So interestingly enough, in last week’s survey, one of the things many of you asked for was for brides to talk about what they did end up DIYing, versus what they were like “Oh eff that noise!” So, I dug up this BEautiful wedding from my grab bag of wedding magic. Meghan and Eric’s wedding is headspinningly beautiful, but she also talks, in detail, about what they DIYed (Beer. Rad.) Meghan has lots of great advice, but she specifically wanted me to pass on this one, “I have one more piece of advice for brides- comfortable shoes. They can wear whatever they want, but don’t say I didn’t warn them!” (Or do it like me and wear crazy shoes, and then go barefoot most of the day…) And finally, she also sent in this lovely little note to you guys, “I want to say again that your blog and the Team Practical community helped me feel strong in all of our decisions to do it our way.” Awwww… so this one is for ALL of you.Our wedding was held at the Rendezvous Ranch in Oakley, Utah (which is about ½ hour from Park City, home of the Sundance Film Festival). We chose the Ranch long before we were engaged. Eric and I drive up a gorgeous canyon on the way to our mountain cabin (shack) almost every weekend and pass the Ranch and I may or may not have mentioned a number of times that this would be a lovely place for us to marry “someday”. At any rate, it is set a mile or so down a winding driveway on a couple dozen acres and surrounded by mountains.I will say that we did not have a (strict) budget and a lot of money was spent but we approached the wedding like we have approached all of our home improvement projects of which we have tackled many. We tried to picture the finished project and then broke it down into smaller projects. Where did we want to put in labor and where did we want to hire it out? Where did we want to scrimp and where did we want to spend? Could we use the talents of people we knew to get the job completed? More abstractly, how will the place feel when it is all put together? I think that our vision was to make our wedding feel like we had invited all of these people that we loved to a party at our cabin (and it did).Another thing that we did that I think helped a bunch was to make decisions and stick with them. There is a lot of information out there that can be overwhelming and make you want to second guess yourself. Don’t. Bought a dress (Once Wed– best experience) done. Picked the caterer- done and down the checklist. I had to stop worrying about the choices we were making and just let things be done.
We also made sure to pick things/traditions that felt right to us. Like many people throwing a wedding we come from interfaith families. Eric’s parents are Catholic and we felt that it was important to them to have a part of the wedding so we had his uncle do a reading. My mom is Catholic and dad is Jewish, but I was raised with both traditions. The only thing my dad insisted on was the hora. We each had a friend officiate. People respected all of this and actually seemed to like it. A few projects that we worked on with the only requirement being that they could be done months in advance:
- Homebrew. I like to brew beer and it felt like a good way to share something that I had made with our guests because you can do it in advance. I am relatively new to brewing so I went down to my local homebrew store and talked to the super-nice folks there about what I could brew months ahead of time. We decided on four beers, I did three and Eric one. We made fun names for them and a sign to identify them. Our friends and family loved it. It probably did not save any money or sanity (worried a bit that it would be bad batches etc), but it was hella fun.
- Vases. Eric’s father has always saved wine bottles and made things from them. We started collecting bottles months before the wedding and Eric cut the tops of with a tile saw and we used them for the wildflowers. We still have many of them and every time I give flowers I use a “wedding vase.”
- Escort card holder. We used things found at our cabin. Barn wood and chicken wire. Free and pretty. I am still working on re-purposing this!
- We stung twine along the room with our favorite photos. Easy, personal and nearly free.
- For table numbers I found fallen Aspen branches and my man chopped them with a miter saw and I soldered the numbers on. Easy and free again.
- I also felt torn about favors and ended up making some because I wanted to. I bought mini envelopes from an office supply store, a stamp from a craft store (“all you need is love”) and wildflower seeds from a home store. Very cheap and very easy. Made them months ahead and put them in a basket I already owned.
- Flower girl baskets were just cheap baskets with ribbon tied to them to make handles (because I could not find cheap and non-tacky ones with handles for sale). We used rosemary and lavender from a friend’s garden for them to toss. Very cheap and very easy.
- Finally, let me just say Etsy. I found almost every other little detail there. Do not waste time at “wedding stores”, go to Etsy and buy things made by real people.
Talents of our friends and family:
- Photographer: my brother-in-law is a wedding photographer. Done and done.
- One of my good friends is an excellent photographer. Also done (made sure my bro-in-law could party down too).
- Our friends married us. One good friend of mine and one of his. Both are excellent public speakers. It was one of the best decisions we made. It felt so comfortable.
- Another good friend of mine’s husband is the music director for his church. He and a friend of his played guitar and banjo. We just asked that they play pretty music and paid them in whiskey.My mom knit our ring pillow. It was so perfect. A few other thoughts:
- Breathe in the joy. We couldn’t stop smiling and hugging people.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Really it does not matter. I started to freak out a bit when my bouquet and the boutonnieres didn’t come and then my sister pulled together a little bouquet and I remembered that Eric didn’t really want a boutonniere anyway.
- Enjoy every minute because it does go by so, so fast.
- Honeymoon right after. We just went to our cabin for a few days and lounged, then took a big trip a few months later.Photos: Alfredo Santiago