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When it comes to addressing wedding invitations, our first choice is to hire a skilled calligrapher for the task. Unfortunately, that isn't always in the budget. But learning some basics about calligraphy tools can help give your invitations a unique look. By using a pen with a calligraphers pointed tip, you can get the thick and thin flow that is impossible to get from just a regular pen, so even "regular" handwriting has a special look. The best part is the tools are very cheap! So round up all your friends with nice handwriting and give them a basic lesson in writing with a calligrapher's pointed nib.
-Speedball Oblique Copperplate Pen Holder $1.89 each
-Pointed Nib like Gillott 404 $.76 each
-Calligraphy Ink or Goache-watered down $8
First, insert the nib into the pen attachment so it is facing down at a 45 degree angle. Next, dip pen into the ink until the hole is filled in with ink (the small whole on the nib holds a reservoir of ink so you don't have to dip it as often.) The pointed tip produces very thin hairlines, but when pressure is applied to the pointed tip (pulling down) the two sides separate and ink is allowed to flow in a thick line.
-Only put pressure on the pen when you are pulling it in a downward motion, the rest of the strokes should be thin hairlines (that way the nib won't catch on the paper).
-Practice with the ink beforehand on the kind of envelope you will be using to make sure the ink sets (some envelopes are coated and repel the ink).
-It takes some time to get used to the nib, so spend some time practicing before you begin.
-Lighter inks and metallic inks show up best on dark envelopes.
-If the ink is left out on the pen for more than a minute or two when it isn't in use, you'll need to wash it with water and dry it completely.
-It is good to have a moist paper towel nearby to wipe the nib down.
These gorgeous green boutonnieres could be made year round but are especially charming at a winter wedding. We gathered greens and mix and matched them for a casual, natural style. They won't wilt and their fragrance will add to the seasonal atmosphere.
You will need:
8-10 stems of greens (for three boutonnieres). We used cedar, boxwood, bay, rosemary, and hydrangea flowers.
hot glue gun
Creating the boutonnieres:
Rinse and dry all of the greenery.
Pick out the stems you'd like to combine for your boutonniere and remove all the leaves below the first inch of the stem.
Place the larger leaves, or bulkier greenery at the back, place buds and light weight greens like ivy at the front. Tape together with floral tape.
Try not to make this area larger than about an inch. Sometimes it is easier to tape together a few stems and then combine them together.
Take the ribbon and wrap it neatly around where you've placed the floral tape. Fold over the raw edge of the ribbon and place a dot of hot glue underneath. Secure it to the rest of the ribbon.
A tip: Add name tags to all of your boutonnieres and corsages. It's a little thing that cuts down on confusion and stress on the big day. Everyone will easily be able to find their flowers without the help from the bride!
Who says a winter wedding needs to be decked out in traditional red and green or cold, stark white and silver? By adding some unexpected colors and natural elements, you can create a table that compliments the season while still looking modern and fresh.
Dark blue, cream, and lots of white make up our table's color scheme, while the dark brown pinecones keep it earthy and seasonal. We kept the napkins and dishware simple, so as to not compete with the printed fabric of the table runner.
For our centerpiece, we mimicked the look of an old feed sack by wrapping an inexpensive glass vase with nubby burlap fabric (which adds great texture to the table) and used a stencil to paint the table number onto the fabric. We filled the vase with white hydrangeas and pretty greens, keeping our arrangement unfussy and casual.
Pinecones are a budget-friendly way to add a simple and festive touch to your table, and they can double as place cards by hot-gluing name tags to each.
Sources: Fabrics and pinecones from Joann Fabric and Craft
Images courtesy: Mary Swenson
Send your guests home with mini cakes! We love these mini bundt cake pans that you can use with any type of pound cake recipe. If you want to make it extra meaningful, you could use a family recipe. Or, better yet, have a special relative pitch in and bake the cakes for you.
After letting the cakes cool, we wrapped them in cheesecloth (available at any grocery store). Next, we used tags from an office supply store and stamped them with each guest's name. Don't worry about making the stamps perfect. Imperfections add to the charm.
We added a sprig of boxwood for a festive touch. Depending on the season, you could add anything from fresh flowers to herbs. Display them at each place setting or at the entrance to your reception. Your guests will love these delicious favors and the best part is that they won't be wasted!
A champagne reception is a sweet and budget-friendly way to celebrate your day! Before weddings became a billion-dollar industry, champagne and cake receptions were the norm for most newlyweds. If the stress and cost of planning a dinner reception isn't for you, take a cue from yesteryear and put together a lovely, low-key champagne and dessert reception that your guests will love.
We covered a buffet table with a simple white tablecloth and stocked it with champagne and sweet treats. To keep the look cohesive, we chose food with a similar color palette (pink, gold, and green). Goodies like chocolate, shortbread cookies, fruit, tarts, and small pastries are easy for guests to eat using only a cocktail napkin, so silverware and plates are optional.
Strawberries poked with flag-topped bamboo skewers make fun drink stirrers, and tying name tags to each champagne flute ensures that guests won't misplace their glass during the party.
And with a spread this pretty, there's no need for fussy florals -- we finished off the table simply by filling three vases with single-stem tulips, for a look that's both simple and fresh.
Cake stands from Farmhouse Wares
Images courtesy: Mary Swenson
The super talented Kimberly Canale over at Inspired Goodness sent over this fabulous Do it Yourself wedding project -- which we adore! Thanks Kimberly!
A fun way to add some pops of color to the wedding without spending a fortune is making use of seasonal fruits. Lemons, limes, pears, oranges and peaches can be used to lend some decorative accents in two interesting methods.
First, as favors, they can be left a top a menu card or napkin at each place setting Using a mixture of two tags is a fun way to add some dimension and get all of your messaging into one place. The large leaf should incorporate the bride and groom's name and the small one is perfect for featuring your wedding date.
Secondly, as escort cards, fruit can be artfully arranged on a table and placed in alphabetical order. This is perfect for last-minute shifting of guest. In the weeks leading up to the big day, spend time labeling each leaf with guest names and table numbers. Wait until your seating chart is finalized to match the correct table to each guest.
Try using fruits that not only work with your color palette, but have a special meaning to your location; Apples in Washington, Peaches in Georgia, Oranges in Florida...
For a fun DIY-twist, this project incorporates a coordinating set of scrapbook papers, which have been mixed and matched in a green-blue color palette.
Supplies:DIY Leaf Template (you must have Adobe Reader installed to open this)
Assorted scrapbook paper
X-acto knife or scissors
Pearl head pins: these come in lots of wonderful colors and are available at most fabric stores
Depending on what paper you use, 12 sets will cost about $0.55 - $1.00
Cut scrapbook paper to fit inside a standard home printer: 8.5" x 11"
Download the DIY Leaf Template
Print the template onto your cut scrapbook paper
Cut out each leaf shape
Mix and match patterns for an interesting look
Attach leaves (small on top of large) using head pins
Tips:Text can be added to the leaves in many software programs. Experiment with different fonts and layouts to get the right look for your event.
To keep the design casual, you may want to write directly on the scrapbook paper with your favorite pen, marker. They can also be embellished with rubber stamps.
Seek out a local farm stand for the best quality fruit you can afford. And be sure to ask if you can take your purchases home in one of their wooden crates. It makes a great piece to help add authentic style to your escort card table.
See more fabulousness from Kimberly at her Inspired Goodness blog!
Edible (and drinkable!) favors make sense: chances are, they'll actually be used and appreciated more than a costly trinket. To make these sweet favors, you'll need the following:
Tea bags with strings
Small flat cello bags
A circle punch
Place these favors at each table setting, on a dessert table, or use them as seating cards and display them on a table for guests to see when they first walk in!
For this project, we used inexpensive tea from the grocery store, but you can use fancier tea; just make sure that the bags have strings attached to them. We cut the tags off each tea bag, leaving enough string for the new tag. To make the new tags, we simply punched circles from patterned paper using a circle punch, and glued the circles to the ends of the string of each bag.
We personalized the packages for each tea bag with a sweet saying that we printed onto colored paper. (This label can be personalized with guest names, table numbers, your names, or your wedding date...get creative!) We trimmed the colored paper to match the width of the bags, and used decorative scissors to embellish the top of each label.
We slipped a tea bag inside each cello bag, trimmed off the top of the cello bag so that it was a square, and then glued the paper labels to the tops of the bags.
Patterned and solid paper from the Martha Stewart Collection at Michael's; cello bags available at Nashville Wraps; circle punch and decorative scissors by Fiskars.
Images courtesy: Mary Swenson
Recycle old votive candle holders by using them for small sweet vases. These tiny arrangements could be used for a bridal shower, wedding or reception. We filled ours with primroses, a popular bedding plant used in early spring. You can use any sort of small flower like violets, pansies, individual hydrangea blossoms, miniature daffodils, or muscari. We added labels to ours to use for place settings.
You will need:
6-8 stems per vase
1. To remove wax from votive holders, leave them in the freezer for several days.
2. Be sure and wash the vases completely to remove any excess wax and dry thoroughly.
3. Write the name of each guest on a label and affix it to the vase.
4. Fill each vase about half-way full of water.
5. Cut the stems short so the blossoms rest against the side of the vase but be sure the stems are long enough to drink water. We cut ours straight from the plant and let them sit in lukewarm water for a few hours before arranging.
6. Arrange the flowers the night before the event and keep them in a fridge, away from fruit if possible.
7. If you are traveling with the vases, be sure and pack them tightly!
The tiny arrangements could be used as place settings, favors or even centerpieces for a family style table. However you choose to display them, your guests will adore these sweet and flowery tokens of friendship!
Recycle old postcards by using them as place cards -- or go out and find some amazing postcards that mean something special to you! We mixed and matched ours for a colorful and interesting table setting.
You will need:
- A vintage post card for each guest. Ask parents and grandparents if they own any. Otherwise local antique shops, Ebay and Etsy are good sources. You can still find unused cards but postcards with messages on the back make for great table conversation. Try to pick cards that have at least one color in common.
- Japanese masking tape. Available at Happy Tape.
- A nice pen
Choose a focal color for your table (ours was red). Pick a masking tape in that color and then cut 8 inch pieces. On the end of each piece, cut a V so it looks like the end of a ribbon. Fold it over one side of the card. Write the name of a guest on each piece of tape once it's secured.
Your guests will treasure these little pieces of history!
These seasonal favors are easy, inexpensive, and oh-so-charming! Put them atop each place setting, arrange them en masse on a favor table, or even group them together in the center of each table for a casual centerpiece that guests can easily take home at the end of your event.
We picked up small pots of bulbs in bloom at our local grocery store for $3.99 each; each pot had 3 flowers in it, which averages to $1.33 per stem. (Tulips are a colorful and widely-available choice; hyacinths are also a pretty, very fragrant alternative.)
We removed each bulb from the pot and planted it in a small plastic cup. Each cup was placed inside a mini brown paper bag, decorated with guests' initials. (If you're using a group of these flower bags as a centerpiece, you can write the table number on each one.) We punched holes at the top of each bag, and added grommets to the front holes for a finished look. Stringing ribbon through the holes is a pretty finish, and also keeps the flowers straight in the bag.
Sources: Mini paper bags can be found at Paper Mart; small white cups by Solo; white paint pen by Elmer's; ribbon and grommets from Michaels
Images Courtesy: Mary Swenson