Ashlie and Brad’s DIY-In-Moderation Wedding

* Ashlie, Administrative Assistant & Brad, IT Operations Coordinator, both at Miami University *

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 DesignWedding Party Dresses: All the ladies chose their own black dresses; accessories were provided as maid gifts / Wedding Party Tuxes: Chosen by Brad

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  • Another Meg

    As always, APW provides a bit of sanity. In the midst of my own wedding craftsplosion, this was a relief to read. Everything looked gorgeous, too! Congratulations.

  • This was post was so nice to read this morning. My boyfriend and I just got engaged yesterday (so I’ve now gone from pre-engaged APW reader to APW vendor to newly engaged APW reader…) and some of the craziness has already begun. It’s nice to be reminded of what’s truly important. I think I need to print this line up on a big poster board as a constant reminder of what this is all about: “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.”

    • Moe


  • Congratulations ! You look so happy ! I wish you all the joy and love.
    I had the same feeling towards DIY: it is all made to look so easy, like it was casually put up in the last 14 hrs prior to the wedding… until the moment you realize every little detail was very carefully crafted, and probably by professionals at that too.

  • KateM

    I had a year and half engagement, thank God I started every DIY/DYT super early. I love crafts and am pretty creative, but I did about half of what I thought that I would. I did enough to stay on budget and add the Kate&Dave personality to the wedding, but that was it. Being realistic about your timeline and what you hope to accomplish is the key. Beautiful wedding!

  • Adi

    I. Love. Your. DRESS.

    AND your apothecary jars and your happiness and basically this whole entire post. But MAN. DRESS.

    • KB

      I second this!! Also, WHERE did you get that belt?? On eBay? I literally squealed when I saw it, it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for!

      • Ashlie

        Thank you both!! The jeweled band is actually part of the dress. It’s what made me realize that was THE dress! The dress designer is Maggie Sottero, and the dress is called the “Rachel.”

        • Ashlie

          Correction: Rachael

  • PAW

    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.

    I love this! It’s so very true. Great post, and wonderful pictures!

  • Crayfish Kate

    “Moms and maids” That’s such an awesome idea! I love that you were able to be realistic about the DIY aspects, looks like it paid off. Beautiful wedding, thank you for sharing!

  • Toni1835

    Great post and beautiful pictures!

  • Oh my goodness, love the dress. And this is what I took away from our wedding, too– that things will go wrong, that everything will be totally okay, that the people are what is important. Congratulations!!! :)

  • MDBethann

    So on board with you on having whomever you want in your bridal party. My hubby doesn’t really have close guy friends, so we said the heck with symmetry and had my sis & 3 closest gal pals on my side, his sister was the “best woman,” and then his niece & nephew were the flower girl & ring bearer. Our nearest & dearest stood up with us for our wedding and that was all that mattered to us.

  • Meg

    The wedding looks fabulous! As my fiance and I talk centerpieces and escort cards and other niceties, it’s refreshing to know everything is rarely as simple and fuss-free as cute DIY weddings make it out to be. Though I can get my craft on, I know enough to realize I will be busy and stressed enough without having to make 180 favors by hand a week before the big day . . . there are things just worth paying for — and saving your sanity.