On September 17th, 2017, Jay and I got married in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Maine. It took nearly two years to plan, with the decor and a lot of other aspects of the wedding done entirely by me (and some help from Jay), and I wouldn't have changed a thing about it.
Like the majority of weddings, not everything went 100% perfect, but what some people call mishaps, we called stories. And ours will be remembered for years to come.
If you're reading this, it's likely you came here from Pinterest, so I'll spend this post discussing our vendors, our wedding party attire, and many of the DIY aspects you may have seen on my Pinterest board. If you have any questions at all, please comment on the post and I'll be sure to get back to you!
So let's get started
Ed & Aileen Photography
I'm still sobbing over how amazing all of our photos are. They are a husband and wife team out of Chicago, who actually found ME on Reddit, and made me an offer I couldn't refuse. I took a chance on them and it was the best decision ever made for our wedding. They took our engagement photos as well when they were out this way for another wedding, so we had got to know them a bit prior to the big day.
I didn't really have any specific shot requests (minus wanting some detail shots of things I made) because I wanted them to just do their thing. They captured every important moment, plus ones I could have never even dreamed of. I found myself wondering how they managed to get certain photos, like many of our guests mid-laugh and having the time of their lives, since I know they couldn't be everywhere at all times. Their talent goes unrivaled and it's clear they have an absolute passion for capturing couples and their guests on one of the best days of their lives.
If you have it in your budget to pay travel expenses and their worth-while price tag, and choose them to photograph your big day, you won't be disappointed.
Cards & Pockets
For 1.5 years I poured my heart and soul into what would be the first impression guests would receive of our wedding, our invitations, and I wanted them nothing less than perfect. This is my profession, after all, and what kind of designer doesn't put a lot of thought and effort into their own wedding invitations?
Despite doing the design work entirely myself, and even making a few of the assets, these invitations were still relatively expensive - around $400 expensive. Everything aside from the Save the Dates were printed via Cards and Pockets; all envelopes were also purchased through them as well. For a full breakdown of my invitations and their cost, check out my past blog post about them here.
Cards and Pockets are an AMAZING small, local (to MA) company that brought my entire vision to life in the most affordable way possible. Their prices are super reasonable, they have a million different colors, and the quality is great.
Nick Cardinale Visuals
Nick is my cousin and a budding professional videographer. He's shot high-end weddings with a team of videographers, but was excited to experiment creatively with my wedding, which he did on his own. He offered his services to me as a gift and the results has blown us away.
You can let his work speak for itself by watching our wedding video here if you'd like!
This was the amazing barn venue where our reception took place. Greg and Deborah are the owners and were amazing to work with throughout the entire process. When I booked the venue back in March of 2016, it cost me just $3,500 for a Sunday wedding. They have since gone up in price, but they're worth looking into.
In addition to being affordable, Hardy Farm also remained very hands off when it came to planning the rest of my wedding – if you’re a savvy, crazy coupon lady like I am, this will typically work in your favor. Allowing us to bring in all of our own vendors meant I was able to shop around and get the best price or deal I could find instead of getting stuck with a required vendor charging non-negotiable prices with minimums.
Their alcohol policy was also a massive money saver. I was able to provide and serve all of our own alcohol without the need to hire/tip a bartender, provided I purchased the very reasonable, required wedding insurance that covers host-liquor liability. This gave me free reign to once again shop around for sales/deals on alcohol, allowed guests to serve themselves without ever having to open their wallets, and ensured our wedding was one to remember for years to come.
The price of the barn rental also included a few extra goodies such as use of the fire pit (s’mores bar, anyone?), the patio, the entire grounds, use of their lawn games, and even a few bits of signage and decor.
For an additional $600, I was able to rent their wooden farm tables and chairs – stunning and elegant in their own right, especially when paired with the surrounding barn. When the typical, boring plastic tables and chairs you often find at weddings are priced the same, it would have been foolish for me to pass them up. I was even able to skip out on tablecloths and went with a much cheaper table runner so their rustic charm would become part of my aesthetic.
There was only one issue I had with Hardy Farm during our two year relationship, but it wasn't anything major. Because we had a Sunday wedding, there was a wedding the night before ours and they had until noon on the day of my wedding to checkout. Not being able to get into the venue until noon, with the ceremony starting at 3PM, 25 minutes away, made setup extremely stressful. By the time we were allowed in, they still didn't have all the tables and chairs inside the barn, and everyone was feeling the pressure. With the DIY aspects of our wedding, there was a LOT to setup, and the entire wedding party along with their spouses and our immediate families had to pitch in. When the wedding party had to leave, my setup coordinator and my bridesmaid's husband stayed behind to finish the job, saving the day.
There was also a few bits of miscommunication about check-in time. At one point, they told my dad we could come at 11AM, which wasn't the case. Another time they had accidentally sent me a form saying that we could get in at 9AM, which was just an honest mistake (sent Thursdays form instead of Sunday's) and thankfully resolved before the wedding.
Overall, our experience with Hardy Farm was nothing short of amazing and our guests continuously tell us it was one of the most stunning venues they have ever seen.
Leslie's Catering Company
Leslie is based out of Maine and did our BBQ buffet style food for our guests. She has a "pick your own pricing" sort of model where she'll create an awesome menu for you based on a price and number of guests you give her.
We fed 110 people for only $1,200 - this price included a spectacular amount of options (which you can see in the photo below) as well as the heavy plastic plates/silverware, servingware, her staff, travel, cake cutting, and cleanup. It was literally a steal.
Leslie was the sweetest ever to work with, met with us to do a free taste testing prior to the wedding, and provided enough food so that our guests could go up and get seconds and thirds if they desired. Our food wasn't super fancy, it was BBQ buffet style, but we felt it catered to a lot of different tastes and diets. Everyone raved about the pulled pork and the scallion cheese ball!
Cakes For All Seasons
While I don't exactly regret hiring her, this was the only vendor I had finally felt like a "bridezilla" about. When you pay a LOT of money for something and it doesn't turn out at all like you had planned, it's hard not to!
The cake, seen in the photo below, was not what I requested. I did ask for a birch cake, but the cake was supposed to be gray (not white) and the buttercream was supposed to be smooth, not rough. The chocolate pinecones were supposed to be staggered on different tiers, not clumped on top.
I provided Lisa, the owner/baker, with an illustration and inspirtation photo (also seen below) of what I wanted, but it sounds as if she was swamped the weekend of my wedding and my cake just didn't take priority. I was charged $600 for this cake.
That being said, there were also lots of positives. It's clear Lisa is a talented artist based on her photos/portfolio and despite the miscommunication in the design of my cake, it was freaking DELICIOUS! I don't even really like cake, but I loved hers. It was perfection. Lisa also ended up staying later to help my coordinator do some setup of my wedding, which is not at all something she had to do. I'm incredibly thankful for this!
In the end, she generously refunded me for half the cake. I hated having to be "that bride," because I'm not at all picky, but the cake is such a big focal point and I had such high hopes, so it was hard not to be sad. If you're looking for a baker in the Maine area, however, don't let me deter you from hiring her. Every business has its bad days.
DIY Dreams To Reality
In exchange for me building her a website, I hired my friend, Christina (who is co-owner of DIYDTR), to help strictly with the setup of our wedding, since I knew it wasn't going to be an easy feat I could do myself. Christina's business does all sorts of event planning, party planning, paint nights, and more!
While I had taken a lot of photos of how I wanted things up prior to our wedding, there were a few things she had to make up as she went along. She has such a knack for tasteful decorating and despite some of our decor elements going missing during the chaos that was unpacking, she found a way to do without and still make everything look amazing. She quite literally saved the day and our wedding wouldn't have been setup in time without her.
I found Ashley's Salon through Wedding Wire, a mother/daughter team out of Maine. Ashley was quick to respond to my messages and questions and was so easy going. She was upfront and honest about things I would need in order to achieve the style I was looking for, and also extremely flexible with my bridesmaids about whether or not they were getting their hair done and what they wanted.
I took a chance and hired her without a hair trial, as we were 4 hours away from her location, and she did not at all disappoint. I had a reference image for the style I wanted and she somehow made it even better. She also did hairstyles for my mother and 2 of my bridesmaids, and all of them looked absolutely gorgeous.
Her pricing was also super reasonable, which was what attracted me to her services in the first place. My hair was only $80 and my girls' paid $60. Her travel fee, for an hour and a half drive, was just $50. She arrived on time and finished within the timeframe we discussed.
Ashley's work on my hair quite literally stole the show. I received more compliments about my hair than I did my dress and it was the talk of the night!
While my hair was naturally long, she recommended I get extensions to achieve the volume the hairstyle required. I ended up finding some really affordable options on Amazon, but she was leary about their quality and said I should order more than one. So I went and ordered the more affordable one for $30 and purchased the still decently priced $86 one in hopes I could get away with not having to purchase two of those. They both matched my hair color perfectly - Ashley used all of the $80 one and then filled in with the $30 one as needed.
The hair vine/wire I used can be found on Amazon here. They aren't super long, so I purchased and used two. There's a coupon code in the listing if you purchase two or more, which brought the price to around $18. They held up awesome the whole day.
My cousin Andrea is a professional make-up artist and generously offered to do my make-up as my wedding gift. For those who don't know me, I've never worn a single lick of makeup in my life and I was entirely set on skipping it for the wedding. She convinced me otherwise, and ensured she would go the natural route so I would still look and feel like myself.
And she was right. Andrea did a fantastic job - TOO good, in fact, as now my husband is begging me to buy mascara and wear it on a daily basis because of how much it brought out my eyes.
Kelly Hayden-Wimpory, Justice of the Peace
Kelly married my husband and I on the top of Cathedral Ledge in the White Mountains - she brought our story, and our commitment, to life in front of all of our favorite people in our favorite place on Earth.
She was patient and kind with us before, during and after the wedding. She assisted me with any questions I had, helped us search for a town in NH open on the weekends so we could get our marriage license, gave me tons of ceremony samples so that I could write ours, and was still answering questions about my name change even a week after the wedding.
Not only that, but Kelly was kind enough to bear with us when we forgot our RINGS, marriage license AND final payment upon arriving for the ceremony. She started the ceremony while the rings/license were on their way and even preformed without the rest of her payment, which she allowed me to submit the next day.
We couldn't have found a better JP for our amazing ceremony!
My mom surprised us with 100+ cookie favors, made by Jackie from Moonlight Sweets. The cookies she makes never ceases to amaze me! They were a perfect little addition to our place setting and our guests loved them - can never go wrong with food!
Attire for our wedding party was extremely important to me. I'm a control freak when it comes to consistency, and really wanted every aspect of my wedding to tie together into one consistent "brand" - attire was a huge part of that!
With that said, I made sure to find extremely affordable options and even paid for the majority of the accessories for both our bridesmaids and groomsmen.
My thought process behind both the groomsmen and bridesmaids was to have them in different shades of gray to match the mountain range spectrum on our invitations, with the groom being in the lightest gray and the bride being in white.
So, for the groomsmen suits, I picked out a dark gray in-store at the place we ended up going with for suit rentals - Main Street Formals. For MONTHS I was searching for a place where the boys could rent or purchase their suits for less than $150. Places like Men's Warehouse and other big name stores wanted hundreds of dollars, and I hated the thought of our friends spending that much money on a suit they didn't even pick out or get to keep.
When I heard about Main Street Formals from one of my wedding groups, I decided to check into their pricing and was floored when I was told my "vision" would only be $123 per guy. This included the shirt, vest, jacket, pants and all alterations needed. The boys were very happy with the price tag, and looked absolutely perfect.
I purchased their yellow ties and socks at Tiemart for only $5 each! Tiemart had some of the best customer service, even following me on Instragram and picking me as a winner for one of their contests. It was so refreshing to find such affordable ties after most of my research was yielding $25+ results.
Their suspenders were purchased from The Suspender Store. While Tiemart offered extremely affordable suspenders, they only had the thin ones whereas I wanted the 1.5" thicker ones. The Suspender Store offered the size I wanted for just $10.99 each, so I considered it a win.
The shoes gave me the hardest time, as the majority of men's dress shoes were $60+ and I had offered to pay for them for all the groomsmen. I eventually found a semi-affordable pair, within the right shade of brown, on Amazon for $40. The boys had no complaints about them being uncomfortable, and they looked awesome with both the dark and light gray suits.
Pocket squares were made entirely by me. I couldn't believe the prices I was seeing when researching pocket squares - tiny little squares of fabric for $30? What kind of shit is that!? I purchased some fabric on Etsy for about $10, sewed them up, and designed them to look like the peaks of mountains with a little bit of heat transfer vinyl that I heat pressed on. Can't beat 5 pocket squares for $10!
I unfortunately did not know what their pocket sizes were actually going to be, so I based mine off of the "standard" size. Looking through our pictures, however, I can tell I made them a tad too big, but I'll gladly take that over having to dish out $100 for what are essentially scraps of fabric.
The cufflinks were a last minute addition that ended up being one of my most favorite elements about our wedding party attire. Brian, over at The Plasmatorium, turned my flat little icons (used throughout our invitation suite) into beautiful little cufflinks for all the guys.
There were 5 boys and 5 icons, so how could I deprive them? The groomsmen had a fight to the death over who got which one - that alone was worth it.
The final touch to complete the groomsmen outfits were the boutonnieres, made by me. I had always envisioned Jay and I having the sunflower details, since the yellow stands out the most, and the groomsmen/bridesmaids would have the woodsy pinecone/spruce tree details to complete the mountain feel.
They were relatively simple to make, using a piece of the spruce tree as the base and wire to wrap around the pinecone, tying it all together with some twine and hot glue on top of the pin. You can see the full tutorial on another blog post here. I had made the boutonnieres 3 days before the wedding, however, and keeping them alive was somewhat of a challenge. I was told to keep them misted and refrigerated, but I ended up having to remake one that didn't fare as well as the rest.
That being said, they looked amazing and matched so well with the bridesmaids bouquets!
Jay's attire didn't differ too much from the boys, but I thought a few things were worth mentioning. He, too, got his suit, tie, suspenders, socks, shoes, and cufflinks at the same places listed above.
Sadly, his pocket square wasn't dark enough in comparison to his suit - it was supposed to a similar color to his groomsmens' suits, just as their pocket square colors were similar to his suit. Aside from looking at it in a magazine, I didn't really get to see his suit until a few days before the wedding, well after having the pocket squares already made.
Like my sunflower bouquet, I wanted his boutonniere to be a simple sunflower. Sadly for us, it was a last minute project that I didn't even attempt until the morning of our wedding, and I didn't realize hot glue was quite literally the worst adhesive of all time. If you look closely at the pictures of our ceremony, you'll find his boutonniere missing - it lasted just long enough for his groomsmen/groom photos before falling off an hour prior to the ceremony. Thankfully, it's a minor detail gone missing, and looked good while it lasted.
FATHER OF THE BRIDE
I'm so lucky to have the dad that I have, and him walking me down the aisle was a moment in time I'm so glad we got to share. I wanted him to match the groomsmen attire wise, but have one detail that made him standout. So, instead of a yellow tie and socks, I got him light gray ones. This way, he still looked "bridal" enough to match me (plus it was the same color as the ribbon in my bouquet), but didn't match the actual groom.
And of course, I added a little message on the back of his tie (with my Silhouette Cameo and my heat press) that sent him into a blubbering mess <3
For the bridesmaids, I wanted them to be a slightly lighter gray than the groomsmen, but remain consistent with them for everything else.
Like the groomsmen, I wanted their dresses to not cost $200 only for them to wear it once or twice and forever banish it the back of their closet. It's unfair to expect so much time and money from the people closest to you, who YOU asked to be a part of YOUR wedding, so this was always my top priority.
And guess what? I freaking nailed it. Their dresses cost them a whopping $32, came in a wide variety of sizes (small, medium, large, XL, etc), were extremely well made, and they looked absolutely adorable. I had assumed this dress was too good to be true, so ordered one for myself first to try on. Suffice to say, I kept it and wear it regularly!
This dress comes in a decent variety of colors and can be found on Amazon.com with free 2 day shipping, so there was no MONTHS of waiting for them to come in like David's Bridal. It was an absolute steal.
Their yellow sashes were purchased separately and were not an accessory to the Amazon dress. I found them on Etsy from HerLovelySupplies shop and ordered them in 6' long x 3" wide. This was surprisingly the cheapest I found for double sided satin ribbon - they cost me $11 each.
Their little sunflower necklaces were also an inexpensive Etsy find, made by NikushJewelryArt. I ordered the silver plated, 17cm length and they came to just $20 each.
I knew almost immediately that I wanted yellow flats for my girls and myself, as they would make for a great pop of color in our gray palette while also being comfortable.
It took a while to find the right shoe - I struck out numerous times with ones I thought would be the perfect pair, but didn't have the sizes we needed. It wasn't until I became desperate and started searching eBay that I found "the one." I first bought a pair for myself, knowing how eBay can be with overseas items (which these were). Much to my surprise, they fit perfectly and seemed really well made. The seller was super accommodating, going so far as to special order a size for one of my bridesmaids that he didn't have available in the listing.
After shipping, their shoes came to around $20 - I couldn't have asked for more affordable shoes! You can find them here on eBay.
Saving the best for last: the bridesmaids' bouquets. I had found a picture on Pinterest of an all-pinecone bouquet (nothing else) and thought it was the most unique thing I had ever seen. While I knew I wanted sunflowers for my own bouquet, it was clear that pinecones for the girls was the direction I was heading in.
Despite any reference images, there were very few tutorials out there that explained how these bouquets were made. I ended up finding one, with terribly small pictures, that got me through the jist of it in order to take it into my own hands from there. You can find my tutorial post here if you're interested in creating your own!
It's true that these bouquets were my #1 favorite aspect/detail of my entire wedding, and they were well worth the pain in the ass to make. And the best part? The majority of the materials were completely free!
I typically hate pictures of myself and have rather low self-esteem about my appearance, but looking back on our photos, I truly felt beautiful that day. Instead of cringing and closing the pictures quickly, I was smiling at them instead. Our photographers captured the pure happiness on my face that day and I'm so glad I can feel confident about them. Of course, my attire was part of what made me feel the way I did.
Less than a week after my engagement, I admittedly found my dress. At almost two years in advanced, finding a dress that early is often a risk, but I never once fell out of love with it. I grew up never being the girly-girl type, often dressing in boy clothes until I went to college and started getting into fashion more. I wanted my dress to be something totally different than what people were expecting me to wear, and this dress didn't disappoint. It was stunning and sexy and embraced my figure exactly as it should have.
I found this dress at my local David's Bridal, on sale for $650. You can see it here online. I got the dress in "white."
My shoes weren't your typical bridal heels - I've never worn heels for more than 5 seconds in my life, so I wasn't about to subject myself to embarrassment and/or possible death by tripping and falling off a 500ft mountain. Instead, I wore the same exact shoe as my bridesmaids! The pop of yellow matched perfectly with my bouquet.
Since I've never been much of a jewelry person aside from a necklace, that is exactly what I wore on my wedding day. No earrings, no bracelets, just a simple little necklace to tie it all together.
Etsy pulled through again with a pinecone necklace from MignonandMignon, which coordinated perfectly with the pinecone cufflink Jay had chosen. It cost $14.50 and I have been wearing it since the wedding day, almost 4 months later.
If there was one thing we saved a boatload of money on, it was not having to hire a florist. With my girls and their pinecone bouquets and our centerpieces being nothing but cut logs, I decided to forgo a florist and just wing my own bouquet.
We picked sunflowers from a field on the way to the wedding and my mom picked up some baby's breath at a local grocery store. The sunflowers were looking a little droopy the day of the wedding, but I made my bouquet that morning, adding some twine and ribbon to keep it all together.
Sure, it's no professional bouquet, but I have no regrets. It looked absolutely fine in all our photographs and I was actually quite fond of its floppy, rustic charm.
My fiance and I purchased 6 acres of land to build our first and forever home on just a few months after our engagement. I knew immediately I wanted rings made from a tree on our land, and contacted Staghead Designs to do the job. They had great reviews and their work looked stunning. I was very pleased with our outcome!
The initial "building the custom rings" process took a long time, but it was a combination of me needing a few days to make decisions, get proper sizing, Staghead being slightly slow to respond at times, getting quotes from their jeweler for multiple materials taking a long time, and an issue with emails not going through once. I started our email conversation at the end of December, placed our order in March, and had them about 12 weeks later.
The finished product is absolutely breathtaking. They nailed my custom "bark-looking" engraving on the outside of my ring and were able to use the birch tree from our land for our inner bands. They feel and look well made and have held up perfectly these last few months with special care. These rings are truly one of a kind, made from the land my husband and I will be building our life and future on.
If one thing's for certain, it's that wedding party attire was one of my most favorite things to plan for this wedding. Coordinating colors while keeping consistent with our aesthetic, and finding a balance of affordability, was no easy feat, but I like to believe we pulled it off.
It helped that we had the world's best wedding party as well :)
Because of Hardy Farm's stunning barn, I didn't feel the need to go crazy with the decor. In fact, aside from the centerpieces and custom tables we had built for things like the cake and cardbox, we added nothing else to the venue.
The few things we did have, however, were made entirely by myself (with some help from my husband a few times).
One of the first things I tackled shortly after getting engaged was our cardbox. I had come up with the idea of building a mini replica of the house (or part of it, at least) we're building and having a slot in the roof for the cards to go in. Since the money we were gifted at our wedding was going entirely to this house, I thought it would a sentimental touch to our family and friends, knowing their gift was helping us build our future life together.
It took Jay all of an hour to cut and build this house and me almost two years to paint/decorate (because laziness). The final results, however, were perfect!
If there is one thing about our wedding our guests will never forget, it was the Booze Canoe. Keeping with the mountain/forest/camping theme, I decided I wanted to throw all of the alcohol in one giant canoe for our guests to go and grab themselves.
Because of Hardy's Farm alcohol policy, this was possible for us (and a huge money saver). We supplied various beers, various wines, and various liquors along with juices and other accessories to make mixed drinks. All was completely self serve, with no need to tip a bartender because there wasn't one.
My dad and I lined the canoe with rolls of the cooler-type insulation and stuck it down with double sided tape. It held up perfectly and helped keep the drinks and ice cold throughout the day.
Both Jay and I are non-drinkers, but this had to be one of my personal favorite aspects of our wedding. People had an absolute blast.
I accidentally came across these birch tree straws, for our drinks tables, on Amazon and almost hospitalized myself over the cuteness. How perfect could these be? You can get a pack of 144 of them here on Amazon. I personalized a bunch of them with little name/date flags that I cut out of vinyl using my Silhouette Cameo.
If you're looking for a low-cost centerpiece for your tables, and have the tools to cut wood yourself, this is the way to go.
With 6 acres of land comes 6 acres of trees, with plenty needing to come down for either the house or because they were dead. With some help from my step-dad, we spent a day on our land chain-sawing and cutting the logs to size for all 9 tables.
Over the 1.5 years we had to plan, my mom and I collected the pinecones and moss and I searched wedding resale sites for mason jars, votives, and candles to complete the look.
The very large pinecones were the only expensive thing about these centerpieces, and I certainly could have settled for something smaller if I hadn't been so obsessed with them. I ordered 12 of them, 8-10" tall, from a shop on Etsy - sadly the seller is no longer selling pinecones, but there are a lot of other affordable options on Etsy as well. With shipping charges, it came to $80 for all 12 and was worth every penny. They were a huge hit, and I've kept them to decorate our new home with when it's done being built.
For the most part, these centerpieces were mostly free and really tied the mountain/forest theme together.
With Hardy Farm's farm tables being absolutely stunning the way they were, I knew right away tablecloths were out of the question. I opted for a gray burlap table runner instead, which we tied with a yellow ribbon bow on each end. I found these amazingly beautiful runners for super cheap on Amazon and was able to sell them afterward to recoup some of the cost.
Since we wanted our wedding party to sit with their significant others/guests, it was easier to do a sweetheart table for Jay and I. I wanted the table to look similar to the guest tables, but with a "bridal" touch. Instead of regular wood and gray table runners, we cut white birch trees, did a white table runner, and decorated with a touch of sunflowers so the table would be somewhat of a focal point.
Jay BUILT our gorgeous table by hand and I later stained it to match Hardy Farm's farm tables.
I tried originally to avoid using chargers (decorative plates that your actual plate goes on top of, what kind of shit is that?). For whatever reason, they are outrageously expensive and I always thought they were unnecessary. However, because we were having buffet style dinner, the plates would be with caterer instead of already on the table, and I thought it would look weird to just have napkins in everyone's spot.
After lots of Facebook resale searching, I ended up getting about 30 used for $15 and the remaining 60 or so at Christmas Tree Shops, 6 for $4 (this was clearance and is sadly no longer available online). Since I wanted to keep the cost low, I picked/took whatever color and opted to spray paint all 105 myself. I probably spent an additional $25 on spray paint, but feel I still made out really well considering they're normally about $2-3 each!
As for our napkins, I couldn't be as crafty - though I DID considering dyeing 105 napkins at one point. After a bit of research, I found that buying was cheaper than renting, especially since I could sell them afterward for about half my money back. LinenTablecloth.com had a really great deal on the exact color napkin I was looking for - 12 for $4.64 seemed liked a steal to me.
I printed and die-cut our menus, slipped them into the napkin fold, and added a tiny pinecone (collected in NH) on top to complete the look. Each guest also got one wine glass and one pint-sized mason jar to fill with whatever drink they wanted throughout the night.
I know a popular thing now is to write names and table numbers on a window or some sort of poster, but I went slightly old school with ours and gave everyone an individual name card, accompanied by a "map" of the tables on each level of the barn. I made the name cards with cardstock and cut them into mountains using my Silhouette Cameo.
I regretted my decision immediately after the first pinecone was sawed, but 100+ pinecones later, I was super happy with the outcome.
Jay and I had some especially hard years where we lost loved ones, and I wanted to honor their presence at our wedding. I purchased the lantern at Pier1 Imports for around $10 and did the rest of the decor in vinyl via my Silhouette Cameo. I made each side of the lantern for each person, designing their "side" with things they loved. This lantern really touched a lot of our guests and was a great additional to our wedding.
One of the things that attracted me to Hardy Farm most was the fact that they had a fire pit, on site, that we were allowed to use (and they supplied us with wood). You can't have a mountain/forest/camping wedding without s'mores, so I was stoked to set up a little s'mores bar for the guests.
I purchased the 2 gallon jars at Walmart for all the ingredients and the tall jar at Target for all the sticks. We added in some chopped logs at various heights for that staggered look and I designed a sign for the table.
You can download the sign file I designed here on my Etsy and get it printed yourself.
Like our rings, our ring box was made from a birch tree on our land. My husband cut the "lid" off of the branch and then cut the bottom to make a stable base. Using some sort of attachment for his drill, he made the hole for the rings, but birch is NOT a good wood for this - the wood is so soft and was just falling apart, so the circle was less than perfect. I sanded it down a bit and made it just good enough to fit the rings inside. He used a single nail to hold the lid to the rest of the box, allowing for it to "swivel" open and reveal the rings.
I had purchased a branding iron on Etsy, of our wedding logo, for a relatively decent price. Once again, birch wood was not the best for this and resulted in the logo looking a bit melted, but I loved it all the same.
After living in 500sqft for 5 years, you start to go insane. I evaluate every little physical thing I plan to bring into the house to make sure it's really worth the space lost. I have a no-tolerance policy for clutter and knew that if we went the traditional guestbook route, it would be stored away, never to see the light of day again.
So, with that said, I decided on a canvas guestbook! Something we could hang on the walls for our current and future house, and cherish for years to come.
I used the illustration I did of us for our save the dates and got it printed, via Canvas on Demand, into a 20x22" canvas. You can get your own custom illustration done via my Etsy shop.
In order to display the canvas, I spray painted an old wooden ladder and added a piece of wood across the third step for the canvas to sit on. To hold the sharpies, Jay cut and drilled a log for me, which I branded with our wedding logo.
What some people may consider disastrous, we consider a story to tell. It started with an oversight of the marriage certificate and our actual wedding bands, which were left back at the venue 20 minutes away. A quick phone call from one of my bridesmaids to her husband, who had stayed behind to help with setup (you da real MVP bro), and he was on his way with everything while we started the ceremony.
In the meantime, my maid of honor (and future sister in law) gave me a decorative ring of hers to use, and my step dad gave Jay his wedding band. It would be a ring "blessing" of lies, but worth it to not have to keep guests waiting.
Cue the ring exchange. I went first, and as I was slipping the imposter ring on Jay's finger, I dropped it. No biggie, right? Just pick it up, laugh and get on with it.
Eeeexcept we're on a 500ft cliff in the White Mountains, and we all watched in horror as it started bouncing its way down.
Thankfully for the ring, it rolled its way towards the groomsmen, who proceeded to DIVE for it. By sheer luck, Jay's uncle swooped in to catch the ring before it (and some of our groomsmen) plummted to its death.
Jay and I could barely get it together for the rest of our ceremony, and it was my favorite part of the day.
In the end, everything about our wedding was absolutely perfect to us. Seeing two years of planning and crafting come together, and sharing it all with your most favorite people on Earth is truly something to be desired.
If you are in the midst of planning, I hope this post helps and inspires you to adventure on in your wedding journey, because it's an amazing adventure to be had.