Monday, November 17, 2014

Real Life Stories from a DIY Wedding

Do a DIY wedding they say, it will be fun they say...yeah sure haha.  No but really, it did make the experience much more...ours? I'm not sure what word I'm looking for there but basically, everything we did came from our hearts and our heads. We had to determine what we wanted from the cake, to the decor, to our attire. Each piece of our wedding was personalized - no, not with monograms - but it was personal to us. So here are the things we did allll on our own, and my thoughts on whether or not it was worth it...

DO design and print your own invites

This was a great idea. It was a bit stressful because my design skills were a tad rusty...but if you know someone who can design your wedding invites for you - do it. You can also explore using online invite companies or even find designers on What I did was hand-draw my invites, scan them in, and then cleaned and colored them in using photoshop. From there, I actually bought cardstock from Michaels and then printed them at Office Depot. I think we ended up spending under $100 on 70 invites. Pretty crazy considering the 2013 national average spent on invites was $443.00.

DO get your flowers from a flower farm

This was an adorable idea but it all depends on the time you have. For me, everything got really rushed at the end. So it would have been nice to have the morning of our rehearsal dinner off, not worrying about getting up at the crack of dawn to pick flowers. However, it was a really fun activity for me and my girls to do. I had a few bridesmaids and also some family members from both Andrew and my side come out. Though it was a pain in some ways - it was also refreshing and a bonding moment. I think just to save time, I would still do a flower farm, but ask that they pick them for you. That way, you would have more time to actually arrange the flowers which is definitely much more time consuming than you would think.

DO write your own vows and make them unique to you as a couple!

It took us forever to do this piece and we definitely waited until the last minute - but it was so worth it. Our vows were something that we wrote ourselves and because of that, they were perfectly us. Now I do know that some people want to go the traditional or religious route and that's completely fine as well...but we decided that we wanted our ceremony to be completely us.  We worked together and created the entire script of our ceremony, pulling quotes from different pieces we loved, some traditional, some not, and we also worked in a few family traditions (detailed below). We wrote our vows separately and read them during the ceremony to each other for the first time. We put some boundaries over how to write them (we did it in a "I promise to x, y z" format) so it ended up being really sweet and flowing perfectly. We also wrote letters to each other to read before the ceremony and I really loved that.

DO insert some traditions from both sides of the family or create new ones

This was some of the most fun and memorable things we did. We started incorporating our heritage and families with our attire. My husband wore a kilt in honor of his Scottish heritage and I actually wore his grandmothers dress that was re-designed for me. The second thing we did was use Scottish traditions in our wedding ceremony by having an oathing stone and having a Scottish poem recited at the end of our ceremony. With an oathing stone, guests pass around the stone and make a wish on it, sending the stone their vibes of happiness for the couple. Then it gets passed up to the couple and they take their vows while holding it. The next tradition was from my Dutch heritage, a wishing tree.  This was something similar to the oathing stone but in this tradition you write your wishes for the couple on a piece of paper then hang it from the tree.  Our wishing tree was absolutely gorgeous, and now we have all of the wishes from our family forever.  At our first Christmas together, we hung the wishes on our garland across the mantle. It was a really sweet way to remember the big day forever.  These traditions really made the wedding feel special and like we incorporated both of our families in to everything we did. It's also something we can pass on and our children can do at their weddings :)

DO make your own cake (but enlist help!)

This actually worked out great (besides me picking the wrong cake stand).  My mom and best friend actually made my wedding cake and cupcakes for the wedding. They were able to do this by making each piece a few weeks in advance and freezing them. Genius. So if you have a big freezer - and you test it all out in advance and know the cake you picked thaws well - do it. It did take a lot of time to do, but because you can freeze it, I think it's totally do-able.  All in all, the cupcakes and cake thawed out wonderfully and they looked and tasted great!  So shout out to mom and Lauren. You kick butt.

DO be thrifty and buy your decor, DON'T rent it

This is definitely the best plan.  I am very lucky that my mom is a huge thrift store junkie and so is one of her best friends, Jacquie. Basically my mom, Jacquie, myself and my best friend looked all through the time I was engaged for things we could use at the wedding...vases, candles, unique props, and little knick knacks that we put on the table that made it "us".  I also bought a few things online from bulk wedding vendors using That's where I bought my linens (at the same price it would have cost to rent them) and my votives (at cheaper than it would have cost to rent them). I highly suggest you consider purchasing things over renting them because 1. its cheaper and 2. you can re-sell it. We also scavenged through our homes for decor to use. This was a great thing to do because alot of things in your home have memories connected to them, so it meant something to have those pieces there :)

DO have an IPod wedding but DON'T hit "shuffle"

This was an interesting DIY project. We thought this would be totally easy and run really smoothly butttttt not so much. It went fine, don't get me wrong, and I doubt anyone even noticed, but I noticed. We spent a few months gathering up songs we wanted for the cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing pieces of our wedding. We actually used Spotify to store them all, which was great, but we ended up freaking out and selecting too much music and we also didn't put it in any particular order. That's where we failed. If you're going to pick your own music and do an Ipod wedding, it can work, but you need to be sure you put your songs in the order you want. That way, you are guaranteed to hear the songs you love.  Some of the songs I couldn't WAIT to dance to at my wedding, never came up. So make sure you have enough music to last the whole time (and then some), and make sure you don't hit shuffle.

Those were just a few of the DIY projects we did and all in all, I think that doing a DIY wedding was definitely worth it. You're still going to end up spending a bunch of money, because weddings are expensive, you cannot get around that, but it will definitely help your wallet in the long run.  It also made it really fun to be able to work on some of these things with your friends and family.  Having a wedding definitely isn't all about the big day, it's about the experience, and DIY weddings give you a pretty memorable experience ;)

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