Going towards Fourth of July weekend, I decided there could not be a better wedding to share then this fantastic laid back courthouse wedding followed by a backyard Fiesta. I love the way this wedding is such a great, quirky reflection of the couples values. And, even more important, it’s such a great story from this community. So without further ado, Fiesta!
My husband and I live in Decatur, Georgia. We met at the University of Tennessee almost 10 years ago. I am the owner of Avie Designs, a stationery company and my husband is finishing up his master’s to become a teacher. We decided to get married near the end of January sitting on our couch at home. When we started talking about how we should do it, we went around and around. You see, I am not one of those women that has been thinking about her wedding since she was 2. I actually never thought I would get married. It just kind of fell in my lap. I knew that I would have trouble with an actual ceremony in front of everyone, wearing a white dress, walking down the aisle. I have no problem with these things, but they just aren’t for me.
So, we decided to go down to the courthouse for the actual ceremony and then have a reception at a later date. We only told our immediate families in case they wanted to join us. We didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. So, we had 2 weeks from the day we decided to get married to get all the announcements and invitations done. I wanted to send out the announcements immediately so that everyone would find out from me and not word of mouth. And, being a stationery designer, I had to make them difficult. We decided that our celebration party would be fiesta themed since I am half Puerto Rican. I then decided that the item that would tie everything together visually would be mexican party flags. I hand cut about 80 announcements and then affixed them to paper to create a mailable flag. That is all I did for 2 weeks.Then came the day we had scheduled to go to the courthouse. It was the most beautiful clear, sunny February day. We went to fill out the paperwork in a office with a sign that read “Marriage and pistol licenses.” Don’t worry, we didn’t get a pistol license. Once we paid our money and swore that our information was correct, we had to go see the judge (since we were not having another ceremony). The line to see the judge was very long, but just as we were settling down in our seats, the judge came out of the little room and asked if anyone wanted the “express lane.” I looked around at my family and asked if that was okay with them. They were up for it so we got in the express lane. All we had to do is stand before the judge and say that we wanted to marry each other and that was it. We were done. And the “express lane” bit provided many jokes later. It also turns out that my Mom had planned a little surprise party for us that night where my friends thought they were celebrating my birthday (again) and we had no idea they would be there. It was a double surprise and it was awesome.When it came to planning our celebration, all I wanted was to have a big party with all my friends and family. So we made it super casual with the Fiesta theme. We are lucky enough that my mother-in-law has a beautiful house that is large enough for 100 people in Tennessee that is also only about 20 minutes from most of my extended family. So the venue was free. We had latin food, latin music, margaritas & sangria. I made about 1,000 party flags that hung in the tent. We did all tissue paper decorations, no flowers. That kept the cost way down. My family made most of the food. Our largest expenses were the tables & chairs that we rented and the tent that we had to rent last minute due to the crazy stormy weather we had that week. We made a photo guest book with polaroids and had a photo booth that we made ourselves with cloth and tissue paper flowers. My husband and his brothers are brilliant musicians, so they played for about 45 minutes including a special song preformed by my husband just for me. After that, we had pinatas (that my mom made), limbo, and dancing. We didn’t have a DJ, just an ipod and a sound system. My mom made a cake in the shape of a sombrero, which she ruined by falling into 2 days before the party, but never fear, she made another one.All and all, it was definitely the best week of my life, I would highly recommend a DIY wedding. It allows you and your family and friends to spend time together and have fun together. It was an exhausting week (my brother graduated from college too!) for us all, but we spent so much quality time with each other that we hardly noticed. After all, isn’t that the point of a wedding? To get everyone you love in one place and celebrate life? I hope so, because we did just that.