There’s nothing like a winter wedding. Snow (if you live in an area where it’s common) makes a pretty backdrop for a wedding. And since winter is a far less popular time of the year to marry than spring or summer, it’s quite possible to get extra good deals on halls, catering, and flowers. And with all the decorative items on sale for Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve, etc. it’s easy to get all kinds of pretty sparkly things to make your day beautiful on a budget.
Of course, there are some practical issues to consider, too. Weather is more likely to be stormy. One unexpectedly heavy fall of snow could spell the difference between a full house and lots of empty pews at your ceremony. Since many people travel for the holidays at this time of year, it’s also possible that you’ll wind up with less guests than you’d hoped due to family obligations or used up vacations days that won’t allow people to come out your way.
Once you’ve looked over the pros and cons and decided to set your wedding in the winter months, here are a few ideas to make it extra pretty and seasonally suitable.
If you’ve found love in a cold climate, chances are you’ll want a pretty jacket, coat, cloak, sweater, or shawl. Even with the slow but steady return of sleeves to bridal couture, the fact is most wedding gowns are not designed to keep you warm in the great outdoors. This is festivewear, not survivalwear. Even if you only need it for getting from the limo to your wedding site and perhaps a few pre-ceremony photographs, it’s a good idea to have something that will keep you from turning into your something blue.
Looking for bridesmaids’ gifts? Matching shawls or sweaters would make a pretty and practical idea.
For your feet? Maybe pretty Victorian boots would be a good idea to keep feet both attractive and dry.
Go with the season!
Remember that there are less flowers in season during the winter months. That means that using a lot of bright flowers will cost more than it might in another time of year. So choose what’s in season to make your bouquets, centerpieces, boutonnieres, and corsages. Use a variety of pretty evergreen sprigs like in the bouquet shown, decorate tables with poinsettias or tiny living evergreen trees, or go blatantly and fabulously fake with sparkly brooches or festive pinwheels.
And don’t forget the season when picking your menu! Looking for a good signature cocktail? Try a mulled wine or eggnog. Consider gingerbread for your wedding cake. Want a delicious, popular, and satisfying main dish? Think about lasagna, roast beef and mashed potatoes, or a mac and cheese bar.
Don’t ignore the obvious decorations!
If you’re planning a wedding for next winter, I would heartily recommend hitting the stores for the post-Christmas ornament sales. Bowls of Christmas balls filling a glass bowl would make great centerpieces for your wedding. Strings of lights will make your hall all the prettier. Wired ribbon can be lovely tied in bows on pews. Linens in rich colors will also be on sale in preparation for the lighter spring colors coming soon.
As I said before, winter weddings can be lovely in a very special way. They warm our hearts in the cold months, and give us one more reason to celebrate. So use your imagination to bring the best of the season to your wedding day. Everyone – including you! – will be glad you did.]]>
But you may be wondering how exactly it’s done.
Best Destination Wedding has a great article on creating your own brooch bouquet. With just a few simple tools and materials, you can make a bouquet like the one shown above. Or leave out the faux flowers for an all-brooch one.
The author mostly bought brooches from inexpensive sources, such as thrift stores, eBay, and Etsy, but if you’ve already got a selection of sparkly brooches or have ones you can borrow from family members or friends, it gets even less expensive to make.
I don’t know about you, but I love these things!]]>
But you know what? Something magical can happen when the filler is used as the main bloom. Something, say, like this:
(Image via Pretty Little Things)
Suddenly a flower that was puny and pointless is a cloud of romantic elegance.
(Illustration via The Ring Bearer where you can also find instructions)
Or it can be relaxed and rustic.
(Illustration via The Alternative Bride)
You can even reverse the polarity and have a couple lovely blooms nestled amid an explosion of baby’s breath for a cool, modern look.
Using fillers thoughtfully can save you big bucks on your floral budget. But there’s no reason whatsoever to sacrifice style in doing so. If you pay attention and use your imagination, it’s amazing what a humble filler flower can do.]]>
But most commonly, we carry flowers. We expect other brides to carry flowers. We think of them tied in a bouquet… but the fact is a bouquet needn’t be made of flowers. And some brides – whether from concerns about allergies, dislike of the waste of cut flowers, or simply a desire to be a little different – would much rather their bouquets be made of something else… such as feathers.
Me? I LOVE the idea, so long as they’re done well. The picture up top is my idea of a great feather bouquet. The feathers are simply allowed to be themselves. I happen to be a fan of having things look like what they are.
But what about you? LOVE ’em? HATE ‘m? Think they soar to heights of fabulousness? Or consider them for the birds?]]>
So what do you do if you love DIY but don’t have the time or the space or the talent? Why you go to people who have those things and pay them to do it for you. And that’s where Etsy comes into play.
Your invitations will say a lot more than just the time and place you’re getting married. Whether you’re looking for something whimsical or elegant, modern or old fashioned, chances are someone is doing invites on Etsy that will appeal to you. Me? I’ve fallen madly in love with these hand calligraphed ones by PaperandCalligraphy. See? They’re even sealed with wax! At $4.00 apiece and frankly not very practical to send through normal mailing channels, they aren’t for everyone. Still, if you’re having a very small wedding and only inviting people close to home, it’s a charming option.
I’ve fallen madly in love with these pom-poms of dried flowers put together by EcoLectic Events. Styrofoam free and made of organically grown flowers, they’re completely eco-friendly. And at $19.50 each, they’re even pretty budget-friendly as bouquets or as general decoration in the room.
If you’re looking for a special veil on a budget, you might do a lot worse than this English netting bandeau veil with handmade flower decoration by Fascinating Creations. It’s a charming look, and at just $68.95 it won’t harm your wallet at all!
You can even get a custom wedding gown on Etsy!
How about this charming informal wedding dress by atelierTAMI? At just $530.00 (made to your measurements, corseted bodice and petticoat included!), it’s hard to beat for price or perkiness.
Even if you can’t DIY for love nor money, there’s no reason you can’t have a few custom, handmade touches to your wedding, if you want them. It’s all a matter of knowing where to look.]]>
In short, even a lot of people who admired the commitment these couples made to living lightly on Mother Earth wouldn’t be caught dead in a ditch looking – or smelling – like them.
But times have changed. You don’t have to be a card-carrying hippie to care about the environment anymore. and you don’t have to completely reject both tradition and fashion to follow your convictions.
To start with, think about decorations that are consumable. For instance, the centerpiece on this reception table not only looks gorgeous, but feeds your guests at the same time. Bowls of fresh fruit, small platters of appetizers, pretty jugs or pitchers of beverages, candies, or even an attractive cake for the table’s dessert… any of these things will look fabulous, taste great, and save on your budget for fresh flowers and non-organic decorations.
Alternately, consider putting live plants in pretty pots on the tables for decoration.
Really consider how many paper goods you need… and forget about the rest.
Yes, you’ll need invitations and RSVP cards. You’ll need thank you cards of some sort. But think hard about whether you really need ceremony programs. Decide whether you would rather have your guests decide their own seating, eliminating the need for place cards. As for menus, doing without entirely, making only one per table to be shared, or setting up an attractive chalk board for the whole room are all viable alternatives to one at each place at each table.
Oh, and never forget that you can find invitations and all the rest printed on recycled paper.
Second hand doesn’t have to be second best. Maybe someone close to you has the most gorgeous wedding gown just hanging in her closet. Maybe you find a fabulous veil in a consignment shop. Perhaps your aunt has some serving pieces she’s ready to let go. You might even find the perfect ring pillow in a garage sale. Why let these wonderful things go to waste? Give them a home and a second chance.
Remember to check for natural fibers. Cotton, linen, silk, and wool are natural fibers. Rayon is a synthetic fiber made of natural materials. Nylon, polyester, acetate, and so on are not natural fibers by any definition. If you’re going green, synthetic fibers are not what you’re looking for… though if they’re being re-used I won’t tell anyone!
If you have leftovers left over, try to find a green way of disposing of them. In some cases, you may be able to donate leftover food to a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter. If your meal won’t meet the legal requirements, then set out Chinese takeout boxes and invite your guests to take some food home with them. Mr. Twistie and I did this one (though I wish I had thought of the boxes at the time!), and it was a big hit. In fact, we’d seriously overbought food for fear of people leaving hungry, and a couple of our friends lived on leftovers from our wedding for days afterwards.
Keep it real, my friends… but feel free to forget about patchouli and incense. Unless that’s your bag, man.]]>
I know, it struck me – child of the sixties and Yellow Submarine fan though I am – as possibly a bit scary and OTT… until I saw it done right.
The key, as shown in this fabulous photo of a real wedding featured at Design Sponge, is restraint. Keep the backgrounds to stark white or black, and use the neons sparingly. Stick to just a couple colors, but don’t fear them.
As you can see here, a bright white background and carefully considered touches of neon pink, neon orange, and lime green make for a festive, fun, yet surprisingly sophisticated look.
One way to show you don’t fear neon is to put it on yourself. From funky jewelry to fabulous fun tights like these (though I have to say I dislike pairing them with white shoes. I would probably go bold on the footwear with them), or spectacular neon nail polish, you can carry out your theme in bold touches from head to toe.
While I saw several people encouraging neon bridesmaid’s dresses, I have to say I’m not wild about that one. It sounds like a great way to alienate your best friends and any sisters-in-law you have in your bridal party… unless they all love neon, too. My advice? Stick to your background neutral and dole out neon details like the nail polish, tights, and jewelry. Trust me, your bridesmaids will thank you.
For flowers, go with gerbera daisies, or just go crazy and do fabulous faux blooms, like these felt and button flowers I saw at Blog.Celebration.Co.Za.
Another great place to use neon is the dessert table. Whether you go for a super bright cake:
like this one I spotted at Pink Cake Box, or a variety of colorful treats such as Parisian macarons:
… you can go big with neon in the desserts.
Yes, a marriage is a serious thing, and I do believe in taking the wedding seriously. But it doesn’t have to be solemn, or timid in color. Have a blast… of neon!]]>
Then again, they can be one of the most frustrating aspects of planning a wedding. They’re often expensive, and they hold those pesky meanings which might vary drastically from one person to another.
But we can all dream big. I didn’t, but then I’m sometimes a bit unusual in my tastes and priorities. My dream was simple: find pretty flowers and tie them into a simple sheaf bouquet. Oh, and I did want a couple red roses in it. Why? Because they’re the flower Mr. Twistie gives me and always has from day one. He does that because roses are literally the only flower he recognizes from one day to the next and he knows I love red.
So my MOH and I headed off to the open-to-the-public florist’s supply in my hometown, bought a bunch or two of whatever happened to be long stemmed, pretty to me, and fairly inexpensive along with a roll of florists’ tape and some corsage pins. I had some pretty red ribbon at home to tie decoratively around the sheafs at the end. And BAM! we were done.
In fact, while I’m a lot better versed at flowers than Mr. Twistie, the only blooms I recognized in my bouquet were the aforementioned roses and some lavender snapdragons. I have no clue to this day what the yellow or the pink flowers I carried were. All I know is I carried the perfect bouquet for me. It was the right shape, I thought all the flowers in it were pretty, and it had a couple red roses. If I’d had more money, I might have had someone else put them together, but I would have wanted something very similar to what I carried.
But I’m curious. What sort of flowers do/did you dream of? Will you/did you get them? What if money were no object?
Tell me all about it!]]>
Over the years, pretty much every wedding planning book, magazine, blog, and zine I’ve ever read has suggested using more filler and less flowers to save a couple bucks on this major accessory… but how about we just cut out the flowers altogether?
(Illustration via The Wedding Talk Blog)
Gorgeous, isn’t that? All those delicious herbs! Dry it and use the results in cooking for months to come. Talk about savings plus repurposing!
It also has historical precedent behind it. You see, once upon a time bridal bouquets weren’t masses of flowers: they were handfuls of herbs meant to ward off bad luck and evil spirits. Over the years that simple gesture to luck has turned into an accessory that ranges from simple to sumptuous, minimalist to maximalist.
(Illustration via Floral Verde LLC)
For a rather spectacular display on the minimal side, I love this bouquet of silver tree with just a dash of ribbon and a pretty pearl pin.
Or consider using another sort of traditional filler to make the bouquet. For instance, I’m quite entranced with this gorgeous cloud of baby’s breath and stephanotis:
(Illustration via Kirsten’s Wedding)
A little bit of outside-the-box thinking can show you all kinds of wonderful ways of making your wedding special without breaking the bank.]]>
Whether you’re looking to make centerpieces, design and make your own veil, or coming up with handmade favors, chances are you can find inspiration and instruction somewhere on the net. So I’m going to hunt down some of the coolest ideas and clearest instructions to help you get started finding what projects are right for you.
Today, we’re talking about flowers. I’ve been looking around and I’ve discovered some fun projects that nearly anyone can do.
First up, see that picture at the top of this article? Wouldn’t those be delightful on the tabletops at a spring wedding, particularly with a Japanese theme? They’re also origami. This is the sort of project you can do over time or organize a party to play with.
For a more last-minute project, eHow has a really clear and simple video class on tying bouquets. Trust me, I tied my own the night before the wedding, and it was simple. As long as you’re not trying to do something elaborate and tiered, chances are you can do your own if you’d like to.
How about these fun and fabulous fabric flower garlands? I could see stringing these while watching TV or chatting with friends over the course of weeks or even months. Find out how it’s done at Once Wed.
For something really different, consider freezing flowers in ice and displaying them around the room. You can find tips on how to do it at From Sparkly to Spouse.
Whether you’re going for sophisticated or down home, a riot of color or tone on tone monochrome, you can do all or part of your own wedding flowers. It’s all a matter of finding the right idea and practicing a little.]]>