Hello! My name is Keri and on July 14, 2012, I went from being a DIY Bride to a DIY Wife.
My husband and I were married in the episcopal church I grew up going to, and had our garden-themed wedding reception at The Conservatory at the Madison Hotel in our home state of New Jersey.
My husband (to-be, at the time) didn’t get the whole DIY thing. Why DIY when someone else will do it for you? You see, our venue and vendors offered everything and anything a girl could want. Our reception venue generously offered to include our table numbers, escort cards, the ceremony location, caterer, you name it! Easy, right? All I would have left to do is buy a dress and be a bride. My husband thought we hit the wedding jackpot, while I was left with a bad taste in my mouth. Why would I want someone to plan MY wedding? I didn’t want to have the same wedding as the last Madison Hotel Bride, I wanted our wedding to be memorable, and a reflection of myself and my soon-to-be husband.
After some deliberating on both of our parts, we decided to book this gorgeous conservatory as the reception venue for our wedding, but I made it clear I wanted to tackle the designing aspect myself. I knew I could not have some generic framed table number at my one of a kind garden wedding.
I ended up DIY-ing everything I possibly could leading up to our big day. The following is a list of my DIY projects and some tips for executing each one.
Pink and Grey Invitation Suite
To create this pink, grey, and white wedding invitation suite, I ordered the wedding invitations, response cards, and reception cards from Wedding Paper Divas for $0.99 each. This came out to cost $2.97 per invitation suite, and I ordered enough for 80 sets because we invited about 150 to our wedding. The total came to $237.60, but I found a 30% off coupon code, which brought the total down to $166.32 for our invitations. This was not bad considering many vendors quoted me anywhere from $6 to $12 per invitation! After the discount, I got the price down to approximately $2 per invitation. This was well below my $3-per-invitation budget, so I decided to dress them up a bit. I swapped out the plain white envelopes these invitations came with for a small pink envelope for the response card and a large grey envelope for the outer invitation from Jam Paper. These envelopes came to about $50 total. I ordered grey and white baker’s twine from Amazon.com for about $15, and created the custom chevron monogram on the free website, ipiccy, and printed them with my own printer on card stock I purchased for $3.99 at Michaels. In total, I spent less than $250 on our wedding invitations. Not bad…although, this did not include the price of stamps!
Burlap and Scraps Ceremony Programs
I knew I wanted something unique for our wedding ceremony programs. I narrowed my search down to scroll-inspired programs and these rustic burlap booklet programs. I found this tutorial while scouring the internet for the perfect ceremony programs, and knew I had to tackle this project. Before our wedding, I was not much of a sewer, but luckily I have a very crafty mom, who I could not have done this without!
*Buy your burlap at a local fabric store, NOT at a craft store- it’s MUCH cheaper. I bought mine for $2.99 a yard and purchased 2 yards. This was more than enough and I had plenty left over.
*You will need one sheet of cream card stock per program, but you will only need half the number of kraft paper sheets. For example, if you are making 100 programs, you will need two 50-sheet packages of cream card stock, and one package of kraft paper. Card stock is essentially heavier than regular printer paper, but lighter than poster board. It comes in a variety of weights (I used 110 lb.) Kraft paper is actually made from the pulp of cardboard. It is a bit lighter than card stock and has a subtle rustic texture. The actual pages of the program are printed on the cream card stock and the kraft paper is used as the back cover of the booklet.
*You can get two covers out of the large scrapbook paper. This is the paper I used.
*Use embroidery thread to sew the program; it’s thicker than regular thread. Also make sure your sewing machine has a sturdy needle or it may break.
Scrapbook Escort Cards
This was a simple but effective project. I used the same book of scrapbook paper I used to make the programs, leftover cream card stock, and a glue gun. This project was very inexpensive and easy to execute. I dressed up the escort card table with some rose petals from our florist and photos from our parents’ weddings.
Wine Bottle Table Numbers
This was a project that scared me. I knew I wanted to DIY the table numbers, so when I found these on pinterest, I knew I had to have them. The problem was the sewing. Sewing a straight line for the programs was one thing, but these looked complicated. Fortunately, I enlisted the help of my mom who gave me a full sewing lesson.
*If you are using regular sized wine bottles, cut the burlap to 13.5 inches long and 11 inches across.
*Try to cut the burlap using the finished edges for the top of your bottle so you don’t have to finish them off with the sewing machine!
*If you are adept at using a sewing machine, consider lining the burlap with a sheet of muslin so you can’t see through the burlap.
*Light colored burlap as shown in the picture is more expensive than the traditional brown, so if you are looking to cut costs, you may want to make these with the darker burlap. I paid $6.99 a yard for the lighter burlap, also purchased at the fabric store. Also, if you use the dark burlap, you won’t need to line it with the muslin.
Cards Sign for our Wedding Gifts
This sign was another simple, but effective detail to incorporate into our wedding day. My good friend, Krista, found this vintage suitcase at a flea market for $5. I knew I had to use it for our wedding, and the suitcase inspired the rustic cards sign. I used the leftover burlap from the ceremony programs, 2-inch letter stencils, and a small container of paint I got at Walmart for $0.57.
It wasn’t long after returning from our honeymoon that I began to miss constantly crafting for the wedding. In August, Krista and I decided to open an Etsy shop with some of the items I made for the wedding. We named it East Coast Bride, after our website we started shortly after her June 2011 wedding and in the midst of my wedding planning. Thanks to the shop, we don’t have to stop crafting (not that I ever would…just wait until you see the DIY holiday gifts I am working on)!
Any projects or tutorials you are dying to see?
*All photos by the fabulous, Cassi Claire Photography.
**See more of our wedding here!
Keri is a newlywed, who is addicted to endorphins and lattes and obsessed with all things pretty. She is the co-founder of East Coast Bride, a wedding website and etsy shop dedicated to her love of beautiful and handmade weddings and lives in New Jersey with her new husband Dan and their rescue dog, Cooper.