How to Create Your Dream DIY Wedding

August 25, 2018 was the most incredible day of my life. I got to stand next to my favorite person as we made vows and danced the night away with all of the people we love!

It is a surreal moment to walk down the aisle and see face after face of every person we love. Every world of people, friend groups, and communities colliding. Each person coming to support and remind us that they are for us and with us in this journey. 

As I begin, I need to thank every person that was involved in this day. We could not have done it without each and every one of you. Also, huge shoutout to Joel and Darsha Aldous who captured the day so beautifully and made us feel so comfortable in front of the camera. Every picture you see in this post is credit of @aldousphoto. Give them a follow on Instagram because they are truly incredible!

Our wedding was done by US. Of course, we had a ton of helping hands, incredible vendors, and donated items. But every sign, arch, sweetheart table, and photo booth was created by us. Although it might seem like every venue wants you to get their planners, caterers, and decor, it is still possible to createyour wedding; with both you and your partner’s fingerprints attached.  Your wedding should be a reflection of you and your significant other. You each are creative, whether you believe it about yourselves or not. Use that creativity to reflect you and your partner on the most important day of your lives. If you are creating a DIY wedding, want to add your own pieces to your venue, or you know someone who is planning a wedding, here are the tips to create your dream DIY wedding.

Tip 1: List of Priorities

When we were starting our wedding planning, we looked at our budget and created a list of priorities. Unless you have an unlimited budget (in which case, I don’t think you’d be reading this...), creating a priority list is the best place to start. Weddings are full of age-old traditions. Wrapped up in each tradition is the desire to impress and perform. When assessing what you want to spend your money on, don’t get wrapped up in the idea of impressing people. Create your list of priorities around what you bothwant. Not what you think other people will want to see or what will look good on Instagram... Some traditions we skipped were: bouquet and garter toss, party favors, over the top four-course meal, and cake (replaced it with cookies & milk). Best decision ever. 

Our list of priorities were: 

1. An inclusive and welcoming place to all of the people we love. We decided that it meant more to us to invite more people, rather than spend a lot of money on fancy food. We went with delicious tacos to create a fun atmosphere and allow us to invite more rather than spend more.

 2. A fun dance floor. This meant that we did our research and spent time choosing our DJ (shoutout to @djgriff). We also decided to spend the extra money on a wooden dance floor that would designate the area. We both love to dance and rap (okay, rapping is more Elyssa…), so we knew that we wanted a fun and inclusive place for people to let loose. This also made us take a look at our timeline and create enough time for this to happen. 

3. A casual and welcoming environment. We didn’t want the black-tie wedding knew if we chose a venue that was over-the-top-fancy, it wouldn’t be us. This set the tone for our venue. We were shocked at how expensive some of the venues were, we easily could have spent our entire budget on just the space. We knew we wanted more than just an empty space so we looked at city-owned venues and were amazed at the affordability and the extent to which they were what we had been looking for! We had heard about Reata Park through family and friends, and when we went to visit it, we knew it was the place for us. Outdoors, rustic, inviting, and not to mention really affordable! 

Your priorities will set where and how you spend your money and time. If you are finding yourself spending a ton of extra time on a certain task, ask yourself if it is aligning with your priorities. If it isn’t, then make the decision to move on. We looked up signs and decor and thought to ourselves “We could make that…” so we went ahead and did. When we started, we had to make sure that we weren’t going to feed into the lie of perfectionism and try to make every piece perfect. It was us. If there was a line that was messed up or my hand writing wasn’t perfect, it didn’t matter. It was made by us and it reflected us. 

Tip 2: Create on your own

The key to this tip, is to not create where you know that you can’t. There were a handful of things we knew we couldn’t make; for example, we couldn’t make 150 folding chairs so we rented those. Here are some of the pieces we created either on our own or with the help of others: 

  1. The wedding arch: my dad (Ralph Hulse) and Jeremy bought lumber from Home Depot and took a few hours building the arch and then the three of us stained it that afternoon. The approximate dimensions are 8’ tall, 5’ wide, 3’ deep. They built it into three pieces so it was easy to transport the morning of the wedding. 

2. Signs: All of the signs were written by me (Elyssa). Most of them were bought at craft stores and written on with chalk paint. Jeremy also created a few out of an scrap pieces of wood, stained them, and I wrote on them with paint. I am not a calligraphist but I often used stencils or just used my own hand writing. 

3. "Taco 'Bout a Party" was our favorite sign we made together! Jeremy created the A-frame using wood, a piece of plywood, and hinges. We painted the plywood with chalk paint and stenciled the words with a chalk pen. This was our most loved sign by us and the guests. The approximate dimensions are 36” tall, 24” wide.

guest log.jpg

4. Guest “Log”: We knew that we wanted to be creative with the guest book to match the rustic style of the rest of our wedding. Jeremy bought this large chunk of rosewood from a local craftsman, sanded it, and put a thin polyurethane finish on it. Guests were able to sign the log that is now a beautiful piece in our house. 

5. Sweetheart Table: By far my favorite thing in this entire decor process was our sweetheart table. My incredible husband created this table with his own two hands! It was such a full labor process but I am so proud of him for creating it. We now have our sweetheart table that HE CREATED in our house as our dining table. Every time I sit down at it, I am reminded of our wedding day and all of the love he put into creating it. For real, he’s a stud. Reach out to him (jeremy_schultheiss) if you want details on dimensions and table design, he’s got it all written down!

6. Photo Wall: This was created out of some old pallets used for shipping crates. They were screwed together on the day of to create a wall, and decorated by our lovely florist. 

7. Table Centerpieces: A lot of these supplies were lent to us by our friend. She puts on events and allowed us to use the mason jars and wooden rounds for free. We decorated the jars with burlap and twine. The chalk signs were bought off amazon and put together on the day of. 

8. Lavender to Toss: We saw this idea pop up onto Pinterest and loved the idea of tossing lavender at the end. It was incorporated into the flowers, so it only made sense to toss it at the end! Yes, we were completely COVERED with lavender when we showed up to our hotel that night. But was it worth it? 100 percent, yes. We stuffed small bags of lavender to hand to each guess to toss as we left. And it created this fun shot, so completely worth it. 

Tip 3: Get people who know you and can implement your vision

This was a game-changer on the day of. Our venue didn’t have a staff or on-site caterers. We had the people we hired, and none of them knew each other. We had so many helping hands with our families and friends on the day of. But we also had the most amazing day-of coordinators that knew us and knew what we were going for. Not only did they have all of the information, but we also trusted them to make the best decisions in case something went wrong or was different than what we anticipated. Every person that helped put this together made it all possible. It is a crazy thing to hand over everything that you’ve been working on for months. But if it is people that you know and trust, you will know that they will take what you have created and make it awesome. 

Whether you have a giant budget or a small one. A large venue staff or your family and close friends. Whether you're wearing heels or you’re wearing vans, make this day reflect you and your spouse. Forget all of the traditions and trying to impress others. Make this day uniquely both of you. We each have a creative part within us. This day gets to reflect that creativity that is within you. Start from your values and priorities and create the best day of your life. You are you. Create a day that reflects that. 

If you are looking for incredible vendors that you can trust, here’s our list to get you started: 

Photo: @aldousphoto

Video: @nestweddings 

Flower: @saltandpoppies and @lauren_clark

DJ: @djgriff

Tacos: Alfredo (he doesn’t have social media…) 

Cookies: Paradise Cafe and Bakery 

Venue: Reata Park and Event Center


Thanks for reading. Here are some fun photos for your enjoyment :) Again, huge thank you to @aldousphoto

Elyssa Schultheiss