Broke-Ass Category: Shannon

3/17

organized wedding

Raise your hand if you’re a disorganized hot mess most of the time … yep, me too! Now where are my Type A friends who get anxiety when someone even touches something on your desk? There’s news for you, too. No matter where you fall on the messy-organized spectrum, putting together an orderly, executable system for wedding day set up is going to save you a lot of anxiety while you get all pretty (Is everything there? Are they doing it right?). It’s also a huge kindness to the people working their tails off so your day looks perfect.

Whether it’s a backyard gathering for 20 or a ballroom gala for 200, you probably have some feelings on how you want your wedding to look. When other people — whether they’re friends and family or hired event staff — are doing the set-up without proper guidance, you’re forcing them to make decisions for themselves. By setting up a detailed plan of action that your set-up crew can see beforehand, you take the guesswork out of it, giving everyone some peace of mind.

Don’t expect people to read your mind.

You may think everything is perfectly obvious, but that unlabeled box of personal photos and candlesticks was supposed to be divided among the guest tables, yet Aunt Jane assumed they were supposed to go on the shelf in the entryway. Your box of extra, in-case-of-emergency candles got mistaken for desired decor, so your cousin just kind of stuck them wherever he thought would look good. They’re both reasonable assumptions, but it’s not what you wanted.

So how do you deal?

Make diagrams and either print them out or email them to the people helping. The easiest way to do this is set up a mock-up somewhere in your home and take a picture. If there are items you’re renting and don’t have stashed around your home pre-wedding, grab a stand-in item and make a note that (for example) the water glass will actually be the 9-inch cylinder vase at the venue. This way, everyone knows what your plan is.

Separate items by table, not by decoration type.

This is a foolproof way of making sure things go where they need to go, especially if your tables will have different decor. Rather than putting all of the candle holders in one box and hoping for the best, put three candleholders in a box with the respective candles, the two photos of you and your partner at 3 years old, the #3 card, a holder for the card, and, if you have them with you, the linens and centerpiece vase. Label that box (visible from the outside) Table 3 and repeat as necessary. Separate other decorations like the buffet tables, desert table, sign-in table. Not only does this make it less confusing, it saves precious time and you’ll ensure all the things for each table are present and accounted for.

Assign people to take home you items at tear-down.

True Story: My husband of well over a year and I bought a plain white puzzle for our guestbook. I have not seen this since I lovingly admired a few of the messages at our wedding reception. I have no idea who took it home or what box it could be in. Learn from my mistake! Since it’s unlikely you’ll be doing the packing up yourself, have a list of what needs to go home with someone and ask specific people to be in charge of it. This way you know that Uncle Jim loaded all of the table decor into his Suburban; Mom has the gifts and cards; your best friend grabbed your bouquet and all the flowers … you get the picture. Of course, make sure that these people live relatively close so you can coordinate to pick things up after the wedding.

Make clear what was rented and needs to be returned.

Renting items can get pricey. The last thing you want it to get hit with a replacement fee after the wedding. Since the people helping tear down may not be the same people who helped you set up, make sure there’s a list of rental items so everyone there can easily identify what goes home with you and what gets returned. If you’ve rented from multiple businesses, separate the lists and make note of what will be picked up and what needs to be taken back personally.

Providing all of your helpers with a plan takes less work than you think. Simply knowing how you’re going to pack your boxes can be less stressful than cramming things in arbitrarily and trying to figure out what else will fit. Plus, in all honesty, people will love you for it. The less stress you put on people before your wedding, the happier they are once the whole shindig kicks off.

If that level of organization isn’t your game, find someone who color-coordinates their closet or alphabetizes their book shelf. Organized people usually love to help other people get organized, so it’s a win-win. Knowing where to find your precious memories in the days after your wedding will be well worth it!

Do you have any other organization tips? Let us know in the comments below!

  • 3/3

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewPlace card holders are a great way to dress up a place setting, but if your guest list is more than, uh, 20, it can quickly add. But creating your own diamond place card holders out of cement makes for a unique aesthetic. This simple DIY combines a couple of my favorite trends — the industrial-chic look and modern, geometric shapes. Bonus: They’re a functional gift once they’ve served their wedding purpose.

    DSC_5962

    There’s plenty of down time while the cement dries, so you can pop out a few sets over a couple of weekends without it feeling like a ton of work!

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    A silicone gem ice tray mold (This 3-pack will make 33 at a time for $8.99 from Amazon)

    Heavy beading wire (16 gauge) and something to wrap it around (the handle on a sponge brush is perf)

    Cement, concrete or plaster*

    A mixing bowl that you never, ever plan on putting food in again

    A piping bag (or zipper top bag with a corner snipped off)

    Your choice of metallic paint (optional, of course!)

    *A word on cement vs. concrete: cement is a superfine powder that when mixed with water creates a clay-like texture and casts a smooth shape. Concrete is essentially cement mixed with sand which has a slightly rough texture when dry. Either are suitable for this project, but for the demonstration I’m using TXI Type N Portland cement.

    How to:

    Make your life easier by starting with the wire coils that will eventually hold cards or pictures. Cut a 4″ length of the wire, then wrap it around your brush handle twice (trying to wrap as closely as possible).

    cement diamond place card holders wire wrap

    You should have a short “tail” to stick in your cement. Set those aside and save them for later.

    Next, mix your cement. Your bag/box should have a ratio of powder to water, but hear me when I say this is only a guideline! Put the powder in your bowl, then add small splashes of water, stirring each time until it’s incorporated and you have a nice, smooth mixture.

    cement diamond place card holders mix 1

    You’re looking for your cement to be near the consistency of peanut butter. If you get it too thin, just sprinkle in a bit more powdered cement.

    cement diamond place card holders mix 3

    Once you’ve gotten a good consistency, load up that piping bag and snip off a small corner.

    cement diamond place card holders piping bag

    Make sure to twist the open end to keep everything coming out of the right side and pipe into the gem mold. This alone won’t fill the molds, so tap the entire plate on the ground or a countertop to help get air bubbles out. You’ll see your mixture settle and the surface get smooth.

    cement diamond place card holders fill

    Before filling them the rest of the way up, give the “points” on the bottom of the mold a few pinches. This makes sure the cement gets all the way into the bottom and doesn’t leave you with a bubble. Fill the molds the rest of the way and give them several gentle taps to work out larger air bubbles. If you continue to see bubbles rising to the surface, keep tapping.

    cement diamond place card holders full

    Once your mold is full, pop in your wires, titling them to one side. If they rest on the edge of the top opening, your finished product will be at a good angle to hold your card. Now we wait! Give them about 12 hours to firm up.

    cement diamond place card holders set

    Once they’re dry, simply push up from the bottom and they come right out!

    cement diamond place card holders push

    From here, it’s your choice if you want to sand the edges, give it some paint (I love the gold leaf dripped look) or leave it as is. Every piece will have its own unique characteristics and can be used for place settings, buffet descriptions or to hold your favorite Instax shots!

    cement diamond place card holders gold

    How will you use these little gems? Let us know in the comments below!

  • 2/17

    caring for friends

    Finding the love of your life and taking that next big step towards forever is a blissful time of your life, but what happens when someone you love has life experiences that are giving them a broken heart? Whether it's the ending of a relationship, loss of a loved one, money, job or health troubles, certain struggles can zap the celebration spirit right out of…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!

    2/3

    MadHatterPartyBox Camp Bubbles Party Favors Etsy

    Camping Bubbles Party Favor, starts at $1.35 each from Etsy seller MadHatterPartyBox Decorating your wedding is a big job on its own, but reader Kacey came to us looking for some Broke-Ass advice on how to make 60 rustic camp cabins feel a little more like home for her wedding guests. She writes: Dear BAB, I want to say we're soul sisters but don't want…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!

    1/20

    DSC_0058

    If the new year brought you a new big step in your relationship, congratulations! We're so happy to have you! As you jump into the world of wedding planning, know that it's totally normal and very much ok to be feeling a little ... overwhelmed about where to start, to say the least. If your head is feeling like a giant cloud full of tulle…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!
  • 12/9

    From reader Amanda: I am on a very tight budget for my wedding, and I am having issues finding a cheaper venue for the ceremony and reception. I understand most times you get what you pay for, but I still want my wedding to simple yet elegant and not "thrown together" due to lack of funds. I am planning on an outside ceremony and an…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!

    11/11

    calligraphy envelope and Epson LabelWorks printed ribbon

    Whether you're hand-writing on the envelope or using a convenient print-out label, addressing your wedding invites comes with a few *rules* that etiquette specialists still advise you follow. We don't want you to be left searching, so here's what you need to know before sending out that stationery. Before you get started, make sure to check and double-check that spelling! Your partner's cousin Ashleigh is…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!

    10/28

    dinosaur centerpieces

    Weddings -- planning them, paying for them, putting them on -- are kind of an ordeal. Even the simplest of soirees can have a lot of moving parts and when those parts get to rolling, the unsolicited advice starts coming in. Seriously: death, taxes, unsolicited wedding advice. Plenty of people out there have already explained that it's important not to take these opinions (or thinly veiled…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!
  • 9/20

    DSC_0795

    It's kind of a no-brainer when it comes to saving money -- full open bars are a huge money sink. Not only are they expensive, but if you're DIYing the B-A-R, you have the impossible task of reading people's mind to figure out just how much gin, tequila and bourbon you need to have ready to serve up. In general, the fewer choices you have,…

    Read the full article →
    Share this!