[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 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.

A Glimpse Into My DIY, Vintage Wedding

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!

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