What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
I asked for a lot of assistance through this process because with almost everything being DIY, I did not have time to do it all myself! My sister-in-law offered to craft the ring box. I crafted the metal letters at the head table.
Did you do any DIY projects or create any handmade items for your weddings?
I DIY’d all of my signs. The welcome and bar signs were picture frames that were given to me, and I filled them with foam core boards with hand lettering. I created the directional sign with an old wood pallet and paint.
I used $1 4×6 photo frames from Ikea and typed up my own signs and printed them on brown craft paper for various areas like the cupcakes, bartender tip sign, taco bar, etc. and free printables for the reserved seats at the ceremony and at the reception tables. All of the small signs like cupcake flavors, drink signs, taco bar toppings, etc. were from the $1 section at Michaels. The seating chart was a slab of wood, and I borrowed my friend’s Cricut to do the names.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
This was a “backyard” wedding, in a sense that it was not a venue! So we did not pay for this location at all! An old family friend offered to lend us his “backyard” (he owns his own vineyard on his personal property), and all we had to do was get it ready for the event. It was a LOT of work — his yard needed lots of cleanup…we mowed a huge space behind his house for parking, and cleaned out his entire “shed” (this is the building where we had the reception). We also planted flowers, etc. and spent quite a few weekends here before the wedding to make sure it was perfect! The wedding party used their basement and upstairs bedrooms to get ready.
I borrowed as much as I could…some things included: lanterns and candles for table centerpieces (from a friend who just got married), head table (we owned this), table linens (friend of MIL), wine barrel (friend owned), vintage chair (parents’ owned), books (owned).
Was there anything you decided to splurge on?
The food was catered by Pancheros…this was one of our larger splurges, but TOTALLY worth it! They set everything up and cleaned up when it was all through. We did not have to worry at all about the mess, and they controlled portion sizing to ensure all of our guests had at least one plate.
We purchased all of the drinks ourselves and came up with the cocktails! A full bar was something that my husband wanted, so we bought in bulk at Sam’s and saved some money that way. We had beer, wine, spirits, sodas for mixing, and a “his favorite” and “her favorite” cocktail, as well as the “take a shot and take a seat” wedding favors located with the seating chart. We also had a friend who is a bartender and asked him if he would want to make some extra cash that weekend, but his fee was smaller than some of the places that offered their bar tendering services.
Describe your attire.
The dress was from Azazie.com, as well as my bridesmaid dresses, groomsmen ties, and mother-of-the-bride and mother-of-the-groom dresses. I dress shopped at many different places locally and found that they had lower prices than the boutiques near me. You can spend $10 (for bridesmaid dresses) and $15 (for bridal dresses) to try on a sample dress at home before you buy, and they also have an option for custom sizing which helped me cut costs of alterations. I found it to be pretty accurate and only needed a few tweaks to the size that I received (some things are not custom, like the strap lengths, etc.). Men’s attire was rented from Men’s Warehouse.
Describe your flowers.
I used all faux florals so we could craft beforehand, and purchased all of my florals from Hobby Lobby (they usually go on sale every other week for 50% off!) My maid of honor used work at a florist shop, so she put together all of the boutonnieres, bouquets, and corsages. And another bridesmaid helped me with some of the floral arrangements that you see in various places as decor (next to the cake and near the seating chart).
What was your favorite detail?
DIY Arbor. My husband and I found inspirational images and tutorials online…we bought the wood, bolts, and wood stain at Home Depot, and spent a weekend putting it together with my father-in-law. We cut the wood to the lengths that we needed and stained everything ourselves. My mother-in-law helped by creating the floral arrangement on it (all also bought from Hobby Lobby on 1/2 price week).
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
Husband forgot the rings!
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Don’t be afraid to not get married at a venue…it is a lot of work, but can save you lots of money and can be so much more personal! And talk to friends and family — we borrowed so many decor items for our wedding and saved so much money in doing so!