How I saved $ on my wedding before Pinterest!

My husband and I got married over 5 years ago.  The only internet resource I really had was theknot.com. Today I will help give you a glimpse on how to save money by making and creating some fun things that were very personal and reflected your style. The money saving tips will be in green.

If you are getting ready to plan your wedding or helping a close friend/family member plan their big day I have one big piece of advice for you, pick two to three elements of your wedding that you are not willing to compromise on.  Spend your money on those things first and let everything else fall in to place.

The two important elements for me were:

Photography

You will see why I loved our photographer so much in this post.  Don’t forget that the pictures from your wedding will be how you tell the story of your wedding day for the rest of your life!

Location, Location, Location!

There are so many reasons why I wanted the Peterson-Dumesnil House in Louisville KY to host our reception, most of our photographs & where we prepared for the big day. This home is a special place for my family, we have been having Thanksgiving here for over 15 years, my aunt and uncle got married there, Corey proposed to be in the living room and I also decorated this staircase (below) for Christmas every year as a child.  When little girls dream of seeing their future husband for the first time most dream of the aisle, I always dreamed about these steps, and seeing him at the bottom!

**Since my Aunt and Uncle are on the board for this historic community we were able to get this home and it’s beautiful property at half price.

I had such a wonderful group of women around there to help me pull off the most beautiful day of my life I just knew I had to give them some fun special treats!

**I ordered these cute personalized bags from llbean.com, grabbed some flipflops from Old Navy, gave them a cute mug & lots of love!

**Not every wedding needs flowers, I know that you may not believe me but it’s true.  I have been some some wonderful winter weddings where the bridesmaids carried muffs or the bride made fabric flowers for her bouquet.  I received a very valuable and personal gift for our wedding, my aunt Alice made every bouquet, center piece & church vase. It was a complete surprise and it was perfect!

I absolutely love paper products.  I think one of the hardest decisions to make for me was which store or company I would use for my wedding invitations.  Finally after a lot of research I found a great website Mygatsby.com they were reasonably priced and they sent me free samples, which was very important to me.

**Since I wanted to keep our programs very simple we took one of our invitations into a local print shop.  We basically just said, give us the closest paper & ink you can give us for our programs. It was important for me to know those that were standing up with us at the alter.  The second was that they would have a order of service. These simple programs I designed and I’ve had several friends us the same lay out.  When we come to your wedding we do not want to read a book.  Keep it simple!

My college/post college roommate Amy set up a place for people to give us their advice and blessings on our wedding day.  Here is what it looked like!

**We picked out some great scrap-booking paper & three glass vases.  This wasn’t just a fun element for our reception but I added the scraps of paper to the back of our guest book (very unconventional guest book I might add with black pages & silver/white pens).  I read these at least once a year and it became one of my favorite take-a ways from our big day. 

Old barn windows are all the rage these days, but I’d like to think that  we were on the cutting edge!

**Most big signs are tacky, an I wanted everyone to know they were at the right place.  The solution was this old barn window, we used some shoe polish to welcome the guests to our reception.  These kids running in the background & the historic home give the feel of southern elegance mixed with a true family affair!

I hope you have seen some ideas that inspire you from our wedding.  We loved every moment of our day and as I look back these elements are all ones I will never forget!

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Wedding inspiration from creative friends

Weddings

At one time in place not so long ago I was a part time wedding coordinator, coordinating up to 15 weddings in one year.  It’s such a fun job but upon my move to Nashville I really stepped away from it all.  I still love it but I did realize that I would have to give up most of my weekends to pursue this passion, it just was something I wasn’t willing to sacrifice.  But looking through some of the pictures from the last few years I realize I have gotten to see some of my friends pull off some wonderfully creative elements for their weddings.  So I may not have tutorials for them but I did want to plant the seed in case you find yourself in need of some inspiration one day.  I hope to give you a glimpse into the creativity of our wedding next week!

Cambrey & Corey’s picture backdrop.

Katie & Clay’s simple wedding program

Rachel & Mike’s Polaroid back drop for guests

Christy & Matt’s various wedding cakes at every table

Abigail & Alfred’s BBQ food truck & personalized bibs

If you have any questions on how these bride’s pulled it off be sure to send them a message, I know they would love to share their ideas with you.

 

 

 

 

Unfinished wood=Cute closet dividers

Baby clothes…for most new moms these baby clothes can get a little overwhelming and checking the tags every time you go to pick out clothes can be a real chore when you are sleepy and can barely make it the closet.  What I do know is that organization and clean give me peace and help me rest.  Putting the little bitty clothes back in the right place 2-3 times a week will give me the peace I need to rest.

These closet dividers will make your life so much easier in the first year of your new new life as parent and it was so cheap.

Supplies:

Unfinished Wood Door Hangers (I got mine from Hobby Lobby but this looks like a great deal too)

Chalkboard Paint (I had some left over from my Chalkboard Pallet)

Hand Saw

Tutorial:

1) Saw a opening in you wood hanger (if you can find a hanger with a slit in it already bonus!)

2)  Paint the wood hanger & let dry

3) Write whatever you want on your door hangers & then place in closet.

Quick hand made gift for a friend!

These pin boards make amazing gifts and they are so easy!  When my friend Greta’s birthday came along I knew I wanted to make her something special.  Since she is a teacher I knew that something like this would be perfect for her to help organize her desk or class room.  I also think these would be perfect for a kids room, mud room or kitchen where you need to keep small reminders.  Here is how I did it!

Supplies:

-Package of 4 thin cork boards or larger board cut into 4 equal pieces

-2 different patterns of fabric

-Needle and thread (similar color to patterned fabric)

-Hot glue gun

-Ribbon or rope

-Scissors

Tutorial:

1) Cut your fabric slightly bigger (1 inch) than your cork board.

2) Hot glue each side down and pay particular attention to the corners, you may have to cut the fabric in order to keep it clean.

3) Cut your robe or ribbon to the length that you feel will be good for your project.  Hot glue each end to the back of your board.

4) See the fabric flower tutorial in this earlier post.

Picnic. Girl friends. Fun Decor. Baby Carson. Delicious Food.

A picnic for Carson!

You are in for a treat.  some of my favorite girls in Nashville threw a perfect picnic for our first baby.  I hope you can get some great shower ideas from these lovely ladies.  From the food to the theme it was all them, I’m just going to give away all their ideas!

My lovely party planning committee with amazing photography from Susie A.

Let’s start with the fun decorations:

Welcome chalkboard by Allison Buzard (who also hosted the party)

“C” is for Carson!  Cute door hanger I can use at the hospital and in his nursery by

Rachel Stevens

A fun banner with his name, made by my scrap-booking buddy Greta Ball

Since my favorite holiday (Independence day) was just a few days prior one of my college roommates made 2 great centerpieces out of FIREWORKS.  Thanks Abigail Dowell!

A great statement piece for the middle of the table was this beautiful picnic basket.  I love when people add functional kitchen elements to a table.  What a lovely idea Blair.

One of the last cool elements of this parties decor was the cute picnic basket that was filled with books for little Carson.

These girls went over the top with the food & beverages too:

Since my ladies (Abigail & Cambrey) were so sweet to not tempt me with wine or a mimosa…. they did come up with some great drinks. Berry Lemonade & Cucumber Herb infused water and of course we live in the south so everything was served in a Mason Jar! 

To you it may just be a veggie tray but I just wanted to show you how you have step up a veggie tray without it being over the top or cheesy!  All credit goes to Alyssa Pantana.

These chicken salad tarts were elegant perfect for a shower.  And you would not believe how easy they are.  Cambrey just bought her favorite chicken salad from Zoe’s Kitchen & spooned it into philo cups from the freezer section of the grocery.

One of the biggest hits of the party were these beautiful cupcakes made by Katie Ward.

I have a little bonus for you… one of my lovely roommates from college, Rachel, made both of these fruit or pretzel dips and also provided us some recipes!

Funfetti Cake Batter Dip:
1 Box Funfetti Cake Mix
2 Cups Nonfat Yogurt
1 Cup Fat Free Cool Whip
*Mix all ingredients together.
Peanut Butter Fruit Dip:
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Cup Vanilla Yogurt (one container)
1/2 Cup Fat Free Cool Whip
1/8 tsp. Cinnamon
*Mix peanut butter and yogurt together until combined.  Fold in Cool Whip and cinnamon.
If you throw a party I have got a good list of ladies you can call!

Only 50 more weeks…

By far my favorite holiday is Independence Day, July 4th.  When I was little I would tell people that was my birthday, I was off about 20 days (my birthday is July 24th).  I really can’t give you a great reason for the excitement that I get over this holiday but I do know one thing, I LOVE IT!

This year we had a small group of friends over to celebrate, I always wish I could invite everyone I know to parties but since we were doing it outside I needed to limit the guest list, I’m always telling my husband that we need a bigger deck, one of these days I’ll get my big deck.

So here are some of my favorite projects from this year and I’ll try to give you a good idea of how I made them all.  It was a work of labor over several days so just be forewarned!

We asked all our friends to wear RED, WHITE & BLUE and bring RED, WHITE & BLUE food.  Here are some of the great treats that they brought!

Perfect Burgers

Patriotic Twizzlers

Cheesecake stuffed berries

Peachy Keen Bourbon Cocktails made with the PEACH TRUCK peaches

White Chocolate dipped waffle cones for our ice cream sunday bar

RED, WHITE & BLUE salad

Blue Punch with blue star ice

Let’s talk decor projects:

Serving Tray (above)-  We used the above tray for our Mason jars and our Peachy Keen Bourbon Cocktail.  This tray has been so useful over the years.  It came with a glass bottom that you can remove to put differant paper, fabric, etc below it for various themes.  For this party I cut some thin foam to size and then added these felt sparkly stars I got at Michael’s crafts.

Mason Jars with Silverware-  Ideally I would have loved to make this

But since i’m pregnant and I just had to cut corners for easy clean up this is what I got:

Table decor- I pulled out my favorite table cloth and took this bucket, added a red/white/blue ribbon & a cool rope.  Then I froze some water balloons over night and placed some small water bottles in the pail.  It was fun but also helpful to have the water contained in the balloons, word to the wise don’t fill the balloons completely full or they may burst.

Welcome to the party- I used my old wreath from Christmas and Valentine’s day added sticker stars, foam stars from my local craft store, extra ribbon & some blue yarn.

A extra touch- These small vintage glass milk bottles were only $3 a piece at a cool local store in downtown Franklin TN.  I used the same sticker stars from the serving tray to attach this ribbon.  Then i stuffed my bottles with some white and blue fabric.  The glass square vases were a last minute addition.  I needed somewhere to use my little flags, from cupcake decorating kit I got last year.  So I found some sand and this freedom sign and poof, here is another small fun addition to our drink bar!

Dog scarfs-  The beautiful dogs got into the spirit too!  Last year I cut a piece of blue fabric into a large triangle and added some fabric flowers in white and red.  It was so easy!

Lemons & Daises-  Since I had some extra mason jars I got some daisies and some lemons from the grocery.  I did a little research on how to keep the lemons from floating and found that my big glass rocks are the easiest way.  Last step of this was adding your flowers in.

Vintage backdrop-  You may recognize my chalkboard pallet we used for a great back drop.

One of my new projects for this picnic was my paint sample pendant.  Here is the final product and I walk you through a couple steps below too!

1st grab a several of these for free from the hardware store.  I got two different kinds!

Trace one you want on the back and cut away!  The final step really was easy, use a one hole punch on each end and string the ribbon through.

DOGGIE POPSICLE!

It was 105 degrees on the 4th of July and as you can see our grass is all dead.  So we made this great summer time treat for the dogs.  We got a small plastic bucket, similar to the ones you get for the beach, mix some beef/chicken broth with water and try your best to sink some of your dogs favorite plastic toys (we actually got some cheap ones from the dollar store and had to get water inside them to sink).  We added carrots but they were not previously frozen so they ended up gross, so try frozen carrots.  As you can tell from below they loved it!

Summer baby showers! Guest post by Cathy & Jennifer

Today’s guest posts come from one of my middle school best friend’s, Cathy Jones Forman and also my sister-in-law, Jennifer Robertson Kantner.  They both threw us baby showers for Carson a few weeks ago and I wanted to share some of their fun ideas with you.  Enjoy and happy baby shower!

It is fitting to celebrate in each other’s happiness, which is why Natalie and Corey’s Kentucky friends threw them a BaByQ Couples Shower to celebrate the highly anticipated arrival of Baby Carson.  The BaByQ theme was chosen because this was a shower for both female and male friends.  I don’t know about the men in your life, but when the Kentucky men heard they were going to a shower they were a bit frighten and nervous. Their fears were alleviated when they found out they could enjoy the shower by hanging out with their friends, BBQing hamburgers and hotdogs, and partaking in delightful cold refreshments.  What is better than BBQ and Babies?  So this is how we did it in Kentucky:

BaByQ Theme:

We wanted to incorporate bright primary colors (Green, Orange & Blue are Baby Carson’s nursery) with the traditional red gingham

  • BaByQ Invitations ordered from Zazzle.com (fantastic website for affordable invitations!)
  • (Thanks!) Jolene ordered a Baby Cake with Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue dots, Sunday Cupcakes, and Chocolate Frosting Cupcakes from Caramanda’s 
  • Red Gingham Table Cloth (fabric purchased at Joann’s Fabrics and was hemmed by Joyce Jones.  She said it was quick and easy, only took her 10 minutes to make!)
  • Center piece was constructed from Yellow, Green, and Blue Paper lanterns (purchased at the Dollar Tree) where gathered together in a huge bunch by using zip ties (those things work miracles, they will even hold your pants up when you have forgotten your belt).
  • Mason Jars filled with candies or flowers, with either blue or red gingham bows, were also used for decorations
  • Yellow plates, Blue Forks, Red Napkins, and Green Cups were used
  • Front door wreath was made out of a grapevine wreath with blue deco mesh wrapped around it with primary colored butterflies and a red bow (Hobby Lobby has the best materials for making wreaths!)
  • It’s a Boy! sign strategically place in the outdoor flower pot
  • Hotdogs and Hamburgers were grilled (Thanks Greg!)
  • Kentucky friends brought a side dish to the party (Thanks Katie, Sarah, and Tanya!)

The shower went off without a hitch, we were able to celebrate our dear friends who are not only fantastic people but they are going to be fabulous parents!  I can’t wait to see them raise Carson!  PS:  I think the men had a good time 😉

-Thanks Cathy for providing a excellent post and amazing baby shower!

Jennifer’s watermelon baby carriage!

You will need:

1 oval shaped watermelon
1 orange or grapefruit for wheels
blueberries for wheel hubs (or grapes if you need bigger)
Additional bite-sized fruit for the buggy (strawberries, grapes, blueberries, pineapple, etc..)
Toothpicks
Small scoop
V-shaped cutter
Sharp knife
masking tape, optional


Steps:

1.  If the melon doesn’t sit flat, cut a thin slice from the bottom so it will sit flat on the serving tray.
2.  With the point of a knife, draw a horizontal line dividing the first two-thirds (2/3) of the melon into equal halves.  Draw a vertical line over the top of the melon to mark off the top of the buggy.  If desired, mark the cutting line with masking tape.
3.  Starting at one of the corners, put the V-shaped cutter deeply into the melon along the marks, making sure the cuts connect.
4.  Gently pull off the top section of the rind and set it aside to use for the handle.  (The v-shaped cutter didn’t go all the way through the melon, so I used a knife and took off small sections of the left and right side, leaving a big section in the middle that we used for the handle)  Using the scoop, scoop out melon balls from the inside of the watermelon.  When you have enough balls, then you can use a spoon to scoop out the rest.  I set it aside for those that liked watermelon.  Mix the melon balls with the rest of the fruit for later use.  Cut up to, but not into the white inner rind.
5.  Make wheels with 1/4 inch thick slices of orange.  (Use grapefruit for wheels if the melon is large)  Attach them with toothpicks and push blueberries (or grape halves) on the picks.
6.  Fill the basket with the melon balls and other fruit you have chosen.

How to make the handle:

1.  With the section of watermelon that you removed from the top of the buggy, cut three strips about 5 inches long (much better to be too long so you can trim them, than too short from the start!).  Two strips of the melon should have the same curvature, for the handle sides.  The third strip should be as flat as possible. Remove the red melon from the strips, so you are left with only the rind.
2.  Hold the two curved strips up to the end of the melon to determine the length that would look best for your handle.  Cut these two strips that length (remember it’s easier to cut off more later than add it back).  Cut the third strip to be about half the width of the melon’s diameter.
3.  Using toothpicks, attach the third strip to the inside edges of of the other two, so that it looks like a squared off U.
4.  Hold the U up to the buggy to determine which V sections need to be removed to attach the handle.  With a sharp knife, remove the two V sections, leaving them flat.
5.  Using toothpicks, attach the handle to the buggy in the two flat areas where the V sections were removed.

-Thank you Jenn for giving us a great step by step tutorial of this fun project!