Tag Archives: DIY wedding

Second thoughts?

Wedding season seems to be off and running! My husband and I took The Mistress out last weekend (oh, I should note his Harley’s name is The Mistress) being the weather was amazingly gorgeous we stopped at a few parks along the lakefront.  Several wedding parties gallivanted around having pictures taken.  Being the nosey onlooker with possible classification of being a stalker I kept being drawn to see what they did that might be unique.  Still celebrating newlywed life after just celebrating our 7 months of marriage I often try to think of…if I were to do it all over would I do anything different.

I virtually made nearly everything for our wedding.  And I wouldn’t change that.. however, I’ve since seen some neat designs that I think are neat!

1. Our save the date cards were simple photo cards of us from Walmart.  I’m a huge fan of multiple pictures now…so I might do something to show a bit more of our personalities.


Image from Wedding Paper Divas

2.  Our Ceremony took place outdoors at my parents house…it was heavenly.  We rented a pretty tent with windowed sides.  Having amazing day in October we decided to open the sides up on the back so it didn’t feel so cramped, however I wish I would have also opened the front up a bit.  My husband made a neat Arbor as the focal point for our ceremony, however those sitting on the front sides weren’t able to see it during the ceremony, including those in our wedding party. You can kind of get the gist of it with our pre-wedding setting the stage picture


(when I was looking for this picture, I realized I created a share site through Shutterfly and NEVER even shared it….I guess I would do that after the wedding too. Here you go!

3.  Have a list of pictures that you really want.  While I thought I was all over that, I forgot a few.  I wanted a pose of the newlyweds on my parent’s porch swing.  I also had created a Thank you sign  painted Barn Board, similar to these:
IMG_0852 IMG_0854

The plan was to have the husband and I holding the “Thank you” sign to take a picture for our actual thank you’s.  And in the heat of the moment I was really annoyed with all the family pictures, but looking back I’m really glad I have them now!

4.  I opted to have an ipod reception over a dj.  My little brother has connections and one of his friends had all the sound equipment, so I hired him to be the MC for the night.  While I don’t regret having an ipod wedding over a DJ, I have since learned of the Itunes DJ feature which allows guests to make requests.  Would have been much easier.  I had preset playlists according to our reception time line.  Took quite a bit of time upfront creating all the playlists for the day!

And now a few things I feel I did right and would suggest to others:

1.  As a engaged couple choose what 2-3 things that are really important to you and set your budget around them.  According to everyone I talked with an average wedding in our area was around $20,000.  I felt like that was more than I really wanted to spend.  So we spoke with both our parents to see how much they were planning to chip in, and then determined how much we needed to save.  We had 15 months from engagement to wedding day.  I did my research to determine our budget.  My preliminary budget was $10,000 and our actual budget ended up being just over $8,000 (that included everything from the wedding and honeymoon reservations).  We did have a few incidents where we had to make some tough decisions, but in the end it was our day and we wanted to make sure the focus was on what we wanted.

2.  As silly as it seemed, the 3 page itinerary was extremely helpful.  It included everything I needed to do starting 2 days before the wedding, including times of rehearsal, contact information for go to people, who needed to be where and when.  In our case, almost our entire wedding party was from out of town, and I have several family members (including myself) who are ALWAYS late!  And although I may never live it down by all the men…it really was a handy tool.

3.  I didn’t do a typical groom’s cake.  Instead the wedding party had Dairy Queen Ice Cream cake.  I originally wanted our entire wedding cake to be DQ ice cream cake but I didn’t know how to prevent the whole melting situation.  Our wedding party was a huge fan of the ice cream cake as was I, since I’m not a fan of cake.

4.  Our photographers put together a slide show after dinner including 20 pictures of the groom, 25 pictures of the bride, 5 of the couple, and then picture from teh ceremony.  We had a private ceremony with just our closest friends and family so the slide show including the day of pictures was extremely well received. I was not able to buy rights to my pictures but our photographers ened up adding so much more to our package that I don’t really feel the need to have the rights to them at this point.  Plus it is still their work, and it’s amazing.  I would highly suggest them!

Photo taken by Matthew Murray Photography

Photo taken by Matthew Murray Photography

5. I’m a bit artistic so I made nearly everything and saved all my scraps.  The scraps from the programs were used as table assignments.  I am a huge scrap booking guru so all that was more fun than work!  You can check out this post, this one too, and here too, to see all the other stuff I made.

6.  Make sure to include a piece of who you are as individuals into the day.  For example my husband is into hunting so the guys wore camo and I ended up liking them in their vests over their coats much better for pictures.  He also is an avid Harley rider, so he wore his Harley boots.  He and I both made lots of little things.  I was a karaoke DJ in college so I actually sang the first song prior to dinner.  A complete surprise to everyone and just another emotional touch.  In case you are wondering I sang “When you say Nothing at all” by Allison Krauss.

7. You will be a beautiful bride no matter how much you spend on your dress.  My budget was $500 for just the dress. After a few places I became rather disgusted with how ridiculously priced they are and how you tend to get sucked in.  I had a picture in my head of what I was looking for.  I ended up finding my dress on ebay, made to fit me, from a seller in China for the whopping price of $20.  With shipping it cost $150, but even then it was much cheaper than what I was finding everywhere else.  It ended up being exactly what I was looking for…maybe a little more formal than I was anticipating, but it really didn’t bother me.

8. Have Fun!  Stuff happens, but regardless it’s still your day…soak it all in and enjoy it!


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Per Favour (or thank you, rather)

Don’t you love my french…I was trying to be all creative until I realized that our favors at the wedding were to say “thank you,” not “please!”  Can’t hate me for trying! 

I want to make a disclaimer that I neglected to get any pictures of the favors prior to the wedding, or at the reception so this was all I could scrape up.  It’s not as “pretty” as most other favor examples I would have shared had I been given the choice, or prepared to take pictures before the wedding.

As you may remember, our wedding morphed into the fall outdoorsy-themed conglomeration of decorations and colors. We were fortunate of hitting peak season for the color of leaves and thus it helped create the decor.  When it came time to deciding our favors it seemed logical to keep them in tune with the decor.  I despise anything useless and nonfunctional, so I wanted something that people wouldn’t just leave laying around after the reception….something practical.

What did we decide? I can sense the anticipation…

Cut out cookies.  All of them were frosted with different fall colors…burgundy, golden rod yellow, and deep orange.  Our local bakery made them for us….although I considered baking them myself at one point.  I provided the cut-out that I wanted $3.99 at Michael’s or Jo-Ann Fabrics (I forget which now).  When I realized how cheap they were I couldn’t pass up the offer:  $0.31 per cookie.  We had 250 cookies made…our total was $79.00 for the cookies, cut out and frosted.  If you notice they were each packaged in a cellophane bag…I ordered 2-100 pack bags from Paper Mart (4 x 2 1/2 x 9 1/2) for $8.28

And because I’m a dork…our little creative memo was:


We had lots of scraps of cardstock and the ivory linen paper I used to make the invites.  Thankfully I had access to a cricut, and the font that comes with the cricut has a tag template that cuts out as many as I tell it too.  So 8 sheets of 8 1/2 by 11 cardstock later I had enough tags (I only made 200 tags).  In word I made a 1 inch text box to write our little saying…copied pasted enough times to fill the page, printed and cut into squares.  I used a bit of Tombo scrapbook adhesive (I buy it in bulk) to attach to the tag. 

Finally to put it all together, a few more details were added.  I wanted to have guests upload their pictures to a site online so I could have access for future newlywed projects (such as blogging) following the wedding.  So I once again made a little postcard using the chocolate chip cardstock scraps and white 21/2 inch mailing labels.  I stamped the big pretty swirly stamp I used on the invitation envelope to add some color to the postcard.   Each postcard had the website, user name and password to upload their pictures too, but it also provided a mat for the cookie, since none were brown!


To put it all together, I picked up 3 rolls of the chocolate double satin ribbon from Hobby Lobby (20 yards for 99 cents in the wedding section).  This is the ONLY DIY wedding project that I requested a few hours from my girls.  On the Tuesday before the wedding we gathered to stuff and assemble the favors.  One person cut ribbon, 2 threaded the tags and 2 tied around the packaging.  We just did a square knot- save time, ribbon, and sanity…and really nobody was really going to notice if they were in a bow or knot as they feverishly attempted to get that darn package open to eat the cookie after a few beverages….so I was fine with a the knot. ( I have mad square knot tying abilities too).

Tada.  Each favor was placed on the plates of all of our guest by the site coordinator (that was very nice of her) the extras we placed into a basket and later in the evening was set out for guest to grab as they headed home.

It was a really yummy way to stay in budget ( each cookie cost $.40 to make) stay with the decor and add a pop of color to each table setting….and the guests loved them.  It was hard to scavenge any stranglers at the end of the night.

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Rock the Reception…Ipod style

In my opinion I’ve never seen an “outstanding” DJ…they are all pretty much the same, some just have a few more bells and whistles.  Thus, a  DIY bride who hates DJ’s and on a budget.  Thankfully this girl had some connections.  What might they be???

An ipod+brother’s sound equipment+brother’s friend= Ipod reception.  Cost $236

A few tricks to keep in mind- Ipods don’t take requests so well the night of the reception.  I sent out a request inquiry to friends and family to gather feedback. What songs did THEY want to hear or dance to at our reception?  Lucky for me I already owned the ginormous ipod (40 GB).  When I received some request for the good ole 80’s music I thought I better scavenge through my own collection of cd’s and search my existing ipod library before purchasing any songs.  Much to my delighment, I had almost every song that was requested.  I only ended up purchasing $16 worth in itunes (and I don’t know if I even included all those into the playlists)

The difficult part was creating the playlists.  Being the controlling bride I was (or not) I needed to organize the songs in the order I wanted them played, keeping in mind that my hip-hop might not be the best way to start the party and get my “older”relatives on the dance floor.  Also keeping in mind I needed to add some song that perhaps I didn’t like, at the request of others…my concession was the Chicken Dance.  I organized my playlist in “time frames.”  For example, dinner music was 1 playlist, first dance until 8 PM another, dollar dance to Grand March, Grand March until the end.  I interspersed slow songs for all the couples to gallivant to the dance floor in each playlist, also kept in mind who my audience would be throughout the night (the younger rowdier crowd is more likely to stick it out through the end).

The next piece, having a brother who was in a band and has connections, helped.  His friend works for a music store…his friend also being our MC…scored all the equipment we needed.  I did end up renting some fun lights to add to the party for $20.  Throughout the night the MC and I gauged how we were doing with time and occasionally skipping over a few songs to stay within our time frames playlists. 

Now with out any further ado…here’s the reception (amateur style) and a few songs from our playlists.


Electric Slide a wedding classic

I don’t know the song- but who cares, gotta love how cute my brother and his family are 🙂



Unchained Melody believe it or not.  Megs and I have classy dance moves for sappy romantics songs.  There might be more to this story- but not significant enough for you to find the humor that we do in it.
All Summer Long
apparently we are fond of Kid Rock

Could this be Vanilla Ice?  Or just 2 of my lovely yahoos sporting moves from the early 90’s.

Girls, Girls, Girls…
yes indeed these are my girls!

Sometimes you don’t even need music to dance!  Aren’t they so precious 🙂

Men In Black  The official start to our Grand March.  As a word of caution, while the sunglasses might add the desired touch, it also adds an element of danger.  The guys were quite blind when trying to sport their greatest dance moves.   Bring on the ladies…



As you may recall the playlist from grand march to the end allowed for some good times with the younger crowd (although I must add the accoustics were perfect for those who chose to do this instead…)


Last but not least…


Some good ole’ fashion drinking songs….Pretty sure this was Family Tradition

Paradise by the Dashboard Light  No party is complete without a kick line or the attempt!

It was a long day and some crashed and burned before the party came to an end…

(Photos displayed were taken by Beth Van de Loo, Rich Jun, and Holly Waterman)

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Revealing our wedding pics

Okay, I’m STILL waiting in anticipation for the day I can have ALL pcitures from ALL people in my inbox, but in the mean time a few more “candids” were shared.  I’m sure once the photographers come I’ll be drooling puddles, based off the slideshow they put together of our day at the reception…mm…can we say magical. 

But onward ho:


I don’t know where I got this idea from, but when I was explaining what I wanted to do to my dad…he mentioned he had a few barn boards laying around (leave it to dad to have those!)  To keep it simple with the outdoor feel I passed on all offers to have some letters cut out and instead opted to just free hand the painting.  The Milk jug has been the stool we sat on to talk on the phone at my parents for years, and a few folliage from Michael’s- Viola!


Same concept different design.

The Ceremony took place in my parents back yard, so we rented a tent in the event of cruel and unusual punishment–bad weather.  It ended up being helpful to shade the guest from the intense sun that day.brent-happily-awaits


I love my mom’s expression here, and seeing the guys in the back round..


When we announced our wedding to my parent’s- well my dad already told my mom that Brent asked permission…either way it sparked an opportunity for my mom to get the porch she’s been waiting for.  Brent, being the handy man he is, with the help of a few others, whipped up this lovely entrance for me and all the girls. 



Struggling to find a good focal point in the yard, I had Brent construct an arbor which can be reused in our back yard.  I pulled together some grapevine, a few dried hydrangeas (spray painted gold glitter), added some fall foliage garland and a few other randoms…and I was able to create a swag to pull together the much needed missing element.


My flower girls are 2 of my nieces who I feel like are my own children.  We have a pretty close relationship.  I found their dresses on ebay for $25.  I had some left over swatch fabric from the bridesmaid dresses that I had considered making into a sash for them, but in the end it was one of the things that I let go of.  They were so excited to be a part of the wedding, and in fact wanted to pose for every picture.  Someone caught them in their innocence.



Meanwhile, my youngest niece danced in the corner



Not knowing what the weather might be like, I opted not to have a unity candle.  In my mind if the candle blew out it would be a bad omen or something, so instead we opted for a “natural” aspect of a sand ceremony.  The 2 side vases with the sand were cheapies from Wal-mart, and the pedastal and “Love” vase were from Hobby Lobby.  Our pastor had a neat message with this to the fact that much like the sand we poured into one vase would never be seperated again, much like the unity of our marriage, blended to create something new and more beautiful than before. 


I convinced my brother to sing, and while he didn’t want to be in the front of everyone singing, we made a concession he could stand outside the tent.  One of my cousins snatched this picture through the window of the tent.  He sang “The Wedding Song, There is Love” by Peter Paul & Mary.  It was the same song sung during my parents wedding 35 years ago.


Following the sand ceremony while my brother was still singing, we ventured to give each of our parents a hug.  Finished up the ceremony with the kiss and the announcement of the new Mr. & Mrs. Brent and I headed back into the house while the wedding party and ushers lined everyone up outside the house.


We did not do a formal receiving line, instead an alley was created for us to walk down as our guests blew bubbles into the air.  Once we reached the end of the alley we had an informal reception and champagne toast before the family and wedding party began pictures. 





At this point the photographer got up on the roof to get a picture of everyone toasting…hence the ladder in the back.  I don’t have the pic yet to share with you! (it’s coming)



Our only Grandparent left… This is a pretty special picture for me, I’m glad someone snapped it, even better…

…getting marriage advice from the “old Man” himself 🙂

Then a few traditional family photos…


There, do you feel like you were there?

(Photos displayed were taken by Karen Laedtke, Beth Van de Loo, Amy Foster, Rich Jun, and Diane Moser)


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Blog Protective Services

I’ve been contacted.  Apparently I was reported for neglect to my blog.  Kind of like Child Protective Servicves, if you can’t take care of a child tehy remove them from the home. 

Okay, seriously I know that I failed at life, or at least blog life.  You an expect 2-3 more posts to follow with all the excitement of the past few weeks, and that to come in 3 days.

Here’s a sneak peak:
Yesterday was my last day of work with my current identity…still adjusting to that.
I have found how to run again
Somwhere, amidst the choas I found a great group of girls who read books and eat amazing food, hence I’ve joined a book club and learned how to read.
The 4,000 DIY wedding projects are all completed (I have one final project that I am finishing this morning)

Stay tuned 🙂

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