- Screen all potential companies you plan to work with. Check with the Better Business Bureau, other wedding merchants, past brides and a local consumer protection office.
- Get everything in writing. No money should be exchanged until you have reviewed and signed a written contract agreement that clearly defines what you are expecting to receive. Include delivery times, cancellation and refund policies
- Never accept verbal agreements. Don't ever let a merchant take your money, promising to send the written contract at a later date. Many times once you do receive the contract, there are some suprises they never informed you about which could jeopardize your wedding (or more!).
- Always get changes in writing. If there is any change between you and a merchant, make sure you get these changes in writing. This does not necessarily mean a new contract, it may be an addendum to an original contract.
- Negotiate the lowest deposit possible. When you give the merchant the lowest deposit amount possible, they are more like to deliver the quality they promised. This is not always possible (ex: photographers, florists, etc) but it never hurts to ask!
- Use your credit card. Deposits and other purchases are covered under special comsumer protection laws that enable you receive a full refund if the merchant fails to deliver what they promised. If you have a problem, this may be your only recourse.
- Considering hiring a destination wedding planner. It may cost additional money, but consider the additional peace of mind. Let someone else be responsible for finding a site, negotiating the rates, and dealing with problems that may arise before/during/after the wedding.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
For example, in Florence, the city of romance, birthplace of the renaissance, a still unspoiled and fascinating city. The countryside around the town, and the medieval villages and towns nearby, make a wedding in the heart of Tuscany a dream experience and a relaxing location for the honeymoon and holiday.
The beautiful American Episcopal Church of St James is situated on a quiet street near the center of Florence; however, it is not in the least an isolated community of US citizens far from home the church plays an active and modern role in Italian and European life. Here couples from all over the world can celebrate a Christian blessing service.
And then visit towns such as Siena and San Gimignano, arrange your reception in a Medici villa in the cool hills outside town, and make your special day one that you and your guests will never forget.
The couple must fill out a Notice of Intended Marriage form. This can be obtained from an Authorised Celebrant (Civil or Religious) or from a Births, Deaths & Marriages Registry Office in a State or Territory's capital city. (A Civil Celebrant can fax a copy to you). It can be filled out and witnessed outside of Australia. It may be filled in by only one of the parties to be valid. The other partner can sign later. It must be filled in and given to the celebrant at least a month before the ceremony unless a shortening of time is obtained. The celebrant can tell you how to get a shortening if required.
There is no blood test in Australia and cousins can marry each other. There is a nominal lodgement fee and the celebrant will tell you how much they charge for the ceremony and travel. Most Civil Marriage Celebrants charge about $200. Original Birth Certificates or Passports must be sighted and if you have been married before, then an original death certificate or a final divorce paper must be seen to show how last marriage ended.
A Civil Marriage Celebrant can marry couples anywhere, anytime. Civil ceremonies are mostly outdoors. Hot air balloons, the bush, on a beach or a boat, anywhere you can imagine is possible! Two witnesses over 18 are also required but there is no time limit on how long they have known you. It could be just the two witnesses, the couple and the celebrant. Immediatly at the end of the ceremony you get a beautiful Marriage Certificate with the Australian official seal at the top. (yes there's a kangaroo and an Emu on it!)
You can create your own ceremony and it can be as short as several sentences or as long and elaborate as you require. Most Civil Marriage Celebrants will help you create your own ceremony with beautiful vows and romantic readings. CD's or taped music can be played or live musicians are available. Some Civil Celebrants even have wedding gowns available (something borrowed...). Rings are not legally required.
There are many wonderful restaurants and beautiful chapels away from the strip and downtown areas so don't limit yourself. Brochures are very deceptive. Your chosen site may look quite different in person. References are much more reliable.
Frequently an establishment will say they have a consultant on staff. That means they have a sales representative. If one service refers you to another it may be because they get a referral fee.
Weekdays you'll be able to get much better prices at hotels and chapels and restaurants will be more cooperative.
Most chapels offer wedding packages and you can choose from a service "menu". You may be able to order some ala carte things too, especially photos. Some chapels offer cake and punch receptions. Ask if they have a professional photographer and videographer or if the chapel secretary does it all. Ask if the flowers are made to order or if you choose from what they have on hand. Ask how long you will have for the ceremony. Some places give you 10 minutes and some 30.
Those fancy weddings may seem great at the moment but is it what you want to remember on your silver anniversary? There is no "Take 2" on a ceremony.
Lastly, February 14th and the summer months are not the best times to get married in Vegas.
First thing you have to do is REALLY know your attendants. If your mother has made you add Second Cousin Jane from Nebraska and you don’t know beans about her, then you best be finding out something about her from someone. However, the following “craft” item would appeal to anyone-even that cousin you’ve never met.
Everyone needs stationary. With a little time, patience and some good old-fashioned ingenuity, you can create stationary for your attendants using your computer. For the cost of some good stationary papers (most run about $7.00 to $8.00 for a pack of 30-50 sheets with matching envelopes depending on brand) and with some 8 ½ X 11 X 2 or 3 inch deep gift boxes, you’re good to go. Most everyone has clipart programs on their computers loaded with pictures, cartoons and fonts that make great stationary. If you have a bridesmaid who thinks Pooh hung the moon, make her some Pooh stationary. If you don’t have the software, the internet provides a WEALTH of clipart, most of which can be downloaded for free. Have fun with it. And the really good thing is, you get to sit down for awhile. That ought to be enough to make you at least consider it. An appropriate amount of stationary to a package is 20 sheets with 25 envelopes. You can either do all 20 sheets in the design or do 10 sheets and leave 10 blanks for second pages. Do all of the envelopes if you’re going to do those. When you complete each set, place in the 8 ½ x 11 box, 24 envelopes divided evenly on the bottom. For a pretty touch, tie each bundle with a thin ribbon in coordinating colors or strap with a plain white band of paper (glued) no more than two inches wide. The stationary on top (you can also put a ribbon here if you want), and one envelope laid on top of the stationary, front facing up. If the boxes are already decorated, take a gift tag with a hole punched in it, place a ribbon around the box, attach the card to the ribbon before you finish the bow. If the boxes are plain white and you want to dress them up a bit, wrap in wedding paper. This is quick, easy, and something YOU made. Don’t forget the added benefit…you get to sit for a little while.
If you have attendants that like to bake, gift jars filled with ingredients for cookies, brownies and other delicious edibles is a nice gift also. I made two gift jars, one “gift bag”, bought wooden spoons, oven mitts, kitchen magnets, a magnetic shopping list and little kitchen things, put it all in tissue lined hatboxes for Christmas and my total cost for each one was about $15.00. It was quick, easy and fun to put together. I have never been thanked so profusely for a gift ever. Dollar or deep discount stores are a great source of small useful items on the cheap.
For child attendants, painted sweatshirts or T-shirts are a hit. Make them in a design with their favorite characters and have them show off your wedding date. Cute designs are “ I WAS A FLOWERGIRL AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS SWEATSHIRT” with the date of the wedding on it and similar for your ring bearer. Also cute for flower girls are Bride and Groom bears. For boys, a collection car (like a Porsche 911 scaled car) dressed up with white paint “JUST MARRIED” on the trunk with ribbons attached to miniature cans. The ideas are really endless if you put your mind to it. Men attendants can be a little more difficult in the crafting department. Talk with your fiance and see what they like and what might be appropriate. Masculine letterhead stationary may work. Knock it around. I’ll give that one some thought too.
Shopping for attendant gifts can be overwhelming and expensive. If you have the budget to do it and that’s what you want to do, then you should. Brides-to-be on a budget can save a lot of money by crafting their own gifts.
* Neither of these are required positions and may be boys or girls. Usually only one ring bearer is used, but two with one ring per pillow will work if you have and abundance of four or five year children. that you would like to have involved in the ceremony. Although the rings on the pillows are usually not he actual wedding rings, you could have two ring bearers if you are having a double ring ceremony, one for the bride and one for the groom. Train Bearers or pages usually walk in pairs but a single trainbearer can be used.
* If ring bearers and trainbearers are little boys they are not likely to be interested in any pre-wedding parties. If they are girls, they might want to attend the shower and some other parties.
* They attend the rehearsal and may attend the rehearsal dinner with their families.
At the Wedding
* The ring bearers (s) carries a pillow with a ring or rings sewn to it. (These are usually not the real wedding rings but symbolic ones for show only.)
* The ring bearer (s) walks either directly in front of or besides the flower girl (s) in the processional and the recessional.
* If real rings are tied to the pillow the ring bearer takes the pillow directly to the maid or honor and the best man who will remove the rings. The train bearers follows the bride in the processional and recessional, and carry the bridal train.
* During the ceremony, the ring and train bearers may stand near the ushers or sit with their families.
* They are in the formal Photographs of the bridal party.
At the Reception
* Ring and train Bearers do not usually stand in the reception line.
*Ring and trainbearers usually sit at a table of honor with their families.
* Families of ring and train bearers are expected to pay for attire.
* If travel expenses are involved, the children's families pick up these costs.
* Ring and train bearers are not expected to bring gifts to any pre-wedding parties they may attend. If their parents attend gifts expectations would be the same as any other guest. If they attend more than one party, only one shower gift is expected.
The first thing you need to realize is that you are not alone in your post-wedding depression. Many brides have been there before, and you will find that it will pass. It is all right to feel this way. After planning out the biggest fantasy that you have had since childhood, feeling a loss after the wedding is natural. As such, it is all right to give this feeling a period of reflection. Reminisce about your wedding; look over your photos and guest book, and talk to friends about your wedding day. Perhaps you can make a scrapbook with keepsakes from your wedding planning and wedding day. This will give you a chance to wallow in both the happiness of the day and the sadness that you are now feeling.
After this period of time, refocus your energy on something new. Begin by renewing your interest in the hobbies that you had before the wedding. Perhaps you used to play a sport or collect coins. If you have or are building a home, work on your decorating or gardening skills. Be sure to spend time with your friends and family, so they can support you and talk to you as you are going through these feelings.
Be sure and spend some quality time with your husband doing the things that perhaps you did not have the time to do before the wedding, such as going to the movies, having dinner at a nice restaurant, or biking. Schedule “dates” with each other to keep the romance alive. Perhaps the two of you together could take on a newfound interest; if you are both interested in cooking, for example, join a class together. Since the honeymoon is over, start planning a one-year anniversary trip to an exciting place that neither of you has been to before.
Another idea to keep the spirit of your wedding alive is to have a party every year for your anniversary to get your guests back together and celebrate your big day. Or plan your vow renewal for landmark anniversaries such as one, five, and ten years of marriage.
Weddings are wonderful events, but like time, they pass. You have your future ahead of you; look forward to the years you have with your husband. It is difficult, but focus on the positive and you will be fine!
Organize, prioritize, and delegate
First, purchase a planner. Whether it is a wedding planning notebook, an online planner, or simply a calendar, you will need a place to record when each of your tasks needs to be completed. Carry this with you to work, so you may jot down any ideas that may come to you throughout the day. Second, figure out what is most important to you. You may end up sacrificing a few wedding wants if you run out of resources. Be sure to decide early on what you are willing to give up. Third, figure out the tasks you would like to do on your own. For every item left, you can delegate to your friends or family. If you are a control freak, this may be tough for you, but remember, your future mother-in-law will be asking for tasks! Also, this process allows you to assign tasks, rather than risk having people take charge of something you'd rather do.
Use your time wisely
Work can monopolize a lot of your time. Be upfront with your boss about your wedding plans. Let your boss know in advance the vacation time you think you will need for your wedding and honeymoon.
You may also need more planning time aside from evenings and weekends. If you need to make vendor appointments during the workday, perhaps your boss will let you leave early and make the time up another day. Also, take advantage of your lunch hour and breaks. You can squeeze in phone calls, or send e-mails or faxes.
Instead of wasting your evenings on the phone interviewing every vendor in town, try using the Internet to get more information to help you narrow down your vendor choices before you begin making phone calls. Also, try reading vendor brochures and contracts while commuting or while on the treadmill.
Still falling behind?
If you are starting to get stressed out, you may have to enlist some professional help to keep your sanity. Is it possible to drop some work hours or hire a temp? Could you hire a housekeeper to tidy up once a week? Does your budget allow a wedding coordinator?
Keep in mind that you should always save sometime for yourself. Although your wedding is special, your vows and your marriage are far more important no matter what happens at your wedding!
Flowers from your wedding day
Leftover invitation from your wedding
Ribbon or bow from your bouquet
Picture frame – any size, color, and style you desire
Acid free paper – white
1 Sheet Acid free paper – your choice of color and size to fit frame
1 small can of Spray Adhesive (preferably acid free)
Aqua Net hairspray
Take your fresh flowers and greenery from your bouquet and/or boutonnière and place on a sheet of white acid free paper evenly spaced apart. Place another piece of white acid free paper over the top and place a heavy book top. Let stand untouched for approximately 2 weeks.
After a few weeks, take the book off and lift up the top sheet of the paper very carefully. Your flowers and greenery should be pressed and dried. Be very careful with them, they will fall apart easily. Lightly spray a little bit of Aqua Net brand hairspray over top to help keep from falling apart.
Draw a sketch of what you envision your frame to look like. Use almost anything you want from your wedding day such as your invitation, ribbons, flowers, etc. Using your spray adhesive, lightly spray the inside glass of your picture frame where you’d like the flowers placed and gently place them there. You do have a few seconds to readjust before the adhesive dries so work quickly. Use the spray adhesive to place any other items you desire in your frame. Attach the back of the frame and you’re done! Simple, inexpensive and uniquely your own!
Monday, April 28, 2008
Along with the china and linens, the table numbers, place cards, and favors you choose will be a part of your table decorating scheme.
Table numbers are a necessary logistic if you are arranging seating for your guests. How else will they know which table to sit at? Below are some wonderful ways to turn your table numbers into a personal design statement:
· Silver frames
· Crystal frames
· Thick cards decorated with spun sugar or royal icing numbers
· A charming pot of flowers as a centerpiece, with the numbers painted on the pot itself
· Beautiful ceramic tiles with numbers pained on them) these are often used for addresses)
· Elegant calligraphy banners or large cards
· A banner with number on it wrapped around a large pillar or votive
· An attractive garden stake with the table number written on it and placed in a flower pot centerpiece
Place cards don’t just tell your guests where to sit; they can be a cornerstone of your table decorations and often do double duty as a favor for your guests to take home. Here are some unique ideas for place cards:
· Small silver or jeweled frames
· An elegant calligraphic card tucked into a folded napkin
· Small name flags in petit fours or chocolate candies
· Tie small nametags on favors that sit on the plate and let these nametags double as place cards
· A small pinecone awash with silver, gold, or white paint
· Names written on a beautiful paper doily
Floating Roses and Candles
1 large glass bowl
4-5 large roses (open heads, not buds)
3 floating candles
Fill bowl with water. Cut the stems off the roses and arrange the open buds in the bowl. Arrange the lit floating candles. For an extra touch, try rose-scented floating candles to enhance the aroma of the flowers.
Citrus and Daffodil Centerpiece
1 large round glass platter with base
1 ivory pillar candle
2 bunches of daffodils
Place candle in the middle of your platter. Arrange citrus fruits around the candle as desired. Cut the stems off the daffodils and place in-between fruits.
Easter Tulip Basket
1 woven basket
2 dozen tulips in an assortment of colors
10-15 plastic Easter eggs
1 package Easter grass
1 package confetti (spring pastel colors)
Line the basket with the Easter grass. Arrange the eggs as desired, then fill the basket with the tulips. Finish off with a dash of confetti, or arrange confetti in a circle around the basket.
Decorated Straw Hats
1 large straw hat
assorted spring flowers
Glue ribbon onto the bottom of the hat, then tie nicely. Cut stems off the flowers. Arrange flower buds on the hat, then secure them with glue.
1 silver or white teapot
5-6 stems of lilacs
lilac or lavender ribbon
Arrange ribbon on top of teapot. Glue down if necessary. Fill teapot with water. Place lilacs in the spout of your teapot.
** Why Marzipan is useful:
You can pretty much shape the versatile dough into any form you choose. You may choose to use a heart-shaped cookie cutter, form small fruits for a fall wedding, or even shape the marzipan into little doves for a special treat. Marzipan is also easy to make--not to mention you can really let your creative side show with this craft!
** How to make cooked Marzipan:
3 cups sugar
1 cup water
4 cup extra fine ground blanched almonds
Note: The most important ingredient in Marzipan is the almonds--in fact, pure Marzipan must contain at least 25% almonds; otherwise, it will be considered almond paste. Be sure that the almonds are cleansed of their skin (soak them in hot water if necessary,) and very finely ground. You may choose to purchase your almonds at a pastry shop. If that's not an option, use a hand mortar or granite rollers to achieve the necessary fineness.
Heat the water in medium heat, then add the sugar and cook until it is dissolved. Next, add the almonds and keep cooking until the batter no longer sticks to the pan. Pour the batter onto a marble or wooden sheet (if you'd like, cover the sheet with butcher paper to prevent sticking.) Let the batter cool a little bit, but be sure to begin forming the dough while it is still lukewarm.
** How to shape the dough:
To facilitate your work, you may wish to use a sharp cookie cutter (i.e. heart-shaped.) In that case, be sure the dough has been flattened out uniformly to the desired thickness.
To shape by hand, take a little piece of marzipan and form into a ball. Next, shape the marzipan into the desired shape (i.e.: if you are making animal figures, you would at this stage give the shape its ears, eyes, nose, etc.) Be careful, as marzipan is intially very fragile. Be sure to have an adequate base for all your figurines, enough to carry the figure's weight.
** How to paint marzipan:
You may wish to use food coloring or edible paint. Using an extra small paint brush reserved solely for this purpose is best. Be sure you clean the brush completely before moving on to another color.
** Other wedding-related projects with marzipan:
If you are very crafty, you may choose to make your cake topper out of marzipan. (Or if you are making your own cake, you may adorn it with marzipan flowers.) Little pieces of marzipan kisses, shaped just like the chocolate ones, are also sweet treats.
** How to store and handle marzipan:
Of course, one of the greatest things about marzipan is its uniquely sweet taste. Your figurines will be edible for a few days--they will harden after that and become tough to eat. Be sure to store marzipan in a plastic bag, preferably in a cool place.
PROJECT ONE: BUBBLES
Bubbles are a fun alternative to the traditional birdseed or rice that is thrown as the newlyweds make their "escape". To create a pretty bubble favor you will need:
1. Several boxes of "plain" wedding bubbles, found at party supply stores (one bubble bottle for each guest)
2. Tulle "doilies", the round kind. (found at any craft store)
3. Ribbon, in the color of your choice. (Can be the silky kind, or the cheaper plastic, "curling" kind) .
4. Colored mini heart stickers, the color should match your ribbon. (A sheet of 200 stickers was located for a dollar at The Dollar Tree)
5.OPTIONAL: Hot glue, seashells, fake flower sprigs, different stickers.
Decorate each bubble bottle with the mini heart stickers, one on each side of the bottle and one on the cap. Place each bottle upright in the center of the tulle doily, and tie the tulle shut around the top with your ribbon, making a nice bow. OPTIONAL IDEAS: Place a small spring of fake flowers in the bow. If you are having a beach themed wedding, try hot-glueing a mini-seashell onot the bow, and use seashell stickers instead of hearts!
PROJECT TWO: FAVOR BASKETS
What good are favors if you have nothing to put them in? These favor baskets will keep all of your goodies safe and looking pretty. You will need:
1. Several baskets, in any size, color or shape that you want. Can be found at warehouses, or on clearance at any craft store. Make sure you have enough baskets to accomodate all of your different favors.
2. Hot glue and glue gun.
3. Ribbon in the color of your choice.
4. Fake flowers, both petals and sprigs, that compliment your baskets and ribbon.
This project is easy, but it takes a little more time. Simply use the hot glue gun to attach the fake flower petals to the handle of the basket. Tie your ribbons around the end of each handle when you are done, and tuck a flower spring into each bow. You can save money by using the same flowers and ribbons that you used for the bubble project! Plus, it will match your bubble favors.
PROJECT THREE: CHILDREN'S FAVORS
Here are some inexpensive and easy suggestions for kids favors:
1. Download coloring pages from the Internet and print them out for your littelest guests. They can be wedding related pictures, or related to your wedding theme. You can also provide small boxes of crayons for them to use.
2. If you like to cook (or even if you don't!) simple sugar cookies are a tasty treat. You can make your own dough, or purchase ready-to-use. Put your treats into goody bags or treat boxes.
PROJECT FOUR: ADULT FAVORS
Some sample, inexpensive ideas for the grown ups:
1. Small votive candles, tied with a ribbon and tagged with a little card that has your names and the wedding date.
2. Plastic spoons, filled with Hershey's Kisses, and tagged with a card that reads, "A Spoonful of Kisses From the Mr and Mrs.!"
3. Mini candy bars, wrapped in labels that you can print out on your own home computer. Include your names and dates, and maybe a picture of wedding bells.
All of these ideas are designed to require minimal time and money. But they can be altered to include more expensive trimmings and decorations! Have fun!
First, let’s discuss programs for the ceremony. The fact is you don’t have to have them if you don’t want them; I didn’t and no one even seemed to notice. Some people like to have them. If you are one of those people, you can do them yourself. Go to a store that sells a variety of papers (party supply or art supply store) and decide which paper you would like. Make sure you ask if the paper is compatible with your ink jet or laser printer. Also, the more commercial stores like Staples and Office Depot make papers specifically for ink jets. Anyhow, set everything up on your computer and print out a 3-fold program (11” wide, 8.5” high-fold in thirds). Just copy the layout from those invitation catalogs as far as what kind of information should go in the programs.
Second, the flowers. Don’t go crazy with your bouquet. It doesn’t have to be a huge bouquet! It should cover your hands. It should be elegant and beautiful. As for your reception, you can buy a cake top and just put flower petals around it rather than spending a lot for cake flower decorations. Also, you can opt to have flowers in vases with a bow instead of having elaborate floral arrangements.
Another expense that need not be too high is the expense for reception favors. You can find those little personalized favor boxes at most wedding websites for a decent price. Then, you go buy candy or cookies that will fit in the box. I used the boxes with the heart-shaped handles. I bought a couple of yards of toule from the fabric shop and cut it into squares to go in the little boxes. Then we put two cookies in each box. It didn’t cost more than $45 for 75 favors.
*Tip: buy the toule from the fabric store and cut it yourself. It costs a lot less than buying the pre-cut kind.
Another cost-saving tip I will tell you about is regarding placecards for the reception. Many brides pay a lot of money for little placecard holders, calligraphers, etc. The truth is, no one really notices the placecards enough for a bride to spend a great deal of money on them. I know calligraphy, I was an art major in school. I did all of my placecards by hand with a calligraphy tool and an ink well. Everyone was too preoccupied with the reception itself to even notice all the hard work I did. And in the end, those placecards all ended up in the trash! So, don’t make these a big cost in your wedding.
The last thing is that your guest book table can be beautiful if you put framed pictures of you and your fiance as youths or maybe just framed engagement photos (or both). Put the guest book in the middle and add some candles; it will be wonderful. I’ve seen people spend A LOT on some big framed photograph and I can’t say it really looked that inviting or pretty. Imagine how nice it would be for guests to see you both as you grew up and as your are now in a display of about 10-12 photographs. It can save you money as well because a big enlargement and frame can cost quite a bit.
* Tip: Just make sure all of your frames on the table are the same color (all silver, all white, etc.).
Good luck brides!
The rings can be bought in such places as craft stores, most commonly found in the beading aisle. I found the rings are usually sold in packs of 2 or 3 for under $3.00. The rings are sold in different sizes, to suit your needs. They are also sold in gold or silver. I recommend silver, just because I found more of a selection of charms in silver than gold, and you want the charm color to match the ring color.
The beads come in all sizes, colors and textures. I’ve seen them in wood, plastic, ceramic, detailed and solid colors, large and small. I found the smaller beads easier to work with on the ring, but it strictly up to the crafter. You may want to choose bead colors to match your bridesmaid dresses, or colors on your groomsmen glasses to match their tuxedos. The beads are usually less than $2 or $3 for a package of 50 or 100 beads.
The charms are also found in the beading section of craft stores. Again, they come in all shapes, sizes and textures. This is the part where you get to personalize your wine marker. Choose a charm that relates to something about the person your making it for. For example, one of my bridesmaids just had twins, so I found a pacifier charm. I bought two, and put them on her wine marker. My sister, who loves the Grateful Dead, got the dancing grateful dead bear charm. One of the groomsmen got a soccer ball (his favorite sport) and another groomsmen got a little computer charm, he loves working with computers. The charms took the most time to pick out. Of course you want to find that perfect charm for that person. You may want to look in your phonebook for a specialized beading store near you. I did find one locally, and that is where I got most of my charms, they had a whole wall dedicated to charms! The charms are inexpensive, because they are not precious metal charms. The ones I purchased ranged in price from $.69 to $2.00.
Finally, simply slip the beads on to the wire ring in the color and style order you desire. There are no rules. You may want to count how many beads you slip on before you put your charm on; you probably want to put the same number of beads on each side of the charm. When finished, just put the rings around the stem of a wine or champagne glass and secure the ring closed. Place in front of the place settings for your unsuspecting bridal party members and watch their eyes light up when they see you’ve personalized gifts for them! It’s also a great conversation piece among your guests.
Pillows are simple to make. They basically consist of four straight seams. Anyone can sew a straight line with a sewing machine or even by hand with a little practice. The first step in making your pillow should be gathering inspiration. Browse the many ring pillows available online and in wedding catalogs. Many bridal stores and some craft stores carry ring pillows. Seeing the pillows in person can allow for close inspection of construction. Decide what you like and what you don’t like in a ring pillow. Then decide if you want to copy a certain pillow, combine certain aspects of different pillows into one, or if you want to create a new, original design. Once you decide what you want your pillow to look like, the most difficult task is over.
Most expensive and extravagant pillows can be made for very little money. Velvets and satins are especially beautiful for ring pillows. These fabrics tend to be pricey. Since they are so small, however, ring pillows can often be sewn using fabric from a remnants bin. You may very well have other items on hand to complete the pillow – silk flowers, scraps of lace, bits of ribbon, and tassels make lovely finishing touches. Be creative and don’t be afraid to be different. Small touches like these are what make your wedding unique.
A nice alternative to the traditional white lacey pillow is a rich, colorful velvet pillow. Velvet is especially lovely for fall or winter weddings, but can certainly be used in spring and summer as well. Velvet is surprisingly easy to work with and has the unique quality of being embossable. You may choose to emboss your new last initial on the bottom of the pillow or a fancy flower on the top. The possibilities are endless. To emboss the pillow, simply lay the velvet nap side down on the rubber stamp of your choice. Turn the stamp and the velvet over, so the wrong side (the side that will be inside the pillow) of the fabric is facing up. Spritz it with water and place a warm iron on the velvet and the stamp. Hold the iron in place until the image of the stamp is engraved in the fabric. You may want to do a practice run on a scrap piece of fabric before embossing your pillow. Another nice idea is to create a checkerboard effect by alternating squares of velvet with satin of the same color. Four squares is the ideal size checkerboard. This creates an elegant, subtle pattern without too much contrast. If velvet is not your style, why not try using a sheer fabric like organza? An organza pillow with silk rose petals as stuffing is beautiful and romantic. Colorful, silk, autumn leaves could be substituted for fall weddings.
No matter what style of pillow you decide to make, they are all constructed in basically the same way. Decide what size you want your pillow to be and cut two squares in those measurements. Most embellishments should be added before sewing the two sides together. Don’t forget to sew two thin ribbons to the top of the pillow for the rings. Once you are ready to sew, place the two fabric squares together with the wrong sides facing each other. Pin the sides together using straight pins. Now sew the sides together by hand or machine in a matching thread. Leave a small opening on one side to stuff your pillow, then turn the pillow right side out. Fill your pillow with stuffing, using a pencil or a knitting needle to fill in the corners. Now stitch the opening closed and you’re done! You have made a wonderful accessory for your wedding that is personal and unique. It may even become a family heirloom. Don’t hesitate to use your creative talents in other areas of the wedding and in life. Good luck!
Candles are a popular option today, as many brides are choosing white or pale hued pillar candles of varying heights with rose petals sprinkled on the table around the base. The look of flickering candles around the room is a lovely, romantic option compared to the traditional look of floral pieces of yesteryear.
Fruit sculptures are not just fruit baskets, but elegantly arranged stacks of fruit in pretty glass bowls. No dye lot does as wonderful a job of producing lovely hues as Mother Nature, and you may find that a bowl of ripe pears matches your maids’ gowns exactly. Consider pale lemons, green apples, or a collection of exotic fruit such as star fruit and kiwi, papayas, mangoes, and plantains.
You maybe have seen the simple breadbaskets on your table at a restaurant, but your centerpieces may be an overflowing collection of Italian rolls, marble rye, pumpernickel, grissini, and other mouthwatering breads. Have your caterer provide a selection of spreads such as garlic butter, spiced butters, whipped vegetable cream cheese, virgin olive oil, or tapenade. Your guests will love digging into your centerpieces.
For a beach-theme wedding, nothing is easier or less expensive than a glass bowl filled with some sand and a collection of seashells. Craft stores carry bags of shells for just a few dollars, and in my personal opinion, a starfish should be included in each one. It adds a little something to an already wonderful centerpiece.
Topiaries are a wonderful and lovely idea for a garden wedding, or just a simple outdoor wedding. Placed in the center of the table with a few fall, spring, or summer leaves would make an elegant and rememberable centerpiece.
Nothing will get your guests mingling more than a display of family wedding pictures and lovely shots of the two of you. Family members there will remember those weddings and love to describe it to other guests.
If you have wrapped your favors, the wrapped gifts can be stacked attractively to make an eye-catching centerpiece.
For an elegant look, a polished silver candelabra can provide romantic lighting and ambience.
For a fall wedding, you can get miniature pumpkins to place on the tables with fall confetti tossed around them.
These are just some ideas to choose from or to elaborate from. If you will have a theme wedding, your centerpiece may reflect your theme. If you will have a child’s table, you might supply coloring books and small, quiet, handheld computer games to occupy the kids’ time and attention. The options are up to your creativity and budget, and to the vision you have for your wedding day.
Family heirloom pattern
One bride sewed her own wedding dress. She used a 1950’s Vogue pattern that belonged to her great aunt and was later passed on to her mother. She recalls her childhood dream of wearing a dress made from that exact pattern on her wedding day. She says she feels fortunate to come from a family of seamstresses.
Her mom would make her own gowns to go to dinner parties. She made this one particular gown for a party, and this bride had seen it, and the image never left her imagination.
She also designed and sewed her bridesmaids’ dresses, simply because she had something in her head and couldn’t find any one pattern that had it. She combined sleeves, bodice and skirt from three different patterns to make the dresses.
The cost of her wedding dress? $50. It’s made of opalescent patterned taffeta which is a stiffer texture than satin. She says it cost only $7 a yard. She says it was incidental that she saved money on the dresses. With these items, it was the design that was important.
Remember, as a bride only you know what you want.
But for other items, like wedding invitations and bouquets, she found some real bargains by making them herself.
Another bride says it took several shopping trips to find the best bargains. She comparison-shopped for almost everything from her reception centerpieces and bridal party bouquets to her invitations and even the wedding favors.
She says they originally wanted to pick and choose things that appealed to them and turn it all over to a wedding coordinator, but she decided she didn’t want some stranger planning her wedding. She wanted to do it herself.
She had a boxful of bridal magazines, newsletters and giveaways from the expos. She started with the centerpieces after realizing she could improve on the ideas she had seen and read about.
She bought the materials from a wholesale craft store and a thrift shop. She got white silk roses by the bunch and large, clear glass vases to put them in. Each vase had two bunches and silk fern leaves.
She says she creatively disguised the "cheap" flowers by wrapping the vase in white gift tissue and white-silver mesh and satin ribbons, filling the inside vase with Styrofoam to stick the bunches in, and plastic shopping bags to make the flowers look full.
On two-by-two cards, she wrote a love sonnet by William Shakespeare and attached one to each of the 10 centerpieces. Guests later remarked on how elegant the centerpieces were.
The cost for all of the centerpieces? About $120. She says that was a steal when she compared it to the simplest $25 per centerpiece that she saw.
Another bride made her bouquet and the flower bunches for her bridal party of eight. She skipped ordering special bridal bouquets and bought fresh flowers instead. Her bouquet was made of 12 white carnations and six white mums. Each woman in her bridal party had a bunch of six football mums.
She says the secret to keeping them fresh is to buy the flowers from the flower shop the day before the wedding, and to put them in the freezer as soon as you get home. She says on the wedding day she cut the stems and soaked them in plant food. She then attached the stems with masking tape and wrapped them with satin trailing ribbons.
One bride wrapped the stems of her dozen red-rose bouquet with ribbon, which like the other bride her flowers were not special bridal flowers.
Ok, tossing them is of course a viable option, especially if you don’t like “stuff,” have the room, or feel no sentimental attachment to them. However, many people write beautiful, personalized, messages in wedding cards. There may be points in your marriage—for example an anniversary; the death of someone who gave you a wedding card; or even a marital spat—when you will want to re-read those beautiful words of wisdom and love. I say “If in doubt, don’t throw out!”
If you decide to keep your wedding cards (which I hope you do!) or just the ones with personal messages written inside (another good option) you can store them in numerous ways. First, keep them all together in one compact holder where they will not be exposed to air or moisture—like a Rubbermaid box or acid free box available at craft stores. You can even put other things from your wedding in the box—like petals from your bouquet to give the cards that everlasting “scent” of your day. Or spray the inside of the box with the perfume you wore that day. The box can be kept anywhere you want. Some popular places are: a hope chest; the basement; a drawer in the china cabinet; or on a coffee table (especially if you decorate the box or pick a really pretty one)
The word “scrapbook” can be intimidating to people who have never made one before. However, scrapbooks are not scary! They can be as ornate or simple as you want. You can do something simple (like I did) and buy a $5.00 old-fashioned scrapbook; a thing of ACID FREE glue (very important) and just glue all your cards into the book. Done. No extra stickers, coloring, decorating, etc. needed. Or, you can go all out. It is up to you! Having all your cards in some type of scrapbook is nice because they are all in one place and can be looked at very easily. Another idea is if you are making a larger “wedding” scrapbook with photos, your invitation, and other mementos, to include the cards in that.
4.Cut them up
For many people, the personal messages in the cards are what really matter and are worth saving. So, don’t feel afraid to cut up your cards, saving just handwritten messages and/or pretty parts of the front of the card. You can then do many things with your snippets of cards, like intersperse them in a wedding scrapbook or photo album. You can even make a collage with your wedding invitation as the center point and all the personal messages around it. Frame the collage and hang it somewhere special in your home.
5.Eat off them
This one sounds silly, but making placements out of your invitations is a really cute and unique idea. For each place mat, cut 2 pieces of contact paper approximately 12" x 18". Peel the backing off one piece and lay it sticky side up on the table. Arrange your wedding cards or pieces of particularly special ones on the sticky side of the contact paper. Press everything flat with your fingers. Peel the backing off the 2nd piece of contact paper. Place it sticky side down. Do not worry about lining up edges exactly or about wrinkles. Just press everything down as flat as possible. Then, trim around all edges with scissors. You could also put dried flower petals from your wedding bouquets in the placemats. Use the placemats on special occasions like your wedding anniversary or just for decoration on a table you seldom use (like your nice dining room table) What great conversation pieces they will make and if you happen to have a dinner guest who finds his/her message you will make their night!
I hope I have given you an idea or two for preserving your wedding cards. It may not seem like it now, but in time, you may be very glad you did!
At the Church
Before you begin planning your decorations, check with the church to see if there are any requirements such as real flowers for the altar to anything that is restricted before you begin to plan. This will save you heartache (and money) down the road when you find out the beautiful decorations you bought or made can't be used in the church for one reason or another. Also consider whether you will be taking your decorations from the church to the reception. This might influence how the decorations are made or what you choose for decorations.
Some churches are already beautifully decorated while others have a more simple look to them. When you begin planning your decorations, take some time to go look around the church. Think about the style of your ceremony and how decorations might enhance that style. Consider the lighting in the church and how it might effect your ceremony. For example, a candlelit wedding at 1:00PM might not be very effective in a church with large windows that let in lots of light.
Another consideration is the time of year you will be getting married. If you are getting married around a holiday, the church may already be nicely decorated. Ask a church official what, if any, decorations might be in place on the day of your ceremony.
Now, how do you decorate? Candles are one option. Weddings by candlelight are very romantic and beautiful. Decorate your church with candelabras by the altar and candles in the windows. Some brides also use candle holders on the pews in place of, or with pew bows.
Pew bows are one of the most common ways to decorate a church. There are many variations and styles of pew bows. Some are just tulle bows in white or the bride's wedding colors. Some have flowers as well as the tulle bows. Others use 2 or 3 different kinds of ribbon to create the bows. Other objects can be included in the bows to enhance a certain theme. For example, include seashells for an ocean theme wedding. Choose the variety that works for your wedding style.
Instead of pew bows you can also use floral swags both on the pews and on the windowsills. If your church has a wide aisle-way, consider using fabric-draped pillars with baskets of flowers on top.
Away from the Church
As with the church, before making too many decorating decisions, you should check with the location for any rules concerning decorations. Some reception halls will not allow open flames for example or allow you to hang anything on the walls. Knowing the rules is a great help towards effective decoration planning.
When reviewing your ceremony location, give some consideration to where you want to stand. For example, if you are getting married in your reception hall which has a big fireplace, consider having the ceremony fireside. Think about the amount of space you will need for the official and the wedding party. You will also want to consider where the guests will sit. If you have them sit at their tables in the reception hall, make sure the table centerpieces don't block their view of the ceremony.
Make sure you have the necessary items for any special moments in your ceremony. For example, if you are going to have a unity candle, you will need to make sure there is a table available or some other sort of stand to hold the candles. Add a tablecloth to enhance the table's appearance.
An archway is a nice item to use for decoration. It can be used at the front where the ceremony is going to be held or at the back designating the start of the aisle the bridesmaids and bride will be coming down.
If the ceremony place walls are not very pretty, consider using a backdrop for the wedding party to stand by. The backdrop can be as simple as a bed sheet draped over a frame or as elaborate as a painted canvas.
As in a church, flower arrangements and candelabras are always good wedding decorations. Pew bows can be attached to the backs of chairs on the aisle if you wish to use them as decorations too.
What you need:
A styrofoam cone (no taller than 6 inches)
Approximately 18 lemons
Branches of fresh boxwood (silk could work just as well)
Branches of fresh holly (silk could work just as well)
A box of long toothpicks
A hot glue gun
Take a toothpick and stick it halfway into the side of a lemon. Stick the other half of the toothpick into the styrofoam cone. Repeat this with each lemon. Make sure to work your way up from the bottom of the cone. After you have placed all of the lemons you should still be able to see little patches of styrofoam in the spaces between them. Check the lemon’s stability until you are certain that all of the lemons are securely stuck into the cone.
Take the branches of boxwood and stick them between the lemons, creating a “tree” effect. The branches should enter the cone just as easily as the toothpicks did. Now push the holly branches into the remaining spaces. Trim the branches to a length that you prefer. If you so desire, you can glue a few holly berries to the lemons with your hot glue gun. Now that everything is in place, check your lemon tree for any weak spots. If you find a loose lemon you can give it a little squirt with the hot glue to keep it in place.
This centerpiece keeps very well and can be made three or four days before the wedding. If your wedding has a Christmas theme, you may wish to wrap your wedding favors like Christmas gifts and set them around the tree.
An Orange Option:
If you prefer the color orange to the color yellow, I have seen this tree made with mandarin oranges (those are the smaller oranges, about the same size of a lemon). Oranges can work well and look lovely, however they are much juicer than lemons, and have thinner skin. Working with oranges can be more difficult. Mandarin oranges will sometimes slip off the toothpicks without warning, and drip juice. If you choose to make the tree with oranges, make sure that you secure every orange with hot glue. You may wish to create a sample tree first, just to get a feel for it.
The Crayon Bouquet
What you need:
Tissue paper (any colors) cut into 4” x 4” squares
Squares of double ply toilet paper work just as well
Garbage bag twist ties
A hot glue gun
A basket (at least 8” across)
Take four pieces of tissue paper and place one piece on top of the next until you have a pile. Fold the pieces over and under like a fan. Pinch your folded paper in the center, and wrap a twist tie where you pinched it. Your tissue paper should look like a bow tie. Very gently, pull the top piece of tissue paper toward the twist tie on either side. Do the same with each of the following pieces of tissue paper (if you are using toilet paper, make sure you pull the plies apart). Fluff the papers carefully with your fingers until the paper looks like a tiny flower. You should only be able to see the bottom of the twist tie. Make sure that the twist tie is secure, and then trim off the excess tie.
Using the hot glue gun, glue the tissue paper flower head to the blunt end of a crayon. Repeat these steps with all of the crayons. Set the crayon flowers aside and wait for the glue to cool and harden.
Once the crayon flowers are sturdy you can group them into mini bouquets. Secure the bouquets together with the rubber bands (but not too tightly, or the flowers will get smashed). Groups of four or five crayons work well. Place your crayon bouquets inside the basket. Make sure you have enough bouquets for each child to have their own.
It might be a good idea to place coloring books underneath the basket.
HINT: If the glue doesn’t seem to be holding, you can use an excess twist tie to secure the flower in place. Take a twist tie and wrap it around the crayon. Make sure you bind it tightly, or the flower head will fall off.
Watch for the after holiday sales. Silver or gold Christmas garland can make a beautiful addition to any decorating scheme. White lights are far less expensive after Christmas and look great when entwined with tulle or garland. Hearts galore can be found for great prices at the after Valentine's Day sales. A fall-themed wedding for the following year can be greatly enhanced by buying Thanksgiving decorations in December.
When buying materials for wedding decorations, don't go to the wedding area of the craft shop. The same materials can be found in other sections of the store at a fraction of the cost. For example, strings of pearls in the wedding section will typically cost four times as much as the pearls in the sewing section. But the only difference in the product is one will be called wedding pearls and the other one won't.
Buy fresh flowers at a wholesaler and put floral arrangements together yourself or with the help of your bridesmaids and family. Another flower saving tip is to use flowers that are in season. They will be much less expensive than out-of-season flowers.
If you use silk flowers for your decorations, watch for sales at craft stores and fabric stores. On-line auctions are also a place where you can find silk flowers for a bargain. With silk flowers, you can make your decorations whenever you like since the flowers won't wilt, allowing you to take advantage of sales anytime during the months before your wedding.
Check with other brides in your area who are getting married the weekend before or after you and see about using the same decorations and splitting the cost. For example, pew bows are a great item that can be shared as they very rarely are damaged during a ceremony.
Get married around the Christmas holiday. Typically, churches and reception halls are already decorated during this time, cutting down on what you need for decorations.
Instead of buying wedding bubbles from a store, find a dollar store that carries small bubble containers. Decorate with a little ribbon and fill with bubble solution found in the toy department. You can save as much as $3.50 per 12 bottles this way.
Don't use an elaborate centerpiece at the reception. A single taper candle in your theme color or in white can be very effective. Fake gems can be glued on to candles for additional sparkle. Then all you need to do is dim the lights.
Tulle (about 2 yards per circle).
Candle or bowl
Bend the coat hanger into a circle. Cut the tulle into strips approximately 2 inches wide and 4 inches long. Tie the tulle strips onto the coat hanger. Keep pushing the tulle strips together to make a nice full effect. Set a pillar candle or bowl in the middle of the circle.
For different effects with this project, use 2 or 3 different colors of tulle on the same hanger. Cut the strips with pinking shears for a more full effect.
3-5 pillar candles of differing heights
Flowers and/or greenery
Group the pillar candles on the platter. Scatter the flowers and greenery around the base of the candles.
Brandy Snifter Centerpiece
Floral candle ring
Glass votive holder
Place the floral ring inside the brandy snifter. Place the votive in the glass votive holder and place both inside the floral ring.
Tree Branch Centerpiece
Tree branches (minus the leaves)
Spray paint (silver or gold)
Wrapping paper or tulle
Spray paint the tree branches and let dry. Glue the foam block into the bottom of the flower pot. When the tree branches are dry, stick the ends into the foam. Decorate the branches with the lace, pearls, and lights. You can also use other items to decorate the branches. Wrap the flower pot in the wrapping paper or tulle to finish off the centerpiece.
Gift Boxes Centerpiece
3-4 boxes in different sizes
Wrap the boxes in the wrapping paper. Glue the boxes together and then tie the ribbon around the stack.
Wrought Iron Birdcages
Wrought Iron Birdcage
Spray paint (gold, silver, or wedding colors)
Flowers and/or greenery
Spray paint the birdcage with the color of your choice. When dry, add the flowers and greenery on the inside of the birdcage. A votive candle and holder could also be used in the cage.
Upside-down Wine Glass
Cut the styrofoam ball in half. Glue one of the halves to the bottom of the wine glass. Decorate the styrofoam with the flowers, ivy and tulle. The ribbon can be used as a bow on the stem of the glass or can be glued vertically from the styrofoam down to the rim of the glass.
Straw Hat Centerpiece
Straw hat (or cowboy hat for a western theme)
Decorate the straw hat with the flowers, greenery, pearls and ribbon.
Angel in a Cloud
Use the knife to round off the edges of the foam block and give it a more irregular shape. Glue the cotton balls to the foam block. Add the angel figurine. Decorate with glitter and ribbon.
Champagne Glasses Centerpiece
3 Champagne glasses
Tie the ribbon around the stems of the glasses. Gather the glasses in the center of the table. Fill one glass with mints, one with chocolates, and one with candy. Scatter the flower petals around the base of the glasses.
Gel (available at most craft stores)
Pot or pan to heat gel in
Container for gel candle
Objects to embed in the gel
The gel is an oil-based substance and is flammable. Care must be taken to not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended temperature or the gel could catch on fire. Whenever working with gel, keep a fire extinguisher, baking soda, and a pan lid nearby. Keep children and pets out of the kitchen and be sure to use protective equipment for your hands and eyes. If you use a dye in your gel, use candle dye, not food coloring. Scent will almost always have a lower flash point than the gel so be careful to only add a few drops.
The container used for a gel candle can be practically anything. Gel will not hurt a container and can be removed if you no longer want a candle in it. Generally, a thicker-walled container is better than a thin wall. If you do use a thin-walled container, only burn your candle for 2-3 hours at a time to prevent the glass from overheating and breaking.
There are different kinds of wick material available for making candles. For gel candles, zinc core wicks or wax-coated wicks are best. Do not use paper wicks. When placing the wick in your candle, keep the wick one inch above the bottom of the container or above an object suspended in the gel. While burning your candles, keep the wick trimmed to one quarter of an inch.
After you have assembled all needed materials, it’s time to start. First you must prepare the container. Clean and thoroughly rinse your container. Any residues left could react with the gel and leave you with undesirable results. If you want to have something suspended in the candle, use sewing thread to position the object by running the thread through the object and taping the ends to the outside of the container. (Don’t knot the thread around the object.) After your candle has solidified, gently tug on one end of the thread to remove it from the candle. The wick can either be added after the gel is poured or can be suspended in the container by wrapping the excess around a cooking skewer or a pencil.
Check the directions on the gel so you know what the target temperature is. This temperature will very from manufacturer to manufacturer. Estimate the amount of gel needed to fill the selected container. Gel can be reused so don’t worry about getting too much. Place the gel in the pan and melt over low heat. Use the candy thermometer to assure you don’t exceed the recommended temperature. Never leave melting gel unattended. Use your metal spoon to stir the melting gel. Never use plastic utensils as the gel will get hot enough to melt them. Wooden utensils are not recommended as they will cause bubbles in the gel.
After the gel has melted and reached the recommended temperature, add dye if desired. Add only a few drops at a time. If the color goes darker than desired, add some more gel. If you are scenting your candle, now is the time to add a drop or two. Pour the gel into the container. If you don’t want many bubbles, pour slowly into a tilted container. (Think pouring a beer into a glass.)
Your candle can be cooled anywhere it won’t be disturbed. If you want fewer bubbles in the candle, cool it in the refrigerator. Don’t touch the gel while it’s cooling unless you want fingerprints in the top of your candle.
Any excess gel can easily be removed from the pan after it has cooled. Since the gel can be reused, return it to the original container or save it in a resealable plastic bag.
If you have more bubbles in your candle than you want, or if the wick has drifted too off-center to be usable, you can reheat the candle in an oven at 175o F until the gel melts. Stir the gel well and try cooling again. It’s very unlikely that you will be able to remove all of the bubbles from a gel candle. However, the bubbles are part of what makes a gel candle unique so a few bubbles should be desirable.
Everyone dreams of having the perfect reception spot but we can’t always find that one special hall. Maybe your hall doesn’t have the perfect ceiling. Balloons can be used to hide that ceiling in a couple of ways. One way to hide a ceiling is to cover it with helium balloons in your wedding colors. Another ceiling cover technique, or to lower ceiling for a more intimate gathering, is to create a balloon net. To create the net, run streamers, yarn, or fishing wire at the height you want back and forth across the hall from the north wall to the south wall. Run the net material from the east and west walls interwoven with the material already in place. Use double-sided tape at the intersections to assure your net stays in place. Blow up balloons with regular air and toss them into the net.
Balloons can be used to hide walls. To create a balloon wall, blow up the balloons with helium and attach to strings of varying lengths. Attach each balloon to a weight and place against the wall. The balloons should be placed close together with staggered heights to create the wall effect. This type of balloon wall can also be used if you’d like to make a big room smaller for a more intimate gathering, or if you’d like to divide a room into sections. In this case you would line up the balloons where you want the new “wall” instead of placing the balloons against a wall. Don’t forget to leave an opening or two in your new wall so people can come in and out. Balloon archways can accentuate these openings.
Balloons can be used as centerpieces. For a large balloon bouquet, use 11 inch balloons tied with long ribbons to a weight. 3-6 balloons usually makes a good centerpiece. A giant Hershey’s kiss is one example of a neat centerpiece weight. You can also use a small basket of flowers or sand wrapped up in felt or another covering. Make sure the ribbons are long enough that the balloons won’t hide the other people at the table when everyone is sitting down.
For a small balloon bouquet, use 5 inch balloons tied to pipe cleaners. Add silk leaves to enhance the flower effect. The bouquets can be placed in vases or decorated pots.
Balloon animals can also be used as an effective centerpiece idea. Make two different kinds of animals, one for the groom and one for the bride. Place a pair on each table. Balloon animals are easy to make and directions can be found in any library or on the net.
Balloons can also be used as large decoration pieces. Balloon archways can decorate an entrance to a hall or be used to highlight the head or cake table. Balloon sculptures in the shape of a heart, star, or a wedding bell look great on the walls.
Balloons can also be used as giant fortune cookies or as a way to give away the table centerpieces. For the fortune cookie effect, write several sayings on little slips of paper, roll the paper up and place in the balloon before inflation. To give away the centerpieces, put blank paper in most of the balloons and paper that says “centerpiece” in balloons for the same number of centerpieces. Allow your guests to select balloons and pop away to see if they are a winner. If you have young children at your reception please be careful with the balloon material after popping. This material can be a choking hazard to small children.
Whatever type of balloon decorations you are using, when using helium and latex balloons an excellent tip to keep them in the air is to buy a spray that helps keep the helium in the balloon. That way you can decorate the day before the wedding and not have to worry about walking in to a hall full of drooping decorations.
Pair of children's ballet slippers.
Silk paint. (to coordinate with her dress)
Artificial flowers, leaves, bows, or jewels.
Paintbrushes. (one small, one large)
Hot glue gun.
Scissors. (for trimming flowers or making bows)
1. To make the shoes easier to paint, stuff them full of tissue paper. Try to fill them enough so that most of the creases flatten out.
2. Read the manufacturers instructions on how best to use the paint. Empty some of the silk paint into a small container and with a small paintbrush test the paint on the bottom of the shoe. Some silk paints dry a bit darker, some a bit lighter, so you will want to allow the paint to dry thoroughly.
3. Once you find a color that you like you are ready to paint the shoes. The key here is to paint the shoe thoroughly but not saturate it. You don't want the paint to soak through to the lining. Start at the toe and with a large brush, use long sweeping strokes to cover the shoe completely.
4. Use a hairdryer to set the dye but let the shoe dry for a full 24 hours before wearing or adding any decoration.
5. Snip the heads off of artificial flowers and hot glue them to the toe of each shoe. If flowers aren't your look, try a small bow on each shoe, a few bits of greenery, or even a jewel or two. If you want to go that one step further, you can use the same decorations to adorn the flower girl's basket as you do her shoes.
Remember that these shoes ARE NOT water proof. So to prevent little feet from turning all shades of lavender, don't wear them on wet days. Or if the rain does come, only wear them inside.
-Taper candles. Use unscented candles if centerpieces will be used where people will consume food.
-Fabric-to coordinate with your wedding theme, nothing sheer or delicate.
-Bricks- the rectangular kind that has holes through it, the holes will serve as the candleholders.
-Florist's Tape- (if required) available at most better craft stores.
-Optional-ribbon, artificial daisies, small shells, fringe, dried flowers, feathers, little mirrors, lace, sequins, etc.
-X-acto Knife (or scalpel).
-Hot Glue Gun/ Glue sticks.
1. Once you locate bricks with holes in them, you will need to find taper candles that fit the holes. Not all tapers are the same diameter. If you find candles that are just a bit too small, wrap the base of the candle with florist tape. This will help make a snug fit. Note: Remember when using candles to take into account how long they will burn for. Tapers can burn from 3 to 8 hours depending on candle quality and environment in which they are placed. Fans, draughts and air conditioning can all affect the burning time. Having the candles lit during the meal to set the mood and then extinguishing them for the post dinner dancing is one way to plan your lighting for the evening.
2. Cut enough fabric to completely cover the brick. (think of wrapping a Christmas present) Glue fabric into place, only using glue on the bottom (one of the sides with holes in it) of the brick. Using glue on the sides or top could create lumps under fabric.
3. Cut and glue a piece of felt to bottom of now fabric covered brick. The felt will give the candleholder a more finished look and protect surfaces from any exposed brick.
4. Working on the opposite side to where you just glued the felt on, feel through the fabric to where the holes are in the brick. Using an X-acto knife cut an "X" through the fabric to open up each hole. By waiting until the fabric is on the brick before you cut you can decide how many holes you wish to use. By opening up only two holes you will get a much different look than if you open up all of the holes.
5. Insert candles into the holes and you are ready to go!
But why stop there? For a spring look try hot gluing artificial daisies around the sides, or if you are having a beach theme use small shells instead. A wide ribbon wrapped around the edge and glued into place and create a very elegant look. Feathers, small mirrors, dried flowers, fringe, or lace could each create a unique feel. Grouping or stacking the candleholders can create very dramatic lighting effects. Try using two or three side by side on a round table or lining them up end to end for a banquet table.
Lastly, remember that bricks can get heavy, so only create as many as you want to carry to your reception hall. No need to strain your back the night before your wedding.
- On December 26, buy up all of the half-priced holiday lights you find. You can use these to wrap around your tent poles. If you have lots of them, you could line your entire tent ceiling with them!
- Hang some Japanese lanterns around the tent to add some color and more lighting. You can find some great deals online (i.e. www.pearlriver.com or www.houserice.com )
- If you are in an area that is highly populated with mosquitoes, you can buy nice lamps for your tables that double as bug repellent.
- If you really want to light up the tent you can rent lamps to hang from the ceiling of your tent.
- Remember to check with your facility to find out if you will need to rent a generator to accommodate the extra lighting that you will be using.
- Wrap flower vines (real or silk) around your tent poles.
- Hang flower baskets from your tent ceiling.
- Borrow some hanging plants and hooks from friends or relatives. You can put them in the corners of your tent.
Other creative ideas
- Try wrapping your tent poles in tulle, or other type of fabric.
- Drape tulle across the ceiling of your tent to give a “cloud” effect.
- If your reception is in the evening, you may be looking for more ways to light the area. Try using candles for your centerpieces. You could even use candles as favors. Order some personalized matches to lay on the table so people can keep their candles lit all night!
- If you are inviting children, buy some sparklers after Independence Day. It will offer kids some entertainment and they can make your reception more festive!
- Many people rent bubble machines to use for pictures or for their dance floor. Try using one outside in, or near your tent. (Remember to keep away from the food!) Bubble machines can be relatively inexpensive to rent and can be beautiful outdoors.
- If you like the look of balloons, attach balloons to decorated bags filled with sand and place them around your tent. Or, decorate your balloons with some pretty ribbon and let them float freely across your tent ceiling.
Still looking for more?
- Start hunting for pictures from the Internet, or from people you know who have had tents at their wedding to get ideas.
- Ask your tent rental place if they rent any tent décor, or have any unique decorating ideas.
- Do you have a wedding theme? Try incorporating your theme creatively into your decorations. For example, if you have a “daisy” theme, you could wrap your poles with flower vines that include daisies.
1 medium silk flower ( carnations look best, but you can also use roses)
1 25mm painted wood angel head
5" mini star garland
1 small angel wings
4" reg. chenille stem
( Misc.: shears, ruler, wire cutters, glue gun)
I used purple and blue carnations, gold mini star garland, white chenille stems and iridescent wings. And they look beautiful. The craft shop that I was at carried the pre-painted angel head. I'm sure that Michaels should carry all the supplies.
In making this decision, you must first step back and look at the scenario from a neutral, third party point of view. Analyze both options completely. What is your relationship to the bride and groom? If you’ve only just gotten to know them and aren’t very close at all, it may alleviate some of the pressure you’re feeling to realize this. If you were best friends in second grade and made a pact to be each other’s maids of honor, but haven’t kept in touch for the past six years, maybe you should reconsider. The surprise event may be something that is once-in-a-lifetime, and should not be passed up. If you’ve dreamed your whole life of touring Europe with your singing group and are now being given the chance, your friend may understand. Rate the strength of the relationship, determine the importance or significance of the other event, and the right choice should be made more obvious. It is very important that, at this point, you do not allow yourself to justify your decision with “but I feel guilty,” or “I don’t want to upset them!” Your judgment will be clouded and your final choice swayed.
Still can’t make a decision? Maybe you should go straight to the bride and groom and explain your situation to them. They may be relieved to hear that you’re thinking of stepping down—perhaps they needed to cut back on budget, or maybe an attendant from the other side needs cut as well. Even if they are upset about it, they will certainly appreciate your coming to them for their opinions, and most will understand.
If you’ve decided that your loyalty to the bride and groom must come first, then by all means, cancel the other event. However, if you’ve selected to step down, for whatever reason, you’ve got to let the bride and groom know as soon as possible. They need to make arrangements, and it’s only fair that they be given as much time as possible to do so. Instead of writing an e-mail or calling, it would be best to tell them in person. News, both good and bad, usually is better received when the deliverer is present. As long as you carefully consider the pros and cons of your choice, it should be easy to present your case to them, and they should be able to see things from your perspective.
If there is any way that you can still make it to the wedding, perhaps you just can’t commit to the rehearsals, or can’t afford it, the bride and groom will more than likely just be happy to share their day with you. Otherwise, perhaps you can plan a nice dinner with them upon your return.
Having to cancel your participation in someone’s wedding is a difficult choice to make, and so must be reflected upon greatly. Stress can be avoided by looking clearly at the situation and thinking it through logically.
Typically, you’ll have to pay for:
· Gifts. If they have an engagement party, you may need to bring a gift. You will need to bring gifts for the bride to her shower(s), and, of course, there is the wedding gift.
· Travel. Most likely the bride and groom won’t be able to pick up your cost for a hotel or plane ticket, so you may have to pay your own way.
· Attire. This includes the bridesmaid dress, alterations (which can be expensive!), accessories, and shoes (and having them dyed to match if necessary). Don’t forget undergarments—stockings, bras, underwear, etc. Typically, the bride will give you jewelry as a gift, so you may not have to worry about paying for that!
· Pampering. You will probably have to pay for your own hair stylist and nail appointment unless the bride pays for you as a gift.
Save money without appearing cheap:
It’s not easy, but there are some things you can do to try to minimize your expenses:
· Showers. Many showers are planned at restaurants, which can get expensive, especially if you are footing the bill for all of the guests. Try planning the shower at someone’s home. To save further, see if the guests will each bring a dish to share.
· Gifts. Make a creative gift instead of buying one. Make a scrapbook, give a painting, or write them a song. If you are not that creative, try putting together a honeymoon kit with sunscreen, etc. Or, fill a picnic basket with a blanket and a bottle of wine.
· Travel. Driving is cheaper than flying. Try renting a car and carpooling with other bridesmaids. When you arrive, chip in together for a hotel room, or try to stay locally with friends or relatives.
· Attire. Many times fabric and a seamstress are cheaper than ordering a dress. If the bride is open to it, suggest helping her shop for fabric. If you are lucky, maybe she’ll let each of the bridesmaids choose the dress design of their choice so you can have something custom made that you will wear again!
· Forfeit the manicure or hair stylist. Have a manicure party with the other bridesmaids the night before, do each other’s hair in the morning and save some dough!
The theme of the party should be based on the bride’s style and preferences. For example, if the bride enjoys going out late and having a few drinks, dance clubs and bars would make for a fun night out. However, if the bride doesn’t drink or dance, perhaps a luncheon or a night out at the bowling alley or a comedy club would suite her fancy.
As for the guest list, this should also be based on the preferences of the bride as to whether she prefers a large party of many female friends or would prefer to constrain the list to a few good friends. This will also dictate the type of party being thrown.
Many times, the bachelorette party involves food! This could be at a restaurant or at someone’s house, if anyone feels adventurous enough to make food! Usually it is nice if someone makes a toast to the bride, and sometimes after eating a few gifts are exchanged, such as lingerie or clothes. Each guest can bring one gift, or a pool of money can be donated for a large item instead. It usually depends on how many guests are attending.
After eating, the theme of the party goes on. Some ideas for a day or night out include:
Some form of sports activity (rock climbing, miniature golf, paintball, volleyball, etc.)
Arcades center (pool, pinball machines, etc.)
Heading out to clubs and bars
Staying in for a slumber party, complete with popcorn, movies, and painting toenails
Some ways to stay safe include:
Consider hiring a limo if everyone is planning to drink, so nobody worries about driving
If traveling a far distance, find a hotel to stay the night, and drive back the next day
Always stick together, particularly if not everyone is familiar with the area
And be sure to have a great time!
If you spent a mint on it and need to recover some of the costs, try selling it on a website like E-bay. Or, you could also bring it to a local consignment shop. Usually, it is fair to ask for about half of what you paid for it originally.
If the color is halfway decent, it can be pretty simple to adjust the style to suit your tastes. Maybe take up the length, or take off the sleeves. Having it altered to your liking can make this dress wearable again.
When you tried the dress on, did you think, “Gee, this looks like my sofa”? Or worse—your grandmother’s sofa! If so, why not use the fabric for throw pillows or curtains to add some color to your house.
If you are stuck with old bridesmaid dresses, it’s likely many of your friends are, too. Have a party and make it a requirement that everyone wear their worst-ever bridesmaid dress. If you are really daring, you could rent a limo bus and take your entourage out on the town for an evening of laughs.
Do you have a young cousin, niece, daughter, etc. that likes to play “dress-up”? If so, that pink, puffy gown could be the dress of her dreams. Pass it onto her to ensure many more uses of the dress.
If you are feeling generous, donate the gown to Goodwill or another place in your neighborhood that takes clothing donations.
If the dress is so terribly horrendous that you can’t bare to be seen with it again, and you can’t sell it, wear it, use it, commemorate it, save it, or offer it, your only option is to toss it and be done with it!
Determine your involvement
Will you be helping the bride on the wedding day only? Or, will you be involved in planning showers and other pre-wedding parties? Talk with the bride and discuss your availability with her. Agree on what you will and won’t be helping with.
Pre-wedding—Helping the bride
If you would like to be involved throughout the planning process:
· Talk to the bridesmaids and see if they need help throwing showers or a bachelorette party
· See if the bride needs help shopping for anything, or could use extra help getting the invitations ready to go.
· Find out what activities the bride would like you to attend. Perhaps she’d like you to be there for everything—the shower, the bachelorette party, the bridal luncheon and the rehearsal dinner.
For the Wedding Day
· Think of things the bride and the wedding party might need that they won’t have time to get for themselves. For example, bring along some bottled water and snacks. They may get hungry!
· Bring a sewing kit and an extra pair of men’s black socks. (At least one groomsman will forget his socks!) See the “emergency” items checklist on this website to get some more ideas of items you can have handy for the wedding party.
· Get a “wedding day schedule” from the bride so you know where she is supposed to be at all times. She will probably not want to keep track of time herself and may forget that she needs to take pictures at 1:00!
· Help the bride get dressed, go to the restroom, and be available for whatever she needs to be ready to walk down the aisle.
· Be the lookout. If you need to get the bride out of the dressing room and she doesn’t want to see the groom, make sure and check around the corner to make sure he is nowhere in site!
· Stick to the bride like glue. If you are with her, she doesn’t have to go looking for you if she needs something.
After the ceremony
· Make sure the guests get their bubbles or birdseed as they leave the ceremony site.
· Do a walk-thru of the ceremony site. Make sure and grab anything that was left behind in the dressing rooms or throughout the ceremony site and bring it to the reception site.
· Don’t forget to bring the guest book from the ceremony site to the reception site.
· Hang out for a while and make sure everyone has correct directions and/or a ride to the reception.
After you arrive at the reception site, make sure the bride doesn’t need anything else from you (except maybe some help in the restroom throughout the evening), and enjoy the night!