DIY projects for your wedding are not only a way to make the wedding about the bride and groom, they can also be a way to make things special for a family member or friends. One of the ways I chose to do this was to make something special for part of my new family, the in-laws. Two of my new nieces are going to be the flower girls of our wedding and I knew the perfect way to do a little something special for them. I chose to hand sew the two flower girl dresses myself, but even if you can’t sow, you can find your own way to do something special and personalized for your family or friends.

I first got my inspiration by looking up flower girl dresses on Pinterest. I saw a trend with a lot of them that involved tutus and making the flower girl look like a little princess/ballerina. I really liked this especially since my two flower girls are girly girls and love Disney princesses. I have sowing experience (thanks mom for the 3+ years of sowing camp) so I had an advantage here when it came to making the dresses.

My first step was to take apart some old ballet tutus from when I was younger, and I died the tulle yellow to match our wedding. Then I bought cute little white lacy tank tops from the little girls department and cut them shorter. Now it was time to attach the tulle to the tank tops, I did this by simply hand sowing the tulle to the bottom of the cut tank top and gathering and bunching it up as I went along to give it the full tutu affect. And the final step was to add the flower and ribbon embellishments. I got the flowers and ribbon from Michael’s and sowed them on to add pizazz. It only took me one full day to sow both dresses and we were able to give them to my fiancés sisters and nieces the next night. They were blown away and really touched by the effort I put forth.

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In my recent interview with a bride I found out that she used a lot of DIY techniques herself to make her wedding more cost friendly and special. Jennifer Biernesser told me, “I DIY’ed a TON of stuff for my wedding. Let’s see. My mom and I made our invitations. I wanted these beautiful pocket fold invites but they were super expensive to order. We ordered just the actual pocket fold part and then DIY’ed all the inserts, the center, and snowflake details, everything basically.” Jennifer talked about how she saved almost $5000 dollars doing different DIY items. This made it possible for her to spend more money on important things like her Photographer. She also talks about how she was able to save a lot of money when it came to doing her own flower arrangements, “We DIY’ed all our flowers- the bouquets, the boutonnieres, the arrangements for the ceremony, and the wrist corsages. We went to a local florist and had them order the flowers and then paid a small fee to use their supplies and tables to assemble them. My mom and some friends of ours assembled all of them and I love how they turned out.” This tip is great for even when you don’t want to DIY something special FOR your family…you can always include them and DIY something special WITH them!

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The above 3 photos are of Jennifer and Drew’s beautiful winter wedding, Photography is done by http://www.viveriaphotography.com/index2.php#/home/ and Jennifer is VERY pleased with the job they did…so check them out!

Accessorize On A Budget

Time for another creative inspiration DIY post! Today’s topic is “Bridal Accessories on a Budget”. When it is your special day, it might seem silly to spend so much money on accessories for a dress you will only wear once. However, as I always say, “this is the most important day of your life and the fact that you only get to wear the stuff once is the PERFECT reason to go all out! This doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune though”. Below I will show you a few ways to save some money on your accessories while still keeping them special and all about you.Image

One item that I decided to make myself was my garter. Every bride should wear a garter, and you should make it personalized since either your groom will keep it forever or you might in a shadow box or something.  As I was shopping around for the perfect garter I realized how pricey it was going to be. For around 30 dollars you can get one of the cheap generic garters that they sell at every craft store and bridal store, you know the ones; White silky garter with a colored ribbon in the middle to match your wedding, and maybe even a bow or flower. Can we just say “cookie cutter”? So I checked into buying a hand made one on Etsy. These are pretty and unique but can run around 40-50 and higher.

And this is where my creativity pops in. I said to myself, “I could make my own and make it exactly how I want. I already know how to sow, and It will be personalized which will be even more special to my fiancé and myself”.

Making your own is simple as long as you know how to do a basic stitch with a needle and thread.

  1. Go to craft store and choose your lace or material. When you enter the fabric section, there are usually a few shelves full of different laces and ribbons and such on white spools. You can buy these buy the yard and most of them are THE PERFECT size for a garter. You can get just one of them or buy several and layer them to make your garter exactly how you want. I chose one that had black and leopard print because half my closet and bedroom expresses my love for leopard. I bought 1 yard and had a few inches left over.
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    Next you will a sowing needle, some coordinating thread, and some elastic. I chose black elastic (about 1/3 of an inch thick or ½ inch thick). I actually had the needle and thread and elastic already at my house so if you have some or your mom does, use it!!
  2. Lastly you will need whatever embellishments you want. I chose a rhinestone T (for Tora) and I found it in the jewelry making aisle. Craft stores have TONS of fabric flowers that make great embellishments. Check the jewelry section, the little girls clothing section (where you find the T shirts and head bands and such for little girls to decorate) and the scrapbook section. Or just ask an employee where to find flower embellishments! I had fun just wandering all over looking for different things to decorate my garter with.23

Now to put the garter together is fairly simple. You will want to start by sowing the elastic into a circle. Measure it to your thigh but make sure it’s tight. Remember it is elastic so it will stretch, and you don’t want it sliding down while walking down the aisle. Walking pushes it down so it needs to be tight. Next you simply start sowing the lace or material on making sure to “bunch” the material up to create the gathered look and to make sure it stretches when you put the elastic over your leg. Just sow and bunch as you go along and voila! Finally, sow on your embellishments however your creative mind sees fit.

One more item you can make for yourself is your jewelry. Brides typically go with pearls, something shiny, etc. Other ideas are to go with blue jewelry for your “something blue” or to go with jewelry that matches your bouquet. Whatever you choose though, you can easily make it yourself to avoid searching for the perfect piece only to pay 100 dollars for a set of earrings.

In my opinion, “it is always more special to be wearing something that no one else has or will ever wear. This is your special day and no one else, so why wear the same jewelry as someone else?” 

It might seem intimidating if you have never made jewelry. But honestly it is quite easy, just go to a craft store and go to the jewelry making aisle. First you need to have an idea in your mind of what style jewelry you want. Do you want hoop or dangly earrings? Long or short necklace? Then start looking at all the different bead and jewel options and see if there are any embellishments that stand out. Once you have your design picked out then you will just need to choose the appropriate string or chain, and clasps. I would suggest looking up some jewelry tutorials and blogs online before you go, and these will explain what type of clasp is needed for what.

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Trash to Treasure

We all know that weddings are expensive, but there are ways to save money and they are right under your nose. When brides envision their wedding décor I’m sure trash is the last thing that comes to mind, but for me it was one of the first! I needed a way to brighten up a big reception space and I have a small budget. One of the solutions I found was using everyday items such as different types of soda, beer, wine, and any other glass bottles your friends and family might throw away. This may seem crazy to some people to be using “trash” as wedding décor, my mom Tricia Harris told me, “At my wedding over 30 years ago all I used to decorate was some flowers and candelabra’s. I never would have thought to DIY different decorations from things I was throwing away”. It has become a lot more common in the last few years however, DIY has gone from being just a cheap solution to actually being cool. Sites like Pinterest have inspired a lot more DIY projects for weddings and other such events.

The project I am going to share with you today is how to make decorative vases out of glass bottles. This project is extremely easy and inexpensive. Below are the step by step instructions followed by photos at the very bottom.

1. First I recommend asking friends and family via Facebook or something similar to save their glass bottles of any type after they drink whatever is inside of them. You will want to figure out about how many you will need for your wedding, I am using mine in the window sills of my reception so I want about 30-40.

2. After gathering your bottles, the next step is to remove all labels and clean off the residue. There are several ways to do this and probably the easiest is to get a large bucket filled with water, place all your bottles in the bucket and put one to two scoops of Oxi Clean powder in the bucket. Stir it all up and let the bottles soak for a few hours, the labels will float right to the top of the water leaving nice clean bottles to work with. Other methods include using stain stick, Goo Gone, and scrub the bottles using any type of sponge.

3. Next step is to paint the bottles. You will want to get a spray paint that matches your wedding, and that works on glass. Spray painting the bottle is pretty self-explanatory, you can either paint it one solid color, do an ombre effect, or use rubber bands to create stripes. This part is where you get to be creative and go with your wedding look.

4. Finally, you must decide what you will put into the bottles. Flowers are always a good choice; you can use different flowers in each bottle, or all the same. Match them to your bouquets, whatever you want. I also have found that you can use the floral decorative stems from craft stores, if you don’t want flowers.
You can also add things like hand painting designs on them, tying them with ribbon and burlap, or creating your own monogram stickers with your initials.

And that is how you make easy, inexpensive, and pretty décor! I hope this post inspires you to think outside of the box when it comes to decorations. I want to give a big thanks to my mom for letting me interview and quote her, and big thanks to my Fiancé Kyle for helping me out with all my DIY projects.

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