Friday, October 19, 2012

To DIY or Not to DIY: Favors

For some reason, our idea for favors came relatively early on in the wedding planning process and as soon as we figured it out we couldn't walk away from it! I'm a HUGE proponent of favors that make sense. If we didn't figure out a favor that made sense, and emulated us as a couple then we probably would've scrapped them all together. Here's the thing about favors (and here I go with lists again):

1) They aren't absolutely essential. Honestly, 50% of the time I go to weddings I will completely forget to take a favor, either on purpose or unintentionally. For something you're buying with the expectation that every one of your guests will take a favor, those statistics are not in your favor and that will also eat up cash monies!

2) If you want people to take them, make them useful. And here's where I'm gonna get opinionated...When I'm a wedding guest, I'm not going to take a plastic container of bubbles with curly ribbon on it, or a handful of almonds packed in a tulle, or a tiny picture frame with your faces in it and date. It may be cute and sentimental but it's clutter in my eyes. Your guests want something they can use and not clutter their house.

3) Make it YOU! Favors should say something about the two of you! If you're just having favors because it's "protocol" see number 1.

At first, (again I was super DIY advantageous in the beginning) I wanted to make homemade salsa and can them in cute mason jars. I can't cook super well, but I can make a mean Chili's-taste-alike salsa. Chili's was our go-to restaurant while we were dating so I thought it was perfect! And it would've been, except the logistics, time involved in preparation, transportation, etc started making my idea more complicated. Not to mention, it also didn't really go with my theme or the Italian food we were serving. So we scrapped the salsa and went back to the drawing board.

We went with cotton candy--something we both love, and let's face it everyone loves some cotton candy every once and awhile!


150 1.0 oz Cotton Candy in Pink from
Kraft Brown Stickers from Staples
Umm and that's it!

Now if you go to the FlossZone website, it looks super sketchy. I originally wasn't going to use them just based off of their stuck in the 90's website with flashy background. However, there weren't many others that shipped out cotton candy in bulk in clear packages, so I was limited. You had your standard carnival type, but that was way too big for what we were using them for. I even emailed them some questions, and they got back to me quickly. I had these arrive a few weeks before the wedding. I splurged and bought the Kraft brown stickers instead of the standard white and designed the sticker to match our invitations/theme in Adobe. They were that easy. We ordered 150 (we had 160 guests) because knew not everyone would take one. Grandma would probably not like any cotton candy. And yes, I'm sure there are some other  crazy people who don't like the goodness of cotton candy. We STILL had leftovers-- I would say we had about 25-30 leftover. 

What we came up with was one of the easiest to prep, was SO us, matched our color palette, and it cost about $0.80 per person. Not to mention we ate a LOT of those leftovers :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

To DIY or Not to DIY: Centerpieces

Centerpieces oh the great centerpieces. These guys were one of my favorite parts of our wedding! The thing about centerpieces is that you have to think of everything in multiples. In my case, I had 20 tables not including our sweetheart table. Costs AND your time can really stack up when you're making or buying things in quantities of 20! The centerpieces were the first major decor decision that I knew I had to make 1) because I would need to start gathering items early and 2) because it was my first budgetary priority in decor.

The Inspiration

For months, I combed through Pinterest, Etsy and countless wedding blogs. I knew I wanted flowers, but that's it. I also knew I fell madly and deeply in love with these wooden planters (below). Sadly, I knew I would not spend $20 per box.

Then I remembered my resources. My dad. You see, my dad built my childhood home. Surely that means he can do anything. As it turns out making a square box wasn't so hard after all (who would've thought!). Now the wood, where could I get my hands on some barnwood? My mother, who was also a great resource, is an expert at finding things for free. She asked everyone under the sun if they had any barnwood. Turns out my dentist, who is also a good family friend I might add, had a barn. With wood. That was falling over. And gave us the wood for free! Thanks to my awesome dad, I had a handmade centerpiece on each table. It made it extra special that I had such a unique touch at the hands of my dad.

After I had figured out the main focal point of the tables, I started to think of the table as a whole. My mom made burlap overlay squares to break up the white table clothes, we collected grapevine balls, mercury glass tealights, pinecones, acorns/nuts, etc to fill out the table. I wanted everything to be natural, simple and not too overpowering. I also decided to DIY the table numbers. I kept it super simple and cheap by going all paper. We went with two different variations, here was the end result:

In action!

The table numbers were relatively simple. I used:

Mini easels from Joann's (these were about 99 cents in store)
Stain from Walmart
Kraft brown cardstock from Michaels
Assorted craft paper from Michaels
White photo corners from Michaels
Martha Stewart Glue Pen from Michaels
Martha Stewart Fine Glitter in White Gold from Michaels
Clearly, I kept Michaels in business.

For the flower illiterate (that I still am), our florist used: pink stock, yellow zinnia, white asclepia, yellow black eye susan, and september aster. My favorites were the fluffy light pink stock :) I was not about to DIY flower arranging. The stress of that far exceeded the "cost savings". It would have been far too time consuming to order wholesale from all over the country, pray that they don't die on the way, and then arrange them the day before/day of. No WAY! So glad I had an awesome and creative florist.

Favors are up next!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

To DIY or Not to DIY: Invitations

I've had several people ask about this and that from our wedding, soooo I decided to blog about a couple of the DIY things we made and DIDN'T make.

Anyone who has a Pinterest account, is engaged or knows someone who is engaged knows the term DIY all too well. And to be honest, I thought I would DIY 10x more than I actually did for my wedding. A DIY wedding is actually more time consuming and sometimes more expensive. I quickly realized that I realistically didn't have the time to DIY everything I wanted to. But I still wanted to be creative and to DIY some. I assessed a couple things:
  • My abilities-- what could I handle on my own (realistically) and what did I have to leave up to a professional? For our wedding, I knew I could handle a lot of the paper/signage since I dabbled in a little graphic design. My graphic designer brother, Jeff would say otherwise haha!
  • My time-- how much time was this going to take away from other more important projects? i.e. should I spend more than 2 days on my "dream" Mr. and Mrs. chair signs for one picture? This came to a conclusive "no". 
  • My resources-- do I know someone who is really good at _______? For example, I knew my dad could build everything under the sun (he built my childhood home afterall), my mom could sew and I had some crafty friends who did have the time to focus on one specific thing.
  • My priorities-- this guy is important. Is this something that you absolutely want to make a priority to try to do on your own? For me, my priority was to do the invites on our own. I wanted something totally unique and very "me". Who knows me better than me??

Invitations/ Save the Dates

Let me say this. Doing your own invitations is a LOT of work and very time consuming. I now know why they pay people the big bucks to have someone do it for them. If you don't understand what resolution, dpi, bleeds, kerning and have your measurements exactly right, you could have a big costly mess on your hands in quantities of 150! I had to do a lot of learning in order to make sure that everything came out right the first time. 
The Save the Dates were sort of my first "trial run" of do I really know what I'm doing and can I handle the invitations. After we got our engagement pictures taken in October, I went right to work on save the dates. The great thing about using your engagement pictures for the main focus of your save the dates is that it's a relatively simple paper good. Let the picture do the talking! Because I'm a marketing nerd, I really wanted the save the date to set the tone for what the wedding would look and feel like. I essentially branded our wedding. If you were a marketing major, you understand! The fonts and the "logo" I used were seen in many different aspects of the wedding. DIY-ing our save the dates was probably the cheapest thing I did. It only cost me about $25 bucks through Smartpress

Invites were a lot more labor intensive and ultra detailed. For example, your invitation card has to be slightly smaller than your envelope. Talk about tedious. And of course, I was going to be picky about everything. We had a soft, rustic and simple theme and I wanted this to come out in the invites! I did go with a little splurge on the pocketfolds. The thing that I loved about Paper and More is that they detail out every measurement you need to know. This was SUPER helpful!


- Pocketfolds in Recycled Kraft Brown (A7 Himalaya) from Paper and More Here
- Reply card envelopes (4 Bar size) from Paper and More Here
- Envelopes in Recycled Kraft Brown (A7 size) from Paper and More Here
- Twine in "Blossom" from The Twinery Here
- Large tag punch and scalloped edge punch from Michaels
- Custom stamp via Etsy
- Invitation, reply card, info card all from Smartpress

Here's how they turned out.

If you ask me, those would cost upwards of $600 if I had gone through a stationer. It probably cost me around $300, which wasn't really saving money in my books. I totally could've done invites way cheaper, BUT I loved them to death and they were a big priority for me. 

Stay tuned for centerpieces!

**All the lovely pictures are from my fabulous photographer, Katelyn James**
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