The Indie Wedding Guide would like to welcome our sponsor and "newly married" Alissa (Lewis) now Harvey to the Indie Wedding Guide for May. Alissa shares with us her fabulous DIY and budget friendly wedding.
It’s true! You CAN have an intimate AND elegant wedding that will not break your bank, harm the earth or turn you into a compulsive wedding diva that will make your fiancée start thinking twice about marrying you! This newlywed did it—so can you!
After getting engaged in late October, I immediately got to planning the invitations I would make for our April 6th wedding. Being my own client was quite challenging and I’ll admit that several times I was "thiiiis" close to bagging the whole thing and sending out e-vites to my 38 guests. But a savvy indie business owner takes every opportunity she can for (shameless) self-promotion. Once I got rolling I really was enjoying the process and decided to take hand-made a bit further and spread it into other areas of the wedding, including the ceremony. Doing this allowed us to plan a beautiful wedding night in under 6 months for less than $3,000—for real!
Enlisting the creative brains of my friends and family was a huge help. I had the stationery elements covered, but there was more to it than that!
It’d be a cold day in hell when I’d spend a week’s paycheck (or more!) on a dress I’d wear for a few hours and then, never again. I tried on a ton of wedding gowns that were just “ok”…believe it or not, the “one” was a bridesmaid’s dress! It came in multiple colors, so having it made in ivory was no problem. They even custom cut the back of the dress to accommodate covering my giant bra! And are you ready for the price tag—sit down…$236. True story.
We wanted our wedding to feel more like a dinner party amongst friends, so we were very selective with our guest list. More important than any décor items, was our ceremony. I walked down to the aisle to Annie Lenox’s version of “Waiting in Vain”—one song out of our five-hour IPOD music mix that played all night. Because of the intimate nature of what we were about to do—profess our love and hearts in front of our nearest and dearest—it needed to make an impact. Instead of selecting passages out of a book, Darryl and I stayed up late the night before the wedding and wrote our own version of what we’d promise to each other throughout our lives together. Then, we exchanged rings that we had custom made by a local jewelry artisan. Later, our guests described the experience of witnessing that moment as touching and very intense.
With such a small amount of guests, we only needed four large round tables for dinner. When a florist quoted me $800 to put centerpieces on the table I nearly died! After all, at the end of the night the flowers would be gone…along with our $800! So instead, I chose to have just a bouquet made along with some corsages and boutonnières for our parents. My mom, who is an avid gardener with a knack for everything she touches, picked up some bulk flowers at our local grocery. She used vintage vases that she had already, and added some local greenery from her own garden to make a few gorgeous arrangements for less than $20 each! On each table, I placed candelabras that I picked up at Home Goods on clearance—candlelight is perfect for an evening wedding! The entire room was decorated for under $250!
As a stationery designer, I have heaps and heaps of scrap paper cuttings from every job I complete, but I can never bear to throw them away. Good thing—I was able to use the scraps to print my own menus and place cards for each guest. My new husband is a huge Lord of the Rings fan, so as a nod to him, the menus featured a quote about food by J.R.R. Tolkien—little details like this require very little effort, but go a long way! I combined the place cards with the favors by wrapping up a set of 6 blank note cards that I’d made with each guest’s name. (Remember what I said about the shameless self-promotion?)
My best friend and maid of honor is also a pastry chef, and she made us a beautiful, petite wedding cake which we topped with a custom-illustrated bride and groom created from a photograph I’d sent to MissAvocado on Etsy. A friend from my college days shot photos for us all day long—we’ll then use the prints to create our own album.
Here’s the thing about weddings—they’re over before you know it! Knowing this I couldn’t justify spending excessively. We set a budget that we were comfortable with and we were easily able to maintain it by doing it ourselves! Best of all, we really felt like we were a “part” of our own wedding! It’s easier and a lot more manageable than you may think!
Thanks Alissa for sharing your special day with us. Be sure to visit Alissa's website Mew Paper Arts!