March 9th marks one year of being married. This month, I will have several posts that focus on our marriage and our wedding.
Since my husband and I had a long courting period, our engagement was only about 6 months long. Of that time, we only used about 4 months to plan our wedding. To many people this may sound crazy. But I certainly didn’t want to draw things out any longer. Plus I, like many women, had been getting ideas from Pinterest pretty early in our relationship.
Our lack of time and smaller budget resulted in us enlisting a lot of willing friends and family members to use their skills to make my wedding fantastic! I can truly say that we have a pretty creative and talented group around us! Every element of our wedding included in this post was either donated, gifted, or given to us at a rate well below the regular retail price. I still feel incredibly blessed that we were loved enough to get these great additions to our wedding.
So lets dive in!
Our venue was the Brand Park Community Center.
My sister (Her company is called Dates By Design) was my wedding planner. At first I didn’t want her to do it. Wedding planning can be pretty stressful, and I didn’t want us to fight. Of course we did, but the whole event actually brought us closer. She served double duty as my sister and wedding planner. Her crew did all the decorating, she did our flowers, by bouquet, and she coordinated the event as well. She did both very well. Edited to add, her crew also graciously volunteered their time to help my sister. They spent the whole day before the wedding to make my flower arrangements. then they helped the day off too! Some of them are pictured above. Lisa, Tina, Arlene, Bouvia, Jack and Derek were so kind to do that!
Our fantastic photographer, the man who took all these great pictures was Keith. Keith is one of my favorite photographers. He has taken so many great candid shots of us. Since our first gem, I asked him to do our wedding. He repeatedly said no, he doesn’t do weddings. But after 1 1/2 years of wearing him down (literally!) he agreed to do it and at a great rate too. I love how he takes a basic picture and makes it something even more incredible, like the one above.
Our invitations, menus, and jar labels were made by Lester’s Grandma Linda. Lester did the design, and she printed and made the menus. As a wedding gift, she also made us a beautiful scrapbook. It was really cool because she had all the matching paper, ribbons, and such that went with our theme!
Our “guestbook” was actually a giant building blocks set that I made at Home Depot. I will be posting my how-to on this some time this month. But the sanding and stamps on them were done by our friends Steven and Colleen (and her family). They made this beautiful sign too. We didn’t even give them advance notice about this (my biggest pet peeve). When they saw that we needed something done, they jumped at the chance to help out.
All of this delicious food, some of the desserts, and the appetizers were made by a friend of my mothers. His company is called Delights by Lionel. I still have people raving about the food almost a year later! He definitely gave us a good rate too.
My hair and make-up was done by Lester’s sister Eulonda. I am pretty fortunate that both of his sisters are professional make-up artists. She made me look and feel so beautiful that day.
Lester’s brother Jeff sang me down the aisle. He sang one of my favorite songs, Jesus at the Center by Israel Houghton.
Since the venue didn’t have dressing rooms, our “Uncle” Kelvin let me use his trailer to get ready in. He is the one in the blue vest telling the guy in the black vest that he is not allowed to go in there. Ha!
Our friends Amber and Gerald made this funny video of our story to show at the wedding. He is an animator, and she directed all the interview portions. Another friend Asia, let us use her camera and she helped to edit it. Keith let us use his lights for the interview section of the shoot. The video was a huge hit!
Then there’s the cake and the cake pops. Lester has 2 really talented co-workers, Dawn and Greg. They bake cakes for fun, and I’m not talking about your average sheet cakes. They have made minions, the state of Florida with a whirling tornado, and all sorts of incredible things. We were so grateful when they offered to make our cake as well as some cake pops. All we had to do was pay for the materials and that’s it. Knowing that someone loved us enough to make this for us on their free time was HUGE. I thought it was pretty darn nice. Plus it was super yummy! It was a blueberry lemon cake. They were even sweet enough to make us a mini cake to celebrate our first anniversary. This was extra special because we did not take the top of our cake on our wedding day. Now how many bakeries do you know of that would send their client a FREE anniversary cake just because? That’s what I call personalized service.
I really hope that this post serves as an inspiration for you. If you don’t think you have the funds to have a wedding, think outside the box. In the end, we still spent almost twice our original budget. Mind you, the budget was way too low to be realistic. But we were able to incorporate so many fun personal touches that made our wedding ours. Since we had so many people pitch in, it wasn’t just mine and Lester’s. It was ALL of ours!