Abigail & Michael's DIY Self-Catered Photobooth Perfection Wedding

The offbeat bride: Abigail Lalonde, Dogwalker

Her offbeat partner: Michael Lalonde, Software Engineer

Location & date of wedding: Mom and Dad's yard in Coatesville, PA on September 13th, 2008

What made our wedding offbeat: I did almost everything on my own with the help of some very special people. I catered a vegetarian feast for 150 people, made all of the flower arrangements, bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, guestbook, decorations, bar, signature drinks, music playlists, favors, programs, etc. etc.

Then we took all the extra money and splurged on the big stuff. We rented a photobooth, had really cute invites printed and a fancy pants photographer and oh yeah, the rentals. My dress was a prom dress, it was $470. My ladies wore blue, whatever style they wanted as long it was blue. The boys wore black suits, whatever they had or bought and we provided them with blue chuck taylors and blue ties.

Our decorations consisted of blue and silver spray painted pumpkins, random vintage and cheap Ikea vases, spanish moss, fake birds and squirrels and cheap flowers from Produce Junction and Whole Foods.

My mother-in-law made the Martha Stewart poofs in blue and silver. She put so much care into them, it was adorable. We supplemented the tent decor with lanterns and Christmas lights that I painstakingly stalked for months at my local Target. When they went on sale I pounced. We also had random birds and squirrels scattered about. We did have cakes made and they were vegan. They were from Lotus Cake Studios and they were yummy, no one knew they were vegan. We also had a cake my sister-in-law made and decorated for us and vegan cupcakes that my matron of honor made.

We had our friend Chad marry us, he cried. We wrote our vows from a variety of internet examples and were married under a true love banner made by our friend Jake Henry. Our theme was bird and squirrel and an enchanted forest type thing. I walked down the "aisle" that we made out of white and cheese pumpkins. Most of the flowers were just asters and mums bought wholesale.

Our favors were the photobooth pictures. We provided everyone with envelopes stamped with birds or nests or squirrels and stickered with instructions to have fun in the booth and take home a memory. We also asked people to take a strip and put it in our guest book that was made of black scrapbook paper and I provided silver pens and glue sticks.

I can't tell you how many people warned me about doing so much on my own. In the end I think I would have delegated more and maybe even catered. It was hard but it was still wicked fun. Once it was all over we camped with a bunch of our friends in the woods behind the house. Spending our wedding night in a tent was the perfect ending.

Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was that Michael was shot in the eye with a paintball during his bachelor party (and he wasn't even playing, he was just sitting in a car when one came through the window, courtesy of one of the groomsmen, completely by accident).

He had to have surgery nine days before the wedding that required him to stay still on his side for 55 minutes of every hour for seven days. This meant that the last week before the wedding left him out of commission for helping, with the perfect excuse. It put us pretty behind schedule but we managed and he was able to see and stand on our wedding day so it worked out in the end, though he had to have another surgery after we returned from our honeymoon. Sickness and health right!?

We got through it because I picked up the slack and asked for help. I made all of the crazy trips to the wholesale flower place, the pumpkin patch, the out of state liquor stores, Produce Junction, etc. with friends instead of him. I even picked up his suit for him. I felt bad for him stuck on the couch but at least we didn't bicker that week!

My favorite moment: It was the ceremony and that really shocked me. I thought I would just want to sort of get it over with and get the party started but I really loved every second of it. We had our friend Chad marry us and we wrote our vows from all different examples on the internet and with some of our own words. We had him read the Margaret Atwood poem "Habitation". We also wrote declarations to each other that were a surprise.

One of our friends gave us a Quaich, a traditional Scottish friendship cup, so we had our fake priest pour our favorite whiskey, Powers, into the cup and each drank from it. No one knew it was whiskey though.

Have a look-see…

My offbeat advice: Ok, now that it's all said and done my advice is DELEGATE your little face off if you are doing DIY. In the end you won't care if every little detail is perfect and if you delegate it to start with more of your details will actually get done. And be as organized as humanly possible. Talk to people, tell them everything you want, don't keep it inside your brain!

I didn't read this anywhere but it is really important to think a whole lot about what pictures you want. And I don't just mean your formals. I mean, make sure you have some stuff planned out ahead of time like where you want your pictures and what you want to be doing in them and not just you but provide your photographer with important people that you want pics of. I wish I had done that. I love my photos, don't get me wrong, but I do remember finding myself thinking uh… I don't know what to do next. It's important to realize that your photographer is not your friend (unless they are) and they don't know you and what you want. Give them direction!

Also, I wound up with waaaaay too much cake. I forgot to take into account that people leave before the cake, don't necessarily want to eat cake after drinking, etc. I could've easily cut my cake budget in half. Instead of doing one giant cake we got five different ones and also had cupcakes to supplement. I could have easily saved money and cake as we ended up throwing a lot of it away. Boo!

Enough talk — show me that wedding porn: Click on the picture below to see lovely photos from Abigail & Michael's Vegetarian Self-Catered Birds & Squirrels Wedding!

  1. Beautiful wedding. Abigail, I only wish I had been there to solve your cake woes. I would have ripped through that vegan cake like no other. Congratulations!

    1 agrees
  2. Oh my god, Power's my favorite whiskey ever!!!! Bless you both and your oodles of wonderful ideas.

  3. OMG produce junction. My mom has been so excited about doing our flowers from there- so stoked to see a fellow bride who used them! (MommaSez lives in Horsham)

  4. I think this may be one of my favorite OffBeat weddings of ALL TIME (in addition to Ariel's Aunties and the Pink-Haired bride with the "costume" dress). Everything is WONDERFUL!!! Congratulations and JOB WELL DONE!!

    1 agrees
  5. Beautiful! Great advice too! I had to giggle a few times while reading your entry though because great minds think alike! If I could show you my idea book you would definitely notice some similarities, the Chucks, the photobooth, blue, vegetarian cuisine! It's so funny but seeing that you were able to do so much of it yourself is really inspiring! I hope that I will have an amazing support system as you did! I will definitely be asking for help from my friends and family!! 🙂

  6. Your story has given me hope again!
    We are getting married in March and We are doing so many of the same things but its been starting to feel a little overwhelming

    But just seeing that you acomplished it and it turned out so beautifully makes me feel so much better.

    I also got a little teary at your maid AND matron of honour (We are having the same thing) and such a large bridal party. I have struggled with what we 'should' be having and what feels right.

    You did an amazing job and thanks for the inspiration!

  7. This wedding is beautiful. Our approach to flowers will be really similar too so this was helpful. It looked like everyone was having an amazing time.

  8. Very beautiful 🙂 , you look really lovely, and I agree with the others, some great advice here, I always wondered who would eat all those cakes. Congratulations !

  9. See? That's a pretty awesome "biggest challenge". That probably beats every other one on this site…

    Glad I could help (in my own little way) make this article even awesomerer.

  10. Hey! Again, I didn't cry, something was in my eye.

    Okay, okay, I cried. It was too beautiful with 2 of the most wonderful people I have ever met.

  11. What a beautiful bride!!!! I wish I could have been there…wait I was.. it was beautiful wedding….I especially loved the men manning the photo booth

  12. Hey, girl! Beautiful pictures! Do you mind sharing the name/style of that Joli dress(and maybe the place where you got it)? I have been looking for it ever since I saw it on another bride last year! Love it.

  13. I got it at Mia Philadelphia in South Philadelphia last December. That link above is a much better price!

  14. I'm excited someone else self-catered. I wonder if we could get an article about the details of self-catering and how to pull it off without food poisoning your guests or cooking during your wedding day. !!

    1 agrees
  15. Beautiful! Lovely shade of blue and that True Love banner is fabulous… Great advice and I hope for continued healing for Michael!

  16. God! That dress is perfection. And I love the story of falling in love with your ceremony in the middle of the ceremony. It's a perfect illustration to me of how planning a wedding can me such a thoughtful self-changing learning experience. We find that things we thought really mattered don't, and things we thought we didn't care about really do matter. Or at least that is the case for me.

    Anyway, congrats you guys! I'm in love with your wedding… swoon.

  17. oh my goodness! your wedding looks beautiful, it looks like it has the feel i'm going for. (and you're practically my neighbor!)

    good job!!

  18. You my dear…did all that yourself..jeepers I hope I have the energy you did!

  19. Sounds and looks like my dream wedding… What a beautiful couple! Will probably delegate out a bit more then you did though!

  20. My fiancé and I are actually doing a destination wedding because our budget was so thin. It certainly sucks that we can't spend $20k on a wedding (the average cost) lol, but we are pleasantly surprised on the amount of friends and family willing to take 7 days vacation to celebrate our wedding. Anyways thanks for sharing!

    P.S sorry about the paintball to the eye! I assume he's much better now!

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