Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wedding Decor on a Dollar (Tree, that is)

I've been gathering vintage items for my daughter's wedding decor for about a year now.  She decided on a casually simple, Fall wedding and accepted my offer of help since I deal in vintage and antique items.  It's been a lot of fun.  But what really made the wedding planning fun was seeing how thrifty I could make the decor for the wedding, and let the rest of the budget go for items that mattered more to my the dress, photography and food.  Keeping a watchful eye for deals all through the past year was my ticket to keeping my self-imposed budget in tact, and I'm sharing the various online and brick-and-mortar vendors I tapped to accomplish my goal of decor on a dime.

Back in August, I saw another blogger post about spray painting faux flowers that came from the Dollar Tree, so I trekked over to see what was in stock.  BAM!  They had just gotten in their Fall flowers, and I think I purchased almost every single realistic sunflower they had.  With a filler frond added to each multi-stemmed sunflower, the promise of some nice table floral arrangements looked feasible without worrying about high-cost grocery or florist real flower availability and last-minute arranging.

A couple weeks before the wedding, I made another trip to Dollar Tree to pick up a few items I scouted online beforehand, pictured below:  tulle ribbon roll for bows, 'Thank You' butter mints to scatter on tables, frames for signs, baskets for napkins & utensils, and extensions cords (each item $1).  I made signs for the buffet, beverage, dessert and guest tables on my desktop computer and then framed them.
Some of the items already on hand and supplemented through the year included old Christmas light strings, vintage luggage, blue mason jars and quilts, not to mention a gazillion white damask tablecloths and doilies. I'm intending to use an old picture print to paint over for a chalkboard sign at the wedding venue.  You say you don't have antique or vintage blue mason jars?  No worries!  Target sold a limited edition of the blue (reproductions) this year to commemorate Ball's 100 year anniversary (although you may have to scout eBay to score them, as stores sold out quickly).
I made a trip to the antique mall to pick up several of the linens and things already cleaned and ready to use (E is the couple's surname initial, so I picked up these architectural letters I also had in the mall).
A couple of estate sale purchases here and there, like this galvanized tub, rounded out the mix of potential decor props.
A couple other vendors' sites I used included Factory Direct Craft, for these small grapevine wreaths I had purchased previously and want to incorporate:
And these preserved boxwood wreaths from Decor Steals:
I also picked up some brown coffee filters at Kroger's, along with white ones at the Dollar Tree, and made these super-easy flowers after combing through several versions on Pinterest.  These required no glue guns - just the filters, stapler and masking tape.  Here's the video I watched for the coffee flower tutorial:
Wal Mart and Sam's Wholesale were where I shopped for the napkins and utensils, and one other very important item for serving wings - Wet Ones!  I used a roll of burlap garland (Michael's, with a coupon) that was the perfect width.  I cut a strip and wrapped it around the canisters in order to disguise the manufacturer's label, yet leave the sunny yellow lid to blend with the decor.  I simply placed a rubber band around the wrap for a no-sew, no-glue, easy approach, and then tied a brown & ivory piece of vintage seam binding around it.
Once the Wet Ones were wrapped, the flowers arranged, and the tea lights placed into the mason jars, I envisioned the tablescapes looking something like this:
When my daughter said she planned on giving drink koozies as her token favor to guests, I scouted online services and found Kustom Koozies in North Carolina that were half the cost of what she initially found.  They were a very easy vendor to work with, and even provided a  tutorial on KOOZIE® Can Koolers ordering process on their web page to help new customers design and place an order.  Here's what we went with:
Other, reusable items I previously purchased from a local artist who upcycles coffee bean bags were these:
I blogged about our local artists' fair with recycled materials back in April, and you can read about that Earth Day celebration here.  I plan to use this banner near the entry to the reception, and the tote will somehow get used too.  I also purchased additional banners that spell LOVE (for the cupcake tables) and MR. and MRS. (for the bride & groom table).

And, as I mentioned in previous posts, any outdoor Fall decor I purchased for my landscape or home decor that wasn't already planted would become fair game for the wedding:
Pumpkins, hay bale, Indian corn & mums
White sweater pumpkins
Deer antlers
Fallen birch logs, cut to graduated heights, used as risers
So many ideas racing through my head....vintage sheet music confetti and/or heart cutouts for guests to sign (jar of hearts), flower frogs and doorknobs with curled wire to use for signs, chalkboard trays as signs, and the list goes on!  Some ideas are already in play, others are still dancing around inside my head, but the supplies are on hand.  I guess the time deadline will determine which ideas play out and which ones don't.  I'm not sure what I'll do with all the props once the wedding is over - whether I'll opt to rent them out, or resell them or even keep some and/or give some to my daughter if she's interested for her new home decor.

I will be sure to do another post after we decorate to let you see how it all turns out.  I hope I remember to take photos - it's on my list of things to do!

To recap my sources:
Dollar Tree - faux flowers, frames, tulle, masking tape, coffee filters, extensions cords, butter mints
Factory Direct Craft - grapevine wreaths
Decor Steals - preserved boxwood wreaths
Michael's - burlap wrap for Wet Ones
Kustom Koozies - wedding guest favors
Kroger's - brown coffee filters
Wal Mart - Wet Ones
Sam's - utensils and napkins

A couple of other great sources perused, but not used:
Oriental Trading  - inexpensive party supplies, now including wedding supplies
Save-on-Crafts - DIY elegance on a budget

Already on hand (from estate sales, private picks, antiquing trips and nature):  antique and vintage mason jars, doilies, damask tablelcoths, quilts, Christmas lights, tea lights, vintage luggage, deer antlers, pine cones, birch logs

A Stroll Thru Life's Inspire Me
Confessions of a Plate Addict's The Scoop
Savvy Southern Style's WOW
City Farmhouse's Link Party Exchange
No Minimalist's Open House
Common Ground's Be Inspired

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