DIY – Our Wedding

September 29, 2010 07:56 by ehouston

Before wrapping up September and getting on with fall, I thought I would send out a little tribute to the one I love.  This month actually trumps February as the month of love around here since it’s the month The Mister and I tied the knot.  I never expected to be saying I just celebrated my 12th year of marriage a couple of weeks ago, but here we are!  I was not one of those little girls who planned out my wedding from start to finish all the while dreaming of the perfect gown.  In fact, I originally suggested a quick trip to Vegas and nuptials any where with Elvis as the officiate.  Fortunately, my soon to be Mister wanted to have a true celebration with family and friends…many friends.  Oh let’s face it, we were young and this was going to be one hell of a party!

Since we were young, in our mid-twenties to be exact, we had all of about two sticks to rub together and nothing more to make this day happen.  So, with part time jobs and side jobs under our belts we took on the task of hand making all the parts that we could handle.  The invites, the dress, the cake, flowers, decor…we pulled it all together for roughly $4400.00.  This was a monumental task when you consider the fact that we had no idea what went into an event like this.  Also, this was the late 90’s and I was barely able to turn on a computer.  Of course the internet existed, but was nothing like it is today for gathering ideas.  So, I pulled together a couple of Martha Stewart Wedding edition magazines, along with some other home and fashion magazines and the yellow pages.  This is what we managed to come up with.

I had decided early on that I make that LOVED a butterfly headpiece that I had found in one of my random bridal magazines.  After some research I found out that said headpiece cost $5000.00!  Hey, that was only $600.00 more than we spent on the whole shebang!?!  Yikes!  So, I ended up finding some butterflies on wire at a local craft store and inserted them into my loose up do to create a simple crown. 


I also snagged some extra butterflies to poke into the flowers and cake decor.  After spying the mega-bucks butterfly headpiece in the magazine I also decided that the butterfly would be something I carried throughout the wedding plans.  Representing rebirth it seemed appropriate for a wedding and the start of a new life together.  For the invitations, I created an envelop that folded in from the sides and around our invite, plus directions, meeting in the middle.  Each side of the envelop had a wing shaped tab and when you slide them together they made a little butterfly on the front of the card.  (Unfortunately, over the years I have misplaced the copy I saved, otherwise I would have included it in the post.  Oh well.)  We were able to print our simple invite, which was on cream colored card stock, at home then cut them down to fit into the butterfly envelops, which were in pale blue.  Remember this all happened at a time when scrapbooking had not really come into it’s own and a lot of the tools that make this work super simple now did not exist, or were very hard to come by.  So, each one of those little envelops was traced out and cut painstakingly by hand.  (I don’t know what I was thinking.)  Invites, check!

The next DIY item on our list was my dress.  After combing through magazines, a few online catalog sites, and every pattern book in every local fabric store, I came up with a design I thought would be perfect.  I created a larger, loose fitting over dress in white raw silk with tank style straps and an empire waist.  There was a thin band of super pale pink that went just under the bodice and the back was open from the bodice down, tapering slightly away from the center.  The idea was that the over dress would hint at a different dress underneath.  I then created a completely different garment in very, very pale pink chiffon with pale pink satin ribbon trim around the hem.  This under dress had several layers, but was still very slim fitting with thinner tank straps and empire bodice.  It was essentially a thinner, lighter weight version of the overdress.  The main difference being that the back was gathered and scrunched just under the bodice, creating a layered ruffle look down the back and into a barely there train.  This part spilled out of the back of the over dress.  It was sort of ethereal and dreamy (at least that was what I imagined in my head.)  The idea I had was that I would wear the whole get up for the ceremony and then take the over dress off for the reception. 


However, I got so caught up in all the action that I never did get around to making that change.  No biggie…the party went on.  Dress, check!

We were lucky to stumble upon a little gem right outside of the city, Athens, GA, that we were living in at the time.  Watkinsville, GA is home to The Ashford Manor Bed and Breakfast, a quaint little B & B with lovely grounds.

(Pictures taken directly from the Ashford Manor Website)

The owners had just purchased the property the year before and were in the process of restoring the home and grounds to their former glory.  What that meant for us was an affordable rental rate and lots of perks like candles provided and lit at dusk throughout the garden and on all the tables.  Great Location, check!  The place was already wired for music and they kept simple classical CD’s in constant rotation.  Music, check!  Although fall was right around the corner the grounds were still quite lush and the pool out back, equipped with a large fountain, was crystal clear.  Decor, check! 

Nothing had to happen inside the house because the gentlemen that owned the place had already decked it out in wonderful, and very quirky antiques.  (See this pic from an earlier post.)

They were also kind enough to include the little separate guest cottage around the side of their home, which sits just across the yard from the main house, as a place for us to get ready for the big moment. 

Although we took full advantage of what the grounds and house had to offer for decor we did try to brighten up the brick wall at the back of the property, where the ceremony took place.  All the flowers we used came from either Lowe’s or Kroger and we bought them the week of the event.  We decided to go this route because we are pretty handy with planting and wrapping up some bouquets and boutonnieres.  Plus, using what was in stock at the time meant saving a ton on the cost of flowers.  We planted small mums and pansies in little metal paint cans that we purchased from Lowe’s.  We used them to line the staircases and ledge of the ceremony site.

Preparing the CeremonySite

(My mom adding some last minute touches to the flower buckets while the band gets warmed up in the background.)


(Here I am with my mom, and maid of honor, scoping the chair and flower placement before the long march to matrimony.  The metal sculpture in the foreground was one of many sculptures “planted” throughout the garden around the B & B.)

Later, the flower buckets were carried up to the main house by our wonderful and hard working family, to use as table decor. 


At the end of the night we asked guests that were interested to take a bucket home as a favor.

The wedding cake was also on my DIY list and we ended up using an Amish Friendship Cake recipe for both the cutting and for serving the guests.  I made one large Bundt cake that we cut and shared.  Then I made what seemed like a million mini-Bundt cakes for each guest.  The result was a sweet treat at the end of a nice meal, plus no one had to stand over the cake table and play server.  We placed the mini cakes on a tiered stand provided by the caterer and around the table.  Once placed we used an extra mixed flower bouquet from Kroger to add flowers to some of the cakes, make a small bouquet to place inside our larger Bundt cake and around the table, and up the tiered stand to help coordinate everything a bit. 


(The B & B had a cute little gazebo just off the front yard, where we had the tent and tables set up.  It was the perfect spot for the cake table.  My mom made the romantic netting to place over everything and to keep the bugs away.)


(Here we are moments before The Mister shoved cake up my nose.  What is with guys thinking this is a cute thing to do on your wedding day?)

Along with the flower buckets, we also made extra mini cakes to give as favors.  As per usual, I over estimated what we needed for the wedding cakes and ended up with so many extra mini cakes that we were eating them regularly for months.  When it came time for our first anniversary and the traditional bite of cake from the original ceremony we could barely stomach the taste.  I think we ended up wrapping it up, putting it back in the freezer and hoped to forget about it.

The only regrets of the day, if we can even say we have any, are that we did not get a professional photographer.  Hence, the crummy photos.  We hired a friend that made wonderful photographs, but it turned out she was way to mousey to orchestrate the typical scenes for wedding photography.  We specified that we wanted a more casual take on the day, but when we got our batch of shots a week later, I cried.  Things that should have been shot in full color were in black and white.  Most of the pictures of us were with our mouths open, talking or eyes closed due to the flash.  Some of the best shots came from my aunt, who went around along side the photographer to snap shots of family as they gathered together for the more formal portraits prior to the ceremony.  I thank God that she took the time to make those rounds because they ended up being much better than what our hired help provided.  (We have always been grateful for that Auntie B!  Thank you!)

Photography aside the only other issue was that the caterer ended up being crazy.  This is mostly a memory that sends us off into hysterical laughter, but there were moments when I just wanted to say, in the words of Donald Trump, “You’re Fired!”.  I made her acquaintance at a business function and her set up was gorgeous.  The business that had hired her was very complimentary of her work as well, so we took the plunge.  The red flags went up as soon as she decided to forgo the tasting as planned after we narrowed down what we were looking for in a buffet.  We only continued down the path with her because I had technically tasted her food before and it was delicious, plus all other caterer interviews had almost sent me over a cliff.  In a small town, it’s hard to find a really good caterer and the couple of well known companies in the area cost a pretty penny.  Since this was a DIY wedding, there were no pretty pennies to be had.  So, we went with the more affordable lady with the beautiful vegetable set up.  At the time The Mister and I were not big meat eaters and a large portion of our friends were vegetarian, so we were very excited about providing a large buffet with tons of yummy veggie treats.  Unfortunately, our caterer decided to change the plan the day of the reception and did not provide the set up we had agreed upon.  Again, I let it go because, hey, this was my day and I was not going to let this crazy lady ruin it for me.  Plus, what could I do about it at that point?  Even the three times she pulled me away from pre-ceremony portraits to ask questions about things we had already gone over in great detail weeks before, were not going to get my goat.  But, I finally laid down the law and told her we had finalized these decisions before hand so that I would not have to worry on the big day, and not to come to me any more.  I guess she got the hint because I did not hear from her again.  The additional red flags went up early on the day of the wedding when her “helpers" started laying out the tablecloths, china, glasses, etc. and you could hear them bickering over the rumble and thrum of all the busy beavers working away.  With all that was going on to get ready they were gossiping about their family, fighting with each other, talking about fighting with other family members and generally cussing up a storm.  It turns out the caterer only “hired” her family to assist and apparently she was not paying them well to help out.  Again, we can laugh about this now, but at the time I was mortified that we had not taken on third jobs to pay for the better catering company.  Chalk it up to you live, you learn.  Wah-wah…


(The kiss that sealed the deal that has lasted 12 years!  WhooHoo!)


Here we are immediately after the ceremony and just as we were thinking then, so far so good!  Hope to have waaaay more than 12 years on top of what we have already shared.

XOXO, Babe!

Kitsch Krafts

Currently rated 1.5 by 38 people

  • Currently 1.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5