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DIY | Manolo for the Brides - Part 4
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Some Seriously Sweet Wedding DIY Inspiration

When faced with amazing wedding DIY, the bride-to-be who’s contemplating trying her own hand at wedding crafts can do one of two things. She can get totally intimidated, think to herself ‘I could never do that so why bother?’ and call in the pro most likely to do as their told. Or, she can look at those gorgeous invites or bouquets or whatever and say “Someone else managed it, so why can’t I?” I do hope all you gorgeous gals will walk away from today’s post giving yourselves the pep talk instead of an unpeptalk. Sure, for many wedding crafts there’s a learning curve, but all that means is that you need to give yourself plenty of time to practice!

My plan is to stay married to The Beard, but if I find myself sucked into some wacky time vortex that lands me back in time I hope I remember what I’m about to show you. Because just look at it:

DIY boutonniere groom groomsmen

Isn’t that just absolutely fabulous? The colors might not be your bag, but as non-floral boutonnieres for the groom and the grooms go, I think this might very well be my number one favorite. It was crafted by one Cindy Dyer, a fantastic graphic designer and photographer who also happens to be totally sweet, and I found it when her ‘how I did it’ post showed up my search results one day. I was floored (though the fact that the pic is kind of in-your-face pretty didn’t hurt!).

Cindy didn’t stick to DIY boutonnieres, however. On her wedding blog, you can see her beautiful reception tablescapes – I love the outdoor elements! – and she tells me that snaps of her handmade wedding programs and guests’ gifts will go up soon. You should definitely check all that out, but I couldn’t resist throwing together a little collage of the nest necklaces Cindy made for her bridesmaids, her flower girl basket, and her ring bearer pillow.

DIY wedding crafts

Consider me inspired – not intimidated – and I hope you’re feeling the same way!

Choosing DIY Projects Successfully

If you’ve been reading this blog for more than a couple weeks, you know that my esteemed colleague and I are big fans of wedding DIY projects. DIY can save you money, add personal touches that mass-produced goods and services don’t, and – for some – be tremendous stress relievers. I know I would have gone bananas several times in the planning process if I hadn’t had lace to make, favors to put together, and melons to ball for the fruit salad.

But not all DIY projects are equal, and not all people are good at the same sorts of projects. How to tell if you’re choosing the right projects for you? Read on after the cut and see.

DIY Soda Wedding Favors or Reception Seating Cards

soda wedding favors

How cute are these itty-bitty bottles of soda with custom labels? Mike 78 recently posted an easy-peasy DIY pop bottle tutorial – with pics! – over at 100 Layer Cake. She suggests using them as reception seating cards, but brides and grooms could bottle just about anything (juice, cider, champagne, local water, etc.), slap labels on them per her instructions, and give them away as wedding favors. Maybe not for a chilly wintertime wedding, but imagine how grateful your guests would be to find themselves in possession of an ice cold drink custom made by you at your outdoor summer wedding or unseasonably warm springtime affair!

It’s a Piece of Cake…Maybe

Here at Manolo for the Brides, we are not shy of DIY. Our attitude is more or less ‘if you really think you can do it, why not do it?’ If you know how to sew, we see no reason you couldn’t consider making your own gown. If you can cook, we can absolutely see you doing self-catering. If you’re good at design, we think it’s a great idea to design and print your own invitations. We don’t often give instructions, but we encourage considering your own talents in creating your own wedding.

Me? I love to bake, and I’m really good at it. All the same, I never considered making a tiered wedding cake and decorating it myself. Why? Because while my cakes taste amazingly good, they are not ever pretty. I put the effort into the flavor. Decoration doesn’t come easy to me. I’m not good at prettying up my plates. If I competed on Top Chef, they’d throw me out for my sloppy plates about challenge two. I would never dream of giving you instructions on constructing and decorating a wedding cake…but there are plenty of sites out there with everything you need if you want to try making your own wedding cake.

Wedding Planning Tools Literally At Your Fingertips

Brides-to-be have yet another tool in their wedding planning arsenal these days, provided that they have an iPhone or an iPod Touch. That’s right, I’m talking apps, and serious ones at that.

iphone wedding

Wedding planning apps for the iPhone can do everything from inspire you as you shop to help you create your reception seating plan to keep track of your favorite wedding gowns. Here are some of my favorites:

Wedding Envi
For a mere $1.99, Wedding Envi catalogs images of wedding gowns, tuxedos for the groom, bouquets, wedding rings, invitations, and more. Just choose a category and it will play a slideshow of pics. Use it for creative wedding planning inspiration or, f you like what you see, you can click to be taken to a page with retail info.

iBridal Gown
For $3.99, iBridal Gown gives you a convenient place to jot down notes about the wedding dresses you see while shopping for your perfect gown. Info about favorite wedding dresses is stored in an easy-to-navigate list that includes details, pictures, and the bridal salon where you saw them.

Thhe heavy hitter among the wedding planning apps, iWedding keeps track of just about everything on a bride’s to-do list. Input your guest list, your vendors, your RSVPs, seating arrangements, timetable, budget, money spent, inspiration, wedding registry info, etc. as you go and this app will make sure you don’t forget a single detail or responsibility. It costs $7.99, which is reasonable when you think about how much those fancy wedding planning binders go for. Note: For $2.99, you can get Wedding List, the less functional version.

My Wedding
Is $3.99 too much to spend on what amounts to a basic checklist? My Wedding is a checklist for brides on the go. It includes a could-be-fun feature known as the “wedding decider,” which makes your wedding planning decisions for you in a pinch.

Wedding Budget, Etc.
A mere $.99 will get you Wedding Budget, an app that does exactly what you think it ought to do. There’s also Wedding Tips, which again should be self-explanatory. Then there’s Wedding Registor, an app that helps brides and grooms set up a wedding registry.

There are a ton of other wedding planning iPhone apps out there, though the usefulness of most of them is dubious at best. Some are just for fun, like iRomantic and Wedding Dash. Just don’t go so app crazy that you find yourself inspired to order an iPhone wedding cake (unless you truly want one) or *quelle horreur* propose to that special someone with iPropose.

DIY: Bridal Shower (or Wedding Favor) Scratch-Off Game

If you’re a bridesmaid looking to insure that people attending a bachelorette party or shower actually talk to one another or a bride who wants to be sure that no one will be bored at the reception, wedding-themed scratch-off tickets may be the answer. These scratch-off game cards are like lottery tickets, but instead of revealing that, no, you didn’t win any cash, they reveal trivia questions about the couple to be married meant to inspire discussion among bridal shower guests or wedding guests sitting at the same table.


It’s a cute idea for those with extra cash to spread around on useless-but-fun favors, but won’t be everyone’s cup of tea… especially since they can cost up to $1 per card, money perhaps better spent on a truly conversation-worthy cake. But that’s all right, since Mitsy at ArtMind has posted DIY instructions for scratch-off tickets you can customize any which way.


It looks easy enough to personalize with your own text and wedding colors — the hardest part would probably be coming up with and printing out the different cards.

LOVE/HATE: The Numerical Niftiness Edition

Snow globe table numbers

This cheeky wedding reception table number idea favored by Debi Lilly of A Perfect Event in Chicago has earned my undying love, if only because it’s such a great option for DIY brides. All it takes is some printed table numbers and some craft kit snow globes, and you’re all set.

What say you? Cute or cheesy?

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