This advice column was published in the DIY Weddings Magazine, Summer 2012
Generally, I stay away from themes – “wedding”, as the celebration of your love and commitment, is a big enough theme already, don’t you think? Once in a while, a bride and groom come along and all of a sudden, a theme comes to life naturally and organically. Nick and Jenny were such a couple. Jenny grew up loving Alice in Wonderland and wanted to create her own Wonderland for her wedding. Nick was head over heels in love with Jenny and wanted to make her every dream come true. With a theme of Alice in Wonderland, it’s easy to get carried away and the couple wisely decided to take on some DIY projects to stretch their wedding budget while hiring trusted professionals to handle the more complex tasks. As their wedding planner, I enjoyed a wondrous journey, coming up with affordable and clever ways to infuse the theme and watching Nick and Jenny discover new skills and abilities within themselves.
Nick and Jenny were married on February 25, 2012 at The Vineyards in Simi Valley, California. Their Wonderland wedding was truly spectacular and everything that the two of them had wished for. What made it such a huge success were three important elements – the theme was a perfect representation of the couple, Jenny and Nick tackled DIY projects that they could handle, and they acknowledged that they needed professional guidance and help to accomplish their vision.
Focusing on what the groom liked to do, it was easy to get him involved in the wedding planning and the DIY projects. Nick, who owns a Christmas tree company, is accustomed to making large signs and working with lumber. He was confident that he would be able to figure out how to make signs and props in keeping with the wedding theme. Alice in Wonderland is all about quirky and the unexpected and Nick had lots of fun with signage! And he had time on his side.
Speaking of “time”…. Nick and Jenny were realistic about what they could get done on their own and recognized their limits. I came up with a design for the ceremony that incorporated a quirky clock wall, made by Nick, with the beautifully executed whimsical butterflies and flowers done by a professional florist. The two elements came together flawlessly – the large display of odd clocks that Nick mounted on a wooden panel completely covered in floral moss (placed on Nick’s side under the wedding canopy) and the exquisite cascade of purple butterflies and flowers on Jenny’s side, created by a talented floral designer, Joseph Arias of Joseph Couture Designs.
Additional thematic details included oversized floral lollipops lining the aisle way and signs that directed (or misdirected!) guests. The adorable flower lollipops were assembled at the last minute in order to look fresh and vibrant, expertly done by the pros, while the bride and groom were getting ready and enjoying time with their bridal party. The signs were a labor of love from Nick and he built them over the course of a few months.
I sketched out my design idea and Nick and Jenny joined forces to create a unique escort card display. An old discarded set of shutters from my garage was transformed into an attractive escort card panel, and Jenny’s hours of browsing Etsy paid off when she found the perfect vintage Alice in Wonderland hanging tags. For an extra special touch, Jenny attached miniature vintage keys to each place card. The final effect was magical.
Another fun element that Jenny and Nick uncovered on Etsy were Alice in Wonderland props that they used for the photo both. It was a great way to personalize the wedding and interpret their theme. Jenny and Nick will share great memories and laughs with their family and friends for years to come while browsing the snapshots from their Wonder-filled wedding.
My advice to couples exploring a wedding theme and considering DIY projects is: choose a theme that is a natural reflection of your personality, tackle DIY projects that are well suited to your talents, and add help from the professionals where appropriate in order to really enjoy every moment of your wedding day.