Category Archives: DIY

Banded Together?

Your reception is just as important as your ceremony as the formalities of the day are over and it’s time to relax. Everyone gets a chance to congratulate and celebrate with you, catch up with people they probably haven’t seen in quite some time and enjoy great food and dancing. While less planning is needed (relatively speaking), it is the part of the day that many attendees look forward to most so there are still details that need to be tended to. One of those is your music source as, getting people on their feet, is a large portion of the day’s merriment.

Bands are something you don’t see nearly as often as in the past so hiring one would give a personal touch and set your reception apart from most others. Additionally, they are great if you are looking to stay within a specific genre of music and aren’t finicky about which songs are played. However, they are more expensive as you are paying for time and labor and, the possibility that they will be able to perform an eclectic variety of music (in a way that is recognizable) or stick to an exact playlist is uncertain.

DJs are more cost-effective and have easy access to all types of music ranging from the Big Band era to the newest releases that have just hit the charts. Unlike a professional band, the songs played will be those of the actual artists so there will be no mistake as to the recognition of your choices.  You can give them a list of “To Play” and “Don’t Play” songs, the order and time you want to hear them, and (fingers crossed), enjoy your evening without worry.

Unfortunately, DJs often view each gig as an opportunity to showcase their personal skills which can lead to unwanted remixes, morphing your song order into a sequence he/she feels more appropriate and numerous other potential difficulties.

A great way to sidestep all these concerns (AND POSSIBLY FOR FREE) is to use an MP3 player.  Compile a few hours of music, including some throwbacks that have meaning to your college friends, ones that the older guests will appreciate and whatever else you and your fiancé choose. They can play in a definitive order or be set to shuffle and the only potential cost is having to download tunes you don’t already have in your collection(s). However, it is imperative that you inquire about your venue’s sound system, any fees for using it and do a test run to be certain everything will work as expected.

The allure of live music and the prestige of a DJ are lost when you opt for an MP3 player. There is a time and place for both of those but, on your big day, the allure and prestige, attention and excitement are all focused solely on you and your fiancé. Your personalized music and special songs will make your guests realize the energy and thought you took to include each of them in your celebration and appreciate your doing so.

You’re My Favor(ite)

Despite the fact that your guests should and probably do feel honored to be a part of your wonderful day, it is only appropriate that you give them favors as a token for their attendance, any gifts they have given you and especially if they have traveled or rearranged their schedule to attend. However, that is not an indication which requires spending a great amount of money nor be typical or easily anticipated.

One inexpensive way to kill two birds with one stone is to use small and economical containers, each filled with different sorts of succulents. On the front, you can put labels with the name of each guest and simply the number of their table at the reception. Therefore, not only does it keep you from making seating assignment cards but is a token of your appreciation which can grow and is long-lasting.

Select something meaningful and useful to which you can attach a card letting each guest know that you have made a donation to a charity on their behalf. No matter the organization, each attendant would be both surprised and humbled by the thought behind your decision to do so.

Find something local and unique to your area, whether candy, granola, tea etc. and package them in modest containers. If you wanted to extend yourself, cover the containers with local maps giving extra meaning to guests who have traveled for the occasion. If you choose not to use a map as a cover, simply fold it into a uniquely styled tag with a hand written message.

Any favor would be appreciated but there are many ways you can show your gratitude while both remaining in your budget and thinking outside the box.

Minimal Assistants


It goes without saying that, as a bride, you likely have a plan (or at least a clear vision) in place regarding most of your wedding day details. Making your ideas come to life may be challenging for many reasons leaving you wishing for sole responsibility over every component. Unfortunately, that is an impossibility as outside help, whether from friends and family or hired professionals, is required. However, every decision including the amount of assistance you want or need and from whom it comes is yours to make.

Remember that the period leading up to your special day is not just exciting for you but for those close to you as well. Many will offer their time, advice and skills to ease your burden and lower your stress level. While usually successful, occasionally their good intentions lead to uncomfortable situations and hurt feelings.

One objective of your wedding is for your guests to enjoy themselves which includes being able to take in everything going on around them. If someone offers to provide their services on the day of for something other than what you want, kindly pointing out some of the special things they would miss is a great way to decline the offer while avoiding being offensive.

Unsolicited offers will not just come for your ceremony and reception but may arise throughout the planning process too. Fortunately, those are easier to handle. During this time, you can include the individual(s) in different yet equally meaningful ways making it seem as if you are not being dismissive. For example, if your mom is determined for you to wear her veil and your heart is set on a birdcage, invite her to help you choose just the right one and offer to sew a piece of the veil inside your gown or to use it as a wrap around your bouquet.

All intentions are good when those who love you offer a lending hand as difficult as that may periodically be to keep in mind. However, it is the one day that all attention is on you and your future husband. Therefore, while always doing so kindly and with consideration, you should not feel guilty for ensuring that what you envisioned is exactly what materializes.

I’m Your Biggest Fan

The fun begins when planning the smallest details of your wedding as your individuality and personality begin to shine. Consideration should be taken, especially if in the summer or guests are from out-of-town, that the temperature can possibly have an immense impact on overall experience. Therefore, you can not only be fun and clever but provide your invitees with a way to comfort themselves as well. Here are a few ideas….

Fans can be made in any shape or size despite the formality or lack thereof while providing as little or as much information as you want. Use a wooden craft stick and a whimsical silhouette in heavy paper with your names and date on the front and program data on the back, whether the order of the ceremony or members of your party. Add some embellishment with a ribbon or a bell that jingles as you exit the venue. Alternatively, print the details on the front, while providing markers for each guest to write personal messages on the blank back of their fans which can leave for you to read.

Opt for a simple stick (such as bamboo) to which you can attach a personalized packet of your favorite flower seeds. If so, they will both serve to keep the temperature down if an invitee gets warm but also as a unique, creative and fantastic gift for everyone present at your union to take home as a sentiment of the beginning of a new stage in life.

Why not have a panel wedding fan? It is an entertaining option to include infinite material and may be condensed in to the size of an inch.  Card stock with a simple hole punch in the bottom and some ribbon or a brad makes for a cost-effective, informative way to not only provide your names and the wedding date but also directions to the reception, information as to the procession as well as those who are involved in the ceremony.

Most brides don’t have fans as part of their ceremony and those who do don’t give much thought to them. They can serve many purposes, lower your cost and decrease your budget. Therefore, it is something to most definitely give thought to.

Getting Equals Giving

Your wedding day is one for which you spend countless time planning and focusing on every tiny aspect. It is also an occasion when others give presents as well as of themselves to ensure everything turns out exactly as you imagine it will. What may not cross your mind is that it is a wonderful opportunity to give back to others.

Consider donating your flowers to a nursing home, hospital or other charitable organization as you won’t use them again and they will certainly brighten the day of many who would be far beyond appreciative of the gesture.

Most likely, you will put your dress in the closet and perhaps take it out occasionally as a remembrance of the commitment and love shared with your spouse but will never be worn again. There are countless women who cannot afford a dress. What a wonderful gift it would be to endow yours to a place dedicated to helping those who are forced to scrimp, save, delay their special day or never have it occur due to not being able to have either the dress of their dreams or one at all.

Pay it forward by giving time in the same way that your family and others who did for you to ones that don’t have individuals in their lives to do the same with planning, organizing, decorating, etc.

The most beautiful way to start off your life with your soul mate is by knowing that you have given of yourself so someone else has the same opportunity to do so with theirs.

Grooming

Most likely, you have been the one planning your wedding, making the decisions and insuring that everything will go off without a hitch. That certainly doesn’t mean that your fiancé either isn’t interested or that the day is any less important to him.  Most likely, he will let you take charge because what is most important to him is that you have the day you’ve dreamed of since you were young as most men don’t do the same thing. While memories are the most important things that come from your union, typically brides and grooms exchange special gifts on the day of the wedding to have tangible reminders.

If you want to DIY, make a scrapbook of the notes, cards and photos that have been significant portions of your relationship and played a part in getting you to the altar. You can also create a journal of the entire planning process, why you chose the things you did, how it made you feel, expressing your excitement etc. as that can be kept forever and looked back on.

If there is someone important to him who cannot make it to the ceremony, convince them to rearrange things based on the importance to your future husband so he will be pleasantly surprised. This also can be done if that person actually can make it as you could conspire with whomever it to say they cannot as the result will be the same and perhaps even more sentimental because of the thought behind it.

There are many things that can be engraved such as a money clip or cuff links (which most men rarely wear),  but by far the most special and meaningful would be having something written on either the outside or inside of his wedding band whether it be the date you met, got engaged, your wedding date or just something personal and special between the two of you. That way, he can always be reminded of just how important and special your relationship is.

Most couples are on a tight budget and don’t have too much to spare and there are many very inexpensive things you can give as well. If he is an avid tennis player, for example, he’d appreciate a new racket or a few lessons. You could easily arrange dinner plans for him and his closest friends or even have an embroidered tie patch that can be worn on his way to work.

While it is not necessary to exchange gifts and the tradition of doing so isn’t applicable to everyone, no matter how large or small, they are indications of your commitment and how meaningful your relationship and marriage are.

Buttons and Pins and Paper, Oh My…

Every bride wants their wedding to have special elements that are unique to them and have not been seen at other weddings or are done in different and inventive ways. One way to do that which is creative, fun and can be very cost-effective is to have a bouquet that is not made of flowers (at least not actual ones) and can be done in ways that will be very meaningful and certainly one-of-a-kind, especially if you involve your family and/or guests in its creation. With a little bit of creativity, some time and energy, just about anything is possible and often will look not only special but real, fun and festive.

A bouquet can be stunning while being made out of just about anything you can think of, from tissue or crepe paper to silk or other fabrics, buttons etc. One way to make it individualized and exceptional is to have your bridal party and family each make flowers out of whatever fabric or thing you choose. That way, each will be personalized and every time you look at it, you will remember where each came from.

If you choose to make a bouquet out of buttons, pins or brooches, an idea is to ask each of your invitees to send one along with their RSVP’s whether they are able to attend the ceremony or not. That way, aside from having a lot more than if you only included your family, the memories will be even more special. Everything will come together in a way that, even if each element appears different from one another and don’t seem to mesh, will magically turn your bouquet into something much more beautiful than you could imagine.

If you are interested in having an alternate type of bouquet, another option is to contact one of many companies who can create absolutely anything you can think of using whatever fabric or color you would like as well as constructing a combination of buttons, fabric, paper etc. That way, you would not have to worry about the time or construction on your own as perhaps you don’t feel as if the result would be exactly how you want it to be.

It is amazing just how realistic imitative flowers can appear. One of the best reasons to at least entertain the idea of having something other than a fresh bouquet is that it would be something you could keep forever rather than only being able to enjoy for the ceremony and perhaps a few days following. Many times, they are also more budget-friendly and, again, are something no one else will ever have, are a display of your creativity and will be a tangible reminder of just how much you are loved.