Make It Monday: For the DIY Budget Bride

8:08 AMHeather

During my summer sabbatical from blogging, I had the privilege of wrapping up wedding planning for one of my awesome sisters-in-law.  It was my chance to marry (pun intended) my DIY skills with my bargaining skills.   I have to say--I think it all came together well.  And, of course, I'm going to share some of my top projects with you here today.  

1.  Wedding invitations-- It doesn't hurt that I used to own my a stationery business, doing all the design and production.  But, trust me--doing your own wedding invitations doesn't have to be complicated and it can save you a ton of money.  

First, find something you LOVE that you can try to replicate.  Anything with black only print will save you a ton because you can copy your design as a black and white copy for pennies on the dollar.  My SIL found a design she loved at a paper store, and we got to work.  I used Photoshop, but you could also use Word.  We googled damask flourish to find a free download of the flourish at the top.  In Photoshop, I just imported that JPEG, and then got to work on text boxes with various fonts to replicate the look.  I added the frames around the outside edges, and that was it.  Really.  I printed an original on regular old paper (2 invites per 8.5" x 11").  We found an ivory linen card stock and matching envelopes at Fasclampitt in Dallas (open to the public--paper products CHEAP).   Once the design was copied at a FedEx Office onto our cardstock, I handcut them and using a tape runner, adhered them to a black cardstock (bought at 50% off at Hobby Lobby).  Yes, this is a lot of steps.  But, YES, it was worth it and I tackled it a little at a time. 

SIL really wanted the ribbon and the bling ribbon slider for her invites.  SO, this particular design meant some assembly was required.  Don't be afraid of that!  Bite it off in thirty minute increments here and there.  I bought the ribbon at Hobby Lobby when it was half-off, and found rhinestone ribbon sliders on Ebay.  They came from Hong Kong, so I had to allow enough time for them to arrive--an important thing to keep in mind when ordering supplies from around the world!  Well worth the free shipping to wait for a few weeks.

SIL also REALLY wanted the damask liner inside her envelopes.  I bought damask vellum also at Hob Lob for 50% off.  I made a template, and yes, more handcutting the vellum inserts to the right size for the envelope.  We mailed 154 invites, BTW, in case you are wondering.  Once cut, the vellum was tape runnered into the envelopes.  We had a party with friends to complete this step, as well as adding the ribbon to the invites with the ribbon slider.  

Yes, this was one of the most labor intensive DIY projects for this wedding.  But, the end result was well worth it, and I paced myself to do a little bit at a time.  We saved a ton of money doing it ourselves.  The total for ALL the supplies AND the postage was $2.10 per invite.  That also included a matching RSVP postcard with it's own postage that I had designed as well.  

2.  Candy Buffet-- My SIL and her hubster decided that a candy buffet was just the thing for wedding favors.  I did some major Pinterest searching and realized I'd need a LOT of glass containers for the candy in order to pull this one off.  

So, my original plan was to hit the Dollar Tree.  But, I quickly realized they didn't quite have the BIG sized glass containers I needed. They do, however, have glass candlesticks.  Which make a perfect pedestal for a glass bowl.  Only please, use gorilla glue epoxy to adhere them instead of hot glue (trust me on that one).  

My back up plan for glassware was Goodwill and thrift stores.  I hit pay dirt when I inadvertently ended up at our local Goodwill on 1/2 off day.  For real!  I ended up with about 20 glass containers for $32.  Total.  Yep, just $32.  Glass bowls, glass vases, glass candy dishes.  I borrowed another 15 or so glass containers from a friend who had just gotten married.  You CANNOT beat $32 plus about $15 in Dollar Tree glass candlesticks to stock your candy buffet with pretty containers.  

3.  Candy labels for buffet--This was another project that evolved with time.  I will just cut to the chase with the end result.  If you've seen those cute table numbers that looked like etched glass on Pinterest, you know what I did for these candy labels.  I bought tall glass vases at Dollar Tree online.  They will deliver to your local store for free.  My next step was to grab some vellum at Hob Lob, you guessed it, when it was 50% off.  I designed the labels in word, in a landscape format.  I typed in the names of each candy in my SIL's favorite font in a dark gray color.  I added a little line at the top and bottom of each page and printed those bad boys right up on my home ink jet printer.  I adhered them to the outside of each glass container with glue dots.  Throw in a little flameless LED tea light (50% off or borrow from a former bride), and voile!  Your got those twinkling candy labels for the candy buffet.

4.  Candy buffet "table cloth"-- We rented table runners for the reception that were damask and wanted to add that pop of raspberry color from my SIL's bridesmaid dresses on the candy buffet table.  My cheap and easy solution?  I bought raspberry glitter tulle ribbon at Hob Lob when 50% off.  I bought about 12 rolls, spending about $26 total.  On wedding day, once we had the table set with the glass containers and filled with candy, we just unwound the tulle ribbon and piled and bunched it up to give the table a great pop of color.  

5.  Candy Bar sign-- This was a variation of some ideas from Pinterest.  I bought glass blocks (say it with me--at Hob Lob when 50% off), spending $14 total for 2.  I also bought 2 sets of Christmas lights that were about $3 each. Going back to our good old vellum, I printed the Candy Bar signs on vellum and cut to size for the front of each block.  I made these in black font so they would stand out against all the gray font candy labels and used more glue dots to adhere the signs to the blocks.  I bought some pretty damask ribbon on sale, and hot glued it around the glass block edges, tying a bow at the top.  Leave the hole from the glass block on the bottom--and shove your lights in there.  When it's wedding time, just plug in your lights for a great lighted sign.  My mind is reeling already with how many ways I can use this basic concept in the future!  And quite the bargain at about $22 total.
6.  Favor boxes-- After much internet searching, I scored these black and white damask favor boxes on for the bargain price of $99 for 300 of them.  On each on, we added some of the raspberry ribbon and a sticker we printed with a message for guests.  The stickers were labels from an office supply store that read, "It was sweet of you to come.  Enjoy filling your box at the candy bar."  

7.  Metal candy scoops and the candy-- This tip I borrowed from my cousin in Canada.  She found perfect metal scoops on Ebay.  Again--coming from Hong Kong, so allow a few weeks for delivery.  But, these were only $4 each (free shipping), which is cheapest by far of anywhere I looked.  As for the all important candy, I scored mine at various places.  I bought hard candy on Oriental Trading Company after Valentine's day on clearance.  They always have candy on clearance.  I simply pulled off the Valentine sticker on the lollipops, which was the only indicator that it was Valentine themed.  The other great source of candy I found was  This website has candy sorted by color, which made the shopping really easy.  Their customer service was fabulous, and the delivery time was good, too.  And, trust me on my internet searching--best prices I found.

8.  Menu chalk board-- My SIL had decided early on that she didn't want to mess with printing menus for each place setting.  But, we did want guests to know what was going to be served for dinner.  So, we decided a large menu chalk board as the guests entered the ball room would be the perfect solution.  I happened to score a blank canvas at Goodwill half-off day for only $5!  What a find.  But, you could also find them in craft stores on sale, or even find a large painting at a garage sale that you simply paint over with chalk board paint.  I bought the empty frame at HobLob on clearance--only $4.  It was an ugly brown, but with a quick coat of silver spray paint from my stash, that was fixed.  I used black electrical tape to simply tape in the canvas to the frame on the back side of it.  When it was all done, I decided it needed a touch of bling.  Back to HobLob for some black rhinestone ribbon on sale, which I hot glued on the front of the canvas around the edge.  The GREAT thing is that my SIL can use this chalk board in her house.  Don't you love repurposing?!

9.  Photo display-- We wanted to have a photo display to honor the grandparents and great parents who have passed away, and we also wanted a photo display with the wedding photos of the bride and groom's parents.  I found 2 old windows at a salvage store, but I think you could also score them at a flea market or Seconds in Surplus.  They were only $25 each.  We painted over them with some black acrylic paint.  I matted each photo with card stock bought on sale and used glue dots to adhere them on the back of each pane in the window.  Honestly--I tried to paint the wording on the top of each window ("Today, we remember" and "all because two people fell in love")...but epic fail.  I couldn't get the right look in my freehand approach.  I painted right over my oops and bought some pretty letter stickers on sale to finish up the work.  These sat on easels at the ceremony and reception, adding such a nice personal touch.  Again--these windows can be repurposed and used after ward by the bride in her home.  She can switch out the photos.  OR, I love this idea... make each window a day of the week (sticker letters and scrapbook paper glue dotted to the back), and you have a large weekly planner that is dry erase!

10.  Save the date magnets-- There are a million websites where you can order photo magnets, such as Vistaprint. They have designs you can use.  Or, we did our own design in Photoshop.  When we searched, we found a great sale at where I could upload our own design in a JPEG format and the company shipped them to us quickly.   We simply chose a magnet size that was close to a standard size envelope to make them easy to mail.  And using a standard size means you can buy them for about $12 per 100 in ivory or white at an office supply store.

I hope I've given you some good ideas to make your wedding day special and personalized, all on a budget.  If you need me to clarify any instruction, just leave a comment for me.  Pinterest is a great source of inspiration, and with a little effort, you can really save some money.  I'd love to see photos of your DIY wedding projects or hear some of your ideas!  And, if you don't have a wedding to plan--these ideas translate well to any old party or event.  Happy crafting.

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