Tuesday, June 22, 2010

finding beauty, saving money and learning to love diy projects

I love the blog Chic 'N Cheap Living...she has the most impressive finds and ideas...not to mention quite a fine collection of DIY projects posted to her site.  I think this post is particularly interesting, and will hit home for many of us who struggled with how to create a beautiful wedding on a budget.  She was particularly savvy and diy-ed her own incredible veil!!  Such a inspiration to DIY brides everywhere!

 Pink peonies.
Delicate lace trains.
Gilded letterpress invitations.
Towering crystal centerpieces.

We are presented, or rather bombarded, with many images of beauty in planning weddings.  The pressure and the desire to possess, create, and present beautiful things is pretty immense.  Some of it can be yours, but the rest can run counter to many modern wedding budgets, especially since many couples are footing the bill themselves.  Here is what I learned and a few DIY projects I conquered along the way…

First, remember that there are many types and ideas for beauty.  I will argue that good quality silk flowers can also be gorgeous.  Letterpress is lovely, but so is heat embossing.  Concentrate on what you and your partner find to be cool.  Let go of just one idea of beauty and find one which will really make your heart sing (and leave you comfortable about what you spent); as difficult as it is, make aesthetic decisions that will make you and your partner happy (appeasing the rest of the family could be a whole other post). 

Second, like many Chic ‘n Cheap brides, I would always unknowingly hone in on the most expensive and luxe items even though my budget was a mediocre one.   Where there is a will and an internet connection there is a way…the DIY way.
If really want something, have time and or help, give DIY a try because it will most likely save you a lot of money (though also remember to be realistic about your DIY projects, it’s not worth it if it’s not fun anymore). 

One of my first projects was creating an alencon lace waltz length veil (tutorials here and here).  I tried on a $1000 alencon lace veil at Kleinsfeld and was in love (though not with the price tag).  I wanted alencon lace trim that was a least 3” wide and silk tulle – both the priciest items in their categories. 

Finally, I managed to save money and obtain my dream items by:
-          doing my research and asking other bloggers and friends for fabric store suggestions
-          stalking eBay (set up saved searches)
-          hitting the streets and making friends with fabric store salesmen who eventually led me to a wholesaler
I ended up making my own alencon lace veil and was incredibly happy with it because I created it with my own hands.  I also ended up creating all our stationary, some fascinators, and our cookie favors myself.  Perhaps they could have been prettier or more polished, but it was a labor of love and they were meaningful and lovely to me.

I would have loved to have a DJ, baker, and artist as friends, but we only had us and that was ok (and my husband DJed – I’ll have him do a tutorial soon).  But we researched, found beauty, DIYed, saved money, and most importantly had the best party ever.

Congratulations Mountain Bride, good luck with the move, and thanks for having me!


  1. Just found your blog... Am a fellow doctor's wife and a former upstate New Yorker! Hope you are loving the lovely green hills of the "forgotten" portion of the state!

  2. (Whoops - did I misunderstand? Are YOU the doc? If so - sorry for the mistake!)

  3. @ Life of a Doctor's Wife: yes! I am the doc :-)

    @ Chic 'n Cheap: I LOVE this post...I find your advice totally applicable. And that veil!? Be still my heart....you did a beautiful job creating such a treasure.

  4. Aww thanks Jes, you are a sweetheart! Yikes I owe you an e-mail and do you have a place to live now?

  5. This is an amazing post! Not only is the veil to die for, but your advice for choosing the right DIY projects for yourself and tips on how to research them are invaluable! Thanks!

  6. Oh and I included more veil pictures from the wedding in this post:
    More Chic 'n Cheap Living veil pictures!

  7. Great post!!! Love Chic 'n Cheap! She's the sweetest and she's so talented. And isn't that seriously the most gorgeous veil ever??

  8. excellent tips! i think anything can be made beautiful, personal and fabulous, even on a budget! it just takes some effort and some creativity!

  9. I had no idea you made that veil - damn girl - nice work!



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