When Peter and I first got engaged, I had no idea what I wanted our wedding to be like. I was not one of those girls who planned her entire wedding before high school.  I did have a dream wedding dress that I designed when I was 10 but it turns out that I no longer liked the idea of a mermaid silhouette with long sleeves and a cowl neck.
One thing I knew for sure: I hated weddings.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the beauty of commemorating and celebrating a relationship blossom into a forever commitment, but the wedding industry is overwhelmingly decadent, and I am pretty uncomfortable with large social gatherings.  When I was finally talked out of eloping, I began to take the task seriously and realized a few things:

  • Planning a wedding should not be the main goal of being engaged. Preparing for marriage should be. A wedding last a couple hours, marriage lasts a lifetime.
  • A wedding day is NOT the “bride’s day.”  Just because a woman puts on a white dress doesn’t mean the universe revolves around her.
  • It IS a picture of God’s covenant with His church. It is a celebration of His eternal love!
  • A wedding should celebrate both the commitment between the bride and groom and the commitment between the couple and the guests in attendance!
  • Money doesn’t buy happiness and neither does a designer wedding dress. (Fun fact: My wedding dress was a white prom dress on from the clearance rack of a department store)
  • A wedding rooted in tradition can still reflect personality.
  • Nobody is perfect and neither is any wedding.
In light of these things, planning a wedding became fun. Dreaming up all of the possibilities and details of the day was nothing short of a creative process. I treated it like an art project, giving myself freedom to explore different projects without a prescribed outcome.  A large portion of our engagement was long distance and Peter was juggling several jobs so our phone/skype conversations were far less often than I wished, so devoting a lot of time to wedding projects became a tangible way to stay connected to Him and invest in our future together.

Will you be my bridesmaid? 

The first completed project was one that Peter and I worked on together. We put together bridesmaid/groomsmen boxes. We went antiquing for unique wooden boxes together and filled them with notes and gifts. I filled my boxes with small ceramic ware that I made, chocolates, and inspiration photos/notes/color samples. (My sister did a whole blog post about the one she received asking to be my ‘sisterfriend-of-honor.’)

Paper Suite

After picking a date, reserving Reflection Riding as our venue, and working on a guest list, I started on our stationary.  Thankfully during the last 8 months of our engagement I was working at Hobby Lobby so I had a discount and first access to clearance merchandise! I handmade each one of our Save-The-Dates, and after a ridiculous number of ideas, I settled on a design that I hand drew for our invitations and later used for our programs.

Bouquets

My original budget-friendly idea was to make the bouquets out of dried lavender and baby’s breath but our bouquets turned into a different kind of DIY project thanks to my cousin’s mad skills as a florist. I did some online searches to find the kind of flowers/colors I wanted and then conferred with her to put together a game plan.  I bought bulk flowers from Costco and my cousin brought some filler greenery and supplies.  The bridesmaids gathered at my house for pizza and bouquet making the day before the wedding. We spent a few hours learning how to make our own bouquets as well as boutonnieres and corsages. The scrap roses, sunflowers and greenery then were put in the wedding favor bud vases that formed the center pieces on the reception tables.

Wedding Favors 

For wedding favors I threw small bud vases and bowls on my pottery wheel and glazed them with teals, neutrals and white to match or wedding colors. My sister collected lavender from her home in Vancouver, dried it, and carefully packed it in a suitcase for me to use.  This idea was a no brainer for me. I love making pottery and I love giving it away!  I tied little ‘thank you’ tags to each one.

All the beautiful hands 

We cut costs wherever we could. The things that I couldn’t make, we got creative on hiring out.  I initially dreamed of a potluck reception but then realized since all of our family and a lot of our friends would be traveling in, asking them to prepare food would be pretty ridiculous. Instead we catered out a taco bar from Moe’s. Friends stepped up and made sure there was enough to drink, enough plates etc. We used the potluck idea, though, when it came to dessert. I asked the dear ladies from our church to bring cakes for a ‘cake bar’ and they did not disappoint – I even had a wonderful three layer cake made by a lady from church, built by an aunt, and decorated by a sister. Our arbor/archway (I never could figure out what it was supposed to be called) was built by my ever handy father and decorated by Peter’s sisters. My parents supplied the mums. My sister took our photos and helped coordinate. Our pastor officiated. A cousin and friend played the music for the ceremony. Aunts and Uncles supplied the tent last minute since rain was in the forecast. Friends helped hang lights, set up tables and my electrician brother-in-law made sure all the lamps were plugged in safely. The photo booth was a friend taking polaroids. There were so many things that came together so beautifully thanks to all the help.

My favorite thing about planning for our wedding was the amount of collaboration there was. Yes, I loved finding cheap ways to make a beautiful day, I loved crafting and creating and researching, but in the end, I loved that the outcome was not what I had created, it was a day created by the creativity, love, and support of all of our favorite people.  It was so much more than I could have ever imagined or pulled off.  I am so glad that we did not hire out help from strangers because every single aspect of the wedding was touched by people we loved.

Wedding Day 

We had an outdoor wedding in October. The ceremony was held under a small grove of trees by a field of horses. We were interrupted by a train whistle and wolves howling in the woods (they were rescue animals in cages, but still a c

hilling sound).  It was a short ceremony with a short message, scripture reading, acoustic guitar and fiddle music, vows, a congregational hymn and foot washing. After the ceremony we did pictures while everyone reset the chairs for the reception. The reception was held under a tent full of lamplight, the dessert was a walk through the woods to a gorgeous treehouse suspended above a swamp (thankfully one that didn’t smell!). We didn’t have music or dancing, just the sound of nature as we enjoyed being in each other’s company.  It was a social gathering I felt completely comfortable at. Peter and I treasure every memory of our wedding week and wedding day.

Thank you
To those of you who attended our wedding, thank you so much for being there! Thank you to those who helped set up, who ran to Walmart in the middle of the reception, who missed out on moments because they saw a need that they jumped to fill. Thank you for being part of making our wedding!

To those who could not make it, thank you for being in our lives and for supporting us from afar!

To those of you who did not get invited, thank you for your grace. If weddings weren’t so expensive, we would have invited every single one of you. There were also some friends that Peter and I had intended to invite but somehow didn’t follow through…(Oh dear, time can only make us better, right?)

And to those of you who are distant acquaintances or do not even know us, I hope you enjoyed my little story.

Wedding Photos by JenniMarie
Proposal Photo by Ellen
Engagement Photo by Lynae

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