Wow, this bride should totally get the DIY award of the year. She legit crafted each and every detail of her wedding day. From the custom monograms to the cake topper, this talented bride did it all. Not only did she save herself a ton of loot, she ensured that her wedding day was like no other. Rachel Lusky Photography captured everything beautifully, so do yourself a favor and head to the full gallery

From the Bride… I should mention that I am a wedding photographer, so I have been planning my wedding in the back of my mind since I first realized I wanted to marry Joel. I knew I wanted our wedding to highlight who we were and to be very uniquely US. With all the weddings I have seen, I did not want mine to, in any way, remind me of any others. Our venue, The Red House, was one I discovered through a wedding I photographed in 2010. It was a century-old barn in Cassadaga, New York, a secluded place in a country setting. Our ceremony was outdoors under towering trees, and our reception was upstairs in the barn. Ironically, we found out that the owners are related to my cousins. It seemed that more and more, everything was coming together like a perfect fit.

I have to admit, I went a little DIY crazy, one of the big no-no’s of planning a wedding for me, but luckily, it worked out perfectly. I think because of this, we were able to do our wedding for well below $20,000. I designed everything, even printed materials, at home. I had to do a lot because our venue was blank slate and only provided some tables. I printed out photos that inspired me, décor, cakes, dresses, and table set-ups. I photoshopped the décor into photos I snapped of the venue. I acquired a floor plan, took measurements and planned every table and placement of the decorations. I designed a custom monogram, our invitations, programs and table numbers, and even a rubber stamp to use on our favor bags. I bought all of our linens online — surprisingly, it was cheaper. I cut burlap for the tables, made napkin rings, cut organza for draperies on the beams and even made our cake toppers. It was an amazing amount of work, but the more I realized I could do myself to save money, the more I wanted to do. Some of the décor, we barely paid for. Every mason jar and jam jar came from our grandparents; the windows we used for menus, we paid a small fee to someone who had them sitting in his barn. My father repainted them, and I decorated them with our menus and seating assignments. The door was sitting in my parents’ barn. I thought it was beautiful as it was with some peeling paint. The wood used to make the directional signs, my amazing father made from wood found in their barn. Some of it came from the barn that was torn down years ago that housed the animals from my grandpa’s farm. My brother made our archway for us. He and my father did so much to help our dream wedding come to life with their own hands. The night before our wedding, I told my brother “I really appreciate everything you have done for us for our wedding,” and I’ll always remember what he said back: “Well, you deserve it.”

My husband and I both love living in the country. We both grew up in western New York, moved away and then moved back. It was important to us to support the local businesses. Western New York is also known for their wineries near Lake Erie. Joel proposed to me one afternoon after wine tasting and a picnic on Barcelona Beach on Lake Erie. One of our wine choices for the wedding was from a local winery called Merritt Estate Winery. We had some really wonderful vendors. Our musician, Bill Eckstrom, was my guitar teacher for many years. 3C’s Catering catered a delicious pig roasat. The Cakery made our cake and our wedding favor cookies. Francesca’s Floral Design did the flowers. Our photographer was Rachel Lusky. Kathi Conti of A Kneaded Escape did my makeup. My hair and nails were done at Panache Salon and Day Spa.Our wedding went by so fast, as most do. Luckily we got a few minutes to stop and reflect while we had our photographs done. The lighting was perfect, and it seemed as though the golden sunlight was shinning through the trees just for us in that moment. All that work, planning and coordinating over the past year came down to these few hours. Everything clicked right into place, partially due to planning and partially due to vendors, but mostly due to the love and generosity from our family, from Christ, and for each other.

Wedding Photography: Rachel Lusky Photography / Wedding Venue: The Red House in Cassadega, New York / Floral Design: Francesca’s Floral Design / Catering: 3C’s Catering / Wedding Cake: The Cakery / Wine + Beer: Merritt Estate Winery, Bag and String Wine Merchants + Southern Tier Brewing Co. / Wedding Invitations: Designed by Carrie Davison (The Bride) + Printed by Vistaprint / Musician: Bill Eckstrom of Germain and Pappalardo’s Music Shop in Jamestown, New York / Linens: Linen Tablecloth + Table Cloths Factory / Custom Cocktail Napkins: Reflections by Lola / Custom Toasting Flutes: Laser Bird / Custom Handkerchiefs for the Bride and her Parents: Deborah Babarskas / Wedding Dress: Watters “Torreon” via Half Bridal / Bride’s Hair Piece: Luxe Deluxe / Bride’s Garters: Nana Rose Designs / Hair: Panache Salon and Day Spa / Makeup: A Kneaded Escape / Bride’s Rings: KNR Inc. / Dresses for Mother of the Bride, Bridesmaids + Flower Girl: David’s Bridal / Bridesmaids’ Jewelry: Tyra Handmade Jewelry / Men’s Attire: Calvin Klein via Men’s Wearhouse / Groom’s Ring: Spexton

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