May 24, 2017

“This real wedding is about an incredibly sweet couple who put a lot of thought + effort into the DIY projects that reflected their relationship and personalities! Monica and Alex are beyond adorable as a couple and had touches of DIY and their Disney-proposal incorporated into their wedding. Alex had popped the question and surprised Monica when they were at Disney – he was dressed as Woody and she was dressed as Bo Peep {from Toy Story} and he had the whole proposal recorded while they were standing in front of a fountain, so their cake topper was a custom Woody and Bo Peep topper with their name and wedding date! Like her Grandmother, Monica absolutely loves fake flowers and wanted to DIY her bouquets and centerpieces with silk flowers instead of using real flowers and her father hand-made the cross sitting at the altar that Monica and Alex were married in front of. From the little details, to the way Alex lit up seeing his bride coming towards him, to the petal toss down the aisle, to their choreographed first dance, right through the laughter and happy tears and all the way up until their wand exit – there were really so many touching moments to capture and so much love went into this wedding. I absolutely loved being able to witness Monica and Alex tie the knot!” –Wolfcrest Photography

What is your favorite wedding day memory?

If I had to narrow it down to only one memory, I would say that my favorite moment was standing at the front of the ceremony holding Alex’s hands. We had just finished saying our vows and I was so ready to be married! The joy of the moment made me forget the flow of the ceremony we had planned and I was so disappointed to discover that after we said “I do,” we didn’t get to kiss right away! Instead we had to wait a few more minutes after many more prayers and the unity ceremony. Waiting felt like an eternity, but my impatience and eagerness just help remind me how much I loved Alex and how I couldn’t wait to become his wife!

What did you DIY for your wedding?

I think the better question would be what did we not DIY for the wedding! I have always been a very crafty person so I wasn’t nervous about taking on too many projects and my husband and I both agreed that my ‘crazy expensive taste,’ as he dubs it, could not run free if we were to stick to a budget. I was happy to discover that by making a lot of the wedding items myself I could have an absolutely stunning wedding for a fraction of the cost! My bridesmaids were my biggest crafting support group and helped me put together everything from the save the dates and invitations, to signs, seating charts, and favors. We spent hours with tape rollers and glue guns in hand, and seeing how the wedding turned out, I know all of those late night crafting sessions were completely worth it! I was blown away on the day of and I’m still blown away looking back at the photographs. No one believes me when I say that our wedding was a DIY wedding. Now I just need to figure out what to do with the leftover crafting supplies!

I wanted to include a short description of a few of the most special DIY items from the day of:

Ceremony Cross: I always wanted to get married in a church but the ceremony space at Stevenson Ridge was too stunning that I couldn’t pass it up. The space was a reconstruction of an old 18th century church from up in Canada and while the exposed wood was technically a church, there was not much of a church feel about the place. My father and my brother ended up making us the beautiful cross we placed on the mantle during the ceremony. It was so special to have something handmade by my loved ones and something that really helped bring a more religious feeling to the ceremony.

Brides Bouquet: For me, this bouquet was one of the most special things about the wedding. I had saved the very first flowers Alex had given me, five years prior, knowing that I would want to walk down the aisle carrying them. I used cloth flowers for the majority of the bouquet, and put in the very special pink roses which I had dried, as accent points.

Toss Bouquet: The toss bouquet was another little project that I really liked putting together for the wedding. Rather than doing a traditional bouquet toss where only one girl caught the bouquet, I created a ‘split apart bouquet’ that was really six smaller bouquets tied into one. I knew many of the single ladies attending the wedding weren’t really hoping to get married anytime soon, so I didn’t want the bouquet to symbolize who would be married next. Instead each smaller bunch of flowers had a charm and a little fortune attached symbolizing something unique for each girl. I also attached a charm to the garter so whichever bouquet’s charm matched that of the garter, a shamrock {we were honeymooning in Ireland}, she was the girl who was to be re-gartered. The higher the man put the garter on her leg, the more luck the two would have in the coming year!

Favors: Giving almonds to wedding guests is a Colombian tradition. Since my side of the family is Colombian, we chose to give these as favors in tiny clear boxes tied with either a cream, brown, or green ribbon. We counted out five almonds for each box and attached this poem: “Five sugared almonds for each guest to eat, to remind us that life is both bitter and sweet. Five wishes for the new husband and wife – health, wealth, happiness, children, and a long life!”

Seating Chart: I was also particularly proud of the seating chart I was able to put together. I really loved the look of seating charts written on the glass panes of a sectioned off window. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any extra vintage windows laying around, but we did have mirrors! I managed to get my hands on a rather large mirror, and was able to recreate that ‘window pane look’ with pieces of cardstock, clothespins, chalkboard labels, and a chalkboard marker.

Did you have a something old, new, borrowed and blue?

I did choose to follow tradition and wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. These are what I chose:

Borrowed: After my Grandmother passed away I had always planned on wearing her beautiful diamond cross on my wedding day as my something old, which I had inherited from her. I was heartbroken when, a few weeks before the wedding, I discovered that the necklace had gone missing. My wonderful mother-in-law came to the rescue and offered for me to wear her own Mother’s diamond necklace instead. It was beyond special to incorporate Alex’s side of the family in the traditional ‘bridal attire’ and I really felt it helped symbolize the coming together of both of our families.

Old: I was still able to include my own Grandmother in this tradition as I wore her wedding garter as my something old. She wore this delicate pink garter on her wedding day in 1950, my mother wore it on hers in 1886 and I wore it in 2016. Since the garter is so special I only wore it while walking down the aisle and I changed into a different one for the traditional garter toss. It was special to have her pink garter match the blush of my dress!

New: In addition to the rest of my new things {dress, shoes, hair accessories, etc.} my sweet husband bought me brand new diamond earrings to match his Grandmother’s necklace.

Blue: As my something blue I chose to follow a very special tradition of my sorority, Alpha Delta Pi. When you are becoming a new member you are given a blue and white ribbon to wear in place of your badge for a short period of time. The ribbon symbolizes something very special between sisters and it is tradition to save this ribbon and pin it to the underside of your dress as your something blue so you continue to carry the values and love of your sisterhood into this new and important stage of your life. I chose to wear both my ribbon and my badge under my dress and it was pinned on by my sorority sister and bridesmaid Jocelyn whom I pinned in the same way on her wedding day.

Any advice for brides currently in the planning process?

There is so much that I learned during my planning experience that I find it difficult to narrow my advice down to just one point. First, I would advise that as much as you craft and organize things yourself leading up to the wedding, don’t plan on DIYing up until you say “I do!” If you can, hire a day of coordinator or assign a friend that’s not in the bridal party, to set things up for you the day of. The last thing you are going to want to do yourself is weild a hot glue gun in your gown! The second piece of advice I have to offer is, make sure you have a team of people in your life willing to help you through the process. I don’t know what I would have done without my assembly line of bridesmaids helping me. My sister, who was maid of honor, lived all the way in Japan, so she wasn’t there to help me the way a maid of honor normally would leading up to the wedding. Because of this, I created the brand new position of Executive Bridesmaid, and assigned two of my friends to fill this role. They were there to help me through everything leading up to the big day and made my sister’s job a bit easier when she finally arrived. The third piece of advice I would offer to any DIY bride is to take your time and coupon, coupon, coupon! Most craft stores have coupons and what I found myself doing was going once a week with a 40-50% off coupon and purchasing one stem of flowers at a time. The process took forever, but I was able to save so much money in the process. All you crafters out there know how expensive craft supplies can be! And finally I would like to share the four essential items I purchased that made DIYing an absolute cinch! They were: a double sided tape roller, hot glue gun, a paper trimmer with scoring option, and {yes I know they’re random!}, but a jumbo box of Ziploc bags! These bags made organizing flowers for each centerpiece and decoration point so simple and it was essential for us to organize every decoration item down to the last detail because we had someone else setting the ceremony and reception spaces up for us. The detailed organization made the setup process so easy, and it helped ensure we spread the flowers and other items out evenly across each space. I know that our wedding would have been an absolute catastrophe without them {the Ziploc bags}! -Monica, the Bride

Event Credits

Photographer: Wolfcrest Photography // Venue + Catering: Stevenson Ridge // Cake: The Icing Baking Company // Engagement Ring: Ulman's Jewlery // Bride's + Bridesmaid's Attire: That's My Dress Bridal // Bride's Shoes: David's Bridal // Bridesmaid's Jewelry: Pandora // Hair + Make-up: Bridal Artistry // Groom + Groomsmen's Attire: Jos A. Bank

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