Planning a DIY Backyard Wedding

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After ten years together, Zalia and Levi celebrated their relationship with an intimate garden wedding. Their beautiful day was overflowing with heartfelt and handmade details – this is one DIY bride’s diary you can’t miss!

“Both Levi and I wanted a celebration that was relaxed, rustic and could be done on a tight budget. We decided on a short (four hours in total) ceremony and reception that was held on my parents’ rural property. We have a seven year old son, so creating a light hearted, family feel was very important and we tried very hard to minimise the usual wedding drama and fuss.

To minimise costs and create a homemade feel we made many of the wedding decorations ourselves. Levi put his carpentry skills to work, turning second hand timber and furniture into our wedding arch, cake backdrop and stand, blackboard signs and a small platform for the musician. My best friend and I took on the task of creating invitations and handmade decorations including metres of fabric bunting, bouquet flowers from fabric, scrapbook paper and music sheets, and even the lace belt for my dress and the outfit for my flower girl. We frequented many a garage sale and second hand store in the lead up to the wedding, purchasing old timber doors, chairs and tables and craft supplies such as buttons, material and lace.

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Time was a big decider for us as to which projects we could take on as we set a wedding date in January and held our wedding at the end of May. Some of the beautiful garden furniture we had wanted to make was either too expensive for materials or far too time consuming, so straw bales with pretty tables cloths quickly replaced antique bench chairs! Other times cost alone was the reason we decided to opt for DIY such as the flower girl dress which we could find for $80 to $100 online but made for far less (and much prettier!) from lace cut-offs and calico from a second hand store.

I found the invitations the most difficult project of all, partly because I was not prepared with the correct equipment and mostly because I cannot cut a straight line to save myself! Invitations are probably something I would have left to the professionals had I realised the cost of DIY and the time involved.

I definitely had moments of stress in the lead up to our wedding day and at times found it difficult to ignore the opinions of others and focus on what we as a couple felt comfortable with. I tried to stay organised by writing lots of lists and asking friends and family to do a job each if they were wanting to help out. As the wedding drew closer I just ‘let go’ of all the little things I hadn’t organised in time and tried to just go with the flow and enjoy the day. I’m glad I took a deep breath and reminded myself of our reason for having a wedding..to celebrate our relationship, not to become an event manager, a demanding princess or a skinnier version of myself. It was supposed to be about ‘us’ as we are and I believe we achieved that.

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Our family were a great help preparing the garden, setting up and cleaning up after the wedding. Marie-Louise spent countless hours sewing and Levi was involved and supportive in every project which made the whole experience much more special. We also requested that our lovely guests contribute an afternoon tea treat and their recipe on a card as our wedding gift.

My favourite project was our wedding arch. Although Levi did all the work (maybe that’s why it’s my favourite!), I love this project because we were married under such a beautiful piece of work that Levi had lovingly created for us…we hope to keep it as a garden bench seat as a reminder of our wedding day.

My advice would be to work to your strengths as a couple by choosing projects that you will enjoy and feel are achievable. I really enjoyed using second hand items for our projects but this does take time (and patience!) so deciding what you would like to make early on is key. And above all else, have fun doing it!”

Photography: Creative Elegance Photography