Your wedding is a very special day; but it is just that—a day. A day dedicated to celebrating your love and nothing else!
We are pretty much planning and paying for our wedding ourselves (and that is no small feat); but you know your girl is always up for a challenge.
Being engaged is such an enchanting time. That said, I definitely struggled with overwhelm over all the decisions in the beginning. Ultimately I knew exactly what I wanted—a beautiful, intimate, earthy wedding that celebrates our love and is so incredibly us.
I’ll be honest in saying that the first couple months of planning weren’t the most joyful for me. Now that we’re five months post engagement, I can say that we’ve made most of the “big” decisions, like knocking out the wedding website, registry, bridal parties, dress, and save the dates.
Needless to say, I’m feeling much better and am actually having FUN with it! Now we’re in this temporary cruise control bliss. I’m beyond excited to marry my sweetheart on March 28th!
Wedding planning is magical, but it ain’t easy!
Planning a wedding means being faced with millions of details, huge and tiny. If you’re anything like me, you’ll fret about making everyone happy but eventually you’ll come to terms with the fact that it’s YOUR day, and everyone who loves you will respect that.
Now, I offer some words of wisdom. Don’t go into debt over your wedding. Don’t invite people you haven’t spoken to in years.
There’s a lot of pressure, and of course everything bridal is expensive. I’d be lying if I said Jeff and I didn’t considering eloping! I did decide to hire a partial planner to help me execute my design vision and be an accountability buddy when it came to details. Very glad I did that.
It was important for me to find someone reasonable and it was nice because I already had my date, venue, designer for invites, photographer, florist, and caterer figured out. Samantha has been wonderful with helping bring everything together.
- Prioritize what means the most to you as a couple. If you’ve always dreamed of having a band but don’t care about flowers, then spend more on the band and do minimal florals. We love music but didn’t feel we needed a band, so we went with a DJ to save money. A DJ is typically a couple thousand dollars less than a band.
- Consider getting married in the “off-season.” Ultimately we chose March 28th because a) every Saturday after that besides Easter was booked and b) the venue offered that month for 25% off. If you get married on a Friday, Sunday, or just a month that isn’t wedding season, you’ll get a better deal.
- Go local. Have a friend that’s an art teacher or graphic designer? Enlist them to help you design your stationary! We got outrageous quotes for invitation when we were browsing traditional shops. Our friend Candace is doing all our paper and we’re printing everything at Monk’s, a very affordable local print shop. A lot of people are now making their own on Canva. I’m also considering having a baker friend I know help with our desserts!
- Break the mold. Not big on flowers? Your bridesmaids don’t have to have bouquets, you don’t have to have centerpieces, and no one has to host a formal sit down rehearsal dinner. If your wedding has more of a casual vibe, you can consider emailing invites to cut down on costs as well! It’s more environmentally friendly, too.
- Keep the guest list down. A lot of wedding costs are fixed, like the venue, dress, and invites. The cost of food and alcohol is what can get super crazy depending on your guest list.
- Be catering savvy. It was important to us to work with someone who could customize the menu as we didn’t want “traditional” wedding food. We knew we wanted family style. Never be afraid to ask questions! For the cheese board app, can you get domestic versus imported cheese? Some caterers will let you do apps for 100 versus your 125 guest count, assuming not everyone will eat it.
It may be a bit untraditional but being the gal that knows what she wants, I wanted to do all the ring shenanigans myself. Jeff and I have never adhered to gender stereotypes (and I love that about us), so it’s no surprise that I wanted to take my vision and run with it.
I’ve done my best to keep in mind throughout this process the importance of honoring who we are as a couple versus emulating what everyone else around you is doing. There is no right or wrong, there’s just you. Everyone’s style, budget, and most importantly, relationship, is completely different. We should be celebrating that versus comparing!
I knew I wanted a really unique, feminine, vintage-inspired ring that was still modern. A friend told me about local jeweler Lauren of Renee James and after perusing Pinterest for hours on end, I reached out to her about my vision for my ring.
We went back and fourth for weeks until we came up with the perfect design. The she came over and I picked out the diamond while we talked details. Working with her felt like talking to a friend!
I had only ever seen it electronically, so when I saw it for the first time in real life in the hands of my love, I can’t even explain how enamored I was. It’s truly my dream ring and I am absolutely obsessed with it!!
Lauren is based in Columbus but works with couples all over. She is such a friendly soul and couldn’t be easier to communicate with. After I designed my engagement ring with her, I went back and not only did my wedding band, but also an every-day diamond necklace and gold ring for my other hand!
Lauren is kind enough to be offering my readers 15% off all items online and in store when you enter HUMMUSAPIEN. This promotion will run until the new year so run don’t walk to shop jewelry and chat custom designs with her!
I found my dress for quite a steal at Lux Redux. Our experience there couldn’t have been more friendly, which is exactly what I’d hope for. No pushy sales people or body size talk. They have samples of designer dresses that you buy off the rack as is, so since they don’t have tons of sizes, you get a great deal on the size they have in store.
I wanted a modern, chic dress with fun, feminine flare. I think I found it!
For my eight bridesmaids, we’re doing pleated maxi dresses in three colors: forest green, gold, and bronze.
Where do I even begin about Pursuit?! Pursuit is a local custom suit business that several friends had recommended to me. Nate, Tyler and Sheyan made designing a custom suit such a joyful experience. There’s a lot that goes into a suit, and Jeff and I had so much fun choosing styles, fabrics, buttons, interior lining, and beyond.
We loved them so much that we ended up getting my dad a suit from there for the wedding. For a genuine local experience with top notch customer service coupled with serious style, hit up Pursuit for all your groomsmen needs and beyond.
DISCOUNT ALERT: Suits aren’t just for weddings—they make great gifts, too! Book an appointment online at their Columbus or Cincinnati store before 12/15/19 and put Hummusapien in the notes. At your appointment, you’ll receive a special suit discount, a gift from Alchemy, AND an entry to win a FREE Pursuit suit ($349 value!!) just in time for the holidays!
Wedding Website + Registry
We used Zola for our wedding website and I couldn’t be happier about it. It was super easy to navigate and I actually loved making our site! It’s also completely free.
It has a built in registry with 50,000 products that’s super user friendly but you can also link to other external sites. The great thing about Zola’s registry is that you can “return” any item before it ships or get the cash value instead if you decide you no longer want the item. At most other stores, you can only return for store credit.
The first thing we did was google a wedding registry checklist so we could be organized about what we needed. We have next to no storage space, so I wanted our registry to be essentials/nicer things, like great knives, a Smeg toaster, a Le Creuset dutch oven, and a honeymoon fund. We did go in person to Williams Sonoma and West Elm, but honestly I did most of it online.
We also registered at Williams Sonoma (which included West Elm where we got our everyday place settings) and Amazon. I’ll be doing a whole post on my most-loved registry items, so stay tuned!
Flowers + Design
I’d say my style is urban chic. I like modern but I’m also not afraid of color. While I love neutrals, I knew I didn’t want white and greenery to be the theme of our wedding. I wanted pops of warm, inviting colors like burnt orange, maroon, bronze, and mustard in addition to, of course, plenty of green.
I’m working with the fabulous Adria of State and Arrow and I knew right from the moment I met her that she was the florist for me. She’s spunky, hilarious, stylish, and all around awesome. Working with her on my floral design vision has been a dream!
We’re going to have some amazing vintage rugs going down the aisle at the ceremony from local lady Lindsay Bluman Decoration and then we’ll move them to the reception.
We were so excited to work with Benjamin of Derk’s Works. He shot a few of my good friends’ wedding and beyond being an insanely talented photographer, he’s an incredibly warm, kind, and down to earth human being. We just love him as a human. I know I’ll need that good energy on my wedding day!
Invites & Beyond
I’m working with my crazy talented photographer and designer friend Candace on our save the dates, invites, menus, seating charge, and bridesmaid proposals. She’s knocked it out of the park with understanding my style and bringing unique life to my vision.
Thanks so much for letting me share this special time with you! I hope this can be helpful to anyone planning a wedding. Got questions? Fire away!