Morning Lovely People,

I hope you all had a good weekend and lapped up the gorgeous 30 degree heat we had on Saturday.

We have a beautiful wedding to share with you today.

Nadia and David said ‘I do’ on the September 6th 2014 at the beautiful Meadowood Center in Bellville, OH. Their wedding was a 95% DIY affair and in Nadia’s words, ‘turned out better than any big-budget wedding.‘ With just under 10K to spend, they had no planner, no florist, no band or professional DJ – everything you see was either put together by themselves or with a little help from friends and family. They even wrote their own wedding ceremony to keep costs to an absolute minimum. So much heart and soul was poured into the planning of their wedding and the result was a beautiful day that was so personal for everyone involved.

There wasn’t a specific theme we were going for. We just wanted everything to feel natural and for our guests to have a good time. I think when you avoid color schemes and trendy themes, your wedding will be timeless.

Nadia and David tell us all about their ideas, inspiration and how it all came together so perfectly on the day…..

A Thousand Feet of White Lights….

We were living in Portland, OR at the time, but home in Ohio for the holidays. David arrived a week before I did, so he spent that time setting up the proposal with a thousand feet of white lights in his parents’ front yard. We met to spend the holiday together on the night of Christmas Eve, and on our way to a Christmas party, he told me we needed to stop at his parents’ house to pick up something he forgot. We got out of the car and walked towards the house. It was later in the evening and his parents live back in the woods, so it was dark and I couldn’t really see more than twenty feet in front of me. Van Morrison started playing in the background, and David asked me to flip the switch next to me. “Nadia Will You Marry Me” lit up in the yard and I found him on one knee to propose in the snow.

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A Wedding Inspired by Sentimental Value….

By the time we were married, it had been 10 years since our first date. This wedding was a long time coming, so we didn’t want to just pay to have everything thrown together without thought. It was important to us to make it really special, not only for each other, but for everyone who’s loved and supported us through the years. Almost everything had sentimental value. Whether your guests are aware of the stories behind every detail is insignificant; the important thing is that you remember your day as being hugely personal by every stretch of the imagination. It might take more effort, but if you give yourself enough time, it’s more fun than it is work.

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A Hill In The Woods….

Our wedding took place at Meadowood Center in Bellville, OH, which is on a hill in the woods at an 1820’s barn. We asked a family friend, who is a cellist, to play Bach Cello Suites as guests were being seated before the ceremony. I walked down the aisle to “Praise Be Man” by Russian Circles, which is actually a heavy song. There are only about 30 seconds of it that are soft and majestic, so our friend helped loop it for us so that only the softer portion was played. He did the same for “I Love You” by Brian Jonestown Massacre, which is what the wedding party walked down the aisle to. We wrote our own vows and asked a long time, mutual friend to marry us. “It All Feels Right” by Washed Out played as the recessional. We married by the pond.

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Nine Flower Girls….

I asked all 9 of my nieces to be our flower girls. I was inspired by the idea of my nieces being able to share this memory together as cousins. Once that sentiment entered my mind, there wasn’t anything else to think about. 9 flower girls it was.

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Sending Little Treasures….

I made our invitations. I wasn’t angling to do that from the beginning; I was just in the right place at the right time when the light bulb lit. I was looking through a box of old linen postcards at a flea market and found one of a friend’s hometown. Somehow that inspired me to start hunting for postcards of places that hold significance to our guests to send with their invitations. Many of them were written on, stamped, and postmarked (one dated back to 1917). I had all the information printed on cardstock, used my sister’s cricket machine to cut those out into the shape of shipping tags, punched a hole in each postcard, and used some string to attach it all. This was the biggest DIY project of the wedding, and also the most fun. Sending them out felt like sending little treasures.


Chalkboard and Mt Hood….

We went to Goodwill and found a big, ugly painting for $9. We painted over it with chalkboard paint and used it to write out the wedding program instead of making several copies that guests would inevitably throw away. I wrote out the information, and David drew Mt. Hood at the top of the board to shout out to our time living in Oregon.

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2 Cowboy Hats and 2 Rocking Chairs Side By Side….

We wanted a way to honor David’s grandfather and uncle (father and son) whom have both passed away. His grandparents would sit on their front porch in these beautiful, white rocking chairs. We took his grandfather’s cowboy hat and his uncle’s cowboy hat, hung one on each chair, and displayed them side by side. If we stripped everything else away and only chose to decorate with those two chairs and those two cowboy hats, it still would have been perfect because this was really special to us.


Mason Jars, Roses and Dahlias….

I ordered my bouquet from a local dahlia garden. The bridesmaid bouquets and all other flowers were ordered wholesale. I highly recommend ordering your flowers this way! They arrive promptly and you save so much money. Not to mention, opening boxes of hundreds of roses is the prettiest thing ever. We used mason jars that we found in David’s grandmother’s basement as vases.

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DIY Decor, Wedding Pictures and An Old Window….

We wanted our guests to feel at home, so we brought in all different coffee mugs (some our own, some thrifted) so that everyone was drinking out of different cups, as if they grabbed them out of their own kitchen cupboards.

We found rooftop shingles from David’s great grandmother’s 1800’s home in his parents’ garage. He washed them off and cut them into arrow shapes to use as directional posts.

We wrapped twine around an old rocking chair someone was about to throw away, and clipped on pictures of our parents on their wedding days.

I used a paint pen to write out lyrics to “Flesh and Blood” by Johnny Cash on an old window.

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A Caramel Popcorn Cake….

Our friend made the wedding cake, which was chocolate with buttercream frosting, sea salted caramel, and caramel popcorn from scratch. Dave’s grandmother made Italian pazelles, my mom made “harisa” (a Lebanese dessert), and Dave’s Aunt & Uncle made cheesecakes for the dessert table, as well.

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A Playlist and some Awesome Friends….

At the reception, the wedding party was introduced to “Baby I Love You” by The Ramones, and David and I were introduced to “Love & Marriage” by Frank Sinatra. All other music was on a playlist we created on our computer. We borrowed big speakers from our best man’s dad, a few friends handled the equipment, and that was that. No live band required! Just some awesome friends willing to help.

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Favourite Moment….

My favorite part of the wedding, or maybe ever, was seeing everyone come together next to a roaring fire for the dabke, which is a traditional Arabic dance. My family is Lebanese, so we started it and then everyone joined in, most of them never having done it before. Sharing apart of my culture with this group of people who were gathered on our behalf was the best thing ever.

We asked our out-of-town guests to join us at our best man’s house for brunch the next day. He and his girlfriend own the Altered Eats food truck in Mansfield, OH and they prepared an incredible meal. It was a way for us to spend more time with everyone before they hit the road and just thank them for traveling to celebrate with us.

Any Advice?

I love The Onion article that jokes “$80,000 wedding: simply beautiful.” What’s crazy is people actually think this way! You don’t need a huge budget to make a wedding beautiful, especially when it only lasts a few hours. DIY isn’t necessarily always cost effective, but it can be if you’re resourceful and thrifty. We asked our guests to RSVP online. We had no florist, no planner, no band or professional DJ. A friend married us, friends and family made dessert, etc… just by being mindful of what you spend and borrowing things were you can will keep you within budget. Don’t sweat it. Don’t focus so much on the wedding that you forget to enjoy being engaged. No one will remember your monogrammed napkins or fancy seat covers. They’ll remember whether or not they enjoyed themselves, so make it a good time!

The Line Up

Photography: Aubrey Renee Photography
Venue: Meadowood Centre
Bride’s Dress: BHLDN
Bride’s Shoes: Seychelles
Bride’s Headpiece: Alta Floral & Greenhouse
Groom’s Attire: Banana Republic
Catering: Special Occasion’s Catering & Altered Eats Food Truck
Coffee: Front Porch Roasters
Marquee & Furniture: Eze Party

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