There are so many styles of weddings ranging from vintage to modern, rustic to urban, classical to fantastical, and so many more.
No matter what your style of wedding, you can always include some DIY elements. They personalize your wedding day and make your event extra unique and special. DIY weddings are very popular in the Pacific Northwest and we wanted to share some DIY inspiration for all the couples who are planning their wedding.
The inspiration for this blog post, came from a wedding that Paul Rich Studio photographed just weeks ago. Matthew made custom decor pieces out of wood to be used as centerpieces, a unique display for the cupcake table, lanterns for tables outdoors, and a display piece for their incredibly unique “seating chart” (which is the featured image in this post).
It all began when Matthew attended a class back in New York City on operating a laser cutter. A friend of his encouraged him to take the heart logo that was created for their wedding and to make it into a laser cut. Matthew did just that and when he presented it to Katie, she was absolutely thrilled with the result. The two decided to try to take it further, and Matthew designed a larger final version that was lit with LED lights and additionally included their names.
Katie & Matthew knew that they wanted cupcakes for their reception and when they finally found the right bakery, they discovered that there was no real interesting way to display the cupcakes. Could they rent something? Better yet… Maybe they could make something!
Matthew suggested to Katie that he make a ferris wheel, and she quickly responded that they additionally needed the corn slide (from the MN State Fair where Matthew grew up). Well that idea then grew into including a replica of the giant swings too. Matthew set out on a design for each, incorporating styling from the couple’s logo. It was at that point that the pure volume of work became cost prohibitive. Luckily, a private company turned out to have a better rate and they did all the cutting. The couple sourced the wood from a local lumber yard and white washed it (water based) prior to cutting. A little gluing and adjustments later and the models started coming together. The intricate designs and incredible detail of these pieces is amazing.
Table names, favor labels, centerpieces and some fancy votive lanterns continued the look throughout Katie & Matthew’s reception at The McMenamins Kennedy School. Instead of traditional table numbers, the couple selected a series of midway games to name each table and give the fair theme that finished touch. The lanterns were cut out with the couple’s heart logo in negative space, and a fancy LED votive glowing through. There wasn’t a single spot at the reception where you couldn’t see one of the custom made decorations.
Even once all of these pieces were made, Katie & Matthew had to carefully transport them cross country from their home in NYC to their wedding in Portland, OR. Miraculously, the items made their cross-country trip just fine. They added a very personal element to the wedding reception.
Interested in purchasing some of Matthew’s wedding reception decor? Check out his store front on Etsy.
We’re all too familiar with the classical guest sign-in book right? Guests write their names and addresses in the book and couples store it in their closet never to be seen again. Why not come up with something far more personal and fun? Paul Rich Studio recently photographed a wedding where the couple took one of their favorite engagement session photos and used it as a label on a bottle of wine. Guests then signed the bottle. What an incredibly fun keepsake from the wedding day.
A very simple, elegant, and multi purpose DIY project are custom wine labels. Simon and Todd used their crystal chandelier theme and added a number to identify each table for the guests. The guests in turn, were treated to a magnificent bottle of wine to share at dinner. The Art of Joy had some fun photographing the bottles before they were placed on the tables… Can you guess the couple’s wedding date?
In this Pinterest age, Turn Loose the Art has seen a lot of DIY wedding details at the weddings they photograph. Newlyweds Matt & Jenn are self-confessed music lovers. Turn Loose the Art photographed their New York City engagement session around Christmas on a bitter chilly day. The couple was wonderful sports about the cold the entire time. Matt’s one request for the session was an image of them walking up a street that had an alley look to it. As it turned out, the image he had in mind was chosen on more than just a whim. He and Jenn chose to forego a traditional card box at their wedding reception and used his guitar case instead. They also skipped a boring, lined guestbook and asked their guests to sign a picture frame. That frame included not only a Dylan-esque image from their engagement session, but a very special record of their first dance song as well. Their wedding reception centerpieces also included Rolling Stone magazine covers of some of their favorite musicians.
Speaking of music, ever see a couple share their favorite songs or wedding music on a cd? It makes for a great parting gift. Tiffany & Nathan added a twist to sharing some of their favorite music by creating a custom cd cover. The cd cover is made to look like a newspaper article and it tells the unique story of how the couple met and shares details on how Nathan proposed to Tiffany.
Turn Loose the Art had the privilege of photographing Erin & Eric’s beach wedding. Erin chose bright pink as the wedding color, in honor of her mother’s breast cancer battle. In honor of Eric’s love for poker, they used playing cards as their guest’s escort cards. An enlarged, framed playing card on each reception table guided the guests to the right location.
Jamie Bosworth shares:
Jac was a whirlwind of creative effort in the weeks before she married Drew… when Jamie went out to scout the property, the bride showed her at least seven different parts of the puzzle she was working on! She and her bridesmaids made all of the napkins. There were delicious preserves for each guest and there must have been miles of burlap as table runners and curtains for the tent edges. Her Dad made a huge checkered dance floor and the fire pit had big blue chairs. There were oversized Scrabble letters marking the walkways through the backyard but the best pieces were the handcrafted letters strung on the back of the bridal chairs and the quilt covered LOVE off to the side of the party. It was a magic kind of day!
Another fun element to play with on your wedding day is the concept of time. Think about how it plays a role in your relationship with each other. The time you met. The first time you kissed. The sharing of your pasts. The excitement of your future. Jessica & Jeff played with the idea of time and incorporated many vintage elements to their wedding day. From custom hand-made boutonnieres for the men to elaborate centerpieces for the reception, Jessica & Jeff used old clocks and various clock parts as their building materials.
If you have any children on your guest list, you may want to consider various games and activities the children can play to keep them occupied. Custom made coloring books, activity centers with pipe cleaners, tissue paper, and other various arts and crafts items are all great ideas to consider. All of these activities can free up the adults to more peacefully enjoy the wedding day.
Lindsay & Colin had an absolutely brilliant idea. They had little gift bags filled with fun toys placed at the table for all the children to use while waiting for dinner. That time of the evening can be especially challenging for children. So why not offer some fun simple toys to play with?
Alice & Josh with Mosca Photo (Oregon Bride’s 2013 Best Photographer Studio in Oregon) photographed a wedding in July of 2012 that had lots of details. The event was styled by Luxe Productions. The decor added to the country/vineyard feel of the location and the muted pastel colors added to the simple lightness of the wedding itself. All table-top decor was low to the surface, allowing for great conversations without distractions. There were hidden gems in the decor, too! Every time one looked, you could see new details emerging, like a cute little bird peeking through a stack of leaves of some beautiful Bing cherries spilling out of a beautiful vintage glass piece. All of this was strewn in a long pile of flowers and leaves. It was absolutely beautiful!
The Wonder Ballroom is a dark music venue. Misty with Luxe Productions thought to add some flickering and elegant light to the darkness of the big ballroom by adding candles of different heights, vintage vases of different heights and materials, and simple wildflowers of different colors and sizes as well. The idea was to try to bring an outdoor evening farm scene, inside (which was partly made possible by the fun wooden table and bench rental too).
Liz & James took DIY to a whole new level with their wedding celebration. They hosted a more casual backyard type wedding and displayed photos of themselves on various clotheslines throughout the reception area. Guests could view the couple’s most recent engagement session photographed by Paul Rich Studio or images that dated as far back as the couple’s childhood days.
Liz’s family has quite the collection of pieces of china. She reached out to her extended family and asked everyone to contribute their china collection for the wedding reception. Every single place setting was its own piece of china making the table settings truly unique and one-of-a-kind. When guests entered the reception area, they were asked to decorate a tile for the couple. Liz & James plan to use the tiles to decorate their bathroom or kitchen. How neat will that be to have custom designed tiles in your home from all the guests who attended your wedding?
As you can see, DIY weddings take many shapes, forms, and styles. Which will you choose for your wedding?
For those of you who may be looking for additional DIY inspiration, check out Style Me Pretty’s blog post on Wedding DIY. Rustic Wedding Chic offers additional DIY wedding ideas as well. Lastly, you can find endless amounts of Pinterest wedding DIY inspiration by following various wedding boards on Pinterest.
We hope our blog post helps get the creative ideas flowing and gives you some insight into what is possible in adding unique personalized elements to your wedding. Please feel free to share any other ideas you may have seen or links to websites that you have personally found beneficial.
From all of us at My Portland Photographer, we wish you the very best in all your wedding preparations and if you’re looking for a wedding photographer, look no further! My Portland Photographer Availability Checker offers you a convenient and easy way to see which photographer is available for your date with links to their websites and phone numbers!