Wednesday, March 28, 2007

How To: Make Beach-Themed Wedding Centerpieces

These beach-themed centerpieces are quick and easy to make – not to mention inexpensive. Below is a list of materials and instructions for making 15 centerpieces. I have included the location where we purchased each item, and the price – however you may be able to find these same items in a different store for another price if these stores are not available to you.


15 Clear Plastic Plant Pot Liners, 14” – We bought ours at Frank’s for $1.59 each. You will need one for each centerpiece. If you have a little extra money, consider purchasing clear glass liners instead for a more elegant look. If you stick with the plastic liners, you may also consider purchasing or making a round wooden board to place under the centerpiece, as the flimsy plastic is hard to move about once the sand has been added. The board will allow you to easily move centerpieces to different tables, and make clean-up go much quicker.

1 Bag of Playground Sand, 25 lb. – This we purchased at Home Depot for $4.00 a bag. One bag was sufficient for 15 centerpieces.

We purchased the following items at A.C. Moore’s – a local craft store – however these items can be found in many other craft stores, such as Michael’s or Frank’s, if you do not have an A.C. Moore’s near you.

15 Baskets of Shells – We found these on sale for $1.00 per basket. We purchased one for each centerpiece. Surprisingly, we found purchasing large bags of shells was more expensive than buying the individual baskets for the same amount of shells. Also, you can use the left over baskets for out-of-town guest baskets. We filled ours with some Easter grass, a scented candle and some homemade soap, and left them in the hotel rooms we had blocked.

1 Can of Gloss Varnish Spray – This cost about $4.00, and one can is sufficient for all of the centerpieces. Use this to give the seashells a shiny look. The varnish also makes colored shells look more vibrant against the sand. If you’d like, you may sprinkle some glitter on the wet shells just after spraying them with varnish to give them an extra sparkle. Be sure to spray the shells in a well ventilated area – we recommend outdoors. Allow the shells to dry for at least 20 minutes before placing them near a burning candle.

45 Votive Candles in Clear Glass Votive Holders – The votive candles we found at 3 for $1.00. The votive holders were $0.69 each. You will need three candles and three holders for each centerpiece. Make sure to check the labels on the votive candles to see how long they will burn. If you are having a four hour long reception, consider buying votives that will last at least 6 hours. This way, guests may take home the centerpieces and use them to decorate their own homes.

15 8” by 3” Pillar Candle – Purchase one pillar candle for each centerpiece, again checking the label to see how long it will burn. Ours cost $2.00 each.

1 Bag of Pearled Planting Marbles, Flat – We used about 10 - 15 marbles for each centerpiece. The bag cost approximately $5.00.

Total Price for Each Centerpiece: $10.53


Spray the shells with varnish at least the day before the wedding and allow them to dry thoroughly overnight.

Place the pot liner on desired table and center the large pillar candle in the middle of the liner. Pour sand around the candle to secure in place. We used about 2 – 3 cups of sand for each centerpiece, however use your best judgement to distribute the bag of sand evenly among the number of centerpieces you are making.

Wiggle votive candleholders into the sand. Try to space them out evenly around the centerpiece, so that each side of your table will enjoy the candlelight. Drop shells randomly around the centerpiece, again trying to give each side an equal number of shells. Allowing shells to randomly fall into place will give the centerpiece a more realistic beach look. Toss a few marbles into any spot of sand that looks bare.

And that’s all there is to it. Be sure to keep matches handy and coordinate with a few of your wedding party members or catering servers ahead of time. Let them know what time to light the candles so that you will not have to worry about it throughout the evening.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Proportions And The Plus Size Bride

O.K., so we have all heard the common tips offered up in the many bridal magazines for plus size brides. Look for a dress that is a matte finish, avoid satin as it will reflect light and only make you look larger. The A line dresses are a plus size brides best friend. It will camouflage your flaws and magically accentuate your assets. But what you don’t hear about are the added benefits of choosing accessories that are appropriate and proportionate to your bridal look. Specifically, the bouquet is one area of focus that brides often forget about when it comes to proportion.

What we most brides are concerned with is the type of flowers, along with the color and style of the arrangement. While these concerns should be first and foremost, what you don’t want to forget is whether the size of the bouquet in proportion with your body type and dress style. Keep in mind that your wedding pictures will almost always include some shots of you holding the bouquet, so make sure that it is large enough and it does not look dwarfed in the photos. What will make you look larger than life is holding a undersized bouquet that looks dwarfed, and out of proportion when posing for those wedding pictures. Now this rule does not apply to the brides who choose to carry a single flower, but only to those who prefer an arranged bouquet. The added touch of additional flowers or filler in a bouquet can really assist in balancing out a bridal look, as well as assist in hiding those features we are often anxious to disguise. This same rule of proportion also applies to your hairstyle and choice of veils, headpieces or tiaras.

While most brides still continue to choose the traditional veil, we must keep in mind that this is also an accessory that must be in portion to our body types. Make sure that the veil has the appropriate amount of body and flounce for the scale of your dress. By including the veil when striving to obtain a more balanced and proportioned appearance, we plus size brides can benefit by giving a more slimming look, which appears balanced and well put together. The same rule applies to your choice of tiaras and hairstyle. Always keep your facial shape in mind while choosing hairstyles and remember that as well as the bouquet and veil, if you choose a tiara it should also be in proportion with your look and chosen hairstyle. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you should have a crown and big hair that would put Ms. America to shame, but merely choose a tiara that will not be lost in the hairstyle, or use tasteful accents to accentuate the beautiful look you have envisioned for yourself, which also included jewelry.

When picking a necklace or other bejeweled accent pieces, scale is just as important as style. The length of your necklace and size of any jewels should be carefully thought out. If the style of necklace is meant to gracefully hang around the neck, then it must be of appropriate length. You want to avoid at all cost the appearance of what I call a dog collar type of look, unless that is the specific style of the necklace and is the look you are after. By wearing a necklace that fits too tight for the style, you can make your neck look bigger and dwarf the jewelry, which is usually not the look we want to accomplish.

So, as you can see, there are many things to consider when planning wedding attire, and there are plenty of tricks we can use to aide in masking our appearance. Just keep in mind that proportion is often a plus size brides best friend. You can never go wrong with a well-balanced appearance in addition to the glow of a bride to be, you will be stunning, breathtaking and best of all the center of attention for the entire day!