The DIY Bride // Jessica & Taylor's Topanga Wedding

In May of 2016, Jessica and Taylor got married at The Mountain Mermaid in Topanga, CA surrounded by their closest friends and family. From the pictures, you can see the charisma and enchantment of every detail; from the location of their wedding to the flower crowns for their guests, Jessica and Taylor made sure that they created an experience that would make a lasting impression.

What you can't tell from the photos is that most of what was created for their wedding was DIY (do-it yourself). What I love about DIY is that it creates a space for you, your friends and your family to come together and build memories that are personal details that you will forever remember. It's empowering, it can be fun and, most importantly, it can save you A LOT of money. It can also be overwhelming, frustrating and at times, confusing; but here's the thing, there are some secrets to having a successful DIY wedding:

All you need is some time, people and a dash of creativity.

1. Time // What saves you A LOT of money comes in the form of time. If you have it, you are already ahead of the game. From a florist perspective, the time and labor it takes to create a flower arrangement, whether it be a flower crown, bouquet or flower wall, all takes time. From going to selecting the flowers, prepping the stems and keeping the flowers fresh in a cool, refrigerated area takes a lot of time. On top of that, in working with flowers, your time is on the clock. It is all about planning and making sure you have flowers that will stay fresh and bloom after you arrange them. You only have a certain window to work with and when you are planning a wedding and hoping to do your own flowers, make sure that you have enough time and space to arrange everything on the day of. For DIY Brides, make sure to have enough space in your fridge to keep your flowers cool after you arrange them. Depending on the flower you choose to work with, the temperature can compromise the quality and health of your flower.

2. People // Having a group of people to help you is key. The term DIY is a little deceiving because it implies that you are doing EVERYTHING by yourself, but really, it means having your friends and family help out in creating your pieces for the wedding. It's a beautiful thing, so don't feel like you have to do it all by yourself for any DIY projects...make it fun and a collective effort. For Jessica's bouquet, her mother-in-law (a school-teacher in San Jose) created her arrangement from flowers Jessica found online. I love all the details that her mother-in-law incorporated into this bouquet for a bohemian. country and wild feel for the wedding. For her table arrangement, the conceptualization of the flower box was through Jessica's research and vision and it was created and executed through her mother-in-law and father-in-law. Her father-in-law made the boxes from from reclaimed wood that he found in the neighborhood after someone took down their old fence. How beautiful is that?!

From a florist perspective, if you plan to do your own table arrangements, bouquets, boutonnieres and other flower-related arrangements, you want to make sure that you have at least 3-5 people helping you. On average, it can take about 30 minutes (with as little as 15 minutes and up to an hour) to create an arrangement depending on the size, design and type of flowers you are using. You can look for help through your friends and family as a way to save time, especially if you have other things to check off your list. Time is what you need on your side when you are doing DIY, and if you don't have time, that is when I recommend looking to professionals to help with any aspect of your wedding.

3. Creativity // In order for everything to come together cohesively, visually and aesthetically, you will need to have some sort of a creative influence and eye. What I find with DIY Brides is that with so many pictures that can inspire you, it is easy to combine and overlap different styles that potentially could work, but in most cases, could have benefited from having a more defined vision. With flower arrangements, what is empowering is that most people, if not all, can put together flowers into a bunch and because they are flowers, have the advantage of it looking pretty in and of itself. The element that takes your flower arrangement from pretty to beautiful is having someone creative (whether it is you or your friend/family) available to guide and share their creative influence with the people who are helping you out. Design and style is what is unique to each individual and if you have someone who has the eye to know what colors go well together or understands the balance and textures of complementary flowers, than you can be more confident that everything will come together more flawlessly.

Sometimes you might have all three, but still need to hire someone and that is totally okay! There are some things that you want to make sure are done by professionals and if you are saving money in one area of your wedding, it may be the funding source for another area where spending a few extra dollars is helpful. For Jessica and Taylor's wedding, they had most of their wedding DIY through their family, but also decided to work with a caterer, photographer, baker and florist (for the flower crowns). I recommend that if you do end up having different people working on your flowers, make sure that they have the ability to talk to each other so that they can use the same or similar flowers or colors to create cohesion in all your flower arrangements.

Jessica was gracious to share some personal tips on her wedding that may help out any future DIY bride-to-be. She also shared some thoughts ab0ut her experience in having pre-made flower crowns at her wedding and how they were integrated as party favors for her guests.