Cheap 'n' Quirky Wedding

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The Bouquet Toss November 19, 2011

Filed under: flowers — clln @ 4:25 am
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As I was signing into WordPress the other day, I saw a Freshly Pressed blog about the ridiculousness of the bouquet toss by Girl on the Contrary. She’s right, the toss is pretty ridiculous, hair has been ripped out in the name of bouquets. I did the bouquet toss at my wedding; I had a few eager friends who were anticipating it and I had some family members not take kindly to other attempts at the non-traditional (did I ever blog about the favor fiasco?) The only change I made to the bouquet/garter toss was to not force the two catchers have any contact with each other (no dance, no putting the garter on the woman’s leg, no awkwardness.) I wish I’d thought about it a little bit more.

It seemed like the bouquet toss just had to happen so I never thought of alternatives, but there were some amazing ones suggested in the comments section of Girl on the Contrary’s post. Here’s a few of my favorites:

1. Call the single ladies up to the dance floor and give them each a shot. Cheers to being single!

2. Give the bouquet to a woman who means a lot to you. You could make it a big deal by giving a little speech about why you’re giving the bouquet to this woman, thanking her for all she’s done, why you love her so much, etc. etc. Or you could be discreet and just take a private moment to give it to her (though that’s very hard to do at a wedding, you will be pulled in different directions all night.)

3. Just don’t do it! Tell the DJ you don’t want it,(s)he won’t announce it, and I’ll bet most guests won’t even notice it’s not happening until after the reception is over (except for the keeners who planned on poking other women’s eyes out to get closer to the bouquet.) Most of the guests don’t like it anyway. This way you can keep your bouquet if you want to dry it or whatever people do with their old bouquets.

If you met your fiancé at a wedding after you caught the bouquet and he caught the garter, I expect that you’ll keep the tradition alive at your wedding and that’s just fine. But if you’re questioning it, you’re not alone. There’s no wedding law that says you have to throw your bouquet, so remember that the choice is yours. If you do throw your bouquet, make sure you tell your photographer to get good shots of it. One of my favorite photos of my wedding is of the bouquet toss where the bouquet had landed on my friend W’s feet while she stared at it in disgust and my husband’s cousin M ran away. The photo literally shows her running away. It’s a classic and it shows you that no one really wants to catch the bouquet, they won’t miss it if you omit it.


Paper Carnations December 9, 2010

I love carnations and I love paper flowers. Combine the two and you clearly get paper carnations. These can make great decor at your wedding; you could carry a paper flower bouquet, put paper wreaths up on walls or hanging off of chairs/pews along the aisle. Not only can you prepare these as far in advance as you like, they’ll last much longer than fresh flowers as a memento of your big day.

Martha Stewart's cupcake liner wreath

I was watching Martha Stewart this morning and she made this wreath out of coffee filters or cupcake liners (personally, I liked the larger, softer folds of the coffee filter version, but the photo shows one made with cupcake liners.) While they didn’t mention it, I found that it bore a striking resemblance to carnations. This is not only gorgeous hanging on a door, but it would be adorable hanging with a long ribbon in your wedding colors along your aisle.

You can also create these adorable tissue paper carnations from Folding Trees. These would be super cute in a bunch as a centerpiece or even held as a bouquet.

My wedding flowers were all carnations so I want to make these paper flowers as a sweet reminder of my wedding and as a nice piece of decor. I’ll let you know how it goes. Have you tried either of these crafts or have another way to make paper carnations? Let me know in the comments!


Things Learned: Flowers October 7, 2010

Filed under: flowers — clln @ 7:11 pm
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Flowers can take a huge chunk out of any wedding budget so it’s important to make sure that you’re getting what you want before you pay for it. In order to save money, the only flowers we used were for the bridal party (no ceremony flowers or centerpieces) and we used the florist at a local supermarket. I think we made a great choice with the supermarket flowers, the boutonnieres, corsages, and bouquets were lovely. They weren’t exactly what I’d asked for though, and that is why I’m writing this “things learned” post.

My bouquet: so close to what I wanted, but too many extras

I wanted a very simple, all-carnation bouquet. What I got was a carnation bouquet with little jewels in it, plus filler-flowers resembling small daisies and lavender, and greens. Also, I asked for it to be tied with ribbon: ivory for mine, sage green for the bridesmaids’. The bridesmaids’ bouquets had the proper ribbon, mine had pouffy tulle around it. It wasn’t terribly off so I went with it, but if I could go back in time I’d have brought a photo of the ultra-simple, super-minimal carnation bouquet I’d envisioned. The lesson learned is that the florist can’t read your mind, and in her mind your idea may seem too plain or like no one could want it. Bring photos off of the internet to ensure that you properly communicate your ideas. This is further helpful in case you’re using a florist with many different employees like we did; if the staff member who took your order isn’t working on your wedding day, the photo of exactly what you want may be kept with your order.

A few more tips I shared in my earlier post on flowers is that I highly recommend checking out your local grocery store for floral options; that hydrangeas wilt too quickly to be in a bouquet; and that carnations are a frugal, hardy, cute flower that come in a variety of colors.

All in all, my bouquet worked. It was still simple, green, and very cost effective (my bouquet was $20, all of the flowers together came to just under $150.) I had a very pleasant experience with the florist I used; all of the staff was very nice, they allowed for changes to my order (my mom decided she wanted a wrist corsage instead of a pin at the last minute,) and they did a good job. So my one big important tip is that if you know what you want, bring photos to your florist to make sure that it’s exactly what you get.


Cheap Flowers July 27, 2010

No one really talks about the cost of a wedding bouquet. Magazines don’t list the cost of the arrangements they feature, florists’ websites will only ask you to contact them for information about wedding flowers. Many wedding shows claim that the average price of a bridal bouquet is $120-160, but it all depends on the type of flower, size, etc. I’ll talk about the cost. Mine was $19.99.

I originally thought that I’d have to make my own bouquet to get this price, but then I thought about the stress of dealing with fresh flowers right before the wedding, plus how these flowers are going to be in tons of photos, so I decided I had to go with a professional. I went to Stop ‘n’ Shop, a local grocery store, and spoke with the floral manager. Some people might balk at the idea of getting wedding flowers from a grocery store, but she was very knowledgeable about what flowers would work best in bridal bouquets and my options. You can see examples of their work in their displays and they often have photos of arrangements they’ve done in the past.

As I mentioned in a past post, I planned to use carnations for my bouquet. They look beautiful and simple when bunched together, plus there’s a wide variety of colors. Best of all, they’re cheap and hardy. I wavered on my decision for a while and asked the florist about hydrangeas, but she told me that they’ll wilt within an hour or two of being out of water. This would look awful through the ceremony and photos. If you’re really set on them, she recommended using silk hydrangeas mixed in with fresh flowers. Instead, this cemented my decision to use carnations. They’re cheaper and they’ll last for ages out of water. They’ve become pretty trendy too, bunches of carnations are popping up online and in stores.

So for my hand-tied, 12-flower bouquet with greens around the outside, it came to $19.99. The bridesmaids’ bouquets, with 8 flowers, came to $14.99 each. The boutonnieres for the groom, groomsmen, and the fathers, were $5.99 each, and the corsages for the mothers of the bride and groom were $7.99 each. All have just carnations and greens. That brings our grand total with tax to $147, right about the supposed average cost of a bridal bouquet.

So, to wrap up and give some advice, I say that you should definitely consider using a cheaper “filler” flower as your main flower as they can look gorgeous bunched together (have you seen a bouquet of all alstroemeria?) Think about going to a grocery store’s florist, especially if you’re going with a simple arrangement. Simple arrangements are in style, and they work out quite economically if the flower you choose an inexpensive one.

Carnation bouquets from a Wedding Bee gallery


More Paper Flowers June 30, 2010

It’s been a long time since my last post, I made the journey to visit my long-distance fiancé so the packing took up a lot of my time. Well, I’m here now and I’m crafting.

Jar of paper spider mums

I’ve been long-intrigued with spider mums and fell in love with the Flowery Swizzle Stick craft on Martha Stewart Weddings. I’m not looking to make swizzle sticks (at the moment, maybe I’ll change my mind later) so I turned it into a faux flower by attaching the flower head to floral wire.

The materials are all available at Walmart and are very inexpensive. For crepe paper, I bought a roll of crepe paper streamers from the party section for $1.25. I purchased the floral wire for $0.77 and floral tape (in a 3-pack) for about $3, both in the floral and craft section. I cut each wire in half because they were much too tall, plus it gives me twice the amount.

The materials: crepe paper party streamers, floral wire, and floral tape

The one note I would make is that Martha’s directions don’t give a good idea of how much crepe paper to use. With the streamer, I used about 10-12 inches per flower. OK, I actually have another note. The thinner you make each cut, the more realistic the flower will look. Check out the work in progress:

The cut piece of crepe paper, ready to be wrapped around the wire

Wrapping the crepe paper

Wrapping the floral tape around the paper and wire

Fluffing the petals

I’m thinking these could be used as reception decor, perhaps as a bouquet or boutonniere if I perfect it. There’s still time, gotta see what else we come up with for decor and such.


OMG I fell in love again June 5, 2010

I just nearly peed my pants with excitement. As a crafty bride, I am so excited to have found the Intimate Wedding Blog’s list of tutorials. So many cute DIY projects!

I definitely want to try the paper or fabric fortune cookies, they’d make an adorable gift tag for a small gift in a Chinese food takeout box (which they sell at Michaels.) I’m thinking of packaging my bridesmaids gifts like this (once I figure out what those gifts are, of course!) I also really like the idea of informing guests about a charitable donation in lieu of a favor with these fortune cookies. Heck, I just like the idea of having random fortunes inside them and finding uses for them. Love it!

My other fave is the paper flowers made of cupcake liners. I love paper and fabric flowers and these look nice and easy, as well as cheap and quirky. I’m going to try these soon. They look like carnations, the flower I want to go with for the bouquets and boutonnieres, so perhaps I can make some cute side paper arrangements if they turn out well.

Carnations made of cupcake liners from Intimate Wedding Blog

There’s also a tissue paper version of carnations on Folded Trees.

So basically I’m super excited about this site! I can’t wait to post some of the projects I attempt from this list of tutorials! Have you tried any of these or similar projects? What is your favorite source for wedding craft tutorials?


Succulent Centerpieces April 21, 2010

Have I ever mentioned how much I love succulent centerpieces? Let’s drool over some photos.

A rectangular centerpiece from Succulent Luv

A centerpiece with stones, succulents, and candles from Cactus Jungle.

Succulent centerpieces featured on A Los Angeles Love

Lowe’s even has suggestions on how to make a few.

La pièce de résistance, my personal favorite and the site that made me fall in love with succulent centerpieces, Yes, Please. Succulent favours, succulent centerpieces, I love this wedding. That bride’s got skills. Love love love. She even created SucculentLove, that’s how great she is with succulents. The succulents aren’t the only awesome wedding detail on Yes, Please; I highly recommend trolling around to check out the pompoms and such.

I love the idea of having living centerpieces, people can take them home and have a plant afterward! If you’ve got a green thumb, this is a great way to incorporate your hobby into your wedding. They won’t work so well at mine because many of the guests are traveling and won’t be able to take living plants back, plus the fiancé doesn’t trust himself to keep any plants alive until the wedding (and he’s the one living where the wedding is.) Alright, it might not work for me, but a girl can daydream about succulents.

Fear not, I haven’t abandoned my childhood dream theme, I can tie this in! I bought a Hens ‘n’ Chicks succulent at a garage sale in grade 2 and I loved it to death (it and all of its offspring died in an awful home improvement accident 15 years later, but my mom saw how upset I was and found me some another Hens ‘n’ Chicks plant at a garage sale. Thanks Mom!) I’ve had a soft spot for succulents every since, so no wonder I love these centerpieces. There, I saved the childhood dreams theme.


My Martha Stewart Flowers April 16, 2010

Garden roses from the Martha Stewart pattern

I’ve been working on my Martha Stewart fabric flowers for a while now, the ones I mentioned in an earlier blog post. I went a little nuts and made a ton. See, the voile fabric was on sale so I bought a lot. $4 for a meter of green and a meter of ivory. So basically I have enough to use a couple of the large ones (attached to pins/brooches) on my dress and plenty of small ones (attached to bobby pins) in my hair in place of a veil. Since taking that photo, I’ve made many more ivory ones.

I’m kind of concerned about how the petals don’t stay up too well; I’m considering using hairspray to help the petals stiffen, but I’m not sure if it will stain the fabric. Maybe starch?

The large flower on the left is floppin'.

I mentioned that I plan to wear these in my hair and not wear a veil. Well, I tried making the flowers out of tulle to really be a replacement for a veil but let’s just say that I don’t recommend this type of material for this project. As you can see below, the tulle “flower” looks more like a pompom:

The pompom, err, I mean tulle flower.

Now I just have to wait for my dress to come in to make sure it looks decent. Gaaaaaah, I ordered the dress back in November, it should be here any day now. I can’t wait for it to get here!


I won’t quit my day job, but I think I show promise in flower arrangement March 16, 2010

Filed under: diy,flowers — clln @ 4:54 am
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I’ve been meaning to post this for a while, as you can clearly tell, I didn’t until now. My birthday was a couple of months ago and my future in-laws sent me a huge bouquet. It was gorgeous, but when it came time to change the murky water, there was no way I could put the flowers back in as nicely as they had been before. I decided that I’d practice with a little single-flower design and segregate all of the carnations and alstroemerias to their own vases (which ended up being crystal glasses due to the size I desired.) I’m no pro, but I think they turned out pretty well, well enough that I have faith that I can make nice arrangements of all one flower for the wedding. If you look closely, I used a rubber band on the carnations. Clearly I’d use some florist’s wire for it in an actual bouquet or arrangement, but not bad for 10 minutes with no supplies, eh?

My little bunch of carnations

One carnation blooms fell off, so I tried it in a variety of shot glasses. Maybe not a great look, but I was experimenting:

The beheaded carnation lasted for about a week in there. Not too shabby.

And here’s all 3. I think with more work and attention to detail these would look pretty awesome.

Disregard the shabby elastic band, please

The alstroemeria bunch looked better in person than I could capture with my camera on my messy dining room table, but here it is:

Here's the alstroemeria bunch. It looked much cheerier in person.

Red isn’t my wedding colour, it just happened to be in my birthday bouquet of flowers. One part of being cheap is not wasting an opportunity to save money while still getting to practice arranging flowers, so I took it. I’m confident I can at least make my bouquet and those of the bridesmaids. Anyone else taking a stab at floral arrangement for your wedding? Any tips, tricks, inspiration?


What in Carnation? February 18, 2010

Filed under: flowers — clln @ 5:35 am
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An adorable assortment of carnation centerpieces.

Ah, the carnation. The word brings images of a cheap filler flower, surrounded by baby’s breath. I also remember doing a little trick with dying them using food colouring in the cut carnation’s water. It’s my birth month flower, actually. It wasn’t until I was researching flowers for my bouquet that I googled carnations and saw their rebirth as a hip, stand-alone flower. I highly recommend googling “carnation centerpiece” to any doubter.

Check out InStyle Weddings’ slideshow on possibilities for carnations. They look great en masse. What inspired me to write this blog post right away was finding an article on today, carnations are very current it seems. 

More importantly than the fact that they’re coming back into style is that they’re adorable. To me, a bunch of carnations in the same colour gives a similar feel to hydrangeas or peonies but at a much lower cost. Sticking to one colour makes them look so chic. They’re unexpected, they’re low-cost, they’re pretty, they’ll match most colour schemes, they’re perfect! Our wedding colours are green and white, and carnations come in lovely shades of both. I’m sold.

I had already planned to buy my flowers in bulk and make the bouquets myself (and with help from my crafty and talented bridesmaids, of course) and now I think I can further cut costs without compromising by using carnations instead of hydrangeas. They come in many colours, they’re nearly always in season, and I think these new takes on them makes them look phenomenal. I recently received a huge bouquet for my birthday (thanks future in-laws!) and when I had to trim the stems and add more water, I ended up dismantling the bouquet and making smaller arrangements of the same flowers, like carnations and alstromerias, and they looked good considering the minimal effort I put in. I’ll post the not-so high quality photos here soon. 

For now, I bid you goodnight and I hope you’ll take some time to google carnations. It’ll blow your mind.

Seriously, how cute are those carnations?

By the way, apparently even Carrie Bradshaw said carnations are making a comeback. Now you know you have to google them.