Sunday, August 30, 2009

DIY Wedding : Dinner Napkins

This is what I did all weekend. I sewed 82 dinner napkins for the wedding reception. After hearing that it was $.50/napkin to rent plain white ones from our caterer, I figured that it would be less expensive and more fun to have some homemade ones that gave more of a picnic vibe. The assortment of fabrics were collected over the past ten months. There's some vintage tablecloths and sheets in there, some yardage that I got on sale and a few that I just couldn't pass up. Overall I think that I only spent $30 on fabric and already had the thread. Overall - not the hugest savings really, but I still think that they will be a lot more festive on the tables than plain old white. Plus we can keep them and they are reusable!

The fabric stash was also the supply for the jam jar toppers for the favors and for the garland so hopefully it won't seem too haphazard when it's all set up.

Last weekend I also create a guest book out of a photo album kit that my Mom gave me several years ago so that was free. It's not posted because it's waiting for Ron to decorate the front of it with some hand-lettering first. I also made my bridal fascinator. I'm not going to post that though because I want to keep it a surprise til Ron sees me that morning.

And now with the napkins done, I'm officially done with all of my major DIY wedding projects. A few more small tidbits here and there but nothing major. I can't tell you how excited I am to work on something other than the wedding!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wedding DIY : Shrug Completed!

Once I realized that it was only two months until we leave to head up for the wedding, I got into high gear finishing off all my projects. I've been knitting so much in the past week that my fingers literally cramped up last night while I was binding off and Ron had to massage my knuckles! But it totally paid off and I finished my shrug. I LOVE IT! Thankfully it fits perfectly and even better...the color of the yarn matches my dress exactly. Here's a sneak peek of my wedding day outfit.

I could not have finished this without the help of the LionBrand Yarn Knitalong for this pattern which was hosted by the pattern's creator Stefanie Japel - whose personal blog is now on my regular reading list.

Wedding DIY : Flag Garland

I had a lot of extra fabric leftover after cutting napkins and favor tops so I decided to make some flag garlands to decorate the reception tent. For white and cream, I used an old sheet that had ripped and some very inexpensive muslin. I didn't want to have to sew anything and found that the range of fabrics didn't all take to glue in the same way. A friend (thanks Meghan!) suggested using brads - a standard office product usually used to attach papers. On the thicker fabrics, I had to create a small hole first for the brad whereas some of the lighter weight fabrics I could just poke them right though. (I found old tweezers did just the right job for creating a small hole.) I like that the brads look a bit like embroidery tacks.

I used 45' cotton cord and made 4 of them and have enough fabric left that I could maybe make one more. I'd been hoping to hang them out on the porch for the photo but it's been raining almost every evening for 3 weeks and I haven't been able to get outside much. I still think that they are really cheerful.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wedding Budget

Since I've been blogging about wedding plans a lot of late (two months out!) and haven't talked about my quest to get out of debt as much, I thought that it would be a good time to discuss the dreaded wedding budget.

When we first got engaged and started talking about the wedding, we set a budget of $5000. We thought - hey we'll do it at my parents house, it'll be an intimate gathering of loved ones and we'll DIY a lot. We can swing it. Well I'll tell you, sticking to that budget has been HARD. And we are forgoing a lot of traditional elements and DIY'ing a lot.

We've basically doubled the budget. Still far under the average American wedding ($30,000!!!), but way more than I wanted to spend. The main reason is that when we first created the budget, we had absolutely no idea how much things cost. We could have decided to cut way back or do something totally different, but we decided that we were willing to go over budget in order to have the wedding we envisioned - with the caveat that we would get really creative with all of our options.

Our music will be performed by friends or through ipod ; our photography will be mainly done by friends as well. We made our invitations. I will spend a total of $300 on my entire wedding day outfit and hair/makeup. We're making all the decorations and using locally farmed flowers and pumpkins. Our wedding night hotel and mini-moon are being gifted to us.

I've been looking over the budget spreadsheet that I created and I see a few major areas where I way under-budgeted : travel, alcohol, party rentals, food, and miscellaneous.

Travel We didn't anticipate renting a car to drive home, but I don't trust my car to make another drive there and back as it's just too old. That's almost $1000.
Drinks Once I started calculating how much we'd need for drinks (beer, wine, cider, soda, water), I realized that it'll likely be $300 more than I thought.
Rentals Originally I didn't want a tent at all, but since it's autumn in New England and the weather could be unpredictable I was convinced by family that it was necessary. We've booked sides for the tent and heaters. In the event, that its great weather we could end up canceling the extras which would save us some money, but overall it's still another $750 that I didn't originally count.
Food I did some shopping around and found really great caterers that were willing to work with us on price and around our constraints (locally & seasonally harvested, willingness to incorporate vegan options). I'm thrilled with our menu and our vendors, but even with negotiating, it is more than we thought it would be by about $800.
Miscellany The small little crap just adds up before you know it. Shipping costs for anything you order (clothing, stamps, paper, thank you gifts, and on and on). Ingredients that you run out of at the last minute while making favors. Last minute projects.

Overall, I'm still really happy and proud that we are able to maintain our major goal for this wedding - we are not going into debt over it. Anything we've spent so far (~$3100) has all been up front and in cash. We've got money socked away to pay the balances and family has been very generous with some gifting. Friends have stepped up to help us out as their gift. We've made some decisions to cut certain things and add others - all while staying conscious of the impact on our finances. It's the consciousness of our spending that I'm really most proud of - we're planning something that is genuine and sincere and fun and on our terms.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

DIY Wedding Invitations : Final Package

We finally got our invitations done and sent out last week. It was a multi-step process. Ron and I worked out our aesthetic for it a couple of months ago, worked out all the text and then he went to town on designing. I'm glad that he pretty much knew what he was doing because with our multiple fonts and a lot of illustrations and clip art, it was a lot of work. We did use a few free clipart downloads from a great DIY wedding blog. Even if you're not doing a wedding, this site has awesome font and design ideas and freebies.

As you'd expect from Old Timey Ron, we wanted our invitations to look like 18th century handbills. I think that he did a great job at pulling it off.

We got our printing done at Kinkos and they were great about cutting down the paper to our custom sizes after printing. Then we just folded and affixed into our envelopes. On the front of the envelopes, we affixed paper cut outs of maples leaves for the addresses. I absolutely love the Love stamps this year and was psyched that they matched our colors and aesthetic so well. Lastly, to close the envelopes we used a wax seal in a bronze wax. (no picture)

All told, I think that the entire invitations packages including postage cost about $4.50/piece. Seeing as that's less than even some pre-made envelopes cost, I think that we did amazingly well.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Napkin Rings

I added another project to the wedding list. I am still in process of sewing up napkins, but was realizing that it might be nice to have some napkin rings when they are set on the table. We have a lot of the heavy cover weight paper left from making the envelopes for our invitations and I did a quick google for paper napkin rings. Of course, Martha Stewart had the perfect maple leaf template to use. Since our napkins will all be mismatched fabric, I think that using these napkin rings, all in the chocolate brown, will be a nice way to tie everything together on the tables.

(Luckily, this project actually goes pretty quickly and isn't going to feel never-ending like most of the others I've taken on.)