Archive for June 5th, 2013

DIY wedding/vibe & the work involved & why you need a co-ordinator

Whether you do this style of wedding in your local area or not, any wedding celebration that is done in a venue such as below takes work, you either pay people to do everything, or you still pay people to do most things and you have to put in the elbow work for a lot of the ‘detail’ items.  Either way DIY is going to be the look/feel  the guests get which makes it feel more intimate and hopefully a reflection of you, as opposed to you were trying to do it on the cheap, and be aware, your time and anyone elses time is worth something, so even if you choose DIY because your vision is maxed with the $$ but you are happy to put in the time/effort for everything else, these weddings do end up costing more than if you found a venue where everything was done for and included or you customise the elements.


We rented tables/chairs that came in on the Friday and used them for both events, just tweaked them a bit. On the Friday night event we did the burlap plants and western overlays over the regular rental linens.  And always be prepared, it was windy, so thank goodness for the extra horseshoes the bride had brought for decor, they were great table linen weights for Friday.  But simple florals that they got at the store Fri morning, then dressed them up, and they look so happy and pretty.


Now the wedding day, starts early for the DIYers, don’t rely on the bride/mothers, as they don’t realise how the day starts to get caught up in hair/makeup early on and time then just runs away with you, so you have to know who is doing what/when etc, and be prepared for needing things you hadn’t thought of.  Plus do you really want to work all morning/day, then go and get ready, by the end of the event you will be exhausted, and you should be invigorated.  So either pay people who are not guests, or be prepared to do the work/thinking yourselves, because kindly friends/family volunteer, but they look for direction from you and sometimes get distracted or lose interest if something fun is going on somewhere else.

I was there early and never saw this sign until the photographer sent me these pics I am using.  This was the grooms job to make and then have it in place by a certain time, and he did.  Great job Dan, it by far exceeded what I thought was out there.


Anyone who knows me knows I love a good looking dining table and the hang napkin fold, so the picture below makes me very happy.   I had been dying to find a location to be able to do a couple of long tables for a 150 person wedding and a bride who loved that idea too, and here we were, we ended up doing 3 long tables due to the guest count increasing, but how fab they look.   Now again, here’s to the DIY side of things:, the chargers were very personal, we were brainstorming rental plates etc and I said, wouldn’t it be neat to have some old fashioned plates, and mob said, we have a whole bunch from grandma (she died just prior to the sister’s wedding and we had her hat she was going to wear at that wedding displayed in a cool way), and I said, that is fabulous, that means grandma will be at this wedding too, so then we had Dan’s mom get plates from the grandparents, and some of the aunties had plates that belonged to grandmas etc and those were the plates we used, loved it.  The tables came in the night prior with all the rentals and there were tarps over them, probably totaled about 30 tarps or so, we had a team of men/guys/ladies taking these tarps off, all time, they were dirty from being out overnight and needed to be folded up, then even though the tables were covered, somehow they got dirty so now time needed to be spent wiping the tables down.  Then the burlap runners went down, we had a breeze so as soon as you got one in place you had to put something on it to keep it down, plus I wanted them straight, as little curving as possible, it takes time to keep multi runners straight.  We then had to fold the napkins the way I wanted them, so a team did that, then we set up a factory line set up for assembly, 6 lines of people, each side of each table, first ladies with napkins -they went down the table putting the napkins down, following right behind (remember the wind so no time to not put the plate down on top or the napkin would have blown away) was a lady who took a charger off the pile of chargers being carried by the guy/man right behind her (boy were they happy the closer to the end of the row of tables they got).  Great, sides of tables done, now have to do the centers, consisting of burlap runners and florals/vases, and mason jars with candles in.  We had gone to every op shop in San Luis on the two trips I went up on and brought mason jars, cool vases etc for flowers and candles to go in, mostly clear but also some blue and green, they had a relative up there, so kindly they allowed the storage of anything brought up there to stay at their place for 5 months.  Lauren and mom went to op shops down here too (we dropped these off to the florist the day prior and she filled them up with flowers then delivered them back the morning of the wedding, first wrong move, pay the florist to put them all out on the table for you), the end result in pics is great, but I ended up putting nearly 150 vases on the tables and it took a lot of time, and it was windy and the little cute ones kept falling over, a florist would have known how to group them to deal with the wind (especially a local florist), I was not having a lot of fun and it was taking a lot of time that I needed to be overseeing/doing other things.  Then after the floral vases were down, the mason jars with candles on needed to go down, I am going to say another hundred, not only down, but now they need to be lit, so that is more time, oops where are my helpers/volunteers, oh they all realised others were relaxing having fun/drinks on the lawn and went over to join them/losing interest in what I/we had been doing, and for some of the ladies they realised how the day was going and disappeared to do their hair/makeup start getting ready for the wedding, so I was alone doing this. Good thing I had started doing things so early, but if they had not have had me, things either would not have been done, or done so well/same, or they would have been done by people working right up to cere time and now they are stressed and have to run/get dressed and are not happy/having fun. It comes down to either have a ton of people who are friends and not going to be guests and ensure they have the time to get all this done, or if these people are guests you are going to have to start earlier in the day, and between the time you finish and the time everything starts you need to have someone overseeing that all is still well, ie vases falling over, water on the table, candles blowing out. Or you pay people, so your friends can be guests and you aren’t involved/worrying, so a co-ordinator to oversee such as we did/me, and paying the vendors to do their job from A-Z, not A-W because good hearted friends have offered to help on the day, but the reality is, when you really need them to help they need to be getting ready or really now the time is here, aren’t quite so into the helping, is really what you need to do. Then the next part to getting a picture to look this lovely, you need to go along and line up every plate and every chair, again it takes thinking about the details to get this kind of shot/feel, and going up and down the tables and adjusting chairs and plates take time.  And not only that, you have to get all the other things you are providing there, so mom’s and several other cars were packed to the gills with plates, burlap etc, and then of course, need people to unload them.  I have a wedding coming up where they have the week prior to setup which takes a lot of this same day setup pressure off, however, dusting of all tables etc is going to need to be done and linens can’t go down too early due to birds pooping, leaves/dust due to wind maybe messing them up, so only so much can really be done hours and hours or days ahead.

Love my placecard tables, but knew what I like to do was not going to work with this event, just wouldn’t make sense, so at one of our brainstorming sessions, I suggested clothesline on the paddock fence that everyone walks thru and I would attach the cards, what about pegs,  love it.  So here is the end result, however, in between the time I was last there with them and the wedding some plants had grown so the fence facing the guests as they would walk to the paddock was not going to work, I had to use the other side of the fence and then stand at the gate and as people came on direct them to whichever side their name would be on (had to do two sides, or with 175 guest there would have been bedlam with everyone trying to get them from one area) and ensure they realised they needed their card to know which table to go to, this was not a sit where you want, it was all assigned even with doing 3 long tables (the line also did not hang as I really wanted, so I spent time trying and trying and ended up having to tape some of it, pegging and taping, all took time, much longer than normal placecard table).  So again, I am now standing for 15 mins while guests are coming in, can’t move, got to give the directions.  And as happens there was a guest challenge, that had to wait until I had everyone in the area, before I could deal with it, otherwise I would have had more.


You must have someone overseeing/working/seeing everything.  Florist brought hooks to have florals hanging on for the cere, but did not set them up, so I did.  Then as the day became night I realised they were still over at the cere site and that was the way most guests would be exiting and in the dark, possibly not see these poles and we would end up with some injuries, so I took them down.  Tarps needed to be put back on the dining  tables overnight or there was a hefty fee, sounded simple enough, however, I had to get the tarps/about 30 from where we had stored them, they were large so had to unfold them then lay them down, then secure them with chairs so they would not blow off.  This took me about an hour during the dancing part of the evening, and I was doing it in the pitch dark.   But before I could do that, I had to undo everything we had done for hours during the day, take the vases off the tables, candles, then the burlap.  We had announced several times that the guests were welcome to take vases/flowers, but no one did, they wanted to leave the tables and go dance, not worry about taking vases of flowers.  Undoing the tables was probably another hour of time and then moving the boxes of vases/florals to an out of sight place but good place for them to be able to be moved the next day.  With venues like this, you must leave them as you found them, so any of your junk/trash/items must go with you.


Another thing when doing DIY you must think about, if I did not have someone sitting at the drive directing people where to park, the photographer would not have been able to get some good distance shots of the ceremony. I noticed the night before that the parking with all over, so had to get it a bit more tidy for the wedding day and no one blocking the main entrance/gate to the house as that was part of the whole charm/look that enticed the bride to choose this location.   The person who was originally going to be the greeter and just do the welcoming, ended up being more of a parking supervisor, which became more important.


This is the money picture and what makes all that work worthwhile, but it is work and you need to really weigh the cost of paying someone to handle/oversee things for you, versus the cost of time/stress etc on friends/family and your experience, are you being a bride and enjoying the day, or working it.

Thanks to Colleen Rosenthal for the photos.

Till next time


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