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!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Western Style Wedding

It can range from informal, such as a true cowboy themed along with jeans, boots & cowboy a more formal theme in a nice ranch with a tuxedo, black cowboy hat & a beautiful antique western bridal gown. I am sure that you have already thought of the big things, like the horse drawn buggy, fancied up cowboy boots for the wedding party and full circle skirts but what about the little touches of decoration that will make your wedding classy and quaint?
   The first thing to consider is the location of your wedding. A western themed wedding party is not suited to your usual reception venue. A farm barn would be ideal or a large tent pitched in a field or large garden. Once this is sorted you need to give your venue an authentic western feel. Bales of hay scattered around the edges for people to sit with bandana-covered cushions will be an absolute must. Equally, a few wagon wheels dotted around will give guests a feel of the Wild West. To liven up the walls, why not have black and white Wanted posters of the wedding party scattered about?
  Establish the style and formality you want for your wedding. For example, you could choose a formal wedding with a western twist or a casual and celebratory country hoedown.  Wear western attire, which could include a denim corset dress or a traditional gown and cowgirl boots for the bride and a western shirt and denim jeans or dress shirt and bolo tie for the groom. The rest of the wedding party should dress similar to the bride and groom. Invite your guests to wear “western wear” or clothes “suitable for the rodeo.”
    Send invitations to your perspective guests. Your invitations could be in the shape of a cowboy hat or include images of a cowboy and cowgirl on a horse, his-and-her cowboy hats or a field full of wildflowers. Choose wording that lets your guests know how formal your wedding will be and include western terms if they fit, such as “Round up the youngins and wear your good hat because Dan and Sandra are gettin’ hitched!”
  Pig roasts and barbeques are to be expected for your wedding reception. Roast chicken pieces served with French fries would also be great. Lay tables with side dishes of corn-on-the-cob, coleslaw, potato salad, macaroni and cheese and Barbecue flavored baked beans. Hot dogs with lashings of ketchup, relish and mustard would be an ideal supper for the children. Finish the meal off with a country dessert such as a fruit crumble or mud pie.
Unique ways to tie the knot- Western Style.
A)     Instead of traditional wedding flowers use wild flowers. Wild Roses for example are beautiful, while having that western feel that you are looking for. You can even mix in a few blooming cactuses in your arrangements, especially centerpieces for instant color and an elegant ranch-like touch. Add some leather fringe, in the same hue as your wedding colors, around the bouquets that the bridesmaids carry.
  B) For example, use picnic tables with red and white checkered tablecloths. Create faux leather to use as tablecloths at the reception. One painting technique that I have found to work well is to buy enough cheap fabric (drop clothes are usually perfect for tablecloths, require no stitching of ends as other cut fabrics would and can be bought relatively cheap compared to purchasing other material by the yard) to cover all the tables that you want. Now, choose what color you want your "˜leather' to be and get three different shades of that color (dark, medium and light). Paint your base coat in the dark color and allow it to dry completely before continuing. Next mix your medium color and light color in separate buckets. The general consensus is to mix two parts paint to one part glaze. You should apply these to mixtures randomly over your basecoat, then use a wadded up plastic bag or crumpled sheets of plastic wrap to blot up the wet paint, blending it in to create the texture that you are looking for. Once you achieve the look you want, let it dry completely before clear coating it well.    ** It is a good idea to experiment with this technique on some scrap fabric and become comfortable with doing it before moving on to your wedding pieces.**
  Creating a replica of an old-fashioned saloon for your reception bar may seem like a great idea on paper, but could very well require more work than you bargained for. It's good to know that a little can go a long way. Outdoor elements and entryways are ideal for tulle swag accented by flowers combined with a few artfully stacked bales of hay. You can also frame these areas with traditional crops like wheat or corn and, if you're in a farming mood, add a scarecrow or two. Depending on how elaborate you make your displays, they may become a popular spot for photographs so consider placing one off to the side a safe distance from a high traffic area.  Decorate your reception venue with jugs of iced tea or lemonade, cowboy hats, cowboy boots, or any other western decorations. Instead of the standard streamers, hang up ropes in varying thicknesses. You can keep them natural for a rustic feel, spray paint them the colors of your wedding. You can entwine some of the wild flowers you are using for touches of color. Horseshoes to leather bits to tassel whips, can also be added for more spark. They can also be spray painted in gold, silver or black depending on the mood you wish to create.
D) Decorate personalized wine glasses. You can buy complete matching sets for your table settings or mix and match with finds from thrift stores and garage sales for a cheaper alternative (which actually is more natural). Buy some glass paint, which you can pick up at any craft store, and all that's left is to choose your design. You could paint on a horseshoe with the details of the bride, groom and date inside of it, a lasso rope; a cowboy boot or hat, anything western!
E) Finish off your table settings with a one of a kind place card holder and goodie bags. Create horseshoe name card holders using card stock and any printing project software that is available on most computers. And you can Google Western images to save to your computer and using your imagination and either Microsoft word or some other software edit them to your liking. Instead of the standard mints that are usually placed in a little bag beside each plate, include things a cowboy or cowgirl shouldnt be without after a meal. Toothpicks (mint flavored for a classy taste), custom match books, mini bottles of liquor (21 and over), flower seed packets, sunflower seeds or small edible treats can be packaged in small burlap sacks or tied in bandannas. Cowboy hat or boot-shaped soaps or candles work as well. Small bottles of your favorite barbecue sauce and anything else they may need for the long trail ahead after going home . These items can be placed in the standard little bags or you can embellish these also with a little leather trim around the edges. Of course, your table stationery naturally will follow from your invitations. When preparing table plans, decorate your overall plan with cowboy boots and wagon wheels. This theme can then be followed on your place cards. A fabulous touch would be to name each table after a famous cowboy rather than assigning tables with a number. Visit flea markets and antique shops to collect tack and other antique items to use for decoration. This would make a fun outing for the bridesmaids or groomsmen to do together. 
Think alternative uses for things like old horseshoes: they can take on a new light wrapped with white Christmas lights or raffia (a paper material that looks a bit like hay). Keep an eye out for wagon wheels and mason jars (a beautiful way to display candles). Barrels of hay also make excellent decorations. 
F) Adorn your wedding cake with a cowboy bride and groom, a fence with a sign that says “hitchin’ post” or something similar or even a playful bride and groom with one lassoing the other. If you want something more formal, use wildflowers, daisies or sunflowers to decorate the cake.

Select Western Colors. As with any other wedding theme, selecting your colors is one of your most important decisions. We recommend starting with a broad palette of earth tones like orange, brown, tan, yellow, and even green, you can then select from an assortment of bright complementary colors that will really stand out. Shades of blue, for example, complement both brown and orange tones while simultaneously evoking the western sky. Purple is a perfect complement for yellow and might make a great color choice for your bridesmaids' dresses. And while you don't want to make it feel like Christmas, red is always a nice complement to green; you can even soften things a bit with shades of pink.
Location Affects Color Choice
The location you choose will impact your color choice. Remember that the location is important in setting the ambiance of a western wedding theme; they tend to be held outdoors, in barns, lodges, and other rustic areas. So be sure to have an idea of where your wedding's going to be held before you pick your colors.  You'll also need to know if your location will be able to accommodate your ideas. Questions like the number and placement of electrical outlets or whether or not the ceiling is accessible for overhead decorations will be very important later on.
Also, if you happen to know someone with a handy barn or a nice big yard with a view, consider asking them. You'll save big on rental fees and likely have much more leeway with your decorating.

Use Western Flowers
Serving as much more than mere accents, flowers are the most authentic, unique, and attractive components of western weddings. Cacti, are traditionally the first plants we think of when we imagine western flora, so incorporating cacti into your centerpieces will certainly add a nice western touch to your decorating. It pairs well in centerpieces with sandy colored or polished stones. Cacti also match textiles like denim and other cloths with Native American or bandanna designs.  We love spider lilies, those bright and pointy herbs found in ditches and roadsides all across Mexico and Texas. Spider lilies are very affordable, completely authentic, and can be found or purchased in a huge variety of colors, making it relatively easy to match them to your other decor.
Zinnias, meanwhile, are typically associated with the deep Southwest but are so colorful and vibrant . Zinnias blossom in tight clusters, are available in almost every color imaginable, and can even be found in multi-color starburst patterns.  Autumn sage has been around for a long time. This hardy shrub, is the perfect symbol of the west and is the very definition of rugged beauty. Resistant to cold and drought, this evergreen features tough spindly stems and leather-textured leaves that are crowned through much of the summer and autumn with an array of delicate mint-scented red, pink, or white flowers.
Wildflowers are also perfect for western weddings, the wild rose is the ultimate western wildflower and can be perfectly incorporated into your bouquets.
Sunflowers are true American natives and always work well for western weddings. They're also very nearly a must-have for any country-style or barn wedding. Sunflowers are available in a range of colors including red, maroon, orange, and even shades of yellow so pale the flowers appear white or ivory. Sunflowers make perfect additions to centerpiece floral arrangements.
Tree saplings can make incredible centerpieces. Putting a few in galvanized or gingham-patterned buckets for a  natural statement. Saplings also pair well with other floral arrangements.
Paper flowers are fully appropriate for western weddings and can be used to create a beautiful effect on your church pews and elsewhere. Even better, you have total control over their color and texture, allowing you to make them as subtle and delicate or as bright and sturdy as you wish; all while perfectly blending them into your main wedding colors.

Western Lighting
Once inside, it's time to really set the mood with your lighting. If you have any leeway consider special lighting like torches or table candles. We recommend discussing these options with your venue before considering them, however and if using a barn, use enclosed flames or artificial lighted candles due to drafts. If your location prohibits open flame, consider purchasing or even renting fishbowls and filling them with clear or colored water and floating candles. These are considered "enclosed" flames and are permitted at most venues. Camping lanterns may also be appropriate. White or single-color strands of Christmas lights, meanwhile, can be used to light part of your ceremony or to add a fun-yet-intimate element to your reception. There are even western themed strand lights available that include everything from cow skulls and cowboy boots to cacti and horses. These lights tend to fall on the more relaxed side of the spectrum, but are perfect for maintaining a comfortable atmosphere at your reception. Strands of lights can be particularly beautiful for evening and sunset receptions.

Find Western Decorations and Centerpieces
Hay bale twine and binder twine is ideal for stringing up decorative accents like charms or flowers to your reception tables and elsewhere.  Use of raffia ribbon or other rope makes it easy to create a continuing visual western wedding theme that extends through each part of your wedding day.
Adding a couple horseshoes to your wall decorations, if possible, is always a nice touch to your western wedding ideas. Horseshoes can be easily painted to match your wedding colors, and we particularly like the idea of incorporating a horseshoe or two into your main centerpiece. Also, a wide variety of wedding-specific accessories are available that have horseshoes in their designs.   Cowboy hats and boots, meanwhile, go hand-in-hand. They can, of course, be part of your wedding attire, but can also be used for decorating. Costume clothing and jewelry can work perfectly well as decorations and even favors for couples on a budget.
Centerpiece ideas are, in the end, limited only to your imagination. In addition to resin cowboy boots you can use buckets, pails, Mason jars, metal tubs, or even watering cans as vases.
In addition to, centerpieces you can also use decorated or unadorned metal tubs filled with ice and stocked full of drinks like bottles of root beer, juice, water, and beer
     If your western wedding is going for a more outdoorsy or natural appeal, then we strongly recommend packets of flower seeds. You can often find them in special packets that include a romantic tribute to your big day as well as growing instructions, or create little packets of your own

Wedding Attire
A great western wedding idea is to add a few decorative flourishes to your attire. Cowboy hats -- white for the bride and bridesmaids and black for the groom and groomsmen -- aren't just elegant; they're such powerful symbols that wearing them will effectively convey your theme even if you do relatively little decorating elsewhere. For a special touch, the bride's hat can be distinguished by sewing, hot gluing, or pinning on a tulle or lace veil. If you're a more contemporary cowgirl, think denim and lace. Fresh flowers can easily be donned on a cowboy hat the day of the wedding with a little craft glue. 
And for the guys, you want to consider bolo ties. Bolo ties remain a country and western staple. And remember the costume jewelry we mentioned earlier? If you're willing to be a little playful during your ceremony then we recommend pinning star badges to your groomsmen to make your very own posse of "deputy sheriffs" to stand with you.

Remember to Have Fun
A true western wedding largely involves incorporating things from the world around you and using them in a fun and creative way.
    Country and western wedding themes are really about going back to our roots. Country images like barns, hay, and scarecrows are different from Old West images like mesas, saloons, and cacti, but what all these images represent is a connection to the past that has shaped who we are. Have fun creating your wedding, and your guests will have fun attending it!
Look for Western quotes to incorporate into the ceremony. Cowboy poetry is highly popular these days. 
     Horses are always a good way to add some kick to a western wedding. You might want to say your vows while on horseback. Or you could have a horse-and-carriage carry you and your honey away from the ceremony. 
     Music is going to be an essential mood-setter at your western style wedding. Make a list of your favorite artists and country songs. You might want to include a mix of old and new music. Consider songs of Tammy Wynette, Randy Travis, Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, The Dixie Chicks, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash. A way to save some $$ here would be to use an I-pod or MP3 player. It will give you total control of what is played. You can also use a download service online to create a personalized CD to play at the reception. 
       **And when the evening is coming to a close, you might want to have a warm bonfire with marshmallows and skewers on hand for the cowboys and cowgirls.**

You can even incorporate a Rodeo into your big day and get “Hitched” in the middle of the arena! How cute would that be? If you need a name of a Rodeo Company, come visit us on Facebook and leave a comment. I have a relative in that business and maybe you could book with them.