Warning: being a DIY bride isn't for the faint of heart.
November 7, 2015 was a live-changing date for me. After eight years of dating (technically seven, since we broke up for a year, but he doesn’t count it), I got married to the funniest guy I know and celebrated with family and friends.
Getting to that point, however, wasn’t entirely easy. Like most engaged couples, we were hit with the usual dread of planning a wedding: setting a budget, creating a guest list, finding a venue, crafting a menu, etc. but I took things a step further by turning my wedding into a DIY project.
From the moment we started planning, I knew that I didn’t want to be traditional with several aspects of the wedding, especially when it came to the bridal bouquet and centerpieces, and at the insistence of my friend, I made a Pinterest board with everything I thought would make our day special.
I’d fought back and forth with my mother over wanting alternatives to the conventional big floral bouquet and stumbled on photos of burlap, brooch, and fabric flower bouquets. Deciding to do a mix of the three, I continued searching on Pinterest for inspiration when I came across a rustic paper bouquet by crafter and designer Lia Griffith.
I was immediately smitten and then had a stroke of genius: what if my centerpieces were paper flowers?! Lia also had tutorials on her site and I was motivated further after falling for an adorable flower pom on Pinterest.
As a jewelry crafter and hobbyist, turning my bouquet, centerpieces, jewelry, and veil (oh yes, my veil, too) into a DIY project was right up my alley. The work, however, was as grueling as it was fun.
While dealing with everything else, I also had to make hundreds of flowers, and with limited help since I only had a maid of honor (whom I love to death), who was often busy.
I had to really streamline things, and so the first thing I took care of were the bouquets. If I didn’t finish anything else I planned to craft, my maid of honor and I would at least have our bouquets.
I Google searched “how to make a fabric flower bouquet” for days before I found a how-to guide I liked. And after a trip to Michael’s for styrofoam, burlap, and fabric flower embellishments and rhinestone components from their jewelry department, I jetted to a fabric store for material to make the base of our bouquets.
In one day, I finished my MOH’s bouquet, before starting on my own, which took a bit more time. It took a bit of trial and error, but this was my ultimate result:
My mother helped with my bouquet by giving advice and later adding the bit of trimming for a nice finish.
Next, I buckled down on the paper flowers, and selected a design I liked on Lia’s website to see if I really wanted to make them. When it came out pretty cool, I went full-steam ahead with the rest of them.
I picked over a dozen designs from the site, downloaded the PDFs, loaded up on discounted supplies (thanks for the coupons and sales, Michaels!) and with my scissors and glue gun, I got down to business.
Several weeks into cutting and gluing, I hit a snag — the mason jars I wanted to use were too small for the tables at our venue, which meant I needed bigger centerpieces. It also meant more flowers and more cutting.
Not to be discouraged, I switched things up and decided to make six distinct pairs of centerpieces (because I’m difficult) for my 12 tables to help cut back on the number of flowers I needed. However, I still needed more flowers and as much as I loved crafting, I feared the ache of having to cut over 200 flowers by hand.
After a bit of research on cutting machines, I bought a Silhouette Portrait from Overstock.com and it was the best investment I made (twice since my niece accidentally broke the first one). The cutting machine reduced cutting time to mere seconds and I literally kissed it for saving me the trouble.
Every other night after work, I’d cut dozens of paper roses, orchids, hydrangeas, gardenias, and paperwhites, and on the weekends, I glued all the pieces together (with some help here and there) and dumped them all in a storage container.
In addition to the loose flowers, I also made two pairs of flower poms, which turned out beautiful (shout-out to mom for gluing the pearls for me).
With my flowers all cut, I was able to work on my birdcage veil. After about an hour or so (and a quick lesson on YouTube), I was done with that, too.
So, I had two bouquets, four poms, and a veil done, but I was getting down to the wire. As much as I had planned accordingly for time, I wanted to add just one more flower or one more plant and it took time I didn’t really have.
It wasn’t until the night before the nuptials that a friend and I arranged the flowers. Considering it was paper, I didn’t want anything to touch or damage them, so I put everything together just hours before dropping them off at the venue.
Though we looked crazy quickly stuffing faux moss into copper vases (which I spray painted), they all turned out great. My mother was shocked at how it turned out and even fell in love with the paper orchids.
I had everything else done save for one crucial thing: my jewelry. For months, I mulled over what I wanted to make, but it wasn’t until the morning of the wedding day that I sat at my table, tinkered around with some beads, and came up with this:
Now, while I hope this piece served to inspire you to get a little crafty with your own wedding, I would advise you to remember it all takes time and determination to see things through the end.
Crafting isn’t for the faint of heart, ladies and gents, so make sure you’re strong-willed — and have your favorite glue gun handy!