I am so honored to share my “wedding” on A Well Crafted Party! I have wedding in quotes because the long and short of it is–we were already married! My husband Kevin and I (who I refer to most often on my blog as Ktams) were married right out of college (we are Illini–I-L-L!) as we both agreed it made the most sense to start out in the real world as a team, and the easiest way to do this was to tie the knot! We were technically married in June of 2010, but at that point we had no money to have the wedding we imagined. So once the official stuff was out of the way, we began planning. Just over a year from the date we planned to throw a big party to celebrate our marriage with friends and families. We felt this was a great excuse for our friends to come back together and for family to share in the fun (as when we were married originally we only allowed our parents to be present–that’s right–no siblings, grandparents, or anyone else! We just felt like it was a slippery slope!). Looking back now, I realize how many diy wedding ideas I used to make the day a success–and I am excited to share!
We picked a venue that would be a one stop shop–it was our one of our favorite spots–a Spanish tapas restaurant located near downtown Naperville, IL. Meson Sabika was a rehabbed old mansion on an expansive piece of land. We held the entire event out in their bricked patio, and left the doors open to get more drinks at the bar.
For our wedding, flowers were not a make or break discussion. I knew I wanted accents of orange and a predominantly mixed bouquet. I had also given leftover fabric I had from table cloths to the florist to wrap the bouquet. I felt like this held everything together nicely and it keep the flowers in perfect order for the whole event! The only thing I would do differently with my flowers is I would not use any pokey items–cannot tell you how many times I forgot not to smell my flowers and poked myself. Since we were throwing more of a party than a traditional wedding, I opted to get my closest girlfriends wrist corsages instead of nosegays–I had hoped this made them feel special and stand out, but it wasn’t like they had to tote obnoxious nosegays around all afternoon. My favorite items in the bouquet ended up being the big white roses and the hypericum berries–they all held up nicely throughout the day and they dried nicely.
We had our celebration well before the leaves had changed that year–I remember how warm the summer was and the second week of September just wasn’t soon enough to enjoy some natural color. Instead, I did my best to create some color! My favorite DIY of the wedding was making large pinwheel centerpieces, and it saved us a ton of money because we didn’t have to purchase fresh cut flowers! I purchased patterned scrapbook sheets, stamped them, and followed a tutorial similar to this one to make both table marker pinwheels and smaller, more graphic pinwheels, which I used as seat finders for guests. I had some extras at the end of the craft so I added them to the pitchers to encourage people to add theirs to the centerpiece for the event. To this day I’m surprised at how well the smaller pinwheels held up–I still have a few of them in my potted plants at home.
To keep everything grounded in the vase (which I purchased at IKEA and gifted to friends and family afterward), I added river stones. I knew the pitchers were going to sit on white tablecloths so my mom and I came up with the idea of using leaf-shaped placemats to easily add a burst of color. We sewed on more of the same material we were using for the cake and gift tables to cover the placemats and pull everything together (it was opaque so it added nice texture and some neat stitching for the most part).
Another DIY I was really happy with the result of was a cake stand tutorial I found from none other than Jenni–before I even knew her or A Well Crafted Party! Creepy right? I found the tut on Pinterest for the stands she did for her sister’s wedding. My mom and I put a twist on it to make more of a rustic fall look. We used hot glue, which was actually easy to remove later so that we could use the items again and again.
I have to throw a lot of credit to my mom for the little touches our celebration had. She collected a lot of rich looking silk flowers and purchased custom bows to tie everything together. She also gathered colorful mums to plant in the pots I had purchased (also from IKEA). As a gift to us, my mom had some very fun custom glassware made for us to use on the big day. They are my favorite keepsakes to date. It’s great to have someone you can trust to go to work and get some great fillers in to personalize the event.
Additionally, I DIY’d our invites. Just to start, we saved money by putting out invites only–no save-the-dates–and I did my best to find the best quality and pricing for both the envelopes and cardstock. We also did all RSVPing online, so we saved additional money in printing and postage by creating a free blogger site and a google number for those who were technology challenged. I will forewarn that envelopes can change your shipping costs DRASTICALLY. I highly suggest taking your sample envelopes to the post office and have them measured and weighed with your cardstock before you go buying/printing in bulk. We ended up over-ordering on accident (remember to count couples not attendees!), and I made use of the excess invites by cutting them up and turning them into ornaments (check out this tutorial for the base of my idea). I purchased glass balls from a craft store, charms from Etsy, and curled the strips of paper around a small pencil, then placed them in the ball.
I think the biggest thing I learned in planning my own wedding was to let it go–no I will not break into a verse of Frozen, but I will say that you need to learn to let many of the little things go by the wayside or you’ll spend your whole day not enjoying the party! Was I upset that certain things didn’t come together how I’d hoped? Yes–but by the time I was putting my dress on for the day, I had decided that people were not there for the decor or even the (AMAZING) food! They were were to celebrate with Kevin and me. This is what refocused my energy to enjoy the day and make it a memorable affair.
All professional images from this post and our celebration are by Daniel Kelleghan Photography.
A big thank you to Bee for sharing her beautiful wedding photos and Happy Anniversary! Please take a moment to hop on over to check out her awesome-sauce blog! She writes some pretty amazing recipes. Being someone who has actually tasted her cooking and have made her recipes I can give them my seal of approval!
I’ve had a few requests to see more photos from a Bike Themed Cocktail Party that I threw a few years back. I didn’t have the best photos unfortunately… the woes of a beginning blogger! But, I thought I’d post some of the few that I had in larger format than they are on the original post. I’ve also added a few tips for how to throw a themed party on an extreme budget! Enjoy!
1. Use printables and/or photographs to drive a theme around your party on the cheap. Photographs can be printed out in a multiple of sizes for little money. For the bike themed party I went around town to photograph bike road signs. I printed some in 8X10 sizes and some in 4X6 sizes and used them throughout the room. Don’t have money for frames? Try backing your photos with a nice card stock weight paper like I did above. To get some free printables that work for bike themed party hop on over to my original Real Party post.
2. Don’t worry about changing an entire space to fit your theme. Instead focus on a few areas to decorate. I like to focus on food and drink areas. Tables where people may put down their beverages are also a good place to focus your decorating attention.
3. Use what you have on hand. This party we utilized the guest of honor’s LARGE bicycle part collection to decorate the space. We also spray painted beer and wine bottles to create vases for the wildflowers we picked locally. We made drink areas utilizing existing furniture and artwork.