DIY Bride

Now that the hustle and bustle of planning a DIY wedding is behind me, I'm excited to share photos of my crafts in action.

Let's start with the dress. Yes - it is possible to sew your own wedding dress without large amounts of crying and tequila.

I made several muslins trying to get the fit and style I wanted. Once I had that down in el cheapo fabric, cutting into the expensive stuff wasn't so scary. It's hard to tell from this photo (professional shots to come in a few weeks), but it's made from satin overlaid with sparkly lace. I layered the fabrics when cutting out the pieces of the dress and then basted them together before beginning the sewing. And doesn't my kid brother look snazzy walking me down the aisle?

My other kid brother, who is an engineer, helped me build the ceremony backdrop.

I sewed the flower girl's dress out of my leftover fabric, and I also made the ring bearer's pillow (which is now sitting on my couch).

I handmade the flowers for the bouquets using crepe paper and a instructions from Martha Stewart's Crafting Encyclopedia.

I know this looks like a lot of work, and I'm sure it was - it just didn't feel like it. I kept my flower-making supplies in a box by the couch and would work on flowers any time I was parked in front of the T.V.

Here's a photo of my handsome husband with his handmade boutonniere.

I made flowers for the tables as well, and table tents giving our guests the rundown of the evening. This saved me the trouble of programs for individual guests, and looked pretty good if I do say so myself.


I did a mercury glass-style treatment on mason jars and used battery operated votives. You can also see the vintage teacup candles and hankies. We (and by we, I mean mostly my mother) made simple frayed-edge cloth napkins from various fabrics that went with our scheme.

For our little guests, I made coloring kits. I drew up coloring pages and bought tiny clipboards and crayons. The adult guests were pretty jealous.

The adult guests did get favors as well - decks of playing cards with our wedding logo (if you can call it that).

The decks of cards were basic black and red playing cards. I had labels printed with my artwork and applied them to the boxes - a huge cost savings over having custom printed cards.

Continuing the love of games, here's our 'guest book'.

I'm sharing all of this to encourage brides looking for a dream wedding on a smaller budget to do some or all of the work themselves. Yes - planning, sewing, crafting, and cooking ate up a lot of my free time. But when it was all said and done, it was absolutely worth it. It was an event that completely reflected who we are as a couple and we walked away without any debt - what better way to begin a marriage?


Photos courtesy of Lindsey Habegger of Duo Photojournalism and Kathy Grinstead of Kathy Grinstead Photography

Vintage Teacup Candles

For reasons of practicality and personality, I'm DIY-ing many things for my wedding - invites, food, decor, even my gown! I just finished making some vintage teacup candles for the guest tables, and I couldn't wait to share the process with you!

I had a handful of vintage teacups in my stash, rarely (if ever) used for drinking. I hit the thrift store and the internet to round out the collection. Since I was planning to use them for candles, matching saucers were a non-issue, which made it easy to find cups inexpensively. Apparently, real collectors like a set...their loss! If you're not choosy about saucers, you can pick up cups like these for under $1...most of mine were $0.50 or less.

I purchased a big block of candle wax and some 9" wicks from a craft store. And yes - I know 9" seems like a lot of wick for these tiny cups, but you need a long wick that you can trim down at the end of the process. I broke the block of wax into little chunks so it would melt quickly.

They sell lots of fancy things you can put in your candles...colors, scents, oils, doodads...but I went frugal and broke up some crayons to add a hint of color to my candles.

Not being much of a cook myself, I don't own a double boiler. The only time I used a double boiler was for hot wax which was an exercise that ended, well, poorly. I saved a coffee can and used it along with a pair of tongs to melt the wax in a pot of boiling water. If you have a double boiler, rock on!

While the wax melted, I prepped my teacups. The wicks have a metal bottom that will sit nice and flat against the bottom of the teacup. Using a pencil/pen/chopstick, I wrapped the excess wick around and around so it didn't sag or move or fall in on the wax while the candle hardened.

I let the wax cool for about an hour, at which point the tops of my candles looked pretty sad. This is a part of the process - as the wax cools and hardens, it settles around the wick and the edge of your cup, forming an ugly, misshapen top on your candle which needs to be filled in with more wax. But don't fret - a little more wax on the top will even it out and make them look lovely.

Once they're cooled completely, trim the wicks and you're all set!