Posts in the 'handmade' Category

DIY or DIE: Pretty Personalized Bunting with Daydreaming Bride

BABs, I’m so excited about how rockin’ the DIY or DIE projects have been lately, and today is certainly no exception. Nodlaigh, aka Daydreaming Bride, is in da hizzy to show us how to make super easy (and cheap!) personalized bunting. Guys, this could work for anything from your engagement party to wedding decor to a banner for a thank-you card photo to general home decoration. And since it won’t cost you a pretty penny, you could easily make a few of ‘em! And keep an eye out, because Nods is going to be joining us to give us some great wedding inspiration from time to time. And without further ado …

For those of you watching your pennies for the big day, today’s post is one for you. I’m going to show you how to make personalised and colourful wedding bunting for next to nothing!

DIY or DIE Pretty Personalized Bunting with Daydreaming Bride

You can use whatever colours and fabric styles you wish to suit your theme — I’ve gone for an eclectic and vintage vibe using luxe velvet and cord fabrics mixed with colourful accent patterns.

What you’ll need:

  1. Fabric scraps to match your theme: I actually used fabric samples I’d ordered for free when I was looking into decorating our living room last year. For the lettering I used an old pillowcase past it’s best. If you needed to buy some fabric then you could certainly source some samples for less than £1 (~$1.67).
  2. Ribbon: I sourced mine from Ebay. It’s £1.88 (~$3.14) for 25 metres but I only used 1 metre.
  3. Iron-on adhesive: I used Heat n’Bond no-sew adhesive. It is £1.50 (~$2.51) for 0.5 metres but I only used about a quarter of that.
  4. Sewing kit: just a needle & thread is fine.
  5. Good scissors and a pen.
  6. Access to a printer and an iron.

Even if you had to buy the fabric, Heat n’ Bond and ribbon new, you’d still only be looking at just over £1.50 (~$2.51) per metre of bunting — cheap as chips!

And it couldn’t be any simpler to put together, taking me less than an hour all in. For those sewing phobes out there, you could very easily make it a complete no-sew project by using iron-on adhesive for the ribbon instead of sewing it.

Instructions for Pretty Personalized Bunting

  1. Cut your fabric to size and lay out to gauge which pieces are best to use.
  2. Type out the text you require for your bunting. I went with “Mr + Mrs”. It’s crucial to make sure the text is oriented back to front so that it’s the right way around for the finished product (You can do this in PowerPoint using the 3D rotation function under ‘Format’). In terms of font, I’d advise to use one that’s easy to cut out — some of the script fonts are lovely but not the easiest to work with. I used Aharoni.
  3. Arrange the Heat n’ Bond over the text, paper side up.
  4. Trace around the letters onto the paper side using a pen or pencil.
  5. Cut out your letters and place paper side up on the fabric you’re using for the lettering.
  6. Apply the iron to the paper side of the letters in order to bond them to the fabric. Use a medium heat, no steam and place the iron on the letters, as opposed to swiping it back and forth, to avoid moving the letters.
  7. Cut out the letters with the fabric now adhered to the back.
  8. Map out where you want the letters on the coloured fabric squares and peel back the paper.
  9. Apply the iron to bond letters in place, once you’re happy with the placement. Ensure the shiny side of the letters is facing up.
  10. Arrange your fabric pieces for one final check to ensure you’re happy with the final design.
  11. Cut ribbon to size to allow enough room either side to affix the bunting.
  12. Pin in place and sew the ribbon onto the fabric squares.

And you’re done!

I told you — it’s so easy!

Would you give this a try? What colours would you go for?!

 

DIY or DIE: Custom Envelope Liners Full of Sparkle

dana envelope liner

I am admittedly not the craftiest beaver on the block; and it’s true, many a craft has beaten my ass to the ground and screamed in my face “Martha Schmartha, yo!” But that doesn’t, for some reason probably linked to estrogen and my passion for all things glittered, squelch my lofty craft ambitions and attempts at greatness. Or, more accurately, attempts at not-complete-failure.

I used to be such a pesky perfectionist about my crafting attempts that it would ruin the whole experience, and often, never even attempt them out of fear of failure. But what I learned over time, is that part of the point of DIY is embracing the imperfections in the art. The little hints of humanity in each creation that remind the maker and the recipient that it was made with blood, sweat, tears, and love. And wine. Always wine.

Our Save the Dates were easy. We found an inexpensive style we loved on Etsy, and made a few small design tweaks with the lovely girl who designed them. She arranged for printing, and a couple weeks later, they arrived in the mail. And they’re beautiful! But, I’m such a shameless whore for embellishments – mainly in the form of sparkles – that I couldn’t leave well enough alone. And when I went shopping for some adhesive crystals to add dimension and glitz to our design, I found myself sneaking supplies for glittered envelope liners into my basket, like a sugar addict smuggling cookies in with her produce. I couldn’t help myself! The girl at Paper Source pointed out how simple it was, thanks to their easy peasy trace & trim templates. I had always thought it looked so challenging, but the temptation was just too strong.

And it was SUPER DUPER EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEEZY FOR SHEEZY, kids. Like, foolproof. So, lest any of my fellow brides and grooms shy away from dressing up their STD’s, invitations or thank you cards … I’m here to walk you through it!

Supplies:

Envelope Liner Template Kit

Double-sided Tape Runner

Gold Glitter Wrapping Paper Roll (or solid/printed paper(s) of your choice. Just make sure it’s not cardstock-weight. That would make it too bulky.)

A7 Envelopes (or whatever size fits your inserts. The Paper Source kit comes with templates for 4-bar, A2, A6, A7, A9, 5-3/4″ square and 6-1/2″ square envelopes. Bonus!)

Scissors
Pencil

Wine (psa: never craft without wine. trust.)

 

invitediy copy

Steps to greatness:

1. Lay out your liner paper, face down, and trace the envelope liner template that corresponds to your envelope size, in pencil. You can see from my picture that I maximized space by nesting the “peaks” into one another so I wasted as little paper as necessary, and had to make less cuts overall.

2. Trim along the lines to create individual liners.

3. Slide a liner into your envelope. It will nestle in snugly, and you’ll see it doesn’t overlap with the glue on the lip of the envelope flap.

4. Fold the flap down, and crease across the fold with your finger.

5 & 6. Open the envelope back up, but leave the liner folded down. Run your double-sided glue tape across both top edges of the “peak” of the liner.

7. Fold the envelope flap back down against the liner and press firmly along the edges of the peak.

8. Open your envelope and admire your handiwork!

See? Couldn’t be easier. Just trace, trim, fold, glue and you’re finished!

It’s such a simple, inexpensive project, but it really adds so much personality to the invitation experience. I just might start doing it with every thing I send! It’d sure make paying bills a lot more festive :P

Go forth, and line your envelopes with wild abandon, friends… and relish in your crafty bad-assery! You won’t be sorry, I swear.

Dana

Real Wedding: Jessica and Andrew’s Most Unique, Eclectic and Fun Arkansas Wedding

25

I was over the moon when Jessica emailed me to say that she’d won free wedding photography from Beyond the Ordinary Photography’s contest because she’d read about it in our newsletter, because it’s always exciting when the work I’ve done has helped to make a real difference in someone’s life. If you’re already subscribed to our newsletter, you know that Beyond the Ordinary Photography is running another contest this year, and if you aren’t subscribed, you can change that now! Congratulations, Jessica and Andrew, your wedding was amazing and it was an honor to have played a tiny role in it.

paper bouqet

henna

Andrew close-up

ring bowl

 

Names: Jessica Keahey and Andrew Beekman

Occupations: Civil Engineers

Wedding location: Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Wedding date: 10/20/12

Approximate guest count: 210

How would you describe your wedding? Eclectic and fun. We didn’t have a theme; we just made individual decisions on what made us happy or what we found to be really enjoyable or interesting. We decided that we wanted our wedding reception to be a very fun party that everyone attending would enjoy. Up to a year later, we have had people tell us that ours was the best wedding that they have ever attended and how much fun it was.

What was your favorite part of your wedding? Andrew and I both agree – our favorite moment was dancing with our very best friends and the catering staff from Geraldi’s, (best lasagna in Northwest Arkansas), at the tail end of the night. I’m sure this will seem very strange to your readers, but it was an incredibly happy and carefree moment in time that stands out so clearly to us both. With the night winding down, I walked into the kitchen at the back of the reception location to find the caterers all lined up in a row like well-dressed soldiers awaiting orders to do food battle. Juxtaposed against the revelry on the other side of the kitchen door, it seemed pretty surreal to me – so I invited them to come drink and dance. The young staff literally cheered when their boss relented, and we had a total blast boogie-ing and tapping the kegs with them.

fekt gearts

upclose heart pin

drink ceremony

cocktail preparation

What did you splurge on? The food, the booze and the reception venue. Andrew and I believe there are 3 things that are vital elements to a great wedding reception: good food, good booze, and good music. I’m a vegetarian while Andrew is a carnivore, so we wound up picking each of our favorite local restaurants to cater a buffet-style dinner. We also had a candy bar, popcorn machine, and a huge tower of cheese in addition to a mouth-watering cake. Feeding and providing an open bar to over 200 people was our biggest expense, but it was really important to us. Early in the planning process, we struggled with finding a local venue that was 1) large enough (and had enough room for dancing), 2) open late enough, 3) allowed alcohol or otherwise had booze available, 4) permitted outside food to be catered in, and 5) was within our price range. The UARK Bowl, Fayetteville’s first bowling alley and iconic local landmark, fit the bill and was within walking distance of the ceremony. The venue rental also included tables, chairs, linens, place settings, use of their kitchen, our name in lights on their outdoor marquee, a stage and sound system, bar and 2 bartenders for the evening, clean-up, and the help of an event coordinator during the day-of the wedding — which kept us from having to coordinate with a bunch of other vendors and rental agencies.

What did you save on? The decorations – We made almost all of the decorations and favors. All the DIY projects were incredibly time consuming but very rewarding, and our amazing friends really pulled together during the day-of to help us get it all put in place. (See below for more details on our DIY projects.) Our rings – We both decided that we wanted something unique and didn’t want to support the diamond industry, so we each picked a handmade ring from artists on Etsy. Our attire – My dress was simple and really incredibly affordable. Andrew got his suit on Black Friday when we were visiting a friend in New York. And while $850 may seem like a lot for our duds and accessories, Andrew got a really nice suit out of the deal that he still wears (along with a badass tie, pocketwatch, and cufflinks), and I got some fantastic shoes to add to my closet. We really tried to think about long-term use rather than spending a chunk on something that would get worn once. The photographers – Beyond the Ordinary photographers Charity and Nicole honored us by choosing our wedding as “the most unique” entry in their 2012-2013 contest for free photography. I had enough airline miles and hotel points to fly them to Fayetteville from Chicago and put them up for free. The ceremony venue – We had our ceremony at the Greek Theater on the University of Arkansas campus (where we met). It was free! Bonus: it’s an amphitheater, so no expensive chair rentals required! The honeymoon – Andrew had accrued enough airline miles to snag free tickets to Japan for our honeymoon. While there, we used airbnb to save a ton on lodging by staying with locals and, in the process, got to meet some really incredible families during our stay.

Jessica

Jessica (2)

Andrew and Jessica

Seurat

invites and crafts (2)

Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? I would forego buying disposable cameras. We really thought they would capture some great candid shots, but they were relatively expensive to develop, the picture quality was quite grainy, and the shots were overall pretty underwhelming.

What was your biggest challenge in planning? I’m really not very good at delegating and didn’t have to, as we forewent a traditional wedding party. Our close friends joked that we had built up a lot of wedding karma by helping them at their events over the years because we were able to call in a lot of favors from these very talented and generous people who helped us out of love.

What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? Everyone has their own opinion about what the perfect wedding should look like and consist of (some of whom may be quite vocal with these opinions), so it’s definitely tricky navigating through it all – especially for a non-traditional, secular wedding. We had a fairly long engagement period, so that helped give us the time we needed to consider all the options available and make our own decisions.

What were your top five favorite things about your wedding? 1) Having so many of our loved ones attend and celebrate our love. A good friend serving in the Peace Corps in Yerevan, Armenia, at the time even flew back to officiate. We had such support for our friends and family and so much help through it all.

2) Our vows – It was important to us that the ceremony truly focused on us as individuals and our love, so we wrote our own vows. I’m a former slam poet, and Andrew writes the sweetest love letters/poems on the planet. Let’s just say there was a lot of laughing and crying. A friend was actually so inspired that she wrote a song based on a line from Andrew’s vows which has been put to song by a local artist.

3) Our unity cocktail – A few months before our wedding, Andrew and I made nocino, an Italian walnut liquor, from green walnuts on a tree behind our house. Another friend made an accompanying liquor that he presented and which our parents assisted in blending together into a quaff during the ceremony. It was a distinctly unique and meaningful moment for us.

4) The reception as a whole and all the revelry – The reception was really unique in that we showcased the talents of our fantastic friends, from singing and instrument playing to juggling and dancing with giant silk fans. And there was so much dancing – A rock-n-roll professor of ours agreed to get his band together to play a set. They unexpectedly jammed out the whole night and got everybody on their feet dancing. Afterwards, Andrew’s band played a set before we put on our digital playlist of hand-picked dance jams for the late-night crowd.

5) The before and after events – Prior to the wedding, I convinced the lady who did henna at a kiosk in our mall to come to my house for a mehndi party with my best girlfriends. It was tremendous fun, and I got to have beautiful wedding henna. Then the day after the wedding, some very dear friends threw us a brunch. The day of the wedding itself was so hectic that it was nice to get to spend more quality time with friends and family after the big day.

cake (2)

invites and crafts

cheese tower

Top five least favorite?  1) The expense – We saved quite a bit of money on some elements so that we could splurge on the food and drinks. But overall, weddings with a large number of attendees just cost a goodly amount of money.

2) The sheer amount of time and energy spent – It took a long time and a lot of planning and energy to pull it all off. I definitely had “wedding brain” for a while and then a bit of wedding PTSD afterwards.

3) A no-show vendor – We booked a caricature artist who didn’t show up. It was a bit of an annoyance, but at least we didn’t lose any money on a deposit.

4) The hotel that night – A total disaster. It was really a sour ending to a beautiful day. But now we can kind of laugh at how terrible the experience was.

5) A missed toast – I found out later that my dad had written a toast that he didn’t give. I really wish that we could go back in time and hear it.

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? That we “had” to do any one thing in a specific way because of tradition or expectations. It’s one of the biggest and most memorable days in a person’s life, so we decided we would make it exactly what we wanted it to be. We rejected a lot of “traditions” like the garter and bouquet tosses or standard wedding registries because they just didn’t have any significance or meaning to us.

The best? Looking back at the outpouring of love and written/spoken words of advice, it’s really hard to pinpoint one voice above all others. We received much advice on the theme of how to maintain love and respect for a lifelong marriage. I think there’s probably no one single piece of advice that’s the magical key to a happy union.

thumprint sign

thumbprint canvas

fancy hat

ginseng

 

Any other bits of wisdom? My childhood BFF was driving me to the venue, stopped the car and very seriously looked at me and said, “Ok, this is it. Are you ready to do this? Or do you want to drive to Mexico?” I about died from laughter, but with all the craziness of the day it was a snap back to the true core of what the day was all about – being ready for a lifetime of commitment with someone. The meaning of it all can easily get lost in the planning and hubbub, so my last bit of wisdom is to keep the reason for your union in sight at all times. And make sure you have a really, really good friend willing to drive you to Mexico, if need be.

dancing

groom drumming

marquee

Vendors

Jessica’s ring: Adzias
Andrew’s ring: Jewelry by Johan
Wedding reception: UARK Bowl
Ceremony location: Chi Epsilon Greek Theater
Dress: Unique Vintage
Photographers: Beyond the Ordinary
Caterers: Geraldi’s and Lucky Luke’s BBQ
Cake: Meridienne (very sadly now closed, I believe)
Ring Dish: Crystal Peace Studio
DIY projects: I learned how to make paper roses from blog tutorials and made my own “flower” bouquet and boutonnieres for our friends and family out of old sheet music. Similarly, I learned how to make dahlias out of felt for corsages for the moms. I also made my own hair fascinator from scraps of my altered dress and butterflies from the craft-store. In lieu of a traditional guestbook, we went with a thumbprint canvas. A friend painted a whimsical leafless tree and our guests filled in the “leaves” with their inked thumbprints and names. Now we have a nice piece of art (rather than a book that gets hidden away) that reminds us of our special day and our friends/family. We also designed and printed our own invitations with the help of (again) some amazingly talented friends. It was also worth every penny of the $20 we spent at Office Depot for them to do the folding!!! Other DIY projects included hand sewn felt heart pins for all our guests, whimsical military medals for the dads and gents, huge bunches of balloons, colorful banners of flag pennants, handmade signs aplenty, cootie catchers, large table mats of sheet music, pinwheels, and more. We set up all the decorations, including long bolts of colorful fabric and an arch (we owned and refurbished) at the Greek Theater, with the help of friends and family. We also borrowed and set up PA equipment for the ceremony to save some money.

Budget breakdown

Photographers: $0
Rings: $1,000
Ceremony Venue: $0
Reception Venue (and parking): $3,000
Food and booze: $4,500
Attire: $850
DIY Projects: $125
Other Decorations and Disposable Cameras: $150
Flowers: $0
Band: $500
Cake: $650
Invitations (including postage): $250
Hair, Makeup, and Henna: $200
Dance Lessons: $300

DIY With Jenny Doh: The Hollywood Glam Frame + Win Jenny Doh’s Book, Stylish Weddings!

jennydoh

Tiffany Kirchner-Dixon was inspired by the famous premier signs of old Hollywood  movies for this project. There’s something so glamorous and exciting about big flashing  twinkle lights! For the inside of the frame, you could have a photograph, or follow Tiffany’s lead and create a chalkboard. It’s the perfect canvas for adding your own creative stamp to the wedding décor.

What You’ll Need:
Large vintage frame, with sides at least 2 inches (5.1 cm) wide
Tape measure
Strand of umbrella lights with globe bulbs
Black permanent marker
Wire cutters
Drill bit and drill
Scrap wood block
Staple gun and staples

What You Do:
1.  To arrange the lights evenly around the frame, measure the length and width of the frame, and then count the sockets on the strand. Measure and mark out the bulb spacing with a permanent marker.

2. If the sockets have umbrella clips, use wire cutters with a cutting edge to remove them.

3. Choose a drill bit slightly larger than the socket width, so that when you drill the frame, the socket can slide into the hole. Using a scrap wood block as backing for the frame, center the drill tip in each mark and carefully drill a hole from the front side of the frame through to the back. You may need an assistant to hold the frame to keep it from moving while drilling.

4. Remove the bulbs from the sockets and, starting at the bottom corner of the frame, push the socket closest to the cord end through the back of the frame. Carefully centering the staples over the cord (you do NOT want to puncture the cord), staple the cord to the frame on either side of the socket. Repeat with each socket.

5. Secure excess cord with more staples, or use tie wraps to tie excess cord together.

6. Screw in the bulbs and plug in the lights.

To make a chalkboard similar to the one pictured, cut a piece of Masonite board to the dimensions of the frame.  Spray the Masonite with several coats of black chalkboard spray paint. Let dry. Place the  painted board into the frame and use chalk to write a message for the guests.

Jenny Doh’s book, Stylish Weddings: 50 Simple Ideas to Make From Top Designers, takes all of the frustration out of the home creation of fifty different beautiful wedding details, spanning six different themes, so you’re sure to find something that will fit in with your wedding’s style. This week, we’re giving away one copy of Stylish Wedddings: 50 Simple Ideas to Make From Top Designers to one lucky blog reader! Want it bad? Get an easy free entry by subscribing to our newsletter. It’s packed with the best steals, deals, and wedding giveaways on the web, and we’ll never spam ya!

 
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Win It: Score A His & Hers Silver Wedding Set From Vena Amoris Jewelry!

STUNNING.

Out of all of the symbology involved in weddings, perhaps nothing is more deeply symbolic than the exchange of wedding bands. Wedding bands are a daily reminder of your love and commitment to one another, a circle without beginning or end, made of precious materials just as you are precious to one another.  Vena Amoris is a Latin name, meaning literally “Vein of Love”, derived from the ancient belief that a vein runs directly from your heart to the fourth finger on your left hand, hence the placement of wedding bands on that particular finger. While this belief is a fallacy, the tradition remains, and we’re glad, because it means you can gaze at your gorgeous handcrafted rings from Vena Amoris Jewelry all day long for the rest of your lives.

Vena Amoris makes their bespoke work based on a love of pieces from a long ago era; Middle Age and Renaissance religious art and most of all Mideast and Mediterranean jewelry. Each piece is individually handcrafted, starting from the alloying of the metal to the fabrication of the pieces. Vena Amoris works mostly with sapphires and diamonds, and they make a conscious choice for most of the center diamonds they use based on their unique qualities–just like a relationship, it carries its darkness and light within it, and when taken as a whole, shows the dynamic beauty of its inherent qualities, creating something wholly unique to you and your partner.

This week, one incredibly lucky BAB will win a silver his & hers wedding set from Vena Amoris Jewelry (your choice of ruby, sapphire, or champagne diamonds)! Want them? Need them? Gotta have them? Get an easy free entry by subscribing to our bi-weekly newsletter! It’s packed with the best deals, steals, and sass on the web, and we’ll never spam ya! Go forth, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

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{Real Bride: Mellzah} When Enough DIY Is Enough

How cute is this? How hard would it be to make one for myself? AND SO IT BEGINS.

I am generally all about DIY projects; if I see something I like, my gears start spinning as to how I can recreate it for myself, and wedding planning has provided ample opportunities for me to build and tweak and tune every detail to my heart’s content. It also has provided me ample opportunities to go overboard.

At one point, I read an article criticizing wedding DIY as creating a culture of a disposable day filled with throwaway things…and I took that as a cue to dye, cut, sew, and hand-embroider all of the wedding napkins lest people think poorly of me for using monogrammed disposables. That particular madness ended when I changed the wedding colors/scheme and didn’t want to start over from square one…at least I have a heck of a lot of cocktail napkins to use from now until the end of eternity.

The commitment to quality DIY, however, didn’t stop there, and got much worse for a while. For instance, we picked our venue because they were on the preferred list of a caterer we tried at the Seattle Wedding Show. Later, when we discovered this particular caterer was out of our budget (severely so), we were glad that the venue provided a sizeable kitchen and didn’t require you to hire one of their preferred vendors because we were going to (wait for it) cater our own wedding. I figured out recipes, tested them, figured out how to scale them up/pre-prepare and freeze them, but ultimately decided that while it might be possible to do this ourselves, that I didn’t want to spend my wedding day freaking out about what was going on in the kitchen, or IN the kitchen, which is where my perfectionist ass spends 99% of the parties I throw. I also didn’t want to set my bridesmaids on that task, in the back in their pretty dresses, frying up eggrolls, not least because grease tends to do a number on chiffon.

Later, I thought “Wouldn’t it be fun to do all the flowers?” We didn’t plan on having floral on any of the tables, so it just meant bouquets and bouts…and then I remembered that more people get bouts than the wedding party, and mothers and grandparents should have corsages and then I thought it would be nice to have a little floral at each table, and it was already galloping out of my control and I knew it was going to explode into a giant pain of wilted, angry “Why did I think it would be fun to do this?/ I don’t have time to do this! /I’ve decided to set the venue on fire instead.” the day before/the morning of, and that my fury face, though funny, doesn’t translate particularly well to lovely photographs.

This is how I devised my rules of DIY. When I decide to take on a project, I ask myself the following questions:

 Is it necessary? As in: do I need it or just want it? Will it be an integral part of the day, or something that that I’ll look at later and wonder why I’d wasted the time and effort? By this question, something like personally designed and assembled invitations would be worth pursuing as they’ll presumably be tacked to the fridge for a while and set the tone for the event itself. Envelope calligraphy that will just be thrown away…not so much.

Does it have impact? Is it something that the guests will see and take in as part of their overall impression of the day, or is it something that only I would worry about and notice? With this question, I was able to focus my efforts toward special centerpieces, and not decorating the bathrooms (I trust that people will still know that they’re at a wedding when they step through the door).

Is it reasonable? Will making it prove just as expensive or more expensive than buying it? Is it a reasonable use of my time, or will I feel upon completion as though I climbed Mount Everest by myself, naked, with only a vuvuzela and a herring strapped to my back in an aquarium? I am aware that I can generally ask my friends for help, but I also want to be reasonable in my requests for their time. It’s one thing to spend an afternoon together working on a project, and it’s another to spend every weekend for a month toiling in a friend’s sweatshop because she had to have handmade paper menus for her intimate wedding of 500. For instance, it took some time and effort to make our wedding website (and very little in the way of financial resources), but no more time than was reasonable, and we found the results extremely worthwhile. Not so much with the napkin thing.

Have you ever done anything like this before? Maybe you’ve always wanted to take up calligraphy or floral arranging or, I don’t know, welding your own seats out of found scrap metal, but if you’ve never done it before, practice it way ahead of time. If you’re not familiar with the process, things could take much longer and not turn out the way you’d like. Spraypaint has the unfortunate tendency to not dry when it senses you’re in a rush, glue likes to fail, and spot welds will crumble before your eyes: these things are law. When you give yourself plenty of time, you can invest a little and see if the project is worth pursuing or if you’d rather not undertake the task.

Is there a better way? Just because I first envisioned making it one way doesn’t mean that it’s the best, most resource-effective way to do it. It’s worth taking the time and brainstorming other ways to see the task through to completion. For example, I’ve got my heart set on Battlestar Galactica dog tag escort cards, but my initial idea (based on a tutorial I found online) of flattening pennies on a steel plate proved extraordinarily difficult (I’d have to take a few breaks to rest my shoulder during the flattening of each penny) and the results weren’t proving to be worth it. I’ve got a couple of new ways to do it battling it out in my brain and I know that one of them will prove more effective than spending every night for the next two months pounding pennies.

Can it be done in advance? The less a DIY project can be done in advance, the greater the side eye you should give it. Your time is a resource, and in the last few weeks leading up to your wedding, it will be at a premium. You don’t want to be making favors, assembling centerpieces, arranging flowers, frosting cupcakes, and putting the finishing touches on your dress the day before, unless you get that exciting runner’s high from stress.

Speaking of time: Is it worth it for the amount of time you’ll have to exchange for it? What’s the personal cost to you if you miss a year or more of baby showers, birthday parties, movie nights, and cookouts because your every free moment is devoted to wedding projects? Are you willing to look back on that year of your life as The Year of Wedding Projects?

Do you really want to DIY it, or do you just not want to pay for it? Granted, planning a huge shindig at the expense of our married future has never been one of my aims, but I’ve been particularly conscious of it because of my time here at The Broke-Ass Bride, because I don’t think it’s authentic for me to preach to everyone the virtues of hard work and saving a dime if I don’t do it myself…but at the same time,  I have come to realize that I don’t need to be punishingly strict with the budget, and that some things are worth paying for to have them off my plate. So we’re paying a caterer, and we’re paying a florist, and that frees up my time and mental energy to work on the details that are important to me (the perfect ipod playlist to get the party grooving)  AND have some much-needed me time. All that should matter in regards to our budget is that we end up with a total cost that seems reasonable to us. Yes, some people will spend less than us, and some will spend way, way more, but everyone has different circumstances and for us, it’s worth spending a bit more to have a party that we’ll remember fondly than a shindig that we’ll groan just thinking about the work involved.

Walk through my questions the next time you have a DIY project that you’re on the fence about—I hope it will help you pare down to projects that are reasonable for your time, skills, and budget. And if you have any DIY questions, feel free to hit me up in the comments and I’ll do my best to help you out. I’m so not handmaking 500 pieces of paper for your menus, though.

 

{Win This + Weekend Wrap Up} Win $100 In Store Credit To The Wedding Mile & More!

Cuuuuute!

Looking for a new one-stop shop for vintage and handmade wedding goods? The Wedding Mile is where it’s at! The Wedding Mile has got you covered in over 100 categories, from rings to dresses to decor…and everything inbetween! (Our favorite category by far is DIY, which gives you a creative springboard without NEARLY as much work!)

The Wedding Mile is in love with all things wedding and handmade, staying on top of wedding trends with their blog, and staying in touch with their customer base with a forum–so they’re never far away if you have a question or concern. To celebrate the kick-off of wedding season, this week, one lucky BAB will win a $100 credit to The Wedding Mile, useable on absolutely anything her heart desires!

A few more tidbits for brides before we take a little weekend respite…

ShopAtHome.com, the totes-awesome coupon hub that lets you print unlimited coupons for the stores you love, is giving away a $250 Visa gift card to put toward your wedding! Contest ends April 31st! (Also, check out this bad-ass feature they did on Dana!)

Fabulous designer of custom couture gowns Nina K.L. is offering BABs an amazing deal: 20% off your order when you mention BAB *and* a free lingerie bag!

NYC bridal designer Pantora is extending an exclusive offer to our BABs – get $125 off any wedding dress order with coupon code “BAB13″, and get 20% off of flower girl dresses, headpieces, and sashes with coupon code “BROKEASS13″! You can check out their gorgeous bridal selections here!

Happy Friday, BABs!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{Can’t Afford It/Get Over It} A “The Great Gasby”-Inspired Wedding Gown For Under $1200

With previews for the new “The Great Gatsby” movie playing everywhere, it’s no surprise that chic ’20s style is catching the eye of modern brides. Sadly, that kind of glitz isn’t always nice to the pocketbook, as this week’s BAB quickly realized.

I’ve been looking for a quasi-20′s feeling dress for a while, and low and behold I’ve fallen in love with this Jenny Packham dress. Unfortunately, it looks to be way outside my price range (found a used one for $4,000!).

I’m looking for something that is $1,200 or less – with interesting beading, or lace, or sparkle, that’s a little bit unconventional. Help!

Often these kinds of dresses can be super difficult to replicate. There is one over budget option, but it was too good not to include. Plus, I’m a big believer in watching for possible sales or online discounts that would drop something fab that’s been just out of your reach to comfortably within your budget.

CAN’T AFFORD IT

Eden Gown by Jenny Packham

GET OVER IT

White Sheer Strap Sweetheart Dress ($918 at Unique Vintage)


Aiguille Gown ($1,200 at BHLDN)

 Delphina Art Deco Mermaid Romantic Gown ($998 at Dahlnyc via Etsy)

Grace 1930s-Inspired Bridal Gown ($1,402.60 at Rowan Joy via Etsy)

Ivory Lace Capped Sleeve Wedding Dress ($1,065.60 at Grace Loves Lace via Etsy)

 

Silk Lace Satin and Chiffon Romantic Wedding ($940.29 at Katherine L. Kerrison via Etsy)

If you’re looking for even more options, check out our October post about the BHLDN “Lita” gown, it’s a super similar, 1920′s-inspired style.

{Real Bride: Mellzah} In Which I DIY My Own Wedding Wine (YES!)

As you can see, I am beyond pumped about the winemaking process.

In terms of our wedding, we’re committed to doing as much DIY as possible. Not only because in general it will help us save some cash for splurges elsewhere, but because it’s nice to add personal flair where we can–after all, nearly everything in our home has been altered in some way to reflect our tastes and aesthetic, so why shouldn’t our wedding be the same way?

In the spirit of DIY, Jason and I decided to make and bottle our own wedding wine.  Granted, we don’t have the equipment or expertise to handle it on our own, so we took a trip to Classic Winemakers in Olympia, Washington, for a crash course in winemaking.

After tasting a range of red wines*, we decided on a yummy South African Shiraz, and then we were thrown headfirst into winemaking – mixing water, various fruits, yeast, woods…and some other things I don’t remember, but since we were carefully supervised, we couldn’t toss in anything wrong or funky or poisonous and screw things up. After some stirring and clapping of hands in excitement, the wine was sealed in its barrel and you’re done for the next six weeks while the wine ferments: Classic Winemakers takes care of any necessary filtering or other steps along the way.

Just one of the many ways we’re secretly working nerdy things into our wedding.

At the six week mark, we drove back down with our label design on a thumb drive, and while the shop owners printed and cut the labels, we washed our bottles, filled them with wine, corked, wiped, sealed, and then labeled them–state advisory labels on the back, and our custom labels on the front.

Now we have thirty one bottles of our wine aging in our guest bedroom for the big day, and we’re both looking forward to our next DIY wedding adventure, whatever that may end up being.  It might not have been the cheapest way to procure wine (though very reasonable overall, at $300 for our entire batch), but it is one more way to put our stamp on the look and feel of the day’s festivities, and if we end up having any leftover bottles, we can save them and open them on our anniversary…or, if we run out, we can always go back and make more of the same blend!

 

*We decided to make red instead of white as neither of us particularly cares for white, and the majority of our friends are red drinkers; it would have been a larger blow to the budget to make both a red and a white. Instead, we decided we’d rather offer a couple of nice beers in place of white wine.