HOW WE PLANNED
As someone in the wedding industry, it held no surprise when I knew what I wanted my wedding to look and feel like, and being I have worked with countless vendors, I was able to decide what was going to work and not.
So, we did a DIY wedding with some of my favorites. We had roughly 9 months to plan and prepare so we had to get a move on.
That first week of wedding planning was a breeze! I had previously searched for venues that would allow us to be outdoors, stay on the property, and was somewhere between Detroit and Grand Rapids. I brainstormed as many options were out of our price range, and it hit me-- Airbnb. The thing with Airbnb-- you have to check the rules to see if they allow events. SO our of thousands of rentals, only 3 could accommodate a large group to stay on the property, and of those 3, only ONE allowed events- Hermitage Hills Estate.
Trevor and I went and checked it out. We took the 2 hour drive one weekend and got to see the beautiful property with 4 ponds, 40 acres of land, a walnut grove and a huge BEAUTIFUL Estate that up to 25 people could sleep in. In addition, they had hook-ups on the property for people the bring their travel trailers and campers, and had areas where tent camping was allowed. AND they had the date we wanted open- on our dating anniversary- June 30th. It was a no-brainer, we booked the venue without seeing any others. And honestly, that was the name of the game when we started booking stuff. We didn't overthink it, or keep searching even when it felt so right- we just sprung on it and moved onto the next thing.
There was only one thing that took longer than usual to book- The Photographer. As a photog myself, I wanted to find someone that spoke to my style- full, true to color. Somewhat candid and posed and DAMN it was hard. I searched and searched online, contacted so many people- many with no response (I HATE THAT.) and others who were booked, or their portfolio didn't match the vision. Trev stepped in. There were a few photographers he went to College of Creative Studies (CCS) with who did weddings. That is how I met Carina.
Carina was quick to reply, showed me her beautifully color-explosive images, met with me quickly and we just clicked. I booked her on spot because I didn't want her to walk away and get booked for our date with someone else. I know it can happen, because I have seen it happen to my potential couples before.
SO in a month's time, we had venue + date booked, DJ booked, photographer booked, wedding gown ordered, food + beverage booked, save the dates made (Trevor made them!) and sent to be printed, numerous of succulents propagated, Trevor's suit picked out, and bouquets ordered (they were clay flowers! Still have my bouquet sitting next to me on my desk). We were cruising, we kept it up throughout the entire planning process.
When the new year hit, I asked my bridesmaids to come over once a week to help me with decorations, centerpieces, and tablescapes. I made them dinner every time along with provide wine, and we busted it out! We made paper mache hot air balloons, paper flowers for the toss bouquet, giant paper flowers for the wedding aisle, little egg crate "flower" petals for behind the headtable and cardboard petals for under the planters. On other nights I had off, Trev + I designed our wedding invites and RSVP cards, sent them to be printed, I planted little baby succulents, designed our guest book with our engagement photos, picked out bridesmaid dresses + groomsmen suits, made our snapchat filter, hired Coldstone for a late night treat, folded literally 500 paper cranes, strung the cranes on a rope, found records, and wrote guest names on each record (and even tried to match genre and album cover to each guest) and did the seating chart, planned the honeymoon, booked our airbnbs, flights, and excursions, helped mom design our wedding cake, filled and sent out invites. It was a LOT of work. On top of all that, we ordered the cups, napkins, plates, utensils, champagne flutes, and everything else. PLUS all the planning for the bridal shower, including making those invites and shower gifts. Listen, doing a DIY wedding is not for the faint of heart, but we had a vision and I think we nailed it.
Luckily, WeddingWire has a great free planning calendar and checklist to guide you on the process. There were a few things out of order (in my opinion) and some things that were forgotten, but it helped tremendously! I don't know if they still have that for new couples or not, but I sure hope so. If not, I have something up my sleeve :)
Stay tuned for Part 4- wedding week!