My 16-year-old-self wedding inspiration

Wedding InspirationAs most of you probably know, I am currently in full-blown wedding planning mode. Trey and I will be saying our vows in less than two months, and I could not be more excited! I am so excited to share all our wedding day choices with you: from invites, to flowers, my dress, the cake, and everything in between. I love the process, and I really can't say enough how happy I feel during this season of my life.

I'd like to say that I'm not the kind of girl who has been dreaming about my wedding day since I was sixteen, but that's just not true. I was recently reminded of this when my parents dropped off a box of old pictures and journals of mine that they had found at their house. I was digging through it, deciding what to save and what to pitch, when I uncovered a bunch of magazine clippings and notes from my 16-year-old self planning my future wedding. Some of it I'm still kind of into, even though it's over ten years later, and some of it was just funny. So of course I had to share. 🙂

Wedding Inspiration dressesKeep in mind that not only was this pre-Pinterest, this was nearly pre-internet. At least for me. I think my parents got dial-up internet some time around when I graduated high school. So back then, in the old days, we didn't have a Pinterest board filled with wedding ideas we found from all over the world. We had magazines that we flipped through and clipped pages from. 

My goodness I'm feeling old.

Anyway, check out my fashion sensibilities. 1.) Black on white, kind of classic but also I was really into Hot Topic at the time… yeah. 2.) I still kind of like that wedding gown, and her umbrella's cute. 3.) I remember LOVING this deep aqua and gold color story. At least one of these colors did indeed make it into my wedding schemes. 4.) I LOVED the idea of pairing a simple cotton tank top with a a more formal skirt. Although I'm not doing this for my bridesmaid look, I almost wish I was. 5.) Not sure why I clipped that bottom right side wedding dress… I guess I liked the sheer thing?

Dessert ideasI guess I hadn't decided yet if I wanted more rustic-themed foods or classic, formal. Or maybe I just wanted it all! I've always loved dessert. :) 

1.) Wedding cake cookies. These are fun, maybe not the most original idea anymore, but I'm into it. 2.) A giant, boxy layered cake. Hmm… I'll be honest, although I think this cake is very impressive, I don't think it really seems very me. 3.) Pies instead of cake. I still love this! Spoiler: I'm not doing pies at my wedding. But I for sure thought about it, I LOVE pie.My 16 year old self wedding plansThis is probably the most hilarious (and kind of embarrassing) part of my 16-year-old wedding inspiration. I found this hand written note of, I guess, "ideas" that I had for my big day.

1. Bubble machines. I was REALLY into the idea of having a bubble machine at my wedding.
2. Lots (and lots) of star balloons. 'nuff said.
3. Carry torches instead of flowers (except me). I really love how I wrote out "except me." Ha!
4. All picture cake. I'm not totally even sure what this is. I'm guessing a wedding cake that is covered of pictures of me and my guy. Probably like those slide shows we all do but in cake form.
5. Sparklers. Well no duh.
6. Walk out to a Joy Electric song. If you know who Joy Electric is, then bonus points to you.
7. Candles. ? That's not really an idea….
8. Fireflys. That's the whole idea, just "fireflys", misspelled too. I wonder how I thought that could work out, like trained doves?
9. Up top I noted that I wanted to have my wedding at the Square, which is the middle of my hometown's downtown area. I still kind of like this idea in theory, because I love my town. But I think in reality this might just amount to filling out forms with the city government to get permits to have my wedding in a location that basically guarantees to attract a few uninvited guests… if you know what I mean. Emma chapman prom picturesI also uncovered these prom pictures that are probably from about the same era I was compiling these bits of wedding inspiration. In the above photos I was a junior in high school and I went to two proms (in one weekend!) with my friend Terry, who went to a nearby high school. These photos make me smile, then laugh, then roll my eyes. Love them. Thanks for letting me share! xo. Emma

  • Ahah, so cute. I wish I was this type of girl, but it’s never too late. I never thought about marry when I was a kid, and I don’t think a lot about it now, but what I really love is the all planning process.
    Amazing post!!

  • I think this is just great – and funny! Had I written a list like this when I was 16, a bubble machine would most likely be on it. Not the torches though..! 😀

  • This is so cute! I love looking back at old journals/scrapbooks and cut outs, so nostaligic!

  • Such fun memories! I’m also getting married this summer. I’ve never dreamed about getting married though…
    Looking forward to following your planning and wedding!

  • I have a box of (pre-internet) stuff from my childhood and teenage years too. That kind of stuff is pure gold, I tells ya!

    I STILL clip from magazines though, my 16 year old self refuses to acknowledge that I’ve doubled my age at this point.

  • that’s so sweet! i guess every girl secretly dreams about her wedding, more or less.
    and i think those two prom dresses are awesome!
    xo, cheyenne

  • What a sweet post. Have fun planning your wedding! I cannot wait to see what you do, I’m sure it will amazing and memorable for the both of you 🙂

  • That’s so sweet! It’s always embarrassing to look back to your younger days, but it’s magical too! 🙂

  • Totally know the Joy Electric! I think I’m a bit older than you, but I saw them play at a festival called Cornerstone in (I think) 1996. ha! You took me back! 🙂

  • this is absolutely hilarious! i love your list. totally go with bubble machines! it’s the missing element
    kw ladies in navy

  • I wasn’t one of those people who planned out my wedding, but this was a fun time warp for me! (My guess is we’re about the same age…) Still think the tank with a formal skirt would work for an informal, outdoor wedding. 😉

  • That’s so cute! I have a bunch of ideas saved from when i was 16 and 17. There was a lot of bling and purple and i wanted a big, poofy princess dress. It’s so different from what I dream of now (10 years later). Funny how things change.

  • That is so cute! I love finding memories from when I was younger! I remember my best friend and I would try to draw out what our engagement rings and wedding dresses would look like when we were in highschool 🙂 Have a wonderful time planning your wedding, it really is SO much fun!!
    Sunny with a side of…

  • This is amazing!! I wish I had done this when I was 16, so I could look back on it and laugh:) Thanks for sharing!!


  • Yes! Thanks for sharing this, I love it 🙂 So glad I held onto this kind of stuff to look back on and laugh at…

  • Totally know who Joy Electric is – we played a show with the singer six years ago.

    LOVE these inspiration ideas from your 16 year old self!


  • Haha, I love uncovering stuff I wrote and liked as a teenager! Sometimes it seems so silly to have ever liked those things but thinking back it was so me at the time. I love that you shared your notes!

    xo Julia

  • Adorable!!! What fun to dig through that box of memories. I wish I had more stuff like that from my childhood and teen years. That chevron prom dress is very fashion-forward of you, Emma!

  • love it!

    thx so much for sharing this!

    i wish i’d been doing that when i was younger 😀 but it was my future-husband (waahhh! just 12days to go!) who really wanted me to get married (though the whole big wedding thing is still not my cup of tea)

  • This is so cute! I’ve never really been into that pre-planning (though I guess there’s still time since I’m only 17) but part of me wishes I was just so I could have something like this to look back on.

  • Haha I love this! You were very creative from the start… Pre internet! No wonder you and your sister have this blog full of creative explosion! I love the torch idea! Lol… I wouldn’t do it, but so awesome!

  • it is so cool that you have found that! best of luck with planning and everything:)

  • This is adorable! The first set of clippings reminds me of late early 2000s style. I definitely had a formal dress from Delia’s in that color pink, haha

  • Hahaha! You had everything planned! 😀 It is too cute <3 I had nothing planned yet, although I love all wedding pictures 🙂

  • This is adorable! Finding notes and stuff from years ago is so fun! 🙂

  • This may be my favorite post ever. LOVE that you kept that stuff, and love that you shared it. so awesome!!!

  • What grown woman WOULDN’T want to walk down the aisle to religious synth-pop? Your 16 year old self was right on point!

  • Pinterest is great but magazine clippings were so much fun (still are)! I was busy planning the last details of my wedding at this time last year. Being married is the best, but I kind of miss my wedding planning days. 🙂 Enjoy it, even in those last crazy moments!


  • I do know who Joy Electic is! I can’t say I ever really liked them, but I had a friend who was super into them. Ahh, the 90’s!

  • Oh my gosh, the “carry torches instead of flowers (except me)” line made me crack up! Your blog is awesome, keep up the great work! 🙂

  • My cousin had pies! They were yummy 🙂 We had cupcakes so we didn’t have to deal with cutting cake. In Youngstown, a city near Cleveland where I live, folks do a cookie table in addition to the cake. Everyone makes a couple dozen cookies and then everyone takes a bag full of cookies. My friend had this. I loved the idea.

  • This is so funny. And you are so brave to post it. 🙂

    I don’t remember wanting fog machines, but I did find inspiration ideas from my college years tucked away when I got married last year.

    I’m so glad I outgrew the idea of a pink wedding cake and princess gown. By 28 my wedding felt much more me, and less like the wedding scene in Clueless. That I’m thankful for.

    Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials. Very excited to see what a lovely, unique celebration you will have.

  • That’s so sweet, Emma! Hope your wedding day will be as adorable and fun like your 16-years-old you dreamed. I simply love this blog!

  • This makes me smile! I was never one to plan a wedding I was still trying to be cool (failed.) and I’m disappointed I didn’t realise in time that cool wasn’t going to happen!
    When I started swing dancing at university I secretly planned sooo much just from being around fifties dresses and such! I wish I had something like this to look back on!

  • I Definitely had a giggle imagining everything on your 16 yr old list in ONE wedding xo can’t wait for pics of the real thing I know you’ll make it a beaut!

  • This is adorable and very funny to look back on while you plan your wedding! Congratulations … it seems like you’re not letting the stress get to you!

  • emma, this was so fun! i bet you’re super glad you discovered these little parts of 16 yr old you. 🙂

  • I’ve never seen a wedding where they carried torches! You could always STILL try it! 😉 Very fun note to find, plus prom pictures are always fun!

  • This is really funny! I am only 13 and one of my friends is a really big fan of joy electric. We really enjoy listening to Joy Electric. I thought this was cool because I hadn’t ever heard of it before I met my friend.

  • See I never thought much about my wedding as a teen…I can’t really think why, I think I was too busy thinking about the decidedly tragic and dramatic (to my mind at least) things happening at the time. My wedding was the future, when I would actually have my life together.

    These clippings take me back to my teens though…

  • This is so awesome!
    While going through the post, it was sort of like you were talking about someone else… it’s amazing how much a person changes…
    You shouldn’t feel old, I’m 21 and I clipped from magazines when I was a kid. Although, I was more about recipes and fashion in general. Never thought about wedding, really.
    And even today, I’d rather have all the things I find on the internet printed out,than keep it in a file on the computer :S
    Anyway, this was so nice to see and read, and I find it kinda funny how you always write: Thanks for letting me share! Thank you (both), for sharing! 😉

  • Ahhh your prom pictures are the best!! My high school’s prom was yesterday, I just posted the pictures on my blog. 🙂

  • I live in the same town you do, and while the square sounds romantic, you would definitely get a lot of unwanted guests. And I know just what you mean 🙂

  • I got such a kick out of this! I remember doing the same thing…wish I still had mine. I esp like the fireflies…”trained doves”. Lol!


  • This is so unbelievably hilarious..I was in tears laughing over your list because I think we can all remember being exactly that age. too cute.
    Love the prom photos, especially that elsie’s dress is black and white striped;) Seems so elsie

  • we actually had bubbles at our wedding instead of the usual rice/confetti. it was right when we excited the church and the kids for doing it. it was a lot of fun for them, a lot easier to clean up for the parish and well… a really cool surprise for us! 🙂

  • This is such a cute idea for a post! I love getting to read about bloggers real life. I feel like I get to know them a little better then. 😉

    Haha! I love the firefly idea! Can you just imagine how cool it would be if there was actually a way to get that to work!?

  • You should do the bubble machine during your first dance together! We did it 16yrs ago for our wedding and they looked so pretty in the pictures and everyone (especially the kids) went “Oooooo!!!!”

  • I wasn’t one of those girls who dreamed about her future wedding. And now that I’m actually planning it, I’m freaking out!

    Your list made me laugh out loud… especially the torches. 🙂

  • This is a bit cute! How funny, I will have to dig out my glory box and see what I can find from my 16 year old self!

  • Too funny! I was actually just going through one of my old journals today and getting a kick out of some of the stuff I wrote. It’s always so fun & slightly embarrassing to look back, isn’t it? lol I used to love Joy Electric, by the way!:)

  • Your chevron dress is still in style! I am excited to see photos of your wedding.I didn’t cut out pictures for my future wedding. I did collect floor plans and cut cute children out of adds to make my “future family” when I was little. I was nuts though. One of the families had 24 kids. 24 KIDS! I even named them.

  • SO cute. LOVED reading this. Made me all nostalgic for my 16 year old self too 🙂 xx

  • Anyone who even considers including Joy Electric in their wedding plans is alright in my book! Haha… That would make for a memorable wedding!

  • So cute! I was never the type of person to do something like this… The only decision I’ve made about any possible future wedding is I want it to be overseas with only close family and friends and have a big party when we get back for everyone else.

  • First, I think you were planning your 16-year-old version of a wedding at about the same time I was planning my actual, 25-year-old version of a wedding — I still have my binder full of magazine clippings and had a few in common with yours (like that bridesmaid ad — loved that!).
    And YES, I know Joy Electric! Like Alyssa up there, I saw them at Cornerstone in the mid 90s and locally once or twice too…man, it’s been awhile. Didn’t play them at our wedding, though. 😉
    Thanks for the throwback. I need to find that binder.
    Happy planning!

  • This is so funny! I remember doing some kind of similar “life vision” collage for a school project my senior year of high school, and since my sensibility was a bit preppier than it is now I’m sure it would be hilarious to see today. Thanks for sharing!


  • omg Emma- the list had me literally LOLing. i recently found a journal from when i was 15.5 and there’s a whole passage about how much i love knishes. this journal assures me that our teen selves would have gotten along quite well haha!

  • I loved this post, so hilarious! It’s funny how the taste changes over the years, isn’t it? Can’t wait to read more about your wedding ideas! (: My boyfriend and I are getting married in Autumn, so I know how excited you are feeling… Good luck with everything and don’t freak out! (; But I’m sure you’ll get lots of help from Elsie, too. (:

    Many greetings from Sweden,

  • This is adorable! I’m getting married in two months as well, but I never really thought about my wedding until a few years ago. Enjoy the planning process!

  • OMG! Joy Electric!!!

    And now, Drum Machine Joy is STUCK in my head! (not a bad thing!!!

    Good luck with planning!!!

  • You are a brave woman letting folks see that. 😉 I think I probably trashed all of that long ago – haha! I’m also a bit older than you, but thanks for bringing back the 90s nostalgia – hehe! Its funny to reflect back on our teenage selves & remember what we thought we’d be doing at this age, and what we’re actually doing.
    Can’t wait to see wedding details – good luck with everything.

  • This is totally adorable! I used to design my wedding gown. Think “Little Mermaid” mixed with more tulle and pink sashes. Is this what I’ll be wearing when I get married this November? Somehow I don’t think so…haha!

  • I love this post, it is fun to see a peek into your teenage brain. Oh, and I loved Joy Electric, saw them at TOM fest 🙂

  • This is so sweet. I wish I had an old box of clippings to show what my wedding was going to look like. Thanks for sharing, as I prepare for my own, in 5 months! 🙂

  • Haha that is too funny! But also so sweet and means that your wedding will (hopefully) be exactly the way you want it! Can’t wait to see pictures of your wonderful day!

  • Love following your blog…and especially stumbling across #6 on this darling post. That’s my husband! 🙂


  • All of this is so adorable! I didn’t make any wedding plans when I was younger, but I have shoe boxes full of other embarrassing memories – like super gawth hate life poems. Oh yes.

  • I got married over ten years ago, right around the time you clipped these pictures. Our DJ just got back from a Chicago DJ convention where he bought a bubble machine. At first we said no bubbles please, but he made another very kind ask right before our first dance. We gave in. It’s still one of my favorite wedding memories because he was just SO passionate about surrounding us in bubbles. The shot out of the machine directly at us. It was really funny.

  • I get a sugar rush.. Thinking of you too much… I only want to be with you for all eternity… 😀

  • We have a shop in Cardiff which sells all handmade & quirky wedding items and does invites, dresses and loads more bespoke with a vintage/quirky style!

  • I love that list!! I’m sure I’ve got stacks of magazine clippings just like this bast home… :X

  • It’s great to look back and see how you have grown from your teenage self. Also, see what still remains uniquely you. Thanks for sharing your sixteen year old wedding dreams with us.

  • Ah, dearie, very nice…and I not only know who Joy Electric is, but I’ve been to a show…and still own a few records and one patch that is all that is left of one of their T-shirts. ha!

  • Haha! Love this. I did the same thing when I was 16. And my hometown (Washington, IL) has a square too!! & we also call it “the square”


  • This cracked me up, I have a shoe box that holds all my teenage embarrassments and LOTS of magazine clippings. Did you even used to make magazine collages on your bedroom mirror? Cause this chick did and for some reason saved them all.

  • You should still have bubbles. It’ll make you so reminiscent since you found this list and would be pretty and fun.

  • I’m 16 now…And I do clip from magazines!
    I don’t really like how everybody does everything on the Internet, so I keep doing this the old way.

  • I STILL love Joy Electric! So awesome to see your inspiration. I actually kind of miss the days where clipping things out was the way to save your ideas. I think I was a lot more creative and a little less mindless about my searches for cool things.

  • Oh my goodness, Joy Electric! Emma, you were an awesome kid.
    I too was also into Hot Topic…shudder.

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