Managing Your DIY Wedding

By Jessica Faught

(WINDSOR, ON) – When two people’s love for each other has built up to a day of saying, “I do”, get ready for the stresses of life to really set in. Even with the best of planning things can go wrong, so couples really need to be prepared for this.

No one did more mental planning than my mother. I had a general idea of what I wanted for my wedding, and she had the full idea of what work was needed to make what I wanted happen. As a fashion model, I wanted my wedding dress to stand out and represent my sense of style. I tend toward either sporty or sexy, therefore my dress needed to match.

Couples need to realistically look at their financial resources when they are planning their wedding. Remember this is one very special day of your lives, but what good is it if you exhaust all of your finances into the one day? There is a whole lifetime which needs to be lived afterward, and the decisions for each day rely on how well those days will be executed.

During my planning, I outlined four things that were important to me for our special day; presentation, organization, guest satisfaction, and capturing the memories.

Presentation is important because a wedding will be one of your most sacred memories. Pictures and video will be taken, and the wedding environment should look attractive and appear as a sacred event.

This brings me to the answer of your many messages about my dress.

My dress was actually one from a beautiful photo shoot I had done with Krystal Lee Cecile of Honey and Clover Photography. The dress was purchased with the intent to get it “messed up and dirty” in what is known as a “trash the dress” photo shoot. But the style of this dress just grew on me, and Krystal Lee and I decided to go easy on it.

But, in order for it to totally meet up to my fashion standards, it needed some alterations. I really thought I could handle them myself, but I found out after cutting too much material that I was out of my league; LOL.

My mother and an alteration service helped me out of my dress mess. Although the alteration service did a good job, she still hadn’t really captured the look I was going for. So mom did more alterations during the night before the wedding. God bless good moms everywhere!

Your wedding dress should match your personality and highlight your best assets. It is not about how much money you pay for your dress but, more importantly, how well the dress fits your body type and personal style. Obviously, try your dress on well in advance to ensure accuracy of fit, and if things need to be altered you can allocate the appropriate time.

Invitations by See You There. Photo by Jessica Faught.

Invitations by See You There. Photo by Jessica Faught.

In todays society, the main source of communications are the social networks. However, although a lot can be accomplished through the internet, we can lose intimacy and feeling when we solely rely on this  communication tool. This is why, in addition to making a Facebook event, I chose to send out invitations through a company by the name of See You There. I am very happy I did because they did such a beautiful job. Our guests could see that our event was serious and their attendance meant a lot to us.

With respect to orderliness, it is very hard to execute anything without organization. Etiquette demands that invitations should go out six to eight weeks before the wedding. This gives guests plenty of time to clear their schedules and make travel arrangements, if they don’t live in town. If it’s a destination wedding, give guests more time and send them out three months ahead of time.

Remember, you should not only think about your timing and schedule, but you must look at the schedules of all involved from your clothing arrangements, food and venue, and guests. It will be imperative that their schedules coincide with yours, therefore make sure you book all things well in advance, even if you’re still shopping around for prices get those phone calls done ASAP. Ensure everything will be ready for your special day.

Lets talk about venues.

Each venue has their own set of guidelines, rules, and regulations. Very few allow the option of choosing an outside caterer as many have established contracts with one specific company. The average rate per catered wedding meal is eighteen dollars a person. This includes one meat and two sides.

If you decide to serve liquor at your wedding you must purchase a liquor license from your local LCBO and provide a copy to your venue of choice. Some venues provide the usage of their own bartender for at hourly rate, while others allow the bride and groom to hire their own staff and servers to distribute your wedding cake. If the server is provided by the venue than you will be looking at a cost per slice.

If including children in your day, be sure to make accomodations for their needs as well. Contributed photo.

If including children in your day, be sure to make accomodations for their needs as well. Contributed photo.

With respect to presentation, our wedding cake was made by our six year old sweetheart and my mom. This was her first time making a four-layer cake and, although she successfully completed the task, the same day of our wedding our two year old got into the cake and messed up two of the layers. During the preparations, we had thought about taking the cake to the neighbours to avoid any mishaps, but in the midst of the process forgot about doing that. I would definitely recommend all of you DIY people to make storage preparations prior to your event to help to ensure the safety and look of your precious cake.

Guest satisfaction. While it is impossible to cater to the needs of everyone a fair attempt should be made to try.

A couple needs to address the decision to allow or exclude children. If the decision is to allow is made, then they should be well accommodated. To help ensure that ours were not left out we knew we wanted to not only include them in the ceremony itself, but to be a part of the entire day. This meant holding a reception where they would not only feel comfortable but be welcome. This is where it makes sense to think about the guest and consider their personalities and needs. In our case many of our guests had children and some needed to bring theirs and others chose not to.

We chose to allow children, considering the fact that we have two ourselves, and they both were involved in the ceremony. We didn’t want them to feel left out, so we chose to have our reception at home where our son and daughter and the children of our guests could play in our recently decorated playroom.

Now although we chose a home reception I wanted no shortage of decorations. Because everyone takes pics, I decided to go with First Impressions Wedding Decor for matching table linens, and chair covers, as well as a centrepiece for the dinning room table. I suggest that one take a good look at their room decor when choosing and coordinating with their wedding colours. For example, our wedding colours at first were lime green satin, white, and black, but when I took a look at my cherry red cupboards, I pictured the kitchen and dinning room looking like it was ready for a Christmas party rather than a wedding.

White ostrich feather centerpieces from First Impressions Wedding Decor. Photo by Jessica Faught.

White ostrich feather centerpieces from First Impressions Wedding Decor. Photo by Jessica Faught.

So, I spoke with my wedding decorator, Christine Dufresne, of First Impressions, and explained that we needed to take out the green and go with a black and white, with silver accents. She calmed my fears and also suggested an accent decor of zebra print for two of the main chairs. All of these colours really offset our kitchen/dinning room decor.

Christine makes gorgeous centrepieces, so I chose a beautiful white ostrich feather centrepiece for the black dinette set and, when our guests entered the room, this was the first thing that caught their eye. A centrepiece really helps to pull things off.

We chose to have an outdoor ceremony in the gazebo at the beautifully landscaped McKenzie Hall. The decorator didn’t really need to do much there, so we just added a touch of elegance to the pillars of the gazebo by adding white ribbon pew bows. Remember that less is more and you want to just highlight the beauty of the surrounding themselves.

In our case, many of our guests and my friends would be meeting each other for the first time, including my handsome groom due to us being long distance for awhile. I thought a good ice breaker would be a pot luck style reception dinner. It did open the doors and start communication quite effectively, so I would recommend this idea or some kind of game for home receptions to help cut the ice and get everyone talking.

White pew bows add a touch of elegance in an understated way. Contributed photo.

White pew bows add a touch of elegance in an understated way. Contributed photo.

Here is some advice from some people who are no strangers to the plights of brides and grooms who are preparing for their big day. Judene McCalla of See You There said, “My clients like the idea of working with someone local. Couples today are all about personalization. They are having smaller weddings but personal.”

I would have to add that the benefit to choosing to go with someone local is they are more likely to understand your time frame and coincide with your schedule.

Now I will let my hair down and speak from the heart.

There were a few, last minute situations which could have really jeopardized our beautiful scheduled day. Regardless of what you have to face, remember you’re going to have a lifetime together. You will need to rely upon each other. This is exactly what helped me get through to my sweet, understanding, and patient, yet nervous groom, who was with me every step of the way, calming all of my concerns.

Please do not allow anyone to overwhelm you. Remember, this is your day no one else’s, and it has been planned for the celebration of your love and lifetime together.

Brides relax. Everything does not have to be perfect. If you’re putting yourself under too much pressure you will goof up, and have difficulty making proper decisions. There are many important ones to be made during a wedding preparation and process, and the main decision is to enjoy the celebration of a lifetime of togetherness with the love of your life.

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata is the owner and publisher of Square Media Group. He covers politics, the police beat, community events, the arts, sports, and everything in between. His imagery and freelance contributions have appeared in select publications and for organizations in Canada and the United States. Contact Ian with story ideas.
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