Luckily for my then-fiance and I, it was super easy to choose the minis for our wedding – our flower girl and ring bearer. There was only one little girl the right age and one little boy, each from different sides of the family. Josh had barely gotten the engagement ring on my finger when I was planning how I was going to ask them to be in the wedding!
On top of honoring the ring bearer and flower girl, we also wanted to take into consideration their siblings. Our ring bearer has a little sister and our flower girl, a big brother. We wanted to keep to tradition with just one flower girl and ring bearer, but we also didn’t want their siblings to feel left out or like they were less special.
Even better – I get to make FOUR gifts for the minis!
I decided pretty early on that I wanted to do puzzles. The flower girl (4) was just starting to read a little bit but the ring bearer (3) couldn’t read at all yet which was perfect! I could give them the puzzles to put together and they would be able to put together the whole thing before their parent could read them what it says, and why they did the puzzle to begin with.
I ended up making the puzzles in Adobe Illustrator.
What to do when making a puzzle:
Look for natural parts in the design you’re turning into a puzzle, then create the male/female attachment between those pieces.
What NOT to do when making a puzzle:
Grab an image of a puzzle pattern, overlay it on your design, then use that. It makes the edges very weird.
Unfortunately I didn’t make this discovery until the six-year-old tried to put it together, but he did it! Weird edges and all.
To go with the puzzles, I wanted to give a stuffed animal that somehow represented the event. This was when Toys R Us were going out of business (I know, I’m sorry if I pulled at a wound) but the nice thing was that I had my pick of the stuffies! I could afford them all! That said, ever hear of something called “overchoice” otherwise known as “analysis paralysis”? Basically, there were too many options! I sent this picture to the fiance for some help.
We finally ended up on the four little puppies because they had collars to which I could attach little licenses that said “Damon 03/17/10” to commemorate the event. I debated Sculpey Clay or laser cut wood licenses, but finally went with the wood because for me it was easier.
Finally, I wanted to do a little something extra for the ring bearer and flower girl since they were the ones putting in the work. I found a little bowtie to tie around the ring bearer’s pup’s neck and a little flower crown with some jewelry for the flower girl’s puppy.
In the end, these guys were a hit! The flower girl and ring bearer seemed excited to be doing a job they knew nothing about, and the siblings were happy not to be left out.
If I were to do this over, I would simply fix the puzzles to work a little better. I also might put the childrens’ names on the licenses, too.
Then again, if I were to do this again I’d probably do something entirely different just for the fun of it!
I’ll share how I made the flower girl’s dress (and the surprise in contains!) in a future post – stay tuned!
It came as no surprise to anyone that the part of my wedding I was most excited for was the performance of it all! Think about it, weddings are giant performances: you have a script, costumes, hair, makeup, you even have a rehearsal at the beginning and a cast party at the end! This isn’t to make light of the seriousness and the importance of the ceremony, it’s just about the excitement of the celebration that comes with weddings! There’s a lot to celebrate when two families are joined together.
When it came to our wedding, my (now) husband and I had a wedding on a budget, but I 100% got my fairytale wedding. Honestly, wouldn’t have changed a thing (I feel weird saying that when there is one thing, my grandparents couldn’t make it). The fact that they couldn’t make it doesn’t stick in my mind, though, because a few weeks later my husband, grandparents, and I all got wedding ready took some pictures. So overall, them missing the wedding meant that I got to wear my dress twice, so who am I to complain?
The only weird part of that whole thing was that we took the pictures outside at my grandparent’s house and the neighbors (suburban neighborhood) were having a party. There was a slight awkward moment of, “yeah, we’re already married, this is just for show…” I think everyone got a good laugh!
Back to the actual wedding, I had such a blast prepping for the wedding with my friends and family! When you’re on a budget, there are so many opportunities to DIY with the decorations and the gifts and the numerous get-togethers leading up to the big day.
As a recently married woman, may I make a suggestion to all the girls out there who are planning their big day? Try to diy at least one thing. It can be a small thing, like getting invites with many inserts that you have to put together or folding napkins a certain way ahead of time, but investing time with your friends and family to work on the wedding is both exciting and calming at the same time. It’s exciting because you’re prepping for your big day! Then it’s calming because you’re with people who are helping and supporting you through what would otherwise be a stressful planning process. I made things for our wedding with my parents, his parents, and I wrote letters of thanks to the people in the wedding who mean a lot to me. There’s time for reflection when you make something and that’s hugely valuable.
This first diy I did with my husband to be – bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts.
We decided pretty early on that we wanted a coffee-themed wedding. There were a few reasons for this:
We wanted to steer the focus off alcohol and onto a different drink. I’m not saying we don’t enjoy a good drink or that we don’t like getting drunk together, but our wedding wasn’t a time we wanted to remember through a drunken stupor.
Wedding on a budget – alcohol/open bars are very expensive and comparatively, coffee can be done cheaper.
Neither of our families are big drinkers. Only the current generation of mine drinks (not our parents) and his only really like craft beer and gin socially, not heavily.
My husband wakes at 5am and passes out by 8pm and only retains consciousness between those hours with pots and pots of coffee. We couldn’t have the groom passing out!
We wanted something unique and no one in our families had a coffee-themed wedding!
Since that was the case, drink-themed bridesmaid/groomsmen gifts seemed in order. I say “drink” because we knew that some of them weren’t coffee drinkers (I know, weird) but we wanted them to enjoy their gifts so we planned accordingly.
Since we got engaged right before Summer, we decided to get the girls iced beverage tumblers. They’re wicked popular right now, but I decided not to plan anything for the wedding based on trends purposefully. If it’s trendy, fine. If it’s not, I don’t care.
I did lots of research and found an Etsy seller who does beautiful work! The tumblers each say the girl’s name and the wedding date, so it’s wedding-y but not blatantly so. I’ve been in weddings before where I got beautiful gifts but I feel like I can’t use them after the wedding because they say “bridesmaid” on them. It feels weird. So I wanted everything I got my girls to be personal but not super wedding-y.
I then filled the container with tea bags (since they all like tea but only one likes coffee) and wrapped them up in cellophane.
I still see the girls using them! That makes me so, so happy.
Josh wanted to get his guys glass mugs. He likes the aesthetic of glass mugs (good thing, too, once ya’ll see what our actual wedding looked like) so we went with those. Again, a ton of research later, and I found an etching artist that we liked. Since the mugs themselves were so expensive, we opted not to fill them with anything so all we needed was packaging. We found these boxes for a buck a piece at the Dollar Store along with the blue filler (since we only needed one bag, just another buck!) Every once in a while one of the guys will send a picture of himself using the mug and Josh seems pretty pleased about that.
My one regret is that lately on Pinterest I’ve been seeing these little notes that go with groomsmen gifts that say something like, “my future wife is making me give you something cutesy to ask you to dress up and stand for an hour while I get married. So uh, would you? There’ll be beer.” and I SO wish I’d thought of that.
A Changing of the Guards
Now, since this is a DIY blog, I feel I should point out when the DIY part of this got a little more important. Of course we bought the mugs and packaging, but we did put it all together ourselves. All was going great until, well, see that guy’s name on the mug in front in the photo of the groomsmen’s mugs? He wasn’t in the wedding after all. There was a bit of a falling out and Josh took a hard blow, but remember what I said about the importance of friends and family and support during this whole process? Well he has a lot of love and support but Chris wasn’t just not showing support, but actively showing a lack of it.
It’s funny, I think we all feel like we’re supposed to have a bff in our wedding party, but if you’re going through a time of change which includes a change of friends, maybe the friend who’s fading out shouldn’t be there anyway. Live and learn.
In the end, Josh and I are lucky that the falling out occurred before the wedding because we were both harboring a lot of guilt deciding that we wanted to have the same number of bridesmaids as groomsmen over wanting to ask his brother-in-law (who would make the groomsmen outnumber the bridesmaids) to stand by his side. Chris was gone, brother-in-law (Zane) is in, and when we’re crippled and old we will always look back at our pictures and be glad of that fact.
When we decided to ask Zane to be in the wedding, we wanted to do it asap which meant I had less than a week to get another mug! I contacted the seller who, understandably, had a full to-do list and couldn’t accommodate such a last minute order. So I decided I should just do it myself.
I’m very fortunate to have access to a vinyl cutter so I stole the design (I’m sorry, I just wanted it to match), copied it in Adobe Illustrator, changed the name, and cut it out. The next part I’d done before – simply peel off of the vinyl of the pieces you do want, leave what you don’t, then transfer it to a mug that you bought at, where else, the Dollar Store. Finally, coat it with some etching solution, wait, wash it, and peel off the vinyl. If anyone wants a full vinyl cutting DIY let me know. It came out better than I’d hoped with all the little details!
The moral of the story seems to be that not only is wedding planning time a good time to reflect, but making things yourself helps with that too.
I spend more time on Pinterest than I do sleeping so I didn’t expect to see anything new at my bridal shower when I was opening my gifts.
I was SO WRONG. I guess Pinterest is pretty big… my future sister-in-law walked in with this amazing thing!!
Ever see one of those before? It’s a wedding countdown! It’s like an advent calendar for Christmas when you’re counting down the days to get your gifts only instead of toys, you’re counting down to the biggest gift of all – marriage.
Awww. So Sappy.
When your wedding’s coming up, you’re all excited and enveloped by the impending magic, yet you still have to go about daily life – commute, work, all that jazz – and be around loads of people who don’t see the days as any more exciting than the last. so it’s nice to have something to come home to that just feeds that excitement a little bit.
So, since I loved my advent so much, I HAD to make one for my friend Emily’s upcoming nuptials!
I tag-teamed with my sister-in-law (a different sister-in-law, I have five!) and off we went to our favorite store: The Dollar Store. Okay I KNOW that sounds a little cheap, but think about it, if you’re going to give someone 10-12 gifts, they can’t all cost and arm and a leg. Plus, Emily’s wedding was extra special because not only was she getting married, but she has a 7 year-old daughter whom we wanted to include.
Our mission: 24 gifts – 12 for the bride, 12 for her daughter/flower girl. AND we wanted each day of gift opening to be related in some way (for example if we gave Emily socks, we wanted to give her daughter socks).
Now, we did our research (Pinsearch?) before we set off and tried to get ideas, but most posts only showed the final gift of wrapped presents and not what was IN all of the presents, so we were kinda on our own.
Our method was to stroll around the dollar store until we found something that one of the girls would like, then try to find something or think of something to go with it. As we went we began to have ideas for things we couldn’t find at the Dollar Store so we got just a couple other things at Marshalls (another FAVORITE of ours!)
So here’s the whole shabang!
Plus I made little notes to go with each in hopes of explaining why we chose some of the gifts we chose.
Since this is an advent calendar, you count down like a rocket launch.
12. Candles – a fragrance we liked for Emily and a cutsy cupcake for her daughter. Dollar Store. 11. Their favorite candies – thankfully she wasn’t on any pre-wedding diet or anything. Besides, with only about a week to go until the wedding she wouldn’t want to do anything to make her dress not fit anyway! Dollar Store. 10. Hairbrushes – you can seriously never have enough. Dollar Store. 9. Panties/socks – we had to get the bride panties, but it felt weird to buy her daughter some too, so we got her socks. Marshalls. 8. Nail polish – something girly that they both love! Dollar Store. 7. Matching spandex – we blew our budget with this gift… but the bride and groom met while training for a marathon and what mom doesn’t want to match her little girl?? We HAD to! Marshalls. 6. Magic expanding facecloths – if you haven’t gotten any of these before, you need to! They’re so much fun, they’re facecloths, but they come vacuumed into a shape (in this case a heart) then they expand in water. The bride also had a theme of Beauty and the Beast for her wedding so the princess washcloths were perfect. Dollar Store. 5. Bath bomb/bubble soap – we knew the bride loves bath bombs, but we didn’t know how her daughter felt about baths… so we got her play bubbles. Dollar Store. 4. Wine glass/snack water bottle – this gift isn’t quite done in the pictures and it’s driving me CRAZY because I know I have a picture of the final but I can’t find it anywhere! I have access to a vinyl cutter so I used that to personalize the sticker with a “Mrs. Greene” sticker, then we found an adorable drink/snack combo water bottle for her daughter. In liu of a picture of the final glass, here’s a snapshot of the design. Dollar Store.
3. Flip-flops – the bride was going somewhere South for her Honeymoon and her daughter was getting a beach vacation after the wedding, so these seemed appropriate. Dollar Store. 2. Pregnancy test/Small plant – okay, so this one’s the most risque… but the bride had, on more than one occasion, mentioned a honeymoon baby so we had to! And what do you get for a little girl who shouldn’t know anything about the miracle of birth just yet? A seedling! Dollar Store/Marshalls. 1. Earrings/Candy Necklaces – we knew we wanted to give the bride some jewelry to open the night before our wedding, but there was no way we could swing two pricey pieces. Besides, we’re pretty sure the 7 year-old would much rather candy than some silly old necklace or something. Marshalls/Dollar Store.
My sister-in-law and I decided at the beginning that we didn’t want to restrict ourselves to only gifts that we could tack on a board, especially for two giftees, so we decided at the beginning that we were going to use a basket.
QUICK TIP: Make sure to budget in the basket or board to hold everything as well as the wrapping paper and jazz. We got the PERFECT wrapping paper at the dollar store, but the basket wasn’t cheap at Marshalls. It was worth the extra money, though, because we wanted her to be able to use it after.
Also, I definitely suggest writing a “rules” or “how-to” on the gift. Especially in the hullabaloo of getting ready for a wedding, no bride can be expected to sit down and figure out how this whole thing works or remember you verbally telling her. I certainly couldn’t. I re-read the instructions on my count-down a bunch of times before opening my first one so I could ensure I got the whole experience!
I’m already pumped for the next wedding so I can make another one of these!!