DIY Wedding

Welcome to my DIY Wedding & Reception

We are having a simple Justice of the Peace ceremony & later having the Big Reception! We have changed our minds and are now going for a Western style Wedding, but I'm leaving the beach theme wedding posts on here.
All ideas are Welcomed, as I'm kind of a DIY kind of person & can't see pouring tons of money into just one day of our lives, when we have so many years ahead of us (God Willing). We are both Christian. He's Latino & I'm a lil bit of everything, mostly white. We want to cultivate both of our customs into our reception. Please feel free to browse & leave a note of advice! Thanks!

A Walk in my Boots.....

The Big Day

We all want our Wedding Day to be Extra Special, that is just a given, but how do we get there? What are the steps to achieving our Dream Wedding & being able to afford it, without debt.
1st We need to think of where we are willing to Splurge our funds & where we would like to scrimp.
2nd How do we pull this off?
3rd What can we do ourselves, our friends & family do (Do NOT include jealous people!) & our fiancee do? Who do we know that may be in a business that could help us? Networking!!!
4th Where do we start?
I've been researching for about 11 months & I have a good grasp on things. I want to Share what I've learned & want more ideas, too. We can help each other!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wedding Must-Have Photographs

A few tips to help:
Let your photographer know about your family structure, i.e. divorces, deaths and family feuds!!
Keep your list short for photojournalistic style photographers, you're hiring them to document your day as it flows
The extended family shot list is very important, especially if you have a number of shots with relatives other than your immediate family.
For every photo you add to your list, you must add approximately 2 minutes of shooting time.
Bride's Side:
Mother of the Bride
Father of the Bride
Maternal Grandmother
Maternal Grandfather

Groom's Side:
Mother of the Groom
Father of the Groom
Maternal Grandmother
Maternal Grandfather
Bridal Party:

Maid/Matron of Honor
Flower Girl
Best Man
Ring Bearer

Groom Pre-Ceremony:

Closeups and Full Length - Alone
With your mother
With your father
With both your parents
With other family members
With the bestman
With the groomsmen
With ring bearer
Checking your tie and/or finishing up
Getting ready candids
Groom's Details, i.e. boutonniere, tuxes hanging, bottle of cologne, card/gift from bride, etc.

Bride’s Pre-Ceremony:
Closeups and Full Length - Alone
With your mother
With your father
With both your parents
With other family members
With Maid/Matron of Honor
With bridesmaids
With flower girl
Putting on the finishing touches
Adjusting garter
Bride's Details, i.e. the dress, the shows, the bouquets, makeup, jewelery, card/gift from the groom, etc.
Ushers seating guests and mothers
Bride's Arrival
Bride being walked down the aisle
Groom waiting at the altar
Bride being given away
Wedding Party members at the altar
Exchanging rings
Exchanging vows
Lighting unity candles/Sand Ceremony
Exchanging kiss
Signing marriage license
With officiant
Couple leaving.
Posed Shots:
 Bride Alone
Groom Alone
Bride & Groom together - various locations
Bride with attendants
Groom with attendants
Bride with "the guys"
Groom with "the girls"
Bride with each attendant individually
Groom with each attendant individually
Entire Wedding Party
Hands with wedding rings
With children from wedding party
With best man and maid of honor
Talking with guests at reception - receiving line
First dance
Cutting the cake
With special guests
Dancing and candids at the reception
Wedding Cake before cutting
Food or desert tables
Any decorations that you have spent a lot of time and energy putting together.
Candid photos of everyone at the reception
Photo of the invitation with bouquets, toasting glasses and table centerpieces

Maybe some photos of real close friends that were unable to be in the wedding party or relatives that are quite old. This may be a great chance to get some family photos, also, especially if your family is spread out by many miles.
            This list can be edited to fit your needs. Make sure you give a copy of your wishes to your photographer ahead of time, so he can prepare himself/herself. You may want to introduce your photographer to your parents or a close friend, so they may help the photographer get the bests photos to satisfy your desires and needs. This way you will get photos that you are more pleased with.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Beach Theme Reception Ideas:

        You or your friends & family can transform your Reception Hall or site into a Beach like setting with a little imagination & creativity. Shindigz offers wall coverings in a wide variety of styles or you could get a friend (or do-it-yourself) to create some murals on a large, white roll of a paper (party supply store or craft store).  You can make edible Pineapple Palm Trees ( that would tie nicely into your d├ęcor and make your guests’ mouth water. The best part is you can use it as an appetizer, too.  Another tip is to stock up on Brown Sugar & use it to make sand castles or mounds of sand (possibly around a bowl of blue jell-o or just a bowl of water (add blue or green food color to add more of a beach touch or fill with a few gold fish). These will make great centerpieces or eye catchers on a side table. Be careful with height & placement, especially if children are present. Children are naturally curious & if fish are used, they may try to catch them.  Another idea is to place Brown Sugar around your cake & draw a heart in it with your names. This gives your cake an extra personalized touch & will make great photos!
            Centerpieces will be needed for all of your guests’ tables. If you choose flowers, choose those that are in season & sturdy ones. You could use tiny pails (craft store or maybe toy department of a store, or a dollar type store) fill with only enough water to keep stems wet (less mess if spilled) & arrange in easy style.  Or you could opt for a more exotic flare & add real or fake palm leaves to each table with a bowl filled with seashells & a candle (you can purchase battery operated candles).  “Colorful toy beach pails complete with the sand sculpting tools would be great for a beach theme. Fill them up with sand, throw in a few shells, a bottle of suntan lotion.      You can buy those large, 4 wick scented candles. Place one in a glass pie plate or other shallow dish. Add water and floating, short stemmed flowers and greenery. These smell great and will burn long into the midnight hours! If you want to use silk flowers, just create a wreath out of them to fit the base of the candle.
* For a variation on that idea, instead of water, add sand, shells and miniature starfish!
* You can also get candles that have seashells or other objects embedded in them. They are a bit more expensive though. If you want to keep it cheap and personal, make your own! Here is a wonderful site that has a "Free Projects" page that even tells you step by step how to make beautiful candles. This site is friendly, informational and sells everything you need at wholesale prices! Visit Candles And Supplies!” ( These ideas should get the ball rolling, for you. You can always post a comment for more help & I’ll be glad to help you out!     
The Cake is at a high priority for your reception! There are oodles of ways to do this & getting an idea of a head count or approximate head count will help. First you can choose a traditional cake or opt for the new trend of Cupcakes. Cupcakes are much less expensive & can be decorated to reflect the beach them, as well. You can purchase cupcake stands at most craft stores Michael’s, A.C. Moore (Beyond The Page MDF Cupcake Stand-15.5" Tall, $30.79. they have others, too), Walmart (Wilton 3 tier stacking dessert tower, $13.00), just to get you started. You can rent them, too. After you make your choice, you must choose a Baker or Professional Cake designer. Again, head count is essential for this, too. Cakes are costly & more so during peak wedding season. You, also, must book well in advance to make sure your Cake Caterer has an opening. You can always ask a few friends or family members to make your cake instead of buying you a wedding gift. This would be a great help to you & they would be a part of your Special day, too. This could save you a ton of money! I’ve priced wedding cakes & they average (for 100 people) around $300 & up, easily! You will want to pay a deposit to your Baker immediately, to hold your day for you.
Okay, now how do you tie your meal to the beach theme? Barbeque (very messy),  tropical chicken bites on real sugarcane skewers, speared with papaya, mango or pineapple salsa, for a casual wedding, picnic fare hors d'oeuvres can be fun; mini hot dogs, mini cheeseburgers(in paradise) Men go nuts over beef sliders, Do a Slider Station- You can have beef, chicken and even vegetarian sliders with all the fixings. It could be an action station where a Chef/Cook is actually grilling the burgers on a grill or hibachi and the guests can garnish their own sliders, Citrus-grilled vegetable skewers with roasted garlic aioli for the vegetarians and the health-minded, roasted pork loin/chicken/shrimp, pasta salads (using Shell shaped pasta), jell-o, & there’s even more choices. Remember the shrimp will be costly. You can have whatever you want for food. The guests will still know that your wedding is beach themed! Remember creativity is the key!
Boy! All that food has made me thirsty! Never, ever have an Open bar, especially if money is an issue! There are many other ethical reasons not to, also. First, you have to choose drinks suitable for all guests. Bottled water is always a great idea. Add some flavored waters, too. Tropical fruit punch would be great with a little umbrella or a slice of fruit on the edge of each glass (it will make the littlest guests excited, too). Sweet tea is another option. I live in the South & Sweet tea is more popular than soda-pop here! You could also, offer a non- sweetened tea or a regular iced tea with lemon or lime. Just think Beach & summer time, you will get more ideas as you go. For alcoholic beverages there is a wide array of choices, too. Maybe jell-o shots in tropical flavors, or margaritas in tropical flavors (mango, watermelon, papaya, etc). You get the idea.
Time to dance! If you really want to make a hit with the younger crowd, try adding the limbo into your music choices! The Beach Boys have great beach songs (big hit with those from the 1950-1960 era, too). You can mix up your music selection by adding a few beach type songs in with your favorites. Bands are more expensive than DJs & if you have an I-Pod or MP3 player, you have hours of music. I-Pods & MP3s are the new trend in wedding music DJs. They will save you a big expense, too.
You want your gifts to have a keepsake from your wedding. You can save a lot of money by making these favors, yourself (or with help from your bridal party). Edible gifts are a great idea & easy to do. You could make Sea Glass Candy (tropical flavors with food coloring to match bridal colors), seashell-shaped (or palm tree-shaped) cookies, or M&Ms (bridal colors), or almonds, etc. I have a recipe for Sea Glass Candy. I will email you, if interested.  Non-edible gifts are fantastic, too! You can purchase favor sized pails or use mini flower pots and make your own seed packets (heavy cardstock, markers, glue) & send each guest home with a seed of flowers, herbs, vegetable, or fruit that they can plant & enjoy. Personalize each pot or pail with you & your spouse’s names & wedding date. You can also, fill these with candy &/ seashells. There are endless ideas to work with.
This should get you off in the right direction to your Beach Themed Wedding Reception! Think Beach: flamingos, sand, surf, water, fish, dolphins, coral, seashells, starfish, & sun! And you can come up with a great wedding!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Beach Theme Ceremony Ideas

Destination weddings don’t have to cost a fortune. Many State Parks offer Pavilions and you could have your ceremony & reception at the same location. Saving even more money! You could opt to ask family & friends to help decorate & clean up, or even pay some teenagers to do it. Most teens are always looking to make a few extra dollars for spending, especially those too young to get a real job. Then you only have to pay the park and the clergy person.
                In Virginia the State parks are very reasonably priced. I believe they are under $100 ($73.50 @ Smith Mtn. Lake State park) for the entire day (we were going to have our ceremony @ Smith Mountain Lake State park, originally. The cost of parking is $4.00 a car, so you may want to carpool on this or rent a bus or van.
                Beach themes don’t have to take place at a beach, though. If you use your imagination, creativity and have a great array of beach themed decor (Shindigz has great background papers in giant rolls for wall decor) you can pull off a beautiful beach themed wedding anywhere! And I’ll help you!  Your bridal colors should coordinate with the colors of a beach. For example Fuchsia would probably be a wrong choice but a lighter pink or coral may look stunning. You won’t want sand colored gowns because they’ll melt into the color of the beach, unless you choose to opt out of standing on the beach. We’ve narrowed our choices to lavender, coral, and light blue. I love all shades of purple & he loves blue & coral would set them off great! Your choices should compliment your surroundings.
Green is very popular this year & there are many shades of green.  My sister had clover green and I was skeptical but it looked great!  If she agrees, later I’ll post photos of her bridal party.
                Another great touch & money saver is to opt for a seashell bouquet, instead of flowers (or a combination of both). Flowers are a big expense & if you make your own bouquet of seashells, you can add real or silks later. You can purchase a small bouquet or make a small silk arrangement to toss at your reception. They also, make a great keepsake for the bridesmaids!  You can make seashell boutonnieres, too.  And your guests will be wowed!
                You can buy a plain garter & spruce it up with a small seashell (nothing pointed because you will be wearing it) & some ribbon. If you are going for the traditional saying: “Something old, something new, something blue & a penny in your shoe”, here’s your opportunity to use blue that others won’t see. *quick note on the penny* tape it to the side or top of your shoe (inside). This will keep your feet from hurting.
                Potted Palm trees (fake or real) are a great idea for isle decor or placed near the altar and you can use them later or gift them out.  You could even use wild flowers in a vase. Definitely ask the florist which flowers are in season because in season flowers are much less expensive than out of season (they have to ship them in). Every state is different and you can Google this information.  
                If you want an original touch, add a Sand Ceremony (in place of the Unity Candle). I’ll put more about this later. You can purchase the sand through Oriental Trading (Rainbow craft sand 22 oz a bottle, each unit has 8 bottles, $14.99 a set) or a craft store. And you can buy the vases from many locations, even Walmart (depending on the type of glass container you want).  You can personalize these vases by investing in a Glass Etching kit (practice on other glass 1st). This will save you money, too.
                These are just some ideas! There are so many available! If you would like help, please email us: and I’ll do the best I can to help you.              

Monday, March 21, 2011

Easy Invites to make (Save Lots of Money)

  Determine your wedding theme, style & colors. Google pictures, browse for a few favorites, & save to your computer. I used my Microsoft Office 2007 edition to edit the image with details. This saves you from buying anything except paper & ink or taking it to a copy place for lots of copies. It took some playing around to get it just right but they look great! And I know I saved a bundle! Photoshop Elements would work well, too. Just practice and don't give up. For help, feel free to email me: I have no problem helping, if I can.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

DIY Wedding is on Facebook, now

  Come find us & Like us on Facebook! Just getting started, so give us a few days! Tips are greatly appreciated!

Places to Shop for Decorations

  These are some places that I found that have good bargains or are worth taking a look at. ShinDigz has a great variety of decorations in a wide variety (not just wedding) & you can request a catalog, too. Oriental Trading has a wedding section on their website. Really reasonable prices (great for favors)!, and are other places to take a look at. is one of my favorite websites for beach themes!
   Walmart does have a good selection of wedding things, too (selections vary on location, so take a peek at their website) & check the craft stores, too. I know AC Moore & Michael's have a wedding section. Don't be afraid to look around & ASK QUESTIONS! 
   You may get ideas from these websites on decor or favors for things that you could make yourself (or get help making). Just remember not to take too much on by yourself or you'll feel burnt out by the time your wedding arrives.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Acne Remover for Budget Conscious

Salt: Apply water and salt solution, but make sure you put on A Lot of moisturizers afterwards because it tends to dry up your skin. makes sense right? and if one time doesn't work, do it twice.. but moist your skin :]"I got this advice from a trusted friend (Thanks MH). Thought it would be a good, cheap beauty secret to pass along, since nobody wants a pimple to ruin their big day!

The Countdown.......

Okay...he Proposed (or You did). Where do we start? BUDGET (Horrible 6 letter word). We need to know how much money we have for Our Wedding , where we want to spend it, & what we can do ourselves (or with help from friends & relatives). Then we need to consider our list of what's Most Important to Us. Mine is Photography & Videography. Once the day is gone, the cake is eaten, the dress grown out of (or put away), etc...all there is left is memories. Photos & Videos help us to relive our beautiful day & if you have family/friends who can't attend, photos & videos are a great gift!
   BUDGET Finished.... theme is needed or a color scheme. Location may be a deciding factor when choosing a theme or colors. Others factors are "What do both of you enjoy doing?" "Fave Colors look good together?" "Destination wedding or backyard?" "Does he like fuchsia?" This is both of you & him together. Get his opinion! He may hate fuchsia or not know that fuchsia is a color, not a flower. Maybe he wants a Western wedding or a Gray tuxedo. Please include him! 
  Get Freebies!!! Get Married magazine is giving away a free issue (some stuff inside is pricey...but there are great ideas of things that I know I could make & not pay high prices for). Free Wedding Blogs are available at Google search "free wedding stuff" or "free bride's stuff". has great ideas, too.
  Any ideas you have, please share with us!