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Wedding DIY | Manolo for the Brides

Unreal and Out of This World (But Doable)

Ever get discouraged looking at all the staged wedding shoots in magazines (and, er, blogs)? I’m pretty sure that anyone who has decided to attempt some degree of wedding DIY has felt that way, and with good reason. Those wedding ceremonies, dessert buffets, and favors were all created by experienced vendors, arranged by designers, and shot by wedding photographers with all kinds of special lighting and cameras that cost a bazillion dollars. Oh, and let’s not forget that the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and the bride and groom themselves are all sexyhot models! Sure, it’s all inspirational, but why should we, mere matrimonial mortals that we are, be able to replicate the work of seasoned pros?

Here are two examples:

pink and teal wedding

When I first came across an image from this series by the awesome Carla Ten Eyck Photography team, I assumed it must have come from a real wedding. But no. The fact that the backdrop was a kind of bombed-out looking warehouse clued me in to the skinny, which is that all of the photos were part of a workshop for wedding photographers. And what a workshop it must have been! (Hint: If you like what you see and are tying the knot in Conn., the list of vendors who participated in the shoot can be found at the top of the linked post.)

dessert buffet wedding

Then there’s this, an Amy Atlas dessert table featured in Brides Magazine. Manolo for the Brides hearts pretty much everything Amy Atlas touches in a big way, and this dessert buffet is no exception. The best part about Atlas’ post about the making of is that she includes a trio of behind-the-scenes shots, so you see a bit of how the pros have to start with a whole bunch of stuff and a table, just like everyone else.

Amazing? Yes. Gorgeous. Definitely? Doable? I like to think so, yeah, but only because so many awesome readers have shared their wedding photos with me after the fact and I’ve seen what y’all are capable of!

Which isn’t to say that you can just wing wedding DIY and have your efforts turn out looking like Amy Atlas broke into your wedding reception venue in the night to set things up. The best way to approach wedding DIY is to practice, practice, practice… well in advance of the big day. Maybe it will turn out that you’re a natural at putting together tablescapes (or creating centerpieces or designing wedding invitations), but do you want to find that out that you’re not when there’s no longer enough time to hire someone to do it for you? in short, wedding DIY is doable, even though a lot of vendors will try to tell you it’s not, but if you want your wedding to look as awesome as the staged wedding shoots, you’re going to have to put in the same level of effort!

3 Responses to “Unreal and Out of This World (But Doable)”

  1. Toni April 20, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    I think the biggest trick to this is the propping. How many of us have a large collection of white serving platters and cake tiers?

  2. Christa Terry April 20, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    For that, I think I’d look to eBay well in advance of the wedding for economical and beautiful options (maybe vintage), Toni. Then after the wedding, I’d donate them to the Goodwill or give them as gifts to my friends who don’t have serving platters. Problem solved!

  3. Twistie April 20, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

    Also, Toni, there’s no need to stay with only white serving platters. It can be fun to mix and match.

    eBay is a great idea, Christa, but I would also scour garage and rummage sales, flea markets, and Goodwill shops in the first place. You’d be amazed what you can pick up for a buck or two without shipping costs or waiting for it to arrive. Oh, and never forget the time-honored tradition of borrowing stuff from friends and family.