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DIY Garden Ceremony with Beach Reception in Florida

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Marilyn and Ricky had a very clear vision for their wedding day that included natural elements and hints of their personal styles. They did a ton of DIY projects and even made a bunch of decor that ended up not being used because of the weather. Either way, they have so much to inspire with their gorgeous wedding.

Marilyn + Ricky

Ormond Beach , Florida
- 11/06/2021
Total wedding budget $13,583

Budget Breakdown

Below is an estimated wedding budget breakdown provided by the couple.

  • Venue
    27%
    $3600
  • Flowers
    9%
    $1200
  • Bridal Attire
    4%
    $540
  • Groom Attire
    4%
    $500
  • Accessories
    1%
    $200
  • Hair & Makeup
    1%
    $150
  • Alcohol/Bar
    6%
    $800
  • Tent
    8%
    $1085
  • Transportation/Travel
    3%
    $400
  • Decor
    2%
    $300
  • Table, Chair & Linen Rental
    2%
    $250
  • Day of Coordinator
    2%
    $300
  • Officiant
    1%
    $200
  • Miscellaneous
    2%
    $300
  • Total wedding budget
    $13583

Tell us about your wedding vision.

Although influenced by the current boho-chic aesthetic, we wanted the wedding to look like our personal aesthetics combined. We wanted something low-key and fun but also becoming of the occasion…still a wedding after all!

We wanted the scenery and the environment to create the feel of the wedding for us. The ceremony at the gardens and the celebration on the beach. The florals were very important for us because it was the biggest additional natural element and a true representation of our shared style. Relaxed and beautiful, fun and still elegant.

Beyond that, there wasn’t really a rigid theme or colors associated with our wedding. Just our favorite things and the colors we felt represented us. We did not want to subscribe to a religious script for the ceremony we wanted the ceremony to be very personalized to us. We are not particularly religious and our officiant was excellent at customizing every aspect of the ceremony to our personal views on the significant commitment we were about to make.

Did you do any DIY Projects or create any handmade items for your wedding?

We DIY’d a lot of things! Like the florals for the tables, we wanted an organic casual feel. I cleaned out glasses that had candles we had burned and we had the florist give us a collection of loose stems. Our friend Brandon used clear tape to make a grid across the top of the glasses and cut the stems at different heights and made the arrangements. We didn’t add anything to the glasses just the clear glass and stems in the water looked beautifully simple.

Also, the tables had clear wine bottles that we outfitted with adapters to convert them into torches. There was a lot of other decor that we, unfortunately, could not use because the weather forced us to move everything inside the tent and a lot of the decor was meant for outdoors.

What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?

Honestly, which part of our wedding wasn’t personalized?? The DJ is a longtime friend of the family. Our wedding officiant who has been doing weddings for decades is his mother. Our delicious food was prepared by another longtime friend of the groom’s parents. He brought a row of his friends to help him and they knocked it out of the park. A longtime friend and musical collaborator of the groom kicked off the party with an original rap song which then began a domino effect of other guests taking up the mic with their own raps.

Describe your decor

I would say essentially every aspect of the decor (which wound up inside of the walled-off tent) was DIY. We kept it simple with lighting and flowers doing most of the work. We wanted the environment and scenery to be the focal point. The flower arrangements for the tables were made by the groom’s friend who did an amazing job. The vases were small plain clear glass.

Homemade wine bottle tiki torches had to be shelved due to moving everyone and everything into the tent, but curtain lights and white on white table linens with lace runners completed the look. Touches of gold were added with ornate paper placemats and dinnerware. Plates were compostable bamboo with scalloped edges. All befitting a casual backyard beachside bbq that was indeed a wedding celebration.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Our favorite part of the wedding was the tree planting ceremony we included at the gardens. The MOTB brought a jar of soil with her from the bride’s birthplace Cali, Colombia, which was added to the potted tree by the bride during the ceremony. Followed by the groom adding a jar of soil from his birthplace Ormond Beach, Florida. The bride’s son participated by helping us pour a pitcher of water over the soil thereby symbolizing our union as a new family. The tree was then planted in the front yard of our new home.

Tell us about your attire.

When deciding on my wedding day look, I took into consideration that all activities that day would take place outside and that we would most likely be outside late into the night.

I knew I wanted my hair to be up for the wedding day because I didn’t want my look to battle with the wind and the salty air. I chose my dress to have long sleeves for these reasons and to take advantage of the updo to show off my back tattoo which is a sentence in cursive that says “Immerse your soul in love” a fitting sentiment for the occasion. I chose sandals with a block heel to go with the beachy feel and also for comfort and to prevent sinking into the lawn or the sand.

After a few months of searching and try-ons, I found my dream dress online. I shared the link with my best friend so she could see it for herself and she bought it right there on the spot! I paid nothing for my dress thanks to my wonderful friend’s generous gift.


The groom’s attire underwent many incarnations before the final look came together. Ultimately the groom took his cue from the bride’s final choice in wedding dress. Without giving too much away to the groom – he was informed the dress would be more traditional and formal in nature. He chose a navy blue suit. The color looks great on him and also had a little special meaning for us regarding the ocean in the moonlight. He wanted to wear a feather he’s had in an old hat that has been with him on many travels around the country. He added the feather to a brand new hat with a navy blue band and we decided that a bow tie looked best to go along with it rather than a long tie. He wore his favorite pair of boots shined up for the occasion.

What was your favorite details?

I think the most special and anticipated moment of our wedding day for both of us was seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony. We were both very anxious in the days leading up to the wedding because of the weather. The day before the wedding it stormed terribly and the beach house where celebrations were to take place, experienced some damage from the torrential downpours and high winds. There are typically only 2 days in November that have rain and we were afraid the wedding day would be one of them. Because almost all of our wedding was DIY, we wanted to make sure we could have the tent and tables and some of the more involved decor set up the day before.

Tell us about your wedding flowers.

The florals were definitely a very important part of the wedding and were the main decor for the ceremony and the party. The ceremony was in a garden so we already had a lush green background to work with. We wanted the florals to pop and also pick up some of the colors that would be in bloom in the garden that time of year. We wanted a wild, eclectic, feel with the florals for the entrance to the gazebo and the bouquet. We wanted them to look like we picked them ourselves from a field and popped them into containers or just gathered them up in my hands for the bouquet. My husband loves sunflowers so they had to be part of the florals.

There were two large arrangements on either side of the gazebo entrance where the ceremony took place. Those were then moved to either side of the cobblestone platform in the garden where family photos were taken. There was the bridal bouquet which was made in a spray shape to continue the free natural feel and the groom’s boutonniere was just a small sunflower, his favorite flower. The florist provided a variety of loose stems made up of flowers greenery and dried elements.

What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?

Having help is so important, and as much as our friends and family were more than happy to lend a hand we didn’t want to put all of the burdens on them. We wanted them to enjoy the day too. We hired a wonderful friend of the family to be our day-of coordinator and she knocked it out of the park. Had we to do it over again we would have hired a full-on planner.

As DIY as our wedding was- the money we saved would have been well spent on someone to help take the weight off our shoulders so that we could relax the week leading up to the big day. Our advice for wedding planning is our advice for a marriage- let go of expectations and enjoy the ride. Love each other through the ups and downs. What’s important is who you are to each other. Everything else is just fluff.

Share any additional details you’d like us to know about your event:

DIY is great because it saves money but also because it ensures the day is as personalized as possible. But having someone there to hold your hand through a process they’ve been through many times while you are trying to get it right once, would have been invaluable.