Broke-Ass Category: Event Design & Reception Decor

1/10

I mentioned a while ago that we planned to use fake flowers when it came time for bouquets, bouts, corsages and decor. So that’s what we did. Other than my bouquet, every other piece of flowery goodness was made with artificial flowers, and we were insanely happy with how they all turned out.

We had two separate seating areas since dinner was outdoors, and dancing and partying were in the barn. Because of that, we wanted to do two different centerpieces. Outside, we had three long rows of tables, which we covered in pink linens with cream doily runners and 30 centerpieces made with flowers and carousel horses.

Rachel's outdoor dinner tablescape

Rachel's carousel horse centerpieces

My mom found the bases on clearance and spray painted them aqua. She made all of the flower arrangements, including really cute fabric flowers with buttons in the center. The carousel horses were an eBay find, and while I don’t know the exact price, they weren’t super expensive. Once they were all put together, I was obsessed. They went perfectly with the linens, mismatched china and doilies. We also put boxes of Cracker Jacks and jars of gumballs out, too. My sister-in-law and bridesmaid, Rachel, hand-folded all of the napkins into pinwheels because she is the best ever, and we used homemade cream cheese mints as the centers. I made the actual batter (dough? I really don’t know what it is, lol), but my mom, SIL and a couple of other really awesome helpers made them into edible treats.

Real Bride Rachel's table settings

Listen, it was windy. Though not exactly how you set a table, the fork made sure those legit napkins didn’t blow away. After all the work of folding them, that would have been a travesty.

Inside the barn was our party area, so we decided to go with fun, whimsical centerpieces for the eight round tables we set up. We took some of the best parts of a carnival and rolled them all into one fun arrangement.

Rachel's centerpieces inside her venue

Rachel's centerpieces inside her barn venue

Icees? Popcorn? Rock candy? Lollipops? Cotton candy? Check. My mom made all of it — from the fake candy to the fabric suckers to the paper pinwheels. I mean, she didn’t go all Ghost on me and make the pots on a pottery wheel, but she did paint them. The little white LED lights were a great addition, too. We used cream linens for the tables, and we put peanuts out for everyone to munch on. Random aside, but my grandma was a HUGE fan. She was snacking all night. The centerpieces were the perfect fit.

Our bridesmaid bouquets were one of my favorite parts of them entire wedding. I LOVE them. They were one of the first things my mom and I brainstormed about back when Russel and I picked our colors and theme. It was hard to articulate what I wanted, because I really didn’t even know. I wanted different shades of pink, and I like roses, succulents, peonies and ranunculus. Aqua flowers aren’t a thing, so we knew that would have to come in in the ribbon. I remember seeing the first prototype and thinking, “Oh lord, this might not work.” But as always, my mom came through.

Bridesmaid bouquets made with artificial flowers

Rachel's artificial flower bridesmaid bouquets

They were so light and airy, and I loved all of the little pops of pink. We used aqua ribbon and finished them off with one little doily around the stems. I honestly have no idea how much they ended up costing, but I can tell you it was a fraction of what real flowers would have been.

The boutonnieres were single pink roses with aqua and white flags and aqua ribbon. I wish I had a close up, because they were super cute.

Rachel's artificial bridesmaid bouquet and bouttonierres

The bouts for the dads, grandpas, officiant and reader (AKA my brothers) were just simple pink flowers. The corsages for the special ladies in our lives were made with the same flowers as the bouquets. We also had some random floral arrangements throughout the fairgrounds as well. There were two large pieces attached to the gates as you walked in that had our initials in the center, plus arrangements on the guestbook table, cake table, etc. For a gal who can take or leave flowers in normal, every day life, we ended up having a lot of beautiful floral-y goodness all over the place.

If we had tried to make everything with fresh flowers, it would have cost us a fortune, and then we would have been out there the next day throwing them in the trash alongside bottles and peanut shells. How depressing. I’d rather sell them to a fellow Broke-Ass Bride and help her have a beautiful wedding while also putting some cash in our pockets, so that’s what we’re doing. We’ve already sold a few things, and are hoping to offload the rest in the next couple months. You never know, I may end up at one of those resale bridal shows I attended last year. We shall see!

 

All photos by Jenni Bella Photography

 

  • 12/20

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewOur wedding was the best day ever, so naturally we wanted some really fun ways to remember it. I talked about my way too expensive Instax guestbook a while back, and while it did cost a pretty penny, I am SO glad we ended up doing it. I am obsessed.

    There was a time when we had no idea where the guestbook was going to be located. We discussed setting it up in the barn, which was our main reception area. It had the perk of being inside in case of rain, but we were afraid that there wouldn’t be enough room and it would be too dark. Fuji Instax cameras are cute and fun, but I wouldn’t say they take the most high quality photos. I had almost forgotten about this ugly wooden sign/bulletin board type thing that was right on the path from the entrance to seating for the ceremony, but when my mom reminded me of it we decided it would work. The location was great, and we could turn it from an eyesore to something pretty and useful.

    My brother Justin, who was also a groomsmen, took one for the team and made us an amazing ticket backdrop for photos — what a tedious and time-consuming activity!  It turned out even better than I imagined and I cannot thank him enough.

    Rachel's ticket photo booth backdrop

    Credit: Jenni Bella Photography

    Our volunteer Instax photographer, Cailyn, got situated before guests began arriving, and as they walked by she snapped their pic and they wrote a little note next to it in the book.

    Guests get pics in front of Rachel's ticket backdrop

    Credit: Jenni Bella Photography

    Cailyn snapping a photo of two of our guests.

    Rachel's guest book photo booth setup

    Credit: Jenni Bella Photography

    Once all of the festivities moved indoors, Cailyn brought the book and camera inside for more pictures. Toward the end of our reception, my bridesmaid Laura noticed that we had a bunch of film left over, so she manned the camera and got some gems of everyone dancing and having a good time. They are my favorite thing ever and are mostly unfit for public consumption. Our guestbook holds 104 photos, but we ended up with close to 140. They are the best.

    In addition to that, we also had a custom canvas made for our guests to color. I saw the idea on the Interwebz one day and knew I needed it, but I wasn’t going to pay like $250.00 plus shipping to order one from the only company I could find who makes them. Just, #no. So my mom, AKA the Queen of All Things Wedding, set about making one for us. She found a carnival print she liked, traced it onto transparent film and used an overhead projector — middle school style — to draw it on a canvas she bought. I will say, she got super busy with other wedding-related items, so she handed it off to my brother Justin to finish up. He did a fantastic job, and even ended up free-handing some personal touches.

    Rachel's custom carnival canvas

    Credit: Jenni Bella Photography

    That empty bucket was eventually filled with markers, I promise. Everyone really enjoyed adding names and colors all night, and we love the way it turned out, smears and all. I can’t wait to hang it in our office, where I can see it every day.

    Rachel's colored-in canvas

    I’ve talked a lot about fun being our main goal for our big day, and little touches like these really helped us make it an amazing and fun-filled day for everyone. The added bonus is that we have amazing keepsakes to look at whenever we want.

    What fun little touches are you adding to your wedding day?

     

     

     

  • 12/6

    cake

    On top of having super yummy carnival eats for dinner, we had some sweet treats for our guests, too. Even though funnel cakes and elephant ears are some of the best desserts on the planet, I knew I wanted a wedding cake to cut as well. I can take or leave the actual cutting of the cake while everyone stares. And the whole smashing thing?…

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    11/16

    20161106_152338

    I have always planned on having different centerpieces at each table. I saw a photo of another bride’s wedding that had her escort cards as little ticket stubs with each person’s name on one side and the name of their table on each. I completely fell in love with the idea. Unfortunately, the Etsy seller who made her cards no longer makes them. I found…

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    9/13

    DIY or DIE arbor decoration

    We love a good paper project, especially when that project can easily, beautifully and affordably replace a more expensive floral decoration. We're huge fans of paper flowers as a broke-ass decor option, but that's far from the only paper decoration option. For this project, made with the Cricut Explore Air machine for Cricut’s Wedding Campaign, “It’s Your Story, Make It Personal,” I found a beautiful lacy doily design…

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  • 8/31

    confettipopper

    They add up! I mean when you buy things, they accumulate. Math was never my strong suit, but that is an easy one ... and holy shit. It's adding up. With under a month to go until our wedding, the time has come to concentrate on the little details. My mom and I collaborated on a giant list (109 items!) of stuff we need to…

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    8/23

    agate geode DIY display

    If you're anything like me, you've been mad crushing on all the gorgeous agate and geode details popping up in wedding and home decor lately. With a little investigation, you probably found that lots of these pieces aim to break your budget super-fast, so that's why I'm hear to share the fruit of my trial-and-error labors. A word of warning: this project calls for Mod…

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    7/27

    Credit: Maria Burton Photography We did it! On June 4, 2016, we tied the knot on a beautiful (and hot!) day outside of Boston, Mass. After over a year of planning, everything came together just like we wanted, including everything we DIY'd with all of our friends. The biggest DIY of them all was my wedding dress, which was probably the hardest and most time-consuming sewing project…

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  • 7/7

    dinosaur centerpieces

    Continuing to work with couples long after my I Dos have been said, it's easy to get this feeling of, "Ah, damn! I wish I had done something like that!" From impossibly cute to just downright creative, I'm constantly amazed by how inventive and fun the couples I get to work with through Little Wedding Extras can be. Now that we've put away three weddings…

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