Sunday, January 22, 2012

How To Make A Wedding {DIY Wedding Prep}

This isn't your typical wedding prep post.  You know, the bride getting her hair done, the groom putting on his tie, people relaxing as they wait for the festivities to begin.  No, this is the actual wedding prep.  The prep for all the details before the bride and her family can even think about getting dressed and ready to go, days before the wedding.

A friend just reminded me that I never delivered on  my promise to talk about our wedding prep.  As many of you know, Stef's wedding was almost entirely DIY.  A labor of love, indeed!  My wedding and my sister Stacey's wedding were both DIY as well, and we didn't do a very good job of documenting the process.  I promised myself that I'd take some portraits of the prep work so that we'd always remember (and so that the bride and groom would too) I didn't do the best job of remembering to take portraits amidst the swirl of it all, but at least we have what we have.

Stef chose her priorities, and put the bulk of her budget in the places that mattered most to her.  We were able to pool our resources to put the rest of the elements together in a creative, inexpensive way, that still maintained the level of quality we were going for.  I loved the result.

My family put this wedding together from the ground up, with the help of Pinterest, a pantone book, and an obsessive attention to detail.  We are blessed to have a mother who is a master of color, so she nearly killed herself coordinating the wardrobe, flowers, and design elements to ensure that they were all perfect color matches.  It sure paid off, because everything photographed beautifully.

From the very beginning, we focused on the photography.  In other words, we focused on the end product and how each of the elements would be captured through portraiture.

We tried to avoid the common trap of getting caught up in the color scheme (say the bride chooses yellow and grey, so EVERY element has to be either yellow or grey, and what you end up with is just kind of a crazy mess of color that is just far too overwhelming).

We focused on creating a complementary, more neutral backdrop for the pops of color that came through the floral design and accessories.  You see this in the wardrobe of the wedding party as well as in the decor.  We used softer, complementary colors to the coral, and then allowed the coral to speak for itself through the floral design (without being overbearing).

When were actually putting everything together days before the wedding, it was incredibly helpful to take portraits of the various elements to see how they would photograph.  The best example was with the centerpieces.  We would try putting various elements together, take a photograph, and then start over.  Then we were able to come to a final decision after reviewing the pictures side-by-side (see below).

We loved using Pinterest to create a design board (one for inspiration, and another for the final product) and it was really fun for my sister Stace and I to contribute to the board since we weren't in Salt Lake for any of the planning.  And since my family members are all really creative and wanted to help, we were able to collaborate to make the wedding custom and cost-effective too.
One of my favorite projects was working on the fabric flowers for the centerpieces and flower girls (150+).  They were each cut and sewn by hand.  It was a labor of love, and it was a great project to do in the weeks leading up to the wedding.

Every single member of our family was at the heart of it all.  Not just my mom and sisters, but my Dad and brother were right in there with us through it all. Here are the elements of the wedding that members of my family contributed:
-Invitation suite
-Engagement photos
-Bridal Photographs
-Wedding Photographs
-Wedding dinner name cards (see below)
-150 ribbon wands for the departure
-Reception centerpieces
-16 Custom-made flower girl sashes (my mom found the white dresses at Costco for $17 each, and then my mom sewed the sashes for a more custom, tailored look)
-Flower girl hair clip flowers and flowers for the sashes
-Bride, bridesmaid and flower girl dress alterations
-Custom-made guest book
-Ribbon-wrapped water bottles + stickered Mountain Dew cans
-Candy bar
-and let's not forget packing up, hauling, and delivering everything to the reception site + cleanup (a responsibility that is often overlooked, but takes SO much muscle and work.  Thanks men!)

So what did we hire out?
  • Venue 
  • Flowers: Melissa of Blossom Sweet  (We did all the floral arrangements for my wedding and Stacey's wedding too, but Erin had a friend who did a fabulous job, and it was nice to not have to worry about such a huge element of the overall wedding concept)
  • Custom wedding dress
  • Catering
  • Bride's makeup and hair: Stephanie Brinkerhoff of Hair and Makeup by Steph
  • Wedding cake
And if you are new to this blog and missed the wedding pics I posted, here they are:

Bridal Portraits
Wedding Dinner Portraits
Wedding Portraits
Bride and Groom Portraits
Reception Portraits

From my perspective, Stef and Matthew's wedding was absolutely perfect.  And what made it even better was being able to take a step back as a family and say "this is beautiful because we made it beautiful" I only hope that the bride and groom will remember their perfect day, and remember all the love that went into making it perfect.




my dad labeled everything so that we made sure we had everything, and so that everyone would know EXACTLY what was theirs (and wouldn't have to add to the stress of the day by asking)

  staging the centerpieces:  we looked at many options before deciding on the final version

 This is what we decided on, but we chose river rocks instead of the little pebbles (too specular and looked a little cheap).  The river rocks were the perfect touch, and were more in line with what we were going for.  In a word: classy.  See them HERE 


erin said...

You forgot the band. We hired them too!

Reading this post makes me tired all over again. :)

Lorrie said...

What an amazing event...but then, anything put on by your family is!

Steve and Nicole said...

Your whole family seems so amazing! I love love love looking at your pictures. Can I maybe request that you update every day? :) I promise I will be your best follower!