Thursday, November 3, 2011

Our D.I.Y. Wedding Decor (+ How You Can Make It Too!)

Our DIY Wedding Decor

A QUICK NOTE: This post is one of my very favorites to date.  It ended up being much longer than I'd anticipated, but rather than just showing images, I wanted to be able to explain how each project was created, in case you'd like to create them too!  Below each set of photos, you will find specific information on each piece of decor and how it was made.  Enjoy! 
(*Above art print available here.)

It's hard to believe that Monday marked one month since Robbie and I got married!  There was so much work, planning and fun in the months leading up to the wedding, and in many ways, it feels like the event itself was only a few days ago.  One of my favorite parts of preparing for our big day was designing and making the decor.  I wanted to find ways to incorporate several of the things I love most when it comes to design: vintage + modern (always a great combo),  typography, and rustic minimalism.  We got married at a nature center, and I also wanted to blend in elements of nature and eco-friendly decor.  And our colors (yellow + gray) were heavily featured throughout the venue as a way to tie everything together.  I hope you like this little peek into what I came up with!

1. Wedding Banner: I took various calico fabrics (vintage and leftover scraps of new) in yellow and gray, and washed them to create a softened, worn appearance.  We then ripped them into strips to create nice raw edges, and tied them to a long piece of nylon rope that we hung (on a wall of all windows!) for the ceremony.  My mom also brought two ficus trees from home that we set up on either side below the banner.
2. Framed Art and Candles: I designed several pieces of typographic art with quotes and song lyrics, printed them, and placed them in frames that I got at thrift and craft stores.  We placed these on each dining table and throughout the venue.  The venue did not allow real candles due to fire codes, so we used battery operated (and reusable!) flameless tea lights.  We placed pieces of dried Spanish moss in mason jars, then set the tea lights inside.
3. Vintage Books and Monogram Bookends: We wanted a warm, homey feel to the reception, with lots of vintage detail.  We brought a few of our antique hard cover books from home, and used letters made from recycled cardboard to create "bookends."
4. Vintage Suitcase Cardholder: Instead of a traditional cardholder, we use a vintage suitcase, and I created a banner for it by printing out letters on kraft cardstock, punching out holes, and sliding yellow ribbon through.
5. Guest Book:  For our guest book, I tied yellow ribbon to a pretty wood pen of Robbie's, and attached the other end to a beautiful Audrey Hepburn journal that my mom had gotten me.  I designed a graphic asking guests to sign the book, then printed it on kraft cardstock and folded in half to make a sign.
6. Typewriter Guest Book: In addition to the regular guestbook, we brought one of our vintage typewriters from home and asked guests to type their words of wisdom and marital advice for us. We set it on a table surrounded by candles and flowers in mason jars, and black and white framed photos of Robbie and myself as children. 
7. Chalkboard Signs: I bought plain wood chalkboards at a craft store, then painted the wood mustard yellow.  We used these as signs throughout the venue, and placed a few in the photo booth for guests to hold up while getting their pictures taken.

8. Vinyl Record Cake Stands: Instead of a traditional wedding cake, we ordered doughnuts from a local bakery.  Robbie created the cake stands out of vinyl records in 3 sizes and cake stand parts.  (He will be sharing a D.I.Y. tutorial on how to make these very soon!)  In keeping with the whole nontraditional cake theme, I created funny cake toppers out of Star Wars figures.  I made a mini veil from tulle and ribbon, and a mini tie from black fabric, then attached them with a hot glue gun. 
9. Vintage Cameras: Robbie and I both love photography, so we brought some pieces from our vintage camera collection and arranged them on the gift/guest book table.
10. Place Settings and Table Decor: Our dinner was very casual (we had an authentic Mexican taco bar buffet and did not assign seats), so we wanted to dress up the tables.  I'd planned to make the table cloths but ran out of time, so we rented simple charcoal gray ones that ended up looking really elegant.  At each table setting we put the following - (1) a menu card that I designed and printed, (2) a mason jar glass with a striped paper straw and a drink stirrer that we made from a bamboo skewer and washi tape, (3) yellow and gray cocktail napkins, and (4) one of our personalized honey favor jars.  (For a tutorial on how to make the honey favors, click here.)  For the silverware, we took eco-friendly forks and spoons (made from sugar cane; biodegradable and compostable!), wrapped them in recycled yellow and gray dinner napkins, tied them with yellow and gray ribbon, and lined them up down the center of each table.

11. White Pumpkins: Since our wedding took place right at the beginning of fall, I wanted to incorporate some elements of autumn.  I love white pumpkins, but they're incredibly expensive.  My mom, however, came across some that looked remarkably real at a craft store for next to nothing, and we placed them throughout the venue.  The best part is that we'll be able to use them again each season!  (See #2 above for info on the framed typographic art).
12. Baskets and Sage Bundle Favors: I have quite the collection of baskets, and we used them to hold everything from programs to apples to these sage bundles.  In addition to the honey favors we created for guests, my bridesmaid Rhonda made these beautiful favors from sage she gathered from her Colorado yard.  She wrapped the fresh sage in gray string, allowed the bundles to dry, then tied them with yellow ribbon that she had printed with our names and wedding date.  They smell amazing as is, but can also be burned like incense.  I'm very grateful to her for making something so unique for our guests to take home!
13. Popcorn: We were so excited to find out that the venue had an old fashioned popcorn machine on hand!  We bought these retro style bags from a local shop and placed them in a basket next to the machine.  Our guests said they loved being able to munch on freshly popped popcorn throughout the evening!
14. Flower Arrangements: Rather than using a florist, we purchased our own flowers from local shops a couple of days before the wedding and arranged them in different sized jars.  (You can read the full story on how we DIYed all of our wedding flowers here). They only "non jar" vase that we used was the one shown above with the painted violets, which belonged to my great grandmother.

Working on our wedding this year was one of the most fulfilling (and sometimes stressful but always rewarding!) experiences of my life.  I've been breaking up the wedding posts to avoid completely bombarding you, but I still have a lot I want to share with you all - especially some more specific D.I.Y. tutorials.  The great thing about D.I.Y. weddings is that the details and projects can be applied to so many other aspects of life - parties, home decorating, holidays, etc.  I'm hoping that even those of you not planning a wedding are enjoying seeing how we made it all happen.

Oh, and speaking of breaking up posts...  In order to keep this particular post from becoming borderline obnoxious in length, I'll be sharing the second half of our wedding decor in another post sometime in the near future.  Yes my friends, there is a Part 2.  I never said I didn't go overboard with obsessing over detail. :)

The images used in this post were photographed by the amazing Amy Little and Lynne Kasey of Bliss Studio. I can't thank them enough for being so detail oriented and making sure that they captured every element of our wedding day. You guys rock!

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  1. Your wedding was so pretty it makes me ALMOST wish I was doing one this time around.

  2. Oh how fantastic! This all looks amazing.
    I'm not a wedding kind of girl, but if something happened to change that and I ended up getting married I'd definately be making it as crafty as possible. I love decorating for parties etc so I think I'd see it as a big excuse to have some creative fun!

    I really love the fabric tassle garlands you've created!

  3. Wow!!! Everything is so creative and detailed and lovely!! Thank you for explaining how you made each item! There are a few things I want to make for my home like the candle holders and I can't wait for the DIY on the record donut stands!!

  4. Melissa, this was by far and away the most visually beautiful wedding I've ever been to. I knew you'd designed all the decor yourself, but it's such a treat to get to read how you did it. Really wonderful.

  5. This was great! All the care and detail just makes everything about the decorations even more beautiful. I also love the idea of donuts instead of cake. You're awesome.

  6. What fun you had. Thank you for sharing your creative decorating ideas with us--and for letting us in on your beautiful wedding photos.

  7. Everything looks so pretty! You guys did a great job. :)

  8. Everything looks so lovely!!

  9. Everything was so pretty! And despite all of the different elements and inspirations, it was all very cohesive. I can't wait to see Part 2!

  10. Cute decor. So inspirational. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Katrina. XO

    P.S. Thanks for your super nice comment on the other day <3

  11. So creative, and so well done! Are you sure you don't want to be a wedding planner????

  12. what you accomplished by doing a post like this. is i noticed details i might have missed when i looked at your other wedding things before. i remembered thinking how delightful the star wars doughnut cake was, but i didn't realize you made it out of vinyl records! nor did i know all the symbolism you incorporated into each element. this may sound silly, but i can see you putting together a portfolio of sorts with these ideas, photos, & images.

  13. Awww, you guys are the best! Really. I spent an usually long time on this post, and I think it was because these projects were all so special to me. I appreciate you taking the time to read about them, and hope that you can use some of them in your own lives!


  14. The colour scheme is 'so' you Melissa. I cannot stand how cute C3P0 is with a cute veil on his head- that is hilarious! I really like the light hearted vibe of your design, I can imagine that the day was really chilled and happy. Thank you also for you kind and supportive comments on my blog- you are a sweetheart xxx

  15. i think it's awesome that you had a d.i.y wedding! it makes your special occasion even more memorable and meaningful!

  16. I honestly cannot wait to get married! Although I'm only 20 (I know, SO young to want this) I already have someone who I've been with on and off for 7 years and I'm positive we're getting married. He's totally into this style wedding.
    Your wedding is definitely one of my biggest inspirations. I even keep talking about your cute little honey jars! So darling! Congratulations on your one month wedding anniversary!!

  17. looks like all your hard work paid off! it was beautiful :) CONGRATS xohx

  18. These are all amazing and so beautiful!

  19. I absolutely adore zippers on boots and Moorea's jewelry too! :)

  20. across the universe?!!! I hope my dire love for this merits my being able to copycat this?
    everything is perfect and beautiful. but this detail shines to me! ive been looking for the right romatnitc quotes to frame at my wedding im planning in 2014, and this precisely and poetically captures how your soul mate can make you feel

  21. Wow! So many great ideas. Just pinned this!


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