Monday, October 21, 2013

Our DIY wedding and reception

After yesterday's anniversary, I realized that since our wedding I've actually gained a lot of readers. Many of you who now follow the blog regularly might not have been reading when I shared about our wedding prep and such and I thought I'd do a little wrap up of the posts I created to share ideas and photos!

Our wedding was definitely a DIY affair, and was done a reasonably small budget (compared to the average wedding cost info that I found). Although a number of our vendors/suppliers were local to the Madison, WI area, I sourced lots of things from throughout the US and thought I'd share a bit more about the who/what/where.

*Getting Ready* ---------------- *Saying 'I do'* ---------------- *Snapping Pics*

The biggest splurges were my dress (which, while custom, was still less than the majority found at most bridal salons), the bar catering (our reception venue had a required company - though they worked with us as best they could), and hiring a great set of local planners Zoe K Events for a few hours to set up the reception space for us (since our venue had a weeeeird timetable that only allowed set-up during the time that fell between our ceremony & the start of the reception when we were taking photos!). Our biggest saves were our invitations (which fell between print at home kit pricing and full suite cost), our amazing taco buffet, and our delicious cake. We were lucky to find vendors for our food that worked with us to keep things on budget and still have something wedding-worthy. While the groomsmen paid for their own kilts, I wanted to mention that should you ever need kilts in the US, KiltRentalUSA were absolutely great to work with.

Many people these days DIY their wedding flowers. For me, it was a no-brainer. I got most of my flowers from Russ Wholesale, who were absolutely great about getting in contact to discuss availability and best delivery dates. I also got bulk carnations online and used a fab local florist for the heather and for a lovely birthday bouquet for my grandmother (we celebrated her 90th at the reception, too!). My bridesmaids and I assembled the bouquets and boutonnieres the day before as best we could before sticking most them back into some water and all into the fridge until the next day. For the most part, they all came out well. The most fun part of flower prep was ripping the heads off 80+ carnations to make the tossing flowers for the flower girls (who, hilarious, barely sprinkled any as they all wanted to keep them!).

*Party Time!* ---------- *Handkerchief Invitations* -------- *Badge Favors*

The reception decor didn't involve flowers and wasn't allowed to involve candles (as per the rules of the venue), but this was all great as I am a big fan of honeycomb balls. I took the wedding as a great chance to use them everywhere! Hanging in strands from the ceiling, in vases like a lollipop for the table centerpieces, and in a little garland across the head table. Once again, I went the wholesale route. Yes, I spent about $150 on paper balls. But they made me super happy! I made the strands to hang from the ceiling (a la Martha) and my bridesmaids helped me get them opened up and fully assembled the day before. It was a bit hectic, but they added a great bit of whimsy to the decor.

Our handkerchief invitations and button badge favors have already been given their own write-ups, but I did want to reiterate how much I enjoyed the process of making both things and how many lovely comments and compliments I have gotten (and continue to get) about both things. The invitations really helped convey a special bit of us to our friends and family, and the favors helped our guests feel like part of the day. To me, our marriage is about us, but our wedding day was about sharing our commitment with important family & friends in our lives - so making them feel like they're a special part of the day was important to me.

If you're planning a wedding or other special affair, I hope you've been able to snag some ideas or at least get your own mind going with unique ideas of your own for your day! Planning our wedding was sometimes stressful, but mostly fun. I used the Martha Stewart Weddings online tools for the guest list & reception floor/seating plan, and felt it was pretty indispensable to me. Weddings don't necessarily need to look like they do in Martha, so long as they make you happy! Have fun with it!


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