Sunday, December 16, 2012

To give or not to give, that is the question...

So as you are planning your DIY wedding you will be faced with the decision of whether or not to give wedding favours. It is a personal choice and gone are the days of wedding etiquette where you must thank your guests for attending by giving them a small hand-wrapped packet of mints or personalized matches. Many couples are opting for the choice of forgoing the individual wedding favours and they are donating to a local organization instead. Canadian brides and husbands-to-be can explore this list for non-profit organizations that fit their values as a couple.  For the American brides-to-be, you can go to and find local non-profit organizations to donate to. If you choose to go this route a hand written or printed card placed on your dessert table or at each place setting would be sufficient to inform your guests of your altruistic decision. Here are some examples:

                                                                LES Designs at Etsy

                                                           Nostalgic Imprints at Etsy

Another choice of wedding favours are those Eco-conscious in nature, and this would be a perfect option for the Eco-conscious bride/groom who choose an outdoor and earthy themed wedding... Trees!

Evergreen Memories serves customers across Canada and the U.S and they offer amazing Green Gift options for the Eco-conscious bride. The company is based in Dryden, Ontario and they assure 100% satisfaction guaranteed, you can't go wrong with this option. They have additional natural wedding decor and gift options including clay and stone jewelry, seed confetti, and twig votive rings. You have to check them out!

The next option is for the coordinated bride who loves the personalized, handmade option for individual guest favours. This option can be a lot of fun to find the perfect guest favour that matches the style and theme of your DIY wedding. I came across the unique gift of tea at Namastea on Etsy where she creates customized single serve tea favours great for a quaint afternoon wedding. Yazmin of Namastea started the teas back when she was a wellness writer for Spa Asia Magazine in 2006. Back then her mom and brother were always sick, so she tried her hand with real dried herbs knowing that they have medicinal properties. Having tried the teas herself, she decided to launch a tea business out of it and has been supplying restaurants and tea houses ever since. Yazmin opened the shop on Etsy a year ago and the promise she guarantees for DIY brides is "you wont find your favours similar with others!" She customizes the labels as if your wedding is a brand itself, and the designs are one of a kind, so don't worry about bumping into a similar wedding with the similar favours! The contents are just as special, the teas are very fragrant and taste rich and decadent. They have no artificial flavours or colours like other commercial loose leaf teas. She blends her own teas too, so you will only find these flavours in the Namastea store.

And last but not least... FOOD! This was the option I chose for my afternoon wine and hors d'oeuvres wedding. My Maid-of-Honour made several different kinds of cookies that were displayed on antique platters on the gift table along with DIY stamped cookie bags with our names and wedding date for guests to take a treat with them when the celebration was over.

LostBridgeDesigns on Etsy has a similar idea with their personalized printed treat bags. Great for a candy buffet, cookie platters, our your signature homemade dessert!

The great thing about being a DIY/Handmade bride is the options are endless, ideas are everywhere and it is up to you and your groom-to-be to find what suits you best as a couple and displays your personalities and love for one another. You can have a wedding-favour-making party with your bridemaids, do-it-yourself, or buy handmade; no matter what you choose it will be special because it is your perfect day!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Did you remember to invite Aunt Maggie?

So after you have created your vision for the big day and you have planned the venue, menu, colours and guest list it is time to think about, how are we going to let people know we're getting Married!

I come across a great couple who can help you with just that! Travis is the owner of WedInfinity, an Etsy shop that focuses solely on creating wedding stationary for DIY brides. You can't get much more direct than that; Travis and his fiance found the cost to have someone make/print/ship invitations to you was outrageous so they came up with a creative and cost effective way for brides and grooms to get personalized invitations at a fraction of the cost. For even greater savings check them out now because they currently have a one month sale on to celebrate the recent opening of their shop and you can get 15% off your purchase with the coupon code: open15

Here are just a few of their designs that you can personalize as your own 

When you purchase a listing from WedInfinity you get to customize the text, and colour so it is the first glimpse your guests will get in anticipation of the special day. The invitation sets the tone for the wedding day and lets your guests in to see your personality as a couple. After working closely with Travis and his fiance you will have an invitation that is truly your own. There is no risk of the invitations not coming in on time, or getting damaged because you are in control when receiving a high resolution invitation design as an attachment in and email; all you have to do is print as many invitations as you need at your local print shop.

WedInfinity has invitations for save-the-dates, non-traditional weddings, classic style, and even elopements!!

This invitation option is perfect for the DIY bride because this product is printable on anything, and DIY brides can print it anywhere you want! If you want to print it on your own printer for no cost, you can do that.  WedInfinity customizes their products for DIY brides by changing the color to what you want, adding a personal picture, and custom wording sent to Travis and his fiance making the product your own. Since you own the design you bought as a file, you can even edit the design on your own computer to further personalize it or if you need to change the date last minute. Simple, personalized, and DIY!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The long awaited... DIY Brooch Bouquet How-To!



So here it is, the DIY How-To for making your own Wedding Brooch Bouquet. This is not a DIY project you will want to take on if you are a Bride planning a wedding in a few months, this one takes time but it is well worth it. I was planning my wedding for a year and a half and this DIY was on the go throughout, it starts with getting together the materials you will be using and you will want to take some time searching for your brooches. You could search for brooches based on colour, theme, flowers, or a compilation of brooches that mean something to you and your future hubby. Mine was a little of it all and I included brooches matching my green and brown colour scheme, flowers, and some meaningful brooches such as brooches from our grandmothers, a trinket with Greg's first baby picture from the hospital, a whale, and vintage pieces. The cost of materials for my brooch bouquet was around $85 (the majority of this was for the brooches that I bought). If you check out Etsy, sellers are selling brooch bouquets for between $65-1,850... with a common price being around $500. So needless to say, you can save yourself a lot of money by making it yourself. Below is your DIY How-To, if you have been considering making your own I would highly recommend it, I am so glad I have such a meaningful piece of my wedding that will be long lasting and cherish... unlike a dried, brittle version of a flower bouquet that will eventually get trashed. Happy DIYing, send me your pictures of your DIY Brooch Bouquet to and I will display them on this blog to inspire other brides-to-be!

Save Your Money and DIY - Brooch Bouquet

List of Materials:
- 50-75 New and Vintage Brooches, Earrings and Buttons (amount depends on sizes of each) Search on for bulk listings, for Vintage and Homemade, Yard Sales, Flea Markets and Antique Stores, you can even find some in Dollar Stores.
-  Floral Wire
- Wooden Skewers
- Floral Tape
- Pipe Cleaners
- 3 inch and 2 inch Fabric Ribbon (colour of your choice)
- Corsage Pearl Head Push Pins (pack of at least 30)
-  3 or 4 inch Styrofoam Ball (depending on how big you want the bouquet)
- Strong Thick Tape (duct tape, masking tape, packing tape)
- 26 Gage Crafting Wire (brown or green) Michaels
- Floral Filler - such as wire with gems attached
- Metal snips (cutters)

This DIY was inspired by the gorgeous Vintage Brooch Bouquets displayed on the Internet, such as these ones featured on Ruffled It was difficult finding detailed instructions and like many others it was a DIY you just had to try to figure out on your own. Well worry no more because here it is, there may be others out there but this one has results that show it works. This DIY will cost you between $100 and $200 depending on how many brooches you purchase and how much you spend on each brooch. If you are lucky you might be able to have all of your brooches given to you by family and friends, spread the word and let them know you are looking for brooches. You could even incorporate it as part of your Bridal Shower and as everyone to bring a brooch to pass on :)

Here are some tips on keeping the costs down and searching for the brooches because this will be your starting point. This is one of the most fun parts because you will get to choose the brooches you like and some that might have meaning for you. It is very easy so spend hours searching through the variety of brooches you can find online. Before you get started set a budget on how much you are willing to pay for each brooch, remember you will be purchasing 50-75 of them depending on size so look for deals, bulk listings, and combined shipping. This will probably be the most time consuming part so give yourself several months to search for the perfect brooches.

ETSY ( Click on all items in a search and type in "brooch" or specific brooches you are looking for, such as "silver brooch", "brown brooch", and "green brooch", “flower brooch”, “pearl brooch” etc. Type in $0-$6 price range to keep the cost down, also look for sellers who will do combined shipping.

EBAY ( or Very similar to ETSY, make sure you set a price limit per brooch so you don't go crazy with the cost. Also a little trick, type in "Brooch Lot" you will find sellers putting together up to 100 or more random brooches in one listing and selling them all together as a lot.

Dollar Stores: Believe it or not in some dollar stores you can find brooches. They are back in style these days and you can find them in the jewelry section of your local dollar store.

Wal-Mart: Look in the jewelry section at Wal-Mart, you can find some really cute brooches there too; most of them are from the GEORGE collection.

Kijiji ( or : As with the other online searches type in what you are looking for in a search and voila. Just make sure you are looking in the area closest to you because it is likely you will have to go pick up the items.

Garage Sales: If you are planning for a wedding next year get out early in the season and start hitting up local garage sales. The early bird gets the worm!

Flea Markets, Retro Store, Second Hand Stores and Antique Stores: Spend some of your Saturdays on the hunt for cheap finds.

Family and Friands: Put the word out to family and friends about what your next DIY project is and ask your female family members and friends to look in their drawers to see what they can find. It also helps to have extra eyes to spot out some good finds. Having pieces that used to be cherished by your family also adds a special touch to your bouquet.

Michael's Craft Store ( You can find all kinds of inspirational things in this store to add as much bling and pizzazz to this project as you want.

Once you have all of your brooches collected start picking up the other materials required. For one stop shopping you can get all of the items at Michael’s (or a local craft store, you might also want to try some dollar stores). Putting the bouquet together will take you quite a bit of time, so you will probably want to spend it over several evenings and take breaks in between so you don’t loose the enjoyment. After making the bouquet you will appreciate others who have made them and it is no wonder why those selling them pre-made are charging so much. Here we go:
Outside brooches that will be the stems you see sticking out at the bottom

1. Take each individual brooch and secure a medium gage craft wire (floral wire) around the pin latch wrapping it through several times and extending the wire down 10-12 inches.

2. Take pipe cleaners (from the dollar store for $1 bag of 20 or more) and wrap 1 pipe cleaner down around the secured wire (this will give some extra thickness to the wire and you will see why in the next step).

3. Take green floral tape (from Michael’s or a floral store) and wrap this from the top of your attached wire all the way to the bottom of your 10-12 inch piece. This will make it look like a flower stem and the pipe cleaner will add dimension making it more realistic. If you want to take the extra time and effort, cut leaf shapes out of the left over florist tape and attach it to the underside of the brooch covering up the pin and wire attached.

Repeat these steps for approximately 10 – 12 brooches and set them aside.

Brooch Bouquet Foundation:
1. Take your Styrofoam ball and wrap the floral wire around it randomly creating what looks like a cage. Make sure to occasionally trim the wire and twist the end around another loop of wire to secure it because once you give a little slack to the tightly wrapped wire the whole thing will unravel. You may want a friend or your fiancé to help you with this part to keep the wire in place until you have enough that it will stay in place because of the over lapping. Wrap the ball enough so you are seeing spaces between the wires, no bigger than 2 inches. This will be the foundation to what everything else will be attached to.

2.  Take your 2-inch fabric and cut it into pieces long enough to loop it (fold it) together to make pieces with two and three folds. Twist a piece of floral wire around the base securing the fabric to remain folded, leave the ends of the wire sticking out so you can use them to attach to the wire wrapped Styrofoam ball. Repeat this enough times to make approximately 20 gathered pieces of fabric.

3. Take the individual gathered pieces of fabric and start randomly attaching them all over the top two thirds of the ball. This will be filler and a means of attaching some brooches so you won’t see the Styrofoam ball underneath.

Adding the Brooches:
1. This takes some planning and an eye for how the different sizes and shapes of brooches fit together.  Start by taking your larger brooches to cover some space and begin by attaching them to the fabric pieces as well as the wire wrapped around the Styrofoam ball, as you would to your coat jacket using the pin clasp attached. For the larger brooches try to put the pin through two pieces of fabric to secure pieces together. Lightly pull the fabric pieces out so some sticks out through the brooches. Continue attaching brooches in a layering affect over the space until you can no longer see large uncovered spaces, it is okay if you see the fabric underneath. The more brooches you fill in the more you can adjust the brooches with one another and this secures everything in its spot so they won’t move around. You may have to move pieces around and do some adjusting to get it just right.

2. Take your 10-12 brooches that you created stems for. Now start attaching these brooches around the outside of the brooch ball. You can use other brooches to also secure the stem in place around the ball. Bend the stems around the ball and down to the bottom. Put all the stems together and secure them at the base of the ball by wrapping some floral wire around them. Pull the remaining stems straight down.

3. Take your smaller brooches, buttons and earring and set them aside. Cut a 7-10 inch piece of the 26 - gage crafting wire and double or triple it up and twist it together to make a thicker twisted wire. Attach these pieces of wire around the smaller brooches, and then stick them in amongst the brooches on the Styrofoam ball to give dimension to the bouquet adding height. Do the same with any buttons, and clip on earrings you may have. You can add other hook earrings by sticking them through the pieces of fabric and putting the backing on them and letting them dangle down.

4. You can also add any floral filler at this stage to add some extra detail or fill in gaps. Keep repeating these steps until you get the fullness and shape you want.

Adding Ribbon:
1. Take your 3-inch wide ribbon and attach one end with a corsage pin to the base of the ball just under where your brooches stop. Begin making loops and attaching them with pins all the way around the ball to the other side.

Making the Handle:
1. Take wooden skewers and begin sticking them into the base of the ball about half way in. As you add them in you can move the stems around to fit in amongst the skewers. Keep adding them at slight angles and different directs than one another so you don’t create one spot where there is a gaping hole in the ball you want them evenly dispersed to give it stability when you hold it. Once the brooches are on you will realize how heavy this can be so you will want a sturdy handle. Do this until you have about 12-15 skewers in place. Push some of the skewers in so they are higher then the stems you created.

2. Decide how far down you want the ribbon to go that will cover the handle. Allowing for two to 3 inches of the stems to show works well. Of the skewers that fall in that range that will be showing at the bottom you will want to cover them in floral take by wrapping it around the skewer as you did for the stems.

3. Once that is all finished have your friend or fiancé hold the bouquet sturdy for you and start taping the skewers together to make a secure solid handle. You will want to start about 2 inches from the top and wrap the tape around to the spot where the ribbon will cover.

4. Take the 3 inch ribbon you have chosen for the handle and pin one end with a corsage pin up into the Styrofoam base. Begin wrapping the ribbon around the handle diagonally until you get to the bottom without covering the stems. Secure that end in place with another corsage pin. To tidy up the end you can choose to wrap the 26 –gage wire around the bottom to finish off the look.  Then add any additional decoration to it as you wish (exp. a bow, crystals, shells, feathers, pearls, or a leftover brooch).

5. To make the base of the Styrofoam ball fuller and to fill in any gaps repeat step 1 from the Adding the ribbon section. You can also use the pearl head corsage pins to hold down any loose fabric or to fin brooches in tighter. They add to the whole look by adding a vintage feel with the pearls.

6. Add any other final touches to it as you see fit. Voila! 

This is a DIY project that you will never forget (both for it's frustrations along the way and joys!) and the great thing about it is you can use it as decoration in your home after the wedding by placing it in a vase or use it as a heirloom piece and pass it down to your little sister or daughter when she gets married!

Some more links to help you in the process:
Weddingbee <------------------------- (I posted my DIY tips on this blog)
Ruffled <------------------------------- (Where I first got my inspiration!) 
Fancy Pants Weddings <----------- (Just found this one...)
Brooch Bouquets TM <------------- (Original creator of the brooch bouquet)
Brooch Bouquets Etsy Shop

Friday, June 1, 2012

I'm Back!

I apologize for my disappearance and neglect to this blog... I have been working on a Master's Degree, bought my first house (and all that comes with making it your own), and helping friends with wedding plans! So, to get reconnected with this blog I am going to share with you all of the advice, links, ideas, and pictures I have shared with my friends in preparation for their own weddings.

Friend #1 - Mandy (October Wedding - Gibraltar, Spain)

Mandy is my best friend and when I found out she was getting married I was so excited. I knew that no matter what kind of a wedding, I would offer her whatever help she needed. I was anticipating helping her with some DIY projects, and helping her organize things as much as I could while living in another Province until her big day. Then she shared with me that she and her fiance Jeff were planning a different kind of wedding, kind of low key like mine and not a lot of guest. I thought perfect I already know how to plan a small wedding... then she said the only people at her wedding would be her and Jeff. Mandy and Jeff were planning on going on a trip to Europe and getting married in Spain, followed by a honeymoon in Paris! I was surprised but just the same excited and happy for them. I think it is great when couples stray from the typical traditions of a wedding, the last thing you want to do is have a wedding that pleases everyone else but not yourself. Mandy shared with me that her news wasn't initially well received by her family because they understandably envisioned being a part of that day. They all came around and Mandy and Jeff had an after the wedding reception to celebrate with everyone and they all lived happily ever after...

So, there was not a whole lot of planning or DIYing I could help Mandy with but here is the advice and support I was able to give her for a wedding abroad!

How to elope!:

Great links to find out how to get married in Europe:

Ideas about how to make your small wedding or elopement special... to the very last detail:

This may interest you:

So this was my contribution to Mandy's wedding and when she came back and had her reception, her cousin Tiffy surprised her by flying me to Ontario for the event when we all thought I wouldn't be able to go. Thanks again Tiffy!! xo

Speaking of Tiffy...

Friend #2 - Tiffy (February Wedding - Carolina Cellars Winery, Virgil, Ontario )

Tiffy is Mandy's cousin (considered a sister) and as long as I have been in Mandy's life I have been in Tiffy's. Although we never thought Tiffy would EVER settle down ;) I wasn't surprised when I heard she was engaged to be married... I knew she had it in her! Tiffy is a lot like me and when she gets something in her head she becomes fully submersed in it. I knew Tiffy wouldn't need a lot of help from me because she would have a lot of her own ideas and she would research the s@*t out of wedding ideas... so I offered and sent her a few links that might start her on her way...

Here is the message I sent to Tiffy:

I thought I would share with you some websites that occupied my time and satisfied my wedding planning hunger. Some of them I even got ideas from... <-----------I did my wedding budget, and website on here. <------- This is what I was going to do for favors but changed my mind. <-------- Just fun! <------ Where I found some DIY projects. <----- A place to get cheap votive candles less than a $1. <----- A fun place to make a wedding vision board. <------ Another great place for DIY ideas. <------ The Canadian Wedding Magazine, everything in it is in Canadian $$. <----- And again DIY. <------- Where I bought anything else that I didn't DIY, that was handmade... You can literally find anything you can think of.

And finally, my wedding blog... still have to get on top of putting my DIY projects how-tos on there!

Have fun, I did!

I attended Tiffy & Bill's wedding which was a Scrabble/Winter theme and helped with all of the craziness (your final moments will likely be craziness too!) of getting the last DIY projects finished and making sure all of the final touches were in place.

Friend #3 - Tara (July Wedding - The Links at Montague, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia)

Tara and Spencer's wedding hasn't happened yet but they certainly have a great story of how Spencer (and Tara) got her engagement ring (<------ Click the link)!

Tara is a friend that I met through my husband Greg, as he had stumbled into a student teacher supervising position his first year teaching! That's how he met Tara's fiance Spencer... you can make the connections of how Tara and I met. So, knowing that I LOVE everything to do with wedding planning and DIYing Tara asked me for some advice. Here are some tips that I sent along her way to help save some time and money for her Traditional/Not So Traditional Wedding.

One of our first topics was wedding photography, this is one area that you don't want to skimp out on. You can definitely use a family member or friend if you KNOW they are good at what they do so you will be sure you will be happy with the photos you get capturing the moments of the day. I initially suggested Jeff Cooke Photography for Tara because he was local and amazing (I knew from my own photography session with him for mine and Greg's Anniversary). When I checked in with him for Tara's wedding date he was already booked - second piece of advice book your photographer early, the good ones get booked up fast. If you are dead set on a certain photographer have a back up plan but ask to be on a cancellation list for your date with the photographer you really want.

For those of you in Nova Scotia here is the Halifax Wedding Photographer Directory:

If you would like to cut costs there are some areas you can do it in and still make a big impact with the look. For Tara I am making her bouquet, I had made one for another friend's wedding and it was exactly what Tara was looking for so one less thing she has to worry about. If you have the crafty gene or a friend or family member does ask them if they can put together a bouquet of your favourite flowers to walk down the aisle with and it can be part of your wedding gift from them.

Here is the bouquet I made for my friend Anya and will be making again for Tara, along with some DIY links for making your own wedding bouquet.

The next bit of advice I gave her was along the lines of a DIY bouquet... I found that at my wedding it was all of the handmade and unique details that my guests noticed. Make your wedding your own, don't be afraid to go outside of the traditional box of weddings. Weddings are no longer like our parent's wedding and although some of the older generation are not used to doing things differently in the end they are the ones that say, "Wow that was really nice!" Make your wedding the way you want it to be, don't get hung up on what other people want because in the end it will be a matter of you LOVING your wedding day or having regrets.

If you are looking to do a handmade wedding or just want some special touches that don't come from a mass produced supply of items from a store I would suggest going to Etsy and typing in a search for your wedding theme or anything else you are looking for. I bought a lot from sellers on Etsy for my own wedding. You can see some examples in my other blog posts.

One of the things Tara specifically asked for help with was ideas for centerpieces for her Summer wedding. This is one idea that I loved and she loved too! The variation she is making is using limes instead of lemons.

I've mentioned it before but The Knot is another site I used often when I was planning my Wedding and I recommend it to my friends when they are planning their weddings. The Knot also has a Youtube Channel that has all kinds of ideas and DIY videos. Here is one of my favourites:

Another area encountered by brides-to-be or grooms-to-be when planning their wedding outside of a church setting is who do I get to marry us and where do I go? For the Canadians here is one site to find an officiant: This is where I and Tara found ours! You will also need to go to your local town hall or the town hall in the area you are getting married to get a marriage license.

For wedding favours you can go to weddingstar for some great ideas or even buy your favours from them (it's a Canadian site so its great for shipping to Canada). I found another really sweet idea for a Summer wedding at candles and such, inc:

Another idea for favours could be to get the smallest paper bags from Michael's and a cute stamp to stamp on the outside, then fill the bags with yours and your groom's favourite candy!

To tie in the generations in your family include pieces of their wedding into your own. Use your parents' or your groom's parents' wedding cake knife and server at your wedding. You can up-cycle these things to tie them in to your own wedding theme and colours. Watch out for a future blog DIY of just that... Up-cycled Wedding Cake Knife.

Some more ideas I threw Tara's way were for Guest "Book" Ideas!

A fancy cover, lined book from the dollarstore and stencil on the front, "If you have one piece of marriage advice what would it be?" Your guests would write their advice and sign it. You could type a little piece of paper with the instructions so they know to sign the "guestbook" and put that in a small frame on a table.

One of my favourite Wedding Hairstyle looks lately is the waterfall braid, it looks great on people with longer hair and could be used during a wedding of any season.

And after overloading Tara with all of this information and I'm sure you, the final link I am going to give you is one to help you not to forget a thing!

Happy Planning!