Saturday, February 21, 2015

Semi-DIY Wedding

I didn't start Lemon Butter Love until after I was already married so I want to backtrack a little and share some of my thoughts on wedding planning.  Planning a wedding was a really unique experience that some of you may be going through or will go through at some point or have already gone through and I imagine you will agree with me when I say it isn't a breeze.  I don't meant to toot my own horn when I say that I am pretty good at planning but I want to point out that this skill doesn't make planning a wedding simple or easy.  There are so many details to think about.  Even if you don't have preference about the type of ribbon at the base of your bouquet, you still have to decide.  Someone will ask you.

Andy and I were engaged for a full year and it was the perfect amount of time to plan our wedding.  We got all of the vendors we wanted because we were able to book early enough and we had plenty of time to figure out the best way for us to execute all the details.  Married or not, I'm sure you all know that wedding costs can easily spiral out of hand.  Almost every married couple that I talked to about this says they went over their budget.  Being the accountant that I am, I tried to manage my expectations of staying under budget but also did everything I could to make sure that we stayed at least close to budget.  My plan to stick to our budget was almost a success.

Step one, to possibly coming in close to budget, is right from the get go, you and your fiance need to decide which aspects of your wedding are really important to you.  Yes, of course everything is important, but if you try to look at it from your guests' perspective and the future you perspective (the one that has to live with the wedding that you planned), you'll have an easier time figuring it out.

I want to share with any curious/excited/overwhelmed/anxious brides-to-be out there how Andy and I navigated the wedding machine and came out happy and still thriving on the other side --

Let me start with the obvious.  The idea of spending a fortune on a dress that I'll wear one time was killing me.  I went to a few stores and was inspired by the $2,000+ dresses (and in love with one in particular) but I just couldn't bring myself to go for it.  I would rather spend $2,000 on shoes or a bag that I could use for years!  I started looking for my dress early on during our engagement and I was lucky enough to find my dress at The Bride's Project in Ann Arbor.  It was a total save.  It wasn't fun tackling the racks of dresses but I found my dress!  What sold me was it was 100% silk chiffon and it had the tag still on it so it was still technically new.  It originally had a ridiculously huge bow and a plain, straight neckline.  I had my tailor remove the absurd bow and add draping detail and give the dress a sweetheart neckline and my dress was born.  It was kind of risky to go this route but I'm so happy with how it turned out!  I found my clutch on Etsy and the peach flower is removable to I'll be able to use this again in the Spring.

My heels were a save.  I love shoes so I figured I would splurge but I ended up with this pair from Ivanka Trump at Nordstrom.  Again, I didn't like the idea of shoes that I could only wear once because they looked like bridal shoes so I went for a pinkish-nude peep-toe pump.  It was supposed to rain on our wedding day so I bought some gray Hunter boots too (why not?!).

We decided to DIY our table numbers.  You can find wire table number holders for $4 each on Etsy but my sister-in-law Ariel made her own for her wedding years ago so we followed suit.  These were less than $2 to make each.  We just wanted something that didn't distract from the centerpieces but were large enough for our guests to easily locate their seats.

Invitations were a big save.  My friend is starting a paper and card business, Paper & Tea Company,  so I was happy to be one of her first customers.  I showed her a design we liked and she was able to use our example as inspiration for our invitations.  We also wrote our guests' addresses by hand to keep it personal and set the tone that we're not having a fun wedding, not a super formal wedding.  Our invitations were perfect for us!  Thank goodness for awesome and talented friends :)

Photo cred, Scott Hagen
We decided to DIY our wedding programs and menus.  I looove nice paper and cards and pretty invitations.  But once I see them, I admire them and then awkwardly try to save them since I know the bride probably put some love into choosing them.  However, it would be kind of creepy if I saved all of my friends save the dates, invitations, wedding programs and menus, so I have to recycle them eventually.  We decided to embrace the chalkboard fad and ordered chalkboards on Etsy for our wedding program and menu.  My messy handwriting is kind of charming, right?

We DIY'ed our place cards.  I loved these Papersoure printable place cards, they were so easy.  We ordered different colored heart stickers to identify the meal choice of our guests (we found these on Etsy).  Place cards can be an area where you can get really cute and creative but Andy and I just didn't want to spend a lot of time on it.  We were just so happy to be with our friends and family so we thought a short ceremony and an open bar would get people excited, if nothing else!

A guest book seemed like kind of an outdated idea when we first started talking about what we wanted to do.  It seemed like a superfluous detail of our wedding.  But when my bridesmaid Rachel suggested we make a photobook to use as our guest book, we finally go excited about it!  We used Mixbook and we loved it.  It was a fun way to do something that could've been pretty boring!

Favors are kind of unnecessary these days in my opinion but we really love Chocolove candy bars and wanted to share our favorite chocolates!  I contacted Chocolove a few months ahead of time to get the scoop and I ordered personalized stickers on Zazzle (free shipping because I signed up for the membership).  We had fun drinking a bottle of wine and putting these stickers on our case of chocolates.

My makeup was a splurge and a save.  I ended up doing my own makeup since I tend not to wear very much on a day to day basis.  But for the wedding, I wanted to step it up a little while still feeling like myself so I decided to get eyelash extension at Lily Grace.  I was a little nervous at the thought of having glued extensions on my eyelids but Alexis at Lily Grace did an incredible job and she was super personable and fun to hang out with for the 2 1/2 hours that it took to apply them.  I also got them 3 weeks before the wedding to give myself a little buffer in case I didn't like them.  It is a little weird if you've never done it so I wouldn't recommend waiting until the wedding week to do it.  Either way, I loved them, they made me feel like a (classy) rockstar and I highly recommend them.

Our wedding cake was a splurge and a save as well.  I wanted really good wedding cake since wedding cake is the only kind of cake that I really like, so I there was no question that I wanted to get our cake from Sweet Heather Anne.  I couldn't decide on the flavor (and Andy didn't have a preference) so we ordered half lemon raspberry sour cream and half chocolate salted caramel (ah they were both soo good).  This was a 'save' for a few reasons; first we ordered three cakes to display in the dessert table fashion but we also ordered sheet cakes to supply the quantity.  It was a fraction of the cost, it still photographed beautifully and it was so delicious.  We also had our florist supply fresh blooms for decoration.  Our Lego cake topper was a gift from Andy's parents and is an ode to my husbands love of Legos <3 And finally one flavor was less expensive than the other so ordering half and half made a difference there.

We splurged on a few very important items.  Andy and his family are musicians so we had to have a live band, The Sun Messengers, and I'm so glad we did!  They had a lot of energy and we all had a great time dancing!  We also splurged on our florist, Passionflower and our photographers, Alyssa Wagner Photography (they are all so talented!), as well as Andy's shoes and suit (enter Kool Keith reference here) and last but not least, our Honeymoon in France.  Fun fact:  we chose our wedding date based on the best time of year to go on our honeymoon!

One incredible detail that I don't have a picture of is our wedding planner.  Even the most detail oriented bride still needs someone to manage the day.  We had Ana Skidmore from Two Foot Creative as our wedding planner and she was priceless!  She managed our wedding party and coordinated every thing on the rehearsal day and our wedding day.  I was on the fence about having a wedding planner and I'm so glad we just went for it.  Ana was invaluable.  If you're in Michigan and you're getting married, call Ana, I'm not kidding.

I hope you enjoyed our photos as much as we do.  We really lucked out with our photographers Alyssa and Drew!  And thanks for being one of my awesome readers, it was fun to relive the wedding in writing this post to you!  Xoxo - Charlie

My father-in-law Andy Adamson, of the Andy Adamson Quartet, hopped on the piano for a song with the Sun Messengers!

Our wedding at The Michigan Union
Peach garden roses, cafe au lait dahlias, succulents, parrot tulips and gerber daisies

* Ferragamos and Hunters *


  1. Your blog is so cute! I love this post of your wedding day! Your bouquet is gorgeous I love succulents :)

    1. Thank you, Savina! We had such a fun and special day and our vendors were fabulous! They are so talented!

  2. Your bouquet is really looking amazing and thank you so much for sharing all these shots here. I just loved them. I am also looking for best rental halls in Philadelphia for my wedding. It will be great if you can help me with some good and helpful suggestions.

    1. Thanks Wenni! I'm glad you found my post helpful! Since our wedding was in Ann Arbor, I am unfamiliar with halls in Philadelphia, but I'm sure you'll find something wonderful. To start, of course check out The Knot or Intimate Weddings and if you don't find something there, just look generally for colleges, manors, libraries, museums, restaurants or theatres in the area that you like and see if they can host your wedding. Before we decided on Ann Arbor, we were looking at the Rivera Court at the Detroit Institute of Art - that would've been so beautiful but it ended up being too small for our wedding. Also, if you have a wedding planner - I highly recommend a day-of coordinator, mine was incredible - she/he should be able to help with suggestions! So many exciting things to come for you and your fiance, good luck! - Charlie

  3. Um holy crap your wedding was PERFECT! I LOVE the bun you did for your hair! It's so elegant and cute!! We did a semi DIY wedding, made a few things and rented a few things and it turned out perfect :) We were only engaged for 3 months so I had to work FAST! That's nice you had a whole year to plan and make it perfect, def less stressful!! haha :) SO glad I found your cute blog, Charlie!

    xo, Candace | Lovely Little Rants

    1. Thank you Candace, I gracefully agree!!! We had such a perfect day and just had fun visiting with everyone and enjoying each other on a huge day we'd been planning for a year! It is great to do some DIY but not all so wedding planning isn't too stressful or too much work. That is CRAZY you got your wedding together in 3 months, good for you! Thanks for stopping by xo - Charlie


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