I was amazed with this website and all the wedding ideas it offers; I wish I had came across it before my wedding.
Here are a few ideas from my DIY wedding…
I was adamant that there was to be no lace or ribbon used in my wedding, as I am not a ‘frilly’ sort of chick! The first and most amazing thing from my wedding was that my mother totally got into it – I have always been an ‘independent spirit’, thinking that my parents would never help with anything for my wedding, but my heart wept for how much they did for me!!!
My mom kept at me to carry out my ‘vision’; and when I initially told her what it was she FLEW with it. I wanted a seashore wedding – seashells as the wedding theme, very elegant, with the ocean at it’s finest, glorifying wind (hey, I’m a coastie – I love a strong breeze!), anything non-cheesy.
She started with small shell-topped toothpicks (‘for the appetizers’, she said). While I thought they were sort of corny, I also realized the time she had put into them. For favors, she took oyster shells, cleaned them, and sprayed them with clear varnish, glued paper roses and ribbon (my one true gripe! Remember my rule – no lace or ribbon!!!) to them, and put nuts, mints, and candies on each of the tables in them. Even though our tastes are dramatically different, my mom came through for me in a totally beautiful way, doing as much as she was able without overwhelming the idea I had presented her!
For the Ceremony:
I used my computer to make my programs, using the tri-fold method, and took them to a local print shop for reproduction. With a little clip art, some poetry, and some descriptive writing, you can give your guests personal insight into your wedding bliss! I included a short description of each member of the wedding party, either a funny anecdote or the way we met… it helps personalize them to the other guests… (make sure you OK each story with the attendant, though!). I also included the poem “Béja Flor” by Diane Ackerman – look it up and check it out, it’s lovely!!!
Flowers – My mom is lucky to know a woman who grows her flowers seasonally and on her own land, and was able to get fresh cut flowers for a very low price. Although I originally requested Daisies and Ivy only, I was happy with a large assortment of colorful flowers, including the roses, daisies, gladiolas, hyacinths — geesh, I had about 15 different types of flowers…… Of course, they had to be arranged, and my bridesmaids and I took pleasure in that the day before the wedding, storing the bouquets in a refrigerated cooler. It was more than I could have asked for!
However, for my bridesmaid’s bouquets, we bought each of them a conch shell ($3.50 to $4.00 ea. U.S. dollars), and ‘paper’ roses (for about $10 per bunch – what a deal!). My mom is a whiz with the hot glue gun (amazingly not corny looking at all… she should have been a designer!), and baby’s breath (another no-no, but it looked sweet). I wanted to give my bridesmaids something to remember the day by, something that was permanent. I also got them engraved silver jewelry boxes as their attendant gifts… and my husband got his guys engraved Swiss Army Knives.
Mom decided that we were going to the local shell store (I was raised in a coastal town), where we bought my bridal bouquet holder – a large Philippine shell that was arranged with burgundy and ivory roses, with an ivy accent. A word to the wise: when you tell your florist to use ivy, make sure to state fresh ivy unless you want fake ivy. We switched out that junk as soon as we saw it! Unfortunately, we didn’t realize she had done the same to the groomsmen’s boutonnieres until I was walking down the wedding aisle!
We also used netting found in dollar and Craft stores to decorate the tabletops and we hung it to block ‘other’ parts of the parents’ garden (the compost heap comes to mind… thank goodness there wasn’t a smell!).
My mother-in-law also jumped into the fray, and made my husband and I two beautiful windsocks of ivory and burgundy silk, which were hung on PVC tubing mounted in 5 gallon buckets behind the wedding site (oh, did I mention my wedding was on the edge of a 200′ cliff, in the middle of a stone circle – the first place we had ever kissed, and where he had also tried to propose, until the state police showed up (another story entirely!)??? She also made the beautiful quilted ring bearer’s pillow… so lovely!
I had an especially hard time deciding who would walk me down the aisle, as I have a Stepfather who has been in my life since I was eight and a Father who has been on and off since I was six. Knowing that they do not get along, I was treading sensitive ground. What I finally decided upon was this: my stepfather would guide me down the aisle (mind you, our ceremony was in a state park), and when we got to a certain point (which happened to be a stone memorial set about 15 feet before the stone circle the wedding took place in), my stepfather handed me off to my father. My father then walked me up to the steps of the circle, and I took my place across from my soon-to-be husband. I gave both of my dads a kiss on the cheek before proceeding.
Remembering Those Who Passed – We remembered the ones that had passed before us (his father and grandfather, my brother, uncle, grandfather, grandmother, etc.), by having a white helium-filled balloon on both sides of the circle, and at the appointed time in our ceremony, we both went to our sides, and cut the ribbon holding the balloon, to release the spirits of those we love. It was a poignant and tearful part of the ceremony.
I let my bridesmaids pick their dresses, within a color frame, and the groomsmen picked their shirts and ties. A quick trip to the paint store gave me all that I needed: to let the bridal party know what was acceptable, I grabbed paint sample cards, circled the colors that were ok, and sent them to off so they could take them shopping. I didn’t care if the ladies or guys matched – all that mattered was that they were standing up for us, backing us in our marriage!
We also got our tablecloths – ivory crocheted mesh – for under $1.50 per yard. Check the upholstery aisle! I plan on making curtain overlays from them later.
For the Reception:
I was fortunate enough to have parents that hit the ‘gardening’ boom early on, and where their summer crops would have been on the 3/4 acre, mom planted clover for ground cover- nice and soft for the guests, leaving her without her usual canning extravaganzas for late summer… (sorry, mom!). As it was, there was a fabulous Kiwi plant growing on an arbor, and magnificent plants and flowers everywhere. We made her greenhouse into a ‘gift room’ of sorts, and it also housed the liquor I never quite managed to make it to. But that is all for the best, right?
At any rate, the feedback that we have had from our guests was phenomenal – mom and her friends catered the whole thing — you can do this yourself, too, and save a bundle if you Cater Your Own Wedding.
We got nothing but raves on the ribs, BBQ’d tuna, and teriyaki chicken… as well as mum’s salads and accoutrements… Oh, did I mention the karaoke?… usually totally bad taste, but since my husband is a phenomenal singer, was not too bad – no one got up that sucked! Don’t do this unless you totally believe in it!!!
At any rate, the wedding cake, emblazoned with burgundy shells and a pearlized nautilus with roses topping it off, made my wedding day beyond belief… There just comes a point where the details do not matter as much as the love…..