11/12 Real Bride Shannon: Why I DIY

Affiliate Disclaimer NewI knew BAB and I were going to get along when I saw the tagline “Creativity is our Currency.” Creativity is something I pride myself on, and when I can glean from the imagination of other awesome people, I’m usually set to create something truly impressive.

The hand-craftedness of the majority of my decorations was something that began as a ploy to save some major cash (oh, and save, I did!), but as the months went on, I developed what I can only describe as a deeper connection to my wedding day. When all of those projects and ideas came together in one place for one purpose, I was able to look out across this scape that I not only imagined, but crafted in many ways from scratch, and feel a whole new level of love. I remembered my now-husband peeking over my shoulder as I finished up signs, trips to Michael’s for more supplies and spending time with my family and friends making sure everything came together. There is plenty of love in any wedding regardless of how much you hand make, but for me, making something for someone has always been my highest level of love.

The largest DIY undertaking by far was the flowers. All of the flowers. Every centerpiece, bouquet and boutonniere started as a cardboard box FedExed to my house, before being unpacked, stripped of thorns (THE. WORST.) and eventually trimmed and arranged. It was an undertaking. There were tears. It was worth it.

Bridesmaids Bouquets || Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Credit: Shaina Sheaff Photography

I’ve always been pretty big on flowers and having beautiful designs within my budget was more important to me than a lot of brides. The arrangements were a mix of cymbidium orchids, Picasso calla lilies, pink garden roses, Burgundy Moonlight carnations and dahlia (which was actually a substitute when the blooming kale didn’t arrive). Rather than purchasing wholesale greenery, I filled everything in with rich, ruffly kale. From the grocery store. $1.89 a bunch. Eight centerpieces, a bridal bouquet, three bridesmaids bouquets, six boutonnieres and a lot of flowers left over for miscellaneous decorating cost me just over $700.

Bridal Bouquet || Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Credit: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Of course my centerpieces were arranged in my very first DIY (not to mention what got me started with BAB in the first place): the faux mercury glass compote bowls that came out to around $4 each. I’m still in love with them!

Shannon's DIY Centerpieces || Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photo

Credit: Shaina Sheaff Photography

In lieu of traditional favors, we purchased boxes of 12 wine glasses from Bed Bath and Beyond for 10 bucks a piece, then I hand painted them with alcohol ink in several colors that complemented my palette. I bought four packages of three colors and those tiny bottles took care of 108 glasses and 18 different candle holders (did you see the fun video on Instagram?) BEFORE they got sent to a friend to help her paint votive holders for her wedding. Each piece had three colors that blended together to create a gorgeous (not to mention trendy) watercolor effect and there are guests STILL commenting on how gorgeous they were.

DIY Painted Wine Glasses || Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photo

Credit: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Having a deep, inexplicable attachment to handwriting, I definitely wanted to do all of my signage. Keeping with the watercolor motif, I used a wet brush technique to create a splatter design on an easel canvas that’s slanted so it stands on its own before writing over in gold paint pen. If I had to do it over again, I would have used more muted colors so that the gold popped a little more, but I still loved the final product.

Hand-Painted and Lettered Signage || Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Credit: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Keeping with the handwritten, watercolor theme, I also hand-wrote my envelopes with a calligrapher’s pen, but swapped four watercolors for traditional ink. Yes, a great many of those went in the trash after they were opened, but the number of people hanging onto theirs for a keepsake makes me feel completely validated in spending all of that time and effort overachieving.

Hand-Lettered Envelopes || Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Credit: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Of course, there was the last minute DIY that I wasn’t expecting when I realized I’d messed up ordering my cake. It wasn’t planned and it was a total pain, but you know what? I kinda like the way they turned out. Gold, glitter and pearls make everything better in my world. After my amazing crew of helpers topped two cakes and a homemade creation with some of the left over flowers, I think they turned out wonderful!

Target cakes made beautiful! || Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Credit: Shaina Sheaff Photography

If you love to create, create for your own wedding. It feels so personal and it’s an amazing bonding experience with those you love. If you don’t, talk to the people in your life who do. For most of us, the opportunity to contribute our talent is a real honor.

I’ll be back in two weeks with some step-by-step information on how everything was made. In the meantime, remember that creativity means a lot of things and it is totally a valid currency!