wtoo // bridesmaid dresses: They picked a navy dress of their choice // makeup: Amy Stanfield // groom suit: Express // invitations + paper goods: Design in Paper (designed by the bride) // catering: A Dream Come True Catering // cake: Patty Cakes // music: Jace Aaron DJ

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  1. Gorgeous colors…so cheery and bright! Love the swing shot!

  2. The couple sure did accomplish their goal of having a very colorful wedding. Excellent photography by Rylee!

  3. I love her dress. How awesome is it that they’re doing such great work abroad? I always admire individuals like that.

  4. Beautiful! I love the 1st look shots, so sweet.

  5. oh my goodness. that ceremony set up is just amazing!

  6. How did you make that flower alter decoration?! I would love to try it!!!

  7. I love the sleeves of her dress! Did she customize it to have that, or do you know where she got it? Looking for something nice like that for my dress too :)

  8. For the alter, we just looked up tons of paper flower patterns on different blogs. Then we bought a bunch of colorful cardstock, old books and even threw some patterned paper in the mix. We made all the flowers and then hot-glued green ribbon on the backs of the flowers. Then we tied them all to chicken wire and wrapped the chicken wire around the arbor. I couldn’t have done without a team of friends but that made it so much fun and a labor of love!

    • Hi Caitlyn,
      LOVE your flower arch. We are wanting to do something similar for our wedding as well. I was wondering if you built the wood frame on your own or if you got it somewhere? Also, do you happen to remember aprx how many paperflower you made to fill the arch? I’m buying paper now and have no idea how much to get =p

      • We used a metal arch they had at our venue. We used about 200 flowers on the arch but you could definitely decrease that if you used bigger ones.
        All the best! I am sure your wedding will be amazing!

  9. Such bright colours, absolutely gorgeous!

  10. HI!
    I am a fan of your paper flowers, was hoping to make some for a friends wedding, was wondering if you had any directions you could share for making them!! thanks for any help or advice in advance!


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