The DIY Wedding

DIY elements can add unique and memorable details to your day or they can be the cause of stress and strife. How can you get the former without the latter? Here are some tips:

  • Be honest about the amount of time and energy you want to commit to wedding DIY. Is this something you’re willing to spending hours on each week for the next few months? If it is, great! Go for it! If it’s not, that’s where Etsy comes in.
  • Pinterest: a beautiful, dangerous place. With Pinterest there are thousands of wedding crafts, designs, and ideas at our fingertips. However, as many of us already know from personal experience, everything on Pinterest does not turn out looking like the picture. My suggestion is to use this bounty of inspiration for just that, inspiration. 
  • Use real weddings as a guide. Nothing can show you what looks good better than an actual wedding. I don’t mean copying exactly what someone else did. I mean picking and choosing what works from other weddings in order to create your unique vision.

According to bride Ashley, whose DIY details are above, if you can’t rent exactly what you’re looking for, it’s time to DIY. See the full post of Ashley & Jonathan’s wedding here.

What are your DIY wedding tips? Things that work or don’t work?

Real Wedding: Kate & Phil | Omena

Cherry Basket Farm is one of our favorite venues in Northern Michigan. The white barn, the rolling fields, and the delicious food that accompanies every event. It also was the perfect venue for this true DIY wedding. The bride, Kate (with the help of many family & friends), planned the entire wedding and incorporated special touches into each part of the day. You must read on about all the amazing details from Kate herself!


Since the wedding was outside, Kate wanted it to be rustic with a touch of the classics. Also, the wedding day fell over 4th of July weekend, so she chose Americana inspired colors with a twist. There was gold in her shoes, cake, napkins, the grooms tie, and candles on the table. Red in the matron of honors dress, and pops in the bouquets. Various shades of blue in the bridesmaid dresses, and turquoise in jewelry and the centerpieces. She was able to accomplish the vintage feel by having her mother and sister search high and low collect vintage plates and champagne glasses from antique stores, resale shops, and yard sales during the year and a half engagement. A lot of friends and family showed up during the rehearsal to help hang stained glass windows in the barn that her father had made, and everyone who attended the wedding was given a handmade glass star with her colors. Her husband was charged with building an arch the morning of the ceremony so he and the groomsmen found downed trees to tie together in a tripod with a love knot at the top. The officiant was a friend and also doubled down as the DJ known as Amy Dreamcatcher. Amy made a dreamcatcher to hang above the couple, from the arch while they got ready. The nuptials were based around Prince's Purple Rain lyrics. It was a whimsical day and everyone had a little hand in helping out.

Here's what Kate had to say about the day:

Growing up I was not the typical girl that day dreamt about my big day. My parents are wed for life and I didn't think it would be possible to find that kind of love. I was literally gobsmacked when I met Phillip and felt that 'love at first sight feeling.' When we got engaged I knew I wanted to get married outside and amongst close friends and family. The months leading up to the big day were stressful since I had to think of every detail because it was a destination wedding. With all the careful planning I was oddly calm on the day of. I was placing flower centerpieces an hour and half before the wedding until the makeup artist insisted that I take a seat and get ready. Time was literally flying and the 'hen house', where all the maids and ladies got ready, was buzzing with activity. Then there was call for everyone to line up and when I wrapped my arm around my fathers and looked into his teary eyes I took a deep breath and I knew it was time to walk down the aisle and into my future husband's arms. I think I held my breath behind a smile until we commenced the ceremony with a kiss. Everything was a blur thereafter, we managed to drive away in a vintage car and find a cherry orchard to take some photos and there was a fantastic view of Grand Traverse Bay. When we got back to the celebration everyone was seated and ready to feast on the delicious food that Epicure Catering had prepared. Then came the speeches. My father rocked it, my sister brought tears to everyones eyes, my Father-in-law sang Irish tunes, and my brother-in-law had jokes. We proceeded to the barn where we cut the cake and then some rug. We had our friends play in a 5 piece band and sing Purple Rain for our first dance, albeit karaoke inspired. We danced and danced until dusk and looking back at pictures all I see are big smiles on our guests faces. Cherry Basket Farm and the peninsula are magical. I wish I could re-live that day, because it was the best day of my life, but perhaps someday we will do a slimmed down version on our anniversary. I just have to convince my husband of it, and since he loves me so much I think he will say yes (again).


Event Coordinator: Kate Bordine (bride) / Venue: Cherry Basket Farm & Epicure CateringPhotographer: Jose Infante / Floral Designer: Megan Stojcevski / Cake: Sarah Harlen / Gown: Augusta Jones; Mimi's Bridal, Ann ArborInvitation Designer: Kate Bordine Cooley, Suzanne Bordine Ediem, & Daron Simon 

Most vendors were friends of the couple.

My Lovely North: A Fine Homecoming

About four months ago, I married Pieter. Over a short month later, he was called to work a 70 day position on a vessel that journeyed to Europe. It was an extremely difficult decision for him to go, as with most great opportunities, sacrifices are made. Pieter's career opportunity also meant leaving very shortly after our marriage, and his absence for our first Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Well, it's certainly been a long and difficult time, but our wait is finally over. After crossing the ocean 4 times from Baltimore to Germany and England, Pieter will return home to me this very night.

Having dated Pieter long enough to know the difficult time frames of the life of sailor, I felt a bit more prepared for his departure. We had been through a 70 day journey together and this time it wouldn't be during the preparation of our wedding. Each time he leaves is a little more predictable but it never truly gets easier. We've been fortunate enough this trip to have unlimited e-mails (yes, that's a privilege) and international SIM cards while he was in Europe, allowing us to talk about every 15 days or so. It's still separation from your husband, and it's still very, very hard.

In the time that he's gone, I find myself keeping busy with my day to day life of my job, taking care of our fur-baby, blogging for Simply Blue, geting 'out and about' in my truly, lovely north and managing to throw in a hobby or two. Since I've had the crafting bug lately and in thoughts of Pieter's homecoming, I thought naturally of something nautical and love inspired. I remembered stories of woman lighting candles for their sailors to come home and although I A. don't own a lighthouse, B. don't have a widow's walk and C. find it haphazard to leave a candle burning in a house with an all-too-clever pooch. I restricted myself to the 'lighting of the candle' and decided vamping up some candles. (much safer!)

I bought some faux Lamb's Ear, brown paper and unscented candles. Binding a few of the candles with the brown paper, I kept it simple and natural with the shorter ones. I clipped most of the leaves off of the Lamb's Ear and lined the sides of the taller candles with carefully placed leaves. I'll need to let them settle in over night and maybe place another layer of leaves tomorrow - in hopes of passing the time before Pieter get's home, of course!

It's here. Today is finally here and I couldn't be more thankful. Cheers!


The Creation of the Centerpiece

What is a table without some beauty to stare at - without a central focus to illuminate the guests of a small story told in a gathering of telling objects?

It is my belief that every small décor piece comes together to truly make a wedding. Every adornment playing its part in the day, be it the ceremony or the reception, holds its own visual purpose. The centerpiece is not just a candle, vase or birdcage, it represents, be it a small way, the way the groom and bride have come together in their personalities.

At least my dog seemed interested with where my thought process was headed. Either that or it could have been dinnertime…I guess I’ll never know.

But in all seriousness, it took me a long time to come to a committed decision of the centerpiece design (and yes, there’s a possibility of change), but I think it’s because it will be the one commonality between each table that will tie the room together. Being detail oriented, this is important to me!

In both Pieter’s taste, and in my own, simplicity is the name of the game. Because of this mind set, I’ve boiled down our centerpieces to be that of 3 pieces: flowers (and greens), painted assorted glassware and cans, which will all set on 1.5” thick slices of wood. I spent a bit of time today exploring exactly what it takes to color bottles and cans.

I found that the longer you soak the wine bottles (about 15 minutes) the easier the labels come off. It takes approximately two coats of paint per bottle and a steady hand. Time wise and most effective method would involve spray paint, but I can’t help but appreciate the calm sit-down style of hand painting the bottles. Perhaps after bottle number 50, I’ll see it in less of a starry-eyed way. That’s what willing friends and bridesmaids are for. ;)

The flowers and slabs of wood will have to come later, but anything that I can do early on will ease any preparation stresses later on. I’ve got a long way and many bottles to go, but it’s an important process and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.

Happy planning!