With the springing of spring comes the beginning of one very special time: WEDDING season! And that has inspired us to launch a brand new series on the art of the DIY Wedding. This isn’t the first time we’ve delved into creative ways to plan, make things and tech-ify your wedding. But this series is all about seeing weddings come to life, complete with dozens of DIY moments, decor ideas and interesting anecdotes from creative couples. If you’ve got a super creative wedding you’d like to share, we want to know! Just send a note to email@example.com or leave us a message in the comments below.
To kick things off, we’re starting with a wedding of our very own. To be exact, MY very own! :)
In August 2013, I got hitched! The wedding was on Anvil Ranch in Northern California, a dreamy venue smack dab in the middle of nowhere. My husband David and I spent the year leading up to the wedding DIY-ing our little hearts out, with weekly everyone-help-us-craft nights at our apartment making thousands and thousands of pom poms. From a stop-motion save the date to an epic “cheese” cake, here are 18 of the DIY moments that made our wedding truly ours.
1. Save the Date: To set the scene, create a Save the Date that suits you and your partner. For me and David, it was all about costumes, color and getting really goofy. We created a stop-motion video asking people to save “the date” from all sorts of strange characters.
2. AP Crafting: The most genius thing that we did to make all this DIY stuff come to life was ask for help. You may not believe it, but your friends and family actually want to get involved. We hosted weekly craft nights (called AP Crafting) and treated everyone to dinner and drinks in exchange for their assistance. It’s also a really awesome way to bring together local friends that might not know each other. There’s nothing like being surrounded by decorations made by you and the people you love. Even my husband’s mom mailed in pom poms from Connecticut! Oh, and the Oreos? Those were for the goodie bags!
3. Invitations with Surprise Garlands: Next up, the invitations. I designed these myself and had them letterpressed locally in San Francisco. But the kicker was including a mini pennant garland right in the invitation. The idea was to make recipients feel like the party was getting started the moment they got the invite. Right after we sent invites out, it was so awesome to see these garlands popping up in the background of our friends’ photos on Instagram and the like.
4. Custom Lighting and Garland Structure: When you’re getting married in the middle of nowhere, you’ve gotta get creative. We knew we wanted a huge outdoor space, but had no idea how to make it happen. We ended up working with the owner of the property to create a structure that would hold hundreds of feet of string lights as well as our garlands. If you’re getting married somewhere remote, be sure to ask the property manager what’s been done in the past and what they’d be willing to help you create. In our case, we shared the cost of the structure with the ranch manager since he’ll be able to use a good portion of it for future weddings. The garlands, however, are currently residing in plastic bins in our garage…
5. Hand-Stamped Goodie Bags: I’m a sucker for swag, so I knew we had to have really awesome goodie bags. Instead of getting custom-printed bags, we made our own. We ordered these canvas bags from Uline and a custom rubber stamp from Simon Stamp. For the design, we used the little logo we created for our invites. Hip hip hooray! Pro tip: Use a fabric stamp pad to stamp and then heat-set with a blow dryer.
6. Pom Poms to Throw: But what about those 4,000 pom poms?! Well, some of them made their way right onto our heads instead of rice! We made these fun multi-colored ones for this part of the wedding. Along with programs, we gave each attendee a pom pom to toss as soon as we walked back up the aisle. We also had plenty of extras for late night revelry. This moment was absolutely the most surreal of the wedding!
7. Handwritten Escort Cards: For escort cards, we wrote out every name and table number by hand. It was a tedious process but totally worth it. We attached the cards to a vintage wine holder and attached one of our extra garlands to the top. (Yes, we had EXTRA garlands — that’s how on top of it we were!)
8. Customize Your Ceremony: Whether you go for a super short or longer more traditional ceremony, remember that it’s just for you two! For us, that meant asking one of our best friends to be our officiant. He totally got ordained online! For music, we asked two of our friends to play a guitar and ukulele and chose three of our favorite songs: “Your Rocky Spine” by Great Lake Swimmers (while the wedding party walked down the aisle); “Going to California” by Led Zeppelin (while my dad and I walked down), and “Oh Yoko” by John Lennon as my husband David and I walked back up the aisle after saying our I Dos!
9. Day-Of Flower Design: All we knew about flowers was that we wanted what we imagined to be “wildflowers.” Trouble is, this is much easier said than done. To save on costs, we decided to skip the formal floral arrangement thing. Instead, we got bucket loads and bucket loads of flowers from a local flower farm. My bridesmaids spent the day before and morning of the wedding turning these flowers into bouquets, centerpieces and boutonnieres.
10. Yarn-Wrapped Bottles: The centerpieces at our wedding were assorted bottles filled with flowers. We wrapped each of the bottles with a band of off-white yarn that had a string of gold thread running through it. That little bit of sparkle mixed with a slightly nautical aesthetic made for a great combination. We used these Boston Round Glass Bottles and this chunky yarn, appropriately called Starlight.
11. Table Numbers: For table numbers, we attached metal door numbers to stainless steel kabob skewers!
12. Succulent Favors: At every table, each, attendee’s place was marked with a potted succulent. We left a bowl of lids in the middle of the table so folks could close up the jars and take the succulents home. The photo on the top is from the day before the wedding when we wanted to let the succulents soak up as much sun as possible.
13. Pom Pom Garlands: More pom poms? Yes please! This photo barely does our pom poms justice — we created a dozen garlands each 100 feet long to create this sort of tent-without-a-tent scene.
14. Silk + Tulle Garlands: In addition to poms, we created these scrappy-looking fabric garlands out of silk lining and tulle. We cut hundreds and hundreds of strips of silk and tulle, tied them onto yarn and garlands were born.
15. Wooden Signage: For signage throughout the event, we used these wooden arrow signs we got on Save On Crafts. We spray painted each of them gold, and then used paint pens to write things like Guest Book, Photo Booth and our new last name, The Temples!
16. “Cheese” Cake: A crowd favorite was our punny take on cheesecake. Instead of going for a sweet dessert, we went for a “cake” made of stacked cheese wheels. We picked out the cheese at Whole Foods and made sure they stacked perfectly, then adorned with nuts and fruit. The question of “who cut the cheese?” was asked way more than once.
17. Tassel Photo Backdrop: What’s a wedding without a photo booth? Not a wedding at all! We bought this backdrop kit on Amazon and attached tassel garlands to it to create a colorful scene. We made the tassels out of spandex.
18. Get Creative with Music: This was only semi-DIY. A few months before the wedding, we realized we still hadn’t figured out our music situation. So, we took to the streets! We came across a New Orleans style brass band (MJ’s Brass Boppers) at bar in Oakland and got them to play our wedding! They conga-lined around, and kicked up the party as soon as they hit the dance floor. For late night, a friend of ours brought his turn tables and kept the tunes going until the wee hours of the night.
Bonus! Late Night Griz Coats: The late night scene was definitely a place for party animals, pun intended.
Thanks to our awesome photographer Lyndsay Undseth for most of the photos you see in this post. Props to Misty Spinney for killing it on the hair and makeup front. And to the folks at Anvil Vineyard and Ranch for letting us create the best weekend ever!
If you’ve got a super creative wedding you’d like to share, we want to know! Just send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a message in the comments below.