Archive | RG Wedding RSS feed for this section

Resourceful Bride: 3 Gifts Your Bridesmaids Will Actually Use

Choosing the right gifts for your bridesmaids can be a difficult task. You want to say “thanks for all of your help and support” but you are also keeping an eye on that wedding budget. When thinking about bridal party gifts, keep in mind that these amazing friends and family members are also putting money out for your big day. Whether it’s a dress, or travel and transportation, being a part of a bridal party can mean spending a lot of money. This is why I prefer gifts that can be used at the wedding to help save your bridal party some cash.

Below are 3 of my favorite useful bridesmaids gifts:

2013-10-07- http:-www.flickr.com-photos-ecokaren-RGKarenleelacenecklace.jpg

Photo by Karen Lee

1. Jewelry
Most women have a fairly extensive collection of jewelry, but a majority of it is typically every day wear pieces. With your bridesmaids spending money on their dresses, among other things, they could probably use a break on looking for fancy jewelry. This is also an opportunity to personalize jewelry or to look for some really unique tie-ins to your wedding colors or theme. With websites such as Etsy, you can find unique handmade pieces for a bargain.

2. Makeup

If you are on a tight budget or if you have having a small informal wedding, you might not hire someone to do hair and makeup for your bridesmaids. One easy way to manage this is by ordering a few staple makeup items or a makeup kit for each of your girls. It is important to buy some quality products for them they would like to use over and over. Companies like Sephora package makeup kits with really great essentials for much less than if you were to buy each item individually. If your bridesmaids are hesitant on using makeup, have a pre-makeup party before your rehearsal dinner so that your savvier makeup ladies can pass on their knowledge.

3. Shoes

As with most formal occasions, shoes are really important at your wedding. They can also be costly. I have heard many brides simply tell their bridesmaids a color and allow them to purchase shoes on their own. If you are looking for more uniformity or if you just want to pitch in for the wedding outfit, you can offer to buy wedding shoes for all of your bridesmaids. One way to make this simple is buy giving gift certificates to an online retailer (such as Zappos) or to have a shopping day with your gal pals in tow.

Etiquette Tip: It is a great idea to pay for your bridesmaid gowns, if possible, but do not count this as your gift. A gift should be something that these women could use again and that shows your appreciation, not something they will only use on your wedding day.

Resourceful Bride: How to Book Your Venue

Image by KatieLips

Image by KatieLips

So, you looked at a few venues online and you have bookmarked a few of your favorites. You think you know where you want to get married, but how do you get the ball rolling? Who do you contact? How should you prepare for an event space walk-through? Below, I answer these questions and more:

How should I contact a venue and what should I say?

Most websites will give you an option to either email, fill out an information request form or ask you to call for information. Whichever avenue you choose, make sure you leave the following information for the rentals coordinator:

  • Your name and number
  • The date and time of your event (leave multiple dates if you haven’t decided yet)
  • The estimated number of guests
  • The space or spaces that most interest you
  • An email address (to ensure that you don’t wind up in a game of phone tag)

Once I get a hold of someone, what should I ask?

After giving the venue your basic information, you will want to find out about any costs or restrictions that would prevent you from booking your event in that space. You don’t want to waste your time visiting venues that have too many costs or rules, so I suggest asking the following:

  • What is the capacity of the space?
  •  Will I be required to use any exclusive vendors and, if so, how can I get a quote from them?
  • Am I required to purchase insurance for the event?
  • What kinds of restrictions are there on decorations? (i.e. candles)
  • Are there any restrictions on guest attire? (some country clubs have strict rules, and -believe it or not, a few places will not allow high heels)
  • What is the cost to rent the space and are there any other additional costs to hosting an event there?
  • Would I be able to have a rehearsal here the night before and is there an additional cost?
  • When can I come in to look at the space?

What do I look for when I visit the space? 

                                                                                                                                                       
It’s easy to get swept away when walking through events spaces, but make sure you are paying attention to some crucial details. Be sure to ask yourself these questions as you go on your tour:

  • Where are the bathrooms and are they accessible?
  • Can all of my guests fit comfortably in this space?
  • Is the location easy find?
  • Is there parking?
  • Does it look like the venue is well cared for? (if the venue is messy the day of your visit, chances it it could be messy on the day of your event)
  • Can you easily fit all of your vendors? (band, DJ, Photo booth, caterer, etc.)
  • Most importantly, can you see yourself getting married at this venue?

I loved it! Now what?
Congratulations! You have found the wedding venue of your dreams! Ask the rental coordinator to send you a contract and read it closely. Look for any red flags or hidden costs. It is okay to question something in the contract or ask for something to be added. Once you have finalized the contract, you will typically have to secure your reservation with a deposit. This can vary, but it is often around a third of your venue cost. Also, discuss with your venue whether or not you will be able to walk-through the site with your wedding planner or MOH at a future date. If a venue does not seem accommodating from the start, you may want to move onto another venue to find somewhere that will truly partner with you on your big day.

Resourceful Bride: Choosing the Shoe That’s Right For You

For the bride who spends her work days in clogs or flats or the tomboy bride who hasn’t worn high heels since Junior Prom, choosing footwear for your wedding day can feel a bit overwhelming. Walking into a shoe store or searching online can provide you with dozens of options, but how do you know which shoe is best for you?

Below I have provided some favorite shoe options and the personality traits that they embody:

The Sweet Bride

Sweet Bride

Photo by HousingWorksPhotos

Wear these shoes if…

You want to wear heels, but you are worried about appearing too sexy in them.

What to look for:

Heels lower than 3 inches

Heels with bows OR with lace

Heels with a neutral or accent color without busy patterns

Vintage heels

The Classic Bride

 DSC_0325

Photo by Allison Hare

Wear these shoes if…

Your top priority is having a traditional and elegant wedding.

What to look for:

Heels lower than 4 inches

White, Ivory or champagne in color

Simple details

The Fun & Funky Bride

 fun & funky bride

Photo by David Sedlmayer

Wear these shoes if…

Your top priority is to have fun and party all night!

What to look for:

A unique color, pattern, or shape

Heels any height, as long as you can dance in them

The Sexy Bride

 Sexy Bride

Photo by xubbangwen

Wear these shoes if…

You want to turn heads and have all eyes on you on your wedding day.

What to look for:

Heels 4 inches or higher

Sexy straps or a well-placed bow

Peep toes

A pop of color or shimmer

The Laidback Bride

 Laidback Bride

Photo by Molly Germain

Wear these shoes if…

You are getting married on a farm or in a garden and you just want to relax on your wedding day.

What to look for:

Cowboy boots

Simple flats, something in a darker color so they won’t get dirty

Above all else, remember that your wedding day is about you. Whether you want to feel like a movie star, a cowgirl or a queen, it is all about having confidence- and the right shoe can certainly help with that.

4 Reasons to be Happy About Exclusive Catering

catering

For most couples, the cost of catering a wedding is daunting.  With costs ranging from $50-$300 per person, many couples have started to seek alternatives to caterers such as booking a restaurant, hiring a part-time caterer,  or having friends chip in to make the dinner and desserts. For those who want a traditional sit down dinner, however, I am a huge fan of in-house or exclusive catering at wedding venues, and here are some reasons why:

1. Professionalism:  An experienced catering staff knows when to be out of sight, when to be polite (always), and when to bring on more food. Bringing in an outside caterer might sound appealing, but in-house and exclusive caterers know the ropes. The catering director will ensure that there are enough people on staff to serve your guests at all times. They know where to set up for prep so that they out of the way of guests, they understand the etiquette of working a large formal event, and most importantly, they know which restrooms to send your guests to.

2. Liability: In-house caterers are insured and often hold a liquor license. When thinking about hiring a part-time caterer, this is one cost that might not have crossed your mind. Catering directors or managers are often on-hand at your event, in case something goes awry. They are familiar with all of the safety techniques behind serving food and they will ensure that your event is up to snuff.

3. Choice: You may think that having an in-house caterer means limiting your cuisine choices, but you are dead wrong. Most venues have skilled chefs on staff that would be willing to tweak your menu any way that you would like. I have eaten delicious traditional Italian food and delectable authentic Mexican food, all from the same vendor.  Be sure to inform your caterer of your food choices before the tasting appointment, so that you can try out your specialty items before the big day. Another important thing to consider is that in-house caterers will often provide cocktail hour and dessert options, often included in your cost per person.

4. Quality: Catering a large formal event is very different than cooking in a restaurant. It takes a lot of skill and practice to mass produce your 3 or 4 entrée options without letting some diners go hungry or letting other plates get cold. An in-house caterer knows the kitchen, with all of its quirks and limitations. You do not want to wait an hour between your salad and first course because someone in the back doesn’t know how to use the oven.  I have seen beautiful restaurant quality dishes at many weddings, and I would not hesitate one minute to hire an in-house caterer for my next formal event.

While in-house or exclusive caterers often seem pricey, their professionalism, experience, and quality cannot be matched by someone who is inexperienced at catering weddings. Of course, as with any of your vendors, you should always get to know your caterer and all that they can provide to you on your big day.

 

Above image by: Heather Katsoulis

 

Resourceful Bride: Make It Work Moments

The dress has been purchased, the colors are set, the invitations have been sent, and the DJ has been contracted. Just as you start to relax, it happens…

Every bride has been there, that moment when something goes very wrong. It is at that moment when you decide to either let it break you or you make it work.

Below I share some of my favorite Make It Work Moments;

RG- becky bling

The One Armed Bride

A few weeks ago, I attended a beautiful wedding in a historic catholic church with all the trimmings of a traditional ceremony, but for one small difference: the bride was in an arm cast.

The issue: A few weeks before the wedding Becky,the bride, was preparing food for a birthday party, and cut her hand. The cut was so bad that she required surgery to repair the tendon. Needless to say, she was going to need a quite a few weeks to recover. This meant that she was going to have to walk down the aisle with a giant cast on her arm.

Make It Work Moment: Becky’s colors were purple and silver, with moments of bling throughout the wedding. Instead of freaking out over an ugly cast, she decided to bling it up! As seen in the picture above, Becky added large silver gems to her cast, which completely went with her wedding theme. There was still one issue, her fingers were so sore on the day of the wedding that there was no way her hubby could place a ring on her finger. Instead of stressing out, Becky grabbed the nearest silver chain necklace and the groom placed the ring around her neck for a truly special ceremony moment.

The Great Cake Delay

North Jersey has some of the best Italian Bakeries around, which means that they provide a lot of weddings cakes to brides in the area. One bride that I know was so excited to order from her favorite bakery that she paid extra for it to be delivered to a venue over 3 hours away.

The issue: The cake was set to arrive at the venue around 11:00am the morning of the wedding- plenty of time for the cake to be carefully put in its place, that is, until the van breaks down. The bride gets a call at 11:20am; apparently the delivery person is still two hours away and awaiting a tow truck. He is nervous about the cake and is trying to get someone else from the bakery to meet him so that they can deliver it ASAP.

Make It Work Moment:  It is 12:30pm and she has not heard from the delivery person in quite some time, the ceremony is about to begin.  Just a few moments before walking down the aisle, a clever bridesmaid sends her boyfriend with the wedding coordinator to pick up as many Krispy Krème donuts as they could carry. The bride and groom are big fans of the doughnut chain, so it seemed like a great idea. The coordinator starts to build a mountain of the doughnuts, topped with some pretty flowers,  while the couple says their “I Dos”. When everyone arrives to the reception, the doughnut cake is all the rage with the guests and the bride is smiling from ear to ear.  When the cake finally arrives an hour later, hardly anyone notices its tardiness.

A Heatwave in September

September can be a tricky month for weddings. Early September is very risky, and mid-September can mean the occasional warm day. What is not expected during a mid-September wedding is an all-out heat wave.  

The Issue: Fall was their favorite time of the year and the couple decided to get married in an old rustic church amongst 80 of their closest friends and family members. The problem was, the church did not have air conditioning and the Philadelphia area was experiencing an unprecedented heat wave. The temperature had reached 92 degrees the day before the wedding, and panic started to set in.

Make it Work Moment:  After a scorching wedding rehearsal the bride and bridesmaids went into problem solving mode. They went to the closest home improvement store, bought 2 large industrial sized fans and 4 cases of bottled water. They divided up the water and everyone stashed a case in their freezer to set over night.  In addition to the home improvement store, they stopped by the craft store and found a plethora of fancy hand fans that they could provide to the female guests as they entered the building. That morning, guests were encouraged to take a bottle of frozen water and fan themselves in style. While the wedding was certainly warm, guests appreciated the extra thought that the couple had put into their comfort.

Have you witnessed a Make It Work Moment at a wedding? We would love to hear about it in our comments section below!

Breathtaking Philadelphia Ceremony Venues for $350

Sphinx Wedding

Back in the day, if you didn’t want to get married in a church your options were pretty much limited to: city hall, an old firehouse, a cookie cutter hotel, or maybe a park.

Now, with a little creativity and an open mind, your low budget wedding could end up in a breathtaking event space.

Below I have highlighted some of my favorite event spaces in Philadelphia that are incredibly unique, accommodating, and very inexpensive to rent for your wedding ceremony;

 

Philadelphia Magic Gardens

Why you should rent this space: You should consider renting Philadelphia Magic Gardens (PMG) if you are looking for a truly unique and fantastical environment to say “I Do”. PMG is a staple in the Philadelphia art community as an incredible evolving folk art piece by Isaiah Zagar. It has the added bonus of being located on one of the most famous streets in the nation, South Street, which provides you and your guests will numerous post-ceremony restaurant and bar options.

Cost: $150-$350 per hour, depending on the day of the week and time of year

Capacity: 75

Pros: Aside from the obviously gorgeous pictures that you will take away from your big day, PMG will provide you with seating and tables as needed.

Cons: Parking is definitely difficult in this area, and PMG does not have a parking lot. There are however, numerous options for public transportation and South Street is a hub for taxi cabs. Also, if you are expecting over 50 guests and you want to serve refreshments, you must use their exclusive catering partner.

Contact:  http://www.phillymagicgardens.org/private/quote

Penn Museum

Why you should rent this space:

Penn museum is without a doubt, one of the most gorgeous and versatile places to say your vows in all of Philadelphia. If you want to get married next to a Sphinx (pictured above), in the stunning Chinese Rotunda, or in a simple garden ceremony, Penn Museum can make it happen.

Cost: Typically, Penn Museum is not the most budget- friendly of spaces to rent; however, they have rolled out a new Weddings: Simple and Sweet package, that will make your jaw drop.

For only $350, the museum will provide you with your choice of a unique space, chairs and a sound system.

Capacity: 25

Pros: On top of getting married in your choice of gorgeous rental spaces, Penn Museum is working on partnering with local restaurants to provide budget friendly options for reception dinners. This package provides all the necessities to make your ceremony happen.

Cons: This package is only offered on weekdays during museum business hours. Also, the capacity is small, as this option is truly meant as an alternative to city hall.

Contact:  rentals@pennmuseum.org  (215) 898-3024

American Swedish Historical Museum

Why you should rent this space:

If you are looking to make a grand entrance into your ceremony, look no further that the ASHM Grand Hall. The staircase is nothing short of incredible. If you are looking for a more intimate setting, take a look at one of their many exhibit spaces that are also available to rent.

Cost: $350 per hour, they are also quite inexpensive for all day rentals

Capacity: varies

Pros: Parking is free and included! They are adjacent to a public park, and therefore, noise restrictions are a non-factor. Their rentals fee for 5 hours is only $1500, so you could continue the festivities out on their grand lawn or any of their other spaces. They have multiple exclusive caterers to choose from and they can provide tables and chairs.

Cons: As with any museum, you cannot control what exhibits might be on display at the time of your nuptials, but if you are not picky this shouldn’t be a huge deal. I suggest meeting with the museum staff well ahead of time to see what they have scheduled to happen in the museum during your event.

Contact: info@americanswedish.org 215.389.1776

As an events manager and blogger in Philadelphia, I have been exposed to some pretty amazing event spaces. I know for certain that many museums, art galleries, and theaters would jump at the opportunity at hosting a wedding. One key thing I have learned in this business is; “You don’t know what is possible until you ask”.

Hot Tip: Why pay for an officiant? Here in Pennsylvania, there is an option to obtain a “self-uniting” marriage license. This means that you can have a friend or family member tailor your ceremony without the hassle of obtaining a license. For more information on getting married in Philadelphia visit;http://secureprod.phila.gov/wills/marriagelicense.aspx

The Tale of The Short Hair Bride

short hair bride

I was not the kind of little girl who imagined herself getting married in a beautiful chapel with a long flowing gown, and to everyone who knew me, it was inevitable that I was going to be a nontraditional bride.It is more than  likely that I had spent too many hours watching Hitchcock movies when I first got it in my head that I must evoke the hair stylings of Grace Kelly on my big day.

After a few months of growing my hair out from the pixie cut that I’ve loved for the better part of a decade, I tried to convince myself that the next inch is when my hair will suddenly feel full, wavy, and elegant. Three months before the wedding, and a week before my bridal shower, I started to panic. My hair did not look glamorous, in fact, it looked weighed down and flat (the way my hair had always looked whenever I attempted to grow it more than a few inches past my jawline). In my state of panic, I decided that the cure for my long hair blues had to be a bottle of platinum blond hair dye. You can probably imagine what happened next: My flat hair had become fried and, instead of Grace Kelly, I looked more like I belonged in an 80s hair band.

I looked awful, and yet, I thought I can make this work, I attended my shower with my  long bleach blond hair and continued to pin my favorite updos onto Pinterest.

The whole wedding was nontraditional- we were getting married in a movie theatre, there would be a marching band, and my husband and I would surprise our guests with a rap performance. It was all so unique, and yet, I was still trying to convince myself that I wanted traditional bridal hair on my wedding day. The problem was, I was not buying it anymore, and after a brief discussion with my Maid of Honor, it was decided that I had to be myself.

I booked an appointment with a salon, one that did not judge me for wanting to be a short hair bride, and chopped off 7 inches of hair a mere 3 weeks before the wedding. There was no turning back.

I have to admit, I was a slightly concerned at first: What if I had made a huge mistake? Well, you know what? The morning of the wedding I felt special, beautiful, and all of the things that a bride should feel. I got married to an amazing person who loves me and, most importantly, I felt like myself while doing it.

The moral of this story is not to encourage droves of newly engaged women to chop off their hair, but to say that your wedding day should be about celebrating who you truly are. If you are a short haired girl, own it! If you have a head full of awesome curls, own it! If you have tattoos up and down your arms, own it! Whatever you do,  stay true to yourself, and you will be a beautiful bride.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Wedding Photographer

Wedding Photography can be pricey, but what is worse than a huge bill is a missed moment. Many people consider their wedding albums a priceless souvenir from the greatest day of their lives, and here I talk with Philadelphia photographer Richard Barnes about how brides can get the most out of their photographer on their wedding day.

When a bride sits down with a photographer for the first time, what are some good questions for her to ask?

“Tell me about yourself. How long have you been a photographer?” There are so many new photographers popping up out there these days that have heard how much money they can make shooting weddings. You need to be careful of that. Also, “do you have more than 1 camera?” in case something malfunctions the day of.

It’s a few weeks before the wedding, ideally, how should the bride prepare for her wedding photos?

RB: Brides often search Instagram and send me samples of photos that they want to do. It’s often possible but it requires work and cooperation on the Brides part more than the photographers. For example, if you see a photo of a Bride and Groom and the entire bridal party laughing and jumping and acting like they’re having the best time of their life….then the Bride needs to 1. Make sure her friends personalities are like that to begin with and 2. Show THEM the pictures in advance and say “this is what we are going to be doing for the pictures, please practice this”. The bride should practice posing in a mirror or with a friend just shooting some simple snapshots.

What makes for a good wedding photo?

RB: Be yourself. SMILE, BE HAPPY (I’ve seen too many couples that just don’t like to smile )

What are some tips on getting really great shots on the wedding day?

RB: Allow enough time to do everything. Cooperation and communication is key. Everyone must know the plan and not just wander off. It will go quickly and smoothly if the Bridal Party knows what is happening next.

Let’s talk makeup- what looks good and what doesn’t in photography?

RC: The wedding day is not the time to try something new. Be yourself. Don’t overdo anything (…it’s not the 80’s anymore). Less is more. Natural and elegant is in.

Finally, any general advice for our brides?

Don’t chew gum during your first dance. The wedding will start late, don’t worry about it. Someone will fight, don’t worry about it. Your shoes and/or your gown will get dirty, don’t worry about it! Don’t over think or over do anything because it will all come together at the end of the night.

barnes

Richard Barnes is a Philadelphia area photographer with 35 years of experience in the field. More of his work can be seen at www.rbarnesphotography.com

6 Wedding Hacks for Your Big Day

 

Your wedding day is going to be one of the best days of your life, follow these tips to make it that much better.

 

                       putting-on-mascara

1)      Practice your first kiss…

You and your lucky groom have probably shared a few hundred kisses by now, but, how many of those kisses were photographed in front of your closest family and friends? Let’s keep in mind here that pretty much no one looks like Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams when locking lips. You can, however, make sure that your first kiss is not awkwardly short or inappropriately long. It is also important to express to your fiancé that you would prefer not to have a squished face in your wedding photos and that maybe the two of you could have a pre-wedding smooching session (I mean, what guy would turn down a make out session with his hot fiancé?). Bring the camera and set it on a timer, so that you can make adjustments accordingly.

 

2)      Eat before the wedding…

You have probably been told over and over again that you will not have time to eat at your wedding.  I think this depends on your priorities (I certainly made time to mangia on my big day); however, a big breakfast is never a bad idea. If your wedding is at night, has an informal brunch at your Mom’s place for you and your wedding party that morning (because, when has your Mom ever passed up an opportunity to feed people?). If that’s not an option, why not book a brunch at your favorite breakfast spot? If you have a day wedding, see if the best man can bring along some bagels and cream cheese to the spot where you are getting ready. Trust me, putting some food in your belly will be worth the extra effort in case the only food you eat that day is a faceful of cake.

 

3)      Prepare a “makeup & hair” outfit…

One thing I regret from my wedding day is not wearing something nicer when I was getting my hair and makeup done. I didn’t think about all of the photographs that my old blue terry cloth robe would make its way into. Do yourself a favor and either buy a nice but comfortable zipper down dress (no pullovers, lest you want to mess up your gorgeous locks) or a fancy silk robe to wear before you step into your gown.

 

4)      Take a bottle of water…

Give your MOH a water bottle and some mints to stash somewhere as you head over to your venue. Nerves have a way of drying out your mouth and making your breath a little sour, so ask her to hand the water and mints over as the bridal party starts to line up. The last thing you want is to lose your ability to say “I Do” at the altar.

 

5)      Ask your MOH to stash some of your makeup…

If you do your wedding right, you will be drinking, dancing and having the best time of your life. While doing so, it is important that you set a time with your MOH to freshen up (i.e. re-apply deodorant, and touch up your makeup and hair). Simply ask her to pull you aside after the second course to ensure that you look radiant straight through the last dance.

 

6)      Have a basket of flats available to your guests

Placing a basket of necessities in the restroom is an age old wedding hack.  One addition to this tip is providing a basket full of black flip flops or flats in various sizes. Venues are not too crazy about Aunt Martha dancing barefoot on their sleek dance floor, and you can prevent the possibility of a fall (or fashion faux pas) by providing some inexpensive and comfy footwear to your guests.

 

Cover Image By: Paul Hagius

Resourceful Bride: What to Buy and What to DIY?

Choosing to DIY your wedding can be a great way to add personality to your big day. It’s important for DIY brides to realize that, unless you are Martha Stewart (meaning you have 5 assistants and a few million dollars in the bank), you are going to have to pick and choose the DIY projects that won’t cause you to turn into a bridezilla.

Here are a few tips on what to buy and what to DIY for your wedding;

The Dress

Image taken from RyanSeacrest.com's "Worst DIY Dresses". Don't let your wedding dress end up on the list.

Image taken from RyanSeacrest.com’s “Worst DIY Dresses”. Don’t let your wedding dress end up on the list.

DIY or Buy?

Do not DIY your dress. Do not allow your Mom or Grandmom or anyone, but Vera Wang herself, to DIY your dress. Why? Because no matter how nontraditional you are, no matter how awesome your Mom is at sewing curtains, and no matter how amazing you think a DIY dress will be- a DIY dress can be spotted a mile away, and not because the hemlines are impeccable. You shouldn’t  spend your entire life savings on a dress, however, making a dress is far too stressful and there are better ways to save a buck. Acceptable alternatives to DIYing your dress are: buying vintage and getting the dress professionally altered, buying second hand and getting the dress professionally altered, and adding DIY pieces to your store bought wedding attire (i.e. veil, jewelry, sash- pretty much anything EXCEPT for the dress).

The Cake

Krispy Kreme wedding cake? Hell yes.

Krispy Kreme wedding cake? Hell yes.

DIY or Buy?

Because I work in the events industry, I have heard some real DIY horror stories, and none are worse than when the cake goes wrong. Unlike the dress, however, I do believe that a DIY cake can work. This is not to say that you should take your wedding as an opportunity to “figure out” fondant. Instead, think about how you might be able to express yourself in a cake-like fashion. I am a big fan of cupcake towers, Krispy Kreme donut mountains, or how about a cookie bar that goes as far as the eye can see? When it comes to wedding cake alternatives, the world is your ice cream bar.

The Flowers

wedding flowers

I purchased my dried wedding bouquets from Etsy user CherubinoCrafts, and I was absolutely thrilled with how they came out. Photo by Love, Sylvia Photography

DIY or Buy?

If you are a bride on a budget, flowers can become the bane of your existence. They are fragile, not eco-friendly, and they cost a TON of money. I have some friends who had good luck buying flowers from a bulk store and arranging them a couple of days before the wedding, but that requires putting faith in a lot of unknown factors. If you are a bride that will freak out two days before the wedding because your perfectly pink azaleas wilted while being flown across the country, then DO NOT DIY your arrangements. If you are like me, and you could care less about having fresh flowers, you can easily order some gorgeous dried bouquets on Etsy for you and your bridesmaids and brainstorm some unique centerpiece alternatives.

The Favors

Adorable seed vials from Etsy user: AproposRoasters

Adorable seed vials from Etsy user: AproposRoasters

DIY or Buy?

Some wedding professionals say that favors are a complete waste of money and that half of your guests will probably leave them behind at the end of the night. Well, they may be right, but darned if I don’t love a creative party favor! Let’s face it, jordan almonds are gross, and there are a million other  ways that you can creatively capture your wedding theme in a small, yet unique, favor. Etsy is full of some clever ideas, one of my favorites being the seed vials pictured above.

All told, DIYing can really enhance your wedding experience, just don’t let it get overwhelming, and remember to ask for help- after all, bridesmaids should do more than just sit around looking pretty in taffeta.

20130906-204901.jpg

DIYing your centerpieces and favors can give you the perfect opportunity to really personalize your wedding, but be careful not to overwhelm or underwhelm your space.