Thursday, September 18, 2014

Book-themed Wedding {LDS reception on a Dime}

I have 3 boys... I'm never going to be able to plan a wedding.  So, when my cousin got engaged, I jumped at the chance to be able to decorate for her wedding reception.
 I was asked to decorate this wedding reception as cheap as possible.  The reception was held in an LDS chapel gym.  If you aren't familiar with the LDS faith, many people are married in the temple in the morning, then have a reception at the local church in the evening.   This couple actually had both the luncheon AND the reception in the gym.  So, in decorating, I had to plan on decorating for both.  I came up with the idea of a book-themed wedding.  Jessie loves to read and so does her husband Adam. I did a lot of shopping at yard sales and thrift stores and did a lot of borrowing as well.
Jessie and Adam chose the colors of royal blue, silver and peach.   The centerpieces were different for every table.  They all involved a royal blue frame, a grouping of books, flowers and usually some sort of glassware.  We used white table cloths which we were able to get from a linen company for free (family owned).  We were able to borrow silver overlays for the tables and silver chair ties from a friend of the family.
 The flowers were mostly purchased from the Dollar Tree (to be honest, I couldn't find peach flowers any where else in St. George).   I bought all of the frames at yard sales for $1 at the most.  The spray paint was the expensive part, but I only think I used 3 cans for everything I painted.  I bought most of my books for 50 cents or less from thrift stores and yard sales.
 I had a lot of glassware, milk glass, candle sticks, etc.   I used what I had and bought anything I liked at yard sales and thrift stores.  I also borrowed a few things.   I bought peach and royal ribbon at the Joann or Michaels.  We used silver and blue mints on several of the tables as well.
I found small peach flowers on clearance at Tai pan and was able to get foam balls at the dollar store to make peach balls for the glass dishes.  I lucked out and found 16 small frames at a yard sale for $2.  I painted them silver.
In the entry to the gym, we had the guest book table.  I actually got the table for $5 at a yard sale and found the silver paint on clearance at Home Depot for $2.50.... score!  On top of the table, I made a paper table runner.  I taped book pages together on the back side.  Then I used this lace Martha Stewart punch to punch a lace trim all along the edge of the book pages.  The items on the table, were picked by the bride and groom.  They wanted their favorite books and their Dr. Who cookie jar.  They also wanted advice cards to go in the cookie jar.  Their guest book was made by Jessie's cousin, Sally.  I made the flower pens.  
I made the advice cards and a sign to let people know they needed to write advice.  They are a free download here and here.
Behind the table I made a "dates" chalk frame.  The frame was something I had picked up at a yard sale and painted silver.  The chalk board was from Home Depot... already painted with the chalk paint.  All I had to do was have my hubby cut the wood to fit the frame.  Then, I had to write on it in chalk.
 Along the wall when guests walked in, I had a photo display.  I hung white paper doilies with a photo in front of them.  They were hung on silver twine with silver glitter clothes pins.  I had the twine, bought a few doilies and found the glitter clothes pins on clearance at Joann.  I also made a banner that said "Once Upon a Time" out of the same Harry Potter book I used for Brenner's Harry Potter Birthday party (Jessie and Adam both love Harry Potter).  I had lace for the banner, and the book.  I only had to buy the scrapbook paper to cut out the letters.. and even some of that I had already.
The dresser itself was one I have in my dining room.  I already had most of the silver frames at home, or I picked them up from yard sales.  My sweet hubby cut out the book letters for me.  I had a scrap of chalk board left from the "dates" sign and I happened to have a frame that it fit in, so I used that to make a sign with their last name.
 We made a very simple backdrop for the happy couple.  During the luncheon, the couple and their parents sat at these tables.  During the reception, we took the tables down and the couple stood in front of the back drop.  The backdrop is just music pages taped to the wall.  I made the peach swag out of scraps of satin, ribbon, tulle, etc.  They are just looped over the ribbon.  Then I  made the other banners by folding the doilies over the twine and sticking them together with a glue dot.   Some have a flower attached too.
 My hubby also cut out these book letters.  The vase behind the ampersand was to hold her bouquet.  There is also another paper table runner on this table.
The other side of the gym was the serving table.    I used books stacked up with trays and platters on them.  I also put any other decor I items I had left over that we didn't use on the table.  The banner above the food table said "Happily Ever After"... food brings happiness, right? And there was nothing I could really do about the ugly blue curtain on the stage.
The photo booth was very similar to the couples backdrop... without the peach swag.  We used dictionary pages taped to the wall.  And we hung a frame from the basketball hoop above with twine.
 Next to the booth was a little dresser with the photo booth props in a vase and a sign I made in photoshop.
We used a hashtag so that we could easily search pictures people posted on social media.
And here I am with all of my girl cousins on the Williams side of the family.

Now... let's talk about organizing!  I am a school teacher.  Jessie got engaged at the beginning of the summer and her wedding was at the end, so it gave me the summer to work on the wedding.  However, she got married the Saturday before school started.  So, not only did I have to decorate for a wedding reception, but I had to set up a brand new classroom... super stressful week.  I knew this would be stressful and that I would probably have to rely on other people to do the actual set up.  I had to be super organized.  So, I (and my cousin Libby, the bride's sister) put all of the centerpiece groupings together ahead of time.   We took pictures of each center piece, labeled the pix and packed them in a labeled box.  

I also drew pictures of the gym with the layout of how I wanted to tables set up.  Everything was in a binder with the supplies they needed to set up.  While I was working all day Friday before the wedding, several people went to the church and had almost everything set up before I got off work.

Another great organizing tip, we actually not my idea.  Jessie lives in Salt Lake and I live in St. George and the wedding was to be in St. George.  So she set up a facebook group to plan the wedding.  Every idea that I had, I could post on the facebook group so she could see pictures of it and tell me her opinion.  That worked out really nice.

All in all, I think it turned out nice.  Yes, there are things I would have done differently, but it was a nice wedding on a shoestring budget.  I didn't completely add everything up, but I would say all of the decor came in under $150.... not that's amazing!

Also, I claim to have done everything, but my cousin Libby helped a lot and also my friend MinDee.  Thanks you two!!!

Oh, and I want to thank my friend Brandy for the pix!  She was the photographer for the wedding.  The pix that look good in this blog post are from her... the crappy ones are from my cell phone... lol.  I was too busy to get out my nice camera to take pix.

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