Sunday, December 29, 2013

Wedding Bells. On a Dime.

If you've been reading for a while, you've heard me talk about Operation slash the food budget.  (Which we are still very much doing with great success I might add.) You've also heard me talk about letting my natural hairs grow in and how to embrace that, and save some yearly cash while skipping visits to the salon. (Also going along alright.  I've got about two inches of natural & gray grow-out, and on a good day it doesn't bug me at all.  Once the blonde has all been grown out and cut off, I'll probably love it judging from how I feel about it thus far.  It's a process.)  You've also watched me attack Pottery Barn catalogues and soak up inspiration while making similar-for-less items.  I do believe that we're here for a whole lot more than the here-and-now, yet we can sure make the present a lovely place for those we do life with, and it doesn't have to cost an arm and leg to do it.

 When my husband's younger sister decided to get married, her biggest obstacle was finances.  I laughed and said, "Oh goodness you don't need that much money to throw a wedding!  What's a wedding anyway, but a pretty dress, nice location, a cake, some flowers, a minister and a person with a camera?  Sheesh, we could do that!"  And from that point on, it was "Okay Sash... put your money where your mouth is."  Literally. The location was decided to be at my house, and I stalked Pinterest like a mad woman and my sis in law and I sent feverish texting marathons to one another every day, all day, for weeks.  Adrain dubbed it "The Micro-Wedding."  The guest list included pretty much immediate family only, totaling approx 25 people.  That's your money-saver right there folks!  I was most worried about making it work within my very limited space of my 1500 square foot home but the guest list was manageable so it worked. 

Two photos up is my narrow chalkboard, that I've talked about before on this blog but I'm too tired to go find you any links right now.  It was made from a narrow board, pre-cut from Lowes, and covered in chalk paint, then nailed to some stained trim pieces, and it's a favorite.  I used thumb tacks and attached my ampersand from Ballard Designs to the center.  Then I printed out their names, coated the back of the paper with chalk.  Next I laid the chalk-coated paper where I wanted it on the chalk surface and traced the outline of their names with a sharp pencil.  I removed the paper and filled in the chalk outlines with chalk and the sign was done in under fifteen minutes.  You can do that! (I can't believe I didn't always know about that trick.  I think of all the many free-hand chalking I've done over the years and how much time this technique would have saved!)

 We used stickers to make the "SIP" sign then popped it into a frame I had on hand.  So easy and cute.


 We had everything planned but I hadn't seen the containers my sis in law was bringing for the hot cocoa station yet...   The day before the wedding, she brought the one that her church had agreed to lend her- it was this poopy brown monstrosity and none of us liked it.  One of my brother in law's saved the day with a sleek metal number and we banished "Old poopy" out to the garage, never to be seen again.  My Instagram peeps had a field day with ideas on how to disguise "Old poopy."  We laughed and laughed over them.

  My man insisted on the pretty white folding chairs.  He wanted his sister to have a real-feeling wedding, even if it was in our home.  I think that made me love him even more.

 In looking back I would say the biggest key to creating a wedding on about $200-300 budget was this- flexibility.  My sis in law was so thrilled to be getting married, she wasn't adamant about much, and was very willing to get creative and stay flexible.  (She totally trusted me which was a freaky and fun responsibility all in one.)  She had about two months to plan and to her credit, she made the entire process dreamy.  (Perhaps the more time you have, the more money you spend? Ha!) In the end, she found a gorgeous wedding gown at a thrift store and spot cleaned it.  We created her birdcage headband/veil after she saw a few on Pinterest that she loved and it cost about $15 to make. We also found a cute wrap sweater from a local consignment store for $10 to complete her outfit, since we knew it might be chilly for outside photos.

I hung a mirror using ribbon and an over-the-door hook, on our guest room/office armoire and she now had a dressing room/hideaway until the ceremony began. 

We knew a wedding cake was out (plus she didn't really like cake) so we made one from stacked Oreo cookies and she found a hysterical topper at Michaels.  (I used a layer of chocolate icing to attach the first layer of Oreos to the platter and then we layered them from there.  It worked great.)  A full meal was also out because the time of day was planned to be around 2:00pm (after lunch but before dinner) so she opted for a hot cocoa bar along with the cookies and let me tell you how inexpensive a tin of Cocoa and a few boxes of Oreos from Costco is.  Very.  (We used two full Costco-sized boxes for her cake.) Also perfect for a post Christmas afternoon.  (You could easily do an iced coffee bar or lemonade in the summer months, with sugar cookie cakes or donut cakes rather than the Oreo cake.  We saw tons of great alternative ideas on Pinterest.)  The cocoa stir-ins were marshmallows, white and milk chocolate chips and crushed candy canes.  She also loved the Pirouline cookies so we served those in jars alongside the cocoa.  Simple is not only elegant but easy.  Gotta love that.
The bride chose a color scheme of neutral grays, creams and whites, and a general branded theme of "Best day ever."  We printed cup liners using gray card stock, and attached them to plain white coffee cups with hot glue, and then I created a print that coordinated and we scattered the message around the house.  We used the same fonts for everything so a nice flow connected everything.  (We used Bombshell Pro and Corbel fonts on all our printed items.) 

I used the narrow hallway when you first enter my home as a welcoming station.  We set out wrapped Jordan almonds, her guest book with small cards and a pen.  I maximized the tiny space by printing up simple signs and hanging them on the wall.  The signs included her theme of "Best day ever" (Print will be available from my shop next month) and one that read, "Thank you for celebrating with us.  Please sign our guest book & have a sweet treat."  The big ampersand was a gift from one of my besties, Nurse Nicki, who said, "This just screamed Sasha to me... and feel free to paint it or do anything you want to it."  I do love a friend who GETS me.  Ha!  Yes, I painted it white.  Yes, I have plans to make it into a marquee letter next.


My sis in law really liked the simplicity of baby's breath so we ordered two grower's bunches from a grocery store florist.  That ended up totaling around $30-$40, and from that we made her bouquet, a boutonniere for the groom, a huge bouquet in a galvanized bucket for the table top, along with a few smaller arrangements on counter tops. Her bouquet was a snap, just wiring a handful of baby's breath together, then wrapping and pinning it with a white satin ribbon and cutting the flower stem ends nice and even. 

Don't ask about the boutonniere-making process, as I wanted to throw it out the window. 

(Hey, I never told her I was a florist... I just told her that I was free. Ha!)

For decorations we knew that days after Christmas, there would still be plenty of Christmas-y decor out.  She wanted me to keep my tree up, but just take everything but lights off it, and it was really pretty.  We both loved this idea  and purchased some wide crepe paper rolls from Paper Mart.  We cut them down the middle, fringed the edges, then hung them from the ceiling.  To the backs we added some strings of white lights and it was magical.  I was so scared it was going to be prom-like but it truly wasn't.  It was simple and pretty and everyone kind of caught their breath when the rounded the corner and saw it. We used mason jars wrapped them with printed vellum paper for cocoa stir-in labels, and that could not have been simpler.  We rented white folding chairs since we had about 24 people total.  They were about $2.00-$3 a piece depending on which kind of chair you rented.  We used a long drop cloth with sticky backing for the runner and that was that. (Please ignore the trampled look it has in this photo- this was after gazillions of children had run back and forth over the top of it.  Still, nobody tripped or fell. Praise the Lord!)

We toyed with the idea of  setting up a few drop cloth covered hay bales around our backyard fire pit but decided to just keep it cozy indoors. No bride really wants to smell like campfire smoke. 

My father is an ordained minister so he agreed to do her wedding for free and I promised to take a few photos of them.  I do think that calling in favors from family and friends is a great way to save money and it is awesome to involve others in your special day.  Though I was a bit freaked out about taking their photos- It pretty much scared the pee right out of me to be honest, but they were sweet and said they would be okay with anything.  (I was prepared to hold them to that and didn't breathe a sigh of relief until it was all said and done, and photos were uploaded onto my computer.)  I will share loads of photos from their special day after New Year's, otherwise we'd be here all day.... but for now I have included a few of the ones I've shared on Instagram already and don't you think they are a sweet-looking pair? 

(Adrain says I always end my posts with a question.  Do I really do that? Have you noticed that about me too?)  

"Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up."
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10


Sally Kelly said...

Oh, how I love your generous spirit! What a lucky girl your SIL is to have you!!! I agree with you -- the longer you have to PLAN a wedding, the more DETAILS you think of to spend money on. The house looks beautiful -- and I love that backdrop! What an awesome and simple idea! xo ~Sally

Erin Swartout said...

It looks so pretty and simple. I have to get on it and plan my sons wedding which is happening February 15th. It's going to be very simple. I'm getting a little nervous, this is my first wedding to plan. Eek!!

Denise In Bloom said...

This is really special. I love to see how you made it work for your sister in law. Beautiful, simple and perfect for her. Thanks for sharing!

tina said...

You never cease to amaze me! Where were you when I was planning my wedding? You and my dil, Jami, would have been the ultimate team!

Amy Kinser said...

Love it all

Farmgirl Paints said...

It turned out so great. And what a blessed memory. You had a holy ceremony in your house!! That is freaking awesome.

Wendy said...

You did a wonderful job! Everything looks lovely. What a beautiful day. ♥

Tonya said...

Most stunning! What an amazing day you created for your SIL. Love love all around!

Barbara said...

Amazing! What a great start you gave them!

brockey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
brockey said...

I love the last photo… pure !

Melissa said...

Beautiful!! Such a wonderful gift to give to a new couple...your home, your talent and your abundance of love.

Sheri said...

You are amazing! Great job! xo

Deanne Langford said...

It all looks so simple and sweet but very elegant at the same time! I love it all!

Susan Jeffries said...

This is better than any high end wedding I have ever seen! Simply amazing Sasha! Continuing to prove that you can do anything!! Susan

Empty Nest Full Life said...

Absolutely lovely!

Jeannie S said...

You made a very precious family memory...the bride is beautiful...may God bless them with a long happy life together!

Preppy Mama said...

So beautiful!!

Christy said...

Well done! I love it!

Amy said...

What a beautiful, simple wonderful day. And what a blessing you are to your familY! The photos from the day are breath taking!

Between You and Me said...

they'll never regret going simple.
we sure don't.

you did a fabulous job in serving them by giving of yourself and your home and your time.
i know it probably exhausted you on many levels, but it was super kind of you to play such a huge part in their day.

all the details are gorgeous.

Shannon said...

This is simply amazing! Our niece is getting married some time next year (finances dictating that date) and I sent her the link so she could see, start to finish, that you can pull off a gorgeous wedding for very little cash. Shoot, I want to get married in your house!! :D :D

KittyLuvr said...

This was a beautiful wedding....focused on what's important which is family supporting the new couple and the beginning of a new family!! Loved all of your daughter is getting married June 1 and we too are on a budget and I am so surprised at the frugal ideas she has come up so I can't wait to share this with her....

Kristen Rounseville said...

Love love love! So sweet and creative and a focus on the marriage as opposed to spending way too much money on a party... Truly inspiring!

Kelly said...

It all came together so beautifully! Wonderful job!

char dykstra said...

We are so greatful for what Sasha did for us! Yes, I am the bride... A very very happy one at that. They made it beautiful... I am a simple person therfore this was perfect. Family was amazing and we had an amazing time.. Sasha is an amazing photographer despite her thinking. She hit essence of the day... She even got a couple great pictures of my daughter who was shy that day, of all days... I just want to say Thank You Again Sasha!! Our "Best Day Ever" Definitly was the best day ever....I told her the whole time I trusted her and ya'll can see why I did. All the pictures, decour, snacks, Everything from top to bottom was perfect...

Serendipity Refined said...

Absolutely GORGEOUS! Simple, elegant, and just the right amount of "fun". Keeping the focus where it SHOULD be. What a glorious day! Congratulations...and WELL DONE! I love, love, love the baby's breath!
xo, Kimberly

Closet Artist said...

That is truly a wedding based on LOVE. She looks gorgeous and you can tell it is all about the joy of getting married. Beautiful job! You should be proud.

Jensamom23 said...

What a beautiful day you created for them! So pretty and perfection!

Elaine Warnock said...

Awesome!!!! Very inspirational. Simple is so beautiful, great job.

Jovie said...

I really enjoyed reading this blog. I wish I had the bride's mentality. :-) You are inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

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