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Thursday, July 23, 2015

How to DIY the Wedding of your Dreams on a Budget!
Diving for my Treasure -

I'd like to introduce a guest post from an awesome blogger I know - Karen from Subneams and Heartstrings.  I was able to do a guest post for her on creating beautiful artwork bsed on a favorite mixed media technique of mine.  You can learn how to make gessoed magazine page collages here.
Make Your Own (way more than) Coloring Pages!

 And now Karen's written a really amazing post - I wish I had read this before my own wedding!  

diy wedding on a budget
Guest Post by Karen of Sunbeams and Heartstrings

  Every girl dreams of her wedding from the time she is a child. As adults, we know that sometimes money struggles prevent us from having the things we want. But what if you CAN have a gorgeous wedding and still keep a low budget!? Check out two DIY wedding ideas for a $1000 budget.


I did my own invitations on the computer. I bought pre-made ones on clearance at Walmart (they were very pretty). They also came with RSVP cards. I went to the website it listed in the directions. It walked me through how to personalize them step by step. They came out beautiful, and they were very personal because I took the time to do them myself, However, I am a very creative person. *An alternative for people who are not as creative or do not have the time or access to a printer would be to find a local college who has a document center. Their prices are inexpensive. They will design them for you or you can choose from designs they already have. diy wedding 4

  Wedding Dresses

Many places, including David's Bridal, have clearance sections. These sections are often dresses from "last season." What are last season dresses? To me, that is just for designers and stores. My wedding dress was a $1,200 dress that was marked down to $300. Some bridal shops also have a $99 section where they place last season's dresses. My aunt bought a GORGEOUS dress in the $99 section of an expensive wedding boutique because it was from "last season." OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA My wedding had been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances. During that time, I had gained wed due to medical reasons and was unable to lose it before the wedding. Instead of buying a new dress, I had a family member remove the dipper and turn it into a corset. Excuse the safety pin; I accidentally ripped it when I was pulling on it to see how strong it was.

   Bridal Party

Surprisingly, David's Bridal can have rather inexpensive Bridesmaids dresses. They are not so fantastic if you are looking for a variety of sizes, though. Flower girl dresses cost even more than some of the bridesmaid dresses. Here are some more inexpensive alternatives: *Use the same color but different dresses to give the bridesmaids more freedom to be comfortable and to have more options from different stores. This also allows people to have more options to choose a dress within their own budget. *If you are having a wedding in late spring, early summer, look for Easter dresses on clearance for the flower girls. 20150623_131247 (These are what my younger two (not these two) wore to my mom's wedding as the Flower girls. My girls are 8 and 4. Their dresses were $19.99 at Sears. They were leftover from Easter.) *If you are planning a wedding in early to mid summer, look for prom dresses on clearance. 20150623_122224 (These two did end up getting these dresses for my mom's wedding. They were junior bridesmaids. The dresses were @19.99 at JC Penneys. They were on clearance from Prom. While my girls are only 13 and 9, they were able to wear sizes 3 and 1.)


Keep in mind that the best time to find dress shoes is in the springtime. Once summer hits, stores start releasing back to school items. In the fall, they begin releasing winter boots and fashion boots. toward the end of winter, they begin releasing sandals and dress shoes. In mid spring, flip-flops and sandals are released. If you have a winter wedding, you will have a more difficult time finding a variety of shoes to choose from, so you may want to get them early.


 For my wedding, we all got matching jewelry from Avon. It was a set of earrings that matched a necklace for only $7.99. I bought all 6 sets, and they were my gifts to my bridesmaids. For my mother's wedding, I made her jewelry. DIY cross necklace diy cross necklaces These cross necklaces were $3 for 5 crosses. The chain was $3 for enough chain to make 5 18" necklaces. We bought 2 backs of each. There were 2 clasps in each, so I had to grab another pack of clasps with rings for $1. Total cost $13 for 8 necklaces (and extra to make more). diy wedding 2 20150624_171609 These earrings were made with strands of beads, wire from Dollar Tree (comes in three packs), and earrings. The strands are $3. We bought two just in case. I barely needed the second one. One pack of 100 earrings is $2. And the wire is $1. I have had the wire for several months and still have not used it all. Total cost for these 9 pairs of earrings = $9.

 Find a friend or family member who is really great at doing hair. For mine, my future sister-in-law did mine for free. I just paid for the kids. The bridesmaids could do whatever they wanted. flower girl hair front flower girl hair back bride For my mom's wedding, my oldest stepdaughter came over to help with hair and make-up. DIY wedding hair diy bride diy wedding hair diy wedding
   diy wedding

  Marriage License

Call the office of the county you will be married in. THAT is the county you must obtain your marriage license in. Some have waiting periods between the time you fill out the forms and the time you receive the marriage license. You also want to ask them what information and documents you need to have with you.


 *If you are not a member of a church and wish to be married in one, start by asking your wedding party where they are members. That is a good starting point for where to call. *Do you know someone who really wants to be a photography? Let them use your wedding for their portfolio. You get a free photographer, and they get a fantastic opportunity. There are even free online programs if that person is also struggling, such as and You can also leave disposable cameras on the tables for some fun candid shots. Here are a couple pictures from a friend of mine who took pictures for me for free. Wedding shot wedding shot 2 wedding shot 3 Have the photographer take pictures of the reception hall the night before so you can see the initial set up. Then have him or her take pictures of everyone getting ready, the ceremony, and the reception. *Dollar stores have beautiful pew bows for cheap. We have a Dollar tree that sells white ones, 2 for $1. We bought 10 packs and alternated them going down the aisle. *I chose to buy inexpensive programs then print them off on my computer and printer. Many weddings I have gone to skip this part, If you need to cut something from your budget, this is one of the first things I would skip. wedding programs *My mother wanted to do a lighting of the candles at her wedding ceremony. She bought the cheapest candles and candlesticks she could find, then I spruced them up a bit. 20150627_001129 DIY wedding candles

  Flowers and Ring Pillow

 *Fresh flowers can be expensive. My mom chose to do fresh for the wedding and fake for the reception. I chose to do fake all the way. The bridesmaids had the same bouquets, then I doubled what they had for mine. My flowers are also shown above on the train of my dress. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA diy ring bearer pillow *I bought a cheap, plain, white ring bearer pillow then added small, fake, silver flowers to it and ribbons for tying rings on. *My mom loves teddy bears, so for hers, I used a seat belt cutter to remove the hat and scarf from a teddy bear and transform it into a ring "bear"er. Before 20150627_104808


 Check out these cute ideas for adding a little extra to the wedding. 20320_871069712948835_8935363384651532548_n The sign was $1 at Dollar Tree. I cut it smaller for him and made new holes. His outfit was gathered from various places. The bow-tie was made with a clip and ribbon. His boots were from winter (we try to do boots that also go with dress clothes so they pull double duty). all girls in the wedding For this wedding, there were three little girls and no boys. One girl was the flower girl. The second pull the third (who was the ring bearer) in a wagon down the aisle.


Halls can be very expensive. Try fire halls first. Many have banquet halls, and the proceeds go the the fire department. Local clubs, such as Eagles, Elks, and Moose are also usually cheaper than hotels and large banquet halls. *When looking for a DJ, try to find someone local who doesn't do gigs in large cities, because those people tend to charge more. If they do local clubs such as the ones mentioned above like Eagles and Elks, they are likely to charge less. Many only charge about $200 for local clubs. You can call the local clubs and as who they use for a DJ and get a phone number for them. *Use pastic tablecoths settings that match the color of the wedding. Here, I chose white table cloths with white plates, silver silverware rolled into white napkins that were tied with teal bows, and centerpieces that were teal, white, and purple (the wedding colors were teal, purple, and white). 0902011324 0902011325c Here, the main tables (head table, gift table, cake table, etc) are white. The guest tables are alternating light and dark purples. The centerpieces are white, light purple and dark purple (which were the wedding colors). diy reception diy reception *Choose simple yet elegant centerpieces. 0902011326a 0902011326 0902011325d The purple calla lilies are in one type of vase with lighter teal rocks. The white calla lilies are in a different type of vase, also with lighter teal rocks. Between the two are small, round, glass containers with darker teal rocks and tea light candles. These alternate down the tables. paper lantern centerpieces Paper lantern centerpieces: flip them upside down, place the flowers in, and set automatic tea lights next to them. Have a friend turn the tea lights on and drop them inside as soon as the ceremony is over, while everyone else is chatting at the church.

Children's Table
 kid table at a reception reception kid table
 Will you have a few children at your reception? Kids get bored. They love to be entertained. A children's table is a fantastic way to keep them entertained. Throw a cheap, plastic or paper table cloth on it, and buy a few things from the dollar store such as coloring books, crayons, dinosaurs, cars, barbies, etc. You could bring things from home instead, or you can have a friend with kids gather a few toys for entertainment if you do not have kids of you own.

  Seating Chart

 Do you have family who doesn't get along? A seating chart is a great solution. It also makes for a more sophisticated look, even if you family gets along really well. 0902011325b Here, the seating chart is hung where people walk in. It is listed alphabetically by last name. The Tables are numbered with cardstock to match, and the individual seats were labeled with seed packets that were folded over (these were made specifically for weddings at a local craft store). diy wedding 5


Do you know someone who is a fantastic baker? Wedding cakes really do not have to be that difficult. I have make a three tiered wedding cake before. I cannot find the picture for that one, unfortunately... I have a friend who teaches culinary arts at the local career center. His class took on my wedding cake as a project for free. It was very hot outside, and the middle layer melted, so he had improvise to fix it that day, but it turned out fantastic considering it was the middle layer that got ruined. career center wedding cake They sell pans at Walmart in a pack that are spring form pans for making three tiered cakes. They are not expensive, either. Any really great friend who loves baking would probably love the challenge and love to do it for you as a gift. Here is the gift for my mother from a friend who bakes: Wedding cake


 Something that seems to have become a very popular trend is a cookie table. I made cookies for my mother's wedding. I made one batch each of eight different kinds; s'mores, berry shortbread dreams, banana chocolate chip, peanut butter Reeses Pieces, Andes, snickerdoodles, raspberry cheesecake and washboards. I always make the batter up ahead of time. I either make the batter one day and the cookies the next or I freeze the batter and make the cookes when I am ready. My grandmother, however, makes the batter then cookies then freezes the cookies she needs them. Wedding cookies You can never tell which she freezes and which she doesn't. If they are a softer cookie, lay wax paper between the layers. Both dough and cookies can be frozen for up to three months. You could also have eight different people each make one batch of cookies. Just about all of the cookies were gone. there were about 80 people present. I would say at least 10 batches if you have 100 people. I was told that a good rule of thumb is 4 cookies per person. Another way to display the cookies is to make a cookie stand using candlesticks, trays, and E6000. you will need plastic and plastic or glass and glass, but never both. diy cookie tray diy cookie tray Favors

 There are SO many things you can do with favors. Here are just two ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   0902011325a These are little bags with candy. I hot glued ribbon around them. I then cut out circles of cardstock in a color that matched our wedding. I wrote our names and wedding date then glued it over the ribbon. For my mom's wedding, I made homemade truffles (two batches each of lemon, salted caramel mocha, strawberry coconut, mint oreo, and blueberry cheesecake. We layed each in a mini cupcake wrapper and placed three truffles into 100 little white boxes. Once the boxes were closed, we hot clues purple flowers on the lids. We waited until after they were closed so that we did not accidentally glue the flower onto the wrong flap.

. DIY Wedding Favors

  Gift Table, Card Box, Guest Book

 *The gift table is a great place to put the guest book at a reception! *The gift table should be away from food and fairly out of the way. *If you cannot find a card box that you like, you can borrow one from a friend (like I did), or make one (like I did for my mom). Here is how I made hers: 20150627_123838 I got an empty cheese box from a local pizza place. Their boxes are very sturdy. the box was free. I went to the dollar store to see what I could find there, since it was the morning of her wedding when she told me she didn't have a card box. This was made in FIVE MINUTES! I bought 1 roll of wrapping paper, 2 rolls of sheer ribbon, and 2 bunches of flowers. Total cost = $5. I taped the box shut with packing tape. I wrapped the box very tightly and very neatly. (Obviously you would have to buy scotch tape and packing tape if you don't have any. I also already had a small hot glue gun and glue sticks.) I cut a hole in the box about 12" by 2." I cut the ribbon to size by measuring it once around the box each way. I taped it to the inside on one side, wrapped it around, then taped it on the other side. I did this going in the other direction as well. I flipped the box over to tape where the two pieces of ribbon overlap, then I turned the box upright again. Lastly, I hot glued the flowers on. I started by removing the flowers and leaves from the stems. I only liked the leaves from one bunch, so I threw the others out. I evenly spaced the white flowers and glued those down. I did the leaves second, and the purple flowers last. 20150627_123849


The most expensive part of a wedding is food. I made my own food. Yes, you read that correctly. It really is not that difficult. You just need to get ahold of a few roasters. Go shopping with a friend who has a membership at a bulk store such as Sams Club if you don't already have one. Buy already sliced ham and turkey. Buy large cans of new potatoes, sticks of butter, parsley, pineapple juice, salad, salad dressings, rolls or bread that can be sliced, butter packets, gravy for the turkey, and a vegetable such as green beans. The turkey can go in a roaster with gravy. The ham can go in a roaster with pineapple juice. The potatoes can go in a roaster (drain them first) with butter and parsley. The green beans can go in a roaster (drain half the cans). The salad can be thrown into a large bowl, covered, and put into the fridge until ready. The bread can be sliced and placed into bags until ready. You can set it up before hair appointments and turn everything on low. If you feel that is too early, then set it up and have a friend or family member return to turn it on at a specified time.
 Blog Background 
Karen is from Sunbeams and Heartstrings, where she co-blogs with her friend, Sarah. Karen and Sarah are stay at home moms (both due to medical reasons). Karen has a blended family of 13 kids (7 boys, 6 girls) ages 24 to 1. Sarah has 3 year old twin girls, a 1 year old son, and helps raise her 3 year old nephew. Both women enjoy cooking, baking, crafts, and helping others. You can follow them on their blog, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Wow!  Thanks Karen!  And I thought I did everything for my wedding!

Have a great day everyone...and to quote my friend Karen before we wrap this up...  



  1. My wedding was totally DIY and it was so fun! I wouldn't do it any other way :)

  2. Awesome! Great job!! And congratulations!

  3. You have such a creative mind! You did a wonderful job. Congrats!!

  4. Such great ideas! I'm not into weddings, but even I kept on reading... the creative ideas kept on coming and you can apply them to anything, not just weddings.

  5. Wow great job! What a beautiful wedding and congratulations!

  6. Great tips! Makes me reminisce about ours! Congrats!

  7. The ring bearer is the cutest! I love your DIY wedding creations, and you did well on a budget!

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  9. It is really great idea to decorate our wedding venue with paintings. But I want some best locations for my pre-wedding party at some good Los Angeles event venues. Please help me with your helpful suggestions.

  10. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free.
    Wedding Dresses