Incredible DIY Wedding of Summer and James and All the “How’d They Do It?” Details

Today I have got a wicked DIY wedding that's a perfect example of how anyone on any budget can still embrace affordability and score budget deals. Shot by the fabulous Casey Fatchett of Casey Fatchett Photography, this June 2012 wedding is Too Die For. But don't take my word for it… here's Summer and she's sharing how it was all done:

Coulter and Babiarz Wedding Guest Cards
Image Courtesy of: Casey Fatchett Photography 

The overall inspiration behind this wedding was the cottage that the Dashwood sisters are forced to take up in the classic chick flick, "Sense and Sensibility". As a devoted detail movie nerd I have soaked in every detail of their space in that film. Victorian sure….stuffy no. I wanted the formality and grandeur of Victoria but I wanted the warmth and functionality of the Dashwood cottage. Most of all I wanted no white. I wanted warm, candle glow colors pinks, creams, champagnes, peaches  taupes and dusty blues. We really fell in love with Meredith Manor as they had gorgeous historical grounds, a brand new tent and an amazing catering staff. Mimi and Mike make everything easy and let you DIY a ton of stuff.

Coulter and Babiarz Wedding Reception Centerpieces
Image Courtesy of: Casey Fatchett Photography

The first thing that caught my eye was a centerpiece picture in Martha Stewart Living where they had collected old tins that contained bright blocks of garden flowers. What I loved was that each tin contained only one type of flower so it never looked too fussy or overdone. Karen Strogus of Strogus’ Flower Shop & Greenhouses absolutely nailed this concept. My mother and I spent a year collecting the tins from Amish Country and Northern Michigan. Karen simply lined each of them with a plastic bag filled with water so it didn’t leak.

Coulter and Babiarz Wedding Reception Table Numbers
Image Courtesy of: Casey Fatchett Photography

Along with the centerpieces came a watercolor painting which served as a table indicator and also the theme of the favor the guest would receive. Each watercolor painting was created by my mother, Bobette Coulter. We are now in the process of having them all matted and framed for the house.


Coulter and Babiarz Wedding Bridal BouquetCoulter and Babiarz Wedding Favors
Image Courtesy of: Casey Fatchett Photography

All of the favors were homemade jams, preserves, pickled items or a marmalade of some sort. James (the groom) is an accomplished homechef and we jarred and pickled seasonally as to capture the year of our engagement. On the top of each is a circular muslin fabric with a each-letter-individually-handstamped label and of course a button.

Coulter and Babiarz Wedding Bridesmaid BouquetsCoulter and Babiarz Wedding Programs (2)
Image Courtesy of: Casey Fatchett Photography

For my bouquet, bridesmaid bouquets and boutonnieres we decided to go more formal. Again Karen Strogus used her magic to create the perfect color balance for me. I sewed buttons onto all the ribbon streamers to add a little bit of warmth and personal interest. On my bouquet my mother actually let me repurpose the pearled hat that held her wedding veil.

Coulter and Babiarz Wedding Napkin Rings
Image Courtesy of: Casey Fatchett Photography

Buttons became an easy theme as I sew so much and had a ton of them. My mother used buttons to hand make all of the napkin rings on the table. Each of them was different. However for the bride and groom she used buttons from our grandmother’s and grandfather’s collection. It was a very personal way to make me feel that they were with us.

Coulter and Babiarz Wedding Programs
Image Courtesy of: Casey Fatchett Photography

For the ceremony  A LOT of time went into making the program covers. Each of them were hand sewn as a jacket cover. Much like the flowers, they are all different colors in a “sherbet sort of palate”. I made 130  in total and it took me all year. The program itself I printed at home. Guests can reuse them as a small book cover or a journal cover.

Coulter and Babiarz Wedding Cheese Table
 Image Courtesy of: Casey Fatchett Photography

I am a cheesemonger at Murray’s Cheese and so it was out of the question not to have a great cheese table. “Something Old (Aged Manchego), Something New (Chevre d’Argental), Something Yummy (Challerhocker) and Something Blue (Camazola Black Label)” served up everyone with pairing items and crackers.

Coulter and Babiarz Wedding Bridal Gown
Image Courtesy of: Casey Fatchett Photography

The fellas all got their tuxedo’s at Men’s Warehouse. As I got my dress at David’s Bridal they gave us a great deal. I looked at Klienfelds and Amsale but I couldn’t find a champagne colored dress I really liked at the boutique stores. However I did find it and for half the price at David’s Bridal. However, it wasnt until I got the dress altered by The Wedding Dresser’s genius Susan. She brought out my shape in the dress and she worked her tail off!

The bridesmaids were given three colors to choose from and told to buy a floor length dress. Some dresses are from David’s Bridal and some are from Amasale. They all got to have their personal styles reflected and work with whatever budget was appropriate. They each looked stunning. The matching bouquets with streamers helped pull it all together. Normandy Salon did all of our hair and makeup.

 Coulter and Babiarz Top of Wedding Cake
Image Courtesy of: Casey Fatchett Photography

The Bakers at Buffington designed our fabulous cake (salted caramel filling yum!). All of the buttons on the cake are edible and the scalloped bits are based on my dress.

Coulter and Babiarz Wedding Guest Boxes
Coulter and Babiarz Wedding Guest Box Insides
Image Courtesy of: Casey Fatchett Photography

For the hotel favors we bought gable boxes from I cut 1 1/2 inch strips of muslin and made a bow around the middle of them. I of course added buttons to the middle. Inside along with beverages, snacks, sweets and gums I added little packets of Advil. I also made a CD we entitled “For the Ride Home”. Each track on the CD is inspired by a person in our wedding party.

Coulter and Babiarz Wedding Guest Snacks
Image Courtesy of: Casey Fatchett Photography

My best friend Brett Rappaport who is a pastry chef at The Dutch took it upon himself to create the second hotel favor. His inspiration was the chocolate they used to put on your pillow in hotels. He created four petite fours inspired by each season. Summer= strawberry lime pate de fruit, Fall= Peanut Butter Rum Fudge, Winter= Peppermint Patties and Spring= Honey Saffron Bon Bon. We ordered the clear boxes from

Along with a traditional mailer Save the Date we posted this video to our Facebook pages as well.

We took photography from our dating life and told the story of our courtship. We set this song to “I Feel It All” by Feist. I used the MovieMaker on my computer and a LOT of patience.

Wow. Raise your hand if you're in love with Summer and James's Victorian-inspired wedding?

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