Bride-to-be Cara talks through her DIY wedding decor projects and shares a few hard-earned tips!
I have a love-hate relationship with DIY projects. On one hand, whenever I see certain home decor, accessories, and sometimes even clothes, I think “how could I make that?” and I usually try to find a way. But I also tend to get stressed by big projects and then become regretful that I took them on.
Because I’m a bride on a budget, I haven’t had the luxury of buying or paying someone else to make things. We’re also trying to be eco-friendly, meaning re-using as many materials as we can. This all made for some interesting DIY projects! Here a few things I chose to source or make myself (and a sneak peek at a few of them!)
Invitations: My super-talented mom drew our invitation design by hand (just doodling one day!) We then scanned it to a digital format and added text. After a local shop printed them, we embossed little red hearts onto each one and addressed the envelopes by hand. This was one of the more time-consuming DIY projects, but I think it’s so special that they were designed for and made by us.
Tablecloths & Glasses: Instead of renting through our caterer we bought canvas drop-cloths (the kind painters use) from the hardware store. They have great color, texture, and can be re-used. We also found an amazing deal on Ball® mason jars which we’ll use for drinking glasses and can sell or use for projects after the wedding. It took a bit of time to find everything, but in the end it was a cost-saver and has a unique look.
Napkins: I wanted to add color to our neutral tables and searched everywhere for vintage napkins, but had no luck. So I decided to buy fabric and cut my own colorful, patterned napkins. I’m still working on the finishing touches, but I found this great tutorial on The Sweetest Occasion that looks pretty easy–I’m all for no-sew projects! (This might be one of those things I can’t squeeze in at the last minute, but for now a bride-to-be can hope!)
Signage: I started making signs after lots of Pinterest inspiration. My parents have old wood in their backyard from various projects so I found some broken boards, spray painted them gold, and wrote directional signs.
I looked online for how to DIY calligraphy and found easy tricks to make it look semi-professional! (Hint: Make every down-stroke thicker.) I used chalk pastels, which are much easier to control than paint brushes. I learned this the hard way!
My dad also created a welcome sign out of some old fence board. I wrote the text in pencil and then he burned the text into it with a wood-burning tool. I love this one!
For signs with more text, like the menu, I used black chalkboard spray paint on foam-core poster board. After writing on them again with (the amazing) chalk pastels I attached the boards to some old ornate frames I’ve had for years, originally from Goodwill or garage sales. (Good ‘ol vintage shopping!)
Table Décor: We found thin branches from fallen trees in our neighborhood, stripped the bark, and then painted them gold as well. These will line the middle of the tables along with succulents from our garden. There’s a gold and neutral wood theme going on…if you can’t tell! I’m calling it “forest glam.” Ha!
After all this, I have a few tips that are worth sharing for future DIYers:
Research. Don’t just jump into projects! First plan out how you’re going to go about it. (I am NOT good at this. I always impulsively try something and then become frustrated when it doesn’t work!) There are so many great resources online just by Googling things like “how to make a garland” or “how to use chalkboard paint.”
Recruit helpers. Ask friends and family for help! Often they want to find a way to be involved in your wedding planning and have different skill sets to offer. I am so grateful to my extremely artistic mother for leading many of these projects and helping me figure out how to make my ideas a reality. And to my talented and hard-working dad for building all of the things I couldn’t. (He’s working on an arbor now. Yes, an arbor!)
Keep your expectations low. Seriously! Nothing is going to be perfect, so just know that going into it. It’s better to be pleasantly surprised.
Overall, I’m glad we went the DIY route–we did save money (not time) and I’m really proud of what we’ve made! Just a few more projects to finish up before the big day (3 weeks to go)!
Until next time,