Real Bride Feature: Jennie’s rustic DIY wedding

Today on the blog we’re talking to real bride Jennie.  I thought it would be fun to talk with some of our iDo brides and get a fresh perspective on DIY wedding planning since they’ve totally been there-done that.  Once the dust has settled from the wedding, I feel as though you have the time to look back and reflect.  Those of us in the planning process need to bow down and worship these brides.  They can give us invaluable information that could save us heartache and headache.

Today we’re chatting with Jennie.  She was kind enough to respond to my Facebook call for real brides.  She’s our very first real bride so props to her for being brave enough to share with us.  Jennie’s DIY wedding shows us first hand how you can have an amazing, personalized, DIY event that looks like you spent a fortune…without spending a fortune!  I’ve scattered a few photos of Jennie’s adorable DIY’s throughout the post.  Jennie has a TON of awesome information to share so cuddle up with your laptop/iPad/iPhone/whatever and get ready to be launched into wedding planning graduate school.  You’ll be a pro at this by the end of this post. Listen and learn yall!

Real Bride:  Jennie B.

Hometown:  Katy, TX (Jennie)  Bolling, TX (Groom)

Wedding Location:  Weimer, TX

Wedding Date:  June 9, 2012  (Newlyweds!  Congrats!)

First of all, tell us a little bit about how the two of you lovebirds met.

We both moved to College Station, TX to go to college. The very first day of class of the fall semester we met in a Kinesiology class. After a week of small class-related talk, he asked the me to a party that one of his friends was having close by. After the night of the party, we would hang out but didn’t make it “official” until a couple of months later because we both had come out of long relationships before moving to College Station.

Did you have a special proposal?

After I graduated from college ( the groom still had a couple of years to go in school but transferred to the local college in Houston) we moved back to the my hometown. I had bugged the groom from the beginning of the relationship to go on a picnic together but he never agreed. I would always say “Wow, it is such a pretty day. We should go on a picnic.” but the groom would always decline and make jokes about it. One Sunday morning on our way to church, I said the same thing, expecting the regular response. However, the groom replied unexpectedly ” Sure, let’s go after church”. We normally always have breakfast with the my family every Sunday after church but the groom was willing to finally go on a picnic so the I was going to take the offer. After church, we ran to the local grocery store to get the food and drinks for the picnic.  After awhile at the park, sitting around watching the local little league baseball players practice, the groom told me to stand up so he could get down on one knee.  And the rest was history…

What kind of wedding did you plan?

We had a very country, rustic reception but very traditional ceremony in an 100-year-old Catholic church.

DIY wedding

Adorable DIY by our bride Jennie.

 Did you start planning your wedding as soon as you got engaged or did it take a while to get started?

We immediately set a date (a couple of days into the engagement) and then booked the church and reception venue in case they got booked up quickly. I then focused on booking all the vendors  and finding “the dress”.  We were engaged for about 15 months so the first 4-5 months were booking the vendors and the major wedding plans. Once the 6 month mark hit, that is when the little details were getting done.

What was the first thing you decided on (besides the groom of course) when it came to your wedding planning? Location? Dress? Colors?  

We definitely wanted a traditional ceremony but a fun country reception.  I knew I wanted to get married at the venue because my sister had been married there a few years before. We just had to find a Catholic church nearby which was not as hard as we thought.  Flower choice was easy!  I LOVE red roses.  We just had to choose colors that would look good with the red roses.

DIY wedding

You can DIY your flowers too! Jennie did!

Did you and your fiancé come up with a wedding budget? Did you stick/are you sticking to it?

We really didn’t have a “budget” that we sat down and listed out every amount. We are both realistic with money and spending expectations.  About 98% of the wedding was DIY ( invitations, programs, centerpieces, flowers, reception and church decorations, hair, etc. )  so that helped with the cost overall.  We (including the bride’s parents) did not want to spend what a “normal” wedding costs. We shot for around $10,000 which was very doable especially for doing the majority DIY.

Do you have any tips/tricks that we could share with our readers related to budgeting? Anything you did that made the budgeting process easier/harder?  Any “wish we would have/could have moments?”

Definitely be realistic with the budget.  Have an idea what your parents (or whoever is footing the bill) are willing to spend.  Doing  a lot of DIY will help cut the cost by half or even more. It does take time but in the end you will appreciate the wedding day more  knowing you did what you like and put in all the time to make sure every decoration, centerpiece etc. reflected  the bride/groom’s personality. If you know that the person who is footing the bill has no wiggle room in the budget then sit down with a list already prepared and list the max amount on each area that you can spend.  Also, DEFINITELY DO NOT LOOK AT WEDDING DRESSES OUTSIDE THE PRICE RANGE THAT IS COMFORTABLE.  I looked at the prices before even pulling a dress off the rack because I did not want to fall in love with something that was impossible to bring home. Only bring wedding dresses in the fitting room that you can potentially bring home. Looking outside the price range is one of the biggest mistakes a bride can make.  Do even let your eyes wonder to the expensive boutiques if your budget doesn’t allow for it.

DIY wedding ideas

Great use of free materials!

Another tip!

I wanted to make sure that I had a fantastic photographer because the pictures last for years to come.  That was one area of the wedding that i was not willing to budge on. I would have rather spent more on the photographer and cut something else out because your photos are the only thing that will last.  I did shop around and actually found an excellent photographer in an excellent price range so I didn’t have to cut back on any other area but if there is one thing that you “can’t live without” then be prepared to cut back the expenses in another area if your budget doesn’t allow both.

Did you/have you and your fiancé fought about the budget? Has it been a struggle or was it easier than expected?

We didn’t fight about the budget because we both knew coming into it that an “over the top” wedding just wasn’t our style.

DIY wedding

Personalize a mailbox for your cards! Adorable idea Jennie!

What is/will be the most expensive element of the wedding? The venue? Dress? Catering? Alcohol? Décor?

The reception venue was the most expensive but it was also a great deal because we were able to be there and stay there all weekend (it was a B&B) so it was actually not as expensive compared to other reception halls in the Houston area.  The decorations were really cheap because I found some of the centerpieces on Ebay, the flower vases at the dollar store, we used wine bottles that family or friends had given us. The flowers were probably the next most expensive thing. We (bride’s family) did make all the centerpieces, bouquets ourselves and just ordered the flowers from Sam’s Club (which deliver free and you can buy them in bulk) so it was still a lot cheaper than going through a florist.

Are you DIY’ing any wedding projects? Please do tell!

As I said above, 98% of our wedding was DIY.  For the ceremony; I made copies of pictures of relatives that have passed and put those pictures in a frames from the dollar store and then just simply hung them around tulle which were hung on the pews at the church (Pinterest inspired).

The programs I bought at Michael’s and had a local printer print them out for us.  I didn’t buy ring bearer pillows.  My parents had 2 antique bibles from my grandparents and we tied a ribbon around them to dress them up which was a great free way to have the ring bearers walk down with something (another Pinterest inspired detail).

DIY wedding

DIY coloring books for the kiddos!

I also wanted a unique guest book so I made a calendar and the guests signed their names on their birthdays.  Now we have everyone’s birthday and we won’t forget to wish them a happy birthday.

We had wine bottles that friends and family would give us and I painted our monogram on each wine bottle with an “Est. June 9, 2012″ and used it has our centerpieces along with tealights and alternate vases filled with roses.

We had a candy bar that we did ourselves with candy bought from Sam’s Club or Costco. We did not buy specialized candy just a variety of different kinds and found containers at the dollar stores.  I also made a children’s activity book (because we had a ton of kids come) which the kids loved because they had something to keep them busy while the adults were having fun.

Was there a DIY project that turned out to be much more difficult than expected? Any DIY duds that just didn’t work out?

I did make a slide show of pictures of the bride and groom throughout the years but the day of I could not find a place to put a projector up and a screen so I scratched that at the last-minute.

Do you feel that DIY’ing some wedding elements helped you save money?

Definitely!!! That is the way to go to save money and put little touches that reflect the couple’s personalities and appreciate the decorations more.

Did your groom help/is he helping with any of the DIY elements?

No, we work different schedules and he is not very creative so he didn’t know a lot of the DIY projects until the day of because I would tell him and idea but he couldn’t picture the idea so he thought it was stupid.  After seeing all the DIY projects finished, he liked all the touches throughout the wedding. I mainly recruited my sisters and my mom.

DIY wedding roses wine glass

Love the roses under the wine glasses! Romantic.

Any tips or tricks that you can share about your DIY wedding?

If you have ideas for DIY projects that seem like the will take a long time, start early. You would rather get them all done way too early then way too late. And def. recruit some friends and family that have creative minds too. Check out Pinterest for ideas. There are a lot of great unique ideas that your guests have never seen.  Just make sure your DIY wedding ideas are within your budget.

What were you looking forward to most about the big day?

I was looking forward to seeing everything all come together because a lot of the decorations and ideas were all in my head and I was nervous it wouldn’t all come together. I was also ready to wear my dress because  I had gotten it a year before so I was anxious to wear it and see my groom’s reaction.

Any unique elements that you’re hoping to wow the guests with?

We had so many unique touches.  Also it was a tradition in my side (the brides) to have the Ave Maria played at the ceremony so it played when the family was walking down the aisle. My Dad wanted to do a special dance with my Mom since I was the last daughter getting married.  He wanted the dance to show that they both had survived 3 weddings and giving away their 3 daughters!  It was a really nice touch.

Umm…WOW!  Jennie, I wish I could have been there.  I absolutely love the DIY wedding details that you executed.  And doing your own flowers (roses no less!) is a serious project to tackle!  I also think the tips you gave are spot on!  I’m already feeling more prepared.  Thank you SO much for sharing your bridal wisdom with us.

Okay brides/brides to be…you’ve got big sparkly wedding shoes to fill!  If you’d like to share your tips with us please email me at  I’d love to chat!

Please show Jennie some love by commenting and sharing this post!



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  1. Candi – So flipping AWESOME. What an asuolbtely adorable and fun looking wedding. AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING. I love the different bridesmaids dresses and how cute do the groomsmen look. Whoever came up with all of those great ideas, YOU ROCK. If this was all the brides vision and she does not do this as a career, she should!