Typically when you think of DIY weddings, you immediately picture the bride sitting around a table crafting her little heart out for weeks on end. But did you know that guys like to get in on the DIY action too? Take this next adorably homespun wedding captured by Marianne Wilson for example. This time it was the groom who got his hands dirty and constructed everything from the tiered wooden stand that holds all the vintage wine glasses and beer steins (that guests were able to take with them at the end of the night) to the signs that directed guests where to go throughout the day. What a lucky, lucky bride! See all the DIY goodness and more here in the gallery!
We live in the small desert town of Borrego Springs. It is where we met and got engaged, so Borrego Springs is where we decided to tie the knot. It was a challenge to find a venue in our small town that was big enough for a party and also beautiful enough for a wedding. After many months of searching we found the perfect location and were able to rent a gorgeous and unique private home in town.
We wanted the overall look to be simple, eclectic and unique. The ceremony and reception both took place outdoors so the whole affair was pretty laid back - which totally fit our style. Ravens are very special to Mike and me - we saw two soaring overhead moments after her proposed. Because they are one of few birds that mate for life, we loved the symbolism. Ravens quickly became part of our theme and we included them on our invitations, programs and place cards.
I wore a dress from David's Bridal, an online outlet purchase that turned out to be the exact dress I was looking for. For my ladies, we decided on J.Crew dress in two different shades of blue. Our jewelry was hand-made by Liz Grant, a wonderful friend and oh-so-talented jewelry designer. Mike and his men wore sand-colored linen Calvin Klein suits from Men's Warehouse, with various ties to coordinate with the ladies' dresses. Mike's style is relaxed and down to earth, so naturally, the men all wore flip flops.
We had talked a lot about how to make our ceremony more personal. Along with our vows, our pastor read aloud letters that we each had written the other. Hearing our intimate thoughts and feelings shared with our dearest friends and family was incredibly powerful and special. Another unique tradition we included in the ceremony was my grandmother's Guatemalan wedding chain. My mom's family lived in Guatemala for five years during her childhood. I've always believed that those years experiencing Guatemalan culture and language truly shaped her family into what it is today. In Guatemala the wedding chain is used like a wedding ring. It is meant to bind the couple for all eternity. During the service after the couple is married, the minister places the chain over the couple’s shoulders, using a figure 8 to symbolize infinity. Then the minister removes the chain from the groom and the bride wears the chain during the rest of the festivities as part of her jewelry. We were so excited to include this Guatemalan tradition!
After the ceremony, we had games like croquet, corn hole, ladder gold, and darts set up around the property. What better way to encourage friends and family to mingle than games??
Throughout our year-long engagement, we visited tons of thrift shops and antique stores collecting unique jars, vases and bottles to hold the flowers for our centerpieces. We also collected wine goblets and beer steins that guests could use throughout the reception and then take with them at the end of the night.
One huge challenge was figuring out how to light the reception area, which had zero lighting. We decided to hang colored lanterns over the main dancing area and then hang market lights around the perimeter. All the lighting was strung from poles that Mike (and our most devoted and helpful family) placed around the property, and secured in buckets of sand with extra braces inside. It was quite a time-consuming project...but also extremely successful because the lights looked amazing when the sun went down!
Pretty much anything made of wood was hand-crafted by Mike. He grew up in Connecticut and has always missed the dense forests there. So - even though we had a desert wedding - we were able to tie in his passion for big trees. He crafted the tiered wooden stand that held the goblets and steins, hand-cut the wooden rounds for our centerpieces, and cut, sanded and routed every sign. He was a busy guy with all these projects and we both loved the personal touch his work added to the day.
Our wedding was definitely DIY in every aspect, which was a lot of work but totally worth it in the end. We did not use a wedding planner so our family and friends acted as our wedding coordination team. So many people put their time and talents to work to make our vision a reality - which made it all that much rewarding to see everything come together on our big day!