Thursday, September 30, 2010

Paper Lanterns & Lights

We're using round, paper lanterns to decorate the area above the dance floor. I purchased some paper lanterns from the Paper Lantern Store ( a month or so ago to get an idea for the overall look I was trying to achieve. The lanterns cost $1.23-$2.33, depending on size. I knew I wanted to have pink, green, and possibly white lanterns. When looking at the website I couldn't decide between two shades of green so I ordered one of each so I could see them in person and make a decision.

To go with the lanterns, I wanted to purchase lantern lights so that they would glow above the dance floor. I know some people will recommend "throwies" but I didn't want to have to track down all the materials. Plus I didn't think they would be more cost-effective because from what I read 1 "throwie" would be $1, and I think I would need at least 2-3 "throwies" in the bigger lanterns to properly light them. If you're interested in making "throwies" here is a tutorial:

Last week I met with my day-of-coordinator (DOC). She showed me a photo of a reception at our venue where the bride and groom used paper lanterns. (I posted the photo to the right. Note: I plan to hang our lanterns closely together than how these were hung.) We counted roughly 25 lanterns in the photo. My DOC asked me to not go over 30 lanterns because of the labor to hang them up (she and her team will be hanging them the morning of the wedding). So after meeting with her I decided to order 30 lantern lights so I see the two different shades of green with the lights. Then I could make a final decision between the two greens and order the lanterns. Oy, what a tedious process. :)

The lantern lights came in the mail the other day! I ordered them from Since I ordered more than 12 I received them for $1.69 each. Direct link:

After putting the lights in both green lanterns I decided to go with the darker green. I'm going to order varied sizes. As of right now, I plan on ordering pink and green in 20", 16", and 12" and white in 16", 14", and 12".

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wedding Cake Toppers

There are so many choices! I just can't decide! I'm not huge a fan of the traditional cake topper. However, if there was one in the family and it was a tradition to pass it down I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to use it. Hmmm... maybe I should start my own tradition. Anyway, I've found some cute and interesting cake toppers while on the quest to find my own.

I've come across traditional cake toppers with a twist on Etsy. Most can be custom designed to look like the bride and groom. The downside: the price-tag.

I've found cute, whimsical cake toppers.

I've founds tons of love bird-inspired cake toppers (one of my considerations).

And of course, the monogram wedding cake topper. Most I've seen are DIY by the lovely ladies from theknot. Many of them get their letters from Crafty Eddy. Crafty Eddy, Edward Reitler, lives in Georgia and makes various wood creations. He doesn't have a website, but you can contact him directly at

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chair Covers, Sashes, and Overlays. Oh My!

I've seen my venue with chair covers and without chair covers. I've decided that it makes a significant difference.

Without Chair Covers:

With Chair Covers:

I'm still debating what to do in this department, but I'm heavily leaning towards buying everything instead of renting. I've looked around my area and it's roughly $3.25 to rent a chair cover and sash. So for 125 guests that's $426.25 (not including if they have a delivery/set-up charge and tax). I've also looked online. At, they sell white, polyester chair covers (pictured at right) for $1.99 each. They have free shipping with orders over $50, so I wouldn't have to pay shipping. They also sell pink organza sashes, 10 for $7.49 ($.75 each) or satin sashes, 10 for $9.49 ($.95 each). Let's say I go with 125 chair covers and the organza sashes. For 125 guests that's $346.12. I'd be saving $79.13, and I could sell the chair covers and sashes after the wedding to another bride and recoup some of my costs.

I also found some great linens at They sell their organza sashes for $.69 each. They also have very pretty crinkle taffeta sashes that I would love to have. They're $1.29 each.
Here are some more sashes and sash prices from
Polyester sashes: $1.19 each
Satin sashes: $.85 each
L'Amour Satin sashes: $1.49 each

I need to figure out the look I'm going for before I make a big decision and purchase on linens. But here are some of my inspiration pics so far. (I can't decide if I want to go with pink or green sashes.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Topiary Fun!

We're getting married in front of a large, double-sided, stone fireplace. I decided to make two pink peony topiaries to set on the left and right ledges of the fireplace.

I set out, purchased, and gathered the following materials:
  • Two 6 inch foam balls (JoAnn Fabric)
  • Two white pots (Menards)
  • Silk pink peony sprays (JoAnn Fabric)
  • Floral foam (Dollar Tree)
  • One bag of Spanish Moss (Michael's)
  • Bundle of 5 twisted willow branches (JoAnn Fabric)
  • Scotchgard (Walmart)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Tape measure
  • Hedge clippers
  • Knife

Instructions for how to make one topiary:

1. Take the peony heads off of the stems.

2. Begin placing some of the peonies in the foam ball to determine spacing.

3. After determining spacing, remove the peonies.

4. Begin applying hot glue to the green tip of peony and inserting it in the pre-made hole.

5. Continue step 4 until the entire ball is covered with peonies.

6. Insert 4 floral foam pieces into the pot

7. Determine the center of the pot and insert a bundle of twisted willow branches into the floral foam.

8. Use the remaining 4 floral foam pieces to secure the willow branches in the pot. You may need to use your knife to cut the foam to fit.

9. With your tape measure, measure 16 inches up the willow branches and make a notch with your scissors or knife.

10. With your hedge clippers, chop off the willow branches above your notch.

11. Take your peony ball and insert it on top of the willow branches, making at least a 1 inch hole in the foam.

12. Insert hot glue into hole in foam in peony ball and immediately place on top of willow branches. Hold it in place for a few minutes, allowing the glue to dry.

13. Lay the Spanish moss over the floral foam in the pot, covering it so that the floral foam is not visible. If you wish to secure the moss, glue it to the floral foam using the glue gun.

Here is the breakdown of the expenses:
2 white pots: $12.00
2 stryofoam balls: $5.00
4 bundles of silk pink peonies: $37.52
4 packages of 4 pieces of floral foam: $4.00
1 bag of Spanish moss: $2.50
2 bundles of 4 willow branches: $2.50
TOTAL: $63.52 for two... $31.76 each

Yeah, I know, they were kind of pricey. But I can use them as a decor piece in our home after the wedding, or I can sell them with my other wedding items and hopefully recoup some of the costs. Plus, when my florist mentioned topiaries for our ceremony she quoted me $65-$155 per topiary (although they would be larger), so I think I definitely saved when looking at it from that perspective.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I made it using Photoshop. The fonts I used were Brock Script (the "N" and "June 25, 2011") and Book Antiqua ("Chelsea and Brad").

I downloaded Brock Script from I can't remember where I downloaded Book Antiqua from, but if you google it you can find a site where you can download it for free.

I used the following tutorial to create my monogram:

The blogger, Brianna Nichole, has some great tutorials. I also love her font bio:

Random tidbit: Once I got the colors I wanted for the monogram I wrote down the color codes. This has helped me maintain the exact colors for other projects when possible.

Happy monogram making! :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Never-Ending Card Box Project

After almost 2 weeks it's done!
At first I was going to cover the boxes with satin fabric, so I spray painted them white so the brown of the paper mache didn't show through the fabric. The fabric didn't work out so swell, so I decided to paint the boxes. I went to Lowe's and purchased a half pint (sample size) of latex paint in white. I painted all three boxes white. After painting them all white I decided that I should paint one box green and one box pink. So I went back to Lowe's and picked out a green and pink that best matched the ribbon I was using. The green was great-- the pink, not so much. So I went back, again, to Lowe's for a darker shade of pink. I painted the box the darker shade of pink and it was too dark. So I decided to mix the paints and make my own shade of pink. (I swear the bottom box has 10 coats of paint.) Finally, success!

After what seemed to be endless painting, I cut out the tops and bottoms of the appropriate boxes with my Xacto knife. After cutting out the tops and bottoms, I started decorating the boxes with ribbon. I secured the ribbon with double-sided tape.

I purchased the white, 3 x 5 picture frame at Kohl's. I wrote "Cards" in green, BrockScript font and printed it on textured scrapbook paper.

My supplies:
Paper mache boxes (14" round, 10" square, 10" round)
Sponge brush
Xacto knife
Double-sided tape
Silk peonies
Scrapbook paper
Picture frame
Instructions for Card Box:
1. Paint the paper mache boxes using your paint and sponge brush. Two coats are best. Allow for ample drying time in between coats.

2. After the paint has dried begin cutting out the tops and bottoms of the boxes.

3. Begin with the middle box. With a pencil, draw a square 1 inch inside the edge of the bottom of the box. With the Xacto knife, cut along the pencil line.

4. Use the medium box as a guide-- place it how you want it on top of the large box lid. With the pencil, trace along the cut-out edge. With the Xacto knife, cut along the pencil line.

5. Moving on to small box. With the pencil, draw a circle 1 inch inside the edge of bottom of the box. With the Xacto knife, cut along the pencil line.

6. Use the small box as a guide-- place it how you want it on top of the medium box lid. With the pencil, trace along the cut-out edge. With the Xacto knife, cut along the pencil line.

7. Decorate the boxes as you wish.

8. If decorating with ribbon, use double-sided to secure the ribbon to the boxes.

9. When finished decorating the boxes, secure the boxes to each other by applying a thin bead of hot glue from the glue gun to the inside edge of the bottom of each box.

10. If decorating with silk flowers, attach with glue gun and glue.

Instructions for "Cards" sign:
1. Print the word "Cards" on colored scrapbook paper.

2. Cut out to fit 3.5" by 5" picture frame.

3. Insert into picture frame.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Vitamin String Quartet

I didn't know about the Vitamin String Quartet until I came across them on discussion boards. Numerous ladies kept mentioning them so I had to do a google search. I instantly fell in love. Since a string quartet isn't in our budget I plan on having our DJ play a selection of Vitamin String Quartet songs as our guests enter and wait for the ceremony to begin. I'll probably incorporate a song or two of theirs into the processional.
These are my favorites:
  • I'm Yours by Jason Mraz, performed by the Vitamin String Quartet
  • Crazy Love by Van Morrison, performed by the Vitamin String Quartet
  • Love Remains the Same by Gavin Rossdale, performed by the Vitamin String Quartet
  • Look After You by the Fray, performed by the Vitamin String Quartet
  • Beautiful Day by U2, performed by the Vitamin String Quartet
  • Dare You To Move by Switchfoot, performed by the Vitamin String Quartet
  • Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts, performed by the Vitamin String Quartet
  • Home by Michael Buble, performed by the Vitamin String Quartet
  • Realize by Colbie Caillat, performed by the Vitamin String Quartet
  • Hey, There Delilah by the Plain White T's, performed by the Vitamin String Quartet
  • Bubbly by Colbie Caillat, performed by the Vitamin String Quartet
  • Hands Down by Dashboard Confessional, performed by the Vitamin String Quartet
  • Love Song by The Cure, performed by the Vitamin String Quartet
  • Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton, performed by the Vitamin String Quartet

I'm Yours by Jason Mraz

Dare You to Move by Switchfoot

Love Remains the Same by Gavin Rossdale

Hands Down by Dashboard Confessional

Beautiful Day by U2

Bargain Shopper

I credit my frugal mother for instilling the value of never paying retail price for items. Love that sweater? Don't worry, it'll be on sale next weekend. That's what she would always tell me and usually she was right.

Obviously I've used this value in my wedding planning abilities when possible (lets face it, I can't use a coupon for all our vendors). My frugality mostly comes into play with my DIY projects. I've frequented various websites and stores to find certain items for my projects.

  • I found a former bride selling 28 clear cylinder vases from her wedding for $3. I met her in the parking lot of a local university and made the transaction.
  • I found another bride selling manzanita branches from her wedding for $4 each. I went with my MOH to the bride's mother's house to pick up the branches.

  • I decided to branch out one night and search the Chicago Craigslist postings since my MOH lives in Chicago, and I try to go up there as much as possible. I ended up finding a bride who was selling $18 table number holders for $15 (these little puppies would have cost me ~$40 from the store). My MOH graciously agreed to meet her at a Starbuck's to make the transaction for me.
  • I LOVE those little 50% off and 40% off regular retail price coupons. I always have them in my car. Seriously.
  • I bought all of my votives from Michael's. 50% off, of course. 12 for $3.99.
  • Things I've purchased from Michael's: circular hole punches, scrapbook paper, ribbon, styrofoam ball (for topiary), aisle runner ($15! 50% off coupon!).
JoAnn Fabric
  • I wish JoAnn dished out the 50% off and 40% off coupons like Michael. Prude. Oh well, I still frequent her store... with my 40% off coupon in hand.
  • Things I've purchased from JoAnn's: ribbon, paper mache boxes, silk pink peonies.
Hobby Lobby
  • Love the 40% off regular retail price coupons from Hob Lob. They run good weekly sales as well. Watch the fine print though, today I tried to buy a wooden Halloween sign thinking it was 50% off, but Halloween products made from wood weren't included. Looks like I'll be going back for my "Trick or Treat" sign later...
  • Things I've purchased from Hobby Lobby: ribbon, styrofoam ball (for topiary).
  • Watch those end-cap clearances! I found 8 packs of floating candles for $2.78 each and 6 packs of large unscented tealights for $1.74 each.
  • I haven't purchased anything for the wedding from Goodwill... yet. Stroll down their glassware and houseware aisles. They usually have great vases for $.99 to $2.99. I see a lot of Mason and Ball jars too.
  • Watch for their sales too! Today it was 50% off Saturday. Everything in the store was 50% off!
Paper Lantern Store
  • I bought my paper lanterns from here. I think they have pretty good prices.
Dollar Tree
  • Where everything costs $1!
  • I bought some clear, cylinder vases and styrofoam from DT.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

If only I were incorporating damask into my wedding...

Because I saw these amazing damask hat boxes to use as card boxes at Hobby Lobby today. They were priced very reasonably as well ($7.99-$12.99 each). If you're using damask as part of your theme run to Hobby Lobby today!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Card Box & Topiaries

I've been working on my card box for over a week now. I can't seem to get the pink color right. I bought 2 different colors of pink at Lowe's-- one was too light and one was too dark. So now I'm mixing them together to make the color I want. I finished painting and decorating the top two boxes though. I just need to cut the card slot on the top box. Here is a pic of my rough mock-up:

Another project I'm beginning to tackle this weekend is the topiaries. I decided to make two topiaries to display on the fireplace edges. I started this project tonight, but I ran out of pink peonies. Needless to say, I'll be making a trip to Joann Fabric's tomorrow and crossing my fingers that they still have some. This is what I plan on the fireplace looking like with the topiaries and wreath I bought. Add some candles and voila!
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