Forgot to post this one, clearly…Only a day left to get in a post for March! <–should have been posted in March 😉 Last weekend or so was our 1 year anniversary. In honor of that I thought I’d share a little about our traditional but not traditional DIY low budget masquerade wedding and a few ideas if you’re looking to do something offbeat yourself. And hopefully you can learn from our mishaps ;).
A little bit about it? Well, the ceremony and reception were in a church but my dress was red and the reception was a masquerade. It was pretty much all orchestrated by me, no wedding planners, very little reading up on the subject, done from a plane ride away on a budget and in under three months ;).
Example 1- I designed our wedding invites myself, found watercolor paper pads the size of the invites and printed each and everyone, single fed on my printer and then had to lay them out covering our living room floor to dry.
You can do that too. Easy. Well OK, not easy, but doable. O and did I mention the pinata? I decided not to make that, but we did have one :).
Our theory was we wanted it to be fun, classy but comfortable and affordable. We weren’t interested in having to not invite people or be exclusive. It was either going to be a small secret wedding or an open door event. We went for the open door variety. If you could make it you were welcome to come. And three months, well for the first time, pretty much ever and for the foreseeable future I had time off from all my jobs at the same time. And, we didn’t want to worry about planning a wedding for several months adding stress and piling up time and money on it.
Our planning consisted of coming up with things we liked. Every year I throw costume party. So I threw out there masks like masquerade style, definitely not mardi gras, because they are intriguing, fascinating, elegant and that satisfy my love of costumes :). Just about every party I’ve had as had a pinata. I don’t know what it is about the violence, silliness, anticipation and the rush towards a pile of candy but pinatas seem to kick the party up a notch if it lulls. Gotta have a pinata. From there we thought about colors, we ran through a bunch before deciding black and white would make everything easier. Black and white are pretty easy to match; they can be classy. And when you are planning a wedding from a far it’s pretty important to have easily matching colors. You can find most things in black and white. You cannot match greens over pix-messages on a cell phone.
So tip #1- go with what you like and do well
Tip #1.5 -If you are far away choose colors that match easily
and note the quick one off hanging paper and feather sculpture 😉 up in the netting draped Xmas light strung ceiling (xmas lights all gotten on after Christmas crazy discounts and left to the church along with the tule for future celebrations)
Mishaps, the Dress- my now husband actually looked at dresses online with me. We saw a red dress by Davinci which was just gorgeous in the picture. I had never really liked white but always assumed there would actually be viable options other then a white or semi white dress. This was a clear well red, a color I have never really worn, could be just fine if it is that (mind you picture stunning dress in real life depends entirely on the dye batch :p). It was far more gorgeous than most we had seen. Most dresses we saw were really disappointing and not my style. Not that this was my style…
When I went home for xmas my mom wanted to go shopping for my dress so I called around til i found a shop that had it. Got there and it was a totally different dress, but similar, burgundy and huge. After a bunch of lovely traditional ones we decided to go with it. It was a Mary’s dress with a massive detachable train and it was extremely affordable including the veil, shoes if i wanted them, jewelry and gloves and alterations the price was still under what I had been willing to pay for the dress alone. Fantastic. Now here comes tip two
#2 Go with a seamstress with a good rep
2.5 give yourself enough time for a back up plan
2.75 consider getting your dress/alterations where you live
3 you do not wear two sizes bigger in a wedding dress. You probably wear the same size you would in any other dress (depending on style & designer of course). I actually could wear two sizes smaller than my usual clothes.
She didn’t take measurements; she pinched and eyeballed. No big deal. The problem was when I went back to see the alterations finish up and pick up the dress, it fit worse than before. It was as if the alterations were done upside down- waist too big and bust too small and shape all wrong. She didn’t seem to think she could fix it, so I suddenly had no dress. And mind you, with a few weeks before the wedding, finding one, and ideally a stunning red one, in stock, in my size was not going to be easy.
But hey I had gotten my prom dress two days before prom this really wasn’t that big of a deal. After searching back where I lived and getting hung up on some more traditional gorgeous expensive gowns, I went with a new stunning red dress by Bonny, and bought it about a week before the wedding. I got it altered reasonably well in one visit and then had to not only bring the massive thing on a plane but also hide it from my fiancé who was traveling with me. Mind you dress bags are neither opaque nor big enough to accommodate a dress.
Tip 4- If you will be traveling with your dress, seriously consider how when and with who you are traveling and how big the dress is and really how you will carry it.
Tip 5- call the airline ahead of time if you are traveling with your dress. And then call them again and confirm.
I did this after being told to, and they told me i could carry it on in addition to the two carry ons you are allowed because it would be put in another area of the plane and not count towards the two standard carry on items. However, phone conversations don’t matter for anything when you are getting on a plane and they won’t let you on because they can count three items in your hands. Luckily our bags clipped together and we were fine, but beware of what you hear on the phone.
Anyhow, my dress rocked. A random girl at the zoo told me so as she took my picture with her cell phone camera. And it fit the masquerade theme and the feel so much better than any of the other dresses I’d been looking at. And since the height happened to be just right, I wore my work shoes instead of searching endlessly for super cute uncomfortable never seen strappy sparkly expensive things especially on the lack of time. So I wore my Borns-
You’re going to be on your feet all day, so you might as well be comfortable and able to dance in the shoes you wear right? And if that dress goes to the floor, why not… I love heels, but really I wasn’t finding anything quite right and comfortable that fast.
Tips on finding a red dress: If you are looking for red wedding dresses of course check out redhotbrides.com Also check out this short list of a ton of red wedding dresses. Bonny, DaVinci, Mia, Essence of Australia, Justin Alexander and Mary’s have dresses, but you really don’t get a feel for them from the pictures. You have to see them and touch them and try them on. There’s also a heap of designers making magenta and pinks that are pretty too.
Also, Masks- I got far too many masks but luckily they are great decorations too. I have these from Bluemoon-
thinking they might have worked with my first dress or for my maid of honor. They are just as gorgeous in person, however (and they do tell you this on the site) they are really not good for wearing they ar emore for decoration. The first one is not weighted properly and so it ends up sideways when you finally get it on and the second really is somewhat dangerous given the metal so close to your eyes. If someone bumps you, you might go blind ;). But again gorgeous masks. But if you want it to be wearable try their other categories and find things that are pretty, less expensive and wearable.
We got these for the groomsmen and they were very well made, looked great and were completely wearable. The traditional category is the way to go.
The ordering process is a bit odd but don’t worry they send them and they are just as shown and described on the site.
I got another for myself on an ebay shop in Australia or the UK, I’ve forgotten, and though it was very pretty it shed glitter like a waterfall and i only got it on once,very briefly before the tie ribbon popped off. I got a bunch for my bridesmaids from another ebay shop but haven’t been able to find the same ones again. They were much smaller and oddly shaped than we’d anticipated which was disappointing.
Looking for something wearable, the groom and I got the masks we wore from Gypsy Renaissance and I’d highly recommend it. The masks are handmade and very different from traditional masks, which would be another good option. Her masks are lined with a very soft fabric and tie with string. The eye holes, though I still prefer the much more flattering cat-eyes, are very large so you don’t worry about your eyelashes banging or having a hard time seeing and there is quite a variety, especially if you want white. And if you don’t see something you like, she also custom makes pieces.
We ended up with these:
The guy’s mask is a bit larger and covers more of the face than you might expect.
And here’s what those look like on real people:
(PJ Johnson Photography)
Food-We did a massive amount of hors d’oeuvre but didn’t hire a catering company, we bought/made/prepped the food ourselves with the help of friends and volunteers and the church youth group took on the task of serving and clean up and we helped them out with a trip they were going on.
We invited 300+ ppl, 70ish showed up.We had heaps of food left, much of it completely untouched including full bottles of soda, loaves and loaves of fresh bread, and boxes of frozen foods. So after sending every volunteer, worker and by passer we could find home with a bottle of soda and a loaf of bread we donated the rest to a local shelter/soup kitchen. We really just should’ve gone down there with a stack of invites in the first place. That would have been pretty fun.
O and my aunt and cousin made our cake. I wanted something that actually tasted good more than something semipretty and crazy expensive. So even though they would have done it from scratch, I brought back 10 boxes of 54 cent cake mix from Aldi by plane. Seriously, Aldi cake mix has never failed and it always gets compliments and you really can’t get less expensive either. And it as kinda pretty too.
and those serving tools were from our friends who recently got married. Plenty of corners cut ;).
So, you can make you wedding work on a budget, get more food than you’d ever need and help a lot of people in the process. We even had parents of of the kids coming up to us after and the next day telling us how happy they were that their kids got to be a part of it and that they got to see that you don’t need to spend a lot or do things a certain way.