I was so impressed by how much work Anna and Mathias did for their own wedding- from the wedding favors(clippings from a plant that has sentimental value to them), to having a friend officiate for them, to writing their vows, to making a playlist and having a relative as their DJ, to the bridal party doing their own hair and make-up, to the groom’s recipe for dinner- this couple knows how to Do It Yourself- and in style!  Special thanks to Patricia from Rejoy Photography who has 2nd shot for me most of  this year.  

A partially cautionary word about DIY weddings from the Bride

You will want to pull your hair out at times, especially planning a larger wedding. BUT when you look back at your wedding, the things that turned out best will be the things you did yourself. A lot of people told us how they could tell how much work we put into the wedding and how they loved how personal it all was (especially our DIY ceremony). In the end, all the hard work was worth it. We definitely saved a lot of money doing it ourselves, too. We still went over budget though!

How Anna & Mathias Met

Mathias and I met when I was walking home from a party with Sophie, my best friend (and maid of honor!). She knew Mathias, and stopped to say hi. Mathias offered to walk us the rest of the way home and asked me for my number when we got to my place. He called me for a couple months to hang out before we actually did–he worked third shift and always called late which I initially misinterpreted as a booty call (haha!). When we finally did hang out, it was sparks and fireworks right away. We went to James Madison Park, across from my apartment, for our first “date”, and have been together since that night in July 2009.

All Their Wedding Deets

Where was your wedding?

 At the Double Days in Cottage Grove– don’t go there! The owner managed to insult every single one of our guests and was very unprofessional.

What were your deciding factors in choosing your venue(s)?

We both have really big families so we needed to find a place that could hold them all! We wanted somewhere we could do the ceremony and the reception in the same place and not have our guests travel anymore than they already were to share our day.

Madison wedding photograpyMadison outdoor wedding photographer

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wedding sign

What resources helped you in planning your wedding? (blogs, websites, magazines, friends, wedding shows, etc.)

I used my matron of honor a lot for advice on how to do things since she had been through this all before. I picked up a wedding planner and guide, but didn’t really use it. My matron of honor gave me a binder to use and I organized all of our wedding related things in there. I don’t know how we would have pulled it all off without all the help from our friends and family. We are so grateful!
madison park wedding details
madison park wedding details

 What memory stands out most from your wedding day?

My dad crying– I had only seen him cry one other time in my life. Also, Mathias dancing all night like a maniac, I couldn’t keep up with him!  He was doing dance moves I had never seen before. He must have been saving them for our wedding :-).

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Did you write your own vows?

Yes, Mathias can’t find the ones he wrote! But mine were: Mathias, when I look back and see how far we have come in the last 5 years, it makes me excited to see what the rest of our lives together will look like. I am excited to see how we will grow and learn together, how we will laugh and cry together, how we will wrinkle and age together. I vow to be your partner for life, to be there for all the adventures life presents us, I vow to lift you up when you are down, I vow to stand by your side in good times and in bad,  I vow to love you madly and unconditionally for the rest of my life.

Any funny moments to share?
When I tried to put Mathias’ wedding ring on and it got stuck on his knuckle! I said I would marry him if I “could just get it over your knuckle”.

Do you have any advice for people planning a wedding?

Write your own vows, it’s easier than you think. You already know why you are getting married and what your future spouse means to you. It makes your ceremony so much more personal. Also, look at your wedding day like this–the main goal of the day is to marry the love of your life, everything else is a bonus. Don’t forget the big picture and accept that something will go wrong no matter how much you have planned. Make sure to soak as much in as you can, the day will go by in a blur!

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If you had an unlimited budget or simply could redo your wedding day, would you have done anything differently?

Not sure we would change anything except the venue we used. Everything else was so beautiful and exactly how I pictured it in my mind.

What was the most enjoyable part of planning your wedding?

The most enjoyable part of planning the wedding was how close it made us with those we were planning with and getting to know Mathias’ large family- we both felt so much love and acceptance from them.

What was your greatest challenge in planning your wedding? What did you feel least prepared for?

We were not prepared for how fast our wedding day would go. I remember looking at the clock after dinner and thinking, “Really?! Our wedding day is almost over already?!”
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madison weding candids of family bride and groom kiss at toast creative photography
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wedding dip at reception after first dance

wedding dip at reception after first dance

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Why did you choose Maureen Cassidy Photography?

We chose Maureen because we loved her photos right away, she has a way of capturing natural moments. I liked that her work didn’t seem posed or too formal. It looked like fun!
How did you calm your wedding day nerves?
I practiced deep breathing! I was told by some of our guests they heard me deep breathing into the microphone a few times. I was sooooo nervous.

wedding dancing at reception

Which moment(s) are/were you most excited to see in your wedding photos?
All of them! The day went by so fast that I need to see pictures just to make sure it all happened.


Vendor Shout-outs! 

Ceremony Venue: Double Days in Cottage Grove, WI

Hair: My friend Amber came to the house on the morning of our wedding and did my hair and all the bridesmaids’ hair.

Make up: The girls did their own makeup, my maid of honor did mine.

Wedding Dress: I found my wedding dress at West Towne Mall in Madison for $350 at Cache.

Bridesmaids Dresses: Custom made by Charissa Goerge at toFREEyourSTYLE from Etsy. This lady was awesome!!

Groom & Groomsmen Attire: The guys all went together to get suits from Burlington Coat Factory. Mathias got his suit from JC Penney.

Catering & Bar-tending: Catering was done by Banzo of Madison, WI. Mathias worked there before he got into his electrical apprenticeship and wanted to use them for our wedding. They made Mathias’ fajita recipe for our wedding, it was super delicious and super personal.

Officiant: Our friend got ordained so that he could marry us.

Flowers/Florist: Hyvee Madison East

Invitations: DIY! From a template I found online.

Dessert (cake and such!): Hyvee Madison East

Photography: Maureen Cassidy Photography & Rejoy Photography

Videographer: A few people in our wedding party set up a camera to record our ceremony.

DJ and/or band: We made our own playlist and had our Uncle Dave manning the station all night.

Favors: We took clippings from our purple heart plants at home and painted mini-pots to put them in. We wanted our favors to be something we made ourselves.

Honeymoon: Mathias took us to Chula Vista for the weekend and it was a blast! Planning a longer honeymoon next year- to someplace warm!