Did you do any DIY Projects or create any handmade items for your wedding?
Almost everything! I got a little bored during COVID and needed something to keep me busy. Using my graphic design skills, the Cricut, and then learning to decoupage, I was able to do a lot with a little bit of creativity and very little cost. Comparing what it would have cost to buy or even rent the same items we saved a ton. Because we picked a colors scheme that we loved and went with our home’s décor, we are also able to reuse or repurpose things for our house (and vice versa i.e., we used things we already owned for the wedding).
Things that we DIYed or made included various blue and white pumpkins (chinoiserie decoupaged, velvet, table number, and Bride and Groom silhouette pumpkins), our logo, personalized welcome bags (added our logo on canvas bags, craft boxes, and water bottles with the theme carried through), personalized stemless wine glasses, personalized bridesmaid getting ready shirts, personalized bridesmaid sleep shirts with our logo, all the signs (Welcome sign, S’more sign, We Waited So Party sign, Wine Tasting sign, Seating sign, Happily Ever After sign, Comfort Station sign and more), Votives (both decoupage and lace-trimmed), place cards/holders, a decoupage swan, various paper goods for the weekend… a map, weekend schedule, rehearsal dinner invites, and reception menu, a quaker wedding certificate for a guest book, the ceremony/vow books, Pillows for the lounge, and The “Lasso the Moon” photobooth. My sister and nieces also made my grandmother’s cookies for the dessert table, and she made her “famous” Sangrias for the cocktail hour sangria bar and gifted those to us.
We also did all our own flowers arrangements (i.e., anything in a vase or garland) for the venue. We ordered a beautiful package of flowers from Enjoy Flowers that included the bridal party bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages aisle flowers, and flower crowns so those were premade and so lovely.
Our Enjoy package also had DIY centerpieces which were coordinated loose flowers that you assembled into your arrangements. We enhanced those with additional flowers from Sam’s Club and Fifty Flowers and greenery garlands from Costco. Flowers were really important to me and it was a big budget for online/ DIY but we had very lush florals that would have been at least twice the price at a local florist. My niece, fiancé, and I did all the flower arrangements the Friday before the wedding. We had such a nice time together surrounded by beautiful-smelling flowers; it is one of my favorite memories of the weekend.
Another fun touch was that we asked everyone to contribute favorite recipes to a cookbook. We compiled and published it through the Family Cookbook Project and we gave them to everyone as thank you gifts at the rehearsal dinner.
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
We had a getaway wedding weekend with a small group of family and friends in Buck’s County PA; and because we got married in Pennsylvania, we were able to have a self-uniting ceremony. We spent a lot of time working on writing our own ceremony to make it a meaningful reflection of us. I designed and made a Quaker Marriage Certificate for everyone to sign instead of a guest book since self-uniting is a 300-year vestige of Pennsylvania’s Quaker history.
I did all the wedding planning myself (with input from my fiancé, of course) and worked hard to make it a reflection of us. Our wedding was full of personal details from the logo I designed that represented how we met… to using our own dishes for the table settings… to decorating the venue with the signs, pumpkins, votives, and other items I had made… to choosing the flowers based on favorites that grow in our backyard garden…to favorite music for the ceremony… to the wines, ciders, and beers we served picked from small local vineyards and breweries in each guest’s state.
What is the most memoriable moment of your day?
Laughing together while cutting the cake. We totally made a mess of the beautiful cake, thankfully it was on the backside so no one could see it. The coordinator had to step in and cut a “nice-looking” slice for us to feed each other for the pictures. We were in tears laughing.
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
Three things have been tied. First, we kept the guest list small which allowed us to have a luxury wedding but on a smaller budget.
Second, our beautiful venue at a historic inn was all-inclusive and priced per person (I’ve included it in the budget but technically, my parents gifted it to us.) It included all the food (cocktail hour, multi-course sitdown dinner), all the space (the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception space), all the staff, all the tables and chairs, the wedding cake, a day-of coordinator, and gratuities.
It was also BYOB, so we could bring in our own wine (we bought) and beer (gifted), and Sangria bar (gifted). It is such a beautiful and romantic spot. The service was impeccable, and the farm-to-table food was just delicious. It was all we dreamed of and more, we are so happy my Dad suggested checking out their favorite restaurant because we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect venue!
The third big saving was booking our photographer for two and a half hours rather than all day. They arrived an hour before the ceremony and stayed through cocktail hour. For us, this was just right and we still have more beautiful pictures than we know what to do with! During the reception my sister and the other guests caught some great candid pictures on their phones, so we didn’t miss any of the key moments.
We had a bit of luck with some extra greenery for our ceremony space. The florist from the wedding the day before ours was at the venue removing their items, and the large greenery installation above the space where we were having the ceremony was still up. We asked if he would leave it for our wedding and he did!
What was your biggest splurge?
The vintage rental company. We wanted multiple lounges in the reception space for people to have a place to sit, be comfy, talk, and do wine tastings… We also wanted vintage furniture for the cake table, cookie display, and ceremony arch. It added up, but it was important to us to have that element so people could move from the dinner table to a more relaxed space during the reception. The rental company also provided a decorating/design package to set up and decorate the venue with their rentals and your décor. We just brought all the stuff over during the week to the venue’s storage area and dropped off the flowers we DIYed the morning of the wedding. We came back and the room was magical. It was so beautifully put together. They took all the stuff I had been making or collecting and turned it into my dream (well even better.) So, it was a splurge, or it seemed at the time we were doing the budgeting, but it was one of the best decisions we made because they truly made the day beautiful!
What was your favorite details?
The big communal farm table. We had everyone seated at a long farm table together, which was so fun and made the wedding dinner feel like such a celebration. We were having so much fun, everyone was singing at one point. It also looked so amazing!
We had garlands of greens and flowers that my sister, brother-in-law, and best friend hung from the beams above the table and pillar candles lining the beams which created such a romantic ambiance. We used my collection of blue and white dishes for the place setting and the rest of the table was brought together with the other elements –things I had made (like the decoupage pumpkins and place cards) or things I bought on clearance sales online (like the table runners). We also used things we had around the house like the sauce cups I had bought in Japan that we used as votives and even used our blue and white mugs as vases for some of the flower arrangements. My mother let us borrow some of her blue and white vases and pitchers for the flowers too! It all came together so pretty. The pictures don’t do it justice
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
Keep it small and intimate. We had waited a long time to get married so we had a lot of time to think about what we wanted. We wanted to be present at our wedding rather than rushing through the day. By keeping it small we had the time to experience things with the people we invited on a one-on-one level, it was so personal and meaningful. I can’t imagine it being the same if we had a big wedding. It was such a wonderful day; part of a truly special weekend and we are so happy with the way everything turned out. Our guests seem to agree because we keep hearing about it from everyone.
Share any additional details you’d like us to know about your event:
One of the best parts of our wedding weekend was arranging for everyone to stay at a cozy inn/bed & breakfast for the weekend, and it really enhanced everyone’s experience. Our party booked every room for 4 nights so we had the run of the property, and we could really hang out and relax together as a group. The manager was a warm and wonderful host; she made everyone feel like family, and she served a delicious breakfast every morning. It was fun starting the morning out at breakfast together before people headed out to explore or prepare for the wedding.
There was a great common area for everyone to gather and relax together and the suite that adjoined it had a kitchen area where we set up a bar with wines, beers, and ciders so it became the nightly hang-out space for the group. We would highly recommend this sort of setup to any couple doing a small getaway wedding because it allowed everyone to have the time they wanted to together but also their own space and be pampered. It also gave us space to do things without additional venue costs like hosting the welcome party and farewell brunch.