Posts Tagged ‘DIY bouquet’

Happy Anniversary! DIY Rustic Wedding Decor Ideas!



This Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of my wedding to JB. In commemoration, I’m posting the column I wrote two days prior to our Big Day.  Imagine prepping for a DIY wedding that was taking up every spare moment meaning I hadn’t had time to pen my vows and, thus, was agonizing over writing them at 9:30 pm the night before, praying I’d come up with something that elicited at least a few giggles from the guests and, of course, would be meaningful to my future husband when all I really wanted to do was fall into a deep slumber from the utter exhaustion brought on by the two days straight we spent outdoors setting up for the event during the 90 degree heat wave–and my column was due just two days before the wedding; ack, it was a hectic time! Included are photos of some of the DIY decor we tackled for our rustic wedding. I’m happy to say I met my deadline (for the column and the vows, although I was editing them down to the last minute while my hair was being curled and brushed into submission). The column ran the morning of our wedding: 9/13/14. Enjoy! 🙂





Happily Ever After SignSimple sign created from leftover planks of hardwood flooring, painted with lettering and nailed to a piece of plywood.





The day this column appears in print, I’ll be standing at the end of a borrowed carpet runner, poised beneath a makeshift copper arch, and gripping (likely with perspiring palms) my homemade bouquet. And uttering some (hopefully) profound words which will culminate in the momentous proclamation of (gulp!) “I do”. Today is the day I marry the best man I’ve ever known.






Wedding dog tuxedo LiloSweet Lilo, my Chiweenie, sporting a tuxedo from Petco.





If you and I had hours to spare, I’d tell you about the panic attacks, the pages and pages of “To Do” lists that caused me to bolt upright in bed wondering, “Did I…?” and the multitude of design decisions that had us thinking, “Eloping would’ve been so much easier!” Because–everyone was right, planning a wedding is a lot like having a second job–one that costs more than it pays! But along the way we discovered some design ideas we really loved, and since they were DIY, they helped keep the budget down. So without further ado (after all, I have a wedding to get to!) here are some of our favorite homespun wedding decor ideas.





Chalkboard frame signsOh the many uses of a framed chalkboard sign.





Love signs: Chalkboard signs are a perfect way to convey table numbers, label an unrecognizable dish such as, say, “Vegan Bratwurst” or explain the contents of a drink dispenser containing “Cucumber water”. When marked with the words “Love” or “thanks!” these signs do double-duty as props held by the bride and groom for photos that can later be printed into custom thank you cards. And, unlike so much wedding decor, chalkboard signs can be wiped clean and used for party decor throughout the year. (Imagine “Boo” or “Pumpkin soup” in October.)





Chalkboard framed Love sign DIY wedding decorLove signs.





99 cents store frameFrame from the 99 Cents Only store.






Spray paint glassRemove glass insert and spray with aerosol chalkboard paint.







Chalkboard paint on glassLet the sprayed glass dry, then cure.






Chalboard framesPop the chalkboard painted glass back into the frames.






Hang chalkboard frameIf you want to hang the signs on the back of a chair, thread ribbon through the picture hanging loop on the back of the frame.







Mr. Mrs. Chalkboard signsTa da!





To make these, begin with photo frames, preferably ones with slightly ornate, even gilded, frames–if they aren’t gilded, you can spray them to be. (The 99 Cents Only store is a great source.) Remove the glass and spray one side of it with aerosol chalkboard paint. Dry for fifteen minutes then spray a second coat. Let dry for at least two hours, then pop the glass back into the frame, painted side facing out. Important: Do not skip the next, crucial stop of curing the surface of your chalkboard by rubbing its face with the side of a piece of chalk and then wiping it off with a clean dry cloth lest whatever you write be forever etched into its surface.






Paper strips of brown paper bagsUse a paper cutter or scissors to cut 1/2″ x 12″ slices from a paper grocery sack.








Paper bag strip love napkin band DIY wedding decorSuggestion.






Paper wedding bands: Decorate any linen or paper dinner napkin that has been folded into a rectangle with a personalized band. Use a paper cutter to slice 1/2″ wide x 12″ long strips from the plain, unprinted side of brown paper grocery bags. Wrap the band around the center of the napkin and secure it to itself on the underside of the napkin with a piece of clear tape. Use your best script or individual letter stamps and a stamp pad to create a special message. Example: “Love”, the wedding date, the first names of the bride and groom connected by an ampersand, or a dot of sealing wax in the center stamped with the couple’s monogram. (For upcoming holidays, this same technique can be used to write, “Thankful” or “Peace”.)







Wedding favor wine jellyThank you to my sister for making this fantastic wine jelly. The “silverware” was plastic cutlery from the 99 Cents Only Store.






Ceremonial sprigs: For a twist on traditional flowers, use sprigs of rosemary, lavender or sage to decorate wedding cupcakes, a tiered wedding cake, or tuck into the aforementioned napkin bands. Lavender, long associated with love, virtue and devotion, has calming properties which may just come in handy on The Big Day.  Sage is linked with wisdom and mortality, but rosemary has the most notable history. Tied to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and also a symbol of fidelity, brides used to weave it into their wreath headdresses, decorate branches to give as wedding favors, or dip into their wine during toasts. Lasses would sleep with sprigs under their pillows to induce dreams portending their husbands to be. Cautious (and superstitious!) brides slipped sprigs into their partner’s pocket to ensure faithfulness. All three of these herbs grow prolifically, so any of these plants can be purchase for the occasion, stripped of some leaves, and then planted in the garden to commemorate the red-letter day–not to mention seasoning many shared meals to come!






Cork Love Wedding Sign Wedding DecorThis was actually not at our wedding. I randomly saw it a few months ago at a wedding held at a restaurant that I happened to pass by and it was so cute, I could not resist taking a photo and sharing it with you.





Framed!: A large, empty frame from a thrift store or garage sale makes a fun photo prop for wedding pictures. The more ornate, the better. If it’s not already gilded, spray it with gold or silver paint. Guests can take turns holding the frame in front of themselves as they pose. Tip: Attach rows of twine across the back of a large frame, hang it to the wall, and clip plain wooden clothespins to the twine rows. Keep a Polaroid camera on hand (these can be found online) so guests can take selfies and pin them to the twine. The best shots can later be placed into a photo album for the newlyweds.






Mr Mrs chair signsYet another use for chalkboard signs. The chairs were from an estate sale.





Take a seat: Look to your local thrift store for old and interesting wood dining chairs for the bride and groom. If the seats need new fabric, see if they can be unscrewed (from below) and popped out. If so, reupholstery can be as simple as using a staple gun to cover the seat with your favorite fabrics. Tip: Painter’s drop cloths are an inexpensive alternative to linen; natural burlap is nice, too. If the wood structure has seen better days, painting it white or gold–or any one of your wedding colors–will quickly refresh it. Just so it doesn’t look too new, you may want to consider strategically sanding the freshly painted wood to give it a gently aged appearance. Tie the chair back with strands of ribbon and signs reading “His ” and “Hers” or “Mr.” and “Mrs.”.






Holding bouquetsMy dress was second-hand, but I loved it. Here are my ladies of honor holding our DIY bouquets. See the tutorial on how to make your own here.





Say “Yes” to a designer dress: Without growing broke, that is. Bridal dresses usually come two ways: expensive and beautiful or cheap and they look it. As of last year, Santa Barbara got another option with the arrival of The White Peacock bridal consignment store. Because these dresses have been worn (usually once) and dry-cleaned, they look brand new. And because most of them are designer names, they’re jaw-droppingly beautiful, which means you can be too, without the price tag to match. Tip: After your wedding, if you’re not inclined to keep your dress for posterity, you can always sell it back to recoup some of that wedding expense!





wedding centerpiece ferns succulents tree tumpStumps and succulents: a perfect, inexpensive, combo!






Stumps and succulents: This project can take some foresight, but if you have time, keep an eye out for any neighbors who are felling trees. If they are kind enough to let you have any of the refuse, stumps make great centerpiece bases for a rustic wedding (add a glass hurricane, candle, and/or flower arrangement on top) and can be used as risers on buffet tables. Instead of renting a wedding cake riser, an extra-large stump adds a touch of nature–and saves you a rental fee! Succulents, in lieu of flowers, not only hold up to the heat of a summer wedding, but need not be tossed. A bouquet or centerpiece of succulents will re-root if planted in your garden and will continue to commemorate your special day.






Happily Ever After light signThis sign was inspired by the Lite-Brite kids’ toy from our childhoods. It was as easy to make as drilling holes into a plywood board, painting the board black, and inserting Christmas lights.





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Succulents and roses: DIY wedding bouquet!


Before there was a burgeoning baby bump…




Kisha bump shot by plants




before each day was a new day to receive different advice on co-sleeping, sleep training, and BPA-free bottles; another opportunity to try to fathom how a little baby will change our lives in such a big way, there were more casual thoughts…




like how to plan a DIY wedding.




It feels like forever ago, but just last September we had our Big Day full of rustic this and handmade that and one of the best elements was the bouquet




…inspired by this one!




Meryl Brown Bouquet inspiration




Oh so pretty, but also so pricey which prompted the DIY idea.



The task began with step one…



Pick your flora. I was lucky enough to have the help of a friend and mentor who just happened to have an account at a wholesale nursery, but flowers from Trader Joe’s, Costco, and/or your local Farmer’s Market, are also reasonable sources.




flowers at florist




Act fast or wear a parka; it’s cold in there!



I remember those walk-in refrigerator rooms being so chilly I had to grab a blanket from the car to wrap myself in like I was wearing a giant shawl–if shawls came in orange fleece. Now, that I’m pregnant and like a walking fevered person who daydreams about ice hotels and the walk-in at Costco where they keep the milk and eggs, this frigid rooms sounds teeth-chatteringly pleasant.




Flowers at wholesale florist




 Hurry, before the frost bite sets in!





Greenery at wholesale florist




Lay out your picks before you make your final purchase.



Just like designing a room, you want all the components to work together. I brought the stump and glass hurricane along with us as a reminder of what the centerpieces would look like. Notice how the glass is starting to fog from being in the fridge one moment, the tepid air the next. To my annoyance, my eye glasses were doing the exact same thing so I had to view our selection through a foggy haze. Good thing I had another set of eyes with me. Perhaps that should be the next tip.



Bring along a friend whose opinions you value. You’re stressed out enough; don’t try to tackle this alone.




Flowers lined up at wholesale florist




Once at home, set the stems in buckets of water and place the bucket in the fridge until the moment you are ready to assemble your bouquet. (Once your bouquet is made, it will go back in the fridge to chill until it’s ceremony time.)



Gather your supplies: floral wire, floral tape, scissors, wide ribbon and pearl hat pins.





Tools for DIY bouquet




Arrange a small cluster of flowers, working from the center, out. You will end up making a few of these small groupings and wrapping them together as one large bouquet.







DIY bouquet



We skipped the succulents for my bouquet, but they are so easy to work with that I did a bouquet-making-reenactment to show you how.



Gather your succulents.




Succulents for wedding bouquet




Use your fingers to pinch off any extra leaves.





Pinch leaves off succulent make bouquet





Once you have a clean stem, insert floral wire near the top and pull through to create two loose ends dangling near the stem.






Floral wire in succulent bouquet





Wrap the two loose ends together. 





wrapping floral wire succulent bouquet





Cover the wire “stem” by wrapping it with floral tape. Tug at it as you go so the tape will become tacky and stick to itself.






wrap floral wire with floral tape diy bouquet




Repeat this process for each succulent floret.





wrap succulents floral tape diy wedding bouquet




Continue making your small groupings until you are ready to bring them together and wrap as one.






make your own bouquet





As you build your bouquet, stand in front of a mirror and hold your bouquet in front of you so you can see how it will be viewed during the ceremony and in photos.






making your own wedding bouquet





When you have it just right, wrap the stems together with floral tape. Submerge the bottom of the stems in a container of water inside your refrigerator. Just before the ceremony, wrap the floral tape with ribbon starting at the top and working your way down. Tuck in or fold over the raw edge of the ribbon and pin it in place. For extra security, pin the ribbon at both the bottom and top. 




I did not have a picture of this process as my friend kindly did this step for me while I was getting ready, so I did another reenactment as seen below.





DIY succulent wedding bouquet





We used the leftover flowers to decorate the cake.





wedding cake succulents tree stump





We used them for the centerpieces, as well. Since the wedding was located in a high-fire area, we only used battery-operated candles so we didn’t risk the fern fronds burning. Instead, when night fell, they looked so pretty with the glow of the candle behind them.






wedding centerpiece ferns succulents tree tump




The same technique of wiring and wrapping was used to create the boutonnieres and for the bridesmaid bouquets…





Bride and bridesmaids holding wedding bouquets over faces





and the rest went to the bouquet!






Bouquet 2



See? Totally easy!



Thank you to Jennifer Taylor of Taylor House Interiors for teaching me how it’s done so I could have a bouquet just as pretty as the one that was not in the budget! 🙂




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