When I met Jake, I never would have guessed that we’d eventually become husband and wife. In 2011, we both made the terrifying decision to move to Los Angeles to work for a motivational media company, which required us to speak to hundreds of students every day. When I picked him up at the airport, I was greeted with a half-awake, somewhat cranky individual.
We’re so excited to be sharing the beautiful Jewish wedding of our beloved STG Brides Club member Melissa, a nanny and cake maker, to Nick, a design technician in a secondary school! Melissa, a self-described hopeless romantic obsessed with Disney, fairy tales, and butterflies, had been dreaming of her big day since she was a child, and did she ever bring all that enthusiasm to play when it came to planning!
Congrats! You just got engaged and are basking in the warm glow of the love of your future partner and the congratulatory gestures of family and friends. Now it dawns on you that planning a wedding is expensive and you’re not sure how to pull off a traditional wedding with the finances you and your partner currently have.
DIY Wedding at Museum of Life and Science with Vintage Boho Inspiration
Nothing says romance like posing for wedding portraits in front of a giant tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur replica. Ok, maybe not love exactly, but adventurous and playful! Which we think are the perfect words to describe this real NC bride and groom who tied the knot at The Museum of Life and Science.
Later that same day, I heard someone playing my favourite Coldplay song (“The Scientist”) on the piano by the girls’ dorm, and I looked over at my bunkmate and said, “I’m going to marry whoever is playing that!” I was being sarcastic but lo and behold, I found out the musician was that same crabby traveler I had just met. I giggled and didn’t think much of it…until I
Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Alexandra’s Florist helped the couple merged all these passions with a Midsummer Night’s Dream aesthetic, with plenty of white flowers with ivy, green leaves – and butterflies. Melissa and Nick’s gorgeous rustic chuppah featured was swathed in twigs, white flowers, and silver butterflies, and the beautiful centrepieces for the reception followed suit.
More and more couples are looking into DIY weddings and ideas because there is a notion that doing it yourself will save you money. But is it worth it?
The Museum of Life and Science is truly a monument to the creative, tech hub city of Durham. Like many NC couples, Kassy and Brandon discovered the museum to be a fun local date spot. With ever-expanding exhibits full of creatures and hands-on experimental labs, the museum opens up a universe of possibilities — one of which being, a wedding venue!
Once we got engaged, the first thing we did was talk about how we were going to pay for the wedding. It’s not the most romantic step in the planning process, but it was necessary nonetheless, especially considering how overworked (and underpaid) Jake and I were.
And we adore the unique invitations the pair designed, working with STG Recommended Vendor BigDay Designs and an architectural artist, featuring a hand-sketched illustration of their gorgeous ceremony venue, New West End Synagogue.
In the past, it was a tradition for the bride’s family to arrange and pay for most of the wedding. However, couples today are choosing to pay it for themselves, and there are a lot to spend on: wedding clothes, venue, food, decor, flowers, music, photographs, and more.
After Brandon’s rooftop proposal at the Durham Hotel, the two began planning an eclectic, eco-conscious wedding that showcased their love of the South. This blog is full of DIY wedding inspiration and proof that museum weddings are both exciting and elegant.
We quickly realized that despite some help from my side of the family, my dream of tying the knot in a steeple-roofed barn filled with cascading florals and 300 of our “closest” friends and families dining on beautiful purple linens just wasn’t going to happen. If I wanted my vision to become a reality, I was going to have to make it — literally.
We also love that the pair incorporated some awesome DIY projects into their big day, most notably Melissa’s handcrafted arches (see pic above), made from cut-up hula hoops and covered in artificial ivy and roses, to keep with the theme (she’s even shared a tutorial inside Brides Club should you wish to follow suit!) – and Nick’s heart-shaped wooden table name signs, each etched with the name of the Disney song the table in question was named for!
Like it or not, the reality is that it will cost a figurative arm and leg to pull off even a small event. Therefore, it is no little wonder that many people are going to the DIY route. Determined DIY
Bride with Boho Vintage Wedding Style
Bride Kassy was determined to host her dream wedding on a budget and without further-destroying the environment. With these goals in mind, she set to work on wedding invitations.
I’m a Pinterest addict, so I began “pinning” inspirational images right away (whom are we kidding? I’d been collecting them before I ever even met Jake). I was able to find many wedding pins that I liked — see my inspiration board here — and I remember thinking, oh, I can do that.
Photographer Chiko and videographer and Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Denee Motion captured all the special moments of the day so exquisitely – we feel as if we were there! And Smashing The Glass Recommended Vendor Toastmaster Jango kept the day running smoothly and stress-free.
Seriously, if you and your partner are DIY deities, there’s no reason why you can’t pull off an entire wedding by yourselves. However, if you’re just a regular person looking to save money by exerting a little bit of effort to do things on your own, there are ways to offset some expenses with smart planning. The consensus is that there are some things left to professionals when it comes to weddings.
Each one of their wedding invites was handmade by the bride using recycled paper from a favourite childhood print shop and the Scrap Exchange in Durham, NC. Not only do her DIY wedding invites effortlessly capture the boho style of their marriage, but they are a great example of eco-friendly wedding planning!
I would make a mock-up of said craft and jot it down on my “to-do” craft list. That list grew rapidly: I was now a budding graphic design artist, a seamstress, a florist, a chalkboard enthusiast and a wedding planner extraordinaire! Although I had helped a few of my friends plan their weddings, and I was starting to work in the event planning industry, I still had no idea what the next nine months would entail.
Melissa, the bride: We got married at New West End Synagogue in St Petersburgh Place – ever since I was a little girl, I always dreamed of getting married at this synagogue. The interior is just picturesque, with stunning stained-glass windows, too.
After the ceremony, we made our way to the Jumeirah Carlton Towers in Knightsbridge, which allows the bridal party to use their gorgeous and exclusive private park. This made for a stunning set of photos!
With endless DIY blogs scattering everywhere on the web, thousands of seemingly no-effort wedding project tutorials on Pinterest, and easy access to wholesale craft supplies online, it can be straightforward to think that all of these are doable in a short amount of time. It was already mentioned that some projects are doable or worth doing on your own, but not everything. Before you decide anything, ask yourself and your partner the following:
Impressed? Hold on, because the DIY wedding creativity is just getting started! Bride Kassy’s wedding dress has an incredible story of its own. Her mom and grandma let her cut up their wedding dresses to create a vintage bridal gown with a modern twist.
My now-husband, Jake, never doubted my abilities to craft our wedding day (maybe he should have just a tiny bit). His support and hard work, coupled with that of my spectacular Matron of Honor, really got me through the whole process.
We were sold on this DIY Jewish wedding on a budget from the moment we read in the bride’s writeup, “We wanted the wedding to be about the community coming together.” Because isn’t that really what it’s all about?
A lot of to-be-married couples are laden with much pressure about what weddings should look like. The things seen in blogs, magazine spreads, and Instagram photos may look lovely and ideal, but they may not necessarily reflect your own set of values.
Altogether, Kassy’s boho, the two-piece wedding dress was made from the lining of her mom’s bridal gown and the lace of her grandma’s. After combining the two materials, Kassy found a beautiful floral fabric on Etsy and used it as an overlay.
Even so, I still had a few meltdowns along the way, which was inevitable considering how much I took on: I made and printed all of our invites and programs, cut and fluffed 100 pom-poms, wrapped all of the floral arrangements with twine and lace until my fingers calloused over, chalkboard-painted everything and anything that had a flat surface, and glitter-bombed shoes, wooden cutouts and paper lanterns.
Super crafty couple Federica and Nathan did nearly everything either themselves or with the help of family and friends – from building their birch chuppah (from fallen trees on the groom’s family’s property!) to create their playlists to setting up on the day. Nathan’s mother grew and picked the flowers and designed Federica’s bridal bouquet. Even the photographer, Mandelette, just happened to be the groom’s cousin!
It would be nice to have millions of floating candles or for the venue to look like a winter wonderland in the middle of summer, but at the end of the day, all you need to get married is to sign a marriage license.
The flowers also kept my mind off of other creative hurdles I faced, the chief being our DIY invitations. While I adore the way they turned out, the stress of potentially misspelling something and then being stuck with all 150 of them was on my mind 24/7. When we dropped them off at Kinkos to be printed, I felt like throwing up until I saw them again. My advice: Unless you’re a professional, don’t try this at home!
And Federica did her hair and makeup, baked her wedding cake, AND designed and illustrated the invitations, on the day stationery, and ketubah – talk about a triple threat!
Find out what things are important to you and prioritize them. Make sure to be on the same page as your soon-to-be marriage partner and remember to compromise on some items. When everything is ironed out, you both will know and agree on what kind of wedding you want to have, and everyone will be all the better for it.
While embracing my creativity was fulfilling, I also struggled with falling out of love with our wedding. As much as I had everything written down, organized, and well-thought-out, I still felt a chaotic wind breathing down my neck at every moment of the day. My dear fiancé found me crying in a chair with glitter stuck to my hair on more than one occasion.
It’s touching to hear how this wedding brought the couple’s friends and family together – with the bridal party, the families, and the couple themselves all pitching in to help with setup the morning of the wedding. But we’ll let the bride, who looked stunning in her Davidʼs Bridal dress, tell you about that…
If you indeed are committed to doing a DIY project, especially a big one such as your wedding, you would know right away if the first answer that comes to mind is a resounding yes. Planning a wedding is no simple feat, and adding another stressor such as doing it by yourselves may have you second-guessing in the long run. There is no shame in answering no; you may need to reconsider your options or wait until your finances are to get a professional wedding planner.
While I am pro-Pinterest, I also believe in moderation while planning a wedding. I was inundated with wedding ideas, and while that was wonderful, it also caused me to have panic attacks, to the point where I stopped going online and looking at anything wedding-related. I hunkered down and forced myself to finish all of my crafts on my to-do list for a month before browsing yet another “rustic outdoor wedding” blog.
We love it when a couple makes their Jewish wedding 100% truly THEM. And that’s precisely what Leah, a project manager, and Alex, a lab tech and soon-to-be nursing student, did in their literary-themed backyard wedding, which celebrated the pair’s love of reading, family, and of course their beloved cats!
Most worthwhile DIY projects may cost cheap, but they require considerable time and effort. If you are working within a limited time frame, you may want to consider alternatives or rearrange your finances to thin out the budget in a reasonable manner. If you have much time on your hands, ask for help from willing volunteers because it makes the task lighter.
I can’t quite pin down (pun intended) a specific incident that caused me to lose my faith in wedding humanity. Everything just accumulated into one big glob of craft overload.
We can’t get enough of all the fun details like centrepieces made of old books and escort card bookmarks made of recycled book pages – plus the super colourful chuppah canopy, made from a piece of traditional Egyptian wedding tent cloth the bride brought back with her after spending three years living in Egypt! Photographer Alex Gordias captured it all so beautifully.
It is fascinating to think about what kind of themes or elaborate projects you want for your special day but do make sure that they have easy to follow instructions and are reasonable.
Some projects may look effortless and secure, but make sure to have backup plans in case it doesn’t work out. Also, consider doing projects that involve craft supplies you already have or are accessible.
Some days, I felt so alone in doing all of it that I would “bride hulk” on friends and family who weren’t doing exactly what I needed them to at that specific moment. In a haze of spray glue, I began to realize that not everyone had time to cater to me (nor should they have) and I had to accept what I was given. In the choice words of Tim Gunn on Project Runway, “make it work.”
Fast forward 14 years and the groom moved in with one of the bride’s closest friends entirely by chance. When the bride came to visit her friend, she was surprised to find Alex there but impressed with the excellent job he’d done growing up. And the rest is history! True to their roots, the bride and groom performed a sensual tango to Leonard Cohen’s ‘Dance Me To The End of Love.’
Some of the most doable DIY projects are anything involving paper and a bit of writing. Paper is most accessible and available everywhere, even specialty ones like translucent vellum ones. You can use those for invitation cards, thank you notes, table markers, and more.
In my day-to-day life, the organization is my jam. I am prepared for every possible scenario and outcome. However, nothing, and I mean nothing, can prepare you for the week of your wedding. Everyone has advice on how to handle the nerves, jitters and chaos. While I did appreciate their sentiments (i.e. “just enjoy it, it will be over before you know it”), nothing could brace me for the disarray I felt while setting up the ceremony and reception sites due to all the DIY I had signed up for.