So uh, better late than never, right? The DiY touches definitely made our wedding more personal and unique. More importantly, this stuff helped make it CHEAP. So here's a little rundown. Pain in the Ass and Cost Factors are both measured on a scale of 1-10, 1 being easiest/cheapest, 10 being hardest/most expensive, relatively speaking. You'll notice that nothing here rates above a difficulty of 5.
Vintage Bric-a-brac Centerpieces and Table Settings:
Pain in the Ass Factor: 5
Cost Factor: 3
Eff tasteful centerpieces. We brought together all our own vintage ceramics, borrowed a few more from family, then we picked up a few extra ones at antiques fairs and flea markets, all for under $5 each -- like the pink planter (above) and cool mini jello molds (below) which were something like $4 for a set of 6. This approach also gave us a cool opportunity to bring in decorations with special meaning. The white hobnail glass sugar bowl belonged to MC's grandma, and the colored glass toothpick holders belonged to mine.
We also borrowed some printed tablecloths from my mom, and picked up some cheap, colorful vintage table runners as well. Our venue provided white tablecloths, so we didn't have to worry about covering the whole tables, we just added some decoration. A handful of cool looking old place mats would probably have worked too.
Providing our own vintage glassware and dinnerware also added a lot of charm and decoration. Our venue had their own plates and glasses waiting behind the bar, and because of this, we didn't have to worry about having the exact right number of pieces for our guests. Which is good, because our RSVP system was loose, at best.
Of all our DiY wedding stuff, this element required the most work. It took 3 or 4 trips to the antique fair/flea market to collect all these bargain sets of cool vintage dishes and cups, and we had to load it all into the dishwasher before and after. We also had to haul this stuff to the venue and back, but that wasn't that hard. We just stacked the stuff into plastic hampers and then tried our best not to speed over any bumps in the road. And nothing got broken all night, which is probably better than my average under totally normal circumstances.
Pro-tip: vintage water goblets work great for beer!
The flowers decorating our tables came from six baskets of annuals that I bought at Home Depot for $7 each.
We also filled some of our center pieces with cool looking old timey candy from Ypsilanti's own The Rocket, like Mary Janes and Swedish Fish. Swedes FTW, once again.
Pain in the Ass Factor: 3
Cost Factor: 1-2, depending on if you can sneak by printing them for free at your work.
The process of making pennant banners is a no-brainer. You just take your paper -- whatever your theme or colors are -- cut it into triangles or flags, then fold and tape the tops over string, twine, or hemp cord. You can also hole-punch and string them, if you prefer. Either way, it's easy and you can do it in your sleep, but it is time consuming if you want a lot of them, so enlist your friends and family.
P.S. This is an awesome way to insert really specific imagery into your wedding, which, short of hanging posters, this is actually kind of hard to do.
If I had to describe the theme for our wedding, I guess I'd say it was a Swing Themed Disco Glam Rock Prom Night in Heaven. So accordingly, I made our pennants from color print-outs of covers from vintage sheet music and 70's/80's album covers.
We also cut our pennants out from a stack of old comic books we picked up at a flea market, and photocopied sheet music notation that we "aged" with coffee. :)
Vintage Sheet Music Banners:
Pain in the Ass Factor: 2
Cost Factor: 2
A bit more self explanatory, MC and I also collected some actual vintage sheet music, which was pretty dang cheap ($1-$3 each). When you start looking for these, you soon realize there are piles of them all over flea markets, garage sales, thrift shops, and antique stores. We just punched some little holes in the tops and strung them up with a knot at each hole. Scotch Tape the spot you're about to hole-punch if you're afraid the paper won't hold up.
Long Stem Bouquet Flowers from the Grocery Store:
Pain in the Ass Factor: 3
Cost Factor: 2
Margaret and I hit Kroger the day before the wedding and bought like 10 bouquets of multicolored roses and a smattering of daisies. The bouquets were each originally priced at $7.99, but most of them were on clearance for $1.99. We used pretty vintage ribbon (which I already owned, some admittedly saved from gifts given long ago, à la my Depression-bred grandma) to create bouquets for me and my ladies, then we dissolved all the Flower Food that came with them into a big metal bowl, stuck the bouquets in there, and stored them in the fridge until the next day. The whole bouquet making process took about an hour and a half.
Unnecessary Place cards:
Pain in the Ass Factor: 4
Cost Factor: 2
We did not have assigned seating. Far from it. But I found this bag full of vintage 1920's dance cards, place cards, and score cards at a random flea market for $18, and dang if they weren't too awesome to pass up. So my mom helped me write a message on them that extra glasses and plates could be found at the bar (that's her awesomely hardcore chicken scratch pictured above), and we placed a couple of them on every table.
Clearly, if you are similarly inspired, you can probably find cool images like these on the internet, print them on cardstock, and cut them out. To make the stands, we took a spool of steel wire, cut a length that I do not remember at all (12 in.?), and used needle-nosed pliers to make a concentric circle at either end, at 90 degree angles.
Then we weighted the bottoms of them with anything and everything that seemed like fun. Junk jewelry. Matchbox cars. Shoe clips I got in a box of odds and ends at an estate sale 6 years ago. We secured some with ribbon, and I hot glued quarters to the bottom of the shoe clips, because we discovered they weren't actually heavy enough to weight the bottoms of the stands.
We finished all of the stands while re-watching Escape from New York and Die Hard.
I'll post the other half next week, covering wedding favors, our vintage rings, and a couple other things. I'm still working on my next food post, and I've got some weird outfits in the hopper. But my little girl has been in non-stop cuddle mode since she walked in the door yesterday, and I'm not gonna miss a second of it, so I gotta go. See you Monday.