DIY Wedding Advice from People who know more than Me.
Good Morning! How about a wedding post? I have been so busy with everything else, my poor DIY wedding has been put on the back burner. Here we go—
When I first started planning, I was overwhelmed with the logistics of the “do it yourself” method. I love the outcome of very well-thought-out weddings that result in something original that has so much heart and personality. I knew that I wanted a feeling like that. Something that felt like home, like “us.”
When planning a DIY wedding, I think that the hardest thing is being able to envision it all coming together, and then once you have that vision, creating all of the components to make it happen, and then TRUSTING OTHER PEOPLE to do it for you. Although I am a very “chill” bride for the most part, I am sure that after I complete the hours and hours worth of DIY decor, it might be a different story…a version of me that is…a little…uh, crazier.
So I have to say, my biggest fear is the above—trusting other people to help with “the vision.” SO I asked my personal wedding hero, a past bride of mine, and now a dear friend—Miss Courtney Lewis. She pulled off the most extravagant DIY wedding- I could not believe all of the love that went into every detail of the day. And it all came together like a dream. You can see the outcome on our photography blog and on the Knotty Bride.
I asked: “Courtney, I need your DIY wizardry secrets! How did you organize, how did you plan, how did you execute?!” And this is what she said::::
First of all you are so sweet to give me props like that! I of course totally value your opinion so that means a lot that you like it. Hopefully some of this will help you sleep a little (dark circles under your bride eyes are hard to hide).
THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE I CAN GIVE YOU: On the big day, there are going to be branches that are more spread out than you would like them, or a few poofs that aren’t poofy in spots, but no one will care. Hopefully, you can try to not care either. As long as the overall look and feel of the room(s) is what you were hoping for, that will be conveyed to your guests. On the day of my wedding, I went down to the venue worrying that things would be a mess. Instead I saw all these people who loved us enough to wake up and hang keys from branches, set up doors, etc. and all at once I didn’t care how spread apart those keys were or how clumped the moss was. I just wanted to hug everyone for helping me! What I’m trying to say, is try not to sweat the small stuff before, during,or after this wedding biz.
That being said…you came to the right control freak friend.
Here are some things that I recommend doing (I either did them or wish I had):
1. Find that venue ASAP. Knowing the space’s style, layout, etc. will help you to start planning and visualizing all the stuff you’re worrying about. Honestly, it’s good that you don’t have any concrete ideas until you know where they’re going. Get this locked down before you worry about anything else (or make any big decor purchases).
2. Once you have the venue chosen, get a copy of the floorplan or a blueprint. If they don’t have one available (they suck!), try to create one with photoshop or something like that. Make a big copy for yourself to play around with AND/OR scan it onto your computer so you can photoshop stuff onto it. (I just drew everything on, but I’m pretty sure you’re a photoshop savvy gal). By “stuff” I don’t mean every vase and stack of books. I mean tables and furniture.
3. On the floorplan label each guest table with a number and any other furniture with clear names such as “CAKE TABLE”. Make the floorplan very clear to understand in terms of directions. If you need to, that day tape signs to the walls that say, “Front of Room”. When you have your floorplans labeled and numbered, make enough paper copies for all the people you think will be there to help you that day. If extra people come, that’s great, they can share the copies.
4. TABLE BOXES SAVED MY LIFE: So, being the visual layouts person for a store helped me prepare a little for setting up tables and having others help me do so. I designed a set up that really helped. It takes a little time to prepare and needs space to store, but it really should help you with your stress both before and during the wedding setup.
Before the big day, mock up all of your tables. Take pics from a few good angles for your setup peeps. Make copies of these pictures. I’ll tell you where to put these pictures in a second.
Start stock piling easy to carry boxes that can hold all the stuff you would have on one table (not including cateror stuff like plates, etc.). You’ll need a box for each guest table and any other vignettes or special tables you want to have. Label each box very clearly (we used neon star post-its and taped them to keep them on) with the table number or special table name. In each box you can place all of the decor for that table (pack it with the neccessary tissue/magazine pages etc. so nothing breaks in a truck or car ride to the venue). For example, in the box labeled “4” have everything for table 4 such as vases, votives, decor items, etc. Loose small items (like keys) should be in a ziplock bag. In the ziplock bag include a picture (or pictures) of that table (I would write the table name or number on the pics too just to be on the safe side).
5. FLOWERS: We did our own flowers, so I stored the vases for each table in the table box until we put the flowers in the boxes, then we kept all the table boxes in a freezing cold room at the modern. If you have a florist, you can discuss with him or her whether or not they want the vases on the tables and then they put the flowers in or if they’d like the vases ahead of time (in which case the floorplan copy will be very helpful).
**If you have items coming that morning like table linens, those don’t need to go in the boxes, just have everyone (or a few designated people lay those out before the boxes of decor start coming out. My branches were more of a pain to put in the boxes, so I had one person go around and put all the branches in the vases.
Before the big day, I reccommend explaining the box system and your decor plan to a few people you know you can count on that day. I was so secretive about everything because I’m so sensitive and I worried people would give me funny looks when I said things like, “And I’m screwing all these funny drawer knobs to an old door…” But if you can have your close pals in the know it will be better for everyone that day and they’ll be more apt to do it how you’d like it to be done.
**SIDE NOTE: creating your floorplan will really help you to purchase decor accurately and for rentals. You will know how many vases, etc. to buy and wont under or overpurchase these items. I had two different table layouts so I was able to purchase vases etc. based on the amount of tables I would decorate (ie. 20 tables total, 10 tables would need tall vases and branches). Being more accurate with your numbers will really help your budget/ help you visualize it all better and make less (or no) decisions for you to make that day.
Rubbermaid tubs would work great too for the box concept, but boxes were free
Remember that nothing is worth agonizing about. This is all supposed to be happy and fun. Have fun with it. If something is too stressful, it’s probably not the way to go. Try to do as much as you can before that whole weekend because you’re going to want to have fun and hang out with all the people you love and not be hot glueing. I was an idiot and was making my bridesmaids aprons the week of the wedding and I was so stressed out, sewing right up until everyone was coming into town. No bueno. I am truly my mother’s daughter.
Ask me any questions you need to! I’m filled with wedding information that is now basically useless to me, but could be helpful for others.
I also recommend the book by Jung Lee “Fete” I think it’s called. Beautiful photos, but if you actually read the book she gives amazing advice about what to prioritize, how to pull it all together-no matter what your style is.
—-Courtney Lewis wedding genius
I keep convincing her she needs to write a book.
Hope that info was as helpful to someone else as it was for me!! I will try to post more wedding stuff soon. We have definitely been working away, and I thought that I would want to post stuff as I got it done, but somehow this inner bridal beast has taken over and I am sort of a secret squirrel. I will try to be a better sharer from now on….try.
Here is the mid progress of my paper flower nightmare::::
I think we are about half way done with petals—we did about 300 of 600…thanks Mom.