Tori and Nano’s Rustic Wedding at Kitsap Memorial State Park

One of the joys of being the editor for this site is getting to know the stories behind the photos; to see how our couples came to be, to see how they tick. When so much of the wedding industry focuses on things, it’s an utter privilege to be able to tap into the human side and celebrate the people we feature. Tori and Nano have a great story and it starts (for us) with the winning of a Nice People contest.

Photographer Amanda Summerlin of Amanda Summerlin Photography shares the Tori and Nano experience:

Tory and Nano were actually the winners of our 2013 Nice People contest, a contest based on a public vote system for the nicest couple, so they got their wedding photography for free. They created this wedding on a literal shoestring budget, right down to buying the burning used from a couple that were cleaning up their reception when Tory toured the venue.


Let’s get to know Nano and Tory.


Splurging and splendor will probably never be an option for us and that’s okay. Our wedding will be beautiful and joyful, but, out of necessity, it will also have to be somewhat frugal. The theme of our wedding is fun- and it would be truly wonderful to have you there to be a part of it and to help us remember and celebrate each moment.


The one thing I admire most about Tory is her heart. She has the biggest heart I have ever known and can love without restraint. When I say ‘love,’ I mean Tory has this incredible ability to love everyone and everything for simply being alive and apart of this world. Through Tory I have learned how to also open my heart to my world and my community. During college she would take me with her to service events to clean invasive species from parks, collect canned goods for food pantries, and tutor children at elementary schools in Seattle. If not for Tory, I would never have realized the joy and satisfaction that comes from serving and opening my heart to others. I also would never have spent two years of my life as a City Year volunteer, and I would never have discovered my passion and purpose as a teacher.


We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we moved to the middle of the country in 2010 and joined City Year, an Americorps program that works to end the drop-out crisis in urban schools. It was the most intense experience of our lives as we spent 50 to 60 hours a week tutoring struggling students, breaking up fights, creating behavior programs, running after school classes, putting on Spelling Bees and generally trying to be everything and everywhere in schools that didn’t have the money or staff to provide fully for their students. Then we’d be at the City Year office at least 3 nights a week and most Sundays, trying to catch up on lesson plans, creating flyers and templates, and planning trainings, workshops and appreciations. We made due with a meager stipend and food stamps, sharing a tiny apartment with several roommates. We spent 10 to 12 hours a day with a team of people that sometimes drove us nuts, and were lucky to see each other for an hour each night. We poured our energy into kids with heart-breaking stories, who were more likely to cuss us out than thank us, and who might not have anyone else in their lives telling them they were smart and capable. Needless to say, we totally fell in love with it.

What surprised me was that through all the stress, frustration and sleeplessness, I also fell so much deeper in love with Nano. I had always treasured his gentleness, his romantic side (that beautifully off-sets my overly pragmatic tendencies), his unique insights, his sense of humor, and his thoughtful, open-minded attitude. But it wasn’t until we worked side by side and faced such intense challenges as co-workers, that I learned a whole new level of admiration for him. I suddenly saw him a leader and was so incredibly proud to see him step up to challenges with a confidence and passion that he’d never shown before. Not only that, but he supported me every step of the way, and helped me have faith in my work and in the difference I was making, even on those days I wanted to give up. I might have been what brought him there, but he brought me through it. Seeing how much of himself he was willing to give to improve the lives of others was more than enough to convince me to say ‘YES!’ when he proposed during the fall of our second service year.


As we prepare for our new, married life, we’re also preparing to start our careers. We have decided to dedicate our lives to serving our community by becoming teachers. It’s our passion to work with the most challenging students in the toughest areas, because we believe in the power of education to create change and in the ability of one caring adult to inspire the youth in our community to succeed with confidence. We know this path will not be easy. It will not be paved with gold, but there will be treasures along the way. The treasures ahead of us are not the kind we can hold in our hands or fill our pockets. They are the treasures we will hold in our hearts and will fill our souls with love and purpose. And, most importantly, we will walk along this path of love side by side and share in these treasures together. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Tori and Nano
Kitsap Memorial State Park – Log Hall, Washington
Event Date: August, 2013



Photographer:  Amanda Summerlin Photography//Cake Designer: Bella Bella Cupcakes//Invitation Designer: Citrus Press Co. Stationery + Design//Tuxedo and Mens Attire:H&M//DJ: H&M//Dress Store: J. Crew//Reception Venue: Kitsap Memorial State Park – Log Hall//Beauty:Seaport Salon and Spa//

Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Samantha & Taylor

Barn wedding lovers, unite! Today we have Samantha and Taylor’s beautiful wedding day that combines everything we love about rustic weddings – burlap, cowboy boots, mason jars, chalkboard signs, a great farm location – combining them in a way that’s uncluttered and unpretentious.

Photographer Kelly Rae Stewart of  Kelly Rae Stewart Photography gushes about Samantha and Taylor:

These two people are a perfect example of why we love being wedding photographers. Not only was I almost in tears behind my camera while watching Taylor say his vows to Samantha, but being able to capture their love for one another all day gave me butterflies in my stomach. They danced, not just for their ‘first dance,’ but all night. They stayed close together throughout the evening and watching them exchange smiles back and forth filled me with joy. I couldn’t put my camera down because I wanted to catch every moment for them. I wanted them to see what I saw. This is what true love looks like.

We love how everyone looks happy and joyful – just the way weddings were meant to be!


Samantha & Taylor
Event Date: March, 2014
Starlight Meadow, North Carolina

Photographer:  Kelly Rae Stewart Photography//Floral Designer: Just Priceless//Event Venue: Starlight Meadow//Musicians:Turpentine Shine//Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Create Your Ultimate Personalized Wedding With Avery

How do you make a do-it-yourself wedding stylish and budget-friendly while not spending all of your free time (and cash) creating crafts? While I encourage everyone to try a new craft or two, I don’t want anyone to stress out and agonize over creating the perfect projects for their big day, especially you lovely readers!

If you’re a longtime reader, you’ll know I’m a huge advocate of using shortcuts, templates, and handy tools to make your life easier and craft time more efficient. And that, friends, is why I’m happy to introduce you to the new collection of  customizable products and templates from the design team at Avery. From invitations and thank-you cards to favors and place cards, a little help from Avery can make your day full of thoughtful, personal touches that’ll wow your guests – and not break your budget.

Using the free Design & Print Online software from Avery and their selection of professional-quality templates, it’s super easy to create a fully personalized suite of wedding details at home. All you need is a computer (Mac, Linux, or PC), a printer, and the coordinating Avery labels, tags, or cards.

To see how easy the Design & Print Online software is, check out this video from Avery.

The software allows you to customize any of the Avery Design & Print templates and with many themes to choose among, you’re sure to find a style you love whether your big day is casual, elegant, rustic, modern – or anything in between.

Since I’m a total hands-on learner, I had to take the Design & Print Online software for a spin. The result? This pretty save-the-date:

Here’s how to create this on your own:

1. From the Design & Print template page, select the Flower Garden 4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″ Postcard. The Design & Print software will open the template in your browser.
2. Simply click on the customizable areas on the template to add your text. The software allows you to change the font, its color or size, add graphics or photos, move text, and parameters so that you’re able to easily customize your template to accommodate your details and style preferences. If you can use Microsoft Word, the Design & Print software will feel familiar to you.

3. Every change you make is shown in real-time so you know exactly what you’re creating. Make a mistake? No problem! The software makes erasing mistakes or changing your design very easy with just the click of a mouse.

4. When you’re satisfied with your design, hit Preview & Print. You’ll be prompted to print your design yourself or you can opt to use Avery WePrint.  With Avery WePrint, Avery will print and deliver the finished product to your door. (Pro tip: If you have a lot of printing to do and your inkjet loves to drink ink, it may be more economical to use Avery WePrint.) If printing from home, click Print It Yourself, and your designs will print directly from your own printer onto your coordinating Avery card.

This project took about 5 minutes to complete, start to finish. As for cost, a pack of 60 Avery postcards costs around $12.00 so 60 of these save-the-dates would cost about $0.20 each (not including ink costs, postage, and envelopes, of course). For a fraction of the cost of commercially printed designs, you can create a professional-quality, personalized design at home with the free Design & Print Online software and Avery products. How awesome is that?!

Create Gorgeous (And Affordable) Photo Albums With MyPublisher

I would be remiss, dear DIYers, if I did not warn you about the bucket loads of awesome wedding photos coming your way after you say “I Do!”. In this age of ubiquitous smart phones and high-quality digital cameras, nearly all your guests are going to be packing a lens and will be eager to share their favorite shots with you after the big day. Instead of letting those awesome candid shots languish on a hard drive somewhere, why not create a custom photo album to have a keepsake?

Today I’m very excited to introduce you to MyPublisher, a well-established and respected photo book service that allows you to create high-quality customized wedding books from any digital photos.

MyPublisher photo books are created via a free software program you download onto your computer. (Macs and PCs are supported.) The software is very user-friendly and intuitive so, for most users, there isn’t a big learning curve or complex set of instructions to follow.

Getting started with MyPublisher is simple. Launch the MyPublisher application and the home screen will guide to the next step. Create a totally customized (designed by you) book that allows you to any add images or text you’d like. If you’re someone whose short on time or want to simplify things even further, you can chose one of their stylish ready-made template designs.

The next steps are to choose the book size, name your project, select an album style, pick your cover type, and start designing! MyPublisher offers landscape photo books in four sizes. Four different cover options are available for the books: linen, leather, photo finish and dust jackets. And, to even further customize your fabulous book, MyPublisher offers super gloss printing, lay flat pages, and patterned end sheets.

What comes next is the “hard” part: choosing among all of the AWESOME images you have! MyPublisher will automatically search for your photo libraries but you can direct it to wherever your photo stash resides on your hard drive. The interface makes it a snap to select and organize pictures; just double click an image or use the “Add Photo” button. If you ever get stuck during the process, the application has a prominent and well-designed help section to guide you, step-by-step, through the process. Even better? Their customer service staff will be happy to help you out if you need some extra help through the process. Lovely!

Now it’s time to make the book and, friends, it is easy! The MyPublisher application will guide you through the creative process with prompts to add pictures, background images, decorate accents, or text. If there is a problem with your book – such as an incorrect image size – the Book Maker will tell you ahead of time so there’s no chance of random errors in your design.

Of course the MyPublisher application allows you to preview your book before you commit to the print process. Should you change your mind about anything in your book, erasing or changing any element can be done with the click of a mouse.

Let’s talk about price. MyPublisher Photo Books start at $2.99 for a 20 page mini book (which would make a great gift for members of your wedding party) and go up to $59.99 for a Deluxe 15″ x 11.5″ hardcover book. There is a $1.99 per page charge for books over 20 pages which is still affordable and competitive with other services. All books have a maximum capacity of 100 pages. Extra fees apply for upgrades like leather, photo finish, and book jacket covers as well as paper selections, end sheets, and printing upgrades.

MyPublisher also has available boxes and slipcases to help keep your books in tip-top shape and all paper is PH neutral and derived from sustainably-controlled forests ensuring your albums will be preserved for generations to come.

All photo books are handmade and constructed in-house. Their attention to detail is superb, their book quality is excellent, and their level of customer service is top-notch. This is the kind of company I love supporting here at DIY Bride and I know that you’ll love what they have to offer!

Our friends at MyPublisher have extended a very special offer for DIY Bride readers. Save up to 50% on a hardcover photo book by using promo link: . With such a generous discount, there’s no reason not to create your own album!

So, what if you’re not so hands-on and want someone to do the do the design work for you? Or perhaps you’re looking for an album that’s a bit more refined with higher-quality materials? No problem! MyPublisher offers a Premium Album service where their design experts create gorgeous flush-mount photo albums – similar to what a pro photographer would provide for you – based on your personal style preferences. All you have to do is send them your photos and they’ll craft an heirloom-quality album just for you.

Understandably, MyPublisher is very proud of their craftsmanship and services. So much, in fact, that they’re offering all DIY Bride readers an opportunity to win a $300 credit towards one custom-designed Premium Photo Album of your choice! To enter, please fill out the form below by 11:59 pm (PST) on Friday, May 22, 2015. We’ll announce the winner on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 and turn you over to the very capable hands of the MyPublisher design team.


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Spring 2016 Isabelle Armstrong Bridal Collection

This collection has been inspired by the uncompromising magnificence of a diamond. At it’s core, a diamond represents  strength, brilliance and ever lasting beauty. A diamond can be both subtle and extraordinary at the same time. So too is the Spring 2016 Isabelle Armstrong Bridal Collection, complete with subdued embroidery and soft, romantic fabrics and laces. We’ve added just enough to each individual gown to make it a multi-faceted statement piece, whether complex in its geometric play on fabrications or simply gorgeous and understated in its perfect draping. Our collection will prove to be a testament to one of nature’s most outstanding creations.

Jenny Packham 2016 Bridal Collection

Appliqué organza blooms, majestic ostrich feathers, crystal foliage motifs and delicate floral lace celebrate the lavish artistry of nature: opulent velvet bows add texture and hues of soft meadow green evoke the shades of summer. Swarovski crystals dance in the light adding an otherworldly, whimsical grace to a collection inspired by a midsummer dream and a fairy queen. The collection will be available internationally from July with many styles available in petite sizing.

Credits: Creative Direction & Design: Jenny Packham| Production: Blaire McColl | Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Make Up: Talia Shobrook for Laura Mercier | Nails: Julie Kandalec for Essie | Hair: Kevin Ryan for UNITE | Flowers: Jane Packer.


Carrie & John’s Virginia Beach House Wedding

Sometimes we receive wedding submissions that leave us breathless; they’re not due to any over-the-top theme or new trend of any kind. We’re left breathless because the photos perfectly capture the personalities of the couple and how genuinely, blissfully happy they are on their wedding day. This is one of those weddings, one of those couples. Meet Carrie and John, whose beach house wedding in Virginia provided a gorgeous backdrop for an intimate seaside wedding.
Photographers Andrew & Tianna had this to say about the couple:

Carrie and John couple are pretty awesome. The officiant made a comment that if they were always as fun and silly with each other as much as they were on the wedding day they had already conquered the hardest part of marriage.

Kudos to the photographers for catching how playful and radiant Carrie and John are on this day and a hearty congrats on a beautiful wedding!

Carrie & John
Beach House Wedding
Private Residence, Virginia

Event Date: October, 2014


Officiant : Vicki Harrell –

Creative Catering –

Cupcakes: Shockley’s Sweet Shoppe –

Bouquets: Galleria Florist (in Falls Church, Va) –

Rings: Direct Jewelry Outlet (in Falls Church, Va) –

Beach House: Oceanic Serenade

Photographer:  Andrew & Tianna//Caterer: Creative Catering of Virginia//Floral Designer:Galleria Florist//Bakery: Shockley’s Sweet Shoppe//

Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Lauren & Justin’s Waterfront DIY Wedding

Trends come and go but sentimental details, the things that have true meaning in a couple’s life, are what make a wedding truly special. Lauren and Justin’s Connecticut wedding was full of  DIY details created with the help of very special family members. The result is a beautiful wedding day full of love, laughter, and style.

From the Lauren:

We really wanted to let the natural beauty of Harkness shine through on our wedding day. In our minds, we wanted the styles to be simple yet elegant – just like Harkness. I’ve been going to Harkness since I was a little girl, and I never get tired of the beautiful views across the lawn out to the ocean. That view became the inspiration for the blue and green color scheme of the wedding. I designed the save the dates and invitations from scratch, working closely with Paper Source to ensure that everything would work together. My mom beautifully wrote our save the dates by hand and I hand painted each one with water colors in a gradient from blue to green. When it came to our invitations, I wanted to incorporate Crane paper as a tribute to the many years that my Grandmother worked for Crane and Co. Our invitation card was printed on Crane paper and our enclosure cards were printed on Paper Source paper, which were then hand painted. One night, I sat around the kitchen table with my Mom and Grandma and we cut out all of the envelope liners and attached them to the envelopes. My Grandma was quality control and even sent a couple to the reject pile that weren’t quite up to par. Shortly after, she passed away, which makes that time together all the more special and more meaningful that she was honored with our invitations.

Instead of doing all the flowers, I decided that we would create bridal party bouquets. Carol Mann from Brambles and Bittersweet took charge of the rest of the flowers- and what an incredible display she created! I wanted my bridesmaids to have their own personalized bouquets. The day before the wedding, my bridesmaids and I picked green Hydrangeas from my Mom’s garden, which we would all have in our bouquets. Centerpieces for the dining tables consisted of collections of vintage bottles, antique glass insulators, and mason jars with glowing candles to add to the ambiance. Carol Mann completed the look by filling each glass bottle with a single stem of flowers creating a simple, yet beautiful display. Antique fishnet floats, handmade glass ornaments, seashells and starfish, sea glass, sea fans, vintage prints, and flickering candles adorned the mantles and bookcases throughout the mansion.

I had hoped that both of my Grandmothers would be well enough to attend our wedding and be our flower girls. Unfortunately, neither could physically be there. So I wrapped my bouquet with a white and blue doily from my Dad’s mom and added a bracelet from my Mom’s mom (who recently passed) for a little bit of sparkle. They were both there in spirit, walking me down the aisle with my flowers.

Over the years, my Godmother had given me a number of beautiful pearls for birthdays and other special occasions, with the intent of one day making them into a necklace. My mom had a collection of various loose vintage pearls and we purchased some fresh water pearls to add some contrast to the round pearls. My mom and I spent a few nights stringing together the 3 different strands of pearls and twisted the 3 strands so they were intertwined.

The Bar: My Grandmother, who passed away in May, was always up for a good time with family and friends. She would have loved this wedding. In her honor, we named the bar after her: “Helen’s Bar, Home of warm friends, cold drinks, and good times”. We decorated the bar with purple flowers – her favorite. My mom handwrote the sign for the bar displaying our signature drinks, including a drink named after each of our dogs – Maizie and Joe.

Guest Book: I was in search of an idea for a non-traditional guest book, since I didn’t want something that would be stashed away in a box, never to be seen again. I found a couple of small dead trees from a local nursery and thought they would be perfect to hang paper cranes on. We asked our guests to write their name and a wish on a crane, which we plan to string together as a garland and hang in our home – as a piece of art and as a remembrance of our wedding day.

Favors: The majority of our guests were traveling some distance to attend our wedding. We wanted to give them a favor that would act as a goodie bag for their travels home. It was also really important to us to use locally sourced products that had some sort of significance to us. Each gable box was wrapped in decorative paper and stuffed with sea salt kettle corn, a lobster lollipop, sea salt caramels (all from Volante Farms in Needham, MA) and salt water taffy from Old Port Candy Co. in Portland, ME.

From Justin:

I wanted to give Lauren something really special as an engagement ring. I also knew that she didn’t want something traditional and “blingy”, so I had the good sense to talk to her about what she liked and disliked. I consulted a friend about ring making classes and talked with her about the ring I wanted to make. Unfortunately, I also discovered that crafting a ring from start to finish could take several months, especially for a complete novice like me. So I did the next best thing – I found an independent designer in NYC – Katrina LaPenne – whose rings were exactly what I had hoped to make for Lauren. I loved that they were unconventional and subtle, yet elegant and stunning (just like the woman I intended to marry.) Even though the wedding is over, I’m still planning to make Lauren that special ring someday.

Lauren & Justin
Thoughtful Waterfront DIY Wedding at Eolia Manion
Eolia Mansion at Harkness State Park, Connecticut
Event Date: August, 2014


Photographer:  Katie Slater Photography//Caterer: A Thyme to Cook//Musicians:Allyn Donath//Floral Designer:Brambles and Bittersweet//Makeup Artist: Dana Bartone & Co. Salon andSpa//Reception Venue: Eolia Mansion at Harkness State Park//Ring Designer:Katrina LaPenne//Invitation Designer: Paper Source//Other:Raspberry Knoll Farm//Equipment Rentals: Ryan Designs//DJ: Spin Enterprise//Groomsman Attire:The Tie Bar//Dress Designer:Watters//Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Lisa & Scott: A Beautiful New Hampshire Barn Wedding

Lisa and Scott, a wonderfully creative couple, planned their entire DIY New Hampshire farm wedding from their home in San Francisco. Planning a long-distance event is one of the hardest things a couple can do for their wedding yet Scott and Lisa pulled it off beautifully.

Under picturesque New Hampshire skies, Lisa and Scott’s family and friends helped create a day full of love and happiness.

Lisa was ambitious and even just the day before her wedding decided that they “needed” to make chalkboard signs with lights around them for the bar area – and look how fabulous they were!

Photographer Krista Photography describes the day:

Scott and Lisa got ready in the same house on the property, but took great measures not to see one another before the ceremony. When it was finally time, Lisa’s father walked her down to Scott where Scott’s father officiated the personal and heartfelt ceremony!

After the “I Do” it was time to party! The big barn opened up for dinner and dancing, while the smaller barn was ready with drinks. After some incredibly touching toasts (I do believe the best man/brother of the groom had EVERYONE in the place wiping a tear!), it was time to boogy! Guests tore up the dance floor.

As the night wound down, Scott called his groomsmen together so they could participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge; Scott had been nominated earlier in the week. It was SUCH a fun day full of SUCH fun people!


Lisa & Scott
New Hampshire
Event Date: August, 2014

Photographer:  Krista Photography//Bridesmaid Dresses:Alfred Angelo//Tuxedo and Mens Attire:JoS A Bank//Dress Designer: Liv Harris//Event Venue: Long Look Farm//Other: Seacoast Bartending Services, Inc//Invitation Designer: Wedding Paper Divas//Event Planner:Everyday Details//Caterer:Hart’s Turkey Farm//DJ:Holycow! Music Production//Makeup Artist:Jannicke Welde//Jewelry:Just Bands//Transportation:Lakes Region Airport Shuttle//Hair Stylist:Make Me Up Bridal//Dress Store: Novella Bridal//Other:Seacoast Bartending//Floral Designer: Simple Bouquets//Equipment Rentals:Taylor Rental//Bridesmaid Dresses: Weddington Way//Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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