Warning...this is a super long post. Grab a coffee, it's gonna be a long one. But hopefully it's enjoyable. =]
Chris and I have been dating since January 22, 2004. We got engaged in February of 2009 for fun (not for Valentine's Day, for tax-return's sake), even though we knew we were going to wait until after I graduated in 2011 to get married. I figured if I had the ring on my finger, I may just be motivated to start planning the wedding early and would be able to save money. Our long engagement didn't change anything between us, just that I now had to call him my "fiance", which is such a weird word after 5 years of him being my boyfriend. There was no proposal. We got our tax-returns and went to Kay's to get the nicest, cheapest, most unique ring we could find. We both picked this one at the same time and knew it was the one. I love it because the diamonds don't stick out above the band. No taking out any children's eyes with this ring. (That was my biggest fear, as a teacher, with getting any other type of ring.)
Here's the ring...
And I say it turned into my wedding ring as well because I was too cheap to buy another ring. I tried on all sorts of bands, but unless I wanted to shell out $600 to get a custom made band to fit the shape of my ring, I wasn't getting one. I have unusually small hands, and therefore just any band wasn't going to fit my finger with this ring when I bend it. No thanks, I'm good with one ring. So in my case, less is more.
And as for Chris' ring...we got an awesome deal on it. He knew he wanted a tungsten ring so he wouldn't have to worry about ruining it. Good idea. I found a deal on GroopDealz for $65 he could get any ring from some tungsten ring website -- which ended up being up to a $400 value. It was awesome. He loves his ring. I love his ring. We're all happy.
My cousin/photographer got married at my Dad's house in 2001 and at that point I knew I wanted to get married at his house as well. At that time he didn't have the pool or the extra garage built on the lower part of his land, so he had more room for a wedding/cars/etc. But I begged and pleaded and swore it'd make things easier (ha ha, right) and my dad eventually agreed.
This is what we had to work with...
Stationary - invites for the wedding and the shower and thank you cards
This is something that was for sure a DIY project.
I don't like how traditional wedding invites "waste" a lot of paper with all of the extra envelopes and tissue paper and whatever. I wanted something that was using as little paper as possible. The invite is also the envelope in our case and the response card is perforated and tears off the bottom of the invite to be sent back as a postcard. Genius! Everything was designed my me...then by a graphic designer friend of my step-mom. After the digital file was made, my step-mom took them to UPS and printed them herself. She used to work at a print shop, so she knew what she was doing.
As for the shower invite, my mom had a friend from work's sister in Thailand (I think) make the invites digitally. She emailed my mom the file and my mom printed them herself. We opted to have a gift card shower since we live 2000 miles away and didn't want to ship everything we didn't need anyways. Plus, I didn't want to register for anything. Don't laugh at my gift card choices... I was being practical considering we already have everything we need. Chris wanted Best Buy put on there...I refused, but somehow the word got out...on my family's side, and he got quite a few gift cards for Best Buy.
And for the thank you cards. I ordered them from Expressionery.com right after we got engaged because they were having a clearance sale. I got them super cheap and just stored them away. I don't have a picture of them because I'm completely out. But we did "make" this picture in Atlantic City, NJ (our two night mini-honeymoon) and have them printed wallet-size to include inside the thank you cards.
I printed all of the address labels myself from my home printer on clear address labels. That way I could use them for the shower and wedding invites, as well as the thank you cards.
I'm not a sweets fan...*gasp!*...I know. I didn't want a cake because I wouldn't eat it, I didn't want someone to have to cut it, I wanted options for our guests, etc., etc... So I decided on cupcakes. I really wanted to make them myself to save money, but my mom said no. Probably a good thing she knocked the sense into me. We were able to find someone at my mom's work to make them for us. I found the flavors I wanted online (Boston cream, chocolate with butter cream icing, and raspberry filled lemon) and bought the cupcake wrappers in special fun colors from Sur La Table...on clearance. My mom bought 3 wire cupcake towers to display the mini cakes and I made signs on my PC so everyone knew what they were getting. Wish I had better pictures, but as soon as they were put out, everyone started devouring them.
I wanted carnations. Everyone laughs when I say that, but it's true. They're cheap, can be dyed, and last longer than other flowers. But once my mom hired our florist, also from her work, that was out of the question. I had some input, but let them figure it all out. After all, I was 2000 miles away trying to plan a wedding. My mom enjoyed it, so I let her go for it.
Here's what they came up with...
Food and Drink
Seriously...mom, if you're reading this, I can't believe you of everyone at the wedding didn't take pictures of the food!
We had the wedding catered. I wanted my dad's famous BBQ chicken, but that's a lot of chicken to make for 100 people and he already had enough on his plate having the wedding at his house...sooooo we had it catered. The food was amazing though. We used a place that caters for my dad's work a lot. This was one of the most expensive things for the wedding. It was worth it though because it was buffet style (I didn't want to go through the hassle of having guests choose what they wanted prior to the wedding, only to forget the day of) and they brought staff to clean up so my parents didn't have to do it.
As for the drinks of the evening, we had soda and water of course, but we also had cranberry vodka in a drink fountain and beer. The cranberry vodka was gone so fast, which was unexpected. The first picture below has the sweet fill-and-chill table we rented against the wall with all of the beer, soda, and water in it. The next picture is the cranberry vodka fountain.
Ah...yes, and the popcorn cart. I am a huge popcorn nut. Love love love it. So naturally I asked for a popcorn cart at the wedding. No big deal. Rentably affordable.
Yeah, bathrooms get their own section. We rented a bathroom trailer because the garage doesn't have plumbing yet. Plus, alcohol + adults = lots of potty breaks. This thing cost about as much as the catering I think. I wasn't happy about that, but it was something my dad required, so whatever. It's his money I guess.
This bathroom was the talk of the wedding. No one has ever seen such a thing. It was delivered from forever away. It had power, music, running water, high-class features...it had the works. Two women's rooms, one men's room.
Fancy, eh? (We added all of the junk on the counter top.)
I didn't want a DJ. So many people have complained in the past about DJs at other peoples weddings and I didn't want someone in charge of playing "Hit Me Baby One More Time" or "White Wedding". And I didn't want to take the time to make a "do not play list". So since it was an 16 years old and up wedding (sounds like a board game), and the majority were 40 and up, I let my dad choose the band. I can't remember what they're called...it's killing me. Velvet something...no, not Revolver. But anyway, they were really good. And regardless of the down-pour of rain all night, everyone danced the night away...in the rain. Ah...I think I remember...Velvet Soul? I don't know... ha ha!
The rest of these pictures (that haven't previously been posted) came from family that took pictures at the wedding.