Amy and Warren’s wedding, captured by Amy’s dear friend Meg of Meg Ruth Photography, is the definition of DIY. Along with friends and family, they created almost every detail of their wedding. They put a focus on fun providing a photo booth with props like feather masks and moustache sticks, and lawn games like croquet for their guests. There was even an impromptu interpretive dance party to an REO Speedwagon song! Let the good times roll!
From the bride, Amy:
Warren and I are both graduate students so we had limited funds for our wedding—but we did not want to sacrifice style or fun. Our budget turned out to be a huge blessing: we began to think of our wedding as less of a Wedding, and more like a big costume party for everyone we loved. This meant that no one cared that the cakes were still on their plastic trays from Costco, or that the metal chairs did not match the white tablecloths, or that any number of aesthetic crimes (to my micro-manager’s eye) existed because Warren and I were in love, and everyone was there to celebrate this love.
We wanted a vintagey, whimsical, garden party that involved whales, our motto (“True Love Wins”), and cheerful colors–a mighty tall order. So we milked every connection we had. For instance, I designed the invitations myself and letterpressed them with a friend.
Deciding upon our ceremony and reception locations was the simplest part of the planning. Warren and I met in Washington, D.C. a few years ago so most of our friends are there; it’s also a central place for family and out-of-towners to fly into. We were married in the LDS Washington, D.C. Temple and held our garden party reception on the lawns of the LDS Mount Vernon Chapel, which overlooked the Potomac River, a few miles away from Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.
Planning also became an exercise in self education. Instead of studying, I watched YouTube videos and learned how to arrange flowers; how to make bouquets, boutonnieres, and bunting; I even learned how to do my own makeup–quite the feat for a Lipgloss Only girl like me!
Warren’s grandmother (and several thrift stores) gave us a beautiful collection of antique vases to use as our centerpieces. We gussied up with burlap, lace, and ribbon.
I initially bought a lovely beaded flapper dress to wear at our reception, but then I hit serious wedding dress woe and upgraded it to The Wedding Dress. It cost two hundred bucks but—cheesy as this sounds—made me feel like a million. I paired it with shoes from the sale rack at Target, a little shrug, and a giant silk flower that I found beneath some scarves at Dillard’s.
Though I loved how my outfit came together, the most special part of it was my jewelry. My mother died when I was young, so my engagement ring is made from one of her settings—one that she used to wear everyday. It felt like my mother was holding my hand throughout the ordeal of planning an out of state wedding—and I love that she is always with me in such a special way. Warren’s mother and father gave me the gold pendant necklace, which is a traditional bridal gift in the Middle East, where they live. Warren and I bought my earrings when we were in Lisbon, Portugal last spring, a few days after he first told me that he loved me.I initially bought a lovely beaded flapper dress to wear at our reception, but then I hit serious wedding dress woe and upgraded it to The Wedding Dress. It cost two hundred bucks but—cheesy as this sounds—made me feel like a million. I paired it with shoes from the sale rack at Target, a little shrug, and a giant silk flower that I found beneath some scarves at Dillard’s.
I’ll be honest: planning a DIY wedding within our budget was a major headache—I had so many meltdowns, I stopped counting. To get everything done, we acquired a motto that served us well: Make a decision and stick with it. With so many gorgeous wedding blogs to look at, this was harder than it looked. But by the time it rolled around, I was not only on board with crazy projects like arranging all of the flowers, but pumped. If you’re going to plan something this big, you might as well come away with a few skills, right? But there were other parts that reminded me how much creativity and whimsy are a part of me, and my relationship with Warren. Having spent the last year in a long distance relationship, we learned just how important these traits, paired with patience and love, were. Plus, watching all of our hard work come together so beautifully, and spending a weekend with everyone we love, makes me wish that I could do it all over again…almost!
Wedding Vendors (Washington, D.C.):
Photographer: Meg Ruth Photography/ Ceremony Venue: Washington, D.C. LDS Temple/ Reception Venue: LDS Mount Vernon Chapel/ Flowers: By Bride and Maid of Honor, purchased from Safeway, Giant and Harris Teeter/ Invitations: By Bride and friend/ DJ: DIY with iTunes/ Caterer: Jaleo/Desserts: Costco and Safeway/ Beverages: Trader Joes/ Tent and Dancefloor: Royal Events Planning