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An Earthy, Yet Elegant DIY Ranch Wedding Tuesday, August 30, 2011 ~ 11:47 a.m.

Whew! I'm trying to work fast because I am seriously behind after being out of town this past weekend! I went to Vegas with two of my girlfriends, and we had a good (/ crazy) time partying our booties off. We had so much fun, in fact, that I'm planning on squeezing in a Vegas-inspired post at some point this week once I'm all caught up on things again - so stay tuned in for that! :)

But now, it's time to get down to "business" (if you can call this beautiful wedding that). California wedding photographer Diana Maire submitted this rustic real wedding, which she loved not only for its inspirational details, but for the couple, Danny and Sheena's efforts to include their friends and family in the entire wedding planning process. Diana's husband was also in the wedding party, which gave her a "...great excuse to boss her husband around during the group portraits" ;)

Today's newly married couple was very inspired by their expansive ranch wedding venue, which was a "gift" from one of their close friends (GREAT friend, huh?) to create an elegant, rustic affair that highlighted the lovely greens and browns of their natural surroundings. "We wanted to have a beautiful, yet relaxed wedding, which is why none of the groomsmen nor Danny wore ties. We wanted people to feel comfortable and have a good time celebrating and dancing [with us]," said the bride, Sheena.

However, Sheena and Danny were faced with a huge challenge that many couples face when planning the wedding of their dreams - working within a tight budget. In order to capture their vision of a rustic, ranch wedding, the couple worked closely with friends and family on several DIY projects, which saved them "a lot" of money. And let me tell you, when I say "several," I mean it! I think it's actually more difficult to figure out what isn't handmade by the couple and their family, than what is! For that reason, I decided it might be easier for you guys to follow if I just list the DIY projects, like the bride did for me!

  • I'm starting off this list with my absolute favorite "DIY" idea (well, maybe it's not technically "DIY," but man, is it resourceful!)...Rather than shelling out the big bucks for their flowers, Danny and Sheena actually went to their local ROP (Regional Occupational Program), where they train high school and post-high school students in different trades, specifically floristry. The couple just had to pay a small fee, and the students took care of the rest! One of the smartest ideas I've heard in a while. Seriously.

  • The ceremony programs, which were fans to help keep the guests cool while sitting in the sun, were all made by the groom, Danny's, sister-in-law.

  • After the wedding ceremony, guests were directed to the reception with wooden signs that were all handmade by the couple, and Sheena had all of the table assignments printed and placed inside large vintage style frames that were hung on a large willow tree beside the dining area.

  • The table centerpieces consisted of elegant green and ivory floral arrangements placed inside wooden cylinders made using old beams from Danny's father's shop that they drilled holes into. Sheena placed the floral arrangements on top of pieces of burlap that she had cut and placed in the center of each of the reception tables, which were set beside the table numbers, handpainted by Danny's mom and then placed inside euycalyptus branches cut into disks.

  • Guests received green homemade soaps as wedding favors, which were stamped with the couple's newly shared last initial, "L" and placed inside little burlap pouches tied with twine (sewn by Danny's mom).

  • In lieu of a traditional wedding cake, Danny and Sheena served an array of their favorite desserts including pies by Gizdich Ranch, flourless chocolate cake, cheesecake, cookies and bars baked by the couple's friends and family.

  • I included a photo of the fabulous beer and wine bar set up, which was also built by the groom and his brother, along with the dance floor and its surrounding lighting.

"One of the things I loved most was that I think our wedding was truly a family affair. All of our family and friends chipped in to help; whether it was doing hair and makeup, photography, the band (my sister), baking desserts, etc. The only people involved in the wedding who we didn't have a personal relationship with were the DJ and caterer. Everyone else, including the officiant, were special friends or family of ours. It made the day that much more special that everyone chipped in to help," said Sheena. Crazy right?! This is real proof that you can pull off something amazing by really thinking about what resources you have available to you, and working with your family and friends.

A few more of Sheena's favorite details of their wedding day were her vibrant green shoes (which her mom actually tried to deter her from wearing!), which really popped with her elegant lace wedding gown in photos and showcased her fun and bubbly personality, as well as her and Danny's written vows to one another. Sheena will also remember all of the fabulous speeches made by friends and family, which were filled with "wonderful words...and jokes that had everyone laughing and crying." Sheena also sang for Danny, which was a surprise to many of their guests, who had no idea she could sing!

I'm sure you can guess what Sheena's biggest piece of advice is for her fellow brides out there currently planning their weddings..."I think the advice I would give is to take help from family and friends when they offer it. Danny and I decided to 'DIY' many parts of our wedding, and without the help from our family and friends, we would have been stressed out and probably couldn't have done it all. I really felt like everyone helped the day to go off without a hitch. Be creative if on a budget, too! Many of the projects we did were very inexpensive, or even free because we used many of the resources we already had available to us....I felt by keeping an open, creative mind, we were able to make our vision for our wedding come true despite our budget constraints."

Elegant, Yet Earthy DIY Ranch Wedding
Elegant, Yet Earthy DIY Ranch Wedding
Elegant, Yet Earthy DIY Ranch Wedding
Elegant, Yet Earthy DIY Ranch Wedding
Elegant, Yet Earthy DIY Ranch Wedding
Elegant, Yet Earthy DIY Ranch Wedding
Elegant, Yet Earthy DIY Ranch Wedding

Earthy, Yet Elegant DIY Ranch Wedding - Vendors & Credits

Photography: Diana Maire Photography
Catering: The Inn at Tres Pinos, Mansmith's BBQ and pies by Gizdich Ranch
Cake Design: Gayle's Bakery
Floral Design: Mission Trails Regional Park Online
Entertainment: Chris Gallego (DJ) and Sugarbee (Band)
Rentals: A Festive Affair

Wedding professionals on Vendors on Paper

Insert Comment | View Comments (7)




Laura (Northern California)

Aug 30, 2011 2:19 PM

That invitation is sooo pretty. I pinned it! And they've got the wood element which I love. I just can't get enough of it. I'm hoping Irene brought down enough branches that my family can use to get me started on mine!!

Erika {Borrowed&Bleu} (Orlando, FL)

Aug 30, 2011 2:45 PM

Absolutely lovely! The ranch is beyond gorgeous!

Diana (Philadelphia)

Aug 30, 2011 2:50 PM

I love how simple yet so chic it looks. Love the hay bail photo! Looks like they had an amazing day! :)

Melina (United States)

Aug 30, 2011 3:49 PM

I love just the whole natural feel of this wedding! It certainly is nice the bride had so much help to make it all look so wonderful!

erin * sparkle & hay (CT)

Aug 30, 2011 5:55 PM

oh i absolutely lover her bouquet - & that bar has to be one of the best homemade bars i've seen! what a wonderful handmade story :)

Alexandra (Massachusetts)

Aug 30, 2011 6:46 PM

Beautiful wedding! The florals and ring shot are incredible and the lighting - wow!

Wedding Planners in India (India)

Aug 31, 2011 12:14 AM

Those green shoes look stunning! :)