First off, I have to say that I love Jessica for DIY’ing her wedding flowers and I am so happy she found BBTB. We always love being part of a bride’s big day! I give Jessica so much credit for doing so many DIY projects for her wedding because she’s a grad student as well. I don’t know where she found the time! She photoshops, she bakes, AND she arranges flowers… what can’t Jessica do?! I’m sure your guests will fall in love with all of your DIY personal touches. Thank you SO much!

My fiancé and I are getting married THIS October (10-16-10) in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Throughout the planning process, I browsed a lot of wedding-related blogs to get ideas and information about planning weddings and saving money. My first piece of advice: The Internet is a wonderful resource; use it! Additionally, my fiancé and I talked a lot about the wedding day we wanted, what to include, what to leave to the professionals (i.e., photography), and what to do ourselves. The very first thing we decided about our wedding was that we were going to pay for everything ourselves. With both of us in graduate school and living off graduate assistant stipends, we knew it would be important to stick to a budget. One of the ways we are doing this is by doing things ourselves whenever possible. With about six weeks to go until the big day, we are finishing up the last of the DIY projects. The other, more obvious way we are saving money is that we are having a small (<70 guests), intimate wedding with our very closest friends and family.

Our first big project entailed designing, printing, cutting, and assembling our invitation suite, which includes the invitation, maps and information sheet, RSVP card, belly band, and stickers to seal the belly bands. We designed everything in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, learning a lot along the way. We printed most of the paper products on thick, watercolor paper, which is significantly less expensive than several of the cardstock options we found! On the outer envelops, I DIY’ed our calligraphy by tracing every name and address. The remaining paper products we are in the process of designing and printing are the following: escort cards, table numbers, menus, programs, and tags to go on the favors.

That brings me to our next project: the favors! I love to bake, and I LOVE edible favors at weddings. I think that something edible is the one thing that will please almost every one of our guests. So we decided that I will bake dozens upon dozens of cookies: chocolate chip, sugar, oatmeal scotchies, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, etc., and everyone will get a sampling of the cookies in a treat bag tied with a ribbon. I considered also making our wedding cake myself, but instead found a wonderful local baker who will be making our cakes using the recipe I provided. I say cakes because we will have many 9-inch cakes that will be served to our guests, of those we will use one to cut and feed each other. The recipe is for a cake that is not exactly tiered-cake material, and by having many smaller cakes, we can afford to give our guests larger pieces than the standard wedding cake slice. In my mind, more cake is always better!

Another large project we are taking on involves the centerpieces, and more specifically, flowers. It was while I was researching DIY wedding flowers that I found Blooms By The Box, and I am so glad I did! So far, I have ordered hydrangeas, freesia, football mums, gypsophila, carnations, lemon leaves, and blue delphinium so that I could practice creating bouquets and centerpieces for our wedding. The quality is outstanding, and I am excited to do our flowers myself. Along with the floral arrangements for our centerpieces, we will include several taper candles. I spent the last year collecting old candlesticks from antique stores, thrift stores, and eBay. My fiancé and I cleaned and spray-painted them glossy white, and we will use 14” taper candles to add a little mood lighting to the hotel ballroom. We will also use BBTB flowers for the ceremony altar arrangement and my bouquet. We saved money on vases by borrowing them from my sister and friends.

Finally, we have a number of other, smaller projects that we are doing to save money, including: vintage postcard save the dates, making a silk sash for my wedding dress (which I purchased from J. Crew = $0 spent in alterations and a dress that is classic and is significantly less expensive than many wedding dresses out there), making a card box, making a small clutch to match my dress and sash, creating a reception playlist that we will play using our computer and the ballroom’s speaker system, knitting a shawl in case it’s chilly, and performing many hair trials on myself so that I can perfect the look before October! I know that the things we have chosen are not necessarily what everyone else may want for their weddings, but for us, they fit. And while it may seem like a lot of projects to take on, my fiancé and I are excited about doing so much to be involved in these aspects of our wedding. Putting so much time and effort into so many elements of the wedding makes it feel quite special to us, and hopefully, our guests.

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