Posts in the 'handmade wedding' Category

Real Wedding: Jessica and Andrew’s Most Unique, Eclectic and Fun Arkansas Wedding

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I was over the moon when Jessica emailed me to say that she’d won free wedding photography from Beyond the Ordinary Photography’s contest because she’d read about it in our newsletter, because it’s always exciting when the work I’ve done has helped to make a real difference in someone’s life. If you’re already subscribed to our newsletter, you know that Beyond the Ordinary Photography is running another contest this year, and if you aren’t subscribed, you can change that now! Congratulations, Jessica and Andrew, your wedding was amazing and it was an honor to have played a tiny role in it.

paper bouqet

henna

Andrew close-up

ring bowl

 

Names: Jessica Keahey and Andrew Beekman

Occupations: Civil Engineers

Wedding location: Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Wedding date: 10/20/12

Approximate guest count: 210

How would you describe your wedding? Eclectic and fun. We didn’t have a theme; we just made individual decisions on what made us happy or what we found to be really enjoyable or interesting. We decided that we wanted our wedding reception to be a very fun party that everyone attending would enjoy. Up to a year later, we have had people tell us that ours was the best wedding that they have ever attended and how much fun it was.

What was your favorite part of your wedding? Andrew and I both agree – our favorite moment was dancing with our very best friends and the catering staff from Geraldi’s, (best lasagna in Northwest Arkansas), at the tail end of the night. I’m sure this will seem very strange to your readers, but it was an incredibly happy and carefree moment in time that stands out so clearly to us both. With the night winding down, I walked into the kitchen at the back of the reception location to find the caterers all lined up in a row like well-dressed soldiers awaiting orders to do food battle. Juxtaposed against the revelry on the other side of the kitchen door, it seemed pretty surreal to me – so I invited them to come drink and dance. The young staff literally cheered when their boss relented, and we had a total blast boogie-ing and tapping the kegs with them.

fekt gearts

upclose heart pin

drink ceremony

cocktail preparation

What did you splurge on? The food, the booze and the reception venue. Andrew and I believe there are 3 things that are vital elements to a great wedding reception: good food, good booze, and good music. I’m a vegetarian while Andrew is a carnivore, so we wound up picking each of our favorite local restaurants to cater a buffet-style dinner. We also had a candy bar, popcorn machine, and a huge tower of cheese in addition to a mouth-watering cake. Feeding and providing an open bar to over 200 people was our biggest expense, but it was really important to us. Early in the planning process, we struggled with finding a local venue that was 1) large enough (and had enough room for dancing), 2) open late enough, 3) allowed alcohol or otherwise had booze available, 4) permitted outside food to be catered in, and 5) was within our price range. The UARK Bowl, Fayetteville’s first bowling alley and iconic local landmark, fit the bill and was within walking distance of the ceremony. The venue rental also included tables, chairs, linens, place settings, use of their kitchen, our name in lights on their outdoor marquee, a stage and sound system, bar and 2 bartenders for the evening, clean-up, and the help of an event coordinator during the day-of the wedding — which kept us from having to coordinate with a bunch of other vendors and rental agencies.

What did you save on? The decorations – We made almost all of the decorations and favors. All the DIY projects were incredibly time consuming but very rewarding, and our amazing friends really pulled together during the day-of to help us get it all put in place. (See below for more details on our DIY projects.) Our rings – We both decided that we wanted something unique and didn’t want to support the diamond industry, so we each picked a handmade ring from artists on Etsy. Our attire – My dress was simple and really incredibly affordable. Andrew got his suit on Black Friday when we were visiting a friend in New York. And while $850 may seem like a lot for our duds and accessories, Andrew got a really nice suit out of the deal that he still wears (along with a badass tie, pocketwatch, and cufflinks), and I got some fantastic shoes to add to my closet. We really tried to think about long-term use rather than spending a chunk on something that would get worn once. The photographers – Beyond the Ordinary photographers Charity and Nicole honored us by choosing our wedding as “the most unique” entry in their 2012-2013 contest for free photography. I had enough airline miles and hotel points to fly them to Fayetteville from Chicago and put them up for free. The ceremony venue – We had our ceremony at the Greek Theater on the University of Arkansas campus (where we met). It was free! Bonus: it’s an amphitheater, so no expensive chair rentals required! The honeymoon – Andrew had accrued enough airline miles to snag free tickets to Japan for our honeymoon. While there, we used airbnb to save a ton on lodging by staying with locals and, in the process, got to meet some really incredible families during our stay.

Jessica

Jessica (2)

Andrew and Jessica

Seurat

invites and crafts (2)

Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? I would forego buying disposable cameras. We really thought they would capture some great candid shots, but they were relatively expensive to develop, the picture quality was quite grainy, and the shots were overall pretty underwhelming.

What was your biggest challenge in planning? I’m really not very good at delegating and didn’t have to, as we forewent a traditional wedding party. Our close friends joked that we had built up a lot of wedding karma by helping them at their events over the years because we were able to call in a lot of favors from these very talented and generous people who helped us out of love.

What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? Everyone has their own opinion about what the perfect wedding should look like and consist of (some of whom may be quite vocal with these opinions), so it’s definitely tricky navigating through it all – especially for a non-traditional, secular wedding. We had a fairly long engagement period, so that helped give us the time we needed to consider all the options available and make our own decisions.

What were your top five favorite things about your wedding? 1) Having so many of our loved ones attend and celebrate our love. A good friend serving in the Peace Corps in Yerevan, Armenia, at the time even flew back to officiate. We had such support for our friends and family and so much help through it all.

2) Our vows – It was important to us that the ceremony truly focused on us as individuals and our love, so we wrote our own vows. I’m a former slam poet, and Andrew writes the sweetest love letters/poems on the planet. Let’s just say there was a lot of laughing and crying. A friend was actually so inspired that she wrote a song based on a line from Andrew’s vows which has been put to song by a local artist.

3) Our unity cocktail – A few months before our wedding, Andrew and I made nocino, an Italian walnut liquor, from green walnuts on a tree behind our house. Another friend made an accompanying liquor that he presented and which our parents assisted in blending together into a quaff during the ceremony. It was a distinctly unique and meaningful moment for us.

4) The reception as a whole and all the revelry – The reception was really unique in that we showcased the talents of our fantastic friends, from singing and instrument playing to juggling and dancing with giant silk fans. And there was so much dancing – A rock-n-roll professor of ours agreed to get his band together to play a set. They unexpectedly jammed out the whole night and got everybody on their feet dancing. Afterwards, Andrew’s band played a set before we put on our digital playlist of hand-picked dance jams for the late-night crowd.

5) The before and after events – Prior to the wedding, I convinced the lady who did henna at a kiosk in our mall to come to my house for a mehndi party with my best girlfriends. It was tremendous fun, and I got to have beautiful wedding henna. Then the day after the wedding, some very dear friends threw us a brunch. The day of the wedding itself was so hectic that it was nice to get to spend more quality time with friends and family after the big day.

cake (2)

invites and crafts

cheese tower

Top five least favorite?  1) The expense – We saved quite a bit of money on some elements so that we could splurge on the food and drinks. But overall, weddings with a large number of attendees just cost a goodly amount of money.

2) The sheer amount of time and energy spent – It took a long time and a lot of planning and energy to pull it all off. I definitely had “wedding brain” for a while and then a bit of wedding PTSD afterwards.

3) A no-show vendor – We booked a caricature artist who didn’t show up. It was a bit of an annoyance, but at least we didn’t lose any money on a deposit.

4) The hotel that night – A total disaster. It was really a sour ending to a beautiful day. But now we can kind of laugh at how terrible the experience was.

5) A missed toast – I found out later that my dad had written a toast that he didn’t give. I really wish that we could go back in time and hear it.

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? That we “had” to do any one thing in a specific way because of tradition or expectations. It’s one of the biggest and most memorable days in a person’s life, so we decided we would make it exactly what we wanted it to be. We rejected a lot of “traditions” like the garter and bouquet tosses or standard wedding registries because they just didn’t have any significance or meaning to us.

The best? Looking back at the outpouring of love and written/spoken words of advice, it’s really hard to pinpoint one voice above all others. We received much advice on the theme of how to maintain love and respect for a lifelong marriage. I think there’s probably no one single piece of advice that’s the magical key to a happy union.

thumprint sign

thumbprint canvas

fancy hat

ginseng

 

Any other bits of wisdom? My childhood BFF was driving me to the venue, stopped the car and very seriously looked at me and said, “Ok, this is it. Are you ready to do this? Or do you want to drive to Mexico?” I about died from laughter, but with all the craziness of the day it was a snap back to the true core of what the day was all about – being ready for a lifetime of commitment with someone. The meaning of it all can easily get lost in the planning and hubbub, so my last bit of wisdom is to keep the reason for your union in sight at all times. And make sure you have a really, really good friend willing to drive you to Mexico, if need be.

dancing

groom drumming

marquee

Vendors

Jessica’s ring: Adzias
Andrew’s ring: Jewelry by Johan
Wedding reception: UARK Bowl
Ceremony location: Chi Epsilon Greek Theater
Dress: Unique Vintage
Photographers: Beyond the Ordinary
Caterers: Geraldi’s and Lucky Luke’s BBQ
Cake: Meridienne (very sadly now closed, I believe)
Ring Dish: Crystal Peace Studio
DIY projects: I learned how to make paper roses from blog tutorials and made my own “flower” bouquet and boutonnieres for our friends and family out of old sheet music. Similarly, I learned how to make dahlias out of felt for corsages for the moms. I also made my own hair fascinator from scraps of my altered dress and butterflies from the craft-store. In lieu of a traditional guestbook, we went with a thumbprint canvas. A friend painted a whimsical leafless tree and our guests filled in the “leaves” with their inked thumbprints and names. Now we have a nice piece of art (rather than a book that gets hidden away) that reminds us of our special day and our friends/family. We also designed and printed our own invitations with the help of (again) some amazingly talented friends. It was also worth every penny of the $20 we spent at Office Depot for them to do the folding!!! Other DIY projects included hand sewn felt heart pins for all our guests, whimsical military medals for the dads and gents, huge bunches of balloons, colorful banners of flag pennants, handmade signs aplenty, cootie catchers, large table mats of sheet music, pinwheels, and more. We set up all the decorations, including long bolts of colorful fabric and an arch (we owned and refurbished) at the Greek Theater, with the help of friends and family. We also borrowed and set up PA equipment for the ceremony to save some money.

Budget breakdown

Photographers: $0
Rings: $1,000
Ceremony Venue: $0
Reception Venue (and parking): $3,000
Food and booze: $4,500
Attire: $850
DIY Projects: $125
Other Decorations and Disposable Cameras: $150
Flowers: $0
Band: $500
Cake: $650
Invitations (including postage): $250
Hair, Makeup, and Henna: $200
Dance Lessons: $300

DIY With Jenny Doh: The Hollywood Glam Frame + Win Jenny Doh’s Book, Stylish Weddings!

jennydoh

Tiffany Kirchner-Dixon was inspired by the famous premier signs of old Hollywood  movies for this project. There’s something so glamorous and exciting about big flashing  twinkle lights! For the inside of the frame, you could have a photograph, or follow Tiffany’s lead and create a chalkboard. It’s the perfect canvas for adding your own creative stamp to the wedding décor.

What You’ll Need:
Large vintage frame, with sides at least 2 inches (5.1 cm) wide
Tape measure
Strand of umbrella lights with globe bulbs
Black permanent marker
Wire cutters
Drill bit and drill
Scrap wood block
Staple gun and staples

What You Do:
1.  To arrange the lights evenly around the frame, measure the length and width of the frame, and then count the sockets on the strand. Measure and mark out the bulb spacing with a permanent marker.

2. If the sockets have umbrella clips, use wire cutters with a cutting edge to remove them.

3. Choose a drill bit slightly larger than the socket width, so that when you drill the frame, the socket can slide into the hole. Using a scrap wood block as backing for the frame, center the drill tip in each mark and carefully drill a hole from the front side of the frame through to the back. You may need an assistant to hold the frame to keep it from moving while drilling.

4. Remove the bulbs from the sockets and, starting at the bottom corner of the frame, push the socket closest to the cord end through the back of the frame. Carefully centering the staples over the cord (you do NOT want to puncture the cord), staple the cord to the frame on either side of the socket. Repeat with each socket.

5. Secure excess cord with more staples, or use tie wraps to tie excess cord together.

6. Screw in the bulbs and plug in the lights.

To make a chalkboard similar to the one pictured, cut a piece of Masonite board to the dimensions of the frame.  Spray the Masonite with several coats of black chalkboard spray paint. Let dry. Place the  painted board into the frame and use chalk to write a message for the guests.

Jenny Doh’s book, Stylish Weddings: 50 Simple Ideas to Make From Top Designers, takes all of the frustration out of the home creation of fifty different beautiful wedding details, spanning six different themes, so you’re sure to find something that will fit in with your wedding’s style. This week, we’re giving away one copy of Stylish Wedddings: 50 Simple Ideas to Make From Top Designers to one lucky blog reader! Want it bad? Get an easy free entry by subscribing to our newsletter. It’s packed with the best steals, deals, and wedding giveaways on the web, and we’ll never spam ya!

 
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{Real Bride: Mellzah} Wedding Prep and DIY, Or A Month-Long Cram Session

Our engagement was just about a year and a half long, which was plenty of time to accomplish all of the things I had planned, if I actually worked on them and didn’t spend the bulk of my time fixating on one detail or entirely new things. Pinterest was my best friend and my worst enemy at the same time.

With about a month left to go, I had to buckle down and actually start doing all of these projects I’d dreamed up and pinned or let them go. I’m a bulldog for projects so I had no intention of letting them go, which means I spent a lot of time cutting, filing, sanding, designing, drilling, gluing, painting, printing, swearing, and candymaking, taking breaks for both the bachelorette party and bridal shower.

The fine folks at WeddingMix have put together a video that accurately captures all the last month of our engagement, minus some of the crying and the swearing:

I can tell you right now that those pretty doily lanterns DON’T WORK with paper doilies (I wanted a bunch, but lace doilies are surprisingly expensive); they just look lumpy and sad and severely unpretty, and I took a great amount of pleasure in both punching mine and throwing it away. And learn from my mistake and don’t put hot candy in your mouth. What was I thinking?

Win It: Score A His & Hers Silver Wedding Set From Vena Amoris Jewelry!

STUNNING.

Out of all of the symbology involved in weddings, perhaps nothing is more deeply symbolic than the exchange of wedding bands. Wedding bands are a daily reminder of your love and commitment to one another, a circle without beginning or end, made of precious materials just as you are precious to one another.  Vena Amoris is a Latin name, meaning literally “Vein of Love”, derived from the ancient belief that a vein runs directly from your heart to the fourth finger on your left hand, hence the placement of wedding bands on that particular finger. While this belief is a fallacy, the tradition remains, and we’re glad, because it means you can gaze at your gorgeous handcrafted rings from Vena Amoris Jewelry all day long for the rest of your lives.

Vena Amoris makes their bespoke work based on a love of pieces from a long ago era; Middle Age and Renaissance religious art and most of all Mideast and Mediterranean jewelry. Each piece is individually handcrafted, starting from the alloying of the metal to the fabrication of the pieces. Vena Amoris works mostly with sapphires and diamonds, and they make a conscious choice for most of the center diamonds they use based on their unique qualities–just like a relationship, it carries its darkness and light within it, and when taken as a whole, shows the dynamic beauty of its inherent qualities, creating something wholly unique to you and your partner.

This week, one incredibly lucky BAB will win a silver his & hers wedding set from Vena Amoris Jewelry (your choice of ruby, sapphire, or champagne diamonds)! Want them? Need them? Gotta have them? Get an easy free entry by subscribing to our bi-weekly newsletter! It’s packed with the best deals, steals, and sass on the web, and we’ll never spam ya! Go forth, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

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{Real Bride: Carrie} Last Minute DIY For The Win!

Hey everybody!  Long time no write!  Life is awesome (but busy) here in newlywed-land!  I can’t believe it’s already been four months since Zach and I tied the knot!

A little preview of our wonderful day!

To start off my recaps, I thought I’d update you on how all of our last minute DIY projects turned out!  I was pretty stressed about all we had to do in the week before our wedding.  It was definitely a lot to do, and the process was not without its hiccups.  I’m pretty proud of how everything turned out in the end though!

One of the first things we tackled was our tablecloths!  In order to create the exact hues we wanted, we used this handy Rit Dye Color Formula Calculator.  The hardest part of the process was just figuring out how much dye we needed to make and calculating the amount of each color to use for a huge bucket of dye.  Once we got it figured out though, the dip dyeing was super simple!

Tablecloths in windy action! 

Our next big project was a photobooth!  My “Pinspiration” was this photo booth:

But with a little ingenuity and use of some already-lying-around wood, this is what Zach built:

Suffice to say, it was a HUGE hit and totally worth all of our (mostly Zach’s) hard work!

Inevitably, there were a few projects that fell by the wayside.  We never got around to making an arbor or focal point for our ceremony.  Oh well!

Our biggest project was definitely self-catering our food and desserts!  Thankfully, we had a lot of help from family and friends, and everything came together beautifully and deliciously in the end.  It was definitely a busy week in the kitchen!  We actually ended up with too much food!  Here’s a little peek at the dessert spread my mom, sister, and I slaved away over:

Mmmmm…

Would I recommend saving so much DIY for the week before your wedding?  Definitely not!  Making all this happen and getting along while doing it was not without its challenges!  I’m so happy with how everything turned out in the end!

Did you save lots of DIY for the last minute?  How did it end up for you?

(Special thanks to our photographer Bright Fizz Photo!)

 

Win This: Surprise Your Bridesmaids With Awesome Mini-Totes from OohBabyInfinity!

Here at Broke-Ass Bride, we LOVE multi-purpose wedding party gifts! Not only is it nice to thank your attendants for all of their hard work and support, but it’s even better when you give them something they’ll be able to use over and over–like these beautiful mini totes from OohBabyInfinity! Just imagine: they’re perfect for carrying all of the bits and bobs they need for the wedding day, including emergency kits, water bottles, flip flops, etc…but with their on-trend prints, they’re also perfect to pair with a maxi dress or a sweet cardi while out and about on the town. And since they’re made with attention to detail from high-quality fabric with a waterproof PUL lining, they’re a gift that will stand the test of time! Want an extra sweet gift? Try adding one of OohBabyInfinity’s infinity scarves! Plus, OohBabyInfinity recognizes that you’re under enough financial strain as it is, so all orders of four or more bags or scarves are 15% off, and through the 18th of October, Broke-Ass Bride readers will save an extra 3% with the code BROKEASSBRIDE!

 

Want an easy free entry? Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter! In it, you’ll find contest info, great nationwide bridal deals, and super-awesome Broke-Ass Bride exclusive deals…and we’ll never spam ya!

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Real Wedding: Etan & Megan’s Modern, “Bookish”, Table-Dancing Los Angeles Wedding

Bringing personality to a wedding while still keeping costs low  is a challenge all couples face. Etan and Megan added a great amount of character to their celebration with lots of DIY décor, and a group of people willing to dig in their heels and help this self described “bookish” couple. This Los Angeles duo focused on celebrating what they absolutely loved without going overboard. Good food, cold brews, laughter, good books, and twinkly lights are the key ingredients to this extremely charming L.A. wedding. 

Names: Etan & Megan Rosenbloom

Occupations: Etan works in marketing in the music industry and is a heavy metal music journalist. Megan is a medical librarian who works with rare books.

Wedding location: Lehrer Architects, Silver Lake, Los Angeles, Calif.

Wedding date: Oct. 13, 2012

Approximate guest count: 80

How would you describe your wedding? Everything about our wedding was very personal, from the elements of the ceremony to the DIY décor to the barn raising feeling of putting the whole thing together with friends and family. Also, all the things we didn’t do ourselves we sourced super locally, whether it was the clothes, the food, the beer, so it was a very eastside of LA wedding. We had a lot of bookish decor, which makes sense as we’re both pretty bookish people.

What was your favorite part of your wedding?
Megan: After all of our hard work, taking a moment to breathe and watch our friends and family all together getting hyped on the dance floor and being humbled by the fact that they were all here for us.
Etan: The heightened sense of intimacy with Megan under the chuppah.

What did you splurge on? We didn’t really “splurge” on anything, but as might be expected our biggest expense was the food. But Whoa Nelly Catering worked with us to keep costs low and delivered absolutely amazing food. Our foodie and vegan friends were especially delighted with their offerings, which were all sourced from our local farmers’ markets. Many people said it was the best food they’ve ever had at a wedding.

What did you save on? We managed to save a lot on booze. We are really into craft beer (even my bouquet had fresh hops in it!) so we wanted that to be the star of the show. A friend of ours runs a great beer bar and was able to source three California craft beer kegs for a great price, and then, sweetheart that she is, ended up gifting us one of them. So we had world class beer for our guests for a song. We got our wine from BevMo on their 5 cent sale, so a lot of our bottles were only a nickel! We didn’t want to have a full liquor bar, so next to our agua frescas we had a “spike station” with a bottle each of vodka, whiskey, gin and tequila for people to spike their drinks if they wished. We also borrowed PA equipment from music friends and Etan created some great Spotify playlists for dinner and for dancing.

Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? We probably should have hired a videographer. We had a lot of family & friends who couldn’t make the trip. Our friend who shot the video on my personal camera did a great job stepping up to help, but my gear just wasn’t up to snuff. We also should have reminded people to do certain things like use the photo booth or thumbprint the guestbook to get more participants in those activities.

What was your biggest challenge in planning? Mostly just trying to stay sane while working full-time and doing all of these DIY projects at night, and knowing when to let a certain project go if it just wasn’t working out.

 

What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? From planning the wedding, I learned a lot about time management and balancing all the things I wanted to create and what I could feasibly achieve. At one point, I was thinking that I was working really hard to make certain things that no one was going to notice. I was pleasantly surprised that our guests really did notice all the hard work and love that my friends and I put into all the details of the wedding. Having people come up and mention certain small elements that they enjoyed really made me proud as a crafter and made all the work worth it. I also learned not to be afraid to ask friends for help, and our friends gave us a lot of help in too many ways to list here. At the wedding itself, having everyone there for us, taking part in this very intimate moment, really hammered home just how much we are loved and supported as we forge our new family together.

What were your top five favorite things about your wedding?

It’s hard to pick just five!

  1. Our groomsman/ brosmaid Alexis was a giant help with a lot of the crafting and lighting design, and he designed one area that he could decorate however he wanted. He made us this beautiful lamp where he cut pages out of our two favorite books (Ulysses & Finnegans Wake, both by James Joyce) into leaf shapes, laminated them, and attached them to the lamp so the light glows through the words. He also made us a clever table out of dictionary where the ashtray rested on the page for “smoke” words and the cup holder rested on the page for “drink” words. He made this lovely little oasis for us where we relaxed and took a few photos immediately after the ceremony. Now both of these items adorn our home and we love them to death, and every time we look at them we think of him and all he did for us. Alexis was rewarded in a surprising way for all of his hard work…he fell in love with our bridesmaid Maryanne at the wedding and is now moving across the country to be with her!
  2. We were lucky enough to have Etan’s mom’s best friend, Cantor Perryne Anker, as our officiant & pre-marital counselor. She’s been present at the ceremonies for many of Etan’s major life events, and was a great calming guide for both of us through this whole process. She made the ceremony personal, moving, and funny…everything we could have asked for.
  3. Instead of the traditional parent-child dance, Etan and his mother Aviva did a choreographed Israeli folk dance to the song “Erev Ba” and everyone was very impressed by how light on their feet they were! It was a beautiful, touching moment. Aviva was glowing with motherly pride.
  4. Watching our two very different families from separate coasts get to know each other and enjoy each other’s company was a real treat. We might not ever get everyone together in the same spot again, so that was really special for us.
  5. Watching all of our friends and family go absolutely apeshit on the dance floor was a huge highlight. I took a moment to just enjoy the scene and be glad we could bring all of these wonderful people together, if just for an evening. The first song was Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” and when Prince starts in with his little sermon, everyone just went wild. Our friends Josh, Grant and Agatha ran over to me during the song, looked at the table near the dance floor and said, “Wanna Breakfast Club this shit?” OF COURSE. So we all got up and danced on the table, and at the end of the song Etan came over and I jumped into his arms from the table and he spun me around and kissed me as the song ended. It was a total movie moment…even better than The Breakfast Club. I’ll never forget it.

Top five least favorite?

  1. The ceremony music false-started so our bridesmaid Lavinia had to swoop in and save the day by restarting it.
  2. We found out a few days before that there were some plumbing issues so we had to scramble and get a port-a-potty for the guests. I kinda had a meltdown about it at first, but they turned out to be really nice as far as port-a-potties go, and no one cared.
  3. The whole shebang ran late so we didn’t get enough dancing time, we should have allotted more wiggle room…I think our friends could have danced for hours more!
  4. We were so busy and things went so fast that I only got one of those delicious beers and we didn’t get any pie until the next day.
  5. The next day it was super hot, we were all exhausted, but we had to go back to the venue to take down all the decorations and clean up. That and returning all of the borrowed stuff and trying to sell the things we don’t need was kind of onerous but wasn’t too awful.

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? People told Etan to let me do everything and make all the decisions, that it was my day. That’s not true, it was OUR day, and we learned quickly that making these decisions together was crucial. The last thing Etan wanted was to show up to our wedding and not even recognize what was going on, so he was involved in the whole decision-making process even if he was less involved in the actual crafting parts.

The best? Try to take time to be in the moment…it is so true. When you plan a whole year for one day, it’s insane how fast it’ll go by. Also whether you’re a DIY bride or not, whatever you do, hire a professional event coordinator for the day of the wedding. You will not be able to manage the logistics on your own, and it’s not fair to push it off on a bridesmaid or family member…they want to enjoy your wedding too, not work at it!

Any other bits of wisdom? Have the wedding that speaks to who you are. It wasn’t the fact that we did a lot of things ourselves that made it personal, it was that I’m a DIY person and that reflects who I am. If you’re not a crafty person, don’t try to craft a bunch of stuff for the wedding because you feel like that’s what you’re supposed to do. We carefully picked all of our own music not only to save money on a DJ, but because we’re music people and we had to have every song count. If you don’t like cake, don’t have one! We had pie. We’ve been to a lot of weddings as guests and I would say the only ones that we ever found a bit disappointing were ones where it felt like the couple was making choices because they felt pressure to from some source outside of themselves — whether it be a family member, friends, or the general wedding industrial complex. Your friends and family love you, and they want to celebrate who you are as a couple, so show them who you are in the way you do your wedding, even if that means eloping.

Vendors
Caterers: Whoa Nelly Catering
Flowers, Crowns & Boutonnieres: The Paper Arum
Photography: Lindsay Giles McWilliams (Denver, Colorado) & Sarah Law Photography: (Southern California, soon to be based in Portland, Oregon)
Musical Performance: Homesick Elephant featuring Kelly Sulick
Valet: Hollywood Hills Valet
Bride’s Dress: Shareen Vintage
Bride’s Hair: Megan Klammer at Heretic Salon
Bride’s Makeup: Heather Cvar at Le Pink & Co. Apothecary
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Matrushka Construction
Flower Girl Dress: Made by friend
Groom’s Suit: Al Weiss
Groomsmen’s Blazers: ASOS
Groomsmen’s Ties: Zara
Engagement Ring: Single Stone
Wedding Bands: Claude Morady
Save the Dates: Photo by Sarah Law Photography; Design by And She Designs
Invitations, seating cards and programs: Designed and handmade by the bride
Ketubah: Gallery Judaica
Ketubah Art: Peter Wonsowski
Thumbprint Guest Book & table numbers: Bear Witness Studio

DIY projects
Decor primarily by the bride Megan Rosenbloom & groomsman Alexis Bourbeau
Custom Lighting by groomsman Alexis Bourbeau (abourbeau@aol.com)
Mothers’ shawls, groom’s kippah, and bride’s capelet knit by the bride
Challah cover embroidery by the groom’s aunt Alma Schneider, sewn by the bride

If there is one lesson to take from Etan and Megan’s big day it’s to be realistic about your time. Most ladies become DIY divas in an effort to add personal touches to their wedding days. Luckily, friends and family are often eager to help. Be sure to let them. Be honest about your own limitations and allow others to step in and help. A wedding is your day, but those who love you truly want to offer a supporting hand in the festivities. There’s nothing wrong with accepting that – in fact, it will probably help things go more smoothly.

Congrats to Megan and Etan, and special thanks to their wedding photographers, Lindsay and Sarah! 

 

Real Wedding: Claudi & Luan’s $9,000 Budget-Friendly, Do-It-Yourself South African Wedding

What happens when two besties say “I do” in a sunny South African wedding with lots of DIY touches? Magic! In October, Claudi and Luan took the big plunge with a $9,000 budget for an 80-person wedding farm-style wedding. This wedding inspiration duo took their crafting talents to the limits creating beautiful hanging decorations like hearts and flowers and personalized shoes for the groomsmen. Their hard work resulted in a personal yet super pretty ceremony with noteworthy little touches throughout the day.

Names: Claudi and Luan ten Cate
Occupations: Luan, in flight chef for Etihad Airways; Claudi, housewife

Wedding location: Olive Mystery Wedding Venue, Bapsfontein,  Gauteng, South Africa
Wedding date: Oct. 25, 2012
Wedding budget: Approx $9,000
Approximate guest count: 80
How would you describe your wedding? Fun DIY farm-style wedding
What was your favorite part of your wedding? The photo shoot with our amazing photographers, Izelle and Gerhard.
What did you splurge on? The venue and food

 

 

What did you save on? EVERYTHING ELSE
Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? Yes, I would spend more time with the guests.
What was your biggest challenge in planning? Incorporating what Luan wanted as he was living in Abu Dhabi during the whole planning process.
What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? To spend more time on myself and a little less time making everyone else happy.

 

What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

  • The decor and flowers
  • The cake/candy buffet table
  • Venue
  • My dress
  • Our photo shoot

Top 5 least favorite?

  • Not having enough time with the guests
  • The day going by so quickly

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received?
“You need to stay on top of things and manage it carefully!” This advice is the worst because micro managing everything will just annoy those around you and face it, not everyone is as excited about your wedding as you are. In fact weddings tend to bring out the worst in some people…

The best?
Relax and let go. Nobody has the script for the day, they won’t even notice if the flowers are fuchsia pink instead of baby pink. The ambiance and atmosphere is what creates the mood and feeling so be happy and enjoy it.

If you’ve been married for more than a year, what have been some challenges?
Even being married for six months has its challenges. Like my husband not understanding the concept and importance of closing the toilet lid. Also, relocating to Abu Dhabi and having to start a life here from scratch is quite a challenge.

Any other bits of wisdom?
Don’t sweat the small stuff! The world will not end if the linens are navy instead of sapphire or if the white roses have a slight green tinge. Remember what the day is for. It is about saying “I do” and if the wrong flowers or linen will prevent you from saying “I do,” then you should reconsider getting married. My philosophy is, if you are not willing to get married in a moldy old court house without the whole white wedding then you should not be getting married. Then you are getting married for the wedding and not the marriage!

Also, try and do as much as you can by yourself. Your wedding is the day you can recreate all those amazing DIY projects you keep pinning on your wedding board on Pinterest! This keeps it personal and saves a lot of money. All it takes is some creativity.

Budget breakdown

Venue and Food: $5,000
Decor and Flowers: $300
My Dress and Accessories: $700
Groom’s Outfit:$300
Bridesmaids dresses: $70 (for all the bridesmaids)
Groomsmen Outfit: $200 (including All Star Shoes)
Hair and Makeup: $450 (for all the girls and my mom)
DJ and Photobooth: $900
Invitations and Stationary: $50
Photographer: $850
Extras: $200

Vendors

Photographers: Iz Photography by Izelle Labuschagne

Wedding Dress and Bridal Accessories: Ivy Bridal House, Rachel van Loggerenberg

Venue:   Olive Mystery Wedding Venue, Anja Bands, olivemystery@gmail.com

Décor and Flowers: DaisyDoo Décor and Styling, Marie Bührlen, daisydoodecor@yahoo.com

Wedding Cake and Candy Buffet:   Daisy Doo Designer Cakes, Claudi ten Cate, daisydoocakes@yahoo.com

Bride and Bridesmaids’ MakeupAngelstar Make up, Jeanne- Marie Eloff

Lighting, Sound and DJ:   TUKS FM, Nolz van der Merwe

PhotoboothPhotobooth Inc., Rob Sulcas

These love birds highlighted their style with a budget-friendly party full of personality. Small projects at home made a big impact by adding a little extra something to some already beautiful settings — great lesson for any bride-to-be! Get creative, have fun and focus on everything you want out of your day. 

 

{Can’t Afford It/Get Over It} A Claire Pettibone “Versailles”-esque Gown For $1500 Or Less

Krista definitely deserves an amazing dress for her big day, but her budget is keeping her from living the couture dream.

Hi. 

I’m a mom. I put my wedding on hold for almost three years because our son is a regular at sick kids’ hospital and my fiancé and I wanted to focus on him and his health and put everything else on the backburner. Now that he is doing much better, the wedding plans are back on, and I’ve found a dress. I think about it in my sleep. I scour the internet in hopes of finding either a decent replica or pre-owned… It is stunning and I am irrevocably in love with it. 

I present to you the Claire Pettibone “Versailles”. I swear Claire Pettibone is the devil trying to make all poor brides cry… Help me get over it. I cannot throw $7,000 at this. That’s nearly half the budget.  

Sincerely,
Krista

Don’t worry Krista, lots of BABs fall victim to the Claire Pettibone lust trap! Consider checking out this post or  this post for more dresses inspired by the same designer. Those picks were inspired by a different designs, of course, but you never know if one of those options might be your next dream dress. Then we have the following dresses, of course, chosen to match your inspiration.

CAN’T AFFORD IT

Claire Pettibone Versailles ($7,000+ through Claire Pettibone)

GET OVER IT

Divine Downpour Gown ($1,300 at BHLDN)

Alexandria Gown ($749.99 at Ruche)

Rose Petal Spaghetti Strap Wedding Dress ($750 at Ann Taylor)

 

Carolina Lace Wedding Dress (£550 at Phase Eight)

 

Tulle Gown with Lace Applique and 3D Flowers ($1,100 at David’s Bridal)

Straps Sweeatheart A-Line Tulle With Flowers ($255 at Lemandy Wedding Dress via Etsy)


Cap Sleeve Fit-and-Flare Lace Gown ($950 at David’s Bridal)

Falling in love with couture often means zeroing in on a detail you love best then trying to match that. You could always add a gold sash, for example, to a dress that has the appliqués in the amazing inspiration gown. Also, often times Etsy shops have wonderful sample sales. If you shop for your size on Etsy, you could find beautiful gowns like the Lauren from Natural Bridals.