Our Best Friends made Our Best Day Ever

by Pam Roche
(Jackson, MO. USA)

Arch and sand table

Arch and sand table

Here are some ideas from the wedding my daughter and I planned 2 years ago in February. The colors were silver, white and Granny Smith apple green.

We used the American Legion Hall for free (see the end for details). Dad is a member so there was a discount but we still had to make a deposit. The ceremony was at 3pm with a buffet dinner after.

We used the already set up tables and chairs and covered the tables with plain white plastic sheeting. One and part of another roll covered the 12 tables we used in addition to the head table and gift table. I bought 2 inch wide grosgrain ribbon to go down the center of each table. Dad collected from the yard and spray painted dead fall twigs and small branches silver. We placed them on the ribbon. One box of Granny Smith apples allowed us to set each table with 2 groups of 3 apples (take home or eat right there snacks for all). Left over glass globes (from the best friend's mother's best friend) were stuffed with clear shredded cellophane (bought at a close out sale) and battery operated twinkle lights (after Christmas sale). These were the center piece on each table.

The groom's cousin worked for a print company out of state and helped them design the announcements and got them a HUGE discount on the price that she then covered as her wedding present to them. My daughter and I found a scrap book background print that she and he both liked and coordinated with the wedding colors. This was scanned in on my computer and we selected a slightly fancy font. A photo of their hands and the engagement ring was "Photoshopped" onto the background. We printed up the order of ceremony and acknowledgements of all the contributions by friends and family on card stock bought at Wal-Mart. These were on a table by the memory book for guest to pick up.

Her best friend's mom used to work at a flower shop doing arrangements and did the bouquets, boutonniere's and corsages out of very realistic silk flowers. She also helped us decorate the head table, arch, and hat box (more on that later).

I made the simple wrap dresses for all the bridesmaids as well as the best woman (one pattern looked good on all the sizes and shapes). We got the tee-shirt knit at a discount as it was an end of summer sale. One bolt got everyone covered and since it was a super simple pattern, I only had to do one fitting per person.

My daughter was 8 months pregnant on the day of the wedding so I made her dress from a very simple pattern she found on line that took all the attention up to her beautiful face. Once again, the material was on sale and I used my senior and military discounts to full advantage at the local fabric store. I made all dresses out of sheets first to get the fit right. I got them from the local hospital volunteers for $0.25 a piece, as they were worn and stained. I used the sheeting dresses to adjust the patterns for all the ladies. Since the bride kept changing sizes, her dress was done last.

The bridesmaids and best woman did their own hair and make up and wore whatever black shoes were comfortable. My daughter learned long ago at formal dances that shoes were the first casualty, so she chose $5 silver sequined slippers from Claire's. Her reception dress was another thrift store find in white lace that looked great.

The pastor was new in town (only there 2 months) and was needing the extra income. He offered to do the service for free just to meet the guests and get better acquainted with townspeople. Yes, he was paid for a job well done.

A table from her brother's bedroom (bought for $3 at a Good Will store) was used for the sand mix table during the ceremony. A folded sheet from the local hospital bought for $0.25 covered this table. The bottles with sand were bought from a garage sale. The cork was cut down from an old wine cork. The funnel returned to my kitchen supplies after the ceremony.

We rented the arch they were married under from Hobby Lobby and decorated it with thrift store bought silk ivy and our white Christmas twinkle lights. The head table was decorated with the same ivy, twinkle lights and long stemmed etched goblets from a previous work related event.

The ceremony was performed with guests sitting in chairs pulled to the center of the room while tables were pushed back against the walls. Once the ceremony was over, everyone pitched in to move the tables and chairs back out away from the walls for the meal.

The American Legion Auxiliary cooked the meal of fried chicken, green beans, corn, salad, mashed potatoes and gravy, and dinner rolls. Drinks were lemonade and iced tea and coffee. Guests were told in advance that the newlyweds would not be providing any alcohol but they could BYOB.

The cake was done by a friend that was starting her cake decorating business and needed the practice and photos for her portfolio as well as the references. The cake topper was her creation of Rice Krispy treats shaped like apples, covered in green fondant!. Yes, she got paid.

Music was provided by her best (male) friends that had just acquired, for free, the old sound equipment from the local high school for free. I put together a mix CD of music from both the bride and groom's favorite movie songs from Disney to grown up (soundtracks only, no vocals) and she and the groom selected the music to play during the ceremony. The "DJ's" kept a record of all music played on their laptop and sent then the file. They still listen to it to this day (even "The Black Pearl" from Pirates of the Caribbean and "Bippity-Boppity-Boo"!). Again, more free advertising to guests as well as references.

The photographer was another friend starting a photography studio and gave her the raw photos on 6 (yes, over 300 photos) CD's. All the newly weds had to pay for was the CD's and agree to let her use the photos for advertising and themselves as references. All photos were taken on the premises (It was 10 degrees outside with a below zero wind chill). No one noticed the photos on the walls from the past Legion Commanders or the other signs and flags.

My best friend is an artist and painted a "thumb print" tree. Every guest used a multi-colored stamp pad to add his or her thumb print to the tree as a leaf and then signed their name with a black Sharpie (finest tip). Baby wipes were near by for clean up. A memory book (picked up at Barnes and Noble on the sale rack) at the easel let guests write memories of the bride or groom or both. The decorative pen was a Bic with tape wrapped and a feather attached. Her chiropractor, another friend, loaned an old round white hat box with a slit in the lid for the many cards they received. It has been used in many weddings all over the surrounding 6 counties and neighboring states.A little ivy and a spray of flowers with a green ribbon and it was ready to go.The gift table got similar treatment.

Several friends pooled their money to pay for a weekend room at a local hotel for the newlyweds. This included the rose petals on the sheets and sparkling cider and chocolate dipped strawberries.

My husband and I and several guests cleaned up after the newlyweds were gone. Yes, I pushed a broom, while my husband hauled trash bags to the dumpster in his tux. We did such a good job that the deposit and fee were all refunded. Since the men were former Boy Scouts and the women were former Girl Scouts, we "left it better than we found it".

The left over food was sent home with guests (I had been saving butter tubs and whipped cream tubs and ice cream buckets for months). The left over apples were given to the local food bank on Monday.

No one felt it was a cheap affair. Families mingled and mixed since the affair was in a less formal setting. The Auxiliary still talks about how much fun they had to this day. The post now refuses to do many wedding receptions as the next week end, a wedding reception caused major damage to the hall. They said we set the bar too high for others to meet.

Total costs for materiel for dresses, lights, flowers and greenery, ribbon, apples, food, tuxes, canvas, stamp pad, memory book, arch rental, etc. came to $3000.

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Feb 01, 2014
Great details!
by: Holly

Thank you for sharing your experience, Pam! What a lot of good ideas!

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