[Wedding Week Day 3]: Piecing Together the Wedding Party

From the get-go I knew our wedding would not be traditional in any sense of the word, and with that, I wanted our bridal party to stand out in an impactful way. We didn’t ask them to wear cookie cutter dresses or tuxes, rather, each had general guidelines for how to dress and then they could jazz it up however they wanted.

Main benefits of having a mismatched, but coordinated wedding party:

  • Kept costs low, which made our friends very happy
  • Individuality shone through
  • Different body types call for different dresses
  • No time constraints – no fittings, tailoring or last-minute adjustments
  • Perfectly suited our theme by being DIY, unique and vintage
  • FUN – everyone loved being able to pick out what they wore
  • No hassle for the guys – most of them had everything already

The Blushing Bridesmaids

For all my ladies, I asked them to stick within the coral color family and I preferred above the knee with a summery, whimsical vibe. Everyone did a great job of finding their looks! And for several, I shopped with them to help pick out which dresses to wear.

Quick Tip: If this is something you have considered doing, then try to stick with one color palette so that all the dresses are on the same page. I made sure no one dress was glaringly different from the rest. The style and material also play into this. I was very strict about not wanting much pattern or color variation. However, I was partial to lace, so I tried to incorporate that in as many of the dresses as possible. All my friends were so good about checking with me before picking anything out though; I had the final say ultimately. But I never had to say no – talk about girls with good taste!

In regards to jewelry, I asked for all the girls to wear gold, and to top the looks off with nude-colored shoes. These two things were really the only stipulations in regards to accessories though. So again, they could get creative with what they wore. Professional hair and makeup was also optional, because I know some girls would rather not spend money when they could do it even better for themselves. Especially since a lot of them have voluptuous, curly hair, which I can totally relate to! (Four of us did go to the salon though.) Here is how we all turned out:

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The Dashing Groomsmen

The groomsmen were so much easier to coordinate than the bridesmaids, and naturally so! Basically, this is all their outfits entailed:

  1. White button-down dress shirt
  2. Black slacks
  3. Black suspenders
  4. Black dress shoes
  5. Optional: fun colored socks

And that was it! Most of them had these items in their wardrobes, with the exception of suspenders for some. Even though this wasn’t “mismatched” per say, it was a casual, yet formal look and it was easily put together and essentially free. I am so happy with how handsome they all were. Check them out…

If you’re considering this type of direction for your bridal party I would definitely recommend it! As per my intro, it will save you time, money and allow for some creativity. Plus, it is bound to make your friends really happy at how personalized, simple and inexpensive the whole “wedding attire” process can be.

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Day 2 of #WeddingWeek: Personalized Paper Products

Buying custom save the dates and invitations is super, I mean outrageously expensive, and it doesn’t need to be. So again, continuing with my theme, I took a very conservative, but personal approach. The save the date was in a digital format, and both the invites and ceremony programs I created in Publisher. This may seem rather basic and boring, not elaborate enough, but it was actually perfect. I was very hands-on, as with any DIY project, and I really enjoyed getting creative with it!

Save the Dates

Since most of our guests are on Facebook, we decided to save some dough and make a FB event for people to RSVP and get more info. This way we could keep track of who hadn’t responded and reach out to them a month or so before the Big Day. In addition, it allowed guests to post pictures at the event! And we used it to update everyone about the change in ceremony location – womp womp.

save the date

Cost: FREE!

Invitations

The invitations I did end up creating myself. These were easily accomplished in Microsoft Publisher – super simple, but really effective. I had a lot of freedom with the layout, wording, colors and size in this regard. I really just “winged it” so-to-speak, first finding a semi-workable template and then tweaking and going from there to customize it. The wording came from a little online inspiration and my own literary flair, ha!

Costs:

  • Design – free
  • Printing – $70 from OfficeMax
  • Envelopes – $11 from Amazon
  • Stamps – $110 (the ribbon made a bump, so each one needed a $0.66 stamp, blah) from USPS

Ceremony Programs

Again, the ceremony programs I made in Publisher. These were also fun to make – with the help of templates I found online, namely Pinterest, and personalization based on our structure and wedding party. We had lots of family involvement, so it was pretty cool to recognize them in the program. Of course, there were some last-minute issues with weather and people not being able to make it, but overall it gave our guests something to read while they waited. I also tried to carry over the theme from the invites into the programs – uniformity, consistency and all that. In addition, I bought a pack of paper that had four colors in the coral family, to fit our scheme, and had them printed on all four.

Costs:

Being creative with all the paper products for your wedding is a fun way to incorporate your individual style, with significantly lower costs than a professional printer. There are more sophisticated programs out there than Publisher I’m sure, but I suggest you go with whatever suits your comfort level and the vision you’re aiming towards. For more wedding planning tips see my first Wedding Week post.

Day 1 of Wedding Week: The DIY Strategy

When I began planning for my wedding, years in advance mind you, I knew that to afford everything it would need to be a budget, DIY venture. Meaning, my goal was to create as many things on my own and to find local wedding vendors that would cost significantly less than larger commercial entities. Needless-to-say, this took a lot of planning and consideration, but I made it happen!

DIY Projects

So basically, I created everything. Pinterest was a major launching off point, as were other wedding blogs that focused on DIY, vintage wedding ideas. And my family was really helpful in the process. However, if you want to take this on be prepared for major dedication and preparation. This was no easy feat – not for the faint of heart I tell you! Hobby Lobby was my go-to store and every Saturday during the two months leading up to it I was frantically running wedding errands and completing projects.

One other huge aid in the planning process was a tangible wedding planning book, courtesy of my mom, which I used to take notes, separate each aspect of the Big Day, plan out honeymoon details and most importantly, add pictures. It was basically a book version of my Pinterest board and all my lists. It is easy to get lost in all the details, so for me being able to see it all planned out gave me peace of mind and a sense of direction. You can see snippets from my wedding book below.

I will dive into more detail in later posts about specific projects, but here is a brief overview of major DIY areas. (I saved significantly by doing them myself.)

  • Save-the-Dates, invitations and ceremony programs
  • Reception and ceremony decor and flourishes
  • Cake stands
  • Sand ceremony essentials
  • Bridesmaid gifts – goodie bags
  • Bouquets
  • Wedding favors
  • Farewell sparklers (instead of bubbles, birdseed or rice)
  • Card box and guest book
  • Makeshift photo booth

The Knot was also a major help in keeping on track with wedding tasks and to-dos. In addition, it gave me a platform for my wedding website (for family and friends to visit prior to the wedding), I could look at other wedding pages for inspiration and the wedding store inspired my DIY direction as well.

Local Vendors

In addition to making most everything, for larger details that required professional help, I referred to friends and local businesses. Below is an outline of what each service was, the cost and what was included:

  1. Cupcakes: made by my friend Lauren – $350 (300 cupcakes, handmade liners and decor/setup)
  2. Photographer: Red Barn Photography, but my main photographer was my friend Rachel – $1,250 (all the high res images and full day of coverage)
  3. Jeweler: Hoppe Jewelers – $500 for my custom-made wedding band (complete with diamonds and 18K white gold) and $130 for my husband’s tungsten band and free engraving
  4. Wedding Dress: Formal Affairs – on sale for $99, originally $700+ (Casablanca Bridal gown)
  5. Reception Food: bought, prepared and served by my mom’s friend Deborah and her family – $500 at cost (buffet style dinner + BBQ from my brother-in-law’s good friend at cost for $360)
  6. Hair and Makeup: The Art of Hair – $90 for both plus a 30% tip
  7. Reception (and Ceremony) Venue: Central Christian Church – (originally the ceremony was going to be outdoors at my parent-in-laws’ house, but rain prevented my dream outdoor wedding), so in total $150 for the sanctuary and reception hall, use of the kitchen, sound equipment, etc.
  8. Chair Rental: L&H Rentals – $240 for 200 chairs + delivery and pick-up (rained-out ceremony meant not all the chairs were used, but some transferred to the reception for extra seating)

By looking local and utilizing your contacts, you can really save time and money in the long-run. Like anything, it may take some creativity and thought, but if you’re on a budget like I was, then YAY, added motivation to figure it all out as affordably as possible! To see more images of how my wedding turned out, you can visit my wedding gallery here.