DIY

Brace yourself. We’re getting a little sentimental—but in the best way. We can’t help sharing some of our favorite quotes and sayings that are perfect for signs at your wedding or anywhere else you might want to add an extra, personal touch.

Wedding signage ideas and inspirational quotes.1
Wedding signage ideas and inspirational quotes.14
Wedding signage ideas and inspirational quotes.2

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Our November Holiday catalog featured papercraft and garlands from master crafter Laurie Cinotto. We shared a step-by-step tutorial on The Thread on creating these crafts with a holiday theme, but any number of colors or mix of patterns will work for this project, which makes it perfect for weddings with a little DIY flair. Drape the garlands anywhere or strew the paper balls on your various tables for endless possibilities that add a personalized touch. 

DIY garland and paper crafts for wedding décor.

DIY garland and paper crafts for wedding décor.

DIY garland and paper crafts for wedding décor.

Our thanks again to Laurie for sharing this project and her crafterly magic! See even more inspiration and ideas, and get info about commissions and ordering her DIY Beautiful Paper Flowers book, over at Laurie Cinotto Art + Craft.

Jeff Powell

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Today, we bring you another awesome favor idea, one that our marketing manager actually received at a wedding this summer: a CD of love songs, carefully selected by the happy couple. We love this unique and personal idea!

Hero

Sara and Kambiz created a mix of both romantic love songs and all-around happy songs, including those they played for their walks down the aisle and their first dance. They also designed the CD face and cover (so cute!) and printed guests’ names and table numbers on one side, so it doubled as a seating chart. Brilliant, right?

Below is a selection of songs from their CD to inspire your wedding music, your version of the CD favor or even just some afternoon listening! Enjoy!

“Best Days” – Eric Hutchinson

“Lovely Day” – Maroon 5 ft. Bill Withers

“You Are the Best Thing” – Ray LaMontagne

“On Top of the World” – Imagine Dragons

“The One I Love” – David Gray

“Sweet Pea” – Amos Lee

“I Won’t Let You Go” – James Morrison

“Turning Page” – Sleeping at Last

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Homemade favors are some of our favorites to receive at weddings–especially when they involve food! A few standouts from a quick poll of our wedding team: caramels, seafood seasoning, granola, s’mores kits, honey and even salsa! YUM.

HeroWe were inspired by the delicious-looking strawberry-rhubarb jam from Caroline and Jason’s wedding, so we asked Caroline to give us her recipe. Read on below and try it yourself.

INGREDIENTS (makes 20 4-ounce jars)

4 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 cups white sugar
4 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, halved
1/4 cup lemon juice
20 4-ounce canning jars with lids and rings (sterilized in boiling water for at least 5 minutes)

STEPS

1. Mix rhubarb and sugar in a large, heavy pot and let stand for 2 hours; stir in strawberries and lemon juice.

2. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Lower heat to medium-high and cook jam at a full rolling boil until thickened, stirring often to prevent scorching, for 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and stir for 2 to 3 more minutes. Skim off any foam.

4. Pack the jam into the sterilized jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the top. Then run a knife or a thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims to remove any food residue. Top with lids and screw on rings.

5. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring water to a boil.

6. Carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2-inch space between the jars. Water level should be at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Pour in more water if necessary to cover.

7. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot with a lid and process for 10 minutes.

8. Remove the jars from the pot and place several inches apart on a cloth-covered or wood surface. Let jars stand on wire racks for 24 hours to cool and seal.

9. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all).

Then, decorate however you wish! Tie with twine or ribbon and add a card, place a sticker on the top of the jar or wrap in tissue. Write names and table numbers on jars to double as a seating chart and favor!

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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!

HeroFor 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,

Cara

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Call me crazy, but I decided I’m going to do all my wedding flowers on my own. Stressful? Maybe. Fun? Yes, I think so!

At one point, I considered using a professional florist or getting premade bouquets from a farmer’s market, but I’ve also been trying to find ways to cut costs. After a little research, it was clear that buying fresh-cut flowers in bulk is much cheaper, and arranging bouquets can be pretty simple.

A local flower guide snapped from a Seattle magazine inspired me to make my own arrangements.

I don’t have specific color preferences; I want all kinds of bright, summery flowers, like dahlias, anemones, gladiolas and zinnias. I found out that there’s a farm right next to our wedding venue that sells bulk blooms all summer, so I’m working with them on what will be available at the time of our wedding.

Pretty dahlias in bulk from a local farm, via Pacific Horticulture.

Then I thought, if I’m going DIY, I might as well REALLY go for it and grow some flowers myself! So I bought a few bags of bulbs at Costco and planted them last weekend in containers on our deck. Hopefully, they’ll add some color to our house, and then we can harvest in time for the wedding. (P.S. If you go to Costco, I dare you to not spend an hour looking at all the pretty color combos and flower choices! I had to be dragged away.)

Nothing says SPRING like planting flowers in the sun!

There are great resources online for how to create bouquets and other decorative arrangements. My favorite is the Cali-based duo Wedding Chicks. The whole wedding site is gorgeous and addictive! In one section, they share “Bouquet Recipes,” with beautiful images, names of every flower used (so helpful!), and easy-to-follow instructions.

Amy, one of the chicks, said, “We decided to create Bouquet Recipes as a segment to help brides identify the flowers that they love. It’s also meant to inspire brides for their own bouquets, whether they hire a professional or choose DIY.” She also made a great point to me about DIY: “We would suggest testing your skills a few times before the big day to make sure you can achieve the desired result and look!”

Peach bouquet via Wedding Chicks with amaryllises, peonies and much more.

Fortunately, I won’t truly be doing it on my own. I’ll be recruiting my mom, mother-in-law, sister and bridesmaids to help. I actually can’t think of anything more fun than sitting in the sun with my girls, sipping sangria and arranging bouquets!

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