Cheap 'n' Quirky Wedding

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Tea Towel Favors November 20, 2011

If you have a whole lot of time for crafting before your wedding, you might want to consider stamping tea towels as favors for your guests. You can pick up some inexpensive flour sack tea towels, a rubber stamp that fits your theme (every so often, Michaels has 40% off all of their stamps) and some fabric ink/dye. In the right colors for your wedding, they’ll look beautiful wrapped in a matching ribbon at each place setting. Plus they’re actually useful, your guests will use the tea towel long after the wedding and they’ll remember your special day every time they see it.

Here’s a blog from Jen Jafarzadeh, Redbook’s lifestyle editor, with more details on executing these reusable gifts.

 

DIY Return Address Labels September 15, 2011

Unless you’ve embraced the paper-free wedding, you’re probably mailing things all the time. Not just invitations and save-the-date cards, but many, many, many thank you cards, shower invitations, checks and contracts to vendors, etc. While I was in the midst of writing out my return address on what seemed like my billionth envelope, I wished I had registered for mailing labels (not such a bad idea, by the way.) It wasn’t until today, almost 13 months after my wedding, that I realized I could make my own and so can you. If you can make an address label in Microsoft Word, you can make yourself custom return address labels.

To make a simple address label in Word for Macs 2008, go to “Tools,” then “Labels…” and fill your address in the box. Make sure that you select the right label size or your labels will print all over multiple stickers. Label sizes can typically be found on the top or bottom of the sheet of labels, as well as on the package. To create a sheet of identical labels, click the option “Full page of the same label” under the heading “Number of labels.” See, that wasn’t so bad.

If you want to get all fancy and you have design software, open up your InDesign, Publisher, or your preferred program and set the document size to the size of your labels in inches. Design your dream labels, but keep in mind that it should be clear and easy to read. You may consider using a serif font for the address but a sans serif for an initial on the left. The options are endless, you could use a symbol from a font like Wingdings or place a photo on the left-hand side. Here’s a quick label I made in InDesign for Fakey Fakeperson; it only took a few minutes, it’s really that easy.

To print it as a sheet of labels, you’ll have to turn your label into a JPEG or TIFF and use Word. To make it into a JPEG, the easiest way I’ve figured out so far is to export it as a print-quality PDF, then open the PDF and “Save As” in the JPEG format. Once in Word, go to “Tools,” then “Labels…” and click “OK” without entering any other information. Copy and paste your JPEG design into the first label. if it looks good and is formatted properly, paste it into the remaining labels on the page. You’re now good to go and print your snazzy labels, you fancy label designer.

If you’re super busy, as anyone planning a wedding usually is, you’ll probably benefit from the convenience of ordering mailing labels like the ones from Vistaprint, but if you want custom, low-cost labels, you can do it. The DIY bride can have her finger in every metaphorical pie, even the mailing labels.

 

Things Learned: RSVP Cards March 23, 2011

I knew printing your own invitations could be a tad frustrating, but I didn’t expect to be swearing at my printer for 4 hours. I also never expected it to re-frustrate me two weeks before my wedding. Allow me to explain:

DIY invitations, whether made from scratch or from a store-bought kit, can save you a lot of money. It also allows your creative side to come out. When you’re making your own invitation, you’re free make it say anything you want. Any wording, any layout, anything. Actually, you might be too free. I was. I ran into trouble when I realized that I hadn’t actually read many invitations and RSVP cards and didn’t really know what they were supposed to say. Naturally, I googled wedding templates and I came out with a perfect invitation.

My unclear RSVP card

I was equally pleased with the RSVP cards. I based it off of a template I found online and on the one I’d gotten for my coworker’s wedding. I figured that if multiple websites had it as a template and my coworker used it, it must be suitable. I’d found it clear when I filled it out for my coworker’s wedding. Here it is:

 

It was problematic on a few levels. Firstly, in how people filled it out. If it were filled out properly, it would read “Mr. and Mrs. John Doe, 2 will attend, 0 vegetarian.” Not everyone knows the blank spots are for numbers. Some people just put a check mark next to “will attend.” That seems like an appropriate response when you look at the RSVP card, but it’s quite problematic when the Doe family is responding and you need a concrete guest count (are they bringing all of their kids? Are their kids assuming they can bring dates? Yes, it happened to us.)

There were some cases where we didn’t know the names of distant relatives’ children or spouses (shameful, I know,) and this format didn’t allow us to get the names. I don’t know about all banquet halls, but our venue required a list of the names of all guests.

On a similar note, when couples/groups responded and listed one vegetarian, we had no idea who in the pair/group couldn’t eat a meat dish. Luckily we had a buffet so it wasn’t an issue, but if you had to tell your venue exactly who needed the vegetarian dish, it might be difficult. Hopefully they only need to know the number of vegetarians at each table; it might be worth asking your venue about.

The problems listed above are only problems when people respond. The biggest problem I found with this format was that guests didn’t respond at all. I expected everyone to respond, not just because I’d spent so much on stamps, but also because I thought it was common courtesy. Some people who couldn’t come responded with a card that said “0 attending” or wrote a little note on the card expressing their regrets, but many more figured that we were only expecting cards from those who were attending. In an ideal world, only attendees responding could work, but not all attendees sent their cards back. There were people who assumed we knew they were coming without them responding, or those uncles who never respond to anything but just show up, or those relatives who were waiting until the last minute to see if they could get the weekend off/how their great-aunt’s health would be/if they felt like going, etc. No really, that all happened to us. On our deadline, we had received about half of the cards back. We had to follow up with all of the rest! Our deadline was a week before the venue’s deadline for our final guest list, but I never imagined that entire week would be spent tracking people down.

Remember my post on over-explaining your tosser? Same idea. Make the response card so simple that no one can make a mistake, not even that young single person who has never attended a wedding. I’d only recommend the last template on this list of templates. Remember that you should have a place to check yes or no (so the non-attendees know they have to respond too) and a place to list the number of guests. If you’re giving food options (choice of entree, vegetarian options,) you can present the choices with a blank spot and hopefully your guests will fill it out clearly.

In the end, there’s always going to be people who don’t respond, fill it out wrong, or say they need more time. There’s nothing you can do, it can’t be perfect. Just make sure that you put the deadline on the card at least a week before your venue’s deadline and try to make the card as clear as possible. And if all else fails, whoever wanted the non-responders on the guest list should be stuck with tracking them down (my parents and in-laws had a busy week of tracking people down, our friends responded.) Remember to delegate, especially since they should know the best way to get a hold of these people, especially if you don’t know them at all.

Good luck!

 

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.

 

Making the Garter My Own April 17, 2010

Filed under: accessories,crafts,crazy deals,diy — clln @ 2:21 am
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I really wasn’t excited about the garter, it wasn’t a priority for me and I really didn’t care what it looked like. That is, until I bought the cheapest one I could find and spent some time looking at it.

I don’t regret buying it, it was $6.99 at Michaels and I used a 40% coupon on it so it worked out to just over $4. Couldn’t go wrong. Couldn’t. Go. Wrong. Plus it was blue and at the time I was still having trouble finding blue shoes to fulfill my blue requirement. And really, how closely are people looking at it anyway? It’ll be hidden for most of the day. It still needed some help though.

Being a crafty kinda gal, I decided that the garter would be my next project. I like simplicity, so the glued-on bow was the first to go, followed by the lace. I just pulled off the bow and then carefully cut the lace off and let me tell you, it was liberating. I was so pleased with the way it looked with no embellishments:

The garter sans embellishments. It's naked!

There’s no way to get the glue remnants off though, so I decided to make two very, very tiny fabric flowers using the same idea as the Martha flowers in the last post. I used scraps from the material for the flowers which were too small to use for anything else, so they were saved from the garbage. Not only did it cover the glue, but it keeps up the fabric flower theme from the rest of my outfit (my dress and hair will feature them.) Plus, I feel like it’s personalized now and that’s important to me. It also puts the “cheap” in Cheap ‘n’ Quirky, my changes didn’t cost a cent because it was made with scraps. The supplies to make my own from scratch would have cost much more.

It’s much more “me.” I’m pleased. What kind of garter are you going with? Has anyone found a cute pattern to DIY?

 

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!

 

Yeah, I do graphic design too… March 18, 2010

I’m sticking my fingers in many pies for this wedding. Recently, I even dabbled in a little graphic design and now I have some DIY-designed, professionally printed save-the-date postcards. They arrived yesterday, I’m so excited!

I’m not exactly skilled in design, but my post-grad program involved a design course so I have a very basic background. I got to work with Adobe InDesign and I still have the program on my computer, so I put it to good use. I designed a simple postcard with our names, the fact that we’re getting married, the location, and the address for the WordPress blog we started (to act as a wedding site). I’m sure you’re a nice person who won’t stalk us, but still, I’m only posting the censored version for you:
Save the date postcard

I sent it in to Vistaprint. I’d been seeing a lot of people of bridal blogs saying good things about it and I’m impressed with them. They have pre-made save-the-date designs, but at about a dollar a piece (which is comparable to everywhere else I’ve seen), I was determined to submit my own design as a business marketing postcard and only spend $29.99 (plus design uploading fees) for 100. With taxes and delivery and everything, it came to just over $50 and was delivered within 2 weeks (even though I selected the slowest shipping option.) I was wondering why everyone was posting their own random link to Vistaprint on these sites. Turns out you get reward points or something for referring people and they get a discount. Well, I’d be giving them the good review anyway, I’m pleased with them and I’d use them again regardless of the future discounts (which they do have a lot of).

I figured postcards were great because they’re cute, fun, and I don’t have to spend more money on envelopes. Plus I love sending postcards, I try to send postcards from everywhere I travel. I feel like I’m including a little bit of me through the fact that I did it myself and that it’s a postcard. And it’s green, our wedding colour.

Here’s the but: as much as I’ve talked these up, if you don’t already have access to a design program and some background in it, I wouldn’t recommend this. The cost of Adobe Creative Suite is far more than you’d may for other save-the-date cards and it can take a little getting used to before you can use it without wanting to scream at your computer. But hey, if you have access to such a program or a designer friend, this is a great option. There are also plenty of pre-made options in plenty of colours. I just wanted to put this idea out there because I really hadn’t seen a lot of it (or a lot of inexpensive options) on the blogs so far.

Also, did you know they have clear mailing labels now? I didn’t. I am amazed by the advances in mailing labels since I was last down that aisle.

Now if I could just finish the guest list so I can send them out…

 

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
Tags: , , , ,

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?

 

DIY Cake Toppers March 11, 2010

Filed under: cake,crafts — clln @ 4:46 am
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Like many couples, my fiancé and I met online. It wasn’t on a dating site  or even one of these new-fangled social networking sites.  We met on Habbo Hotel. You make a cute little avatar, you walk around the hotel, you meet other little avatars, and you chat in little speech bubbles. It was eight years ago, we were young. We even got Habbo-married. 

We wouldn't want to easily identified on the internet, our Habbos went undercover with mustaches.

 

As a result, Habbo holds a special place in our hearts and we’d like to incorporate it into the wedding somehow. My fiancé suggested a cake shaped like the hotel. As this blog’s title would suggest, I’m cheap. I’m not paying for a cake that looks like that; for starters, I’m not a fan of fondant. Plus I think it would be challenging to cut… So my fiancé suggested a cake with a photo on it, like from Sam’s Club’s bakery.  OK, that’s a bit too cheap and any still off of Habbo will be pixelated (see above.) I love the idea of cupcakes at weddings. They’re adorable, no one has to stand around and cut them, they’re easy to take along if the guests are too full to eat it there, and if a child (or drunk person) decides to dip a finger into the icing, they only ruin one cupcake and not the entire cake. It happened at my aunt’s wedding, it’s been a fear of mine ever since. We can do a small cake to act as a cutting cake/top tier (depending on how we decide to arrange the cupcakes) which can take cake toppers.

That’s it: cake toppers! That’s how we’re incorporating Habbo Hotel into our wedding. Of course, no one sells custom Habbo cake toppers, so we made some out of Sculpey III. I say “we,” but it was my fiancé’s idea and he made his and I made mine. I’m not the only crafty one in this couple. So here, enjoy photos of our craftiness.

My fiancé's cake topper's head. I got myself a crafty man.

Yes, my topper's head looks like a balding man now, but just wait for the finished product.

 

Basically we used small styrofoam balls in the heads to keep them spherical and two in each torso to keep the weight down (we don’t want them too be too heavy on the cake.) We also used toothpicks to keep all of the styrofoam balls where we needed them to be or to hold them one on top of the other in the torso. In the bottom of the bride’s dress, I used some crumpled up tin foil to fill it out, save clay, and cut down on the weight. Here are the finished products:

Well, the bride is accidentally tall and busty, but hey, I can't complain that I'm fabulous.

By the way, the groom did have a very spherical head before having to attach that hat. The hat was tough, but my fiancé’s Habbo always wore one so it had to be there. 

Hopefully they look bobbaing awesome on the cake! I would definitely recommend trying to make your own clay toppers. They’re cute, not too tough once you get the technique down (we didn’t even have a practice run), and they add a very personal touch. Have you seen some of those cheesy toppers people are falling for now? Plus these aren’t too pricey if you get your clay on sale. Hello, Michaels coupons!