Today we have a stunningly DIY-ed destination wedding to share with you! KC and Danielle packed their bags and headed to beautiful Yelapa, Mexico to celebrate their nuptials with an intimate group of family and friends. We are totally obsessing over the romantic vibe and creative details created by the bride – from the guest favor bags to the amazing table lanterns – she rocked the house (or should I say hut)! As you can imagine, DIY-ing a destination wedding is not an easy task… Danielle expresses her passion behind her wedding day projects and more in her narrative below – it’s awesome so make sure to check it out…
What is your favorite wedding day memory?
We had our wedding in a very remote Mexican village called Yelapa that was only accessible by boat and the environment was extremely rustic. For instance, we had our ceremony and our reception in two different places so all of our guests had to walk at least 15 minutes from one site to the other, which made me feel a little nervous, especially under all that hot tropical sun. But, the walk turned out to be my favorite part. My husband and I stayed behind for some wedding shots while everyone made their way to the reception, so we were able to walk through this luscious jungle together, digesting what had happened at the ceremony and taking in the wild beauty of Yelapa. It was both relaxing and exciting because we knew that all of our family and friends were waiting for us on the beach. My husband says his favorite part was when we reached the party and all of our people were waiting to celebrate with us. When 90 people come down to a tiny little village just to be with you on your wedding day, it’s a special sight to see them assembled together knowing that the best party of your life is about to be had.
What did you DIY for your wedding?
I would say I DIY-ed almost everything about my wedding. Because I had to carry everything to Mexico myself I thought I had the bright idea to make decorations out of paper, without thinking about how fragile paper is in terms of transportation. By the time I realized that I was so far into the decoration process that there was no turning back. I had no intention or desire to have some sort of color scheme or theme when it came to creating the feel of the wedding I just knew I wanted things to look whimsical yet sophisticated. DIY is often associated with cute, but I’m not very into cute, and this was really all the creative direction I had.
-I made our ceremony backdrop by using a sponge to create a wash on square sheets of paper (mimicking our invitation- a watercolor wash meant to invoke the ocean) and then folding the paper into these kind of star shapes. I stacked those on top of each other, bubble wrapped them and threw them in a suitcase and then assembled them with fishing line and hot glue once I arrived in Mexico.
-I made everything on our tables. I saw these gorgeous lanterns on Pinterest that I copied. I basically dried a bunch of flowers, stuck them between two pieces of wax paper, ironed them until they adhered, cut them down to size and fastened them together with gold chevron print washi tape. For place settings I stayed with the gold to bring out the lanterns by spray painting 90 pieces of paper metallic gold and then folded those into paper cranes. I stuck tags of paper that had wildflower seeds in them (again to mimic the dried flowers in the lanterns) and wrote guests name in gold pen. For flowers I knew I wanted the wild flower look so we took bougainvillea, which basically grows like a weed down there and laid it on the tables like a garland, so in a sense, I did those flowers on my own because all we did was lay them out on the table. At one point my friend asked me what my colors were and I said, “I don’t know, water color and gold?” to which she responded “gilded impressionism” which I really do think sums up the feel.
-My bouquets. We ordered 100 Gerber daisies from Puerto Vallarta for a $1 each, which showed up on a boat the day before the wedding. The day before the wedding my girlfriends and I walked around the property where I had my ceremony, Casa de Los Sueños, and we picked out greenery. Again, my friend Hannah Stouffer led the charge. I told her I completely trusted her judgement on how to make the bouquets and she later told me that she appreciated the creative freedom since it would have been more annoying to try to please me by executing some idea I had seen. She asked me if I wanted something big and conceptual and wild for mine (she knows me well) and I said yes and that was that. During the rehearsal dinner I ate while my amazing friends made bouquets out of daisies and greenery that we cut from the gardens that day.
-Because everyone was coming from such a long way away to the rustic jungle of Yelapa, I made a survival kit, which was basically their party favor. I had my friend, the illustrator and artist Hannah Stouffer design a cool design, and then I had my friend Maria from DPI printing in San Francisco use a digital printing technique on the cotton bags, which gave the design this very faded look, which felt perfect for Yelapa. Inside I gave everyone a vintage National Geographic to read on the beach, sunglasses, candles and matches (for romance), and flashlights to find their way at night. I also wrote a survival guide pamphlet, which had information about Yelapa including our favorite restaurants, tips on how to survive and a quote about love from my favorite filmmaker, Jane Campion who wrote the screenplay Bright Star, about my favorite historical couple, Jonathan Keats and Fanny Brawne:
“We have woven a web, you and I, attached to this world but a separate world of our own invention” -Fanny Brawne to John Keats, via Jane Campion in “Bright Star”
Something old, new, borrowed and blue?
Though I consider myself a non-traditionalist I did have all these things! Mostly thanks to my friends. My something old was everything I wore since it was all vintage. My something borrowed were my best friend’s grandmother’s crystal studs and my blue was last minute flowers one of my bridesmaids stuck in my hair.
Any advice for brides currently in the planning process?
Everyone is so different that it’s hard to give blanket advice, but I will say this to those who are planning a DIY wedding: Work your ass off up until the week of the wedding and then let everyone else do the work. By the time the week of my wedding came around I was so over everything I had planned, I was exhausted and I basically didn’t care anymore. When the time came, my friends were there to help me and I gave them my overall ideas and then I just let them do whatever they wanted. It helps to have aesthetically inclined friends who you completely trust and you really can’t have a DIY wedding without them, but you also don’t want to take advantage so I tried to ask people ahead of time if they would take charge of different things the days leading up to the wedding. For that reason I didn’t have a lot of people help me with creating things leading up to the wedding, so I felt really good about letting people get involved when I really needed them to – during crunch time. I was also lucky enough to have an amazing day-of wedding planner that I could afford because I didn’t spend a lot of money on details. I drove my husband crazy with how many crafty things I did leading up to the wedding, but when we came home from our honeymoon after a few days he said “It feels so weird not having everything covered in paper and paint.” Ha! – Danielle, the bride
Photography: Dawn Heumann Photography // Ceremony site: Casa de los Suenos, Mexico // Reception site: Angelina's Gardens // Wedding Planner: Jesse Rose // Dress, shawl and crystal necklace: Vintage a la Mode // Shoes: Via Spiga // Sandals: Target // Invitations: Paperless Post (they do paper!) // Bridesmaid dresses: chosen by each bridesmaid // Groom's suit: Zara