The wedding this newspaper covers

otaylor@thestate.comJune 23, 2013 

It can be argued that creativity at weddings can only be found in wedding-party introductions and first dances that resort to a flash mob’s surprise tactics. Even ting-ting-ting toasts have lost imagination.

Catherine Hunsinger has edited the theme of her wedding to avoid the obvious and what she considers to be bland decorative choices.

“When I got engaged, I was like, ‘I don’t want to buy real flowers for the wedding’,” she said. “So I was trying to think, I could use silks, but that’s kind of boring. And expensive.”

Hunsinger turned her wedding into a craft project. In fact, if you’re reading this story by turning the pages of an actual newspaper, these very pages might be repurposed for the wedding of Hunsinger, 25, to Nathaniel Krueger, 28.

Newspapers are the design centerpiece of Hunsinger’s wedding. Table centerpieces, flowers and even the chandeliers hanging at 701 Whaley for the Saturday evening reception were made using newspapers.

Instead of labels, wine bottles will be wrapped in newsprint. The Shealy’s BBQ buffet dinner table will be accented by table runners cut from papers that once held the stories of the day. There might even be stacks of papers on the guest tables.

Many brides simply appear in a newspaper’s wedding section; they don’t typically use the pages for their wedding. Once she settled on the idea, “the theme kind of took off from there,” said Hunsinger, the daughter of Rhonda Hunsinger, the executive director of the South Carolina Philharmonic.

And then she got her bridesmaids to help, turning bridal showers into craft parties. On an unseasonably warm Saturday afternoon in January, Hunsinger had several of her bridesmaids over for one such party.

“Does anyone want wine?” Hunsinger asked her guests, their scissors already in hand as if the shears were a door prize.

“Yes,” was the response, almost in unison.

Rebecka Garner and Laura Hernandez took seats on the couch. Sarah Clark had a chair to herself, while Maria Arvelo kneeled on the floor. Michelle Insley called after her spaniel, and Dannon Heller arrived later. Hunsinger was beside Arvelo as she sorted patterns on the coffee table. It was like she was an instructor at a weekend crafting class.

They began with chandeliers. Each chandelier contains 20 to 30 discs attached by thin wire, the finished product a feather-light mobile to add ambience.

“It gives the room more dimension, because 701 is so big,” Hunsinger said.

Only black and white paper was to be cut into circles of various sizes. Absolutely no color pages, Hunsinger coached, before correcting the record. Pink and blue were acceptable colors. The sound of scissors slicing through paper, which, with so many scissors cutting at once, was not unlike shoes on packed snow, filled Hunsinger’s Lexington apartment.

Newspapers were stashed in a tub, the kind that college co-eds use to ice down kegs. The stack looked like a small neighborhood’s worth of subscriptions to The State. When asked where she got her papers, Hunsinger said she has a friend whose friend gets extra copies.

“I’m not even sure,” she continued. “It’s like the newspaper black market.”

What do her parents think of her decorating sense?

“They love it,” she said. “First of all, it saves a ton of money, so they’re all about it.”

“Catherine’s an only child, so they love everything that comes out of her mouth,” Garner interjected.

A Google search for “uses of old newspapers” will yield more than 200,000 results. Some favorites include garden bed prepping, disposable table cloths, fire starter, wrapping paper and stuffing an orphan sock for an instant crinkle toy for kitty. On Pinterest, a content sharing website, there are wedding bouquets, wreaths and even stunning cocktail dresses and gowns made from newspapers.

“I thought she was being very resourceful and saving a lot of money,” Rhonda Hunsinger, said. “She’s been raised by a nonprofit mother. She’s very creative and likes to make things.”

Rhonda Hunsinger, who spoke to a reporter last week while attending the League of American Orchestras’ conference in St. Louis, said her daughter would probably want to set up her creations herself on her wedding day. But it will be left to 701’s staff. Rhonda Hunsinger and her husband, John Hunsinger, have only seen some of the work.

“I may not see a fair amount of it until I walk into the reception,” she added.

She’ll get to share in the delight of guests — at least that’s what the bride hopes.

“I hope it doesn’t look ridiculous,” Hunsinger, who had to alter some of her plans to accommodate 35 guest tables, said last week. “I’m exhausted by planning and crafting. But it’s got me written all over it.”

The mood was animated at the January crafting party, made more so by the merlot Hunsinger liberally poured. Newsprint rubbed off on fingers. And then the mustachioed drinking games began. Two paper mustaches — a handlebar and toothbrush, the latter preferred by Charlie Chaplin — were placed on the TV screen as “Bride Wars,” a movie starring Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway, played. When a mustache fell on a face, all with a glass had to drink.

“This is all we’re going to do,” Clark said.

Hernandez rearranged the placement in hopes of scoring a ’stache on two faces. Insley was about to drive to Target for sewing needles when her dog relieved itself. Hunsinger’s beagle wouldn’t allow that to be the only mess on its home turf. Guess what was used in the cleanup? It’s a more common use for old newspapers. That and cleaning windshields.

“That was weird,” Insley said. “Every time I visit you, she poops on the floor.”

Groucho’s sandwiches were ordered for lunch, and the next moustache game movie was, appropriately, “Bridesmaids.” The bride and her bridesmaids began eating, appropriately, during the scene when the movie’s characters couldn’t control their bodily functions after eating rotten food.

The conversation turned to “Bridesmaids” star Kristen Wiig’s “Saturday Night Live” sketch The Real Housewives of Disney, a bit that included Lindsay Lohan. And who is Eve?

The one in that “tambourine” song with Gwen Stefani?

“Right, that was Eve,” said Garner, who played the song, “Let Me Blow Your Mind,” on her phone.

Hunsinger hummed the tune as she hung a finished chandelier on the chandelier over the table in her dining area to see how it hung.

“Oh my gosh, I just stabbed myself,” Insley said. She wasn’t hurt.

“How about we do one more chandelier and call it?” Hunsinger said.

Hernandez and others agreed. They had a game to finish.

Reach Taylor at (803) 771-8362.

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