Monday, May 20, 2013

Wedding DIY

So now that you've seen some of our splurges, tonight I'm talking about some of the more budget friendly DIY projects from our wedding.

Cocktail hour decorations
I mentioned in my last posts that our wedding incorporated a lot of ferns - so it's probably not a huge surprise that terrariums are right up my alley. In the year leading up to the wedding my parents helped me collect and house a collection of glass jars of various sizes/shapes. The last weekend we were able to visit before the wedding was Memorial Day 2012, and a full morning was spent picking and buying terrarium plants, laying out all the supplies on the front porch, and assembling the terrariums (what's the plural of terrarium?) By July, some of the plants had died, while others were flourishing, so there was some tweaking the week before the wedding. The terrariums were displayed on the high top tables and fireplace mantel in the cocktail hour/bar area.
This terrarium is looking a little foggy. We had round tops custom cut at our local hardware store.
The terrariums were a fun gift to give to my friends at the end of the night. We obviously couldn't transport them back to Texas with us. Fun fact: my Dad has been totally turned on to terrarium making now! Actually, my grandfather had a moss terrarium in an old square fish tank back in the day, so I guess it runs in the family.

Ok. I'll be honest with you - in the beginning of our planning I had little to no inspiration for favors. I just couldn't come up with the perfect thing. It finally clicked at some point the Spring before the wedding. I've mentioned before that while our families are in Philly and our wedding was back east, we're currently living in Texas. We wanted to bring a little bit of Texas to our guests. So, we bulk ordered 15 pounds of barbecue spice rub online and had it shipped to Philadelphia. We also ordered small business cards from with one of our engagement pictures on one side and a little note thanking our guests for coming on the other. I punched heart shaped holes in the corners while watching TV one day in early summer - definitely ended up bruising my palm from the repetitive motion of punching. Upon arriving in Philadelphia the week before the wedding, I put my parents to work, helping me take the tops off of glass jars, wash jars and lids, put lids back on and then filling the jars. After they were filled, I tied a little card on each with bakers twine which I ordered from Etsy. We ordered the spice rub before all of our RSVPs came in, so we ended up with an almost full 5 pound plastic jug of spice rub at the end - which was a perfect Christmas gift for my husband's brother-in-law.
In this picture you can also see a close up of the purple tissue paper flower napkin rings I made.

Lots of our guests wrote us after the wedding to tell us how they'd used the rub, and to find out what brand it was and where they could order some. We were really pleased with this idea, like I said above, we'd wanted to tie our current home into our wedding in some way. If you ask my father-in-law, we went above and beyond by picking a country song for our first dance. In his speech he said he was losing hope we'd ever move back after hearing that.

Cake topper
You might have already seen our cake toppers, but they were one of the DIY projects I was most excited about. I'd seen the wooden doll cake toppers on Etsy, but the prices were a little steep, so I thought I'd try my hand at them myself.
Table numbers
The last DIY project I'll tell you about today are our table numbers. The holders came from a shop on Etsy, and ended up matching really well with the birch bark vases that our florist used. I typed up the numbers on PowerPoint (not sure why, I use PowerPoint a lot for projects like this..I know there are much better programs.) Then I printed them on kraft cardstock, stamped holes with a design I picked up at Michael's and used double sided tape to attach them to larger purple cardstock.
Okay, one last picture - here's a picture of one of the reception dinner tables, so you can see everything all together:
Catch you back here soon!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Wedding detail splurges

Details posts sort of fall into two categories...the dreamed it yourself but paid someone else to do it category, and the did it yourself category. I suppose there might be some things that land in the middle...

At any rate, today's post will cover the paid someone else to do it category. First up is our card box. I lucked out in that we dragged our feet from the dating for a million years to marriage stage until Pinterest was around and got to take advantage of the millions of wedding pins you can find. This awesome cardbox comes with two roofs (rooves? Is there even a plural for a roof, who has more than one?) The roof for the wedding day has a slot for cards, the 'everyday' roof has no such slot. There is a hole in the side in case you want to use this as a real life bird house, but for the hefty price you pay, I don't plan to put ours outside anytime soon. This was a splurge. I loved that you could customize the colors, and the name sign with wedding date.
Now that you've seen how darn cute this birdhouse is, I'll let you know that paying someone else to make your dreams can also have a downside. I ordered our birdhouse card box in April, and it arrived at 3pm the day before the wedding. Now, you may not know me very well yet...but I'm the kind of person who can't sleep on Sunday nights because I have to keep emailing myself updates to my to do list from my phone. This darn thing about drove me mad. The UPS man who delivered it has probably never seen a more excited bunch. We heard the truck coming from down the street and my parents, bridesmaid who was staying with us, and myself starting jumping up and down and cheering. It ended up fine, but if we'd had a destination wedding it probably wouldn't have made it.

Next up is our "guest book." Let me start by saying I don't really understand guestbooks. I never know what to write in them. Do people look at their guest books after the wedding day? What does one do with a traditional guest book? Another thing you might not know about me is that I was raised Quaker. Now you probably have some questions. Yes - we had electricity and no - we didn't eat much oatmeal. Quakers are not Amish, contrary to popular belief. Anywho, Quakers do not have priests/ministers/pastors, so when Quakers get married, it is considered a self-uniting marriage. Not all states have this, but Pennsylvania does. All of the guests then sign on as witnesses, as attendees at the wedding they are agreeing to support the couple in their marriage. Thus enters the Quaker marriage certificate. My parents' certificate was hanging up in our house growing up. We didn't get married in a self-uniting ceremony, but I thought this would be a great way to bring some of my family's history into our wedding day. I found a seller on Etsy who worked with us to create the beauty below.
Purty, right? Well, one word of advice is to assign someone to man the table where people sign in, at least for the cocktail hour. Unfortunately we had someone write some joke names (Sharon Ma Balls and Richard Nibbler) on our certificate. I was pretty irritated that someone would do that...unlike a traditional guestbook, this will be on display in our home (and there was a sign explaining the significance next to it.) You don't notice unless you read through all the names, but kinda crappy nonetheless.

I'll end today's post with our cake. There is a delicious bakery near my parents' house, and I knew from the start that this would be another splurge. Their cake is to die for. We picked chocolate cake with mocha mousse for one layer and yellow cake with lemon curd for the smaller layers. It was a hit, and the fern/leaf decorations are pretty great too, right? We ended up going with fondant, and either this bakery really knows what they're doing, or people's hatred of fondant it a little overblown, because it was entirely edible and tasty. The little tree slice on the left was a mis-order - it was about half the size that the website said it would be. When I talked to their customer service they said they can't guarantee size because it's a natural product...which left me scratching my head because they have a few different sizes you can order. Luckily, being that I'm an over planner (see above note about Sunday nights), I'd asked my parents to find me a big slice of tree earlier in the spring, which my mom patiently sanded down until it had a smooth top.

Be back soon with some actual DIY projects!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wedding Detail Posts

Ok, so working in backwards order I've recapped our honeymoon, it seems only logical that I recap some of our wedding details. We planned our wedding over about 16 months (let's be real, the first few months of our engagement were just brainstorming and there was a lull in the middle when we were tired of planning.) We also planned long-distance, from about 1500 miles away. Luckily both sets of parents live less than 3 miles from the venue, which was handy for all of the things we were ordering and having delivered. I was really lucky that A. was pretty involved in the planning.

Our reception was held at a restored hilltop mansion on a local college campus. Neither of us attended the college, but A's dad works there and got us the hook up. The property backs up to the woods, so it wasn't far-fetched to adopt a woodsy tone for our decorations. Think ferns, wood, and greens with touches of purple and white/cream/ivory.

Over the next few posts I'll document the little details and the DIY projects we completed. Many of those projects ended up being boxed up and sent via U.S. Postal Service two weeks before the wedding - 100+ tissue paper flower napkin rings in a box, a very light, very big box. I wised up after fluffing 20 or so flowers and just assembled them, to be fluffed upon arrival the week before the wedding. There are lots of great pictures of our guests throughout the night with the napkin rings repurposed as corsages, boutonnieres, hair flowers, and in my Dad's case - ears.

Some other projects I saved for trips home and the week leading up to the wedding. I'm proud to say that by Wednesday of "wedding week" almost all of my projects were completed.

Stay tuned for the first Wedding posts!