August 2009

Last month I wrote this post highlighting fabulous invitations I’ve received and weddings I’ve been looking forward to. My friend Emily’s wedding was the perfect example of a gorgeous and elegant wedding on a tight budget. Almost everything was done by hand.Emily & Riley Ceremony 1

Emily’s mom (escorted by her brother). She wore a beautiful flowing navy blue skirt with a simple cotton periwinkle colored top. All the men wore khaki pants, blue shirts, and navy blazers with a sharp blue plaid tie. The boutonnieres were all wildflowers grown locally.

Emily & Riley Ceremony 2

The bridesmaids all wore simple green dresses with brightly colored flowers. They all looked beautiful and were comfortable in the July heat!

Emily & Riley Tables 4

Since Emily & Riley both graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy, the ceremony was held there. The reception, however, was laid back and casual and took place along an inlet in Emily’s parents’ neighbor’s yard. The location was completely serene and gave its natural beauty to the day. A few simple white tents added to the elegance and we completely forgot we were in a back yard!

Emily & Riley Tables 2

The tents were festively adorned with ivy and provided shade over the beautifully decorated tables.

Emily & Riley Tables 3

Each table had a basket of homemade biscuits along with floral arrangements in mason jars. While a local flower expert created the ceremony flowers, Emily’s sister used her artistic talents to add elegance to the day.

Emily & Riley Tables 1

The drinks were served from large mason jars into simple cups. Friends of the family helped the caterer (another family friend) by serving drinks and hors d’oeuvres to guests.

Emily & Riley Boathouse 1

The most ingenuity and creativity was put to work on the boathouse. I spoke with the owner and she said before Emily’s family got to it, this old shed was the grimiest of any boat shed. The Holts cleaned it from top to bottom and repainted to provide a quaint, shaded area to serve food.

Emily & Riley Boathouse

One long table adorned with greens and flowers was the perfect spot for the food!

Emily & Riley Boathouse 3

Outside the boathouse, a chalkboard listed the menu for the day.

Emily & Riley Boathouse 2

Emily’s family even found this old sideboard and refinished it to house another drink station.

Emily & Riley Ceremony

Riley & Emily had a gorgeous afternoon and did a wonderful job planning a lovely wedding on a budget!

Emily & Riley

Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Matsco!!


Here’s a list of things to do in the weeks heading up to the wedding. Most of them should be delegated to people outside the wedding party and immediate family and some you’ll have to do yourself. For my wedding we delegated as much as possible and it made the day itself so much less stressful because I knew I didn’t have to think about any of it!

To Be Delegated:

  • Go-to person for the Ceremony – this person should help participants with the timing of the ceremony. Sometimes ceremony/reception facilities provide this person for you.
  • Ceremony Participants – make sure you have people to usher, monitor sound equipment, and clean up after the ceremony.
  • Bridal Party Nourishment – everyone (especially the bride and groom) needs to stay hydrated and should have plenty of snacks available throughout the day. This is especially important during the photo session! I got married at 1pm and my mom had the forethought of making sure we all had lunch to eat – I’m certain I wouldn’t have made it through the day without that since my husband and I didn’t get anything to eat at the ceremony! Along these lines, make sure there’s someone who will take all the left overs or goodie bags from the caterer so that you’ve got dinner for later.
  • Drivers – as the bride/groom, you will probably have the responsibility of organizing carpools and drivers, but ultimately, you shouldn’t be doing any of the driving!
  • Gift Supervisor – unless the reception facility provides someone, you should make sure there’s a person who keeps an eye on all the gifts. I was recently at a wedding where the bride & groom were told they had to hold on to all the cards themselves! This person should also be responsible for getting all the gifts to the correct location at the end of the day.
  • Guest Attendants – sometimes there’s a friend or family member who needs a companion for the day.
  • Bride/Groom Attendant – find someone to make sure you stay hydrated and get something to eat during the reception…no need to get sick when you’ve spent so much time planning the event.
  • Clothing Emergency Person – usually a bridesmaid, someone who’s got enough bobby pins, needle and thread, and Tide-To-Go for everyone!
  • Guestbooks/Driving Directions/Programs – find someone not in the wedding party to make sure guests have what they need and know where they’re going.
  • Vendor Contact – while you’ll need to confirm with all the vendors, select someone you can trust to be their contact person on the day of, just in case. That way you don’t need to worry if the florist is stuck in traffic or the caterer forgot something!
  • Wedding Party Scheduler – if you don’t have a wedding planner, you might want to appoint someone to keep track of the time, make sure the wedding party has directions and a schedule, and deal with anything else. On this note, make sure you type up a schedule and directions for your wedding party – we forgot to do this and waited for 30 minutes for some of the bridal party to show up at the picture location!
  • Baggage Handler – you’ll have your wedding night and honeymoon luggage packed, but you certainly don’t want to be responsible for it. Give them to one of your attendants and rest assured that it won’t get left somewhere.
  • Post-wedding Bridal Person – make sure someone knows they’re responsible for taking your gown/shoes/jewelry/etc. home.
  • If you’re planning on keeping the top layer of your cake, make sure someone freezes it in an air-tight container.

And if you’re really bored, get a head start on all those Thank You cards! You’ll be so glad that’s one less thing to do once you get home from your honeymoon. However, etiquette dictates that you have one year to complete them, so there is no rush.

The best thing you can do to enjoy your wedding day is to decide not to let things bother you. As stated above, we sat around waiting for some of our bridal party to get “un-lost”, I locked all of my bridal accessories and car keys in the car, and a few other things went sour, but we decided to just relax and had a wonderful and unforgettable day!

Gorgeous and simple ideas that will keep the cost down and create an elegant atmosphere:

I’ve been wanting to write a post on this topic for awhile, but haven’t quite been able to get my thoughts together. Then I came upon this post in the Real Groom series of Nancy Liu Chin on her blog Brown Bag.

In the post Real Groom: Prioritizing The Budget Part 1, groom Danny describes all the ways to cut the budget: guest count and food, to begin with.

Check out Nancy’s blog – every one of her posts is worth reading, like this one on making  your own Heavenly Place Cards!

Another great do-it-yourself wedding project!!! Marry You Me has recently written a post detailing how to make lace garland decorations.

These would be great for a backyard wedding, church basement reception, or vintage wedding!

This do-it-yourself project makes a fabulously inexpensive and beautiful rose bouquet. Using only coffee filters, paint, and tape, The Wedding Cabaret has typed out easy to follow instructions to make a paper rose bouquet.

This would be great for center pieces for a reception or decorating the end of pews/chair for a ceremony, not to mention a great bouquet or boutonniere!

Love it!