Tuesday, January 8, 2013

our wedding: part 1

today marks 4 months of marital bliss for the husband and me! yay! sidenote: i think it is hilarious to remind coley every month that it is our (insert month number here) anniversary. he absolutely loves it. so, in honor of our 4 month anniversary i thought i should start writing about our wedding. not because i think anyone really cares. in fact, i am pretty certain that no one cares about this wedding like i do. and that's okay. i want to write about our wedding because planning it is something that i am very proud of. i guess i feel that if i don't write about every detail, that someday i will forget all the little things that we did to put this wedding together. for me, it wasn't just about the big day. it was about all the love that went into making the big day possible.

this is part 1. and at this point i am not sure how many parts there are going to be. we were engaged for 18 months, which is quite a long time, so the parts could be endless, but i'll try to stick to the interesting stuff and limit myself to 3, but we'll see.

so here we go.

part 1.

a.k.a DIYADED (do it yourself all day every day)

and by do it yourself i don't mean little fun crafts here and there (although there were plenty of those). i mean landscape your entire wedding site, make your veil, make your center pieces, make your own chalkboard signs, make your bar, make your cake table... i think you get the point. and please don't get confused when i say "do it yourself". by "yourself" i mean myself and everyone close to me. family, friends, and neighbors. seriously, none of this would have been possible without their help. my heart is forever grateful. 

the whole wedding planning process started when coley asked me to marry him on march 19th 2011.

this was a pretty awesome day

the next step was to chose a date and a location.

my parents live on an amazing 14 acre ranch and in the past cole and i have talked about how awesome it would be to get married there. pros about having our wedding on my parents ranch: it was available any day we wanted, we could have a serious party as late as we wanted, we could have as many guests as we wanted, and we were in complete control as far as how the wedding would look. the 14 acres was our canvas and we were the painters. cons about having our wedding on my parents ranch: its a ranch. not a wedding site. no one has ever been married there. and we aren't wedding planners. and we didn't hire a wedding planner. oh ya, and we aren't landscapers either. you do the math. 
but, in our opinion the pros outweighed the cons. 

now for a date. since our wedding was going to be outside, we wanted to pick a date that wasn't going to be too hot and also had a slim chance for rain. and for some unknown reason i love the month of september. and coley thought that the number 8, which represents eternity, was a good date. and i agreed. so september 8th, 2012 it was.

future ceremony site
see that beautiful tree front and center? my parents planted that tree (and 150 others) on the ranch when they bought it 19 years ago. when it was planted it was 2' tall and 1" in diameter. it literally looked like they stuck a twig in the ground. i watched it grow as i grew and it became my favorite tree on the ranch. so it only made sense that we would be married under it.

future reception site
as you can see we had some work ahead of us. and from these pictures i can see why most people thought we were crazy for wanting our wedding here. but its funny, when i looked at the raw space i could see the end result, so i wasn't concerned at all.

between the months on March and November of 2011, i spent literally every free hour of my life on pinterest. no joke, one night many nights i woke up at 2:30am and pinned until 6am. cole was really, really concerned. you can find my wedding board and all my inspiration here

Thanksgiving 2011 we finally "broke ground" and began landscaping. across the road from my parents house is a river bed which is where we collected all of the rocks that we used to outline the paths and planters around the wedding site. if i was to make a conservative guess i would say that we filled up my dad's tractor bucket 200 times with river rocks. and the bucket can hold about 25 volleyball size rocks. my biceps were so ripped. my sister and i decided to make a workout of it, so we would squat to pick up the rock, bicep curl it, shoulder press it, then throw it into the tractor bucket. repeat. repeat. repeat. 200 times. seriously if i ever hear a bride complaining about planning her own wedding and she doesn't have to landscape the site herself, i will punch her in the face. 

our first load of rocks on the left. a proud moment.

we started grading the site in february.

my Dad's friend graded the wedding site for us

reception site

ceremony site

have i mentioned yet that this was a budget wedding? yup. i am very proud to say that we planned our wedding on a budget. with the help of my close family and friends, we took care of every aspect of the wedding ourselves besided making the food. with the budget in mind, we opted out of planting grass. my parents ranch is located in a climate that reaches about 100° F in the summer. so even though the grass seed itself isn't that expensive, we would have a lay down a sprinkler system which would be quite costly and frankly i didn't want to spend my precious budget on that. my mom, being the amazing superwoman that she is, was driving one afternoon and pulled over when she saw some men on the side of the road trimming trees. she asked them what they typically do with the clippings, otherwise known as mulch. she made a deal with them that they could park their equipment at our ranch in exchange for the free mulch. it was a win win for everyone. they didn't have to drive their trucks the 50 miles back to their yard everyday and we got as much mulch as we wanted. which, if you aren't aware, can be very expensive. a 20lb. bag at home depot costs 5 dollars. all in all i would say that the tree trimmers dropped off over 2,000lbs.

our first load of mulch

spreading the mulch around the ceremony site
the next few months were spend spreading a whole lot of mulch and making pathways with all of our river rocks.

you see, during this whole wedding planning process, i was the one coming up with all of the crazy ideas and my mom and aunt were the engineers. they would figure out how to actually execute whatever it was that i wanted to do. one such idea was the aisle. i had a vision of a flat rock aisle way with grass growing in between the rocks. i thought, "how hard can it be? throw down some flat rocks, sprinkle grass seed in between, and boom! rock aisle way." i can't even begin to tell you how wrong i was. below you can see the beginning stages of the rock aisle.

step 1 to creating a rock aisle way: collect flat rocks. back the river bed we go.

we originally thought we could loosen up the dirt a bit and them shimmy the flat rocks into the dirt (so they would stay in place when the grass roots grew around them). well, we soon came to the realization that the dirt on my parents beloved ranch is harder than volcanic rock, and "loosening up the dirt a bit" was a complete joke.

step 2: rototill the entire pathway (about 75ft in length) so the loose dirt reaches 12" in depth.

step 3: shovel away all the loose dirt

step 4: lay flat rocks in a puzzle like pattern so there is no more than 1 inch between rocks

step 5: shovel the loose dirt back on top of flat rocks and wet down with hose

step 6: watch as loose dirt turns back into volcanic rock

step 7: wonder why i ever thought of this stupid flat rock aisle

step 8: use a hand pick to pick out all of the hardened dirt between rocks to make room for nice dirt that grass seed could grow in.

step 9: scream profanities at the rock solid dirt and seriously contemplate calling off the wedding but then decide that you are stronger than the aisle and that it will not defeat you.

step 10: continue picking

step 11: pop a celebratory bottle of korbel (remember we're on a budget!) to celebrate the completetion of ridding the aisle way of previously mentioned hard-volcanic-rock-dirt

step 12: sprinkle in nice, soft dirt and grass seed

step 13: water and watch grass grow!

that's my amazing sis on the left with some bottles of ice cold bud light lime - this became a ritual with my mom, her and i after a long day of work

sis checking off the never ending to do list

during this process of landscaping the wedding site, we started a list. a master wedding to do list. each morning before we started a day of work, we would set goals about what we had to accomplish. Like, "we just have to collect 10 more loads of rocks" or "we just have to build flower beds", or "we just have to build the bar out of pallets". We started making fun of ourselves for the excessive use of "just" because we always found that nothing was as easy as it seemed and at the end of each day we were barely able to cross a task  off off of the list because everything took 8 times as long as we thought it would. nothing was a "just". everything was complicated, time-consuming, and a learning process. which really is what made this process fun and something we were so proud to accomplish.

coming up next: part dos. i can't promise anything besides a lot of run on sentences and amateur photos taken by moi!


  1. Of course in the middle of all this craziness you would remember to take before and after pictures!

  2. This is so impressive! You did an amazing job! The rock aisle is so gorgeous, same with the little rock pathway. I can't wait to see the rest. I was thinking of blogging my wedding too but I forgot to take step by step pics of most of the things I made.

  3. Hi I'm Heather! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)gmail.com