Broke-Ass Category: Event Design & Reception Decor


After I got engaged, I spent a lot of time day dreaming about what my wedding might look like. I imagined the ceremony decor, reception centerpieces, flowers, and so on, but I never imagined a theme. I always thought themes were for proms, birthdays, and holiday parties, but a wedding … not so much.

Themes can be beautiful and fun … for someone else.

I have to admit that I did see a lot of cool and fun themes on Pinterest, and I toyed with the idea of having a beach themed wedding… for about 30 seconds. Themed weddings don’t have to be cheesy, and they are perfect for some couples, but the idea made me feel like my hands were tied. I felt like my options were limited and I wanted the freedom to be creative and be able to incorporate our styles and personalities into all aspects of our wedding. So, I decided that instead of picking a theme I would choose a color scheme and one or two decorative motifs to give the ceremony style and continuity.

How many shades of pink are there in the world?

My sister bought me a wedding planner for Mother’s Day that contained a sheet of cardstock with different colored tiles that you could punch out. Best idea ever. I could easily create different color combinations with the cards, and make a list of the combos that I liked. No muss no fuss. Obviously, the planner didn’t have every shade of color, but it had enough to get my creative juices flowing. If the planner had come with too many options, I would have been overwhelmed.

Sorry orange and green, but you ARE the weakest link. Goodbye.

I knew right off the bat that I didn’t want anything to do with orange or green shades. They are perfectly fine colors, they are just not for me and never have been. My first thought was to do something classic. So, I combined blush and white and threw in a soft gray for an accent color. Next, I thought it would be nice to do two or three shades of one color and then throw in a white or ivory as an accent. So, I decided on shades of pink, purple and blue. Finally, I thought it could be fun to go with bright colors that popped, and so I chose vibrant shades of pink, purple and blue. After mixing and matching for a while, I came up with five options that I liked and focused on narrowing that list down.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

I tried to imagine my ceremony and reception decked out in decor in each of the five color schemes that I put together and immediately I was able to cross off the pink, purple and blue groupings. The more I thought about it, the more I felt like having various shades of the same color was a little too boring for me. So, out they went. Now, it was a grudge match between classic elegance and exotic beauty. Both options were gorgeous and provided me with all kinds of decorating ideas. I felt like I had a winner with each color scheme, but I kept going back to the blush, white and gray. As fun as the other combo was, I couldn’t picture myself surrounded by decor in those colors. Whereas I could easily imagine myself surrounded by blush flowers, crisp, white linens and silver/ gray accents.

And the winner is …

In the end, it was no contest. I decided to go with the blush, white and gray. It is a timeless color combo that always looks great together and never goes out of style. Plus, there is a little something for each of us. The pink is beautiful and feminine for me. The gray is sleek and manly for my fiance. And the white ties everything together. Perfect — well, it’s perfect for us. Once I made the decision, I ordered some card-stock samples and fabric swatches to see my choice in action. I was not disappointed. The colors look great, and I can’t wait to start coming up with decorating ideas.

Okay Pinterest, I’m ready for you now!

How did you settle on your wedding colors? Did you know what you wanted going in or did it take some brainstorming?





  • 7/17

    We’re in the home stretch for the wedding now. The countdown is at seven weeks. Last week, at the eight-week mark I had a mini panic attack about how close the wedding was and how much was undone. To calm myself, I sat down and tried to do two of the larger tasks that were left. I was finally able to tackle the program and the name cards for the tables.

    At first I had these grandiose plans of designing my own wedding programs. I wanted it to be sort of like a poster advertising the circus with each section being acts. So the officiant would be the ring leader, we’d be the main event, etc. I knew I wanted the programs to be attached to a wooden stick so they could be used as fans. I always get hot at weddings so I might as well make something that can be used well as a fan instead of a flimsy piece of paper.

    With these grand plans in mind I sat down at my desktop to see what I could crank out in Publisher and quickly realized this was a task for Photoshop. I dusted off my college laptop (the only computer in the house with Photoshop) and sat down to get to work. Then cried. I don’t actually have any serious design skills. I can dabble and do something simple, but nothing as beautiful as what I had envisioned. After a good hard melt down, I got onto and Esty to see what I could find. Maybe someone had a template I could work off of or I could just find a pre-made program and to hell with designing.

    Program Template by Etsy Seller BirDIYdesign

    BirDIYdesign came to my rescue. After a fairly thorough, weeklong hunt I found a nice simple, not at all what I had originally had in mind, program that cost me $16. ($5.60 for the template, $10 for two color change). I’ve come to realize I have a price where I will pay for something that will take me hours, possibly days to make myself. If I can buy it under $30, its worth it. My time is my money.

    Ticket Template by Etsy seller Eudanedigital

    The name cards I was willing to spend hours of work on to create. I knew exactly what I wanted. I saw a pin on Pinterest of some name cards an Etsy seller made that I absolutely adored. I tried to find the seller again to see if they would make them for me, but they have vanished off the face of Etsy. So instead I found a seller that had a template for them that I was able to make my own. Eudanedigital makes some snazzy, stupid cheap templates for editing. I found this one and was able to use my limited Photoshop skills to make these name cards. 

    I’m stupidly pleased with these, they came out really well and only took me about four hours to pump out. The part that took the longest was editing the image of the ferris wheel to go in the background. There are so many nooks and crannies between the spokes. Each table will be a different theme like ferris wheel, carousel, dancing bear, etc.

    Getting tasks complete lifts a HUGE burden off my shoulders. I do still need to print up the programs and name cards, but I can’t physically print them until I have all the RSVPs in and I hear back from the officiant on her official title. Next up will be the ticket booth and signs for the wedding. I can calm down, these tasks aren’t nearly as daunting as I originally thought.

    How’s your countdown going? What big projects do you have left?

  • 5/10

    Pinterest is a wonderful wedding planning tool. There are so many options, suggestions and design ideas that quite possibly anyone, even without a "crafting thumb" could follow the instructions and make something wonderful. For months, I have collected these ideas on my special secret wedding planning board and I even shared with others that my planning progress was right on track, primarily because I had…

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     This sponsored post is brought to you by Evite® and Olive Garden as part of the Evite® Influencer Program Wouldn't we all love to jet off and have a romantic destination wedding, especially somewhere as gorgeous as Tuscany? Unfortunately, with Broke-Ass budgets, dreamers can dream ... but, in that same vein, doers can make a dream come to life without even stepping on a plane.…

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    Place 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…

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    My Pinterest board is filled to the brim with ideas. I've considered everything from building an altar from used pallet boards to growing my own rose garden and assembling the bridal bouquet. It's time for an intervention! I've known for years, well before I was officially engaged that I would be a "do it yourself" bride. Not just because of the cost savings but also…

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    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…

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    Our 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…

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    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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