DIY with me on WeddingLovely!

Hiya! Just popping back again today to let you know that you can check out my Table Numbers DIY project from our DIY October Wedding over on the WeddingLovely Blog today!

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Thanks so much for sharing my project AND my wedding, Tracy!

Be sure to check out all the gorgeous weddings, amazing DIY projects, and wedding vendor features on the WeddingLovely Blog!

~xo

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Wedding Wrap Up

OK guys – I am pretty sure that I have reached the end of my list of wedding-related posts! I’m actually a little bummed- I had SO much fun planning (and actually getting married), that being able to blog about it afterwards helped to stretch out the fun. I’ll definitely keep sharing wedding ideas & inspiration periodically, since I just adore weddings so much!

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If you are one of my few *but awesome* loyal readers, you have been privy to a long line of posts both leading up to and now following my October wedding.

I shared stories & reflections about the big day, and I gushed (and could still gush some more) about some of my incredible vendors (like our venue & florist here in part 1, and our wedding band & photographers in part 2) that helped make our day so perfect.

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I also shared loads of DIY Projects that I completed with the help of my hubby, friends & family.

Looking back, here are some of the highlights from the past few months of wedding postings.

The Expression of the Day

Our DIY “Yay!” Flags were our alternative to rice-throwing at the conclusion of our ceremony.

IMG_3463We used construction paper, wooden dowels, & double-sided tape for this simple DIY project, to create fun flags for guests to wave at the end of our ceremony (and throughout the night!)

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Careful Coordination

I designed our invitations & menus, featuring our L+T “logo” of sorts and the fonts Campland and Lavanderia (you can purchase Campland letters and ornaments here & Lavanderia here).

DSC_5567Our programs were printed on Kraft paper (simple, one fold booklets designed to coordinate with the Invitations).

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Keeping things Organized

I helped to keep our bridal party on track with these day-of pocket timelines, full of details on when and where important things were happening throughout the day.

TimelineOur overnight guests found a helpful, informative card and map of the wedding site tucked into their welcome bags.

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Say Cheese!

Our DIY Photo Booth was an inexpensive & easy interactive feature of our day.

FrameEditBy hanging a simple white frame from two birch poles, we created a simple outdoor “photo booth” area, where guests could strike a pose or share a message on handheld chalkboards.

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Some Thing(s) Borrowed, and Some Things Bought…

Loads of decor came straight out of my mother’s house – like these vintage chalkboards.

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Still more items were handmade by those more talented than me – amazing Etsy artists & shop owners. You can see where I bought special wedding pieces, like this personalized wedding gown hanger from Hanger Design Center, in this post.

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Personal Details

These DIY table numbers served a dual purpose –

DSC_2508-14 copyhelping guests to find their seats, and sharing some L+T ‘trivia’ to give family & friends a little glimpse into our relationship.

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Homemade Caramel Apple Favors

Delicious apples from a local orchard were dipped in caramel & a variety of colored sprinkles,

IMG_0592then bagged & tagged to give our guests a delicious taste of Fall to take home!

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Little Touches

DIY Burlap Bunting and a DIY Rustic Card Box were simple projects that were completed far in advance of the wedding to add another little handmade touch.

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Along the way, I also shared some of the web-based tools & smartphone apps that helped me plan & stay on track, and offered tips for things like including your pet in your wedding, and how to create a sweet DIY photo book for wedding (or other) pictures.

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It’s a Wrap

For full project tutorials & even more wedding related posts, visit my page dedicated to our DIY wedding.

For even more on our wedding, including loads more pictures, check out this post on the Focal Point Studios blog, and our special wedding feature on the WeddingLovely Blog!

instagramvowsPlanning our wedding was some of the most fun I’ve ever had- seriously. I loved every craft and project, and it was such a thrill to see it all come together on the big day. To top it off, I had the amazing experience of joining my life to my new husband’s – with all of our family & friends around us to share in that joy! Our wedding day was beautiful, with a very meaningful ceremony and a great party to top it off. It was the perfect start to an amazing new adventure that hubby & I now get to share, and I could not be any luckier!

DSC_6425I hope you enjoyed seeing the behind-the-scenes details that went into our day. If you’re a bride planning your own special day, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!

Wedding DIY // Caramel Apple Favors

DIY-ing close to one hundred and fifty caramel apples as wedding favors for our autumn wedding was one of my favorite projects out of my long list of handmade wedding details.

ApplesEdit2These favors were really a DIT (do it together) project that I could not have accomplished without help from a big group of friends & family who helped to dip, sprinkle and tag – and who kept me (relatively) calm throughout the process.

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The idea came from my brother, and it sounded really great while we all sat in our beach chairs by the ocean on a beautiful summer day in July. As the wedding approached and I began to research how to go about accomplishing such a large order, I ran into a few roadblocks. Through experimentation (which also included taste-testing, duh) I settled on a method which worked nicely and was relatively simple.

My first plan was to create delicious gourmet apples dipped in chocolate and covered in a variety of delectable toppings. I tested my plan, creating these whoppers:

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They all tasted amazing, but took three times as long and cost twice as much as my final version. The good news was, me & the hubs got to eat them all. (Tip- when eating a giant apple covered in delicious goodness, slice it into quarters and ENJOY.)

After that experiment, I turned towards Caramel apples and discovered Kraft bags of Caramel Bits. These are by far the BEST way to make caramel apples in bulk – no unwrapping hundreds of little Kraft caramels, and no worrying about a homemade caramel recipe (who has a candy thermometer?)

I found the Caramel Bits at Target around Halloween time, however my two local stores only carried a few bags each. Enter Kathy, my mother’s best friend, who saved the day by visiting 5 or 6 Targets and Walmarts to collect about 20 bags for me! We ended up having some leftover, unopened bags- but I of course wanted to be sure I would have more than enough to make all of our apples.

We melted a bag or two at a time (mixed with the correct proportion of water- directions are on the bag) in a large pot on the stove. After inserting white lollipop sticks into our apples, we dipped the apples in Caramel and placed them on cookie sheets covered in wax paper to cool for a few minutes, then rolled them in bowls of colored sprinkles.

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Here are the finished apples, set out to cool on my mother’s dining room table. We kept the heat down low in the house that night, and let them sit overnight to harden before packing them.

Apples2After sprinkling-up each apple, we placed them into cupcake papers – both because it looked super cute, and made them much easier to package!

apples2I put each apple in a clear plastic treat bag & tied them up with some jute twine (like I used in my invitations). I designed the tag using the same fonts as my invites/programs/etc., and printed them on Kraft paper using my home computer.

AppleEdit3If you want to try these DIY favors yourself, here are some tips based on my experience!

Enlist help. As a bit of a control freak, I usually answered every friend or relative who asked me throughout the planning process if I needed help with an assurance that I had it alllll under control. In the case of the caramel apples, however, I gratefully accepted help that was offered, and am so glad that I did! I could never have done this without the help from my family, friends & my bridesmaids!

– Use small-ish apples. This will help keep your cost down, by using less caramel/sprinkles/etc., and will make it easier to bag your favors. If possible, use fresh apples grown locally – without any waxy or other preservatives that could keep the caramel from sticking. My parents ordered three bushels of Empire apples from an orchard near their home, so they were like a little nod to my hometown. Plus, they were delicious!

– Keep ’em cold. The caramel sticks better when the apples are cold, so we kept our outside (it was late October) until we were ready to use them.

– Accept (and embrace) the imperfections. I did not shell out over ten bucks a pop for perfectly dipped apples like these. As amazing as those professional apples most surely are, I DIYed my favors for more reasons than just saving money. I wanted our guests to take home something that I put time & care into making, which was a theme throughout our wedding. That said, not every apple looked perfect – but I’m sure they all tasted great, and I loved how they looked on the tables tied with my handmade tags!

– Taste test! As if I need to tell you this – but half the fun of DIY-ing an edible favor is getting to enjoy them while you make them! Once enough apples for each of my guests were cooling on the dining room table, my friends & family got to dig in to the leftover apples & caramel. It was a tasty reward for our hard work!

By the way- this project took place on the Thursday night before our Saturday wedding. Homemade caramel apples stay tasty and delicious for about a week (longer if refrigerated), so I knew that making them two days in advance would ensure our guests had fresh, finger-licking treats to take home!

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In case you are wondering, I unfortunately did not keep exact track of how much theses favors cost – but a guess based on all of the materials brought me to somewhere in the 2-4 dollar range per apple, which was not bad!

So what do you think? Did (or would you) you DIY your own wedding favors, too? Or do you think it’s more trouble than it’s worth?

Our DIY Wedding “Photo Booth”

Hello and Happy New Year! I’ve got a few more wedding projects left to share from my October Wedding. If you’re here for the first time or missed some of my previous wedding-related posts, head over to Our Wedding to check out photos and projects from our autumn affair!

Photo booths are cool. I liked the idea of having one at our wedding, but it just wasn’t something that hubby & I wanted to shell the money out for. So I got a little creative, and – with the help of my florist, a few strong groomsmen and a good friend with a camera – put together my own DIY Photo Booth area at our outdoor wedding for under $10. As my the great Charlie Sheen would say….winning!

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I found a plain wooden picture frame in the Michael’s “oops” section – where custom frames that were the wrong size/etc. go to await a new chance at life on somebody’s wall. It was rather odd proportions, like 26 x 39. It was $8, so who cares.

I painted the frame white using some leftover trim paint I uncovered in our garage. My original plan was to hang it from a tree somewhere on the grounds of the lovely Inn where our wedding & reception took place. I scoped the area, but could not find a tree in the right location or with branches at the right height. Enter my florist – with the brilliant idea to lend me two large birch-tree-trunks cemented into pots (she typically uses them to frame out chuppas). The day of our wedding, I enlisted a few of our groomsmen to move them (they were super heavy) to a pretty corner near our ceremony area. I hung the frame from two hooks on the top of the branches, using twine.

DSC_5504Setting up the photo booth the day of the wedding!

IMG_3485 copyOur brilliant photographer, Amy, scoping out the scene.

I set out a basket with chalk & erasers (those erasers have GOT to be antiques – they’ve been in my mother’s house for as long as I can remember), and two little chalkboard signs for guests to write us messages/draw us pictures/do whatever they wanted with.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also placed a chalk board sign at the bottom with our Instagram/Twitter wedding hashtag, so guests could take their own pics using their smartphones & tag us!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur good friend (and one of hubby’s groomsmen) manned his DSLR camera both pre & post ceremony, capturing some fun before-wedding shots like these:

IMG_3525My brother & sister-in-law

DSC_5503I love remembering how excited & giddy I felt during the entire morning/early afternoon period of setting up before our ceremony.

IMG_3488The addition of the little chalkboards was super fun, and I totally loved how our handmade YAY Flags became props as well!

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We had such a great time looking through all of the pictures and reading the messages from our friends and family – both the thoughtful and the silly ones.

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Overall, our little rustic photo booth was definitely one of my favorite elements. It was super easy to accomplish (thanks to all of the help!), and was probably our most inexpensive AND most interactive DIY project of the day. I love the pictures of our friends, and think the whole set up was rather charming. What do you think? Where do you find places to save money without sacrificing your vision in your own wedding or party planning?