DIY Project Time

Contrary to popular belief I really am a fan of DIY wedding projects. I have seen some truly beautiful and unique things that all you talented brides have made. Of course

I have also seen some absolutely laughably bad things. Do I even need to mention cheap silk flowers and floating candles?

So here is the deal: if you are going to create something fabulous and handmade for your wedding don’t take on more than you can handle either skill level or time wise. Commit to one of two amazing projects and give yourself the time to do it right.

To get you started go over to Abby’s blog Style Me Pretty and check out her DIY contest entries. WOW if that doesn’t get you inspired then nothing will.

To help you design your own projects and master the skills needed to make them check out DIY Bride and Wedding Crafter. DIY Bride even has a forum where you can get help from other crafting brides. What’s more, DIY Bride’s book just hit the bookstores this week. I can’t wait to check it out.

Since so many wedding day crafts have to do with paper in one way or another here is my favorite source for great/cool/different papers.

DIY Invitations

If you are a regular reader of the Dish then you already know my philosophy on DIY projects for your wedding. I think they are a great idea as long as you do them in moderation. DIY is a great way to add a very personal touch to a very personal event. Where the trouble starts is when brides bite off more than they can chew and end up more stressed than necessary or they go bridezilla and turn everyone around them into indentured servants. So the key is to pick one project you love and give it your full attention and leave the rest to the pros.

Today’s project is invitations. Here is the breakdown of the national averages spent on the paper wardrobe according to

  • Bridal shower invitations: $138
  • Wedding invitations and response cards: $455
  • Personal stationery: $187
  • Save the Date cards: $196
  • Thank-you notes: $127

That is a sweet little chunk of change and because it can all be done well in advance of the big day, unlike flowers or food, it makes it a perfect place to put your DIY skills. That is if you have any graphic skills, or at least it used to require that.

To the rescue comes and their free dowloadable wedding templates.

How cool is that? There are already several available and plans to add more designs on a regular basis. In addition to the basic invitation each design suite includes the following elements:
Save the Date Card
Wedding Invitation
Wedding Party Card
Reception Card
Response Card
Program Cover
Placecards/Escort Cards
Table Card

The templates are all ready to edit and print on your home computer. How easy is that?

Now take all that cash you saved and put it towards something that is a lot harder to DIY, like say flowers.

Escort Cards

Maybe one of the hardest tasks you can take on in getting ready for your wedding is planning the seating arrangement. You know what I mean, where are you going to put weird old Uncle Lou that he won’t offend your guests and where are you going to seat the boy’s frat brother that has dated and jilted almost every woman at the wedding? The last thing you want is bloodshed after all.

Since you have gone to all that work don’t you think that the escort card table deserves to be just a little special? I love it when the escort card table is the talk of the cocktail hour, it becomes the centerpiece of the room and gives your guests an excuse to meet and mingle while they seek out their card. So…let’s give them something to talk about.

Here are some galleries that have some interesting ideas.

The Knot


Martha Stewart Weddings

Think outside the box. So often I see beautifully lettered very formal escort cards just set up on a table. Yawn. How about tying a very simple card to a small favor box, or pinning them to a board or a “bouquet’ of branches, if its Christmas hang escort card ornaments on a tree. Use your imagination and have fun.

Wedding Shadowbox

I was cruising through my blogroll this morning and stumbled on an interesting post by Mrs. Bell Pepper over at Wedding Bee. If you are not familiar, Wedding Bee is a great blog written by a large variety of brides to be and recent brides. The Bee’s take you through every gory little detail of their planning and post wedding tasks. It can be a bit of a task to keep up with because there are SO many posts but I always find something interesting and a lot of good DIY ideas.

Today I found a post about Wedding Shadowboxes. It is a great idea to preserve the memorabilia of your wedding. I spent some time searching for some other examples and came to a conclusion. If you want a brilliant shadowbox you have to plan in advance.

The more I looked the more boring shadowboxes I found. What is great about the one Mrs. Bell Pepper did is the scope of objects she included.

If you like the idea of preserving and showing off the memories of all the hard work you have put in on planning your wedding you should start from the very beginning.

Keep a box and a note pad with your wedding planning stuff. Toss into the box any bits and bobs that you think might provoke memories. Not just the pretty things either. How about that hole punch that nearly drove you to insanity at 4 in the morning as you tried to finish your escort cards? This is as much about memories as it is about pretty.

Use the pad to write down things you want to remember to set aside from the day itself. For instance you may want someone to get a great shot of the signature cocktail you created or a label from the wine you chose, maybe the cork from the bottle of champagne you toasted with. It’s the little things that will bring back memories in years to come.

Have fun creating an heirloom that you can enjoy for all the years to come.

Easy Candle Centerpieces

Last week I posted about DIY Centerpieces and I found some great ideas for candlescapes that really show what I was talking about. Great candle centerpieces are a cinch to pull off if you think outside the box and think quantity over quality. Bet you never thought you would here me say that, did you?

I found these on the Better Homes and Gardens Website. Just another example of looking outside the box for unique wedding ideas.

Did the iPod Kill the DJ?

Off Beat Bride pointed out an interesting article today about the demise of the DJ.

Many couples are opting to forgo the band or DJ and put together their own playlist. Some venues even seem to be catching on to to this trend and upgrading their sound systems to accommodate these iPod couples. Cool.

Here is where my rant comes in; check this quote from the executive director of the American DJ Association. “An iPod is music, and what brides really want is an eloquent spokesperson that can represent them at their event in front of family and friends to create a once-in-a-lifetime, memorable experience,” Drax said.

That strikes me as more than just a little arrogant and presumptuous. Let me rephrase that for you a bit there Drax: An iPod is music and what brides that choose DJs really want…” Could it really be that every single bride that has ever or will ever plan a wedding really longs only for an “eloquent spokesperson” to represent them?

Why is it that some wedding professionals think that theirs is the only way to do something? Will they never get the message that every couple is unique and the old cookie cutter formula no longer works? Sigh. What are your thoughts?

DIY Wedding Projects

True confessions. My name is Christine and I am addicted to crafting. With that little disclaimer out of the way it’s time to tackle the subject of DIY and wedding.

It is so easy for crafty brides to get caught up in the “I can do that myself” mind set. You see all these beautiful things (and their price tags) and the ideas start multiplying in you head like rabbits on Viagra. Stop! Wait! Don’t be that bride! Before you know it you are spending half your wedding budget at the craft store and turning your bridesmaids into indentured servants to get it all completed on time.

I understand the lure, the sirens song of making it yourself for an event this important to you. I also understand the financial realities of most brides. What we are at times blinded to is the true cost of the projects you take on.

The first thing most DIY brides consider doing is invitations. If you are only looking at it from a $$ point of view DIY may not be your best option. There are some unbelievable inexpensive invitations out there and many dealers that discount up to 50% off book price. No, these aren’t the most gorgeous, amazing invitations out there but they are cheap. Now if you want gorgeous and amazing DIY may be the way to go. If you have the time and skills you can DIY them but they will still end up costing you much more than cheap and basic. In the end you will have a very high end result with a high to moderate price tag and the satisfaction of having created it yourself.

One thing you must look at as you start getting the DIY bug isn’t how long it will take you to make an invitation but how long it will take you to make 200 invitations. You may end up cursing every little fold by the end of the project. And that is if you only took on one DIY. Suppose you also decided that place cards and favors to match your fabulous invitations were in order. Now you just added a few hundred more times of doing the same repetitive thing over and over and over and over….Are we still having fun?

Like I said, I’m a crafter and I’m sure I would not be able to resist the lure.

I say go for it, but in a very limited way. Pick one or at most two wonderful projects that won’t eat your life or your wallet and have a ball. Here is a really cool one I ran across on Something Old, Something New that I am DYIng to try. Happy crafting!

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