BUNTING ‘N’ SWAGGER DIY WEDDING + DEAR TKB: “I’m Having a DIY Wedding and I Feel Like DIY Crying…” | Plus, Bambino Part Deux: Return of the FACE.

check it out.  check out that swagger up top.  almost as much swagger as this duck has.  

not as much; almost.

FYI, I love this wedding, and I really think you’re gonna love it, too.  For starters, it’s not the typical wedding I drop onto the internet’s face.  It’s full of peacock feathers, button bouquets, lace and button boutonnieres, galoshes and just general DIY adorableness.  What I’m excited about is that the bride is pretty hilarious, and her write-up is jam-packed with important details and advice.  It is as refreshingly informative as it is amazeballsly amazeballs.

But before we get to that, I feel I should tell you something.  Now, I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but today’s Friday.  And this fact could not be more timely or exhilarating, because I happen to be primed and ready to engage position number five ↴


Quick aside: I’m having some weird trouble spelling today, so please just bear with me.  Or is it bare with me.  (See what I mean.)

Ok, so, if you’re not feeling as chipper and ready-for-anything as Mr. Stick Figure mandates above, kindly explain to me why the heck not.  I mean, was yesterday not International Kissing Day?  Thursday practically alley-ooped you into Friday.  (Ally-oop?  Alayoop?  Antidisestablishmentarianism?  Aleeyoup?)  Now, I get that calling a random Thursday “Internat’l Kissing Day” makes comparable amounts of sense to sitting in his and hers bathtubs in nature and holding hands to push erectile dysfunction medication.  But how ’bout we just go with it, and buy our greeting cards, and do our part not to hate, but instead to participate… and potentially fornicate, as kissing tends to lead to?  Oh, this is not the case in your world?  I see.  I see.  Looks like I’ve got an appointment with a therapist come Monday!  Hehe!  Heh.  Hmmmm.  But yeah anyways I gave into Internat’l Kissing Day and did my part by kissing my French Bulldog.  And the rumors are true: eet wuz magnifique, mes amies.  Zey rilly due know how to keez.  I truly hope you did your part and kissed internationally as well.

By the way, as I blog this I’m listening to John Mayer.  *slaps self*

Ok, so to get wedding blog relevant for a second… we’re like totally rocking a reader question today.  Hollaaaaa.  It’s because you guys voted “Yes” to this new feature when we asked if you’d like to see it happen with relative frequency, but also because who doesn’t enjoy dolling out advice, and being asked to do so, no less.  This is essentially a dream job.  So here we go, with the latest in wedding inquiries… and then I’ll delicately place in your laps an unbelievably stellar wedding situation that beyond perfectly speaks to the reader question we’re featuring right here right now.  YES!  Yes, I know.  Too good.  Aright enough chit chat LET’S DO THIS.


Dear TKB:

We’re getting married this winter and we decided to do a mostly DIY wedding.  My friends/bridesmaids said they’d help out, si I’m definitely not alone or anything, and my fiance is contributing by building a backdrop with my Dad for the ceremony, which I’m really excited about. (It’s a dream come true to have him and my Dad work together on something for our wedding.  It gives me shivers and almost makes me cry just talking about it!)  Anyway so let me bring you up to speed on how all that’s going.  I’m four months out from W-Day, and I feel like I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown under the weight of it all.  I could scream.  I HAVE screamed, at times when I’m by myself and feeling crazy and like I’ll never finish.  I never realized how much time it takes to get these crafting “ideas” to go from “ideas” to “on my dining room table ready for the wedding.”  My friends have helped a bit, but they have busy lives, too, and I feel bad asking them to help more.  It feels like each project turns out to be extremely time-consuming, and it’s even painful at times, emotionally and physically. :(

I want your honest advice – in the end, will it have been worth it to do it mostly on my own?  Or should I start looking at other options.

Thanks, and love you!  -S.

Dear S,

Well for starters I love you, too.  Now.  I hear from and talk to countless brides every day who are having/have had DIY weddings, where they crafted nearly every nook and cranny of their event.  In fact the gorgeous bride in today’s featured real wedding has some excellent advice on this topic, which is why I’ve paired it up with your question. ← SYNERGY WIN.  I strongly advise reading her blurb for a first-hand account of how another DIY bride dealt with this LIKE A BOSS.

Back to my answer – the vast majority of DIY brides I hear from tend to feel the following two things about how their DIY weddings all came together:

  • beyond amazingly happy
  • completely effing exhausted

Personally, I adore DIY weddings, from those where the bride has crafted one or two meaningful things, all the way over to instances where the bride has done back-breaking work during every available moment to make it all come together.  DIY weddings allow you not only to save $$$ (assuming you’re not spending more on the parts than you would by just freaking BUYING the thing), and they allow you to infuse bits of yourself into your big day.  It’s a beautiful thing.  A LABOR-INTENSIVE, beautiful thing.

I’d love to give you a definitive answer, since you’re asking me to tell you how you’re going to feel when it’s done.  But unfortunately I can’t tell you how you’re going to feel, or even how it’s going to go, definitively.  What I can tell you is it’s hard work, especially if you’re taking on so many bits and pieces, as it seems based on your email.  It’s a love affair with something that doesn’t love you back until that one day, but it loves you like crazy for that day, in a way that’ll make you cry so hard it’ll shock you.  (Assuming you haven’t procrastinated ← this is essential.)

Do me a favor and consider these factors:

  • are you a procrastinator?
  • are you a crafty person; do the projects come easy to you?
  • will your bridesmaids be willing/able to give you as much assistance as you think you need?
  • are you good at accepting help from others, or do you need to be in control of each project?

Now, I was serious about reading up on today’s bride’s write-up.  She’s got some great advice for DIY brides in there.  Take note and good luck!

 … I’m turning it over to you guys…. what are your thoughts?


The fabulous Gina Meola of Gina Meola Photography submitted the intense creative excellence that is this wedding, and I challenge you to find one bit of it that isn’t fun, cute, festive, creative and filled with cool, good people.  If you do actually find ‘one bit,’ just email it to me, though – because I’m not actually serious and that would be a ridiculous thing to do.  But also because you won’t, you won’t find anything that isn’t all of those things!  Gina captured this wedding PERFECTLY, and I adore her based on this work, alone.  She’s also pretty in the FACE.  But that’s so not why I dig her.  Honest.  I’m superficial about my reasons for liking people only on alternate Wednesdays.   Anywhoooooo…

Here’s the stellar rundown from our beautiful bride, with some amazing tips at the tail end for DIY brides in particular:

We met in the middle of the Cherokee National Forest and 3 years later got engaged in that same place. Nic and I had dealt throughout our relationship with the costs of airfare, 20 hour plane rides, a 7 hour time difference, a few phone bills that might have paid for our future children’s college tuitions, a small misunderstanding about whether or not chicken counted as a vegetable, and then an 11 month engagement period where the U.S. and South African Government denied Nic entrance into the United States.  So I waited States side hoping we would be together for at least one of the wedding dates we had picked out.  Each date came and went and each of my wedding themes and colors changed as the season changed.  But here we are now, and I would not have traded our summer wedding for any of the other seasons we had picked out. The lessons we learned in patience and communication were there for God’s bigger plan and our wedding was an out of this world celebration of a freedom in Christ and an ending to what seemed like the longest separation ever… so here we are now a rainbow of colors and themes away from what our original wedding plans were but none of that really mattered because we are together!

I spent months telling myself that I was torturing my fingers, developing a minor case of carpal tunnel syndrome, sleeping very little, and contemplating turning my elementary school art classroom where I work into a sweat-shop of paper flowers and buttons all in the name of “finances”. But crafting for our wedding turned out to be my therapy. It gave me great joy to incorporate family and friend heirlooms into each element of our wedding. Don’t get me wrong there were definitely moments when I would walk into the elementary school and thought…If each kid in my art class made just one little flower I would have 300 flowers at the end of the week and POOF no more work for me, but due to the threat of child labor laws and not really being sure if those applied in this situation, nor if a 4 year old would have the motor skills to cut a spiral, I paced myself and rounded up friends and family to help me out on all the cutting and crafting that went into the decorations at the wedding.

I started first by making the bouquets which were made from my mothers wedding dress and buttons. How many moms can honestly say that the wedding dress that they saved for all those years in hopes that their bouncing baby girl would wear it on her wedding day took into consideration that puffy sleeves and Princess Diana trains would probably go out of style? My mother being one of the more toned down brides of her time had a beautiful dress, but unfortunately some where along the way it had started to turn the color of a watered down pink Koolaide…So we chopped it up and salvaged the great parts. The guy’s boutonnières were a piece of cake once we had finished the bouquets.

When our second wedding date passed us by, I realized I still had some more time to craft so I whipped up some jewelry for the girls to wear that would match their dresses.  I let the girls pick the dress they liked, each being so different in style and taste. My only job there was to make sure the colors didn’t clash and they could work for any season.

I wanted all my guests to have something to take home from the wedding handmade, so I made all the women a paper flower brooch on their place card, and all the males got a hand carved animal from Africa thanks to a fiancé who also needed a few tasks to do to keep him busy. So while he was haggling in the markets of South Africa for animals, I was developing some very nice calluses States side.

All the other details just came together beautifully. Gina and Marcus Murphy (Gina Meola Photography) were my phone support when I was feeling down, Gina reminded me on a weekly basis that the wait would soon be over and she and Marcus would be in our faces with cameras soon. My sister/Matron of Honor did a fabulous job on creating our paper tree guestbook. The cake came together over a phone call where I insisted they just make it gorgeous like they usually do and that I would love what ever they came up with. Thanks to Sprinkles & More by Haley Shields!  Two of my dear friends Deb Gruner and Leslie Petree really helped me to wrap all the themes together with the sewing of pennant flags and table decor!

Nic and I had so much love, support and prayers and helpful crafting hands from friends and family that when our special day came it was so unbelievably exciting and happy we are still giddy thinking about it. Having Nic in the country finally is like coming up for a breath of air! And we cannot thank everyone enough!


1. If you are into doing a wedding DIY style make sure you set limits, at one point I was at a craft show scoping out ideas for the birdcage vase/hair pieces of my dreams that I would later come home and whip up and one of my beautiful friends leaned over and politely said “Girl, you have to chill out! Support some of the other artists in town and give your blistered hands a break!” She was so right. My peacock feather hairpiece was beautiful and the best part was I didn’t make it.

2. Hire a Wedding coordinator for the weekend! Foxy Events was a lifesaver for us! They asked us at our first meeting what our goals for the wedding were…we responded with “We want to be guests at our own wedding.” When I stepped out of the car from our rehearsal to see the dinner all set up in our front yard, I couldn’t actually believe it was our house, that is how wonderful a job they did!

3. When people request to help you with anything, ACCEPT! Letting people help gives you a break, and it also allows them to give which is so wonderful! Let them know how important they are to you by allowing them to give!

You guys, sparklers rule.  They just do.  So do happy couples smiling at one another at the end of their amazing wedding day while sitting at the piano.  Among the best things in the world.  And now, for my favorite image of the day…

… because I’m a sap for love.  When it involves anything resembling succulents.  But also the love part.

And now, your Friday MEGA-INSTALLMENT of A Day in the Life of Bambino McPuppyPants…

Bambino finds your argument to be invalid.

So, lovies…

Congratulations on getting through that marathon of a post!  Sincerest apologies for the length; I seem not to be able to edit out anything today, which is disconcerting since I’m sort of the Editor.  Anywhosit, here are your topics!

1) Do you have any thoughts on Miss S’s situation?  Words of wisdom, opinions, or hindsight advice.  She could definitely use it, methinks.

2) What do you think of this totally awesome wedding?  I adore the group shots; they make me giggle and they’re beautiful = best case scenario for me re: pictures.  I also love the bride’s killer tips on how to best go forward with your DIY wedding.  She’s got that knowledge on LOCKDOWN!

xoxo!  - Alison


Photography: Gina Meola Photography / Submitted via Two Bright Lights / Hair Stylist: Studio La Vie / Caterer: Lee Towery Catering / Event Planner: Foxy Events / Reception Venue: green | spaces Ceremony Location: green|spaces

Label(s): "DEAR TKB..." Advice Column, Blue, Color, Mr. McPuppyPants, Yellow, {Love + Relationships}, {Real Weddings}

Love all of this...


  1. Shulie [RobbinsBrothers] on September 9, 2011

    I am so glad you posted about this DIY bride question. I hear so much about it and LOVE DIY Brides and am totally jealous of their skills. When it comes to me, though.. I have no idea what a CRAFT is. I’ve never CRAFTED anything. I don’t even own a sowing machine (I CAN’T EVEN SPELL SEWING RIGHT). The only thing I’ve every SEWN (sit that the correct past tense term?) is the doggie toys that my doggle has ripped apart & emptied it’s white poofy intestines over and over and over. And even my DOG was disgusted with my sewing skills. The idea of making one or two things for my own wedding sounds plausible, but to DIY EVERYTHING? Hell to the no. I will never put myself through that. I know it will come out horrible, I will cry through every minute of it, and it will just be plain ugly for everyone around me. DIY Brides are great, but NOT ME. And I’m not afraid to say it. Not everyone can be a crafty DIY bride, and I now accept that. Thank you, TKB. You are awesome for helping us non-crafty people cope with our still-awesome selves.

    Can I haz mini cheezburger?


  2. Libby {Follow the Wife} on September 9, 2011

    I can’t believe she made all that!! Amazing. I think adding personal touches via DIY projects is the smartest thing a bride can do. But it’s got to be fun for her. If it stops being fun, slow down, cross some things off your list or turn to some professionals (or Etsy) for help.

  3. Ann on September 9, 2011

    Bambino pictures make me happy. REALLY happy! And the real wedding featured is kick ass!

    But to help answer S’s question about DIY…here are my thoughts. Like TKB, I’ve been to weddings where the bride has added one or two DIY touches and weddings where the bride has bent over backwards to make it all DIY and each have been beautiful occasions. I think that S should DIY what she feels is most important to her and something that she just can’t envision without DIY’ing. I mean, sure…every part of a wedding is important, so it’s hard to say what is “most important” and what isn’t.

    To me, DIY is more than just being crafty, personality and saving costs. It’s about bringing something “personal” to the wedding where you can say “I made that for our wedding day.” It’s about the love (okay, okay…sweat and tears too) that goes into making that specific DIY element.

    So S, I think if you’re feeling frustrated and ready to scream, maybe take a step back and see what you really want to DIY for the wedding and what that DIY project will add to your special day. Even though it’ll have a big pay off in the end and on your big day, you don’t want to stress out and be frustrated during the process :)

  4. Donna on September 9, 2011

    Great fun! Great attitude! After going through all that to get to the wedding, they should be able to handle the marriage. : )
    Good tips!
    Length of the post was fine, read every word, seriously, every word!
    Bambino is way too adorable, wet or dry!

  5. Catherine on September 9, 2011

    I love the Bambino, the button bouquets and the swagger. In that order. (But I’d kind of like to see him swagger with a button bouquet…)

    And for S, this is what I would do (so it may not work for you, but you may also find it helpful):
    1. Write a list of everything left to do.
    2. Write a number next to it, ranking your items 1-whatever so that the most vital element gets a 1 and the least vital the whatever.
    3. Decide, based on the ranking, what to do with the items on your list. The basic options are do yourself, delegate, buy alternative and do without. This will help you see where your priorities are so that you can focus on the things that are the most meaningful and special to you.
    4. Work through your list in the order in which they matter to you, so you have the things you need in your wedding-day-soul and you’re not left wishing you’d made one thing instead of another.

    I know this probably sounds really ruthless and is a very objective way to look at something so subjective as your wedding, but I find that sometimes stepping back like that lends clarity and efficiency. Hope this helps!


  6. Susan on September 9, 2011

    The FABULOUS Gina Meola–Indeed!! This spread is UN-believable. LOVE-LOVE-LOVE the full length shot of the bride on the stairs…swoon… So much color, so much detail and varied, to beat wedding detail boredom. The photographers are outstanding, but then how can you miss when the couple is stunning, the details are stunning and the backdrop of all the events–stunning! Congratulations to GMP and Knotty Bride for featuring ONLY the best of the best!! XXOO–Susan

  7. Lauren @ ELD on September 9, 2011

    So 1) My advice for the DIY bride is that you can still have a DIY without stressing out. The answer to that is to hire a wedding planner. There are so many great wedding planners out there, in all different price ranges, who are also incredibly crafty designers, and they can totally take over the projects and/or implement them successfully on the day of. It sucks to have to have your parents/fiance/yourself/friends sweating and getting tired before they even start the wedding festivities! So look for a planner/designer in your area who can and will handle the DIYness that you already have and are wanting to have, and you’ll still have an awesome DIY wedding!

    2) Super awesome, gorgeous wedding! :)

  8. Lena on September 9, 2011

    Is it possible to love someone based on the merits of their wedding and their write up? I’ll go with yes, because I DO, dammit. She reminds me of my mom, which makes me worry she’s going to call me too much but also makes me feel super affectionate. See, my mom makes wedding gowns. And about 1000 other things, including patterns and the most ridiculous dance costumes you’ve ever seen. See: http://www.dansco.com/

    But she had a rule, which was never to make something if you could buy it or hire someone else to do it more efficiently/inexpensively than you. And really, I think that’s the takeaway. Incorporating family heirlooms and seeing your hard work is wonderful, but at the end of the day you are still a human being. And probably if screaming is frequent when you’re alone, it might be time to step back a bit.

  9. Casey on September 9, 2011

    That Bambino + sprinkler = me LOLing. Thank you :)

  10. Whitney on September 9, 2011

    Oh how I love me some good DIY. . . this wedding blows my socks off, ALMOST as much as those great pictures of zee furry mahn-friend in the fountain.

    The bride featured today has a great head on her shoulders when it comes to DIY – it’s really all about your attitude and being flexible and able to roll with it. And Alison’s suggestions on things to consider before DIYing are spot-on. Otherwise, your over-stressed, hyper-emotional wedding brain will explode. And that’s just not pretty. If you feel like you’re DIYing just because you SHOULD, that’s an issue as well. Get ye to Etsy and save yo life!

    Also, if you are the organized type, I found that creating an Excel spreadsheet with everything that needs to be completed is super helpful, as well as creating a loose timeline of deadlines to complete projects by. And you MUST declare a moratorium on all things DIY at least 2 days before your wedding. Otherwise you’ll still be finishing up the ring bearer pillow just minutes before your walk down the aisle, and that’s just silly. This is supposed to be fun! If DIY is stressing you out this much, you need to re-evalute what is REALLY important for you to DIY, and just buy the rest. Your sanity is worth the extra $$.

  11. Ailish on September 9, 2011

    I was sold as soon as you mentioned peacock feathers! Love it!!!

    I’m really glad you posted about the DIY cry-I think so many brides to be forget they are busy people and may not have their whole lives to devote to make and do for their wedding.

    A word of advice though,to avoid nervous breakdown, if you need help you need to ask the people who are closest to you-they will do all that they can!

  12. anna on September 9, 2011

    I am NOT a crafty person, but we wanted to have an awesome wedding on a not so awesome budget (part of which I sorta blew on the photographer (whoops! but SO worth it)). So I learned, real fast.

    We did our own STD’s (turned out okayish), favors and food for the shower (I can’t not help with cooking, sorry!), then our own invites (turned out AMAZING), tissue paper pouf ball thingies, timed and forced paperwhite bulbs, our altar flowers, oh, and all my own desserts.

    There were moments where it was hell, where I wanted to cry and yell, and really wished I was a Kardashian so I could hire someone to do it all for me…. and there were really awesome moments like my fiance and I finally figuring out the invitations and getting the first one assembled, only to have our cat puke on it. And in the end, it was worth all the tears and papercuts. We had put ourselves into the wedding, and with the money we saved we took an amazing, and much needed, honeymoon!

    So in short, you can totally do it, just don’t bite off more than you can feasibly chew. And totally take advantage of people who want to help, even if it means letting your aunt totally screw up frosting cupcakes. There is humanity, and love, in the errors.

    And Bam= soooo cute! love the sad bathtime pictures!

  13. KedR on September 10, 2011

    How romantic!! Loved each and every photo especially the last one with the couple together on a piano bench.

  14. Indy on September 10, 2011

    Loved the peacock feathered head-piece.

  15. Jenny ~ Something Old, Something New on September 10, 2011

    For the first question – It totally depends on the bride! I think you hit it on the nail with what you said. If she is into being crafty and has lots of time to get everything done then go for it – a DIY wedding can be amazing and will be so memorable because the bride made it all happen. But, if she isn’t going to have time or is feeling overly stressed its really just not worth it. You’re meant to enjoy your wedding day and so if trying to make it a DIY is going to ruin that, then don’t do it!
    For the second – LOVE this wedding. The pictures with the rain boots are just too cute.

    Love your little pup – the pic under the sprinkler is way too cute!!

  16. Melissa B on September 10, 2011

    I LOVE Bambino. That’s all.

    I am DIY’ing a few elements of my June 2012 wedding, but have not really gotten to that yet. I have already hired a decorator to put it all together so that the day of I am not a crazy person and can relax/enjoy the day…she also rocks and takes my ideas to the next level. Highly recommend this route!

  17. Natasha on September 11, 2011

    And they say that you shouldn’t shoot into the sun.. Looks great!

  18. jeffrey shipley on September 11, 2011

    GORGEOUS, inspired, creative and downright FUN images from Gina + Marcus. Wow. What a great depiction of a wedding with unique personal flair and style. What a cool reception venue too. Wow.

  19. Rhiannon Nicole {Hey Gorg} on September 11, 2011

    Dear S, gimme a call :) And I will help you out!

  20. Stephanie {Two Bright Lights} on September 12, 2011

    The button bouquets are…well…cute as a BUTTON! (So is Bambino McPuppyPants.) Great post and submission!

  21. Meghan Woodward on June 11, 2012

    I was wondering what was the name and designer of your wedding dress? I would love a dress like yours

  22. Meghan Woodward on June 11, 2012

    Who designed your dress?


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