Fellow DIY Brides + Grooms, be aware! Today is a long and lengthy one because… well, we’re featuring my wedding! When the idea of me writing and publishing about my own semi-DIY wedding came up, I wasn’t entirely sure if I was up for the challenge. It’s just so much easier to marvel over other peoples’ gorgeous weddings and to criticize your own. But Khris mentioned how nice it would be that since I’m the one writing about my own wedding, that I could share with all you lovelies my experience as a DIY bride.
First and foremost, I want to mention that our wedding was a destination wedding. We, along with most of our friends and immediate family (both of our families are from Taiwan, so only our immediate family members live in the US) reside in the southeast United States, so it was a lot of effort and planning to get everyone to Las Vegas. We were engaged close to 1.5 years before our actual wedding, but we had been together for 9 years prior to getting engaged so I pretty much knew some basic stuff I wanted… a Fall wedding, gorgeous venue, delicious wedding food, and my flowers amazingly pink and romantic- a theme that I wanted to carry through everything set in place for the wedding. To get things started, we took a trip out to Vegas exactly one year before our chosen wedding date and interviewed a lot of vendors. I’m so glad we did that because I really needed to feel a connection with the people I worked with and feel at ease that they know my vision.
We definitely could not have pulled off our dream wedding without the constant support from friends and family, especially my amazing bridal party, and of course, my ever-so-patient vendors. Seriously, I don’t remember how many phone calls/e-mails were exchanged with my super talented florist, Catherine of Layers of Lovely, or with my awesome, multi-tasking venue manager + coordinator, Gina of Red Rock Country Club. They always made themselves as available to me as they could, and tried their hardest to stay true to my vision and budget.
Because we totally splurged on our venue + catering and insisted on having both a photographer (Ron Miller Photography) and a videography team (Something New Films), we tried to DIY everything else that we could. *Keep in mind that we had to worry about shipping and the time we would actually have to set up once we’re in Vegas.
We had a super small and intimate guest list of less than 30 people, so my husband and I set out to make our own invitation suite. I love making my own Christmas cards and already am a proud owner of too many craft tools (Cricut, anyone?), and my husband is pretty handy when it comes to doing quick designs on the computer. I wish Ron was able to take photographs of my Save-the-Date and invitation suite so that I can show you, but here’s a fun fact: Our invitation was modeled after Khris’ own Vegas-themed Save-the-Date shaker in her The DIY Bride: 40 Fun Projects for your Ultimate One-of-a-kind Wedding book.
My best friend and maid of honor, Eunice, worked with me to construct the invite and all the tissue paper pom-poms that were hung over the reception area. We kept all the pom-poms flat so that they’ll be easy to ship, and once we got to our hotel in Vegas, we had a fluff up pom-pom party with all the girls.
Our favor is a laser-cut “Double Happiness” box, a traditional Chinese wedding symbol that’s also represented as our cake topper. I filled the box with some of our favorite Chinese candies, and I made my own place cards and attached each on top of the box. The cake topper was originally a metal silver color, so Jei-Wei left about an inch and a half on the bottom untouched and spray-painted the rest with the traditional red wedding color.
For all of our signs, we found a free floral design that we liked online, and Jei-Wei used his photoshop skills to make matching signs for our menus and instructions for the wishing tree and sparklers exit. I decorated our “bride” and “groom” signs with small accents that you can buy from art stores. We used the wishing tree tags as our “guest book” and asked people to write their well wishes and hang them up. I made those tags with kraft cardstocks and used my Cricut machine to cut out the tags. I then decorated one side with stamps using our wedding date and distressed the edges to make them look rustic.
My scrapbook making skills kicked into high gears for my photo garland and sweets table decoration. Since I have two things to keep in mind: cost and ease of shipping; I had to make sure that whatever I made could be easily packed and transported in our luggage. I used lots of coordinating cardstock, accents, and photographs for both projects, and to save cost, Gina was able to provide a bunch of sign holders to hold my scrapbook photo art.
I also made the tags for the bubble send-off after our ceremony. I found some wide washi tape and address labels small enough to fit on the tape to make the tag and attached it onto the bubbles using ribbons and gold tape I also used on our invites.
I wanted to have a pretty cake stand for my small wedding cake. My florist Catherine is a super amazing woman and found one for me a couple of weeks before the wedding. She spray-painted it to pink and added jewels garland all around to glam it up
Since our furry baby, Machi, was going to be our ring bearer (he wore a chinese red pouch attached to his custom-made bow-tie collar), we had to make sure that our venue would accommodate him. Even though having an outdoor ceremony wasn’t on the top of our list, Gina made having Machi there possible for the entire wedding, and all 3 of us love her and the Red Rock Country Club more for it!
I’m pretty proud to say our guests truly had a blast at our wedding. We turned it into a long weekend extravaganza where most of our guests flew in a couple of days before our Friday affair. We were all able to enjoy and spend time together as a group and party before AND after the wedding. We were worried that because we had such a small party that no one would dance, but hello! parents. Yes, my brother and my parents kicked off the dance party with Gangnam Style and Bee Gees. And the dance party continued on during the after party on the party bus we rented.
In the end, I received everything I asked for and more- amazing food (yes, and even today, I still get raves from guests who came to the wedding) and music (Gangnam Style was hot then and DJ Patrick got everyone dancing… my brother and I even shared a brief special stage together!), beautiful pink and romantic flower and decor, and a gorgeous venue and an equally amazing catering manager/coordinator who saved me a ton of headaches. Planning a destination wedding was hard, but when you hire the right people for you, everything will just naturally fall into place.
I want to give a big shout out to my photographer, Ron Miller, and my videography team, Jimi + Sandi of Something New Films, for staying an extra hour or two after the wedding to fulfill our vision of having a Vegas experience by shooting all over the Strip that night. That was one of our favorite highlights of the wedding, and they were just totally awesome! I also want to give another shout out to Gina and her staff at Red Rock Country Club for being complete angels and taking the task of decorating all of our DIY projects off of our hands.
I hope all you lovely fellow DIY brides/grooms were able to find some sort of inspiration from my wedding. I loved sharing it with you and feel free to ask me for more details!
Photographer: Ron Miller Photography//Wedding Date:09.28.2012//Reception Venue: Red Rock Country Club//Videography: Something New Films//Florist: Catherine of Layers of Lovely//Cake: Las Vegas Custom Cakes//DJ: DJ Patrick of Music Solutions//Hair+Makeup: Your Beauty Call//Submitted via Two Bright Lights