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Whether you adore your pets or have a special place in your heart for a specific type of animal, it can be super-cute to incorporate this into your wedding décor. Here are a few ideas we’ve seen in real weddings.
Animal topiaries are projected to be one of the hot décor items for 2015, and it’s a cute and subtle way to express your love for animals, whether you focus on a specific species or mix it up.
Photo by James Moro Photography
From figurines to paper cut outs, your escort cards can provide a fun nod to your animal of choice. Aside from the pig and bird options shown here, we’ve also seen escort cards dedicated to cats, elephants, horses, and more!
Photos by (left to right) Joshua Zuckerman Photography, Gene Higa Photography
We love how this invitation style doesn’t go too over-the-top with the animal motif – it’s still totally appropriate and sweet.
Photo courtesy of April Twenty Five
What a fun idea for a guest sign-in board! Each guest signs a silhouette of a different sea creature – perfect for a wedding at an aquarium or near the water.
Photo by Jack Looney Photography
We’ve seen a lot of animal cake toppers lately, but these are two of our favorites – a nod to the couple’s pet pooches and fun deer-themed style.
Photos by (left to right) Rachel Pearlman Photography, Crystal Satriano Photography
Check out more creative décor ideas from our Décor Editor »
A Short Wedding Dress
Show off those legs! Bonnie stayed cool in a custom knee-length frock by Nina Dinh of Susan European Dressmaker for her Los Angeles wedding.
Related: 16 Short Wedding Dresses
Bright Bridesmaid Dresses
Sun-kissed skin looks best against bold colors, so let your girls stand out in saccharine shades. We love the bright orange and coral looks from Katie and Jacob's Menlo Park wedding.
Katie & Jacob's Colorful Summer Wedding
Mint Honey Favors
Place a vial of mint-infused honey at each place setting—the easy-to-make favor tastes yummy when drizzled on all sorts of desserts.
Mint Honey Favor DIY
Nothing brings us back to childhood summers quite like freezy pops. This nostalgia-inducing treat will be a big hit at any hot weather reception, guaranteed.
Tara & Harris's Crafty Summer Wedding
One of our favorite summer wedding hacks is also one of the easiest to create. Amy and Kenn attached popsicle sticks to their card stock ceremony programs, and voila! Instant fan for each guest, which was absolutely necessary for their hot Virgin Islands nuptials.
Amy & Kenn's Tropical Wedding
Picnic Rehearsal Dinner
Daisies and gingham are always appropriate additions to a picnic bench meal. See more tips for decorating a rehearsal dinner in the park in our full tutorial.
Summertime Picnic Decor Tutorial
Infused Water Table Numbers
Indoors or out, warm-weather weddings call for plenty of liquids for your guests. Keep everyone hydrated by placing bottles of flavor-infused water (we like mint, strawberry, and cucumber) at each table. They can also double as your table numbers!
View the Complete DIY
Floating floral arrangements are a great way to extend a decor theme into the parts of your reception venue that may be otherwise untouchable. We love the arrangements Petal Flower Design created for Lindsay and Luke's private residence wedding in Massachusetts.
Lindsay & Luke's Backyard Wedding
Miniature versions of this griller's favorite make the perfect passed appetizer for a summertime cocktail reception.
Zoe & John's Preppy Summer Wedding
A Drink Stand
Who doesn't love lemonade and sweet tea on a hot summer day? Set up a table exclusively dedicated to cold drinks, and designate someone to make sure the containers are always full. Everyone working up a sweat on the dance floor will be grateful!
More Drink Photos
Idea By: Sarah Zlotnick
In this project, Mary Swenson extended the life of a pre-packaged paper flower centerpiece kit by turning the blooms into favors and centerpieces as well. Love it!
View the Full Tutorial
Available at The Green Vase
10 DIY and ready-made ways to bring paper flowers in to your wedding.
Want your wedding bouquet to last longer than a season? Consider investing in a beautiful paper alternative from The Green Vase ($325). This multi-talented NY-based floral design shop also offers single paper blooms, cake toppers, and cake decorating kits.
Available at Frances & Francis
We love the idea of topping a reception table with a single romantic stem in a vintage glass bottle—and then repurposing the centerpiece as bookshelf decor in your new home! These romantic blooms from Frances & Francis ($14 to $60) are perfect for that.
West Elm Paper Flower Shop
Several national chains are hopping on the paper flower trend. For example: Furniture store West Elm, which offers several pretty pre-made sets ($7.99 to $36).
Available at House That Lars Built
Handcrafted in Copenhagen, these gold-stemmed paper roses ($14 each) will look beautiful gathered in a vase or laid upon individual place settings. Designer Brittany Watson Jespen also creates jumbo-sized versions of these blooms, as well as paper flower hats—email her for custom projects!
Crepe Paper Flower Bouquet DIY
You won't believe how easy (and inexpensive!) it is to whip up these colorful crepe flowers—it takes just three simple steps.
Available at Paper Source
Looking for a little guidance while you construct your paper blooms? Consider a pre-packaged kits from The Paper Source your new best friend ($10.95 - $19.95).
The Crafting Book
Paper to Petal, Available at Barnes & Noble
Husband and wife duo Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell are very good at what they do (which includes photography, design, and, yes, plenty of paper crafts). Releasing late this August, their new book ($16.29) will show you how to make 75 paper blooms yourself. With a forward authored by Martha Stewart herself, it's clear the couple knows what they're doing.
The Perfect Prop
Large Paper Rose, Available at BHLDN
This extra-large paper rose ($68) is almost five feet tall! At that size, it's the perfect addition to any wedding photo booth. It's also, as the website suggests, a whimsical alternative to a basket of petals for the flower girl.
Paper Posy Escort Cards
Easy-to-make crepe flowers will add a joyful touch of color to any spring wedding! This tutorial offers step-by-step instructions for making these cheerful escort cards out of streamer ribbon. It's a great way to save money on a fun but lower priority item on your decor list.
See the Full Wedding
If you're still on the fence about paper flower decor, you have to check out Liz and Josh's color-infused Minnesota wedding. They created some of the most unique centerpieces we've ever seen!
Idea By: Sarah Zlotnick
This inexpensive material is more versatile than you think.
By: Sarah Zlotnick
1. Ring Pillow
A simple, rustic way for the ring bearer to present the rings. View this rustic country wedding.
2. Centerpiece Cover
Save on renting vases and other flower vessels by using old tins and covering them in burlap instead. View this yellow garden wedding.
3. Silverware Holder
A simple burlap packet holds the silverware for Heather and David's charming Annapolis nuptials.
4. Bouquet Wrap
A strip of sturdy burlap will hold all your flowers in place—and look sweet while doing it! View this rustic whimsical California wedding.
5. Favor Bags
You could hide any kind of sweet treat in one of these adorable burlap sacks. View this fun fall wedding.
We love this simple wedding sign. View this Texas ranch wedding.
7. Candle Accent
A mossy green candle collection gets a little texture from a simple burlap wrap. View this country chic wedding.
8. Table Number
Such a sweetly country table marker. Burlap wine bag table numbers, $150 for 10 at Lil Missi Etsy Shop.
9. Table Runner
Thinking about using a burlap table runner? Be sure to strech and distress the fabric a bit before you lay it down. This creates dimension by allowing some of your tablecloth color to peek through. It also gives the fabric a little more grip.
You Might Also Like: 9 Wine Wedding Decor Ideas
One of the trends we love about rustic weddings is the do-it-yourself projects even the least crafty brides create with wood. Here's what to display for every part of your big day:
Photo by JK Photography
Photo by Stacey Kokes Photography
Photo by Twin Hearts Photography
Photo by Athena Pelton Photography
Yes, we love candy, koozies, and potted succulents as much as the next wedding fanatic, but sometimes you just need to think outside of the box. Here are a few wedding favor ideas that truly break the mold.
Condiments and Spices
Olive oil is a popular wedding favor these days, but if there’s a condiment that you and your spouse love, share it with your guests! We’ve seen ketchup, mustard, Tabasco, as well as various seasonings (Old Bay, BBQ rubs, etc.).
Photo by Anjuli
Yeah, it’s a little offbeat, but it’s certainly hip and will get your guests talking. Offer up an array of temporary tats for your guests to enjoy. Who knows, maybe your Grandma will partake (can you imagine that photo?).
Photos by (from left): Liz Chrisman Photography, Emily Alt Photography
This might be a little labor-intensive, but we love the idea of picking out a book for each guest (or couple) to take home. Handwriting a personalized note inside is a great touch. What an amazing keepsake for your nearest and dearest!
Photo by Diana M. Lott
These are pretty quirky, but adorable, too! Offer your guests a selection of pins to affix to their attire and take home.
Photos by (from left): Katelyn James Photography, Shelly Kroeger Photography
Pottery or Handmade Crafts
We love how this bride used her pottery-making skills to create ceramic bowls for all of her guests. If you have crafting or cooking skills, use them to create gifts for your guests (but don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on a too-huge task!).
Photo by Maggie Fortson Photography
Cotton Candy in a Box
Fact: Guests love sweet treats. But instead of cookies or candy, try something a bit more whimsical with cotton candy stored in a takeout box. What a fun treat for guests of all ages!
Photo by Jenny DeMarco Photography
Give your favors a healthful touch by providing your guests with fresh fruit. From berries to pineapples, peaches to apples, think seasonal and local when it comes to picking your produce.
Photo by Dear Darling Photography
Want more great favor ideas? Follow our Favors Editor to see lots more wedding favor photos »
Start saving those bottles!
By: Sarah Zlotnick
1. As a table number
This DIY table marker from Tara and Harris's Virginia Winery wedding is super easy to make—simply print out colorful numbers and glue them on! Photo by Aaron Watson Photography.
2. As a table number holder
We'd recreate this sweet idea from Christie and David's winery wedding by cutting table numbers out of foam board and painting them. From there you could use chicken wire or glue to attach them to the wine bottle. Photo by Michelle Warren.
3. Use corks as escort card holders
Stole this idea from Paige and Zach's Austin wedding—Cut a slit down the long side of a cork, slice a section off the bottom, and voila! The perfect escort card holder for a vineyard wedding costs almsot nothing to make. Photo by Q Weddings.
4. Let it be the backdrop
Who needs to build a fancy photo backdrop when your reception is at a winery? We love the way Jen and Loreal threaded a string light through wine barrels—the effect is simple yet stunning. Photo by Andrew Pielage Photography.
5. As whimsical centerpieces
All it takes is some paint and a sponge to create these whimsical flower vases. Photos by Danyelle Matthews.
6. Create a cork monogram!
In her DIY winery wedding, Tara's uncle used hudreds of corks gathered from friends, family, local wine bars, and even Whole Foods to create a commemorative "M", which stands for the couple's shared last name and now sits in their new home. Talk about wedding decor that will last a lifetime—we love it! Photo by Aaron Watson Photography.
7. As unique window decor
We love the way Rachel and Craig covered each of these empty wine bottles in a special design. The collection looks especially charming with the hot Texas sun streaming through. Photo by Taylor Lord Photography.
8. As the wedding favor
Print custom wine labels that match your wedding decor and hand out the bottles as favors at the end of the night. Guests will remember the good times they had when they're drinking from them later on!
9. As Lighting
Fill empty wine bottles with bunched up string lights for a romantic effect. This Wit + Whistle DIY project teaches you how to do it safely. Photos by Amanda Wright.
Cookouts are the best part of summer, especially on the 4th of July with family and friends. Who doesn't love hot dogs, hamburgers, and fireworks? Bring that laid-back vibe to your rehearsal dinner. Here's how to do it:
1. Big-Batch Chilled Beverages
Photo by Katelyn James Photography
Mix up big batchees of flavored water, lemonade, or sweet tea and let guests serve themselves! Use mason jars as glasses for an extra picnic-y feel.
2. Gingham & Sunflower Decor
Photo by (from left to right) Chelsea Fuss and Nami Dadlani Photography
Set your wooden banquet tables with checkered linens or napkins and use bright yellow sunflowers in your centerpieces. Here's our step-by-step guide to styling a summer table.
3. Finger Foods
Photo by Jose Villa
Pass around bite-size burgers, BBQ sliders, pigs in a blanket, french fry shooters, and corn on the cob halves as appetizers.
4. Strawberry Shortcake
Photo by Chelsea Fuss
We all scream for ice cream! As much as it would coof off guests, it would also quickly melt in the heat. Instead, try a strawberry shortcake. Light and sweet, it will leave guests feeling satisfied but not heavy. Here's a complete step-by-step receipe for creating the one pictured above.
5. Lawn Games
Photo by Orange in Bloom
Entertain your guests with lawn games such as cornhole, croquet, hula hoops, bocce ball, and badminton.
6. Outdoor Lounge
Photo by Katelyn James Photography
Countrify your backyard with an outdoor lounge of hay bales, quilts, and wooden barrels.
7. Bonfire Desserts
Photo by MaryBeth Clouser Photography
S'mores kits are an edible favor that your guests can enjoy while keeping warm by the fire.
We love when couples add personal touches to their wedding day, but our favorite details are often the ones that really tell the story of their relationship. True, many of your guests may already know some of the details of how you got together, but there may be some who may need or want a refresher. Here are some creative ways to tell your love story:
A Sweet Sign – Display a chalkboard or other signage with a timeline of how you two met and got together.
Photo by Filda Konec Photography
Photo Display – There are many creative ways to share photos from throughout your relationship (you can even include baby and childhood pictures in there as well!). Check out these creative ways to use your engagement photos in your wedding.
Photos (from left to right): Tia & Claire Studio, Jill Lauren Photography
Create a Video – A video montage of images can be shown during the reception or at your rehearsal dinner
Photo by Earthmuse Photography
Special Mementos – If you’re so inclined, we love when couples display their (funny or sweet) love notes or emails from throughout their relationship to really get a sense of their personalities and story
Photo by Filda Konec Photography
In Your Programs – Add a list of fun facts about the two of you for guests to read while they’re waiting for the ceremony to begin. For more ceremony program ideas, visit this board from our Stationery Editor!
Photos (from left to right): Erin Lindsey Images, Daniel Kim Photography
Table Names and Numbers – Use your table names and numbers as an opportunity to be creative. Name your tables after meaningful places you’ve visited, or put a twist on traditional table numbers by adding a fun fact to each. Want more table name ideas? Check out this article!
Photos (from left to right): Jason Burns Photography, Cory Ryan Photography
On the Paper Goods – Print a detail about your relationship on cocktail napkins or straw flags! Check out more cute cocktail napkin ideas here!
Photo by Jim Kennedy Photographers
Once you have finally booked your venue, its time to pick your color scheme! You may think the colors are completely up to you; however, you should take into account the setting of your venue, the time of year your wedding is taking place and how formal or informal your ceremony and reception will be. Remember, not only do you want your color scheme to set the vibe for your wedding but also complement the venue. Here are our favorite color scheme combinations to inspire you:
Historic Home = Yellow + Gray
Photo by Onelove Photography
Garden = Mint + Blush
Photo by Stacey Windsor Photography
Ballroom = Ivory + White
Photo by Lane Dittoe
Beach = Navy Blue + Emerald
Photo by Katie Stoops Photography
Barn = Purple + Orange
Photo by Dave Richards Photography
Which color scheme did you choose? Let us know in the comments below! For more color scheme inspiration, browse our real wedding boards.