I was one of those Do It Yourself (DIY) Brides. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Everything turned out GREAT..that I had control of (as with any wedding, right?)
We did not want to spend an arm and a leg on our wedding festivities. You can get suckered into thinking a lot of things are important from vendors and you have to keep in mind: what do you remember about weddings that you have been to and what did you like/dislike?
The Blue Dress Barn was the first place we looked at and I knew it was perfect. Amy (the owner) was lovely to work with and definitely helped make sure we had everything we needed for the rehersal and the day of. She is also easy to get hold of and responds quickly to e-mails once you have set up your wedding with The Blue Dress Barn. (Make sure to call her if you haven't signed on with her yet though). They also have a new spot! The Blue Dress Barn is very shabby-chique, Mill Creek Barn is more country-looking but also very cute!
Food: I remember food at two weddings ever. 1) Shaina and Matt had an intimate beautiful wedding at a country club and the steak that I was served was amazing. It's very seldom that I order a rare steak and get it done properly (still red). That was a great steak. 2) Jen and Dan had a great Tappas Menu in Grand Rapids. Yum!
Photographer: I really didn't think that my photographer was that important when we were looking. I thought I would like pictures, but how often was I going to be looking at them? This thought process was so wrong. I have been using my wedding photos on tons of things, I even put together some great albums on Snapfish for the parents and grandparents. I also wasn't that excited by the photographers that I had researched. Then I took a look at Melissa's website. Telltale Photography is just plain beautiful. She was so professional, and was probably the biggest help as far as wedding planning ever. She definitely makes you more excited for the big day. All of the photos that I am posting on this blog are by Melissa of Telltale Photography. Make sure to check out all of the beautiful pictures of other weddings on her blog! If there's one thing not to skimp on for your wedding, it is definitly the photographer!!!!!!!! (sidenote: I have heard a lot of horror stories of photographers holding your photos for months, Melissa got them to us FAST, I've noticed that she makes getting the photos to the couples a priority.)
Flowers: I had this idea to make paper flowers. I think I decided on it somewhere between looking at http://www.offbeatbride.com/ and going to the paper warehouse in Ann Arbor to pick out invite paper. You can order her paper online at http://handmade-paper.us/ but if you go there during hours you can ring the doorbell and wander through a warehouse of paper-wonders.
I didn't want to be folding a bunch of origami flowers though, so I did some research and found this fantastic paper flower pattern that you can really apply to any detailing and make your own on http://www.craftstylish.com/. The wedding party even got their own personalized boquets, boutineers, and corsages with the paper flowers. **Warning** Altough this is a great cost-saving technique and it looks really cool too, it is very time consuming. Ask my husband.
Bridesmaids/Groomsmen: I think black, brown and navy are wonderful base colors and your wedding party can wear it again. We just had the guys wear black suits and the girls wear a black dress. We were already asking them to come out to a distance (either out of town or out of state) and I hated to ask them to spend more money on what they were going to wear. A tux is usually a $200 + rental and bridemaids dresses are not only expensive, but rarely finished in the back or done properly to your size. If you do want all exactly matching colors, please, go to J. Crew. You can get a beautiful dress, finished in the back, fitting correctly when it's sent to you (no cost in alterations!), with quality fabric. We gave the guys their matching ties and I hand wove the wraps for all of my ladies. I don't think anyone noticed or cared that it wasn't all matching excatly.
Paula Zaragoza makes the most amazing cheescake ever. Also I tend to think cheesecake is the best kind of cake ever. I'm excited to bust into that top portion that we froze for the 1 year anniversary! If she ever gets a website up, I'll post it for you.
And A Quick Last Note on Zack's Tux and my Dress:
We bought Zack's tux at Kositchek's in downtown Lansing. My dress was from Fantastic Finds in Lansing (over by Eastwood Town Center), and my hat was handmade by the awesome guys of Ignatuis Hats!
Thank you to everyone who helped and who made our day so special, we're having a great time being married (and we are just as busy as when we were wedding planning!)
Other places talking about our wedding/wedding pictures:http://www.telltalephotography.com/