We decided to keep our wedding simple, small and sweet (and sweaty!). We were engaged in January 2012 and planned the wedding for July 2012. Now, in most necks of the woods, July is a fabulous time to get married with perfectly warm weather. Well, we live in southwest Florida. Here, July is HOT. July is HUMID. July is not conducive to wedding hair. Regardless, it was fantabulous with just our nearest and dearest: 20 people, including us, plus my 8 month old nephew and our dog, George.
Here’s the whole clan:
Of course, we got married on the beach. Is there any other way? We did a simple nonreligious ceremony with a local officiant on a private beach at 11:30am. I can’t even tell you how hard it was to find a beach that would allow Poops (George) to be there! But it was something I INSISTED on. As you can see (in the pic above), he was super hot, so right after this pic, he was ushered to an air-conditioned car.
My aunt even decided it was so hot that she needed to go swimming. In her clothes.
Side note: Hubs missed the exit for the beach. My dad was following him in his own car thinking “Oh, you can’t get away THAT easily!” LOL. Apparently, he was thinking about how he had forgotten his flip flops (he wears sneakers when driving) at home. The sandals he’s wearing in the pic are actually my older brother’s sandals. Nevertheless, he will NEVER live that down!
I had my dress made because I knew I wouldn’t find an orange and lace dress anywhere. I didn’t even try on a wedding gown. I did all that with my “rehearsal wedding.” (That’s what hubs and I call our first weddings because, clearly, they were just dress rehearsals!) The pearl necklace was a graduation gift from my mother-in-law and the pearl earrings were from my friend’s deceased mom (gift from rehearsal bridal shower). I literally walked out of the hotel to my car and from my car to the beach barefoot. Shoes are so optional. I actually intended on wearing my white flip flops, but I left them at home, and I refused to put on my brown ones. Hubs wore a pair of his own khaki shorts and we found the button down shirt online. We had originally wanted an orange one, but had a hard time finding one.
Detail of the back of the dress.
Our getaway vehicle was my husband’s lifted Excursion. The hick life.
Our “reception” was at our newly purchased abode. All of the food was homemade, with my mom doing the brunt of the work. After arriving at our house (before us), all of the guests chipped in to set up the food. We had a smorgasboard of items: deli meats/cheeses and rolls, my homemade mac and cheese, MIL’s chicken cutlets, antipasto, breakfast casserole, shrimp cocktail, fruit salad, and sausage and peppers. We also had burgers and hot dogs in case anyone got hungry later on (they didn’t).
We also had an assortment of booze, the favorite being homemade Sangria, and mimosas, beer, liquor, mixers, champagne and wine. We still have a TON of champagne leftover.
So, I made all the boutonnieres, corsages and bouquets. Most of the shells I used were from our trip to Sanibel in January (where he proposed), which I thought was very fitting. I used a couple of sites as inspiration and ultimately created my own thang.
This isn’t exactly a tutorial, but it was one of the ideas I went off of.
Here’s a tutorial.
So, I combined the ideas from both ladies: I used a small styrofoam ball, small dowel rod and ribbon (purchased at Michaels), floral wire, fake flowers and raffia (purchased at the Dollar Tree), and the aforementioned FREE shells. I already had a glue gun and glue. I only took one picture of the process though. However, if you look at the links above, you can get a pretty good idea of what I did.
I honestly have no idea why there is a bottle of hot sauce on my crafting service, er, dining room table.
After gluing the three pieces of the rod together, I stuck it into the styrofoam, pulled it out, poured hot glue inside the hole, and replaced the rods. I hot glued the wire onto the shells as I went because I didn’t know which shells I was going to use. After arranging all the shells until most of the styrofoam ball was covered, I hot glued the flowers to fill in the gaps.
I made 2 bouquets: one for me and one that was supposed to be for my BFF who ended up not being able to fly down from NY. Instead, my brother was my Man-of-Honor, so the other bouquet went to my Junior Bridesmaid, Bella, my niece. My brother did dutifully hold my bouquet during the wedding though. Even he commented on how heavy it was. (Definitely take the weight into consideration while making a shell bouquet.)
For the small bouquet, I hot glued long pieces of floral wire to shells, wrapped the wire in raffia and twisted the ends to make the bouquet. I then hot glued flowers and sea glass to fill it in and wrapped orange ribbon around it.
My niece, nephew and George! If you click on the picture, you can zoom in enough to see the bouquet.
Boutonnieres and Corsages
I made all the bouts and corsages out of shells, too. There were 5 bouts and 3 corsages: my dad, his dad, his best man, my man of honor, and my mom’s boyfriend (who ended up not coming- long, stupid family drama kind of story), my mom, his mom, and my dad’s girlfriend.
To make three of the bouts, I simply used the same floral-wire-hot-glued-to-shells technique as the bouquets, but instead wrapped the wires in raffia and twisted them together. I then added shells or seaglass or flowers and hot glued the shit out of them. The dad bouts were made with a different kind of shell and I just hot glued some flowers into them. All of the bouts had pins glued to the back of them (the kind used to make those giant New Kids on the Block button pins back in the day- purchased from a craft store in the jewelry making section, I believe.)
This is hubs’ bout. I originally didn’t have the orange flower because we weren’t sure what color shirt he was wearing. I like it better with the flower.
This is the Best Man’s bout. It was too top heavy to stay upright, so they pinned it upside-down. I actually didn’t mind it like that at all.
FIL and dad’s bouts. MIL corsage (sorry, you can hardly see it)
My brother’s bout. Again, upside-down and in a really weird spot. I believe we fixed that.
For the corsages, I hot glued flowers underneath the shells and then hot glued them to the pre-made corsage wristlets you can find at a craft store. Pretty easy-peasy once you figure out what shells and flowers you want to use for them.
My mom’s corsage.
I saw the idea of program fans somewhere in my endless DIY wedding internet search. I used this template.
The templates open up in Word and you just choose which one you want to use. I then typed in all of the information and printed them out on colored cardstock. The most difficult part was cutting them out so that they line up perfectly. I put my perfectionist side aside and hot glued them to large tongue depressors (also found at craft store). They were wonderful for the super-hot Florida morning.
I did this green and a bright orange. The green was actually a lot brighter than what’s showing in this picture.
We didn’t go crazy with décor. Our house is already bright and colorful, so we just added tableclothes (purchased plastic kind) and tissue paper pom-poms. My mom was a dear and helped me do all of them. We then hung these from the ceiling of our lanai. Here’s the site with a tutorial.
They were really easy, but time-consuming. I still have all but 3 hanging from the ceiling (7 months later) and don’t plan on taking them down anytime soon.
The ceiling of our lanai decorated with pom-poms. And, yes, the outside of our house is orange.
Well, that’s our DIY wedding in a nutshell. I was keeping track of expenses in the beginning of the planning period, but then things got hectic and I gave up. We definitely spent a fraction of the cost of a traditional, big wedding. The food and booze were where we spent the most of it. We had such a wonderful time. Here’s some miscellaneous pics:
My brother holding my bouquet.
Typical hand/ring shot. Yes, my engagement ring is orange. :) Ooh, my nails look pretty good.
Definitely flashing folks down the beach!