It doesn’t get much better than the next wedding…an adorable, handmade fairytale with some of the coolest photographs by L Hewitt Photography.  I love a good story…especially one with a happy ending…and the one that accompanies this homespun affair is super sweet.  Plus this crafty couple pulled it off for under 10K in just 5 weeks! Click here for even more DIY details!

Click here for even more DIY inspiration!

When Daniel and I first got engaged, we had no idea when our big day was going to be- we were in no particular rush, and hadn’t even thought about what kind of wedding we wanted. But those days of being engaged were some of the happiest days of our lives, and we quickly realized why: Taking that step into announcing to the world our intent toward one another drew our attention back to how much we truly loved each other and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. This realization led to something kind of silly: One day, while talking, we just said “I can’t wait to marry you”….then there was a pause, and then, “Let’s just do it tomorrow!” Well, we didn’t do it the very next day, but we pulled off the wedding in a record 5 weeks- from designing invites to walking down the aisle. This short time-frame, and the fact that I’m a student on sabbatical, also meant that we had almost no savings whatsoever, so armed with a total budget of under $10,000, we took on every D.I.Y. project conceivable- a challenge mostly exhilarating and at times, extremely overwhelming. Every hand-painted invite, every boutonniere, lantern, and place card was lovingly assembled by me and Daniel.

Once we set a deadline for ourselves, everything kind of started falling into place. After surveying a handful of venues in the area, when we finally saw Woodlawn Manor, it was simply love at first sight for us both. Nestled in rural Maryland, among rolling meadows, complete with barns, grazing horses, fireflies that lit up the night, and a magnificent manor house built in the 18th century, it was the perfect place for us to celebrate the day with our nearest and dearest. We wanted the wedding to be intimate, un-stuffy, joyful, and a reflection of who we were as a couple. My parents, whom I hadn’t seen in *two years*, flew in all the way from India so they could be a part of our big day. Months and months of missing one another culminated in a single day bursting with sentiment. It was a bittersweet moment; they were so very happy for us, and so sad that they had missed so much. In spite of a few hiccups along the way (like forgetting to walk down the aisle with the bouquets we had stayed up until 3am to make), the day was, for the most part, everything we had wanted it to be. Unfortunately, someone forgot to give me the memo that said “You pulled it off! Now relax and enjoy your day!”, and so, as it turns out, our wedding day went by in an adrenaline-rushed blur for me, and in the weeks following the wedding, I realized things had happened to me on that day that I couldn’t even remember!

Fortunately, our photographer Leah Hewitt did such a brilliant job capturing the essence of the day.  Every smile, tear and anxious glance was laid out for us to relive and to cherish forever, and I just couldn’t be more thrilled! What’s more, Leah’s husband Marc actually officiated our wedding, and we felt blessed to be able to integrate another happily married couple into our day, for good luck. My favorite part of the day? There were actually two. The first was when I arrived at the venue from the salon, and saw nearly all our friends, Daniel’s coworkers, cousins, and my little brother, helping put things together last-minute. There wasn’t an idle hand in sight. I’ve heard people say they would never “inconvenience their guests by making them help out”, but it wasn’t like that. Everyone who banded together seemed genuinely happy to be so directly instrumental in making the day a success. Our friend Anna made all the desserts (including three wedding cakes!), my maid of honor Erin hand-drew the “guest tree”, almost everyone pitched in, and that made Daniel and me feel truly loved and special. The second part was our ceremony. Walking down the aisle towards my husband-to-be, I was trying to remain composed and look pretty, but I just couldn’t hold back the enormous ear-to-ear grin I had plastered on my face. Then, when reciting our vows, I was suddenly overcome with another kind of emotion- I started bawling, and could barely keep it together. The next hour or so was just an emotional roller-coaster ride, and thinking back to it today, I chuckle and I know that I wouldn’t change a thing. The music, the people, the history and charm of the old manor house, and most of all, the smiles on everybody’s faces, made it a magical evening to remember!

Vendor Credits: Photography: Leah Hewitt of L Hewitt Photography and Natthapol Wonsaroj / Venue: Woodlawn Manor / Catering: Basikneads Catering / Music: Katie Ribik and Logan Kraft