It’s probably a no-brainer that I include at least one post about my wedding dress, so here you are! I absolutely adore my dress – honestly, I was so lucky to find it. Originally, my sister and I planned on re-doing my mom’s wedding dress and I was going to wear that down the aisle. However, last summer I went with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law (who was also married this past June to my hubby’s bro) to a local boutique for a $99 dress sale. Formal Affairs is known in Richmond for its designer gowns, so it was a wonder that they were having such an incredible blow-out special. I never expected to find my dress there, especially not the second one I tried on either, but I did, and it was magical!
For a long time, ever since the beginning of the wedding planning process – so forever basically – I decided my preferred style was v-neck, vintage and covered in lace. It was going to be a stretch to make my mom’s dress into my vision, but this $99 find took my breath away by matching all my criteria! The original size was rather large, but it was easily altered to fit perfectly.
Other Bride Essentials:
- The veil: my mama’s since I didn’t wear her dress. It matched perfectly! Cost: FREE
- The garter: 2-pack from Hobby Lobby – one to throw and one to keep. Ivory with lace. Cost: $12
- The sash: I made with ribbon from Michaels and hairpin from Formal Affairs. Cost: $40
- The shoes: flats from Payless – comfortable and didn’t make me look like an Amazon. Cost: $18
- The accessories: gold hairpins, pearl necklace, earrings and bracelet polish it off. Cost: FREE
Through my wedding dress experience, I learned a few things:
- Determine your preferred style before shopping, or it could take ages to narrow down a favorite
- Don’t settle on a dress unless you’re 100% confident it’s the one – then “say yes to the dress”
- Be on the lookout for sales and specials going on at bridal boutiques in your local area
- End of summer is a good time to shop since it is the end of the busy bridal season
- Set a budget and don’t go over – it’s called a budget for a reason
- Don’t let size dissuade you, especially a bigger size – it can always be taken in to fit your body
The guest/gift table actually came together really nicely – perfectly welcoming guests to our reception. It all started out with wanting an atypical guest book – one that incorporates my love of photos and scrapbooking. This then evolved into creating a makeshift photo booth, explaining how to sign the book and finding other essential decorations to greet our friends and family upon entering the reception hall.
The Guest Book
I bought a small photo album from Michaels with lines underneath each photo slot for guests to write a note. The goal was to have each family write a note and take a few pictures at the photo booth area, then after the wedding I would print them off and add to the guest book. A lot of people caught on to this, but some of the older population may not have been so savvy. However, I framed instructions so everyone would know precisely what to do. I was quite giddy when I found this idea on Pinterest – I tweaked it somewhat though! [Note: I’ll go into further detail about the makeshift photo booth in a later post.]
The Gift Area
In addition to framing photo guest book instructions, I also had a gold picture frame to indicate where presents should go, with “Gifts” printed off in a cute design. However, the cards received special treatment – they were placed in an adorable old suitcase I borrowed from my sister. This is a family heirloom that she used at her wedding as well! To dress it up a little, I added a “cards” banner, crafted from scrapbooking paper and markers. And then at the end of the night when hubby Aaron and I pranced through our sparkler-lit friends to bid farewell, I carried the card suitcase with me, symbolizing our honeymoon trip (and to be sure we gathered all the vaca moolah)!
After the essentials, I included some other finishing touches. First, by repurposing a birdcage with flowers, lace, greenery and of course, adorable feathery birds. I also added flowers from Goodwill to an antique vase. And lastly, I made sure the table included one of my prized tea trays, mentioned in a previous post, complete with teacups and all!
This is just another small example of how to keep costs low and produce a fabulous, yet affordable wedding. It all comes down to the details – so start making a list and pinning all your fav ideas early! If you have any fun DIY guest book or gift table ideas, I’d love to see them in the comment section below.
Before diving into all the phenom aspects of my Big Day, and the hard work to make it happen, I thought I would show a brief overview of the vision and style. As is probably evident, I love all things DIY, so this was a major component, as well as, incorporating vintage-themed aspects. Our colors were fitting for the summer: orange, yellow and pink tones, with an emphasis on coral. But what can explain this all better than pictures – check out the gallery below!