Category Archives: Wedding

DIY details: our wedding

A few months back, I shared with you my top 10 suggestions for being a budget-savvy bride — ultimately planning a wedding with the cost in mind, rather than irrational visions you’ve accrued over the years of your ‘dream wedding.’  A little harsh? Perhaps. But if you follow my tips, then you (and your bank account) just might thank me later! I digress. Back to what this post is about. I had mentioned that I’d make sure to share my various DIY wedding projects when it was all said and done. And so here we are.

The following projects were centered around the idea of saving money and trying to incorporate as many reused items as possible, all while staying in my nature-esque autumn theme. (Not shown: invites, RSVP cards and programs). Check it out:

IMG_0204DIY #1: ring bearer “pillow.” A white spray-painted pumpkin + twine. Too easy!


Untitled (2)DIY #2: centerpieces. These were made from vases I purchased from thrift stores & garage sales (I never paid more than a dollar for each). I tied the mouths of the vase with twine and filled them with pine cones and sticks from my backyard, plus a sprig of decorative berries from the craft store (now being used as Christmas decor around my house). They were set on top of wood slabs my stepdad cut from a fallen tree. Lastly, I placed tea lights in small canning jars (again, tied with twine) next to the vases for a little romantic ambiance. Total cost for 25 tables? $32.

IMG_1074DIY #3: reserved signs. For the tables that were reserved for immediate family, I bought paper with a faux wood grain look from the craft store (55 cents each), traced “*reserved*” using a pack of letter stickers, and added a few subtle leaf stamps in the corner.

DIY #4: head table decor. The head table was lined with old-fashioned Ball canning jars (from my mom’s collection) that were tied with twine and holding my bridesmaid’s bouquets. Not pictured: small juice cups held tea light candles that were placed in between the jars.

card box
DIY #5: cardbox. Here I glued together two round cardboard boxes from the craft store and added miniature bunting across the front, lace along the edges and twine on the top. Using the same letter stickers that I did for the reserved signs above, I traced “thank you!” on the top and added a button for the “o,” because just why the heck why not!  Total cost? $12.

IMG_1017 IMG_1015
DIY #6: cake topper. Paper bird cut-outs (hand drawn by a friend) glued onto a stick (from the backyard, of course) sat on top of my birch tree-inspired cake, making this the cheapest DIY project of  ’em all – around 50 cents. (Similar ones on Etsy run between $20-$30).

Untitled (2)

DIY #7: trail mix bar. While this was the most expensive “DIY” (around $75 because of the cost of ingredients), it was definitely the most worth-while and a huge hit amongst guests! The bunting triangles were purchased from the craft store as well as the letters to trace “trail mix” onto them. I strung them through a piece of twine that was held by two small pumpkins on each end of the table. An eclectic mix of bowls and dishes taken from my mom’s house were filled with an array of trail mix items and set on top of tree slabs.

There you have it! Are any of these ideas ones that you would recreate for a wedding or other event?!


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budget bride guide.

Did you know the cost of an average American wedding today is 26-30k?! I mean, really think about that number —  that is the cost of a brand spankin’ new car, a down payment for a house, or almost a whole college education… and to think people spend this for one day. I cringe.

My wedding is in one week and since the day of the engagement I had one goal in mind: make this wedding as eco-friendly as possible, both for the sake of my wallet as well as the environment.  Over the course of my penny-pinching planning (tongue twister for ya), it’s an understatement to say that I learned a thing or two about being a a bride on a budget. With that, keep reading to learn how I was able to plan my wedding for around one third of the “average American.”

1) Watch what you say. First and foremost, do not, I repeat – DO NOT – say things like, “I am only getting married once, I HAVE to have it…” or “It’s my special day, I deserve to have everything I want,” or my personal favorite, “But I’ve been dreaming about this day all my life…” Blah, blah, blah! News flash – keep telling yourself things like that and you can kiss your cash goodbye by the time the wedding is all said and done. Which leads me to my next point…

2)  The rule of three.  Pick the three things that are most important to you and splurge on those items only. Is it the dress, food, venue, DJ, photographer? Whichever three you choose, make those your spendy spots and go easy on the rest. (One easy way to decide is to ask yourself, “What will make the day the most memorable?”)

3) Incorporate nature. Whether it’s your aisle runners, centerpieces, or venue décor, using items from nature is not only eco-friendly (and beautiful), but it’s free! A great deal of my wedding décor is made up of sticks and pine cones from my backyard. As I always say – go green, don’t spend green! While we’re on the topic of nature…

4) Keep it natural. Try using as many sustainable products and services as possible. A few examples: invites (like mine) can be made from 100% recycled paper and printed with soy-based ink; look for a caterer who offers seasonal and organic food (if your budget allows); buy farmers market flowers for bouquets (instead of the florist shop ones sprayed with pesticides), the list goes on.

5) Utilize local vendors when possible. Not only is it great to support small and local businesses, but they also tend to be much cheaper than those pesky retail wedding giants. I saved a lot of money by going with small/local places and freelance people such as my engagement photographer, florist, cake maker, seamstress  and hair stylist. The website Etsy is also an excellent source for supporting the little guys, not to mention a wonderful resource for unique ideas!

6) Ask for discounts when applicable. One thing that I made sure to take full advantage of was my fiancé’s military standing; throughout my search for various vendors I always asked if they offered a military discount. In the end I saved hundreds since my reception venue, florist, and photographer all offered one. It never hurts to ask!

7) Do it DIY style. The more you ‘do it yourself’, the cheaper your total bill is going to be. Let me put this in simple terms – you should know your way around Michael’s Craft Store  like the back of your hand and Pinterest should easily become your most viewed websites when planning a wedding. I applied around at least ten ideas to my wedding that I took directly from Pinterest — everything from my cake topper to my card box. While they aren’t 100% the same, here are a few of my favorite pins that inspired a few of my DIY wedding projects: cake toppercake, trail mix barcenterpieces. Bonus – your guests will more than likely be quite impressed with your hard work and creativity!

8) Buy used. One of the easiest ways to save money (plus reuse/recycle) is to buy used items! I managed to get all of the vases for my centerpieces solely from garage sales and thrift stores for $.10 – $1.00/ea. (Much cheaper than renting or buying new, plus now I can donate or sell them to someone else who could use them for their wedding!) Bridal consignment shops and recycled wedding websites are starting to pop up all over so do your research before you buy new.

9) Make sacrifices. This goes back to point #1 – if you get every little thing you want, your bank account will ultimately suffer. Although it may be hard, ask yourself if the item or service is really that important and thoroughly think it through before making impulse purchases (that you later realize you could have easily done without). Think of it this way — what are the things that have the potential to make or break the day? It’s probably not those $200 shoes that more than likely no one will even see (and you’ll wear only once) or the programs that will get thrown out right after the ceremony.

10) Condense the guest list. As tough as it may seem to weed out Great Aunt Sally or your old co-worker, this is the easiest way to  keep your budget in check. A good way to decide who makes the cut is to simply consider the people who are most important in our life and who you want to share in the celebration of your special day. But if you just can’t get over the idea of not inviting every single one of your FB friends, compromise by just having them come to the dance portion of your reception.

So there you have it – my personal top tips for being a budget-savvy bride! Be on the look out for a recap of my wedding and an up-close look at my various DIY projects!


Filed under Money Saver, Wedding

wedding registry 101.

This past weekend my fiancé and I started our wedding registry. (I say “started” because I didn’t realize how time consuming it would be so I readily scheduled both Target and Crate & Barrel for a late Saturday afternoon… bad idea). With no time to spare, I claimed and owned that scanner like a champ, walking around the store at a pace of that similar to a jogger and beeping that dang thing until the battery died (no exaggeration here, folks).

Long story short, this is what I learned in the process: 
#1 – when it comes down to it, there really is no point in having the man come along (let’s just be honest)
#2 – giving a woman a registry scanner is like putting a kid in a candy store and telling them they can have whatever they want, which leads me to my next point… 
#3 – post-registry you’re left mentally exhausted and wanting to vomit from product overload.  

Aside from the boring kitchen appliances and cleaning supplies that you could probably care less about, here are a few scanned items that I couldn’t help but share:

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

  • 1 – You can never have enough throws (year-round) when you live in Minnesota, especially neutral-colored ones that will go with virtually any decor/furniture.
  • 2 – Soy candles (and reed diffusers) are essential to a nice smelling home, naturally!
  • 3 – Digital bamboo scale (hello sustainable resource!) This was one of those not-really-necessary but simply-can’t-pass-up kind of item.
  • 4 – Ampersand pillow…. just plain cool. I gotta have it.
  • 5 – Adding some plants (faux or real, but preferrably real) always adds a nice aesthetic appeal to a room.
  • 6 – A pretty watering can… both decorative and purposeful, win-win!
  • 7 – Woven cube – not only can it be used as a side table or ottoman, but it also serves as a storage option. Talk about multi-purpose mania!


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found: my wedding shoes.

Yes, I found my wedding shoes this past weekend! I was on the prowl for a shoe that was a) somewhat vintage-inspired, b) not too high/easy to walk in and c) something I could wear again. So when I saw these I automatically thought, “Check, check & check.” And off to the register I merrily went.

What do you think? ;)

P.S. These were runner-up (in the mustard shade).


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engagement photos sampler.

As I mentioned in this post, Rey and I got engagement photos taken while he was home on his 2-week leave from deployment. Here are a few of my favorites! –

Pictures were taken by my good friend, Rasun. Check out her blog @:


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one year from today…

I will be a married woman!!! :) 

Remember a few months back when I made that “wedding wish list” blog post as I started to formulate wedding ideas? Well to my surprise, it has been one of my most popular viewed posts ever since.  Because of that, I decided to create another one for you all. So here you have it – a small taste of the latest wedding ideas, inspirations and wishes for my fall 2012 wedding… Enjoy!

It’s not the dream dress you saw here, but it sure is a lovely alternative! {via Allure Bridals}

Who needs real flowers (that will just die anyways) when you can have unique, eco-chic ones like these that will last forever?! Plus, I’m all about a good DIY project! {via Rock ‘n Roll Bride}

Wedding invites made from sustainably harvested yellow birch wood. {via Night Owl Paper Goods}

 Bring the outside in by using sticks as centerpieces; simple, chic, and green! (River rocks and fall-colored leaves will also play a role in decor on my big day) {via The Knotty Bride}

 A wide array of fall-inspired desserts means all guests will be able to find something to satisfy their sweet tooth!

In addition to my root beer keg, apple cider is a must! (And coffee! – But I think that goes without saying)

And speaking of apples – caramel ones make for a fun favor. {via Martha Stewart}

– – –

That’s all for now, thanks for reading! Outfit post coming tomorrow so stay tuned! :)


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wedding wish list.

Being just over 14 months out from the big day, I am slowly but surely starting the tedious planning process. Here’s a sneak peek at the beginnings of my fall 2012 wedding wish-list:

lovely fall bouquet

knotty up-do

perfect autumn decor – birch bark candles

flower girl leaves

crochet TOMS – need I say more?

cream cheese-filled pumpkin muffins; a dessert bar must-have! and these, too:

homemade caramel nut rolls

root beer keg; all-around party pleaser.

SONGMake you feel my love by Adele.

*To see the dress I like my dream dress, click here.

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dream dress discovery.

Although I still have more than one year until “the big day” (Oct. 2012!), I am starting to ease into the process of keeping my eyes peeled for great wedding ideas, items and deals. Well, lo and behold, I came across this FABULOUS unique dress {via Etsy} and instantly fell in love!! I simply cannot stop thinking and marveling over it…
Now if only I could manage to find a similar vintage one at a thrift or consignment store for oh, say, under $100 (vs. the $899 price-tag it currently holds), I would be one ecstatic [budget-savvy] bride-to-be… hey, you never know! :-)


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