Posts in the 'handmade' Category
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!
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.
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!
With previews for the new “The Great Gatsby” movie playing everywhere, it’s no surprise that chic 20′s 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)
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.
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.
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.
This one is a simple and understandable request.
I need a Can’t Afford It/Get Over It for this beautiful Watters Anouk gown. I tried it on in the bridal shop but cannot justify over 2k for a wedding dress. Is there anything out there closer to the $1,000 range?
Well BAB, you’re in luck. The dress you covet is a classic design. If you’re willing to shop around, you’ll find a number of options with similar details. Here are just a few.
CAN’T AFFORD IT
Watters Anouk Gown (Retail about $2,500)
GET OVER IT
Strapless Shantung Taffeta Gown ($449 at David’s Bridal)
Satin A-Line Gown ($179 at David’s Bridal)
Fall Brittany Dress ($950 at Ting via Etsy)
Faviana Ruched Taffeta Strapless Gown ($979.90 at Nordstom)
Daphne ($694.99 at Ruche)
Ella Rosa ($973 at House of Brides)
This is just a glimpse of your options. If there’s time before your wedding, be open to visiting small shops and going to sample sales. It’s the latter option that allowed me to get a $2,000 dress for $700, with tax – a steal, I know! Just be sure to take trusted critics with you so you don’t buy a final sale gown without making sure it’s “the one”.
Going for a vintage look? It doesn’t have to come with a contemporary price tag.
I love your blog! It’s so helpful to have a more practical guide on getting through this without breaking the bank. I’ve got a possible CAI/GOI issue. My style is early 20th century, and I found the most perfect (and affordable!) dress from Ruche. I’ve now fallen in love with a veil on Etsy, but it costs more than my dress did! I’d love to find something under or around $100 with the same vintage feeling as the one I love.
Thanks for your help!
I couldn’t find the price since this veil was purchased already. Thankfully, the photo is still available. One thing to consider is making your veil. Or, piece together the look by purchasing the bridal cap and decorative combs to keep the tulle in place. You can buy quality tulle at a fabric store after buying the cap or a similar headpiece, that way the color matches. I’ve included both below to give you an idea.
CAN’T AFFORD IT
Tulle chapel length veil (SIBO Designs via Etsy)
GET OVER IT
Idyllic – Tule bridal veil 90″ length ($90 at SIBO Designs via Etsy)
30” Inch Bridal Cap Wedding Veil ($85 at Veiled Beauty via Etsy)
Rhinestone Crystal Bridal Cap ($89 at Veiled Beauty via Etsy)
white veil cap ‘QUEEN ANNE’ bridal headpiece ($50 at Which Goose via Etsy)
Treasured Traditions Ivory Headwrap ($65.99 at Ruche)
Mi Amour Hairpiece ($49.99 at Ruche)
Italian Lace Bridal Cap ($70 at deLoop via Etsy)
Finding these options makes me super curious to see which one you choose! Please share what you decide – even if it’s in a totally different direction.
Got a CAI/GOI conundrum? Email Emily at email@example.com, and she’ll forward it to our crack team of contributors.
Have you been looking for a way to wave your geek pride flag on your wedding day, but you’re not sure about swooping down the aisle in full bat regalia? Look no further: Comic Salvage has you covered with their fun, yet elegant cufflinks!
After visiting a number of yard sales and seeing piles of distressed comics with no real value, Sue Smith came across the idea of upcycling them into clever jewelry, and BOOM! POW! THWACK! Comic Salvage was born…and business has been booming - Comic Salvage has even been featured in an issue of Inked magazine!
Comic Salvage‘s best selling items are their Puzzle Links – cufflinks that fit together to form one image, but cufflinks aren’t all they make! You can find geek chic necklaces, earrings, rings, paperweights and more…best of all, Comic Salvage takes custom orders; Sue has made groomsmen sets and necklace sets for bridesmaids (which would make really cool attendant gifts), so don’t be too shy to ask!
No matter your costume or catchphrase, Comic Salvage will help you share your true identity with the world on your wedding day! Holy wedding, Batman, you’ll sure look swell getting married holding Mjolnir up high under our yellow sun! (That’s a THOR reference, for the comic book-impaired.)
This week, one lucky BAB will win the pictured Superman cufflinks from Comic Salvage!
Today we’re handing the reigns over to one of our favorite ladies in the wedding blog biz – Maggie Lord – Founder and Editor of Rustic Wedding Chic, and author of a brand new book, aptly named: Rustic Wedding Chic! She’s got 3 fabulous DIY ideas to share with you that are absolutely perfect for fall weddings. (BONUS: Tell us which one is your favorite in the comments, and instantly enter to win a signed copy!)
The natural beauty that is alive in the fall is just one of the reasons why this season is perfect for rustic chic weddings. In my new book, Rustic Wedding Chic, I have several inexpensive wedding décor ideas that play into the fall season effortlessly. These projects are not only budget-friendly, but they’re also low on DIY effort, which allows every bride the ability to pull them off.
When I first started to gather ideas for the “Get The Look” section of the book I went back to my archives of the Ask Maggie section on the Rustic Wedding Chic website to see what advice brides where looking for when trying to design the right fall look. Most of the brides were hoping to incorporate the fall season into their wedding but wanted to stay away from the traditional path of pumpkins, fall leaves, oranges and browns. It was from these cries for wedding décor help that I came up with three fall wedding looks that are both easy on the budget, DIY-friendly, and rustic chic.
Burlap Table Runners With Hand Sewn Hearts & Initials
Burlap table runners are very trendy right now in the wedding world but I believe that by adding a few small hand-sewn details this look goes from trendy to classic country. In the Rustic Wedding Chic book this image of a long wedding table with the couples initials in this standout red color is one my favorites. There is something so simple and homemade about this project, like something that we would see in another place and time. If you can sew, then this should be an easy weekend project. If you can’t sew then I suggest you try these three strategies:
2. Ask around. You might be surprised that a friend, your aunt, the local craft store or even your dry cleaner can embroider your ideal pattern.
3. You might be able to get the hand-sewn look without actually having to sew it. Head to your craft store and look for iron decals, which can allow you to execute a rustic wedding idea with the latest technology. Use a computer to you can design an image, print it out and iron it on.
Apple Cider In Hollowed Out Apples
The warm feeling of hot apple cider warming your body as the crisp fall air settles in is a delightful thought! Treat your wedding guests to a warm drink (can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic depending on your preference) of apple cider as they enter your cocktail hour. Your guests will be charmed to not only have a warm seasonal drink but they will love the fact that they are served in hollowed out apples. The apples are an inexpensive vessel and eco-friendly as well; it’s just up to you to transform them from a snack to a cup.
This project may seem like a lot of work, but after you see the Fall Harvest Inspiration in the book, you’ll be taking on all sorts of projects to bring the autumn look to your wedding day. My tip for making this project easier on the bride is to contact a local apple orchard, buy the apples in bulk and ask them to hollow them out for you since many orchards have this sort of machine on hand.
Hay Bale Seating Option
Whether your wedding is on a farm, in a barn, at a vineyard or just in your backyard, you have the option of using hay bales as seating for your ceremony. If you are worried that this look might be “too country,” add a vintage twist by adding faded tablecloths, mismatched lace and even muted colored blankets help to dress up the hay bales. Many times farms have more hay on hand then they have a use for, so reach out to local farms to see if you buy the hay from them or go right to the source and work with a hay farm and have them delivered to your wedding site.
About Maggie Lord:
A self confessed wedding junkie since the age of 13, Maggie Lord loves the romance and beauty of weddings. Passionate about the rustic style and eager to share her discoveries and ideas while planning her lakeside wedding at her family’s summer cabin in Northern Wisconsin she started blogging. Now RusticWeddingChic.com has become the number one online resource for rustic & country weddings. In addition to being the editor of Rustic Wedding Chic, Maggie is also a contributing author for various other online and print publications and is sought after as an expert on rustic & country weddings.
The Rustic Wedding Chic book is now available at all major bookstores and online. Signed copies can be found at Whispering Pines Catalog.