India and Ethan’s Wedding Details

We’ve had some time to recover from India and Ethan’s wedding, so it’s finally time to get a post up with all the details. It was a very DIY wedding, due to the fact that I am me and why wouldn’t I do as much as I could? Also, the budget.  But my standards are high so don’t think that DIY means crappy.

We’re fortunate that both the bride and groom are from here in Austin, so that made everything really convenient and we could combine our spending power into one nice wedding and reception. India showed me her pinterest boards and told me to figure out the details. She and Ethan had a few things they absolutely cared about, but the rest was up to me as the mother of the bride (and as a picky person).

India and Ethan had already decided on everything before they even got engaged. They wanted a brunch reception (weird, but OK) and they wanted blush, sage and cream as their wedding colors. After going back and forth on dates, they finally decided on May 11/12, which was the sixth anniversary of their very first date. Perfect! The weather here is pretty decent that time of year too.

Our first DIY was the wedding invitations. India showed me some that she really liked from a fancy stationery designer. At $4 per invite that was a big fat “no”.  Bonnie (Ethan’s mom), India and I hammered out exactly what we wanted them to say and I designed them. I used to be a big fan of really formal types of things, but now I feel like formal things are lame and pretentious. I like things to be pretty and charming while steering clear of tackiness or being too cutesy. I used the font “Madelinette”, which is one of my absolute favorites. I also scanned an old book page to make the fronts and backs of the invites look like vintage paper.

I wanted the invites to be on really, really thick cardstock. Like, so thick you probably couldn’t even use a magnet to put it on the fridge. Kelly, my brother in law, works for a printing company and totally hooked me up. The invites were perfect and the cardstock had a layer of green sandwiched between the white.  And of course I addressed them by hand using my sweet calligraphy skills and some lovely white ink. (FYI, metallic paper is so lovely if you’re using a pointed pen for the envelopes. It’s smooth like a dream.)

Most Mormons add a picture of the happy couple to the wedding invitations. I don’t really know why but it’s totally a thing that has been done for decades. I think it’s kind of odd. I mean, if you want to see the bride and groom, just come to the reception! Nowadays with social media it seems even more odd. So I didn’t add a picture and I’m sure the Mormons were turning the invitation over and scratching their heads.

We decided to hold the reception in the backyard of Ethan’s parents’ house. It’s a bit far out in the country, but they have gorgeous old trees in the backyard and a view of Lake Travis. It’s just so lovely and shady. Because the ring ceremony and reception were at home, we saved a lot of money not having to rent a facility. India said there was no way she’d have her reception in the church gym.

India and Ethan really wanted farmhouse tables but even to rent they were super expensive. So guess what Ethan’s family did? They made six of them! Made them from scratch! We also rented circular tables. We rented all the chairs too.

The wooden tables didn’t need linens since the wood was so gorgeous. But the circular tables did. Craig’s List came through and I got floor length white table cloths for less than it would have cost to rent them.

I bought the napkins at a local wholesale linen company. They were the same price as rental napkins but I sold them all after the wedding for the same price I bought them for so they were essentially free. My brother Ben and his wife, Nicki, spent hours ironing and folding them before the wedding. It’s dumb little things like that that eat up so much prep time before the wedding.

India wanted mismatched vintage china for the reception tables and after toying with buying it all, I quickly realized that would be way too much effort. Luckily I found the sweetest woman, Patty, who rents out vintage china in Central and Eastern Texas. She had even bought several sets from a woman whose aunt was Lyndon B. Johnson’s secretary. Mrs. Johnson had given her a set of her dishes that she had used in the White House, and now we were using them! How cool is that?

A month before the wedding, my friend Stephanie came to visit from Oregon. I took her to Round Top–the biggest outdoor antiques fair in the country–and we stumbled upon a man selling piles of vintage flatware. After striking quite a deal with him, I bought 300 forks, knives and spoons. Sweet Stephanie set there for over an hour helping me pick out the best pieces. They needed so much polishing but Ethan and India did that when they got back from college.

Stephanie is a fellow soaper and she helped me make a few batches to use as wedding favors.

I also made tubes of lip salve to give away with the soap. Because who doesn’t like a good lip balm?

The weird thing about a daytime outdoor reception is how to decorate the venue. Flowers are good for tables but what about up high? Lights won’t show up, so those are pointless. I love, love paper lanterns and they were a natural fit for decorations. They’re cheap and the colors we wanted were actually on clearance at All the boys in the family got together the day before the wedding and hung them all over the trees. We ended up having so many more than we needed. But better safe than sorry! It had rained every single Saturday for the four weeks before the wedding and I prayed as hard as I ever had for good weather. And our prayers were answered! The lanterns were safe.

I ended up doing the flowers myself which was a major money saver. I really loved doing it and everything looked so amazing. Although when I was up at 2 am the night before the wedding, up to my eyeballs in flowers, I wasn’t thinking it was such a great idea.

But India’s bouquet turned out to be particularly gorgeous . . .

As did the bridesmaid’s bouquets . . . .

Wedding cakes are so expensive and I’m normally a real cake snob. But when I was browsing cake websites and saw the exact cake India had on Pinterest board at H.E.B. (our local grocery store) for 60% cheaper than the fancy bakery I liked the most, I was like, “H.E.B., it is!” Once I found out they had an all-butter option for the icing, that sealed the deal. The cake was perfectly tasty and nobody would have guessed it was from the grocery store. My sister picked it up at 6 am and we were good to go!

So many of our friends stepped up and helped decorate, serve and clean up. It truly takes a village to put on a cost-conscious wedding. Fortunately my village is made up of the most superb and wonderful people in the entire universe.

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