* Ashlie, Administrative Assistant & Brad, IT Operations Coordinator, both at Miami University *
Last week, we talked about the way the indie wedding world has convinced many of us that weddings are best done a particular way, without really cluing us into the fact that most indie weddings that you see are aspirational. Today Ashlie talks about DIY in moderation, learning the difference between professional handcrafting and… real-world handcrafting, and how this lesson can lead the way toward understanding the beauty of imperfection.
Our wedding was the perfect nuptial embodiment of our relationship in every way. Crafty (me), uniquely traditional (Brad), and no-fuss (both of us). Because of our sixteen-year age difference, Brad and I took our sweet time cultivating our love. So when, after seven years of dating, it finally came time to tie the knot, we’d had a lot of time to think about what was important and what wasn’t on our wedding day.
I am a fourth-generation crafter with a hefty Pinterest wedding board. Brad was a very vocal groom (which I loved), so I was set to DIY pretty much everything to best merge our ideas and styles. A little advice: don’t do that. Ever. It’s tempting, especially with all the cutesy hipster blogs that make DIY weddings look so easy and practical. Unless you do weddings for a living, they’re neither. However, don’t get me wrong, a DIY wedding, in moderation, is a beautiful thing! We carried the arboretum theme all throughout our wedding. I made a birds-on-a-wire escort card display I couldn’t be more proud of. Our save the dates were wood and our invitations hand-drawn (thanks, Etsy!). When my, albeit brilliant, idea for terrarium centerpieces completely tanked, my crafty aunt saved the day the morning of the wedding with some elegant arrangements in the former-terrarium apothecary jars. We had a “moms and maids” day two days before the wedding and did all the floral arrangements at the florist ourselves while enjoying mimosas and bagels! Friends came to help me wrap up projects, and Brad was a huge help. There was very little “yourself” about the “do-it-yourself” projects, and that turned out to be the best part of pulling this wedding together.
Which leads me to my next point: The people absolutely made our wedding. Not the cake or decorations or the delicious Spanish/Cuban food. It was the people, from the vendors to the wedding party. Budget unfortunately played a big role in how many people we could invite, and we had to make some difficult decisions when it came to the guest list. It took quite a bit of tact and diplomacy to navigate that. But when I walked down the aisle on my dad’s arm, I rode on our guests’ joy (as well as my own, of course!) all the way up to the altar. I was so grateful to them for coming, for supporting us through all those dating years, and for celebrating our union with happy hearts.
We took great care in choosing our wedding party, too. At first, we almost fell prey to the “we must have x number of girls on the bride’s side, and the corresponding x number of boys on the groom’s side” concept. But two of Brad’s close friends of many years are women, and my brother is one of the most important people in my life. Why should gender dictate which side they stand on? So, we ended up with a wedding party of seven, only two of which were men. Like the rest of our wedding, it was so perfectly “us.”
So, what would I tell my engaged self? Things will go wrong. Your terrariums will die, you will roll a saucy empanada down the front of your wedding dress, and the programs you worked on for hours on end will never make it into your guests’ hands. But at the end of the day, you will have married your love in the presence of everyone who matters. And that’s all that matters.
The Info—Photographer: David Stephen Photography / Venue: Cox Arboretum / Flowers: The Flowerman / Food: El Meson / Cake: Elé Cake Company / Rentals: Prime Time Party Rental / DJ: Brian Puckett Music / Ashlie’s Dress: A sample gown from eBay, bought for less than half the cost of retail / Ashlie’s Hair: Master’s Touch in Hair Design / Wedding Party Dresses: All the ladies chose their own black dresses; accessories were provided as maid gifts / Wedding Party Tuxes: Chosen by Brad