February 23, 2011 7 Comments
DIY, breakfast, and more! Nicole and Sean New England DIY breakfast wedding has a lot of DIY details and were LOVING it! We know you will too! This beautiful and awesomely themed wedding was photographed by Amanda from Boro: Creative Visions. Our hat is off to both Amanda and Nicole for putting together this DIY wedding for our blog.
The bride Nicole tells us,
“First things first, you should know a few things about me — one, I’m an over-thinker and an over-planner (Type A to the max) and two, I’m a bargain hunter. Sean is, what he calls, Type Z… not exactly the same :) We set a $15,000 budget for approximately 200 guests (and ended up under budget and with only 170 guests, out of the 230+ we invited, in attendance). A lot of the decisions we made were in order to keep ourselves happy — really being true to our style and selves and to keep within our means. To keep outward costs down we spent a lot of time instead, on DIY projects. We did nearly everything ourselves — including invitations and flowers.
The Theme: Breakfast
In Summer 2007, Sean and I found ourselves in Asheville, NC. At the time, there was an all-you-can-eat cereal bar called Eaties (it has since closed) — which also ran cartoons all day and you could sit in their “living room” with your cereal and watch for hours. It was our kind of place. Sean and I love cereal… we pride ourselves on the number of varieties that are always stocked in our cabinets — breakfast cereal, snack cereal, hearty lunch or dinner cereal, dessert cereal, etc. We went to Eaties and Sean accepted their standing challenge: eat a whole box of cereal in 30 minutes or less and get a t-shirt as well as your name on their wall. He succeeded.
After this experience, we decided that when the time came for us to get married (we had been together 2.5 years at this point), that we should have an all cereal wedding. And we envisioned giant bowls of cereal on a buffet table and reply cards where you chose your favorite milk variety rather than meal choice. But we soon talked ourselves out of this, realizing that no one who brought a gift would be pleased that in return we gave them cold cereal. So, instead we opted for a brunch buffet — a nice combination of hot and cold breakfast and lunch foods, which would satisfy us and, hopefully, our guests.
This decision was one we made early — probably back in 2007, though weren’t engaged until 2009 — so this helped us to decide on a daytime wedding rather easily. That, and we’re not really night people, and were thrilled with the idea of getting home in time for dinner afterward. Having an 11am-4pm wedding is an immediate money saver. We were happy about that as well.
The Theme Details
We decided to keep our theme as clean as we could — though we added plenty of other “us” elements. Even though we were having a fall wedding the day before Halloween, we were careful not to allow either of these elements to infiltrate the Breakfast Theme — it was not always easy, but I always brought myself back to the theme. It helped us stay on track…
Keeping It Us
We had a lot of elements that were very “us” in the wedding. Cereal was the main one and the one that was most obvious, but there were a couple of others.
Shoes: Sean and I are just about the same height, so I knew I would not be wearing heels on my wedding day. This was fine with me — I usually wear sneakers to work as it is… I love Converse! So, I told my bridesmaids we were going to wear Converse for the wedding. One of my bridesmaids and I went shopping in the mall one day and came across the shoes they ended up wearing — the colors were a perfect match, plus they sparkled, which we convinced ourselves made them “formal”. I didn’t find my shoes until a couple of months before the wedding. I went with sparkly white (though debated with having some custom made for a while). In the end, the ones I bought at the mall were a better match and less expensive than having them custom made.
Invitations: Our colors had been defined by the bridesmaid dresses we chose. So my mom and I took those fabric swatches to Paper Source and started looking at options. We picked a day when they had a couple of free wedding invite demonstrations going on and spent a few hours there. We tried to limit what we would be mailing to both minimize waste and postage — we decided we didn’t really need that little square of tissue paper or an interior envelope inside the mailing envelope. We wanted to go this route to get high quality, exactly what we want, but for less than I would get to pay someone to do my invitations. We knew this would be a lot of work, but in the end, they were perfect! We chose chocolate brown, two shades of purple (grape & beet), and khaki as our scheme for paper, card stock, envelopes, and labels.
We talked ourselves out of envelope liners — but we opted to emboss the exterior mailing envelopes just for a little touch of something different.
Reply Cards: Sean and I are quirky, book-types. We met as High School English teachers. We wanted the reply cards to be different; not just “yes” or “no”. We looked at some online — some people were going for the Mad Libs approach. We liked that, but when we sat down to write ours, the idea evolved into a “quiz,” playing to the teacher thing as well — we asked our guests 5 questions (in addition to Yes or No) and a bonus. They were interesting and different and we figured we’d have some data we could use when the day came. We also asked because it gave us excitement when we checked the mail everyday — and we thought it might increase our rate of return. That being said, we loved checking the mail, but found people wanted to have really good answers, so a lot people held onto them longer than we thought they would.
Data: I debated on how to present the data that we collected from our reply cards. We had asked our guests their favorite song to dance to at weddings and compiled that and gave the list to the DJ. We expressed to him that we wanted the highest vote getters to definitely be played and announced as such. For the other questions, to keep it as simple as possible, I made at tri-fold poster (like the ones you see at science fairs) with all of the data summed up. This took me a while, but it was well worth it. We put it at the table where guests signed in on two 16×20″ mats of photos (one of my Converse with Sean’s shoes and one of our names spelled out in Alpha-Bits floating in milk).
Favors: We used individual boxes of cereal. Funny thing is that these are actually harder to come by than probably anything else we used in the wedding! We got a variety of Kellogg’s and General Mills. We had leftover ribbon from our invitations and decided to wrap a piece around each. We used matching labels from our invitations that said “All you need is love… and breakfast!” with our initials and the date.
Table Markers: We used names instead of numbers. We had seen online that people used different elements of their lives as table markers, so we decided again to stick with the theme. We used cereal names as table names (ex. Sean’s Irish family was seated at Lucky Charms). We didn’t know how to put them on the table, but I had been saving boxes since we got engaged, so we had over 30 varieties to choose from. In the end, we decided to go simple, and just put the boxes directly on the tables — instead of cutting or framing. We figured they would “set the table” with the milk bottles and spoons — for a well-balanced breakfast. We glued some of those glass stones in the bottom to keep them weighed down.
Centerpieces: My mom and I purchased milk bottles to use as vases from a local antique shop and a local farm. We tied them with twisted paper cord, which was both easier to work with and much cheaper than ribbon. We tucked a plastic spoon in each behind the bow — we used the plastic spoons that look like silver. (My mom got these with a rebate deal, so they were actually free!)
Bridesmaid Dresses & Tuxes: I was never a girl who grew up with a vision of what my wedding should look like. This made it both easy and hard to deal with bridesmaid dresses. I have never been a matchy-matchy person. When I pick out rugs or clothes or anything I go for things that work together, not match. The three bridesmaids and I went to David’s Bridal — because of the convenience and selection — and spent a couple of hours pulling styles and colors. We found three strong colors that we all loved, that looked great together, and that were fall-ish. They were all shades of purple (a brownish one, a pinkish one, and a blueish one). Since there were three girls we also wanted three different styles — we went above-the-knee length, with varying necklines — all three worked really well together. The girls only spent between $100-$150 on their dresses, too.
Given the girls’ color scheme we opted to go with chocolate brown tuxedos instead of black. We went to Giblees in Danvers, MA. They are fantastic! They had exactly what we wanted and we actually paid a few dollars less than it would have cost at a large chain rental place. They had a perfect purple tie that incorporated a couple of shades. They were beautiful.
Flowers: We wanted seasonal flowers for environmental and budgetary reasons. Whole Foods Market provides a great variety that have been harvested in an earth-friendly way. We went to our local Whole Foods and spoke with a team member from Floral. We knew it would work perfectly — and didn’t have to put in our final order until 2 weeks before the big day. The flowers were gorgeous and they helped us with selection. The bouquets and boutonnieres were all hand wrapped and beautiful. I highly recommend working with WFM on flowers. (I must say my bouquet was only $19.99 and the bridesmaids were $14.99!!).
Because we were using the milk bottles, we knew we didn’t need to fit in a ton of flowers. We opted for three colors of gerber daisies and some ruskus for greens. We were charged the regular price that they charge all customers — even though they ordered 200+ just for us. We picked these up the morning before the wedding and did the cutting and arranging ourselves.
Venue: We knew we wanted a fall daytime wedding and we have very similar taste on environments that are attractive to us. We like rustic. We like old, colonial houses. We looked at a barn to have our reception in. In the end, we wanted something with a warm feel. The Tewksbury Country Club fit in our budget and in our vision. They have a “lodge” feel with a large fireplace, exposed beams, and cathedral ceilings. We fell in love with the look of the place. We have heard nothing but rave reviews from our guests.
A Few Other Tidbits
Anyone who has ever planned a wedding or big event knows that there are a lot of details and moving pieces, and lots of work to get done.
Have a Support System
I am not the kind of person who told people about my wedding. Most of the people I work with didn’t even know I was engaged. I also found I talked a lot to Sean about the wedding, but I didn’t want him to lose his mind. I knew more of the planning fell on my shoulders, so I didn’t want to wear down his interest so that when I really needed his opinion he’d still be interested. So I had to turn somewhere else: my mom was a huge help in all of this, as was my sister-in-law and my aunt.
Sean was great through everything and pitched in on all the major decisions — this was extremely helpful. We got engaged on October 30, 2009 and got married on October 30, 2010. I had exactly a year to get this done. The biggest deal for me was securing a date and a place.
In order to choose a place, we had to have an idea of how many guests we would have. So we asked our families and started putting together our own list. We had the huge, invite everyone list, and the really slim list. We have a lot of cousins, so we knew we’d probably have to go big. Even our “slim” list was 80 people. We knew we were looking for places that could accommodate about 200 people. This helped us narrow down a few places. We also knew we were going to get married in my church where we live, so this kept us to a 20-mile or so radius from there. Consider all of your options, visit places, and then start ruling things out.
We looked at places that required you to hire a caterer, tables and chairs, etc. and we looked at places that did everything in-house. We got quotes from rental places and caterers and in the end realized we could only afford an all-inclusive place. I think we would have loved to go lavish with a chef and personally designed menu, but in the end this was not realistic for 200 people. This narrowed our possible sites again. Tewksbury Country Club was a great choice for us. The food selection, the ambience, the location were all perfect. The staff made everything go very smoothly as well. We were very pleased with this decision.
Decide What Is Most Important to You
We then looked for a photographer — this was something I consider to be one of the most important parts of the day. If you’re going to spend all this time and money on something, we wanted to make sure we were going to remember it. A close friend of mine also videoed the wedding — otherwise we would have also had to consider hiring a videographer. Looking back on the videos we’ve already seen from family members — it’s incredible to see it all live and in action. Decide what you think is most important for you as a couple and go for it.
I did a lot of googling and quickly knew I wanted the photojournalistic style. I came across the Wedding Photo Journalist Association (WPJA) website and searched its list of members by area and price range. I emailed a couple of people there for quotes and information. I fell in love with Amanda Borozinski’s work — she also had an extremely reasonable photo package.
Enlist Your Friends and Family
Doing the work ourselves meant a lot of decisions and a lot of actual stuff to do. My mom and I worked on invitation fonts and wording. We got opinions from Sean and his mom. Once we were good to go, however, we had a lot of cutting and production to take care of. Instead of doing it all ourselves, we decided it was okay to ask for help (and it is!). We set one date in the summer for an “invitation-making party” — my mom and I worked for hours and hours the weeks and days ahead to make sure everything we could do on our end was done — this is critical — you don’t want people coming to help and there isn’t anything for them to do yet, or you don’t have enough jobs for everyone. We had close family and bridesmaids come over and punch holes in the invitations, put them together with ribbon, do the embossing, etc. It took only a couple of hours. In fact, we ran out of invitation stuff to do… so we were able to use the time to tie up our milk bottle centerpieces with the paper twist. We had snacks and music and lots of laughs … and it didn’t really feel like work!”
If you’re interested in finding out more about this wedding, check out Amanda’s site http://www.borophotos.com for more photography. Amanda is a New England area wedding photographer.
All images courtesy of Boro: Creative Visions. All Rights Reserved.
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