As promised here's the continuation of an Off Piste in New Orleans wedding. Today we have Laura's real Hindsight Advice, and more gorgeous pictures of this stunning, heartfelt DIY wedding. One thing that struck me about Laura is her ability to understand her priorities. For example, she spent less money on flowers and more money on “yummy southern food.” Bravo Laura! Understanding your priorities will keep you sane and your budget in check.
Tell us a bit about your wedding.
We wanted everything to be handmade, since we are both designers and love making stuff. We looked at it as a design project, and had a lot of fun with it – and I'm so glad Jeff was so involved in the whole process and I didn't have to do this by myself!
Some of the things we did:
- We designed and printed our own invitations and paper goods
- The streamers in the tent were assembled in 5-foot sections ahead of time in Dallas, then attached quickly to the tent that morning
- I made my dress, and my mom made the flower girl dresses
- We designed laser-cut doilies for the tables
- We collected bottles and jars and wrapped them in yarn for the center of the tables
- We made tiered stands for the cookies out of vintage plates
- I sewed the napkins from vintage linens
We also wanted to involve a lot of our friends and family
- We had an old roommate officiate the ceremony
- The caterer was a good friend of ours
- And we had our rings made by a friend who is a jewelry artist.
What was your budget?
Well, we hoped it would be much less, but it ended up at about $10,000. Since the wedding was in New Orleans, and we are in Dallas, we had to spend a lot of money on hotels, transportation etc.
What was your biggest priority for your budget and why?
We wanted to be able to see everyone as much as possible. We have moved a lot and have friends and family everywhere, so almost everyone was from out of town. Instead of a rehearsal dinner for the wedding party and family, we had a big shrimp boil and everyone was invited. We also made sure to spend our money on the things that mattered to us – like spending more on amazing southern food and less on flowers.
What are three things you're glad you did?
- I'm so glad we did a playlist so that we could choose our own music – we are picky!
- Since everyone was out of town, we payed for hotel nights for the wedding party… being in a wedding can be expensive and we didn't want anyone to have to worry about that!
- We kept everything really personal to us, and I think the whole weekend really represented who we are as a couple. There were several ‘traditional' things we didn't do, and just did things our own way instead… like having a cookie bar and skipping the whole wedding-cake-cutting stuff. We just let the evening take it's own course and kept it very laid-back, which was very nice.
Things you wish you had done?
- I really wish I had hired a day-of coordinator… I had no problems with the planning and organization, but the wedding weekend was hectic… I spent a lot of time telling people where to go when, finding extension cords, directing traffic, etc and less time actually enjoying myself. It would have been worth the money!
- I wish I had printed out a detailed schedule for the vendors and families so that I didn't have to try to keep everything on track… what time the food would be served, etc. (Could have been taken care of by the coordinator I didn't hire!)
- We had planned the photobooth backdrop to be made from hanging streamers to coordinate with our tents, but we ran out of steam and just hung up fabric… it worked, but since it's a part of so many photos, I wish we had finished it!
- I wish we had done a ‘first-look' session before the ceremony, so that we could have spent more time at the reception… even though it did make walking down the aisle extra special to see each other for the first time!
Things you wish you hadn't done?
- I can't really think of anything!
Things you wish you hadn't worried about?
- Well, I guess the best way to answer this is to say I'm happy I didn't worry about anything. I just kept a positive attitude and knew that even if things didn't turn out like I expected, it would be ok. We had a few little mishaps, but it all worked out in the end.
What is your very best hindsight advice?
- Your wedding will go by fast. Blink and you'll miss it. So make sure you relax and take it all in, enjoy yourself! And make your wedding exactly what you want, not what anyone expects.
- Photographer: Michelle Dearing of Oeil Photography
- Caterer: Lindsay Darling of Cafe Rani
- Venue: Benachi House in New Orleans
- Flowers: bought at Whole Foods, styled by Britt Albright and Carol Davis (My boss and mom!)
- Music: ipod with a boombox
- Officiant: our friend Andy, who got registered online as an officiant for our wedding!
- Attire: Brides dress – made by bride, Grooms' suit – Macys, Bridesmaid dress – Anthropologie,
- Flower girl dresses – made by my mom
- Shoes: Vintage cowboy boots
- Cookie bar: bakeries found on Etsy: Crumbles Cookies, Mel Mellis Sweets, KE Cookies, and Sugar Plus Spice
- Rings: Christi Reiterman
Aren't you absolutely in love with all the heartfelt handmade details? Laura and Jeff are selling some of the items they designed for their wedding, including hand made cloth napkins and those adorable yarn wrapped vases. Not so crafty? They also take custom requests! butterdesignlab.etsy.com
Check out Part 1 of this DIY amazing wedding for ideas and inspiration for your own mountain wedding!