Rustic DIY Denver Wedding

Abby said she and Tom wanted to have a wedding that reflected the things they love and decide on their own traditions. From the favors to the groomsmen's (and groomsmaid's) socks, you'll see they did just that. They also have a brilliant tip for creating a gorgeous wedding cake on a budget! Read on to learn more from Abby!

Love Story

We met at a bar on my birthday in Denver, while I was living in Fort Collins. I gave him my number on a dollar bill and left the bar by saying, "don't waste this", thinking I would never hear from him. A few days later, he called me! 

Our first date started at New Belgium in Fort Collins and consisted of lunch, walking around downtown, and watching a movie. The date lasted about 10 hours. We just didn't want the day to end! After a couple of months, I quit my job and moved to Denver to be closer to Tom. We found a place shortly after and moved in together.

About a year later, Tom proposed on a seemingly unimportant Sunday night in March with our song playing in the background and totally caught me off guard! We started planning almost immediately and on top of planning a wedding, we also bought our first home. Now, we are married with a wonderful starter home and an adorable family with our two fur-babies.


Our theme was "Denver rustic" and since our wedding was at Mile High Station, we really didn't need a lot of decor because the place is so beautiful. Everything we used was DIY, which kept our budget down and added nice personal touches. We didn't want it to be very formal and kind of decided on our own "traditions" as we went a long. 


We knew photos were important, and after seeing the venue, we knew we had to splurge on that. Those, and catering, filled up most of our budget, so then we had to get creative to stick to our budget. That is where a lot the DIY decorations came into play. It took a bit more time, but saved us in the end. I am a designer, so I made the invites myself and printed through a trusted printer and saved a bunch.

We got our flowers wholesale and put the decorations and bouquets together ourselves. That alone saved us hundreds of dollars.

I got our cake at Whole Foods! We just ordered a half and quarter sheet cake, stacked them ourselves, and put flowers on it! That was another big money saver. 

Unique Details

My sister officiated the wedding which made it much more personal and fun.

We wanted the wedding to be "us" and include things that we as a couple like, so we included a photo booth, a special keg of our favorite sour beer from New Belgium, and lawn games. 

We borrowed a giant Jenga from a friend and ordered a bean bag game that I painted to customize it for the wedding.

Favorite Memory 

There are so many... But one that really sticks out is actually something that was completely unplanned. As the reception was coming to an end, there were maybe 30 people left at the venue and all of a sudden, we heard a bunch of banging outside. Everyone went out, and there was a huge fireworks show at Mile High Stadium. We all stood there in awe for about 15 minutes watching the show. I still don't know what it was for, but I like to pretend it was meant for our wedding.


I had a really hard time with the seating chart. I didn't know if I should even have one, but ultimately decided to do it. It took forever to figure out who knew who, and who should be by who. In the end, it was a really great thing because no one was left out, and I put together people that maybe didn't know each other, but had similar interests, and everyone seemed to love the tables where they sat.

(For seating help, check out the Colorful Colorado Weddings blog post, "How to Assign Seats for Your Wedding Reception.")

Lessons Learned

Book early! I knew that things like the venue and caterer booked up early, but I didn't realize how early. We looked at venues more than a year in advance, and some of them were already booked on the date we wanted. Luckily, we found the venue we loved, but it took a while to get there. I also tried to book about 3 or 4 makeup artists about 8 months in advanced and they were all booked. You don't realize how far in advance you need to book those things, so definitely do it early.

Tips for Engaged Couples

If possible, get married on a Friday or Sunday. We got married on the Sunday before Memorial day and saved about half on the venue. Also, eat on your wedding day. I kept having people tell me that I would be too busy to eat, so I made it a point to eat while I was getting my makeup done. (I didn't want to faint walking down the aisle!) And my husband and I ate everything on our plates at dinner; you're paying for it, so you might as well eat the wonderful food you picked out!

On your wedding day, just be in the moment. Don't think about what needs to happen next, or what's going on on the other side of the room. Just embrace every moment and embrace each other on your big day!

Marriage Advice

Although it can be stressful, try to remember what this day is about and how the little things that you are stressing out about really aren't that important. 

Guest List Count: 115 // Photography: Western Edge Studios // Venue: Mile High Station // Wedding Dress: D'Anelli Bridal // Catering: Biscuits and Berries // Wedding Cake: Whole Foods //  DJ: Xpansion Audio // Hair and Makeup: Hair and Makeup in Motion

To find more local wedding professionals, visit our Local Venues and Vendors Directory.

To DIY or Not to DIY?

DIY is always the cheapest way to go, right? Well, you’d think a do it yourself project would be cheaper than purchasing pre-made products for your wedding, but that’s not necessarily always the case.

I definitely saved money by making the bunting that’s pictured below instead of purchasing it, but looking back at the hours I spent cutting paper for my wedding decor, I've realized DIY projects cost more than just money.

Before beginning any DIY project, ask yourself 3 questions:

  1. How much money will the materials cost?
  2. How much time will this cost?
  3. How much stress will this cost?


Maybe you have a specific way in which you 'd like to save money, or you have a specific talent you'd love to use. At one wedding I coordinated, the bride showed her love for thrifting by purchasing a unique, vintage mug as each guest's favor. That project was a time consuming undertaking, but she had a ton of fun doing it, it reflected her unique personality, and it allowed her to save money on favors.

Not to DIY

Sometimes by the time you buy all the supplies and invest a maddening number of hours into a project, you realize it might have been worth it to buy the product pre-made. Sometimes the monetary cost is about the same either way, or it might even be worth spending a few extra dollars to save yourself time and stress.

When I got married, I wanted to save money by catering the reception ourselves. My mom helped me realize it would not be worth the huge amount of time and stress required to prepare and serve all of the food to such a large group of people. We ended up hiring a caterer and found other ways to save money.

Do What's Best for You

DIY projects can be a fun way to get hands-on with your wedding prep, but don’t drive yourself crazy trying to save a few cents.  Most of your guests won’t know the difference or care whether you painstakingly handmade the guestbook or ordered it off Amazon for 10 bucks.

If you need a break from wedding planning, you can check out some hilarious Pinterest catastrophes over at Have you had any DIY projects go wrong? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!