Fall DIY Asheville Wedding
As promised, we have Tracy's Real Hindsight Advice from her Fall Asheville Wedding. Planning a wedding is a big project that can easily turn into a full-time job. There are so many tiny details to track. Unless you're a professional wedding planner, this is likely your first time planning a celebration this big. You likely have the basics down: cake, flowers, dress, venue, food, drinks, etc. But what about those other details, like the timeline, and figuring out who to ask as your bridesmaids? Tracy went through all of it and is here today with her real hindsight advice: what she's glad she did, what she wishes she didn't worry about, and her best wedding planning advice from the vantage of hindsight…
What are three things you're glad you did
- I am so thankful that we did a “mini-destination” wedding. It was so amazing that we didn't just have a wedding, we had an entire wedding weekend. All of our guests were so happy to make a vacation out of our wedding, that the entire weekend was just like a big reunion and party. We felt like we really got to spend quality time with our loved ones, instead of only leaving enough time to say “thanks for coming” during the wedding….We also had a Welcoming Reception and Post-Wedding Brunch. Friday night we rented out a local restaurant so guests could have dinner and drinks, and so we could all spend time together before the craziness of the wedding on Saturday took over. This was one of the best things we could have done, because all of our friends and family got to know each other or catch up that night, so Saturday we could really just enjoy ourselves and party! Sunday we had a post-wedding brunch at a cabin that we rented for the weekend. We provided coffee, juice and breakfast items so guests could stop by any time that was convenient to them, grab something for the road, and relive the events and memories from the night before….Guests were so thankful for our hospitality, and we felt it was the least we could do since they traveled all the way to NC just for us. The added time, memories and happiness that everyone received from these little extras was worth every penny we spent on the weekend.
- We found the perfect venue. You can create your flowers, your cake and every detail in your wedding however you want. What you can't create is a gorgeous venue overlooking mountains that are exploding in fall colors. The venue that you choose sets the entire stage for your wedding and it's the one thing you shouldn't compromise on. Pick the venue (and be picky on the venue!), and everything else will fall into place after that.
- Day after pictures. If you see our day after pictures, you'll understand why it was one of the best things that we could have done. We've spent a lot of time hiking in Asheville and several months before, after hiking several miles to the highest elevation on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I looked around at the 360 degree view of the mountains and said, “We need wedding pictures here”. Unfortunately, hiking a few miles in heels and a wedding dress through the woods on your wedding day is not exactly realistic. The day after the wedding, we got all dressed up again and set out on an adventure that would turn out to not only be fun and memorable, but also provide some of the most stunning photographs that I've ever seen in my life (and I'm not just saying that because they're our pictures- I promise.)
Three things you wish you had done
- Planned my time line for the day better. I got so caught up in planning all the small details of our wedding that I forgot to look at the big picture. It was a week before the wedding when we realized we hadn't thought through the ceremony or reception timeline at all! There are a lot of details that you need to think about, like who will walk with who, timing, what words the officiant will say, when you'll do the cake cutting, first dance, etc. It's easy to get caught up in the details yet somehow miss some of the biggest things you have to plan.
- Allowed (much more) time (for everything) the day of the wedding. Everything always takes longer than you plan! Everything. We drastically underestimated our timing the morning of the wedding and we completely missed the first stop for photos because we were still at the salon. We had to rush back to the cabin, throw on makeup and we were all in such a rush to get dressed that I ended up putting my wedding dress on in the closet!
- Paid a printer to print and cut our invitations. I'm a graphic designer and my true love is designing invitations. My creativity got a little ahead of me and the next thing I knew we were cutting, stamping, punching, trimming and printing hundreds of pieces of paper. I didn't realize the extent of the job until we were sitting in front of stacks upon stacks of paper with one pitiful paper trimmer from Michael's. Some things like printing seem expensive, but looking back we could have just paid a professional printer based on the amount of time and heartache that went into putting together those invitations.
Three things you wish you hadn't done
- Sparklers. I've seen so many awesome pictures of sparklers and just had to have them at my wedding as a way to end the night. We just thought of how awesome the pictures would be and didn't stop to think about the fact that there would be 120 extremely intoxicated people desperately waving fire around as if they're lives depended on it. Now imagine running through a tunnel created by these people! Not as picture perfect as we imagined…at least we have some awesome sparkler pictures though!
- Hired our officiant and videographer because they were cheap. We didn't want to spend money on either of these- the ceremony was going to be five minutes long and we didn't really care about the quality of the video- we just wanted to catch the speeches and the ceremony. Our officiant met us the first time ten minutes before the wedding and butchered our last name when she pronounced us man and wife. The videographer ignored my emails except to tell me he couldn't make it to our wedding a week before the date! In the grand scheme of things, it's worth a little extra to have vendors you can count on to make your day perfect.
- Sent out invitations with meal choices before verifying them with my venue. We sent out the invitations with veggie lasagna as a choice and decided on green beans as a side with all the entrees without telling the venue. As it turns out, you needed to have 10 of a certain item and I notified them too late about my change of heart on menu selections. It's not fun begging your mom and wedding party to eat veggie lasagna instead of steak! The good thing is I don't really think anyone even noticed that there were mixed veggies instead of green beans (and if you did I apologize! ;)
Three things you wish you hadn't worried about
- Asking best friends to be bridesmaids. I think it was fear of rejection, but I panicked for months over how to ask some of my best friends to be bridesmaids. One had already been in so many weddings that year and had so much on her plate, and the other lived states away and it was really hard on her because of family obligations and having to travel. I was afraid they wouldn't want to be my bridesmaids and worried about it needlessly. When I finally gathered the courage, both were just so happy and honored to be my bridesmaids.
- Whether all the details were just perfect. You become really caught up in the way the you picture your wedding- all the painstaking details that go into planning centerpieces and flower colors and whether or not the tea lights will stay lit the entire night. Your guests will not notice if there's a rose in your bouquet instead of a Callalilly or if a tea light goes out. Just let it go- there's no use worrying about these things because chances are that you will be the only one that even notices them!
- The vendors on the night of the wedding. I wanted everything to come out so perfectly. And it did! I spent forever deciding on songs I wanted played, thinking of all the pictures I wanted to make sure my photographers would get and worrying about keeping the wedding on track and guests happy. As it turns out, if you hire awesome vendors, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. They are experts and have done hundreds of weddings before yours- this is what they do for a living and what they do best. So leave the worrying up to them, relax and just enjoy your wedding.
What is your very best hindsight advice
Enjoy your wedding….every minute of it. Every minute before it, every minute during it, and every minute after it. When you're frustrated with planning and overwhelmed with details, you have to remember that this is going to be one of the best days of your life. It shouldn't be a hassle- it's an opportunity to make some of the best memories with the people you care most about. It's not just a wedding, it's a celebration for you and your husband, and everyone you care most about will be there…just for you two. It's an amazing feeling being surrounded by love, not only between the bride and the groom, but between families, friends and future families and friends. It's worth every second you spend on it because the day of your wedding will be beautiful and perfect and you'll make countless wonderful memories leading up to it and during it that you'll have for the rest of your life. So don't worry about the pennies spent and enjoy this special time in your life because after the wedding, you'll be left with more than money could ever buy.
Pretty much every detail was DIYed. I had trouble controlling my creativity- I would see a picture and just run with however my mind wanted to make it my own. That was what was so much fun- I could do anything I wanted and the possibilities are endless! Some of the projects we DIYed:
- My Dad made us these gorgeous tree stands for our cake, centerpieces and our candy buffet. He actually carved our names in our cake stand! I remember how excited he was when he called me to tell me how excited he was that he had finally found “the perfect tree!” for the stands.
- I designed and we made all of our Save the Dates, invitations and thank you cards.
- Tom and I built our wedding website together (and he actually hosted it on a server that lives in our closet!)
- We made welcome bags for the guests to receive at check-in that had items like brochures on Asheville that we got for free through the travel bureau, coupons, band-aids, safety pins, granola bars and a card thanking them for coming that had all the details for the weekend.
- The centerpieces. We knew we were having fall wedding a year in advance so I started buying fall items on clearance as I saw them. The centerpieces were alternating mini wheelbarrows with homemade potpourri and luminary candles that I found on clearance.
- For the name cards for seating arrangements we bought chalkboard vinyl, cut it in the shape of a leaf, wrote the guest's name on it and pinned it to apples that we bought at bulk the day before at the Asheville farmers market. They were a hit! And I was surprised at the number of people that actually ate their apple or took them home with them.
- Tom and I made chalkboards for the wedding. We built a large one from wood we bought at Home Depot that we used as a welcome sign and for table arrangements, and also made small ones out of frames that we bought at the dollar store. Then we bought chalkboard paint and painted the wood/glass to make inexpensive DIY chalkboards.
- A welcome sign. I found a piece of wood and I just envisioned it as a perfect welcome sign for our wedding, to greet people as they came in. I printed a painting of the blue ridge parkway in black and white and used a wood burning tool to transfer the picture onto the wood, and to burn in our names and the wedding date. Then I just colored it in with colored pencils. I looked at it as a project that we could also use to decorate our home after the wedding.
- Our card box. The box was a wood box that my mom had in her attic. We took it, sanded it down, and stained it.
- The candy buffet. I bought jars and baskets as I saw them on clearance, and bought candy to match the theme of our wedding. We put the containers on the tree stands that my Dad made to add visual interest, and found small fabric bags that we stamped with a custom stamp that we bought on Etsy
- Photography: 2&3 Photography, Raleigh
- Venue: Crest Center and Pavillion
- Hair and Makeup: Salon Nirvana, Asheville
- Jewelry: Diamonds Direct, Raleigh
- Cake: True Confections, Asheville
- Rehearsal Dinner: Olive or Twist, Asheville
- Flowers: The Flower Gallery of Asheville
- DJ: Southern Entertainment, Asheville
- Dress: Poffie Girls, Charlotte
- Suits: Men’s Warehouse
- Shoes: Six PM (free shipping and returns)
- Alterations: Alterations by Olga, Raleigh
Check out more pictures from Tracy's DIY Asheville Wedding