AllFreeDIYWeddings – Your One Stop Wedding & Party Planner Service

 Let’s take a little walk down memory lane today.
DSC_6425
I completely loved the entire process of planning for our rustic, DIY wedding – from the first trip I took to Michael’s just days after our engagement, through 10 months of pinning, dreaming, planning, and crafting, all the way up to the sleepless nights days before the wedding as I made last minute changes and was simply too excited to sleep!
DSC_5510Our DIY Kraft Paper Ceremony Programs
One of the most amazing things you can find if you are newly engaged is a great, one-stop resource for ideas, tutorials and inspiration. The great new wedding planning site, AllFreeDIYWeddings.com, is just that! I am so honored to have some of my favorite wedding DIY projects featured on the site – where you can find literally thousands of ideas for DIY projects for your special day. I love how AllFreeDIYWeddings categorizes each project by level of difficulty – from beginner to advanced – and includes an estimated cost to complete the project as well.
There are some seriously awesome ideas on this site – like these sweet eyelet candle holders, some darling chiffon shoe clips, and this incredibly unique idea for a slingshot confetti send-off (I SO wish I had come across this idea back when I was planning!)
PicMonkey Collage
Photos from: Style Me Pretty, Bridal Musings, and Green Wedding Shoes
I am just so excited to have some of my wedding projects included on this site – with so many other amazing ideas. You can also sign up to receive a free email newsletter called The Wedding Planner, packed with up to 100 new craft and project ideas, giveaways, free ebook downloads, and more. AllFreeDIYWeddings.com is just over one month old – and already packed with amazing inspiration. So, calling any newly engaged ladies: go check it out!
And, if you’re already an old married lady like me – you can still find lots of great ideas for little projects for parties, showers you may be planning, etc.!

DSC_5616

Planning a wedding? Tell me all about it – I LOVE weddings so very much!

Advertisements

Wedding Day Pocket Timelines

If I haven’t given this away by now- I am a bit of a control freak. And that is saying it nicely.

I suppose I have always been this way – for as my mother likes to say, I never take on a new project or join a new group unless I think I’ll be able to take over and run it myself someday. It’s a sickness. It’s why I should never get involved with politics – because then I might stand in the way of Hilary’s chance at becoming the first woman president. (Ok- that’s probably a bit of a reach, but you catch my drift).
So when it came to wedding planning, I was organized, meticulous, and controlling. Not in a “Bridezilla” kind of way (I don’t think, anyway), but in a “I’m not going to ask for help because I can just do it myself” kind of way.

The most stressful moments for me on the day of (and the few days before) were, in fact, when I was forced to sit still. Or sleep. I was much calmer when I was doing something then when, for example, I had to sit for an hour and have my nails done (and wait for them to dry). TORTURE, I tell you.

Two nights before the wedding, I slept at my parent’s house after spending the night DIY-ing favors & other last minute projects with my family and bridesmaids. I woke up in a panic when I realized my plan for an escort card display was not going to work. (I must have been visited in my sleep by the angel (or devil) of micro-managing brides). Using my iPhone to google alternatives (while trying not to let on that I was awake to my BFF sleeping in the bed next to me), I hatched a new plan at 4AM. Then I gave up trying to pretend I was asleep, got up, and DIY-ed my way through the next three hours until everyone else in the house woke up.

I recognized that on the day of our wedding, I would have to let go of this a little bit. There would things that I just couldn’t (and shouldn’t) worry about doing myself. My older brother, in fact, gave me a strict talking-to the day before our wedding, begging me to be a bit more “hands-off”. True to my character, I did not really listen, and I spent several hours the morning of our wedding hand placing & directing the layout, decor, etc. I just can’t help myself. (But the positive side of this is that we did not need to dish out the cashola for a wedding planner/coordinator, as I knew that it was nothing I (and my faithful cadre of family & friends) couldn’t handle!)

I DID count on help from my wonderful friends and family- and they outdid themselves (naturally. my family & friends rock). By Saturday afternoon, we were like a well-oiled machine of wedding miracle workers. To help keep the whole gang on track, I created a pocket timeline for our families and bridal party.

The timeline included the schedule for the day,

and some reminders on the back.

Things went relatively smoothly on the wedding day, though we did make the call around noon to NOT do the first look photo session (which, in the end, was a great decision). This timeline may have been overkill, but I felt much calmer knowing everybody involved in the wedding day was on the same page. It’s much easier for me to relax and enjoy myself when little is left to chance. (Control. Freak.)

You can download an editable word doc version of my timeline here. Just remember the fonts will not show up for you unless you already own Lavenderia & Campland – if you want to achieve the same look, purchase those two fonts and you’ll be good to go! (Also, I’ve discovered that MS Word does not make it very easy to ‘flip’ text – which you need to do for the top of the card – but I found some help tips here.)

If you create your own fun little timeline – I’d love to hear about it!

Welcome Bags, Maps and Tags!

Some of my final paper-projects in the week before the wedding were for the wedding guest welcome bags I prepared for our overnight guests.

I used brown Kraft paper gift bags, and filled them up with goodies, including water bottles, small cans of soda, chips, candy & mints.

I created a little welcome tag (printed using my home inkjet printer, on Kraft paper leftover from my DIY Programs) which I tied on with twine, and stuck a map & a thank you card in each bag.

These hand drawn maps were one of my absolute FAVORITE details. Our wedding site was such a unique location that I thought it would be a nice extra favor/souvenir for our guests. Since I do not have a stitch of artistic ability myself, I turned to my number one resource for anything handmade- Etsy!

The super talented Kristyn from Magnolia Papers designs beautiful custom, hand-drawn wedding maps to offer driving directions to wedding guests, from ceremony to reception location, etc. I contacted her about designing a map for the smaller scale of my wedding site (we had everything in one spot). Kristyn was so helpful, and worked with my specifications to create EXACTLY what I had envisioned. I printed the map on white cardstock, with some reminders for the guests printed on the bag.

I love how they came out- and am so happy to have the memento!

I also created my own version of this printable thank you spied on Pinterest. I loved the sentiment, so I emulated the design using my own wedding fonts, printed them on more Kraft paper, and stuck them in each guest bag!

In the end, I hope that these little last-minute touches added a personal note to the bag of goodies, and let our guests know how much we love & appreciate them!

Our Save the Dates

It’s Wedding Wednesday, guys! Yay! With our wedding approaching (in just 38 days!), I am getting oh-so excited about the cool evenings and hint of changing leaves around us. I thought I’d share our save the dates, which we sent out last winter (though it feels as though it was just a few weeks ago!)

While I designed our invitations (and the rest of our day-of paper) myself, I used the great resource Wedding Paper Divas to create our save the dates online. I love how simple it is to use this site to customize your announcement/card/whatever with the help of Wedding Paper Divas’ vast collection of beautiful designs.

Seriously, they have SO much to choose from. When we chose our Save the Dates, it was still pretty early in our planning process. I had not yet decided on exactly how our invitations would look, or even exactly what our colors/overall look would be. (Which, let me tell you, was  ever-morphing). We obviously knew our wedding date and location, and knew that our autumn date would allow me to go crazy with pumpkins & fall colors. With that in mind, we arranged to have a few photos taken by FH’s brother- who has some serious photography skills & a great eye (our real “engagement” photo session took place later, on the beach).

Fully embracing our fall & pumpkin-y theme, I found the Etsy shop Wiggles & Giggles, and fell in love with the super fun look of Katherine’s monogrammed pumpkins. I convo-ed her and asked if she would be willing to custom design some pumpkins for our save the dates. She was, and the result was absolutely perfect.

I loved the way the pumpkins looked in our photos (and I love our cute little Australian Terrier Emma, too!)

I loved how the pumpkins were a little hint of our fall wedding.

Once we had these three awesome photos, I went to Wedding Paper Divas and designed our card using their design called “Proper Frame.”

I found the design process to be super easy, the prices to be very reasonable, shipping fast, and the overall product to be perfect!

Hope you enjoy!

How the Internet is Helping Me Plan My Wedding

An alternate title for this post is: How Wedding Planning Changed My Relationship with the Internet. To the obsessive, can’t-live-without each other kind of relationship which may or may not prove to be completely dysfunctional somewhere down the road. Well, I supposed the internet could live without me. He’s got lots of friends.

Whichever way you spin it, mine has been an internet & app based wedding-planning experience. To be honest, I’m not sure how anybody planned a wedding before the internet/computers/Pinterest. Did our parents really sit around hand writing guest lists? Did they actually have to speak to vendors on the phone or – in person? – while narrowing down their choices? And where did they get ideas for their colors/dresses/invitations/etc. before blogs like Style Me Pretty existed (or, again, before Pinterest?).

One of my many wedding planning boards.

Isn’t it amazing that something like Pinterest- which has only been around for a couple of years, and only been widely used for less time than that- can feel so completely irreplaceable, so quickly? My discovery of Pinterest timed pretty much perfectly with my engagement, and so it has been my primary source of inspiration and vehicle for sorting all of the amazing ideas out there. But I’ve needed more than just Pinterest to organize my plans, and as a tech-savvy person, I’d like to share the main tools I’ve used on my computer and/or iPhone throughout this process.

Google Docs (now Google Drive)

I use Google Docs for everything from create lists for work and organizing my graduate school notes, to planning gig lists & rehearsals with my cover band. Google Docs far exceeds excel, numbers, or any other spreadsheet application because it allows for incredibly easy sharing & collaborating. And when the time comes to print or create a hard copy, you can quickly export any doc. When it came to our wedding plans, I immediately created a spreadsheet to plan our guest list, which has since morphed into my grand central station for tracking everything from addresses & RSVPs, to gifts & thank you card organization. You can download the excel version of my guest list organizer here, if you want:

Wedding Guest List Organizer

I’m also utilizing Google Docs to track my spending, keep my to-do lists up to date, and coordinate plans with my florist and band.

Screenshot of my wedding docs in action.

Etsy

I’ve loved Etsy for years. As my crafting skills are just so very amateur, I take great pleasure in buying beautiful handmade items from the incredible artists on Etsy. I’m attempting to DIY some of my wedding elements, but am very happy for Etsy when there are some things I just couldn’t make myself! Etsy recently introduced an organized weddings section, complete with great suggestions, inspiration, and articles.

iPhone Apps

Wedding Happy

I downloaded several free iPhone apps from well known wedding services- like The Knot & Wedding Wire. These are somewhat useful, but the app that really helps to keep me organized is Wedding Happy- free in the iTunes store.

Wedding Happy keeps a list of tasks & helps keep you on track with occasional reminders.

 Appy Couple

I discovered Appy Couple after already creating my wedding website on Wedding Wire, but I’m still planning to use the app to help get information out to our bridal party as the day approaches. Appy Couple is a free service that allows you to create a beautiful site for all of your wedding details, including a timeline, registry page, and fun features like games & a picture gallery. Once created, you invite your guests to download the app and sign in using your wedding code. I love the design, and think it is a very useful app!

What internet resources or phone apps do you use to keep yourself organized, or plan your wedding?

[Wedding Wednesday] Fall in Love Inspiration

Just some lovely finds from my Fall in Love Pinterest Board to catch your fancy today!

“definition of 2″ pillows.

Image Source

tree trunks, jars & candles ~ magical.

Image Source

Ceramic Pumpkins from Pottery Barn

Image Source

fall vase filler

Image Source

salted caramel pears

Image Source

Hope you enjoy! ❤

Meant to Be

Planning a wedding between two people whose families live in different states can be challenging. Even for FH & I, with family in Pennsylvania and New Jersey separated by only a few hours, every wedding event is slightly more complicated because one group or the other will have to plan for a drive. Fortunately for me, my bridal party, mother and future mother-in-law (we’ll call her FM!) opted to shower me with pre-wedding love & attention not once, but twice! What a lucky bride I am!

Shower #1 was meant to be a surprise- and although I bullied FH into leaking some of the details in advance, I was still thrilled and blown away at the lovely party my FM and bridesmaids put together for my New Jersey – based shower. Walking into the room, feeling 99.9% sure I would be greeted with a “surprise”, I was overcome with nerves! As a performer, I’m pretty used to being in front of, and attempting to entertain, a large group of people. This felt very different, however, since I knew it would be such an intimate, personal, excitement & emotion-packed afternoon. I was totally shocked at some of the amazing friends who traveled to be there, and had the pleasure of meeting some of FH’s family members I had not yet met (though I’ve been studying their names on my Google Doc Wedding Guest List for months now!) I was overwhelmed at the outpouring of love from my Jersey friends (who have completely captured my heart after these 5 years living here), my bridesmaids (who must certainly be the best bridesmaids anyone has ever had), my darling mother, and my wonderful future mother-in-law.


The flower centerpieces were beautiful, and the little details made the day so very special. The theme was centered around fall, our wedding season, and I loved the escort cards (featuring seeded paper- I can’t wait to plant mine!)

My bridesmaid Meg created a crossword puzzle featuring tidbits of info & details from our relationship. It was so clever and sweet- I loved it! Mini jars of honey were the adorable favors – I loved the little bee charm on the ribbon!

On each table was a bowl of orange (one of our wedding colors) and white M&Ms, with our names & wedding date!

Possibly my favorite moment at the shower was, after opening all of the amazing gifts, going through this bag full of advice & loving sentiments from friends and family.

We got some great advice, from getting a King sized bed & cleaning service, to remembering to laugh & enjoy each other.

Wise words! (Especially the quote from Joe Guidice of RHONJ, no?)


Overall, it was an amazing day. I’ve managed to unpack & put away nearly all of our gifts, and I got my first round of thank-you notes out in the mail today! I’ve been feeling very blessed and loved lately, and cannot thank the women who created such a lovely day nearly enough. I would be sad that it was over, if not for the fact that I get to enjoy another day with my Pennsylvania family in a few weeks! And each of these events brings us closer to the real point… my marriage to the man that I love! So with that in mind, I say life is pretty good. 🙂

So thank you once again to everyone who helped make this shower such a special day! ❤