Wedding Craft Tutorial: Shakespeare and Glitter Flower Girl Scatter

Glitter and Shakespeare Heart scatter! I also painted the flower girls’ baskets bright sparkly red.

Glitter and Shakespeare Heart scatter! I also painted the flower girls’ baskets bright sparkly red.

We decided not to have any real flowers at our wedding. I have a great love for paper crafting, so I ended up making all the bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages out of paper flowers. I’ll write about that more later. :)

Anyway, my two nieces were our flower girls/ring bearers and I really wanted them to have something special to scatter down the aisle - something that actually represented me and John .

I got two little paper punches - one heart and one cherry blossom. The cherry blossom punch didn’t work too well - it was too complicated and I could never get it to cut any paper cleanly. So most of our scatter was heart shaped.

I did cut a lot of hearts out of various covers of glitter paper and other pretty papers, but I wanted something more personalized as well, even if no one would even really notice except me.

I wanted to incorporate Shakespeare somehow. I’ve been part of Shakespeare productions on and off since 2010, and was a founding member of the Britches and Hose Shakespeare troupe. John also loves Shakespeare and one of our first dates was going to see Julius Caesar at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Our wedding ceremony included Shakespeare quotes from Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III, Julius Caesar, and Henry V. I even walked down the aisle to a version of “Sigh Not So” from the 1992 Kenneth Branagh film of Much Ado About Nothing!

A friend of mine had an awesome master document of Shakespeare quotes for various situations; I took that doc, put all the text in a pretty cursive font, and removed all the lines and paragraph breaks and such until I had several solid pages of Shakespeare text. I printed that document out on both sides of some nice leftover resume paper I had lying around. And then, all I had to do was cut the remaining white margins off the paper and bam - I had my own personalized Shakespeare stationery. I used it for the flower girl scatter and also for a few of the roses in my bouquet and my bridesmaids’ bouquets. :)

Again, it was a tiny detail and I’m not sure anyone else noticed it at all, but it made me very happy, and it was super simple. When I walked down the aisle, my cathedral length veil ended up catching the scatter and pulling them along with me. People started laughing and it was amazing; it resulted in one of my favorite photos from the day!

Anyone else is welcome to use my Shakespeare stationery as well! You can download a pdf of it on Google Drive here.

Wedding Craft Tutorial: Giant Photos for $3 Each

 
You can see a photo print in the background of this photo where my sister Karen embarrasses me with a delightful toast talking about my “don’t call me cute!” phase from childhood, hah. Photo credit to Kevin Monahan Photography!

You can see a photo print in the background of this photo where my sister Karen embarrasses me with a delightful toast talking about my “don’t call me cute!” phase from childhood, hah. Photo credit to Kevin Monahan Photography!

 

Our wedding venue was a Japanese art gallery in Lincoln Park, Chicago, that had a pretty sparse feel to it. The venue coordinator told us that we could use the displays on one side of the wall to put up our own photos or prints.

John’s dad took this photo of us in Central Park back in November 2013 when we flew in and out of NYC for one whirlwind day to see Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart in Waiting for Godot.

John’s dad took this photo of us in Central Park back in November 2013 when we flew in and out of NYC for one whirlwind day to see Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart in Waiting for Godot.

I really wanted to put up some large photos of us from throughout our relationship, but for a long time, I struggled to find a way to do this that was cost effective. A lot of the products I was finding online cost $20+ each. I wanted to get seven large posters, but I couldn’t justify paying over $140 just for this one detail.

I finally happened upon a solution. I found a blog post* online about getting large photo prints for cheap for home decor that suggested ordering Engineer prints instead of giant photos. These are photos printed on large pages instead of photo paper, and they’re more like $3 each instead of $20! Although the quality is lower than you’d get for the more expensive product, it still works totally fine as long as you have a high enough quality photo.

I tested this out via Staples with two photos from our engagement session first. I specifically ordered the 18x24 blueprint (their name for an engineer print). I was REALLY pleased with the result, and ended up ordering 5 more!

These are mostly photos from our trip around Europe - Venice on a gondola, in the Colosseum in Rome, on a train in Brussels, and outside our villa in St. Agatha (near Sorrento). The bottom two are from Dallas and Disneyworld!

These are mostly photos from our trip around Europe - Venice on a gondola, in the Colosseum in Rome, on a train in Brussels, and outside our villa in St. Agatha (near Sorrento). The bottom two are from Dallas and Disneyworld!

I ended up with four full size photos - two from our engagement session, one taken in Central Park, and one of us in a glass box off the side of Sears Tower taken during our 2L year Barristers Ball. The engagement photos were of a high enough resolution that they looked FANTASTIC. The other two were a lower resolution, but still looked pretty good. I also made three collages of photos from throughout our relationship that were too low-res to blow up to full size, but would work fine in a smaller form. I ended up paying about $20 for all of them!

This particular craft worked so well that we have three of the posters framed around our house. I’d actually like to frame more of them, and just haven’t gotten around to it. Big frames are expensive! The ones we have we got at an estate sale for cheap.

Overall, I loved having this detail in our wedding, and I REALLY loved not having to spend a lot of money on them. :)

*Alas, I can’t find the exact blog that suggested this online now (I failed to pin it! Why did I fail to pin it?), so apologies for not giving credit to the person who originally had this idea!

Wedding Craft Tutorial: How to DIY a Cardboard Cutout of Your Pet

So I got married last year and did a TON of craft projects for the wedding that I’ve never actually bothered to write about anywhere. Someone reached out to me today to ask about the cat cutouts at my wedding after seeing pictures of them on Offbeat Bride, so clearly there’s an audience for this sort of thing!

If you want to see our full wedding profile, it’s up on Offbeat Bride here!


This one’s pretty simple. Basically, I’m a crazy cat lady and I wanted to have cardboard cutouts of my cats Schrodinger and Ziggy Stardust at our wedding, but all the ones for sale online seemed to cost $30+ each! To save money, I ended up figuring out how to make my own.

zigs.jpg
  1. I put my cats in their specially purchased sparkly pink wedding bowties and took as many pictures of them as I could for a few days to ensure I could get at least ONE decent full figure shot of both of them.

  2. I edited these photos and cut out a lot of the background to reduce the measurements of the sign I’d need (and also the cost!).

  3. I found the cheapest cardboard signs with a rigid core I could find online. I ended up sourcing these from GotPrint.com! I ordered two 9”x 24” rectangle signs with these images printed on them, with a kraft color core. There ended up being a lot of white space on the bottom of the signs, but I wasn’t worried, as I knew I could cut it out.

  4. Once the cardboard signs arrived, I used an exacto knife to cut out around the cats and make the final cutouts! Although to be exact(O!), I should note that my now husband John quickly decided he didn’t like how i was cutting the cardboard and took the exacto knife away from me and did it himself. Oh well. I tried.

And there you have it! Two DIY cardboard cutouts of my cats for about the cost of half of ones I found for purchase online! These were a huge hit at my wedding and it was a perfect touch!.

Who Traditionally Pays for the Wedding: Why and How Much?

Offbeat Bride wrote about this in an article talking about the tradition of dowries:

"[T]he responsibility of a bride's parents to pay for a wedding. I've never been especially fond of this tradition, because I think in some circumstances all it does is foster an attitude of entitlement in those brides who would condemn their parents for choosing not to finance their extravagant tastes. That, or parents end up killing themselves (figuratively!) trying to earn the money for their child's wedding out of a sense of obligation, whether it's practical or not.

In the end, why?…

Because hundreds of years ago, women were considered chattel and the bride's family used to have to pay off the groom's family in the form of a dowry to take their daughters off their hands. After dowries went out of style, there was still the trousseau (the bride's dress and accouterments for the wedding, in addition to stuff like cake, etc.), usually hand prepared by the bride's family. Now that we have wedding vendors to make cakes and dresses for us, the trousseau has also gone out of style for the most part, and instead the bride's family just ponies up the cash....

We no longer live in the times where marriage was essentially a way to ensure that women were taken care of. Love wasn't always a factor (and still isn't, in some cultures). Teenage brides weren't uncommon, because people just didn't live as long. Girls who were practically still children themselves got married and started having children right away, because culture and religion dictated it be so. The dowry and trousseau were a necessity of those times, because they ensured that a groom would have the things he needed to support his new wife and their children to come. This is no longer the case, for the most part, as most couples who get married had acquired quite a lot of crap of their own-they don't need the "starter kits" that couples used to need."

Photo used under a Creative Commons License. Taken by Flickr user 401(K) 2012. Available at  https://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/6355351769/

Photo used under a Creative Commons License. Taken by Flickr user 401(K) 2012. Available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/6355351769/

How often does this tradition actually continue? The 2015 survey from the Knot said this: 

"Tradition lives on, with parents paying for a large portion of wedding costs, but today’s couples are happy to contribute. On average, the bride’s parents contribute 44% of the overall wedding budget, the bride and groom contribute 43%, and the groom’s parents contribute 12% (others account for the remaining 1%).  In 2015, 12% of couples paid for the wedding entirely by themselves, and 9% of couples don’t contribute any finances to the wedding budget.

In nearly half of all weddings, the bride pays for professional hair and makeup. Forty-four percent of brides, along with her parents, contribute to the costs for professional hair-styling, and 41% contribute to professional make-up for their bridesmaids. The average cost of professional bridal party hair and makeup services are $70 and $68 per person, respectively."

Photo used under a Creative Commons License. Taken by Flickr user Tax Credits. Available at  https://www.flickr.com/photos/76657755@N04/7027595009/

Photo used under a Creative Commons License. Taken by Flickr user Tax Credits. Available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/76657755@N04/7027595009/

However, these statistics do only represent the type of couples and weddings that are using the Knot, which is one reason I take many of the claims of this survey with a gigantic grain of salt, such as the statement that the average wedding cost in the US is $32,641 and that the average cost of a wedding in Chicago is $61,265. That seems....unlikely to be representative of all people actually getting married. I would also like to point that every single place listed on their "Top 10 Most Affordable Places to Get Married" has a higher average budget than my wedding (I also fully intend to stay under budget because I am ultra competitive and cheap; I've already told my sister that I will beat her budget. :D She supported this completely. Fortunately, we're actually already on track to meet this goal).

I had a bit of trouble finding non-traditional wedding market statistics. I did see one statistic from a Splendid Insights market research report in an older Offbeat Empire post stating that 43% of nontraditional couples pay for their own weddings (about 20% of the wedding market identified as "offbeat" in this particular research round). Also, according to this research 48% of these nontraditional couples had wedding budgets of $10,000 or less. Offbeat Bride's own 2011 reader survey found that over 60% of their readership had budgets of $10,000 or less -  4.8% of their readership had budgets under $1,000, 13.5% had $1,000-$3,000 budgets, 18.1% had $3,000-$5,000 budgets, and 28.3% had $5,000-$10,000 budgets.