Written with love, by Felicia Zammit-McMann
In my last blog post, I spoke about how fun it is to receive hand-made gifts from friends and family and how easy it is to decorate your home with those gifts. I also proclaimed myself as a craft-a-holic, and thought I would dedicate this post to all the brides out there who are considering DIY-ing any part of their wedding.
When planning our weddings, the first thing that struck me right away was how expensive a wedding can be. I mean, I knew weddings weren’t cheap, but just how not cheap they were was a surprise to me. I got sticker shock the first time I went to a bridal show and couldn’t believe some of the prices I was given. Even shopping in stores for the little odds and ends, like an envelope box, guest book or even the ring bearer pillow (which we ended up borrowing) made me sick. I kept saying “I’m going to spend how much for something that’s going to be used once?”
Now, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m also practical. I A.) don’t like to spend a lot of money on “unitaskers” – something used only once for a specific purpose; and B.) don’t like to spend money on something I know I can make myself…and make better than what I can buy it for.
And so, our DIY wedding was born. I didn’t DIY everything, just stuff that I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on, stuff I knew I could make, and stuff I knew I would have fun doing. If anything, that’s rule No. 1 for the DIY bride’s out there: Only do something if it’s fun for you. I had a list, a long list, and everything on that list I enjoyed making. I even added to that list a few things I knew would be fun to do.
Knowing that I was going to make a ton for our wedding meant I needed to start scouring Pinterest, bridal magazines, websites and watching a ton of bridal shows on TV to get ideas and inspirations. In addition to our “Save the Dates” (which were free postcards from Vista Print) and our invitations (which was a beautiful kit from Michaels), I made: our programs, tags for the bubbles our guests would blow as we left the church, centerpieces for cocktail hour tables, envelope box, guest book, favors, escort cards, and menus. Phew! I can’t tell you how many people saw my list (with the multiple steps needed to complete each task) and told me I was crazy and I would be overwhelmed.
The truth of the matter is, it was very Zen for me. When I came home from a long day at work, it was very nice to be able to do something fun. The repetition of it all also helped to put my mind at ease and calm me down from whatever stress I was dealing with that day. DIY is not for everyone, but those who craft know the type of serenity it can give you.
Of the weddings I’ve been to, one of two things happened: Either I never received a program, or I received one that was just a photocopied piece of white paper folded in half, with no thought given to it. For my wedding, I wanted to take it up a notch. I designed “folders” into which the program (the copied piece) fit. I added a little monogram and a ribbon to give it that extra touch. Since our colors were brown and pink, half got pink folders, and half got brown.
The inspiration for this came from a website called Wedding Bee. I had seen a photo someone had posted doing something similar. I loved the saying “Blow Bubbles and Kisses to the new Mr. and Mrs.,” and since we weren’t allowed to use anything but bubbles on church property, this is what I did.
Cocktail Hour Centerpieces
One of the other great things about DIY-ing some elements of your wedding is that you can personalize them and craft them in a way that showcases you and your groom’s personality and uniqueness. I wanted something that incorporated both of our heritages…I’m Maltese and my husband is Irish. I found proverbs and saying about love in both Maltese and Gaelic and thought I would create little signs, to be placed at each cocktail hour table, showcasing our heritage and how love is the same language, no matter where you come from.
Envelope Box and Escort Cards
I’ll never forget the day I was walking down the bridal aisle of a local craft store and saw a wedding envelope box for over $40!! There was NO WAY I was spending that amount of money on a box with a hole in it. That, to me, was an equivalent of a nice meal on our honeymoon. Instead, I found a box at work, got a yard of fabric from the fabric store, got some trim, and, with a little elbow grease and ingenuity, made a box for $13!! In my opinion, it looks just as good as one you would buy.
Our venue would have provided escort cards for us, but names on plain white paper didn’t do much for me. Our escort cards gave me the opportunity (along with our guest book…next paragraph) to incorporate my husband’s love of baseball, particularly the New York Yankees. I decided to make our escort cards look like baseball game tickets. Not a new idea by any stretch of the imagination, but it was one I liked and one I had never seen done at any of the weddings I had gone to, so I decided to make them. The “location/section number” was their table number, the “price” was comp, and the “seat” was open. Of course, they were all “admit one.”
Guest Book and Pennant
This was another one of those items on which I couldn’t see spending a fortune on. Plus, what were we going to do with a book of signatures? I wanted something that had meaning, and so, to tie in with the escort cards, our guest book was a baseball bat with our names and wedding date engraved in it, that we asked people to sign. In all fairness, I totally stole this idea from a photo I had seen in The Knot. The difference was their bats were the mini ones, we had a full-size one. People loved it and thought it was one of the most clever things they had seen. In fact, one guest wrote “best guest book idea EVER!” That, to me, made it all worth it. Though, you might be wondering why I didn’t want a book full of signatures, but had a bat full of signatures instead. Three words: Man Cave Decoration!
Favors and Menus
Last but not least. Before we picked a date, a venue or even before we got back from the vacation we were on when we got engaged, we knew exactly what our favors were going to be: fudge! Now, there’s more to this story...
My mother makes the best fudge in our county; I can prove it by the dozens of ribbons she’s won at our county fair over the years. In our circle, her fudge is legendary. She’s made fudge for other weddings, and ours was certainly going to be added to that list. I found boxes that fit two pieces perfectly and we each got to choose our favorite flavors. I chose classic milk chocolate with walnut and my husband chose orange creamsicle. Inside each box, the individually wrapped pieces of fudge were wrapped in pink tissue paper with a note saying “Love is sweet. Enjoy these homemade treats,” all tied together with a delicate silk ribbon – a great present to our guests who came from near and far to be with us. I always thought an edible favor is one that will never get left on the table. There were none to be found at the end of the night. Success!!
They say you eat with your eyes first, and so, I wanted our menus to look as good as the food was going to taste. Our menus, just like our escort cards, could have been provided for us. But that was too easy. I typed up each menu, added a little floral touch, the saying “Eat, Drink and be Married.”, and voilà – a “jacked up” menu that was “appetizing” to look at.
I hope these ideas gave all you DIY brides out there some inspiration. If you are DIY-ing any part of your wedding, what are you making? Show us your pics. We’d love to see them!