Jennifer and Greg's elegant DIY wedding at Castle Unicorn featured a rich palette of deep greens, black and plum and tons of creative details that were inspired by how they met – while studying abroad in France! Jennifer described their wedding theme as “rustic Provençal with a touch of vintage Parisian elegance,” so they incorporated dried flower bouquets, knee-length black bridesmaid dresses and a wedding cake decorated with herbs instead of flowers. The castle's owner helped the bride and groom's vision of their wedding become a reality, and Daniel López Pérez Photography captured every moment!
A DIY wedding at a modern castle in Loess Hills, IA
One of my favorite parts of our wedding was how we used fresh herbs from my dad's garden instead of flowers for our centerpieces. I wanted to go with an Herbs de Provence medley (sage, rosemary, thyme, lavender, oregano, and savory). My grandma helped me pick them the day before and we refrigerated them overnight. The day of the wedding, we placed the herbal arrangements in glass containers (which I collected from thrift stores) with some water, and they looked so beautiful and fresh! Our guests even commented on how lovely the reception pavilion smelled from our centerpieces. This saved us money in two ways: we didn't need to hire a florist, and we let guests take them home in little baggies as wedding favors!
My cake designer also used our herbs to decorate our cake, which had simple ivory frosting. The big sage leaves and twisted thyme looked so delicate and fresh on our cake!
Overall, I loved how my DIY ideas came together for our semi-outdoor reception. Our banquet tables had champagne linens with burlap table runners (I ordered a roll of bulk burlap online and cut them down myself). My grandpa is a carpenter and was kind enough to cut large branch pieces down into tea-light candle holders. For the table numbers, I collected champagne corks at my weekend job to use as stands (since regular corks don't stand upright as well). I used black paper doilies and hand painted each table number with a Parisian-style font. The herbs, branch candle holders, corks, and table numbers fit so well with our theme and looked awesome arranged on the burlap.
I ordered loose dried materials on Etsy to make the bouquets and ceremony decor, which included: lavender, nigella, peppergrass, and white & apricot statice, which had beautiful deep green stems. For our arch garland, one of my bridesmaids let me grow a rosemary bush in her backyard to use as a filler, and we strung it all together two days before the wedding with floral wire and leftover materials from the bouquets. The fresh rosemary smelled awesome and held up well as our garland. For the aisle decor, I found some potpourri cages at a local craft store, filled them with dried flowering oregano, and hung them on mini shepherd hooks. Unfortunately I forgot to bring half of them for the big day, but my bridesmaids came to the rescue and tied mini versions of their bouquets onto the chairs lining the aisle!
We also used a world map for guests to sign, instead of a traditional guestbook. After the wedding, I posted the map against cork board, found an open frame for it, and hung it in our apartment. Whenever my husband and I travel somewhere together, we pin it on our map! I love looking at it and seeing all of our wedding guests' signatures alongside our travel history. – Jennifer