Wednesday, September 22, 2010

DIY WEDDING - Coastal Style.

Tarzan and I got married on April 25, 2009, which was a little before I started blogging!

Since our Wedding was a Total DIY, I thought I would share some of our ideas!!

We were married in my hometown of Beaufort, SC. It's a beautiful southern small town on the coast. I really wanted to incorporate the local lowcountry surroundings & southern culture. My husband is half Lebanese, half Honduran but raised in Texas and so we also wanted to incorporate all of that. Whew. That's a lot of "incorporating" ... but I think we pulled it off.
The best part?
We pulled it off on a small budget without sacrificing style.

Here's how!

Warning: PICTURE OVERLOAD!!!!!!!!!

Save the Date:
After our engagement - we sent guests Save the Date magnets! We also sent a brochure (that I made in Word) with hotel information and things to do in Beaufort - since most of our guests were coming from out of town! Rather than splurge on crazy expensive Engagement Pictures - we had a friend take them!!

The Invitations:

My friend designed the invitations and RSVP Cards and we had them printed a local printer. They were very afforable and very unique! (I'm looking for a picture - they were amazing!!) The RSVP cards were postcards - saving us money for extra envelopes! We opted not to include a Directions map, as the town was tiny and everything was within walking distance of the hotels.

The Dress:
I set a very realistic budget for my dress and then we went shopping at Bridal Boutiques in Arlington and I fell in love with the first dress I saw -- which blew my budget out the water!! I thought about it and almost caved - when I decided to look online! The EXACT same dress was for sale on Ebay and it said it had never been worn. It was a size bigger than I needed but I ordered it anyways!!! A little risky, maybe ... but I'm ballsy like that! :) We worked out a deal where if I wasn't satisfied with the condition, I could return it - no questions asked! So I figured it was worth a shot!!!
It arrived. It was perfect! A few alterations later ... and I had my dream dress.
FOR under HALF the price!!!
and I don't like heels - so I wore sandals :)
It's your day - do what you want! :)

This is Beaufort ...

We were married in my childhood church ...

The church is VERY historical and on one of the walls they recently found notes from soldiers during the Civil War when the church was converted into a Hospital! Pretty Neat! :)

Ceremony Details:

Local Gospel Singers entertained Guests leading up to ceremony with songs like Amazing Grace, I'll fly away and ended with Oh Happy Day! Everyone was clapping and swaying. It was wonderful and really set the stage for the celebration!!

My bridesmaids (10!) wore Green Cotton Cady dresses from J.Crew in whichever style they preferred!

The groomsmen wore Linen Beige Suits with Green-accented Bow Ties!

The Ring Bearers ...

Seriously - how cute are they?

and the Flower Girls ...
I love the simple white dresses! :)

The ceremony was full of "special touches" - including a sand ceremony instead of unity candles and some of our favorite bible verses! It's very important to make the ceremony unique to you!!

This is the whole gang right after the ceremony!

We rang the church bell ...
(which was WAY harder than we thought!)

and then we party walked the three blocks down to the Reception ...

which was held at the Waterfront Pavilion downtown!

Public parks are an EXCELLENT venue choice for budget weddings!!

This was the BEAUTIFUL view from the Reception ...

We took pictures and then the Party really got started upon the arrival of ....

Yes - we had a Belly Dancer!!!
  Arab weddings have to have a belly dancer! :)
I told you we were "incorporating" all the cultures ....
Do you know how hard it was to find a belly dancer in this small town?! HARD!

We decided to go with a DJ rather than a Band for two reasons - 1: we wanted a wide variety of music (country, popular, oldies, arabic, spanish!) and felt a band would limit us and 2: it saved us money!
My uncle was a DJ!! :)

He was awesome and we all danced the night away ...
Young and Old alike ...

The speeches were wonderful & heartfelt...

It was a perfect night!!!

So now for the details ...

The Food!
The Food was amazing!! We stuck with very simple dishes & local favorites!
Shrimp & Grits, Crab Cakes, BBQ Pork & Brisket, Macaroni & Cheese, Green Bean Casserole, Rolls abd some other Southern Favorites! We chose to do Buffet style with two chefs at different "carving stations." Buffet style allows for quicker service, happier guests and is MUCH more cost efficient. We did have two servers walking around with appetizers and refilling drinks!

When planning a wedding - Food is important!!! Make sure you check whether the venue requires you use THEIR caterer (it tends to be more expensive) and also that there is access to a kitchen nearby (if outside!)! Does it include drinks? plates? Since we were outside in a public park, we were not allowed to have glass. We purchased plastic plates and cups that looked like glass from a wholesaler! The silverware we rented - along with all the tables, chairs and linens. Looking back now - I think I would make the tablecloths (but I didn't sew then!).

The Drinks!
We had 2 bars set up on opposite ends of the Venue. Each bar had one bartender (this saved us a lot of money!)- who poured wine - we offered both red and white. We had plenty - and returned what we didn't use after! Next to the bar we had a table with large glass apothecary jars filled with a speciality Lowcountry Lemonade! Rather than provide a full bar - we provided just this one, pre-mixed drink (Lowcountry Lemonade) which went along with our theme. We placed bottled beer in large galvanized tubs which had a bottle opener attached so that guests could serve themselves! This made the lines shorter and allowed everyone to hydrate and hurry back to the dance floor! :)

Each bar had a large basket filled with koozies that said "Whitney & George, Love is in the Air"!

Wedding Weekend Itinerary

We created a wedding brochure that we dropped off at all the local Hotels where our guests were staying. It had information about all the weekend events - when to arrive, where, etc. We also included water bottles (It was hot!), tourist information and a few other goodies! :) This was great since the majority of our guests were not from Beaufort.

1. Instead of a traditional guest book, we used a Lowcountry Cook Book! Every time we cook together we love reading the sweet messages our guests wrote! I love this idea so much more than a traditional guest book we would just store away and never see.

2. We had several different party favors but one of my favorites were small Muslin bags filled with Grits and a local recipe for Shrimp & Grits (one the speciality dishes we served!). We also made starfish chocolate suckers with chocolate from a local favorite - The Chocolate Tree.

3. The cake was simple, elegant and delicious!! We got it from Publix! (It was HALF the price of the local bakery!) We also didn't go overboard on size - we got what we needed! :)

4. Since Tarzan is a pilot, I wanted to incorporate a subtle touch of airplanes but didn't want to go overboard. I found these small Little airplanes and used them as namecards to show guests which table they were sitting at. We lined them up on ribbon which functioned as runways! The tables were named after airports that we had been too. I didn't want to stress about seating charts - so we assigned people to tables - not seats! ;) It made it much easier! You could easily skip this part completely - but I really wanted to use the airplanes, haha!

The Tables!

The Tablescapes were simple & affordable - elegant white table cloths with navy blue napkins (nautical!). The centerpieces were also simple & affordable - Hurricane Vases (from Michaels) filled with a Tall Candle wrapped with raffia and a shell then filled with sand and more shells - all of which we collected locally! We also placed starfish and votive candles around the table! I loved the romantic candle light after the sunset! Looking back now - I would buy them over time using my coupons - or even check out the Dollar Store and Goodwill!

Every Napkin had a sand dollar tied with raffia and this sweet poem,
The Legend of the Sand Dollar
There's a lovely little legend that I would like to tell, of the birth and death of Jesus, found in this lowly shell. If you examine closely, you'll see that you find here, four nail holes and a fifth one, made by a Roman's spear. On one side the Easter lily, its center is the star, that appeared unto the shepherds and led them from afar. The Christmas Poinsettia etched on the other side, reminds us of His birthday, our happy Christmastide. Now break the center open, and here you will release, the five white doves awaiting, to spread Good Will and Peace. This simple little symbol, Christ left for you and me, to help us spread His Gospel, through all Eternity.
We placed a large tub near the DJ booth filled with flip flops and a cute little tag that read:
A soft and comfy treat
for your tired, dancing feet
They were a big hit!

I think my favorite part was the children's table! We set up a small table for the kids - we had games, crayons and crafts! It kept them busy so the parents could enjoy themselves! :) I planned on doing a "Bride/Groom" dress up chest - but time got the best of me!! :(

The night ended just as perfect as it started ...
Guests were given Sparklers with "Whitney & George: The perfect Match" matchbooks attached
 and we rode off on a double bicycle to the song, "A bicycle built for Two".

We stayed at a local Bed and Breakfast downtown.
The following morning we rode our double bike to meet everyone for a farewell brunch!

It was perfect!

This just goes to show that with lots of planning and not too much money
you can pull off a fabulous wedding! :) Do as much as you can yourself, use local businesses, incorporate your culture and remember that this is YOU and YOUR spouses' special day! Make it yours!

Enjoy it, EAT and take it all in - because it goes by SOOO fast! :)
Oh well - those months of planning were SOOO worth it!!!

So how about you? Did you have a DIY wedding? I would LOVE to see pictures!!


  1. Your wedding looks so wonderful, and it looks like you had alot of fun. Congratulations!

  2. this looks perfect. I love individual weddings, not those like all white perfect done before weddings.

    this one looks amazing :)


  3. LOVE the cookbook idea as a guestbook!!! Most guestbooks never get read again!!!! SO LOVE THIS IDEA!!!!

  4. Oh my gosh, what a wonderful wedding! You put so much thought and work into and it sounds just perfect! So many ideas I love, the cookbook, the sand dollars, the bicycle built for too, it's all so cute! Nice job, you are so good!!!


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