Wedding DIY-ers

Tips from real-life brides who planned and executed the big and small details of their dream wedding.

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All About

The Couple: Lisa and Jack Femrite
The Location of the wedding and reception: The Femrite's new home in Charlotte, N.C.

Lisa's Story: "Both Jack and I had been married before, so we decided to have a small wedding at our new home. We had not yet filled it up with furniture so we decided to rent tables and chairs, which worked out nicely."

Her Tips:

Recruit help: "We planned to invite only immediate family to the ceremony and extended family and friends to the reception, but we soon had 40 people attending the ceremony at 11:00am with the reception following at 2:00pm at the same location! What to do with them while we transformed the ceremony space from rows of chairs to a reception space with skirted tables and chairs complete with centerpieces and set up the food and drinks? I put them to work! Those who were already in 'party mode,' I sent outside to the deck with a cocktail."

Know when to hire a caterer: "Make sure you have a lot of hired help for set-up, service and clean up. I thought I had secured help three times only to have them cancel on me. My friends all agreed to pitch in but I still ended up taking the overflowing trash bag out — in my wedding dress! Luckily I love to entertain; I planned all the food and drinks and made a lot of the food myself. Unless, you're really confident in your cooking skills, don't do that. Can you say caterer?!"

Let your family play a part: "I have two children from a former marriage, my son gave me away and my daughter was my maid of honor. My husband's father was his best man and my new niece was the flower girl. I especially advise that if this is a second wedding, involve your family. I could not have wanted anyone more than my children to stand there beside me."