Tag Archives: DIY

Peace, Love, and Paper

Flower budgets tend to be a headache in the wedding planning world.  Flowers are so freakin’ expensive!  They look lovely, and lush, and I-want-to-stick-my-face-in-them-for-the-rest-of-my-life amazing, but goodness do they cost an arm and a leg to buy them.

The average wedding budget, according to buzzle.com, has the bride and groom spending anywhere from $500 to $2000 on flowers alone.  ALONE.  It comes from all of the bouts, corsages, bouquets, centerpieces and random decor.  Guys, my dress didn’t even reach those totals, and I got to wear it all day!  Ridiculous much?

I think Ms. C was starting to feel the same way.  The florist is one of the last, if not the last, vendors she has yet to book.  She just kept going over how much flowers where going to cost and dreading having to receive the estimate.  I can’t blame her.  Mr. Library and I were incredibly lucky to have his aunt M step up and pay for all of our flowers.  It probably saved us $1200, no joke.  I will forever be grateful for that.

But there is no way I can do that for Ms. C, as much as I would like to, so I decided to check out other options.  Fake bouquets made out of different materials have become really popular in the wedding world as of late, so I thought I would see what there was to be had.  Ms. C is a pretty traditional girl, so nothing crazy or too out there.  We needed affordable, easy, and normal looking.

Enter:  Coffee Filter Roses.(Source)

These lovelies are made out of coffee filters, which can be purchased at BJ’s or Costco for $4 for 400.  How is that for price?  You get watercolors, floral wire, and floral tape, print the templates, and then follow along with Martha Stewart’s guest.  Pretty cool, huh?

I also thought we could round out the bouquets with some other cool looking flowers:

(Source)(Source)

Ms. C was pretty excited to see these ideas, so we shall see what we can do!  We have some school vacations coming up, so I hope to try them soon.  I’m not sure what colors C will want for her bouquets, but with these babies running pretty cheap, we could do a whole bouquet for next to nothing.

What did you do for flowers?  Anyone else out there with nontraditional (or real!) bridal bouquets?

Love in Lowell: The Early Bird

As I said at the end of the last post, I headed back to Maine, but it was only for a day or two.  Sure, there was plenty to do here.  Mr. Library and I had barely moved into our apartment, there were boxes to unpack, and I had to change all of my information to my married name.  There were still belongings in our parents’ houses too that needed to come to our apartment, like a bureau for me!  There was plenty to do here to keep us busy.

But it didn’t stop me from wishing I was in Massachusetts.  Being a key part of putting on a wedding is an irreplaceable feeling for me; I want to know that I helped to bride however I could and that I helped make her day that much better, stress-free, and special.  Being in Maine, I felt like I was missing that.  Her other bridesmaids had gotten to help with craft projects over the year.  I didn’t.  I just wanted to be a part of it and not be the “slacker” bridesmaid.  I also wanted to spend more time with Al.  Living on separate coasts, quite frankly, sucks.  I wanted to spend as much time with my best friends as possible, and Maine was just getting in the way.

Mr. Library and I were supposed to journey to Lowell on Thursday in time for the rehearsal, but on Wednesday, as I was sitting in the Social Security office waiting my turn to change my name (which was such a NICE process thanks to the lovely woman who waited on me!  She was amazing and super nice!), I got a texted message from Miss Sox.  I texted back that I would be at her house as soon as she said the word.  One conversation led to another, and as soon as I was done changing my name to Mrs. Sox, Mr. Sox and I stuffed our wedding belongings in a suitcase and hit the road!

We arrived at Miss Sox’s house around 2.5 hours later to find wedding craft central.  A hurricane of crafts, random ideas, and drill sergeant-ness had blown in, and it’s name was Aunt J.  As soon as we were greeted at the door, Aunt J gave us jobs to do.  Poor Mr. Library had probably believed that his wedding craft days were over for a little while, but boy was he wrong.  We were given the job of creating tissue paper poofs from a couple of kits Aunt J had picked up.  Being a self-proclaimed expert of poofs, it wasn’t a problem… until she wanted twelve of them and had no idea if Miss Sox was even going to use them.  Sigh.

Soon enough, Mr. Library and I escaped upstairs where the rest of the craft people were hiding out in an air-conditioned room.  This was one heck of a hot and sticky day, so all types of breezes and air conditioning were welcomed.  This room was also a respite from Aunt J.  She was obviously very well-meaning, but I wasn’t ready to be bossed around as much as she could throw down.

After dinner and chatting, we decided to figure out where everyone would be sleeping.  Mommy Sox seemed to raise a little bit of an eyebrow when Miss Sox said Mr. Library and I could share a bed, but Miss Sox reminded her, “Mom, they are MARRIED.  It’s okay!”  Hahaha I love moms.  We all ended up spending the night on Sistah Sox’s floor since (1) it had the most room and (2) it was air-conditioned.  But before any sleeping happened, we had to take one of my favorite photos to commemorate our twelve-year-old sleepover party…

Sleep was important for all involved… Tomorrow was the rehearsal day, and we had no idea what was really in store for us…

The Love in Lowell series:

The Bachelorette Party

Volumes of Love: Cheesing It Up

While the dance party started in the other room, our photo booth started to become a central location to have some laughs.  They followed the directions on the sign and had at it.  But don’t let me do the talking.  The photos can speak for themselves…

Mr. Sox certainly knew his way around the photo booth!

A loved the props.  She wore the purple sunglasses for the rest of the night.

And my absolute favorite…
This makes me laugh every time!

For the amount of money we spent on this (probably around $30), we got tons of laughs and amazing photos.  People didn’t get to print theirs out, but there are other times they can get them!  If you are considering doing a DIY photo booth, do it.  You save money and it is SO FUN!

And finally, WE DANCE!

Walk me through this:

Our bridal party began to come together!

We did as UPS does!

We’re cat-walking baby!

We practiced eating!

Our wedding gets Jewish!

The girls and I have a slumber party!

I fell in love with a poet.

Mr. Library runs around.

Wake up call!

Christmas in July

Hairscapades abound

Making us up as we go

The Groom Squad strikes back

Magical flowers

We get the deets.

What should I wear today?

Click click click flash

Ding ding ding goes the trolley

The Groom Squad activates

We hear the music.

The guests are coming!  The guests are coming!

Let’s have a parade!

A walk to remember

We do?  Yes!  We do!

Let’s have a hug

Documenting the love

Our friends get in on the act

We find a snack in a pretty field.

We keep it in the family.

We dance into the reception.

Ch-ch-ch-chow down!

You have a little something on your face…

Dancing in tune

Catch!

There’s so much to love about the reception.

 

Volumes of Love: Receiving the Details

While we’re on the topic of sentimentality, let’s back up a little and focus in on some of the details I poured my heart, hands, and soul into for the reception.  There were quite a few, and I really feel like our guests noticed and appreciated them.

I do have a confession to make, though.  I am totally disappointed in how under photographed our reception decor was by our photographer.  I spent years on these projects – YEARS! – and I do not feel like they got their fifteen minutes of fame in the eye of the camera.  That being whined, here we go…

As guests entered the ballroom, they were greeted by our escort card table filled with birds.  We also trimmed the table with a string of photos from both of our lives.

All of the tables were named after covered bridges in the states where Mr. Library and I have lived:  Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.  Poor Rhode Island only had one!

On the other side of the entrance was our smorgasbord of signs and “activities.”  First, we featured our guestbook options:

Our traditional guestbook took awhile for me to put together.  I put all of the photo corners in by hand because Mom Library insisted that not everyone will want to stick their thumbprints on canvas.  To my frustration, my mother was incorrect.  Only three people signed our guestbook, which was designed for 100.  Three.  THREE!  Oh well.  Now it will make a nice photo album for the photo booth pictures.

Our thumbprint tree was a hit!  People loved it, including the resort staff, and nearly everyone signed it.  I chose to use three different green ink pads to give people choice, and I am so glad they used all of them.  It now hangs on our living room wall to remind us of everyone who took part in our lovefest.

Farther down the table was our White Knot project.  I had received some flack from some family members right before the wedding about this as they believed “a wedding isn’t a place to make a statement,” but I ignored them.  This wedding was about Mr. Library, me, our family and friends, and many in attendance are not allowed to marry their partners.  If there was ever a time to make a statement, it is now!  I was touched and thrilled with how many people came up to me and told me how much it meant to them.  People were wearing white ribbons everywhere!  

You’ll also notice our photo family tree in the picture above.  In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t thrown my hands up as quickly as I did on it the night before, but people seemed to look past my inability to make the frames straight and were excited to see the collection of family photos we had put together.

Each photo was labeled with who the people were, their marriage date if known, and how they were related to me or Mr. Library.

Once guests found their tables, they were greeted with our centerpieces and table markers.  As mentioned before, I had named the tables according to covered bridges found in the three states we had lived in (though not together).  The centerpieces themselves finally came together and looked wonderful lit up!

The table markers featured my own photography on the front and some information about the bridge on the back.  The head table was named after the bridge Mr. Library and I had just gotten married on, my parents sat at “Pop’s Bridge”, etc.  We tried to pick appropriate and cute names for each family who attended.

Guests also had a menu made out of green card stock and the handmade napkin poofs I spent hours making on New Year’s Day.  I loved the color it brought to the tables, and I think our guests loved that they were like extra favors.

See how many people turned them into fashion accessories?!  LOVE IT!

Speaking of favors, we had delicious favors that never seemed to have photographed.  By anyone.  Probably because they were gone so quickly!  You can sort of see them in the table photo above if you really look for them.  Mom Library’s cousin K has made all of the favors for our extended family members’ weddings since my cousin K got married in 2001.  She specializes in molded chocolates, so Mr. Library and I had her make chocolate covered pretzel rods for our favors.  We love them, and our guests seemed to enjoy them as well.  Mmmm nothing like a sweet and salty snack to remind you of a fabulous day!

Outside of the ballroom was our photo booth setup.  It worked out pretty well for as low-maintenance as it was.  Dad Library and our wedding coordinator put the finishing touches on it in the morning, and once people realized it was open, they took full advantage of it and the props.

Obviously, my family members are very shy, introverted people.

Next up:  people break in the photo booth and the dance floor starts rocking!

Walk me through this:

Our bridal party began to come together!

We did as UPS does!

We’re cat-walking baby!

We practiced eating!

Our wedding gets Jewish!

The girls and I have a slumber party!

I fell in love with a poet.

Mr. Library runs around.

Wake up call!

Christmas in July

Hairscapades abound

Making us up as we go

The Groom Squad strikes back

Magical flowers

We get the deets.

What should I wear today?

Click click click flash

Ding ding ding goes the trolley

The Groom Squad activates

We hear the music.

The guests are coming!  The guests are coming!

Let’s have a parade!

A walk to remember

We do?  Yes!  We do!

Let’s have a hug

Documenting the love

Our friends get in on the act

We find a snack in a pretty field.

We keep it in the family.

We dance into the reception.

Ch-ch-ch-chow down!

You have a little something on your face…

Dancing in tune

Catch!

Be Our Guest

While you read this post, please listen to this.  It makes the reveal much more magical!

Saturday was it.  The big (and somewhat monotonous) day.  We finally got our invitations done!

By “we” I mean everyone in the group:  Bridesmaid C and boyfriend A who helped the weekend before, Aunt C who helped the previous weekend as well, Mom Library, FMIL Library, and, of course, me.  Mr. Library helped with the erasing the weekend before, so I guess I should throw him into the mix as well.  Dad Library was on moral support duty.  As you can see, this really was a “we” project.  And I couldn’t have done it any other way.

The first step to our invitation suite (yeah, I know, it’s weird that I am calling it a suite since most people think about that as a room, but with all of the inserts, this invitation should have it’s own room!) was cutting out the inserts and sticking them to their pink backgrounds.  While the major color in our wedding is blue, we went with invitations that captured the pink in the flowers.  Mom Library was worried about people thinking it was a baby shower instead of a wedding, so blue paper was out.  Pink it was!  (So note to all of our guests… our color is really blue with hints of pink.  Don’t be confused by your invites.  Okaythanksbye.)  While considering the background colors for our various inserts, Mom Library found pink paper she had stashed away since Cousin Library J got married in 2005.  It was different shades, so each insert could stand out in its own color!  Even if we didn’t have enough for each insert, we had back-up pink paper and the variety of colors would still (as Mr. Library now loves to say) “pop.”  Perfect!

With hours of cutting, double-sided-tape sticking, and some creative problem solving, our inserts were finished.

We folded the long one over the others when we figured out that only half of them would fit in the envelopes.  Oops.  Measurement fail.  In all, we ended the day with an insert explaining that there was no parking at the ceremony site so people must take the shuttle,

an insert for other weekend activities,

an insert for accommodations,

and an insert for the directions.  Mom Library insisted that people don’t have computers (I can think of maybe four people coming to our wedding without computers) so they wouldn’t be able to look up directions.  If she was willing to cut them out with me, I was willing to make them.

I was so excited to be done with the inserts.  We put them away in the completed (or so we thought) addressed envelopes and called it a day.

And then FMIL Library called Mr. Library.  She had a new list of addresses and some of them had been “tweaked.”  Oh.  No.  Long story short, there was a miscommunication in handwriting on her first list, so I had to redo somewhere around five envelopes.  It doesn’t sound like much, but when you don’t have a ton of extras to begin with, it’s not a good thing.  She also said that she wanted to host a BBQ and pool party the day after the wedding.  Awesome!  Downside?  I had to make more inserts.  Bummer!

This Saturday morning, FMIL Library came over to our house and we put everything together.  I numbered the backs of all of the RSVP cards to ensure we know which one came from who and then handed them over to be stamped.  I love our stamp series!  For the outside of the invitation, we needed 61 cents.

Cake anyone?  I think yes!  For the RSVP cards, we went for the new LOVE stamps, and we did just as their name suggested.

Once the new pool party inserts had been put into the insert mix and everything was stamped and numbered, it was time to put everything together with…

Belly Bands!  Mr. Library’s inital reaction to this idea was, “Oh, cool.  That’s like a belt, right?”  Yes, Mr. Library.  It’s like a belt for the invitations to keep them slim and trim in their envelopes.  I stumbled across some see-through white ribbon in my ribbon collection and decided to jazz our invitations up with them.  I had no idea we would all love the idea so much!  I simply cut the ribbon to fit, folded over one end to make it clean, and used (my second lover) double-stick tape to tape it to itself.

So, using the belly bands, we put together the final package.  First, the inserts and the RSVP cards were put together,

(Mr. Library and I love this quote.  It pops up in a few other wedding places too!)

then our wedding invitation was put on top (this is just the general version just to make sure no one stalks us!),

and sealed them up with a belly band (and a kiss!).  I am putting them in the mail this afternoon, so I cannot wait to start getting the RSVP cards in the mail!  If any of our guests are reading this, feel free to get creative with your responses!  I ended doing all of the addresses by hand in my own faux-calligraphy, and I am pretty excited about how it came out.  I have practiced wedding invitation handwriting for all of the Cousin Libraries’ weddings, so I felt like I could certainly do it.  I’m glad I did.

I haven’t gotten that hit of “Oh my gosh, we’re really getting married” from these yet, but I am thinking it might when we start getting them back in the mail.

What do your invitations look like?  What did you do for them?  And (more selfishly) what do you think of ours? 😉

Commence Project 24

While this does feel like it is the twenty-fourth project I have undertaken for the wedding, I can tell you for certain that this has nothing to do with being the twenty-fourth anything.  It’s all about the day it started.

Yesterday (which was my birthday, for those of you following along), I came home to find a medium-sized box waiting on the kitchen chair for me.  It wasn’t wrapped like a birthday present, and it had the Amazon logo on it, so I knew it was fair game to dig into.  There, in the singing of heavenly angels, was this:

YES!  It’s my happy-wedding-and-honeymoon-and-end-of-your-first-year-of-teaching present to myself!  (That’s also Mr. Library on my cell phone wondering why I wasn’t talking to him on the phone… Sorry honey!)  I had ordered this beauty so that I could play photographer, but also so that I could create wall art for our future home throughout the wedding/honeymoon process.  Photography has always been one of my loves, so it seemed right to take part of my tax return and get something that will be very beneficial and will last a long time.

I tore through the packaging and put on the lens.

I then proceded to walk around the house taking “artist pictures” of my cats, the flowers… anything really.  I’m sure Mr. Library was wondering why I wasn’t talking as much.

I love taking pictures, and people have often referred to me as the photo queen (some like to also use the “wh” word…) because I seem to always have my camera with me.  Well, that’s my goal for the next year.  That’s where Project 24 comes into play.

I got this camera on my 24th birthday.  For the next twelve months, I will document every day with at least one picture.  Sure, they might be mundane, but it will only improve my photography skills and document most of our first year of marriage.  I’m setting up a new blog to show all of you what each and every day has to offer.  Stop by Photo Project 24 some time!  (Just give me a day or two to load the new camera software onto my computers!)

I know that these photos will help us remember our days as newlyweds, and I cannot wait to see how this project turns out.  Stay tuned!

What are you doing to remember your first year of marriage?  Do you have any super special projects you plan to do in life?

Flipping Out Over Videography

But in a totally good way!  After spending this afternoon snuggling with Mr. Library (it had been three weeks since we last saw each other) after school, I decided to get an answer on the videography issue.  With essentially 98 days left, we need to know if we need to book someone.  Mr. Library didn’t have a strong opinion either way, so I explained my new idea to him:  we do it ourselves.

New idea?  Well, maybe not, but it’s a newer concept to us.  You see, we would ask someone who has some video-taking skill from our extended family to film the ceremony (this part isn’t new), but we would also have a second camera, one that Mr. Library and I could exchange back and forth throughout the getting ready process to document what is going on behind the scenes.  When the ladies are doing some serious beautifying, we have the camera.  When Mr. Library and I exchange wedding presents through secret messengers, they will use the cameras to record our reactions.  Then Mr. Library will take over the camera.  As great as the artistic additions are to film, wouldn’t it be cool if we could send our own messages during the day to each other and to the viewers later on?  Plus, we totally have the technology to splice it all together after.

Here’s the new plan:

1) Ask Uncle D if he will be willing to record the ceremony.  We will make sure he gets seated in one of the front rows so the sound quality is good.

2) Buy a Flip UltraHD.  The new ones hold 2 hours of video, so we would hand this over to Uncle D.  Mr. Library already has one, so we would keep his (which has only 60 minutes of storage) to do our own filming during preparations.

3) Reformat Mr. Library’s Flip since it seems to have gotten a little confused.

The tab for this?  Well, here’s the comparison:

Totals for Paying Someone Else

Filming the ceremony:  $150

Gas to get to Bethel:  $40

Added on extras, like chapter selection and extra DVDs:  $50

TOTAL:  $240

Totals for Doing It Ourselves

Flip UltraHD camera:  $150 on Amazon.com

Reformating Mr. Library’s Flip: Free if we can figure it out (and also free if Dad Library hands it over to someone at work!)

DVDs for recording:  $10

Software to splice all of the videos together:  Free since my Mac already has it

Labor:  Free!

TOTAL:  $160

We’ll be saving at least $80 by doing it ourselves AND we come out of it with a new camera.  It won’t be as professional, but it will be a whole heck of a lot more personal.  To all of my bridesmaids reading this, don’t you guys want to send personal messages while getting your hair done?  C’mon… you know you do!

What do you think?  Have any of you tried this route before?  Did it work?  Any advice?