Simple. Stunning. Intricately charming. We are in awe of what our guest author and bride—and her groom—pulled off with the help of family and friends. Here she shares how they managed to have a dainty intimate DIY wedding with only thirty guests.
A year ago, I made a vow to God to love and mostly to annoy the man He’d sent to be my husband and so far, I’m living up to it splendidly. Here’s how we pulled off an intimate DIY wedding.
I met John at work in 2016. It was my first job after moving back home to Cebu. I was doing marketing, he was doing IT work. In several ways, at least in the context of the business we were in, our jobs were quite detached from each other. But the opposite was the case of our work stations. We were seated back to back each other. As such, there was zero trouble in soliciting his opinions on this and that marketing idea.
He’s a very opinionated man, smart at that, but only when solicited. Turned out I would often let him evaluate this material, that idea, these designs. In return, he’d bother me by borrowing my pencils, which—as gloriously revealed later—he didn’t have any use for.
Planning an Intimate DIY Wedding
We married on the Easter Sunday of 2019, a day blessed with fine weather that later on faded into a sweet afternoon lit with soft golden sunlight. I prayed for exactly that three months prior, back at the start of the wedding planning. Indeed, we didn’t need a year. No surprise proposal, no engagement party. Things just suddenly took a sharp turn at a mere exchange of words along the lines of: “I think it’s time.”…”Guess it is.”
So we announced it to our families. Unsurprisingly, they were surprised at how soon it was happening. But it had to be so that no one in the immediate families would miss our special day.
The wedding frenzy rolled in just as I wished. Everyone in both families got very well involved. It couldn’t be any other way. After all, the bride’s wish was a DIY wedding. But it wasn’t entirely about my preference for DIYs—a portion, yes, of course.
Mainly, the wanting to get the families so involved was for the wedding story I wished to make—not just for John and me to remember, but for everyone to tell and retell, laugh and cry at. When time grows older, perhaps we’d light up a bonfire in the backyard with coffee and tea for the old, smores and ice cream for the kids, and a story or two from everyone about how the wedding drove them a little crazy.
Dishing on the Details
Except for three major things (food, gown, bridal make-up), everything else was DIY-ed:
- Aisle pots
- Altar carpet
- Table decors (thanks to Circa for pitching in some lovely pink carnations)
- Ceremonial cord
- John’s boutonniere
- Wedding cake(s) home-baked at the Dayola’s
- Table runners as giveaways stitched by mother
- German beer bottles my sister flew in all the way from SG
- Wooden candle boards
- Ring box hand-made by papang that was the same box used on my sister-in-law’s wedding
- Tent cards
- Ring bearer’s costume cape
- My nail polish I finished at 2 AM (lol, what beauty rest?)
- Bouquets, which my brother’s wife helped me with.
- Invitations with which I got good help from a trusted friend.
- Our rings were made of old gold fished out from the treasure boxes of our mothers and grandmothers. Mine has three non-diamond stones embedded to symbolize our three-year engagement. The metalwork was smoothly taken care of by my cousin.
My own sister took a great shot at her payback opportunity to be MOH. She beat me at that, having assisted me with almost everything in the bridal checklist, including the photography work. She also granted me permission to use the same bridal processional song she used on her wedding. I fell in love with the song while she walked her way to the altar… so, I had long decided, haha!
I made my bouquet. It was important to me. As such, I ordered the flowers, picked them up from the flower market, and tied them up together a little mindlessly. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t as lovely as it would’ve been in the hands of a professional florist. The bridal bouquet was non-negotiable, to my pleasure.
Keeping it Cozy
Ours was a small wedding with just our immediate families, five pairs of guardians, a cousin who served as John’s best man, and two of our common friends—the first people to know about our story even before it started.
My best friend, the other person I often talked about it with, was and still is on the other hemisphere so I had her presence represented by a Liz Clairborne maxi skirt I got from her and wore it during the prep, paired with the lace robe my sister asked me to wear for her (insert sentimental value).
The whole crowd fitted in one long table made of five garden tables and benches. No separate table for the bride and the groom. We wanted to be in the same clutter of plates and food, flowers and candles, wines, and milk bottles. The Easter wedding cake right in front of us; the bigger cake stood by at the end of the buffet table (apparently, the bigger cake was quite necessary). More importantly, we wanted to hear everyone from a closer range.
Included in the intimate DIY wedding plan was to ask every-o-n-e a favor of dedication, be it a story of the younger days, a piece of marriage advice we could use, a prayer or a song. The mic went around the table not missing a family member including guardians and friends.
Although a dream wedding come true, it was never perfect. And that’s a good thing. We didn’t wish it to be perfect anyway. We wished for the bloopers, misplaced as well as unsolicited items, including dead air only filled with the shrills of hungry and sleepy babies!
The whole thing was a handful for the immediate families and we couldn’t thank everyone enough for making our dream of a wedding story come true. There was a committee list, a task list, a charted schedule rounded up from 6 AM to 9 PM, seating arrangements both for the ceremony and the dinner, and a booklet I made for decor instructions.
I’d have to skip mentioning all the detailed tasks of every family member. I’d save a whole chapter for that. Rather, John and I extend (once again) our warmest, sincerest thanks to our families for receiving our fully-loaded requests and offering your labors of love to bless our first day of marriage in every beautiful way you could. From the whole coordination work with all its nitty-gritty, all the running around involved in the setup, even the time-consuming knickknacks, to making sure you were doing things according to plan and down to seeing that John and I were comfortable, well, and enjoying the moment.
Well, we sure did. And just as we had hoped— right from the night we decided it was time, up until that day when we gather around a backyard bonfire—that all of you, as well, did have a wonderful day to remember… with us.
Groom: John Albert Dayola
Photography: Melissa Libunao, Shai Maluya
HMUA: Agbay Joseph
Venue & Catering: Circa 1900
Table runner printing: Keshia L. Germina