In keeping with our unintentional theme this week, we have another beautifully understated DIY wedding to share courtesy of Rebekah Hoyt Photography [submitted via Two Bright Lights].

Thea & Aaron used the church where Thea works for their wedding and reception, and the entire day was a labor of love of their entire family. They had friends cater & make the cake, and along with her family, Thea made over 500 tissue paper flowers to adorn the reception.

The beautiful coral and navy color palette perfectly accentuated their bright summer wedding day. Enjoy!

Thea & Aaron’s DIY, Paper Flower Northern Virginia Wedding


Hair Stylist:  Victoria Station Salon
Invitation Designer:  Courtney&Co. Design
Dress Store:  Anne Taylor Loft
Dress Designer:  Maggie Sottero
Tuxedo and Mens Attire:  Express Men

About the couple

There are more than a few people who would like to “take credit” for Aaron and I being together, but Aaron and I really hit it off during the car ride to a beach trip that his church hosts in the Outer Banks.  We both had to go late (he was at a wedding, I was running youth group) and so after some awkward Facebook exchanges initiated by a mutual friend who was trying to set up us, we rode down together.  On the ride to the beach, I (Thea) remember thinking, “I’m probably going to date Aaron.”  And on the car ride back to Northern Virginia I thought, “I’m probably going to marry Aaron.”

Six months later we were engaged and 7 months after that we were married!  Neither of us were expecting to end up in a serious relationship after that trip and that’s part of what makes it so fun.  We both love to read, hike, and serve and minster to others.  Thea enjoys cooking and trying out new dishes, and Aaron happily obliges to be the taste tester.  Aaron works for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Thea is the High School Youth Director at Vienna Presbyterian Church.


About their DIY wedding [and the importance of recycling & reusing their wedding elements]:

We were married and had our reception at Vienna Presbyterian Church, where I work as a high school youth pastor.  It was meaningful to have it at a church that has meant so much to me and besides that, is beautiful.

My goal was to be able to reuse any of the decorations from the wedding in our home afterwards.  Since our wedding, I’ve repurposed the burlap squares used on the tables into a wreath, changed the windowpanes from our seating chart into a headboard, displayed the paper flowers, and the various vases now hold baking ingredients and flowers in our home.

Oh my I love this so much:

I work with the youth at my church and they are SO important to me.  We invited all of the youth and their families to the ceremony, but didn’t have room at the reception (there’s a lot of them!).  I was so excited to get to share a few moments with them and some of the adult volunteers following the ceremony and before our reception – a cake and celebration in our youth space!

We (and by “we” I mean Thea J) chose Coral and Navy for our colors.  Coral has always been my favorite color for as long as I can remember and we used navy to accent.  I wanted the bridesmaid dresses to be a color that was universally flattering and navy fit that need!  We wanted something classic but still summery.

loving those coral statement necklaces against the navy blue bridesmaids dresses!

Aaron’s father is a pastor of another church in the area and he officiated our ceremony.  It was really meaningful to have him involved in that way.  One of Aaron’s sisters was a bridesmaid – I actually knew Katherine for quite some time before I met Aaron because she led the Bible study I attended.  I was honored to have her standing beside me.  She was a large part of how Aaron and I even met and has continued to be an important part in both of our lives.

Click inside for the rest of Thea & Aaron’s amazing DIY Northern Virginia wedding!

Ok, this might be my FAVORITE detail:

Even though we were married in the late afternoon, we decided to have brunch foods at our wedding.  Aaron and I both love breakfast type foods and so it was fitting for us.  I loved the combination of breakfast and lunch.

Brunch foods at the reception?! Um … LOVE.

One of  the most significant DIY contributions was that my (Thea’s) dad handmade hundreds, yes hundreds!, of tiny tissue paper flowers to be used at the reception.  I think there was almost 400 in total when all was said and done.  He even experimented with coloring and dying the tissue paper.   The only fresh flowers we used were the flowers for the wedding party.

It was a project that my mom, sister, and I had undertaken and had quickly grown weary of the meticulous task.  I was surprised when my mom said that my dad, a Marine, had taken over because he knew we were looking for an alternative to fresh flowers.  I felt so loved that he had taken hours and hours to craft the flowers!

^amazing dad for the win!

Their adorable DIY centerpieces were made from leftover invitations – WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THIS!?

One of my bridesmaids and I created the flags with the table numbers using leftover wedding invitations!  A friend of mine had designed our wedding suite and I absolutely loved them; I was so glad when we could use the extra invitations and repurpose them.  I had rescued some windowpanes from the side of the road, decorated them with lace, and then attached cards with our seating chart using glittered clothes pins.

Since we had our reception at the church, we weren’t serving alcohol.  I wanted to still have some fun drinks so we had an Italian soda bar.  Aaron and I each created a “signature drink” and named them.  We gave our guests some ideas of great flavor combinations to try and had a menu at the bar and on the tables.  I wanted to do something fun for the toast after the speeches, so we actually used Melba toast to toast (get it? Ha) instead of champagne.

Friends of ours catered the wedding and also did our cake.  So many people came up to us afterwards letting us know how good the cake was – and we agree!  We loved it so much that we ate the top tier on our one month anniversary instead of our one year.  I had worked at a French bakery during college, and one of my favorite cakes there was almond sponge cake with Grand Marnier icing.  Our caterer recreated it for us and it was one of three flavors of cake served that day.

We incorporated elements of lace in the décor to match my all-lace dress; we also used burlap from coffee bean sacks to integrate a more rustic feel and my love for coffee.

ahahaha omg i cannot stop loving this picture:

Congratulations Thea & Aaron! I cannot thank you enough for sharing your amazing DIY, handmade wedding with us. A special thanks again to Rebekah Hoyt Photography & Two Bright Lights for making this feature possible!



  1. I love it! Thanks so much, Bree! Who knew my love for crafting and our attempts to keep a budget would turn into a feature! :) How did brides plan wedding before Pinterest? ha.

  2. OMG this wedding was so freakin’ cute, I got some great ideas as we picked coral and navy for our wedding colors too! LOVE the DIY necklaces, I’m going to try to make those.

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