Cheap 'n' Quirky Wedding

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Things Learned: Over-Explain Your Tosser! October 29, 2010

Filed under: crafts,diy — clln @ 7:25 pm
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As I proudly blogged, I made 100 ribbon wands with pieces of ribbon, wooden dowels, and hot glue. It took ages but I kept my spirits up by imagining how beautiful all of the wands would look as they were waved to cheer us back down the aisle. Sadly, I never got the photos of our tightly-packed guests all waving ribbons at the same time. Due to rain, the ceremony was moved indoors to the reception area and the guests were seated at their assigned tables as we were married on the dance floor. The crowd wasn’t arranged properly to get a good shot of everyone waving them but that wasn’t even the true cause of the problem. Very few people waved them. I don’t even have a photo for this blog post. We forgot to ask the officiant to explain that they should be waved as we exited; our guests didn’t realize what they were supposed to do with them. So I learned the lesson for this “things learned” post.

While the wands’ purpose seems obvious to you as you’re gluing them together (and losing your mind,) it may not be obvious to those who haven’t spent months reading wedding blogs. This goes for all confetti alternatives including yarn pom-poms, birdseed (you never know when a guest will assume it’s a snack,) seeds, and even bubbles.

You have different options when it comes to spreading the instructions for your tosser:

  • A simple and free option is to ask your officiant to instruct the crowd on what to do. Your officiant has probably announced something like this before and will be able to figure out an appropriate way to word it.
  • If you have programs (something we nixed) you can make a note in the schedule, something like “Recessional – Shake your ribbon wands!”
  • If you have children in your bridal party, they can announce that it’s time to shake, throw, or blow with a sign similar to this one on slide one. Most energetic kids would love the opportunity to run across the altar with a sign. The sign could read “Throw your pom-poms!”
  • These two options work if you’ll have the guests pick up the tosser as they walk in: you can have someone hand out the tosser to guests as they arrive and explain that they should be thrown/shaken/blown at the end or if you display the tossers on a table at the entrance, you can include a sign that says “Please take one and throw it as we exit.”

Don’t assume your guests know everything. In fact, assume they know nothing. If you’re reading this, it means you have an acute, temporary condition known as wedding brain. You think about weddings, you read about weddings, you watch TV shows about weddings, your world revolves around weddings because wedding planning has temporarily replaced your life’s purpose. When you see a ribbon wand, birdseed, or pom-poms, you’ll instantly think about the recessional and the adorable photos these tossers will result in. Put yourself in Uncle Frank’s shoes now. Think he’s exited about tossers? You’d better over-explain it.


Ribbon, Ribbon, Ribbon, Part 3: Ribbon Wands August 12, 2010

Filed under: crafts,diy — clln @ 6:19 pm
Tags: ,

Everyone has that image of the bride and groom leaving the church, being showered with confetti. The confetti gives this beautiful, magical, snow-like effect and looks lovely in photos. Of course, it also creates litter that is difficult to clean, so difficult that many venues will not allow you to use it (or face a fine if you do.) So how can you have a confetti-like effect, sans confetti?

Ribbon wands! Your guests can each shake a ribbon wand in the air as you exit your ceremony, creating the image of many streamers flying through the air.

These are super easy to make, it just requires a dowel, some ribbon, and hot glue. I took a very thin, 36″ long dowel (available in the craft section of Walmart) and cut it into three equal pieces of 12″ each. They can be cut with a saw, or even worn down with an Exacto knife or a strong pair of scissors. Take a 24″ (or whatever length you prefer) piece of ribbon, apply hot glue (or double-sided tape if you don’t do glue) to the end of the ribbon and wrap it around the dowel until the end of the ribbon is covered. And you’re done! Another variation involves tying the ribbon around the dowel, although I fear that it would fall off as your guests wave them.

You may also want to hold the end of the ribbon over a candle or use a ribbon-finishing glue to prevent the edge from fraying.

I used wide ribbons in sage green and ivory, and thin ribbons in moss green and ivory. I think the variety of colors will add to the confetti feel. Here is a photo of all of the variations I made for the wedding:

Ribbon wand variations

Other variations you can make include painting the dowel, attaching rhinestones to the ribbon or to the top of the dowel, or anything else your heart desires.

There are a few lessons I learned through this project that I should share (or warn you about.) You will go through TONS of ribbon. Even if you think you bought enough, buy more. I started out doing lots of wands with one wide ribbon and two thin ones per dowel, but my ribbon consumption was way too high, so most of them are just one wide ribbon or 2-3 thin ribbons per dowel. The more ribbons per dowel, the more stunning it is and the bigger effect it has. It’s a trade-off, you have to budget how much you’re willing to spend on ribbon. I’d seen some photos where the ribbon wands in a crowd looked sparse, but I’m also tired of making trips to Walmart to buy more ribbon. This leads me to my next lesson: stores don’t stock that much ribbon. We’ve bought every inch of sage green ribbon from our local Walmart and Michaels. We’ve also cleared Walmart out of the moss green and most of their ivory. Finding ribbon is now becoming a challenge. If you want to do this, do it early and stock up on ribbon! I found out the hard way that our local Walmart doesn’t replenish their ribbon section often.

Now I have to figure out how to present them to the guests. Left on each chair with a note to shake them at the end? Handed out with greetings and a quick word of instruction from the ushers? Left in a pretty vase? I’m concerned that people won’t grab one if they’re in a vase, and I want to make sure they’re all waving in the wind as I’m walking away from the altar. Have you tried this or seen it at another wedding? Share your presentation tips or variation ideas in the comments!