by Alysa Seeland
"Mom, I have made my final decision about the reception."
"I've decided that I want, well, that I'm going to have a candy bar, on the buffet, on the lawn."
After we let the little cousins loose - so cute!
There is something that defines every DIY wedding. It sets the mood, helps the guests know what to expect and even becomes the lasting impression for years to come. Maybe it is the romantic 1,000 paper cranes, or perhaps it will be the run-down factory turned reception hall in all of its urban-decayed glory. For me and Isaac however - it was a candy bar.
Sure, there were other things that we did like cloth napkins out of discarded fabric, fig, feta and prosciutto pizzas, but the one thing all our guests will remember, besides the bride and groom of course, is the all you can eat candy-bar on an antique buffet on the lawn.
Why A Candy Bar?
From the moment I saw an example in Kansas City Bride, a magazine we picked up while visiting my grandmother, I wanted it. It was fun, so deliciously unexpected and instead of giving all my guests personalized M&M's or candles I wanted to do something different.
We chose the candy that matched our color scheme and then ordered it in bulk. We stamped candy bags individually with an ornate "S" for Seeland and let guests help themselves to the treasure. The great thing was, we gave our guests something sweet to take with them. No, it wouldn't last forever maybe not even until they got home but they would enjoy it and that was important!
Meaningful and Unforgettable
I think if we're honest we chose the candy bar because we were still kids (20 and 21) and lots of people kept reminding us that. Sure our close family and friends knew it was right, but others certainly did raise their eyebrows. I even had a high school teacher take me by the shoulders and shake me begging me not to make this mistake. The funny thing was everyone who didn't know Isaac personally was concerned but people who had seen him, seen us together just knew.
Getting married young was an intentional choice for us. We wanted to grow up together. We'd helped each other through so many hard things already, we just didn't want to face the rest of life without the other one there. We also saw both of our grandparents, married for 50 years - what a monument, what an accomplishment, what love, what commitment. I guess at some level we wanted our best shot at 50 years.
Rather than be insecure about our youth, we embraced it. Not with a force-fed proclamation "You WILL support our child-bride-marriage," but with a simple statement that our youth is something we will celebrate.
DIY that Defines: Cost Efficient and Unforgettable
DIY weddings are such a wonderful celebration, but your defining moment can be extremely cost efficient. For example, instead of paying $25 for a gift for each guests (a total of $7,500) we paid $1.67 per guests' gift ($500 in total) by ordering the candy in bulk.
Now you do NOT have to do a candy bar: there are lots of other ideas to DIY and add that personal touch that will make your wedding unforgettable. Maybe it will be a simple centerpiece including beta fish. Maybe it will be the ball-jar candelabra. Maybe it will be a quilted napkin for each guest - I have no idea, but you do!
Here are a list of sites that have GREAT ideas for how to DIY Bride without:
- A Beautiful Mess:Designer Elsie Larson's Wedding on Esty - a MUST SEE!
- A Practical Wedding: Looove this site!
- Real Simple: Creative Wedding Favors on the cheap :)
- DIY Bride: Fantastic resources and inspirations!
- Esty Blog: Featuring several DIY Weddings - this one is great for Satelite Brides like me!
How did you personalize your wedding without spending a fortune? Have you read any good ideas for how to do so lately?
Be sure to check out these other posts in our Frugal Bride Series:
Bridal Bootcamp: Everything You Need to Know About Getting Married
The $50,000 Lie: Why An Overly-Indulgent Wedding Hurts More Than Your Wallet
His and Hers: Who Pays For What and How Coco, Kelly, and Monroe Can Help
I’ve Waited For You My Whole Life: 6 Tips to Find the Perfect Wedding Dress
Anatomy of a Satellite Bride: What I Learned Planning my DIY Wedding from 1,000 Miles Away
And don’t forget our Frugal Bride Pinterest Board!