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In this instructable I am going to walk you through how I helped my two best friends DIY their own wedding. On a beautiful Sunday in June of 2016, my creative friends made a huge range of items for their own wedding that looked professional, expensive, and classy. It made people ask, "Where did you buy this?" In the end, it not only allowed for them to have a truly personalized wedding, but also saved a good amount of money as well.

Step 1: Choose Your Theme

This may be the most important step of this entire Instructable. In order for everything to really have that professional touch, it is important that a common theme is present. Even more important is that this common theme fits you and expresses your style. I mean, it is your wedding after all, right?

Here's a few tips for defining your theme:

  1. Choose your fonts.
    • Choose three fonts (or less....not more!) that will be used on everything. Invitations, seating cards, menus, signs, or whatever else. Fonts are very powerful and really outline the the theme nicely. A word to the wise, never use more than three fonts. Also, pick fonts that each have its own purpose. For example, we chose a font that was big, script style, and kind of 'fluffy'. This font was a bit difficult to read in certain sizes but was our title font. We had another script font that was our sub title font used for smaller applications. And lastly we had a clean serif font that was good for print to be read from a far.
  2. Choose your "Base Items"
    • When I say "Base Items" I am referring to the things that are the common denominator throughout the theme. For example, we used mason jars and natural wood in the signs, center pieces, invitations, and anywhere else applicable (even the groom / groomsmen ties).
  3. Colors
    • This one is pretty self explanatory but should not go without being mentioned. Pick complimentary colors that coincide with not only the signage, table cloths, and napkins, but also the bridesmaid / groomsmen outfits.

When creating your theme, attack the internet. See what is readily available. Look at sites like Pinterest or Instructables for inspiration.

Step 2: Gather Necessary Items

Once you have developed your theme, it is time to find necessary items to make everything for your wedding. Now of course the necessary items may change depending on what you choose to make, rent, or buy. However all items, whether rented or bought, should clearly relate or reflect your theme. Below are some items we had to acquire.

  1. A venue (rented....of course)
  2. Tables / chairs (rented, many venues provide)
  3. Table cloths and napkins (purchased from Linens and Things)
  4. Glassware (purchased and given as take home gifts)
  5. Disposable wood plates, forks, knives, and spoons (purchased)
  6. 3/8" Alder plywood (used for making signs, see step 4)
  7. Flowers
  8. Center piece items (we used tree trunk slices, mason jars, woven fabric, and flowers)
  9. Attraction items (see step 5)
  10. Food items (see step 7)

Step 3: Center Pieces

Center pieces are often the focal point of many wedding settings. Depending on your theme, it is often the case that simpler is better. For our center pieces, we really aimed to incorporate many of the base items within the theme of this wedding. We draped a woven fabric matted with lace over the table cloths. We then centered a tree trunk slice with a mason jar vase on top. At the newlywed's table, their first initials and an ampersand sign was added as an additional touch.

Step 4: Signage

Signage was one of the bigger focal points of this wedding. We made signs for all the food and drink items, finding a seat, bathrooms, a box for collecting cards, and arrow signs for locating things at the venue. To make all of these signs, we designed them with a common theme in mind, using a similar combination of outlines and our three fonts in Adobe Illustrator. Then using a Boss laser engraver, we cut each sign out of 3/8" alder plywood. Signs that were intended to hang had holes in the corners or center of they were to be attached to a pole. Signs that stood up on a table, such as the food signs, had notches cut out of the top and bottom center for a stand to lock in.

Step 5: Attractions

Attractions at your wedding may vary depending on the type of wedding you're having. This wedding was out doors, at a farm style venue, on a Sunday afternoon. The bride and groom had a few additional attractions at their wedding that really made it lively, and gave their guests something a bit different and interactive to do, as well as providing fun things for kids at the wedding to do. Rough

The first attraction was the lawn games. Things like baggo, horseshoes, or jumbo jenga are great ideas for outdoor weddings with a lot of space. A custom attraction we made was a photo booth. We build an autonomous photo booth that lived in a box on a tripod. Inside the box was a Canon Rebel SL1 DSLR camera connected to an android tablet running SLR booth. We connected a foot pedal and printer to the tablet as well, and a flash to the camera. Guest could walk up to the photo booth, dress up using masks, hats and beads that were supplied on a table next to the booth, step on the foot pedal and take four different shots. We placed the booth in front of a stone wall at the start of the wedding and then relocated it to the dance floor as the night progressed. The SLR Booth app allowed us to print photos right then and there to a canon photo printer installed in the box, or post the photos to social media. It also saved all the photos directly to an external SD card.

Step 6: Music

So for this wedding we happen to have good friends who are DJs in their free time (shout out to Tom and Tara!). If you don't happen to know anyone who is also a DJ, you have a few options.

With today's media available on internet apps, you can have your phone DJ for you. Apps like Spotify or YouTube Music will let you create or obtain preset playlists that fit your mood. You can also typically sign up for a free month of premium account access so there are no advertisements playing during your big dance.

As far as obtaining a sound system goes, look around in your area. There are a lot of towns that allow you to rent a sound system, or there are often private companies as well. If you're interested, you can actually pick up a two-speaker PA system pretty cheap (under $200) on craigslist, or even a smaller one brand new on amazon (under $300).

Step 7: Food and Drinks

All of the food was homemade and prepped before the wedding. Two drinks were made as well. 'Shangri-La' is made with red wine and a mixture of apples, blueberries, oranges, ginger ale, orange juice and triple sec. The groom's very own 'Elderrita' is made with barrel aged Blue Agave Tequila with St. Germain, fresh lime juice, muddled cucumbers, and a simple syrup.

All the meat was cooked in a sous vide bath in vacuum sealed bags at 150 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours to a perfect medium rare. It was then cut/shredded for brisket and pork tacos then seasoned and returned to vacuum sealed bags. The bags were put back in the hot water bath at a temp of 125 at 10 am the morning of the event to be brought to proper heating temperature. This was maintained until 6pm when dinner was served.

Step 8: Enjoy!

Last, but certainly not least is to enjoy your night. Ensure you have a plan to make things happen throughout the evening without you needing to take care of them. Employ a few friends to ensure chairs are where they should be. Hire servers to serve the food. Even though you cooked the food, you don't necessarily want to be dishing it out throughout the evening.

We hope this Instructable has provided you with inspiration and motivation. Congratulations in advanced for your big day! Happy doing, thanks for reading.

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