One of the things that brought my husband and me together was our shared love of both dressing up and getting dirty in the woods. We wanted to bring these two elements together into a wedding that felt like us. A lot of people were skeptical that we could pull it off. Wine country? That means rustic and bohemian. But we were not to be deterred. We had a fantasy, one that could best be described as James Bond in the woods. With a few rules (no Mason jars) and some creative direction (I want ladies in formal gowns eating bites of gluten-free cupcakes), we set out to make the wedding of our dreams.

Since the wedding venue was so gorgeous all on its own, I decided to trim our budget by doing my own flowers. That way, I had room to splurge on the things I really cared about, like our incredible photographer Jennifer Lamba. DIY wedding flowers can be a little daunting, but don’t stress out about it. Just keep these six simple guidelines in mind and get creative.

1. When the Venue is Stunning, You Don’t Need Much: In a hotel ballroom, flowers are essential. In the woods? Not so much. All the lush greenery makes for such a stunning background, and I didn’t need to do much with flowers or table settings to make everything feel totally glam. Since we got married nestled against the striking backdrop of the Armstrong Redwood Forest, among pristine white cabins and chic tents of the Boon Hotel + Spa, near Guerneville, CA, I knew that I wanted a minimalist look for the table decor.

2. Bridesmaids Don’t Need Bouquets: You may have heard that you can save on flowers by using the bridesmaids bouquets for table toppers. Really, all the bridesmaids need is something to do with their hands while they walk down the aisle. Since I knew it might be hot, I decided that I wanted my girls to have some shade of their own. The end result, a train of gorgeous women with parasols, was so dramatic and visual that people still comment on it when they talk about the wedding.

3. Bridesmaids in Multicolor Dresses Are Better Than Any Flowers: I really wanted my bridesmaids to look like themselves, so I gave them a lot of leeway in choosing their dresses. Lots of people thought I had lost my mind (how was this modern cap-sleeve cranberry gown going to work with this cotton-candy-pastel column?), but at the end of the day, the “ombre” look came together, and my gorgeous bridesmaids set the tone for the whole event more than any flowers ever could.

4. Use Varying Heights to Create an Interesting Tabletop: I spent most of the year of my engagement gathering kombucha bottles, which I then spray painted white. I ordered tiny jam jars of different sizes. When it came time to order my flowers, which I did online, I looked for flowers with lots of greenery and really different textures to make the tiny arrangements really pop. Then I enlisted my amazing bridesmaids to help me assemble them during the afternoon of the wedding. I ordered my flowers the week before the wedding, which totally stressed my mother out, but because September is a tricky in-between-seasons month, I wanted to see what was available. When you DIY flowers, you can’t get your heart set on something super specific and exotic. Pro tip: Have the flowers delivered two days before the wedding so they have time to open up.

5. Flowers Are at Every Wedding: Remember, it’s the unique things you do that people remember. For us, that was the decision to include our fur baby in the wedding. He was a charming, whimsical addition to the wedding party and even followed us around greeting everyone at the table and showing off his hand shaking trick.

6. Don’t Let Your DIY Stress You Out: The most important element of any wedding is a happy couple. If you’re smiling and having fun, everyone else will also. And remember, friends and family are always happy and honored to pitch in on whatever project you need help with.

What did you DIY for your wedding to save some cash? Let us know in the comments below!