Day 2 of #WeddingWeek: Personalized Paper Products

Buying custom save the dates and invitations is super, I mean outrageously expensive, and it doesn’t need to be. So again, continuing with my theme, I took a very conservative, but personal approach. The save the date was in a digital format, and both the invites and ceremony programs I created in Publisher. This may seem rather basic and boring, not elaborate enough, but it was actually perfect. I was very hands-on, as with any DIY project, and I really enjoyed getting creative with it!

Save the Dates

Since most of our guests are on Facebook, we decided to save some dough and make a FB event for people to RSVP and get more info. This way we could keep track of who hadn’t responded and reach out to them a month or so before the Big Day. In addition, it allowed guests to post pictures at the event! And we used it to update everyone about the change in ceremony location – womp womp.

save the date

Cost: FREE!

Invitations

The invitations I did end up creating myself. These were easily accomplished in Microsoft Publisher – super simple, but really effective. I had a lot of freedom with the layout, wording, colors and size in this regard. I really just “winged it” so-to-speak, first finding a semi-workable template and then tweaking and going from there to customize it. The wording came from a little online inspiration and my own literary flair, ha!

Costs:

  • Design – free
  • Printing – $70 from OfficeMax
  • Envelopes – $11 from Amazon
  • Stamps – $110 (the ribbon made a bump, so each one needed a $0.66 stamp, blah) from USPS

Ceremony Programs

Again, the ceremony programs I made in Publisher. These were also fun to make – with the help of templates I found online, namely Pinterest, and personalization based on our structure and wedding party. We had lots of family involvement, so it was pretty cool to recognize them in the program. Of course, there were some last-minute issues with weather and people not being able to make it, but overall it gave our guests something to read while they waited. I also tried to carry over the theme from the invites into the programs – uniformity, consistency and all that. In addition, I bought a pack of paper that had four colors in the coral family, to fit our scheme, and had them printed on all four.

Costs:

Being creative with all the paper products for your wedding is a fun way to incorporate your individual style, with significantly lower costs than a professional printer. There are more sophisticated programs out there than Publisher I’m sure, but I suggest you go with whatever suits your comfort level and the vision you’re aiming towards. For more wedding planning tips see my first Wedding Week post.

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Day 1 of Wedding Week: The DIY Strategy

When I began planning for my wedding, years in advance mind you, I knew that to afford everything it would need to be a budget, DIY venture. Meaning, my goal was to create as many things on my own and to find local wedding vendors that would cost significantly less than larger commercial entities. Needless-to-say, this took a lot of planning and consideration, but I made it happen!

DIY Projects

So basically, I created everything. Pinterest was a major launching off point, as were other wedding blogs that focused on DIY, vintage wedding ideas. And my family was really helpful in the process. However, if you want to take this on be prepared for major dedication and preparation. This was no easy feat – not for the faint of heart I tell you! Hobby Lobby was my go-to store and every Saturday during the two months leading up to it I was frantically running wedding errands and completing projects.

One other huge aid in the planning process was a tangible wedding planning book, courtesy of my mom, which I used to take notes, separate each aspect of the Big Day, plan out honeymoon details and most importantly, add pictures. It was basically a book version of my Pinterest board and all my lists. It is easy to get lost in all the details, so for me being able to see it all planned out gave me peace of mind and a sense of direction. You can see snippets from my wedding book below.

I will dive into more detail in later posts about specific projects, but here is a brief overview of major DIY areas. (I saved significantly by doing them myself.)

  • Save-the-Dates, invitations and ceremony programs
  • Reception and ceremony decor and flourishes
  • Cake stands
  • Sand ceremony essentials
  • Bridesmaid gifts – goodie bags
  • Bouquets
  • Wedding favors
  • Farewell sparklers (instead of bubbles, birdseed or rice)
  • Card box and guest book
  • Makeshift photo booth

The Knot was also a major help in keeping on track with wedding tasks and to-dos. In addition, it gave me a platform for my wedding website (for family and friends to visit prior to the wedding), I could look at other wedding pages for inspiration and the wedding store inspired my DIY direction as well.

Local Vendors

In addition to making most everything, for larger details that required professional help, I referred to friends and local businesses. Below is an outline of what each service was, the cost and what was included:

  1. Cupcakes: made by my friend Lauren – $350 (300 cupcakes, handmade liners and decor/setup)
  2. Photographer: Red Barn Photography, but my main photographer was my friend Rachel – $1,250 (all the high res images and full day of coverage)
  3. Jeweler: Hoppe Jewelers – $500 for my custom-made wedding band (complete with diamonds and 18K white gold) and $130 for my husband’s tungsten band and free engraving
  4. Wedding Dress: Formal Affairs – on sale for $99, originally $700+ (Casablanca Bridal gown)
  5. Reception Food: bought, prepared and served by my mom’s friend Deborah and her family – $500 at cost (buffet style dinner + BBQ from my brother-in-law’s good friend at cost for $360)
  6. Hair and Makeup: The Art of Hair – $90 for both plus a 30% tip
  7. Reception (and Ceremony) Venue: Central Christian Church – (originally the ceremony was going to be outdoors at my parent-in-laws’ house, but rain prevented my dream outdoor wedding), so in total $150 for the sanctuary and reception hall, use of the kitchen, sound equipment, etc.
  8. Chair Rental: L&H Rentals – $240 for 200 chairs + delivery and pick-up (rained-out ceremony meant not all the chairs were used, but some transferred to the reception for extra seating)

By looking local and utilizing your contacts, you can really save time and money in the long-run. Like anything, it may take some creativity and thought, but if you’re on a budget like I was, then YAY, added motivation to figure it all out as affordably as possible! To see more images of how my wedding turned out, you can visit my wedding gallery here.

UPDATE: Birthday Date Day, Wedding Week & DIY Headboard

Hello friends! Sorry I’ve neglected this dear blog the past week – life just gets so busy sometimes! But, I want to be better, so a content calendar is in the works. With this said, there are a few exciting posts coming up in the next week.

Upcoming Posts

Tomorrow is my hubby’s 23rd b-day, and I already have two posts in mind – one about the diy dinner I have planned and the other covering my fabulous date ensemble, so stay tuned! Then, next week, starting on Monday, will be Wedding Week. I have so many diy crafts, projects and strategies I want to tell you about. I won’t cover EVERYTHING from my wedding, but you’ll get a good flavor of how I took the role of wedding planner. So if you’re planning a diy wedding yourself, or you just dig the girly dream wedding fantasy, then you won’t want to miss it!

DIY Project: Wall Clustered Pseudo-Headboard

In other news, I finally finished what I call my “bedroom memory & photo wall,” or our pseudo headboard – complete with gobs of wedding photos and artifacts. Well, take a look – pictures say it all.

I suppose I’ve been spending a lot of time on our bedroom lately – as evidenced by the wall flowers and decorative pillows from previous posts, in addition to this new touch of chic! I’m personally a large proponent of photo clustering, so that is what I did. Originally, I researched different DIY headboard ideas, but with my love of photos and memorabilia, this memory wall concept came to me. It all started with the three wall cubes, and then it branched out from there. A picture here, a picture there…lots of pictures! I am so happy with the result and plan to add more.

And good news, this is an easy idea you could mimic. There is so much room for you to add personal flair and tailor your photo/memory wall to your individual style. Just compile and add lots of fun statement pieces. If you have a fabulous wall clustering too, or are thinking of creating one, share your thoughts and pictures in the comment section below!