I’ve thought long and hard about how and what to share regarding our wedding. As you know, it was a complete DIY affair . From the invitations and decor to setting up the venue and even the food, the only thing we hired professionals for was the photography. We also paid a couple of students to be waiters/helpers and who cleared out all the plates and glasses at the end of the evening. Thank goodness for that! The rest was all our own doing, though. (Although, a wedding planner who found out about our wedding and liked it, contacted me a few weeks before the wedding and offered her help. I talk about it later on, about how Eva helped us so much regarding the chairs/tables/tablecloths rental).
Roughly a week before the wedding, a friend asked me whether I thought all our work was (going to be) worth it. At the time, I answered that I really didn’t know – I’d have to get back to her after the wedding day. You see, we came very close to booking a (catered) venue two months prior to the wedding and dropping everything else, because we couldn’t find anywhere that would fit our plans. And when we decided not to, and went forward with our original DIY plan, there were (a lot of) times when I wondered if we were crazy. I wasn’t sure we’d be able to pull it off.
In the end, though, everything turned out perfectly. The weather was beautiful (although extremely hot) and we had an amazing time. Here’s how we managed to do it:
- We started all the projects early. I wanted to have all the crafty stuff done a week or two before the wedding, so that meant doing things weeks or months before the wedding, like the burlap runners. I finished everything the Friday before the wedding, including the cutlery/napkin/place card arrangement… but then had to do them all over again. When we put them in a box, the napkins were still a bit wet from being ironed, and the namecards basically disintegrated and got smudged. Even so, because I had a week left to go, I was able to redo them the Sunday before the wedding and still had time in case other things went wrong.
- I tried to be as organized as possible. All those organization spreadsheets and how-to-set-each-table documents proved to be invaluable.
But the most important part, really, is that we had a ton of help: not only the day of, but for weeks before the wedding, too.
- The week of, on Tuesday, the younger members of the handball team, plus my brother and two local cousins, were there at 10AM (that’s pretty early for a student on one of their last days of summer vacation!) to set up all three tents. When the delivery of the tents fell through, they went back at 4PM that same day to get it done.
- On Wednesday and Thursday, we prepared all the food. My mom cooked almost all the savory part of the menu, with help from an aunt and Andoni; and I did all the desserts plus the quiches. I was frosting the wedding cake at 11PM the night before the wedding (in our apartment) and there were friends running around like crazy transporting the food to the house/venue at the same time.
- Both on Wednesday and on Thursday, but in the afternoon, we were at the venue (my mom was still cooking) with friends and family preparing the area: the lawn had to be mown, the decor set (all the pom poms had to be opened, for example, which I was told took a loooong while), the LED lights installed on the inside perimeter of the tents, the area cleared of rocks, a path made with tiki torches that led to the house… you get the drift. All week long, there were a ton of people there helping us. We also bought the flowers/plants for the centerpieces one of those days, and arranged them all in the wood boxes.
- Later in the evening, both on Wednesday and Thurday, I came home and kept preparing the desserts while people were still over at the venue working on the stuff I mentioned. While I baked, my aunt and a friend of mine were there cleaning the kitchen as I went, clearing out and organizing the apartment (since they were going to take pics here I wanted everything to look decent), and they also wrote everything I kept blabbing about. I hadn’t been able to finish all the instructions/organizational stuff the boys needed for the day-of, so they wrote everything down while my hands were busy cooking, haha.
- On Thursday afternoon, the chairs/tables/tablecloths arrived. We set the tables – I had drawn a floor plan based on the tents’ measurements, but we had to rethink some stuff based on the location of the tents – and figured out where everything would go. This meant I had to redo a couple of the organization charts. Once we were happy with the arrangement, we put on the tablecloths, table runners and centerpieces, plus all the chairs. That way, the morning of the boys “only” had to set the plates/glasses/napkins of the guests’ tables, plus the food, etc. (Sidenote: like I mentioned earlier, a wedding planner in the area, who was friends with other clients of our photographers, contacted me a few weeks before the wedding and offered her help out of the goodness of her heart. She was invaluable when it came to the chairs/tables/tablecloths rental, because although we ended up booking the same company I had talked to initially, she asked around for other quotes, arranged everything with the company, and got us a much better price than we initially got ourselves. Did I mention she did all this for free, over the phone? Yeah, she was amazing. Thank you so much, Eva.)
- The morning of the wedding, all my (male) cousins, several friends, and one of my uncles were at our apartment at 8AM to help us get everything ready. All of us drove there together with the remaining desserts and food. I was carrying the wedding cake, so the drive was a bit slow! When we got there, they started setting up everything: preparing the gildas, cutting and presenting the cheeses, plus setting up the jamón in the wood boards; putting the welcome and beverage tables in their place; setting up the bathroom/wedding/parking signs, etc. A friend of mine was also at the house, cooking the empanadas. In the meantime, I plated the desserts and explained everyone all the “instructions” (although they were written down, too). Then I left to get my hair and makeup done at around 9AM, while all the guys kept working. I had my cellphone with me while they were doing my hair, and they called me a few times, that’s why there’s a picture of me talking on the phone! Once everything was more or less finished, the boys all showered and got ready there, at the house.
- My sister-in-law went out to buy a tripod and remote for the camera the day before, because we weren’t available to use the tripod we had anymore… and I had misplaced the remote somewhere. A friend of ours did all the props for the photo booth. My MIL came to iron Andoni’s clothes super early on Thursday morning, and then stayed around for a while helping me with the desserts, before going to work. Then she came early again on Friday, to bring me my bouquet to our apartment and the tripod/remote to the venue.
I don’t want to make this post too long, although I promise that I haven’t finished talking about how we pulled everything off & the organizational aspect of the wedding, because I think it’ll be interesting for other DIY couples out there. But basically, the conclusion is that we had lots and lots (and lots) of help. And we couldn’t have done it otherwise. Thank you so much, everyone.
Every picture shown here was taken by Kenoa Photography, our wonderful wedding photographers. I know they’re the same ones that you’ve already seen on their website, but don’t worry: they gave us two DVDs with more than a thousand images yesterday, so I’ll have plenty more to share next week along with an actual wedding day recap. The problem is, our laptops don’t have a cd slot! I’ll copy them to a USB drive as soon as I get my hands on another computer (hopefully today, because we haven’t seen them all yet, either).