Personalized with Love: Adding Sentiment to your Wedding Dress

courtesy of thesweetestoccasion.com

While we’ve discussed how you can create a custom look on your wedding day with the article DIY Divine: 5 Ways to Personalized Your Wedding Dress, we haven’t talked about the importance of your dress’ sentimentality! 

I mean, helloooo?!!?  It’s a wedding, people!  It’s all about sentiment!

Which, as sad as I am to use this reference, I was reminded of by Kim Kardashian (dun dun dun) on her 2 day / 4 hour E! wedding special.  On the days leading up to her wedding, Kim was shown rummaging through her late father Robert Kardashian’s old button down shirts.  She wanted to find one that she remembered, in order to incorporate it into both her wedding gowns. 

Once the shirt was chosen, she had two heart-shaped panels cut out of and sewn onto the left sides of both of her custom made Vera Wang dresses.  Because her dad couldn’t be there physically, this was her way to keep his presence and memory alive during the celebration… and while the marriage may have died 72 days later, the idea of sewing sentiment into your wedding dress has lived on! 

Thanks to Pinterest, my beautiful co-worker, Jessi and a Google Image search, I was able to gather some pictures of how real life brides are taking on this filled with feelings challenge and including it on their big day through…

Custom Labels.  Whether you choose to use your name, monogram or simply represent the date, custom labels and patches can be created and sewn under the bodice on the inside of the dress for an extra special touch of love.

photos courtesy of (clockwise from top left) etsy.com, vivestyle.ca, itsabrideslife.com and bridalwave.tv

Custom Patches. For the riskier bride hoping to make a statement and /or really capture a memory, you may try sewing on a meaningful patch of fabric or a symbolic panel or shape directly onto the dress itself.

photos courtesy of (clockwise from top left) beautyfashiontrends.com, weddingbee.com, sequinsandcandy.com and purlbee.com

Custom Hangers.  If the thought of sewing something permanent into your dress gives you the bridal gasps… might I suggest doing a fun personalized hanger?  Not only do they look great and make for amazing photography shots, but they are also non-damaging to your dress!  Boo and Yeah!

all photos found on pinterest.com via (from top to bottom, left to right) Stephanie Holland, Jessi, Victoria, Chloé Plénet and Jessica Elizabeth

Because Money is Always in Fashion: Clever DIY Wedding Ideas

Having a DIY wedding is one of the top ways to save a lot of your wallet cheese, and I’m not talking about the dairy kind that spoils… not that you’d ever have or put actual cheese in your wallet… errrr… whatever.  Haha!

Because do-it-yourself projects can be just as beautiful as they are personal and can cost up to a fraction of the price, they are just as – if not more so – incredible as their more expensive counterparts.  By creating elements of your wedding together with your fiancé, friends and family, not only will you save moolah but you’ll also create treasured memories that’ll you’ll hold onto forever.  And THAT, my dear friends, is priceless :)

DIY Save the Date Magnets
Start saving money  right away by purchasing Save-the-Date magnets and designing them yourself!  In the past, you needed to place a custom order at a specialty printer in order to print Save-the-Date magnets or announcements. Now, you can print them yourself on your home computer. Complete kits for DIY save the date wedding magnets allow you to personalize the date, colors and images on professional looking magnets.

 

DIY Wedding Invitations
Wedding invitations can easily be created on your own without sacrificing quality. Many of today’s wedding invitation kits feature the same quality paper you’d find on high end invites and contain some of the same unique embellishments and embossing.  With easy to use templates also readily available online and included response cards and envelopes, you’ll easily be able to construct flawless, professional looking invitations.

Add an even more personal touch by having a custom monogram stamp created so you can make your own envelope seals, note cards or thank you notes.

Tip: If you don’t have a quality printer at home, you can design your wedding stationary at home and then have them printed at a copy shop for (dependent upon the design and paper) for a few cents a print.

DIY Favors
Because the potential for fantastical favors is darn near limitless, there’s about a schmillion and one ways brides and grooms can get wedding guest gift ready without breaking the bank!  Wedding favors are easy to make yourself because they are a gift from the heart. If you choose a ready-made wedding favor, you can personalize it to your wedding theme or even to each individual guest.  By adding ribbon, a printed label or card, you can increase the perceived value of your wedding favors without burning a hole in your bank account.

DIY Wedding Programs
Wedding programs can represent another large chunk of cash out of your wedding budget. But if you print your own, you can pocket the tremendous savings. DIY wedding program kits include quality cardstock or cover stock papers, a template and often times, embellishments such as ribbons, crystals or embossing.

Printed on your home computer (or at a quick print shop), they can be personalized and designed to reflect your style and wording…

And that’s just the tip of the wedded bliss iceberg, kids!  There are even more ways to incorporate do-it-yourself details into every aspect of your big day that can only be limited by your imagination! 

DIY weddings are an ideal way to blend your modern day personality into time honored wedding traditions and create a more cost effective approach to a billion dollar industry. Only you and your fiancé will know the corners you cut. And you can enjoy spending the money saved on a spectacular honeymoon!

DIY Divine: 5 Ways to Personalize Your Wedding Dress

When I first started looking for wedding dresses, I started in a place with nearly 30,000,000 different options to choose from… Google, of course!  (For cereal, what did people do before internet and cell phones??  Haha!)  Anyhoot, this obviously led me down a countless amount of roads with an innumerable amount of options, and every dress – no matter if it was of my particular style or not – was absolutely b.e.a.uuuuutiful because, well, it was for a wedding day, duh :)

And with all that beauty rolled into all those options, I began to wonder how a bride could ever choose, and with soooo many dresses featuring different parts I enjoyed, I started to wonder how anyone ever did it in the first place…

Then, I came to the realization that every dress – like every home for sale – has potential to become whatever the bride envisions it to be.  Because every bride owns the right to make that dress her own

For Contemporary Cuteness:  Finish your dress with a Colorful Pair of Shoes and Clutch!

There’s a whole world of color out there, and they’re just dyin’ to be added to all that white…

photos courtesy of daily.wedshare.com and stylehive.com

For Flashy, Vintage Glam:  Pair your dress with Gloves and Gaudy Jewelry!

It’s like playing dress up all over again…

photos courtesy of onewed.com, picsdigger.com and Oscar de la Renta (right)

For Retro Chic’ness:  Give your dress a hint of hippy Flower Power!

Believe me, Mother Nature has never looked better…

photos courtesy of theknot.com, Vera Wang (center) and Atelier Aimée

For Modern Day Magic:  Tie your dress together with Ribbons & Bows!

Nothing says girly glam quite like colorful ribbons, tied into bows…

photos courtesy of marthastewartweddings.com

For Free Spirited Fashion:  Flock your dress with Feathers!

Be it peacock, ostrich or otherwise, you’ll be tickled by feather designs…

photos courtesy of bridesonthorndon.co.nz, Project Runway and Google Images

From Mess to Masterpiece: Finally, a Way to Love Those Hideous Bridesmaid Dress Disasters

It’s time we just put all the cards out on the table… While we may never admit it to their faces, we’ve all been involved in a wedding where being a bridesmaid felt more like a punishment.  Namely, because of the ill fitting, unflattering, over-the-top uncomfortable torture chambers we were forced to wear.  Yes, ladies, I’m referring to the ever (in)famous (dun dun dun!) bridesmaid dress.

While bridesmaids’ dresses have come a long way from their 1980 counterparts – eek!!!

photo courtesy of somethingbluedesignscalgary.blogspot.com

There are still quite a few in the mix that are downright dreadful.  Sure, there may not be as many metallic fabrics, ruffled sleeves or giant bows available, but even with all the 2010 trendsetting options, there are still ones that simply should be left on the shelf.

Yet, I digress.  We can’t blame a bride entirely for making us prance around like “What Not to Wear” victims.  In fact, she’s merely the messenger.  She may have found the dress and made you wear it, but she sure as heck didn’t design it.  Therefore, I say we blame the designers of these dresses by demolishing their epic fails and turning them into something we can love (and never have too many of)… throw pillows!

While researching different ways to salvage old dresses, I came across an article Samantha Baldwin wrote for the Examiner.com where she provided step by step instructions on how to turn drab bridesmaid dresses into fab home décor!

Being an avid fan of anything artsy fartsy and creating throw pillows myself, I was all over this idea like white on rice!  Making pillows is SUPER easy – truuuuuust me, if I can do it, ANYONE can do it – and can save you a boat load of money.  It doesn’t take much time at all, and since the material is already provided, the cost will be next to nothing!  Below are some of Baldwin’s examples, as well as Marilyn’s Keepsakes step by step instructions on how to create decorative pillows of your own! 

From drab to fab! Turn old bridesmaid's dresses into warm home accessories! (photo courtesy of examiner.com)

Step by Step Instructions to Create your own Pillows! 

Materials You’ll Need:

  • Bridesmaid Dress for Destroying
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Needles
  • Color-coordinating Thread
  • Straight Pins
  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron + Ironing Board
  • Pillow Stuffing

Instructions:

  1. Find it.  Find the old bridesmaid dress debacle(s) and lay them out flat on the floor.
  2. May it pay.  Take out your anger on the dress (and all the tragic pictures it caused) by cutting away any zippers, seams, necklines or hems; so, you’re only left with non-stitched, raw material.
  3. Shape it up.  Consider the shape you want to create.  Be mindful of the amount of material you have, as you will need to create to equal halves of the same shape.  Of course, it’s easiest for beginners to stick to simpler geometric shapes (ie squares or rectangles) before working their way up to, let’s say, a 12 pointed star. 
  4. Cut it out.  Next, cut two identical shapes out of the raw fabric, allowing at least a 1/2″ for the inseam.  If you notice the fabric frays easily, be sure to add stitching to the edges to prevent any extra wear and tear.
  5. Pin it up.  With the material flipped inside out, place a pair of matching sides together and pin them neatly into place. 
  6. Stitch it up.  Begin stitching the two identical shapes together, leaving space for your inseam and a small opening at the end.  **For the more sewing savvy divas creating rounder shapes, don’t forget to cut small, equidistant slits along the outer edges of any curves you may have.  This will ensure your pillow has a smoother shape.
  7. Turn it out.  After stitching the two shapes together – while still leaving a small opening at the end for stuffing – turn the casing right side out and iron it flat.
  8. Let it breathe.  Then, prepare your small opening by tucking a half inch of fabric inside the pillow and ironing it flat. 
  9. Stuff it full.  Once the casing has been ironed flat, stuff it to your desired fluffiness.  **Pillow filler works great and is available at most local craft stores, but you can use whatever you want to fill it up – beans, Styrofoam balls, feathers, cut up t-shirts, etc.
  10. Close it up.   Finally, stitch your pillow closed and enjoy it!!!  (Perhaps for the first time ever!) 

How-to Create Your Own Wedding Day Bouquets!

Photo Courtesy of Intimate Weddings

I may not know much, but I do know this: Weddings Are Expensive.  And I’m not just talking about the main venues (reception hall, food, booze, dress, etc.); I’m talking about eeeevvveeerrryyyythiiiing, and one wedding detail that are often times overlooked in expense are flowers.  My poor father – who was constantly being told by my well-intentioned mother, “Just shut up and pay, William… just shut up and pay” – had a very hard time keeping quiet about the florist’s bill… so hard of a time, in fact, that he decided not to keep quiet at all.  Haha! 

I’m not kidding you, the man almost fell out of his chair when he read the circled price hovering over the dotted line.  Then, while readjusting his specs and squinting his eyes, he almost immediately began making remarks that would hit home to fmost athers around the world.  “Are you kidding me?  For flowers??  Why on God’s green earth… (inaudible grumbles)… But they’re dead the next day!”  

And while I love love love flowers (what girl doesn’t?) I’m afraid I had to agree.  Like every bride, I had to find the balance between my dream wedding and our actual budget.  We started throwing out ideas, and we decided it might be fun to make the bridesmaid bouquets ourselves and save on the expense of having a florists bring them in.

What You Will Need:

  • Flowers (focal, filler & greenery)
  • Vase
  • Vase Filler
  • Scissors
  • Floral Tape
  • Finishing Ribbon
  • Straight Pins
  • + Any Additional Accessories of your Choosing (ie. lace, tulle, beads, etc.)

What You Will Do:

First, gather your flowers, vase and vase filler.  Be sure your vase is congruent to the size and shape you want your bouquet to be.  Add in the vase filler of your choosing to the bottom of the vase.  Sand, beans and pebbles all work nicely and will make arranging your flowers much easier.  

**Extra Tip** Whether you choose real or fake flowers is totally up to you!  But if you choose to do real flowers, check out FiftyFlowers.com.  They sale large quantities of flowers at wholesale prices and also provide tips on flower combos and arrangements.  For fake flowers, try a local arts and crafts store.  Places like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s have large selections of flowers, as well as a number of products you can use to “spruce” up your bouquet.

Next sort your flowers by color, bloom size and the amount intended for each spray and trim their stems to equivalent heights.  This will make it easy for you to build your bouquet, as well as keep it organized.

***Extra Tip*** When trimming the stems of real flowers, be sure to cut them under water with sharpened scissors.  This will help keep the bloom healthier for longer.

Then, using the vase as your holder, start placing in your flowers.  Because larger blooms are more difficult to maneuver, you should start with them first.  Work your way from the center, outward and alternate from color to color (when applicable) until a desired look is achieved.

After all your larger blooms have been added, start adding any “filler flowers” or smaller blooms into the bare areas of your bouquet, followed by any greenery.  This will give your bouquet a full and polished look.

***Extra Tip*** Great filler flowers can be found anywhere.  The most popular choices include: hydrangea, baby’s breath, asters, statice or limonium flowers and blooms, which feature several buds on a single stem.  

Once you’ve reached the desired amount of flowers and size of your bouquet, shift them around and rearrange them accordingly until you’re satisfied with the appearance.  If you’re not completely satisfied, try adding in accent accessories, such as bouquet pins, picks or anything with sparkle.

After you have your bouquet positioned perfectly, remove it from the vase using your hands carefully, making sure to disturb the arrangement the least amount as possible.  Then, using florist tape, wire or even a rubber band (depending on your preference), tie off the bouquet. 

Finally, finish off your bouquet with any desired accents, ribbons or jewels and – voilà! – you’ve just made your first bouquet!

***Extra Tip*** If you’re having difficulty getting things “juuuust right,” try using a hot glue gun.  This will ensure your arrangement stays in place.