From the invites to the photo booth to the lighting, two engineers threw a wedding that was to DIY for. See how they made magic on a budget at a rustic California estate.
When Meghan and David met at their college's engineering club in 2003, it was...friendship at first sight. Though they felt a bond from day one, they were always dating other people and never connected romantically. Over the years, as their friendship intensified, "people would ask, 'When are you two getting together?'" recalls Meghan. "Everyone else knew we were meant to be with each other—it just took us a little longer to figure it out." Finally, they were both single at the same time, and they began dating within weeks. For their September 18 wedding, the couple (she's 27, he's 28) threw a big, casual party with lots of DIY details. "Our goal wasn't just to save money but also to have fun putting it together," says Meghan. One of David's family friends provided the venue: a rustic vineyard estate in San Miguel, in central California. "The terrain is rough," says Meghan, "so we e-mailed people to dress comfortably—and no heels!" When guests arrived, they were treated to a sunset ceremony, plus bluegrass, games, and barbecue. "We underestimated how much work goes into planning such a party," says the bride, who spent many long nights creating the invitations, program fans, and menu cards. "But I remember looking out at our friends and family at the reception and thinking, This is a year's worth of effort. And I was all smiles."