We love seeing the end result when not only the bride toils away at endless DIY projects, but the groom pitches in too! Such was the case with Alena and Ben’s Nebraska wedding, which perfectly encapsulates everything that fall is. View all of the images shot by the fantastic duo EPlove and read Alena and Ben’s story from the bride herself:
From the bride, Alena: Literally EVERYTHING was handmade by myself, my darling husband, or my mom and best friend. Our house kind of resembled a sweatshop during the months before the wedding. Ben would be down in the basement sewing and handstamping each of the 150 flour sack napkins or woodburning our initials into the tree trunk circles my dad cut from a tree in our backyard, and my mom spent a week making 12 different frostings and 17 different bundt cakes from scratch, while cutting each section of fabric for all the reception tablecloths (idea found on folksy.com). I created and made each of the boutonnieres (my original inspiration was Green Wedding Shoes “Burlap and Feather Boutonniere Tutorial”), and all of the flower pins, as well as sewing and putting together my bridal bouquet. My maid of honor and I spent hours cutting pennants and clothes pinning them to twine to decorate the barn, and I spent at least one CSI marathon making the yarn letters for the ceremony. Shout out to my MOH for handmaking all of the incredible cream cheese mints and helping me create each unique centerpiece, and to my sister for filling 200 tiny bags with our “first date chai” for guests. I fell even more in love with my husband as he helped me thrift and paint and create.
The door with the keys on it was an old door from my mom’s original house growing up, and some of the decorations on the barn wall were other things from my parent’s childhood (the peacocks, white chair, and window). All of the keys incorporated into the wedding were real vintage keys that my mom scored at an auction. At least 75% of the items used for centerpieces were from my childhood home (my mom is a genius at interior design), others were found at antique shops in downtown NE City. We thrifted most of the china used at the receptions, but also used personal pieces from many family members and close friends (we now have an beautifully mismatched set of dishes for our personal use). The rug we got married on has been in my family for years, and that magical vanity we used as an altar was found at a random goodwill for 25 bucks.
Our first look pictures were taken on a small bridge in the middle of a million trees decked out in their fall leaves. Walking up to Ben on that bridge, with all the leaves and twigs trailing in my lace train and seeing his face for the first time that day- it’s indescribable. It was overwhelming in the most amazing and lovely way. During the lighting of our unity candle (kerosene lamp), two groomsmen performed a gorgeous rendition of “Come Thou Fount” – Mumford & Sons style, complete with banjo. It was so perfect for the moment and a beautiful memory. Also, as a cheap gift, I had myself professionally recorded singing an Ingrid Michaelson song to surprise Ben with during our first dance. We were supposed to have our first dance to a Ben Folds song, so at first he was pretty ticked at the DJ for messing it up- it was the sweetest moment when he figured out it was me singing.
TONS of time was spent on wedding blogs loooong before I even knew my husband (ha- I can’t be the ONLY girl to do that… right?) My personal style as well as growing up in a home where almost everything was vintage, antique, handed down, or handmade also played a large part in our planning. Also, it was really important to Ben and I that even though people might not agree with or understand our vision of our wedding, we wanted our personalities and the loves of our life (music, design, humor) to be evident. Everywhere you looked was something that exuded “us”, and that’s exactly what we spent many late night hours dreaming up while sitting in dingy coffee shops. We wanted to incorporate all the things that make us weak in the knees, and the result was overwhelming. It was perfect. It was 100% Ben and Alena. A day that was so imperfect, crazy, but handmade with tons of love- with many elements we could keep and cherish for the rest of our life (as well as decorate our home with- ha!)
How would you describe your wedding theme? Oooh, a colorful conglomerate of our favorite coffee shop, our closets, a folk music festival, a Mumford & Sons song, an antique shop, a backyard bbq, and your most wildest dreams. But seriously… if our love was an object outside of us instead of a feeling inside of us, it would be something cozy, mismatched, hilarious, imperfect, but lovely and warm — and that’s what I feel our wedding was. Is that a weird analogy? Oh well.
Is there anything else you would like to recommend to other brides? Shop Etsy. The things we couldn’t make or didn’t have time to create, we found on Etsy. And put some effort and money into stellar photography and video. It’s what you get to keep after your day is over. You won’t ever regret it. And finally, our wedding would have been impossible without all the help and support from our friends and family. Even if they couldn’t see our “vision” right away, they were all so positive and helpful in making it happen. A labor of love from start to finish. You’re all rad. Xoxo.
Wedding Vendors (Nebraska City, NE):
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Historic Morton Barns / Wedding Photographer and Videographer: EPlove / Wedding Dress: Enzoani / Bride’s Shoes: Clarks / Bride’s Hair Accessory: Brenda’s Bridal Veils / Bride’s Necklace: Tiffany / Bride’s Earrings: Urban Outfitters / Groom and Groomsmen’s Outfits: Urban Outfitters, Express / Groom and Groomsmen’s Ties: The Tie Bar / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Modcloth, Ruche, Urban Outfitters / Bridesmaids’ Shoes: Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 / Wedding Cake: mother of the bride / Wedding Flowers: bride / DJ: Complete Music / Bride’s Makeup: Amanda at Envy Studio, Lincoln, NE