Heidi & David

Today’s wedding is, in some ways, the classic APW wedding. It’s the marriage of two artists, who made almost everything for their limited budget low-key wedding. It proves that you can do it. No matter what your circumstances are, you can have an amazing wedding. But it’s funny. What you’ll really take away from this wedding is that it’s not the details that matter, even if the details are crafty and clever. What really matters is people celebrating you, seven-year-olds doing the hokey pokey, and pure joy. So here is Heidi of Long Live Love Designs, telling her story.

After we got engaged we knew a few things: we would be paying for everything, we would be on an very limited budget (um hello, we are both artists—very limited budget, maybe $4000 for everything, soup to nuts) and we wanted the wedding to not only be a celebration of us but also a celebration for everyone that we wanted to include in our day.

David and I are both originally from Ohio, but we met and fell in love in New York City. In our previous lives we had both adamantly claimed that we would never get married, and then we met and there wasn’t any reason not to.

We love NYC, but we knew that it would just be too pricey for us to have our wedding there. We decided to have it in our home state to minimize both costs and cost of travel for family/friends. Neither of us really felt the necessity to have a church wedding (which was sad for my family). Both of us really envisioned ourselves outside, near water, and having a melding of bonfire/BBQ/festival/relaxing vacation-y style wedding. We found a little inn—a small bed & breakfast right in the middle of Lake Erie. Not only was it on an island (what’s up destination wedding with a Midwest flair) but it would also mean a couple of things: people would be taking a ferry to get to the island (no vehicles…just bike rentals and golf carts), so there would be a real sense of community since you’d have to swim to leave or have an accurate ferry schedule (which were in short supply). Plus, being on an island means you must relax.

We did a lot of work—a lot of work. We made a painting to incorporate into the invites, made all the invites, and made basically everything for the wedding (decorations, favors, bouquets, boutonnieres, hair accessories). We also made the food (with lots of help from family and friends). Our family made all the desserts and manned the grill to make tons of delicious Ohio style foods.

The girls and I did our own hair and makeup. We made the playlists. We had one of my bridesmaids sing our first song (a wonderfully lovely version of Buckley’s “Hallelujah”). We wrote our vows and picked out some lovely poetry. A great friend of mine, Sara Streit, did our wedding photography in exchange for me designing her photography branding. D’s mom made my dress and my flower girl dresses. We planned and planned and drank a lot of wine and we made it happen.

Planning a wedding from far away is hard. Planning it on a super limited budget while working fourteen hour days is even harder. But I have to say this: without the crazy love and support my husband and I have for one another, we could have never done it. Not only could we have never done it, but it wouldn’t have been worth it.

Do I know that I love him just as much today as I would if we never made it “official”? Yes I do. But I am glad we did. I know marriage isn’t for everyone, but I can tell you this: from the moment I met him, I knew I wanted him in my life forever. We have an incredible friendship and more fun than two people could ask for.  Our wedding was a celebration of our love and our friendship and the fun we have and the fun we wanted to share with the world.

What I didn’t know is that I wouldn’t sleep for three nights before the wedding, or the wedding night because of stress. What I didn’t know is that I would be covered in mosquito bites from head to toe. What I didn’t know is that there would be a million little problems that popped up and most of them were kept a secret from me until after the wedding (thanks to all who graciously handled those problems). It turns out sometimes the people you are depending on do fall through. Don’t worry, there will be people that will come shining through with a solution—people you least expect—and everything will work out.

What I do know is this: The night was full of dancing, campfires, and sparklers, beer and two buck chuck (which is still stained all over my dress).  It was full of laughter and tears and people with grass stained knees from recreating Madonna’s “Like A Prayer.” It was full of Hokey Pokey and tireless seven-year-olds busting a move. It was full of yummy food and cookies and cupcakes and frosting. It. Was. Amazing. It was all the sweet things on top of this great relationship.

There is nothing better than having a yard full of people there for you and your partner because they love you and support you. There is nothing better than that, and I hope everyone can experience that feeling, if not union, at some point in their lives. It was like having a zillion birthdays and Thanksgivings and Christmases all rolled into one perfect little night.

The Info Photography: Sara Streit Photography / Venue: Middle Bass Island Inn / Wedding Ring: Erie Basin / Dress and Flower Girl Dresses: Made by David’s mom!

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  • Stephanie

    I love how joyful all these photos are! Sounds like a wedding made with love.

  • Ohio!

  • florence

    Eep! Hallelujah is actually originally by Leonard Cohen! Sorry, but I’m Canadian and a huge Cohen fan and I couldn’t let this go.

    • Erika


    • anonymous for now

      Ha, I was about to say the same thing! Need to show some Montreal love ;)

      Gorgeous wedding :)

  • Claire

    You can just see the joy all over this wedding. Fun!

  • This: “It was like having a zillion birthdays and Thanksgivings and Christmases all rolled into one perfect little night.”

    Yes, yes and yes. Thank you for sharing!

    • That was my favorite line too! Just perfectly captures the feeling of our wedding too. Congratulations!!

  • YAY it’s Heidi! I was one of her bridesmaids!!

    • Molly

      Meeee too! I was the singer (and we know it’s Cohen, but it was actually Buckley’s version, if that counts for anything!). Reading this made me relive a wonderful experience with some of my best friends. Lots of love to Heidi and David!

    • meg

      You were NOT!!!!

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  • Hils

    That exterior long shot of the venue and the party is so gorgeous. Props to the photographer for backing away and capturing such a sense of place and spirit…

  • Congratulations, such a fun celebration :) May you always stay this happy, with ” all the sweet things on top of yout great relationship.”

  • Beautiful beautiful. Congratulations on a real good celebration!

  • Rabbit

    I can’t even believe how beautiful your wedding is! Everyone looks so happy.

    And yay for people who handle day of issues without even telling you something is not going exactly right. That’s love.

  • I’m reading you from Spain (so sorry for the mistakes), I find your wedding so autenthic, so lovely!! (so much that I would have loved to be there!! ;) )In my case, I don’t have a so limited budget, neither a super budget. We are going to celebrate the wedding in a church and lately in a restaurant. It is quite different from what you describe here, so unfortunately I can’t get your ideas; but what I really want to “copy” from you are those feelings you express: the profound love and conection with your husband, the joy of being surrounded by important people in your lives and the support of your family and friends. I want all this!!

  • Thanks everyone! I’m sure you’ve heard it on this site a zillion times, but all those things that seem like a big deal, really aren’t. Treasure the people in your lives and enjoy the celebration that follows!

  • Deeeeeeelightful.

  • Laurel

    Oh my those kiddos are filled with joy. What a happy happy day it looks like from the photos.