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How to Incorporate DIY Decor into a Luxury Wedding

Today we are talking about luxury weddings. The term “luxury” wedding kind of turns me off, although it’s industry speak for any wedding where the budget is over a certain amount. That amount doesn’t really matter, because it could get you everything you’ve wanted in one town and barely anything in NYC. I like to use the term “luxury” when speaking about weddings to describe an event that certain vendors were hired that are not a necessity. Specifically, for the case of this post, event designers and wedding planners. An event designer and a wedding planner are NOT necessities when planning your wedding – therefore, they could feel like a luxurious thing to spend money on. Sort of when I pay the extra $15 for a fancy gel nail design or buy the guacamole that’s pre-made in the store. Sure, I could have done my own nails or made my own guacamole, but I was being all luxury by paying someone else to do it.

So, going forward, a luxury wedding is, to me, a wedding where money was spent on a wedding planner who offers design and/or an event designer. But, you ask, “what if I still want to DIY some decor?”, “will I be able to craft my favors simply because I want to?”

Of course you can. DIY decor definitely has a place in a fully designed wedding. Here are my favorite places to infuse some of that crafty goodness in a luxury wedding:

The place cards. I love DIY place cards because they can be made ahead of time. They are the little name cards that assign a guest to their individual seat (not to be confused with escort cards, which assign a guest to a table). You don’t need to wait until your RSVPs come in to get started on these. So what if you make a few extra for people who decide not to come. I recommend looking into doing handwriting on ceramic tiles, die cut paper on a Cricut machine, or digitally printed folded cards.

The signage. Along with the place cards, signs can be made well in advance of your wedding. Stain a big piece of wood and paint a welcome message for your guests. Sew some felt letters onto canvas to make a whimsical banner. Design coordinating signs for the bar, print onto cardstock, and display in a pretty frame.

Favors. Often given to guests on the way out, your favors are a great place to get creative with your DIY skills. Even if that means simply wrapping up treats in pretty packaging, a DIY favor is a personalized way to extend your gratitude to all of your loved ones celebrating with you.

Anywhere else. Let your event designer and planner know if you have a special DIY skill that you want to use for the wedding. Great at graphic design? Love doing woodwork? Know how to calligraph? They can help you brainstorm ideas on where you can get creative for your wedding using the skills you already have. It doesn’t matter if you spend a million dollars on your wedding, the best wedding decor are the items that have sentimental value to you, and often those are DIY projects by you or a loved one.

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3 Decor Items to Buy First for your Wedding

While I was writing my brand new e-book (officially launching tomorrow), I got to thinking the order of decor items that a couple would need to buy for their wedding. Sure, the checklist of all of the decor that one needs for their wedding is impossibly long, although securing the first three things often sets off a wave of productivity. Once these are set in stone, everything else seems to fall in place around them. And what better feeling during designing your wedding when it all starts to seamlessly come together??

Designing a wedding comes with so. many. decisions. What colors? What theme? Where do the tables go? What shape tables do we want? What’s a charger? And so on. Make these first three decisions for your wedding decor and the rest will come easy.

One: Flowers

First, decide if you are going to DIY or hire a professional florist. There are pros and cons to either option, honestly, even though most florists will tell you that you are crazy to attempt to DIY your own flowers. Alas, not everyone can afford a professional florist. That’s OK. Make the decision and get started. You’ll want to decide on your floral color palette, what types of flowers you love (or hate), and what floral pieces your wedding will need. From there, make a DIY plan or hire a professional florist to make your vision come to life.

Some florists book out months, maybe even a year, in advance. We’ve been hired up to 18 months in advance to design flowers for weddings. Securing your flowers at the beginning stages of designing means that you will be able to hire your first pick of florist and you might be able to spread your payments out over the next few months.

Two: Furniture Rentals

Similar to florists, furniture rentals are a first come, first serve industry. Especially if you are looking at one off furniture, like vintage or custom made lounge pieces, or if you are working with boutique rental companies, their inventory often gets snatched up well in advance of an event date.

Even if you are renting your dining tables from a big box rental company, making the decision on what shape and size tables you want now will let you make other design decisions much easier. You’ll know how big your centerpieces should be, what linens to rent, how many table numbers to order, etc.

Three: invitations

Your invitations are the first visual element of your wedding design that your guests get to see. They should match the colors, formality, and aesthetic of the design of your wedding decor. You can choose between a DIY route, buying something pre-designed like on Minted, or hiring a stationery designer to custom design your invitations. Once you have your wedding color palette and mood board done, you can take that to a designer or look on Minted to find a design that matches the best.

When deciding on paper stock and print technique, think about the formality of your wedding. Is it black tie? The invites can reflect that with a thicker paper stock, some metallic foil accents, and pretty hand calligraphy. Are you throwing a casual affair? Use a basic stock, maybe a fun envelope liner, and whimsical postage stamps. Tossing these bad boys in the mail box makes the wedding finally feel real.

There you go! My recommended first 3 decor items to tackle for your wedding design. Have you tackled any of these yet?


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No Floral Foam

Here’s the honest truth: the majority of florists create their arrangements in foam. At the end of your reception, all of the flowers, along with the non-biodegradable and carcinogenic foam, goes into the trash. Before you think it, no, it doesn’t lessen the value of paying for flowers because most of them are thrown out after your wedding. The flowers served their purpose of being beautiful during your wedding, now their job is done. But that doesn’t mean they should be tossed in the dumpster with poison foam.

Florists create an obscene amount of garbage. All of the flowers are delivered to us in cardboard boxes. Vases and candle holders come shipped in boxes surrounded by styrofoam packing material. Every 25 stem bunch of roses has two plastic sleeves and four pieces of cardboard. It gets overwhelming.

A small thing all of us florists can do is try our best to not use floral foam. Floral foam is incredibly harmful to the environment. It’s carcinogenic and non-biodegradable. For as long as time, it was used as a florist’s main source of water for the flowers. For some situations, it’s necessary. But for a lot of designs, there are other mechanics that we can use that are reusable and better for the earth.

I’ve tried in the last few years to avoid using floral foam if possible. I’ll design something, like these compotes, with the precursor thought that I don’t want to use foam. I’ll design installations, like the La Croix one below, knowing that I would prefer to use chicken wire and water tubes instead of foam. Without foam, installations are actually a lot lighter and airier. We can get a loose, natural look without having to depend on where the foam is to put the flowers.

This entry way design was created without foam as well. It’s amazing what some chicken wire and water tubes can accomplish! The chicken wire and tubes can be reused – thus saving the environment and saving us money. Win-win.

This chuppah below was foam free as well. A lot of flowers, especially for short events like indoor weddings, will last throughout the night without a direct water source. You’d be amazed how long a well-hydrated rose or carnation can look out of water for six hours.

I employ all of my fellow florists to try and go without floral foam for your next event. Try to think of designs that won’t need floral foam in the first place. We here at Michelle Edgemont Design try our best to make smart choices for the environment. Hell, I even started carrying a reusable straw in my purse because those new, hip, paper ones fall apart.

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