At least, that's what I wanted to hear after I got married last September before 90 guests in an outdoor ceremony at an antebellum mansion in downtown Memphis.
Artsy to the core, I longed to create the perfect handmade wedding, with clever details that my guests wouldn't see anywhere else. I wanted to highlight my personal style and undying love for being crafty and gluing stuff together.
And with a budget of $10,000, I wanted to save a little cash.
Already an avid shopper at the online artists marketplace Etsy.com, I knew when my beau, John, proposed that it was the first place to start looking for unique items, and to get ideas for what I could make myself.
Etsy sales have risen quickly since it began in 2005, reaching $180 million last year thanks in part to a burgeoning wedding section with thousands of handmade wares, said spokesman Adam Brown. Brides can peruse everything from typewriter-key cufflinks to a personalized ring-bearer pillow.
Wedding blogs such as 100 Layer Cake, Style Me Pretty and Etsy Wedding also promote handmade wedding fare and artsy style. Online bridal message boards light up with suggestions when brides-to-be ask about how to make their own table numbers, or craft lanterns out of baby food jars and tea light candles.
Do-it-yourself wedding decorations and favors have become so popular that TheKnot.com and Martha Stewart Weddings - the arbiters in all things bridal - now have sections dedicated to brides looking to break out the hot-glue gun.
"In generations past, weddings were very similar, but now people want to put their own unique spin on their wedding," said Rebecca Dolgin, executive editor of TheKnot.com. "They want it to be different from someone else's, and these DIY details really make that happen."
Here's how I crafted my own handmade wedding:
* I hired Etsy artists to create boutonnieres and corsages for the wedding party and our families - something more permanent (and cheaper) than flowers that they could take home with them. The boutonnieres were roses made from folded roadmaps, and the corsages were flowers created from brown and green organza and brown pearls. (Corsages, $15 apiece. Boutonnieres, $8 apiece.)
* I asked a friend who is a graphic artist to design our program based on a wedding invitation I had found online. It read like a story rather than the traditional order of ceremony, and it drew more comments than any other item at our wedding. ( "Here's how it's going to go:..." the program read near the top.) We printed the programs at home on recycled card stock and used a paper cutter from a craft store to round off the edges.
* After searching for nearly three months for the perfect cake topper, I realized I'd have to spend more than $100 and probably still wouldn't get exactly what I wanted. So, I turned a pair of bird-shaped salt and pepper shakers into a little bride and groom and mounted them on an antique letterpress stamp with the word "September." I used polymer clay to create the groom's top hat and shoes, and I recycled tulle and pearls from my mom's wedding dress to decorate the bride bird. (About $25 total.)
* Favors for our guests were CDs of songs written by my fiance and his fellow songwriter friends as part of his proposal (he's the creative type too). We designed the CD cover and label and assembled them ourselves at home, spending about $60 on the whole project.
* Instead of a photo slideshow during the reception, we hung photos on long pieces of twine with clothes pins to create a more homey feel. I also made a sign that said "LOVE" to hang in the middle, using a fancy font I found for free online and flower-shaped cardboard cutouts.
* We decided to print our invitations and save-the-date cards at home, so we had a designer from PrintablePress.com create them and send us the PDF. We gussied up the envelopes with tree and bird stamps from Etsy and Target. ($175 for the design, $50 for paper supplies and $45 for stamps.)
* I wanted our guests to fill out notes of advice to us, so I used a set of typewriter-style stamps to make little note cards from our leftover card stock saying things like "wishes" and "thoughts" and "blessings" at the top.
* Instead of a traditional guest book, we had a photo booth where guests could don pirate hats, sunglasses and feather boas. Guests got to keep one copy, and the other they glued into our guest book, where they could write notes. (About $1,400 for six hours of booth rental, which includes an attendant, unlimited photos, two sets of prints, a scrapbook and a digital CD of every photo taken. We provided the basket of costume pieces ourselves to save $400.)
* John, a musician by hobby, wrote and recorded two processionals, for the wedding party and for me, on the cello. No need to hire a string quartet.
Not everything that can be DIY at a wedding should be, though. There are some things best left to the experts.
Dolgin recommends that brides - even the most frugal ones - hire people to take care of the food, cakes and photos. No matter how good a baker she is or how talented with a camera, the bride has too much to worry about on her wedding day (and the week leading up to it) to handle those items herself.
In the end, many guests at my wedding gave me the best compliment possible with these simple words: "This wedding is just so you!" And it absolutely was.