Category — DIY Ideas

How To: The Secret to My Budget Wedding

Posted by Asia A.


Weddings are a wonderful. Two people coming together to publicly state their love and join two families into one, what can be better than that? But, weddings aren’t cheap, they’re notoriously expensive. When’s the last time you ate a $2,000 cake? While I can’t afford a celebration fit for the pages of Martha Stewart Weddings, I feel that we can still have our beautiful cake, and eat it, too. The question is how to avoid spending a king’s ransom on a wedding!

The first thing I did: Prioritize. When I put together my budget, I made a list of all the little things that I wanted for my wedding that would make this day uniquely “us”. DIY is all the rage now, and I am all for that – I love to just sit down and make stuff! But, because I’ve been sitting down and making stuff for quite some time, I know that time and effort is just as valuable as what’s in my wallet, and just because you can do it yourself doesn’t mean you should do it yourself. I think that’s something many couples don’t really take in to consideration – that when you spend your evening crunching your numbers, you need to also budget all the time you spend doing things yourself. For those little crafty touches that I don’t want to do myself (like stamping 150 escort cards), I’m turning to Etsy!

But, back to our list of priorities… The wedding industry has seriously blurred the lines between wants and needs. A wedding is a very special day, and I can’t wait for mine, but I’m trying to keep in mind that everything I want to have at my wedding is not necessarily everything I need. We’re pretty conditioned by society to want a poofy white dress and awesome shoes and silk this and taffeta that and if you don’t have these things Your Special Day is Ruined with a capital “R”. But I’m going to tell you a secret. Come a little closer. A little more…
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October 13, 2009   4 Comments

Finding the Perfect Guest Book

Posted by Laura N.

At my Bat Mitzvah, my guests signed a photo poster of me. Some 17 years later, I still love to sit on the floor of my closet at my parents’ house, where the poster sits, and read what my guests wrote. The vast majority, of course, are just signatures or perfunctory statements such as “Congratulations!” or “You did great!” But that’s beside the point: I look back at those signatures and remember the people who were in might life at that time. Many of them won’t be at my wedding—some, like my grandparents, because they have died; others because we grew apart years ago.

Likewise, many of the people who attend our wedding won’t be around for the next simcha. So I wanted our wedding guests to sign something that we’d look at often, something that would remind us of all the people who were present at our wedding.


Photo credit: paulpod / CC BY 2.0

I  didn’t want a traditional ivory guest book—or even one of the pretty blue or green one—that would probably end up collecting dust in a box after the wedding. I wanted something that would have a place in our home.

So I decided to borrow an idea used by two friends who recently married. They had guests sign the blank beginning and ending pages of a coffee table book. “Yearbook-style,” a friend described it. Inside the book were pictures of Chicago, the city where the couple met. Since my fiancé and I are both book collectors, this seemed like the perfect alternative to the classic guest book.

But what kind of coffee table book would we get? As with most wedding details, the decision wasn’t easy. There were plenty of attractive coffee table books at the bookstore, but none screamed us. So we considered some mutual interests:

  • Basketball. It was a possibility, but only a few people at the wedding will know that we’re both big basketball fans.
  • Food. My fiancé, after all, loves to cook gourmet meals, and I love to eat his cooking. But after giving it a little thought, we decided that it was a bad idea to have our guests sign a pretty cookbook. Inevitably, we’d use the book in the kitchen, and it would get dirty, potentially ruining some of the signatures.
  • Books. Now here was an option for two avid readers. But a coffee table book about books? There aren’t actually all that many. After some serious searching on, though, I came across The Writer’s Brush—a coffee table book with paintings, sculptures, and drawings by famous authors.
  • Our guest book

Without looking at more than a couple of pages, I knew we’d found our guest book. It was unique, and it happened to appeal to a shared interest we hadn’t considered: art. It also had the potential to be a conversation piece for years to come. Best of all, it would—will—give our guests’ signatures and well wishes a permanent place in our home and our lives, with a little decorative flair to boot.

October 8, 2009   No Comments

DI why???

Posted by Bevin M.


When I told my fiancé how much a wedding costs, I had to peel him off the floor. He could not grasp why we needed champagne flutes (he wanted to use the ones the hotel gave us) or a knife and server set (he wanted to get a plastic knife from the supermarket). Once I explained the wedding traditions to him, he still did not understand but knew he had to give in. Then when I told him I wanted to cut costs by DIYing a lot of the necessities, he groaned and said, “Oy, what’s DIY?”

Once I peeled myself off the floor we got down to business making our “to-do list” of DIYs. Our first hurdle–the aisle runner. After doing research on how much it would cost to get a professionally-made monogrammed aisle runner, I decided to make mine for much, much less. With a lot of help from Oriental Trading Company, Michael’s and my wonderful Maid of Honor,  my DIY aisle runner became a reality.


Our Monogram

Here’s a brief tutorial!

You will need the following: aisle runner (not plastic), acrylic paint, black marker, lots of paint brushes, wax paper, and a computer.

1. Design and print your monogram in any program you are comfortable using. I used Microsoft Powerpoint.

2. Take your print to your local copy store and have them blow it up to the dimensions you want. I asked for poster size prints of both my monogram and quote.

3. Use wax paper to cover the surface of your work space so the paint does not destroy your table, floor etc. Then tape your poster-sized prints onto the wax paper.

4. Now, using those skills we all learned (or attempted to learn) in Kindergarten, get to tracing with your marker!

5. Carefully remove the poster template and continuing to use those Kindergarten skills, paint!! Be careful not to smudge the paint or place your hand on anything you have already painted (coming from experience) so you don’t ruin your aisle runner.

6. Once you have finished painting, make sure you place your aisle runner in a safe place and let dry for 24 hours.

And voilà, you have your very own monogrammed aisle runner!

September 10, 2009   No Comments

His Dudes Won’t Wear Anything Floral

Posted by Maya E.

Thank you everyone for your help selecting an image for our invitations!  We decided to go with the image of Loren proposing to me. Here is what Loren and I came up with after merging our designs:

I asked my bridesmaids to wear black, because I figured everyone would have a black dress and that way they wouldn’t need to buy anything new. Each of them will have a different color flower in their hair (naturally in rainbow order). Loren is having his groomsmen wear black suits, white shirts- slightly open with no tie, and Converse All Stars. I wanted his groomsmen’s boutonnieres to match my bridesmaids flowers, but he wasn’t having it :)  He said his dudes weren’t going to wear anything floral!

maya's threads
I love things in rainbow order. These are some spools from my art studio.

As for my own dream off-white mermaid cut/ sevillana style wedding dress…  it still  has to wait another two weeks… My thesis exhibition opens May 8th, I graduate May 15th, then on May 16th I will FINALLY go wedding dress shopping!

May 5, 2009   No Comments

Dates Will Be Saved!

Posted by Mara O.
Our Save-The-Date!

Our Save-The-Date!

It started months ago. We booked our wedding venue for 11/28/2009 and promptly started to worry about the fact that our wedding falls on Thanksgiving weekend. What if people are going out of town for Thanksgiving? What if the people we really want to come our wedding can’t come? What if… then we took a deep breath, and realized there was a remedy to this perceived problem:  Save The Date cards!

Everyone and their mother sends Save the Dates nowadays, but originally they were designed for weekends such as, oh, Thanksgiving weekend, so people can plan ahead and attend whatever event is called for to save the date. We started looking into Save the Date ideas. Emails? No, too impersonal. Regular cards? Nope, more likely to get lost. What would be a bit more “permanent” in peoples’ minds? Magnets! I found a company that allowed custom designs to be uploaded then printed on a magnet, so I went ahead and designed our Save the Date “cards.” We decided on the one in the picture above and about a week later, 100 magnets arrived in our mailbox!

Was it that easy? Stick a magnet in an envelope and… crap. Addresses. We needed lots of addresses. Many people don’t worry about addresses until invitation time, but alas, we had to get them and get them NOW. Facebook became our best friend! AAH then another realization: we had no envelopes. Nor did we want to just stick a magnet in an envelope for fear it would get lost. Enter my friend, who with her sister, runs a stationery store. She got me card stock and envelopes for very little money, and I set out assembling magnet-on-cardstock-stuffed-in-envelopes.

Finally, months later, it’s time to send out our Save the Dates. The stacks of envelopes are sitting here ready to get dropped in the mailbox tomorrow. It’s real now… WE’RE GETTING MARRIED!!!

April 30, 2009   3 Comments