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Sweet Garden Wedding

Sweet Garden Wedding

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.

Washington D.C  LDS wedding Potomac River Old Town Alexandria VA vintage peony pink wedding

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!

Meg Meg Ruth Photography is based out of Las Vegas, but is available to travel. To see more from this wedding, to check out her blog!

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

View Comments (27)
  • Hooray for DIY makeup! I’m going to attempt to do the same, since I’m extremely allergic to most skin products and therefore am a lipgloss-only girl as well. Can the bride point to any good youtube videos or websites for me to check out? That would be wonderful!

  • I love how simple and whimsical this wedding is. The bride did a great job on this DIY project!

  • I love all the colors and fun details of this wedding!! Sounds like it was a great time at an amazing budget!

  • Andrea – I am exactly the same way and am doing my own makeup for the wedding as well. I ended up going to my local Aveda store (it’s light and natural, so i don’t have reactions to it like i do to other makeups). The really nice sales woman helped me try out a few to figure out what I liked, then showed me how to put it on and made some diagrams to help (yes, I’m just that hopeless). They didn’t push me to buy anything, although I did get a couple basics and I’m incredibly pleased. The tinted moisturizer was the best find for me. I’m keeping it simple and natural, but I can already see how it will even my skin out and show up smoother in photographs.

    Good luck! 🙂

  • What a gorgeous and thoughtful wedding! This must be one multi-talented bride!

  • Hey,I saw a dress exactly like the blush colored dress with the flowers in a boutique near me.and I’m in Oregon.How funny.

  • This wedding was as beautiful as it looked. More so, even.

  • Loving the brides honesty! She did an amazing job…and I can only imagine she is just thrilled with the results! Am adoring all the details here – especially the desk…as I love funiture outside! Thanks for sharing.


  • Girl, you rock. It really looks spectacular and rivals weddings that have vendors do all the work. Great job! We are going the same route (our only vendors are rentals and catering YIKES!) and I hope it looks half this good!

  • so pretty! what a great party! i love all the little details. and the pictures are gorgeous!

  • You go girl! Your wedding is beautiful and i love how you and your husbands personalities shine through. And all the DIY – i respect you so much for it! Everything looks beautiful 🙂

  • Wow, so cool that the desserts on the dessert table are from Safeway and Costco… everything looks great! Amazing DIY wedding!!!

  • Hello cutest wedding in the world! I am in love with every aspect of this happy day, from the vintage clothes to the handmade decor & the laid back vibe. Just stunning.

  • This is absolutely BANANAS! What a great mash-up of style and culture. I love the mulit-cultural, vintage vibe. Is that flan that the little dolls are on top of? Gorgeous!

  • This bride is absolutely glowing. Congratulations Amy and Warren!

    Amy I do wish you could have gotten your sister into a vintage dress for the occasion. But you tried, we know you tried. 🙂

  • Incredibly beautiful! Well done and congratulations to you both… What a stunning wedding.

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