Brides DailyBudgetDIY

Girl Talk: What was the smartest thing you did to save money on your wedding?


Photo by Diane Fields/BRIDES

We asked real brides to share their best budget-trimming tricks. Here's what they said!

We called a local art college and asked the staff to recommend a photography student for our wedding. The guy we chose had won awards, was eager to please, and charged thousands less than many of the professionals we considered.

We got married in a villa in the Dominican Republic. The villa chef prepared the meal—a resort would have charged far more. And since it was a destination bash, the guest list filtered itself. Brilliant!

Instead of hiring a DJ, we asked five musically inclined friends to do it in shifts. I sent them a list of must-plays and do-not-plays, and the rest was up to them. We used Google Docs so they could submit proposed playlists, and bought inexpensive DJ software to ensure that the music sounded professional. They were a hit—and they totally felt like rock stars!

We did my bouquet, my bridesmaids' bouquets, and all the boutonnieres with flowers I got at Costco—they cost a third of the lowest quote I got from a florist. My mother, aunts, bridesmaids, future mother-in-law, and I all sat around my grandmother's dining-room table and put the flowers together. I saved money, my friends and family bonded, and we have great memories from our afternoon of floral design. With all the DIY instructions available online, it was really easy!

Instead of buying an expensive wedding cake and floral centerpieces, I bought a bunch of small cakes from the local bakery for about $12 each. They were beautifully decorated with flowers, so we used them as table centerpieces. Since they were all different flavors, everyone had a blast sampling different cakes at different tables and chatting with other guests in the process!

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Brides DailyBudgetDIY

DIY Button Cookie and Favor Box

  • Hi all — This is Ms. Polka Dot from, and I'm gaga for buttons! They symbolize everything marriage is—the coming together, the working together, and the holding together of two people in a lifelong commitment. That's why I decided that the DIY project I would present for BRIDES Daily readers would be this cute button box with an even cuter button-cookie favor inside.—Polka Dot Bride

  • Clockwise from top left: Buttons, box lid, tissue paper, box base, bone folder, ribbon, double-sided tape

    Materials For The Box:

    • 6-by-6 inch origami paper, scrapbooking paper, or any paper that you desire
    • Square boxes with lids—either flat-packed and premade (as shown in the photo above) or as a kit
    • Bone folder or metal ruler
    • Hot-glue gun or double-sided tape
    • Ribbon
    • Scissors
    • Assortment of buttons
    • Tissue paper

  • Licorice ribbon and fondant

    Materials For The Cookies:
    • Cookie dough, with extra flour for dusting your surface
    Ready-to-use fondant
    • Icing sugar
    • Licorice strips, plus assorted candy or cachous (if using)
    • Rolling pin
    • Wooden skewer, other assorted items for making patterns on fondant
    • Sharp knife for trimming

  • The Button Box

    I chose a simple white box for this project. If you have the time or inclination, you can create the template yourself, but if you're making in excess of 50, you may want to go for the premade option!

    1. Using the bone folder (or metal ruler), lightly score all the folds before you assemble the box—it makes for a neat finish. Assemble your box and lid.

    2. Place a dab of hot glue or double-sided adhesive at the middle of your box base and attach your ribbon. Make sure it's long enough to go up the side of the box and be tied in a bow and cut. Measure the length and cut equal lengths of ribbon for the rest of your boxes.

    3. Place your buttons on the lid to cover it. It's fun to play around with the arrangement of buttons to get the mismatched look (see photo above).

    4. Attach the buttons to the lid using the glue gun or tape.

    5. Cut a square of tissue paper to line the box—it keeps the grease from the cookies from marking the box and provides cushion to help prevent breakage. Set everything aside so the glue can dry and cure.

  • The Button Cookies

    Here's one of my favorite recipes to make your own basic biscuit-dough, or you could use store-bought ready-made dough for sugar cookies.

    1. Add extra flour to the surface and roll out the dough. Cut out the shapes with a cookie cutter. (Make sure the cookies are the right size to fit into your boxes.)

    2. Bake until just lightly browned (or as per recipe or manufacturer's instructions).

  • The Fondant

    Knead your fondant as per the packet directions to soften it. Using icing sugar to dust your work area, roll the fondant out to about one-eighth of an inch thick and cut it with your cookie cutter. (Use the same cutter you used for your cookies for a neat finish.)

  • The Decorating

    1. Vary the decoration of each button by alternating between two and four thread holes using a wooden skewer, creating a rim on some—I used a plastic spice-jar lid that was a little smaller than the circumference of the fondant—and threading licorice through the holes of others. (See image below for more ideas.)

    2. Mix up a small amount of extra icing to a paste, using icing sugar and a little water. This will be your "glue" that holds the fondant shape to your cookie. Put a little dab of the icing on the biscuit, and attach your fondant shape.

    3. Allow a few minutes for it to dry.

  • 4. Place a button cookie in a tissue paper-lined box and tie a bow with your ribbon, to secure the lid.

  • Ms. Polka Dot's Tips:

    • It's easy to make this project your own. Just switch up the colors of the buttons, box, and paper to put your own spin on it.

    • Color your fondant to match your color scheme and your chosen buttons.

    • It's best to use metal cutters to cut the cookie and fondant shapes—they make for a cleaner edge.

    • Make each button different by using silver cachous, licorice strips, and other candy. Make stitching or other decorative elements with a patient hand and your wooden skewer.

    • Look around your kitchen, among children's toys (e.g., play-dough cutters), or in craft-supply shops (e.g., stamps) for interesting shapes to use for cutting the cookies and the fondant.

    • Ask family, bridesmaids, and friends to be involved for a fun project to do together!

Brides DailyBudgetDIYFlowersGuest Blogger

DIY Paper Flowers

  • Hello, folks! My name is Summer, and I'm from My Bohemian Summer. I specialize in origami flower art, wedding bouquets, and favors, and I'm very excited to be here on BRIDES Daily with a fun DIY project. Follow my instructions (the pictures will be a big help!) and you'll have a lovely origami centerpiece or place card that doubles as a favor. No special skills are required, and even those who are all thumbs will get the hang of it after the first few times.

  • Supplies Needed:

    • 6-by-6 inch origami paper, scrapbooking paper, or any paper that you desire
    • 6-inch bamboo skewers or chopsticks
    • Hot-glue gun
    • Wire cutters or heavy shears
    • Matting or card stock, cut into 1.5-by-3-inch tags
    • Hole punch
    • Raffia or ribbon in any color

  • Directions:

    1. Start with your origami paper, with the white side up, or, if you're using paper with designs on both sides, put the side that you want visible down. Fold the bottom right corner to the top left corner. Unfold and do the same thing to the other side.

  • 2. Now fold each corner into the center of the paper. Leave a little gap between each fold, so they do not touch or overlap.

  • 3. Fold the bottom right-side corner to top left corner; unfold and do the same on the other side. When finished, flip your paper over. You should see an X across the paper from where you folded last, on top of a faint T.

  • 4. Using your index fingers and thumbs, push in from the left and right of the T to the center of the X. The top and bottom of the T should fold in, leaving you with a four-point star.

  • 5. Now fold the corners together to get a triangle.

  • 6. Select one corner and raise it up. Open the flap.

  • 7. Press the flap down flat, so the crease goes down the middle.

    Tip: If you're having difficulty getting the flap to lay flat, you can use a skewer or a chopstick to open the base.

  • 8. Repeat with other flap. Then turn the whole thing over and do the same with the other two. When you're finished, you should have one kite shape.

  • 9. Looking down into it, you should see four points on the right side and four on the left. Lay your kite flat so that the long end is pointing toward you. Now fold the bottom up about a half an inch, then unfold.

  • 10. Holding your kite shape at the fold you just made, and with a flat side facing you, slowly pull out the two tallest corners on the left and right. (The top and bottom petals will unfurl as you do this.) Press all four petals flat with your thumb, so you now have a basic flower shape.

  • 11. Using a skewer or chopstick, roll each petal around and down, toward the center of the flower.

  • 12. Cut the point off the skewer, add hot glue to the top, and push it through the center of the flower.

  • 13. For the tag, punch a hole and thread through the raffia or ribbon.

    Tip: Fan out the raffia to look like leaves.

  • 14. Repeat to make a beautiful (and lasting) bouquet!

    —Summer Skillman, My Bohemian Summer

    Photos Courtesy of Summer Skillman

BeautyBrides DailyBudgetDIYFlowersFoodTravelWedding Style

BRIDES Editor's Wedding Pics

  • This past May, Michael and I got hitched. We wanted a small, intimate wedding outdoors. We picked our favorite American city to visit (San Francisco) and our favorite hotel to stay at (Hotel Vitale). My sister, Kristy, was the officiant and my brother, Mike, was the photographer. I planned most of the wedding from our home in Brooklyn, and on the day of, family pitched in to put together paper pom-poms, do hair and makeup, and sweep up rose petals. Like most weddings we see at BRIDES, ours was a combination of DIY, expert help, and family gumption. Hope you enjoy the photos, and maybe even get inspired!—Joyce Bautista, BRIDES

    I chose the color of my silk Jenny Yoo dress (Capri blue) and then came up with a color scheme that would complement and not overwhelm it. Amy Burke Designs in San Francisco put together four arrangements used to decorate the terrace where we held the ceremony and, later, the tables at dinner. The paper pom-poms were from Party Poms.

  • The throwing of rice after a wedding ceremony symbolizes prosperity for the new husband and wife. Taking luck any way we can get it, we followed suit. The calligraphed gauze bags were by Bell'occhio in San Francisco.

  • My friend Ema talked me off many an emotional precipice back in New York during the wedding planning. Even the day of, she was there, if only in spirit. She put together an emergency kit with everything I might need last-minute.

  • That's me peeking out from the bathroom, waiting for Michael to arrive at the ceremony. My sister did my hair and makeup after a free consultation at Sephora the day before.

  • My bouquet (also by Amy Burke Designs) included some of my favorite flowers and foliage, such as lilies of the valley, kangaroo paw, and dusty millers. Those shoes are my first-ever pair of Christian Louboutin heels, and I continue to wear them all the time—I'm getting my money's worth, baby!

  • The tie is Liberty for Target and features what I think are supposed to be London taxis, but we bought it because they look like VW Beetles—Michael owns a convertible cream one that we both love. The bout was by Amy Burke Designs.

  • Michael and I wrote our own vows. I forgot about half of mine—I was definitely more nervous than I thought I would be. My engagement ring is from the 19th century and was picked out by Michael all on his own from our friend's Brooklyn shop, Erie Basin.

  • We went with plain gold wedding bands. Both are engraved on the inside with our wedding date, and mine reads, "Michael <3 Joyce," while his reads, "Joyce <3 Michael." We are total cheeseballs!

  • The terrace at Hotel Vitale provided a dramatic city background to the ceremony. That was one of my non-negotiables: I wanted to get married outdoors. It turned out to be a typical but lovely cool, windy San Francisco day.

  • In a blip, it was over. My sister became an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church so she could officiate the ceremony.

  • I went pretty nontraditional for most of the wedding details, but I really wanted to wear a birdcage veil. It is such a cute look, and I think it can look costumey any other time.

  • That's the Bay Bridge in the background. I love San Francisco almost as much as I love Michael.

  • The vanilla-and-orange chiffon cake with salted-caramel filling and vanilla-buttercream frosting was made by my brother's friend Kathy Chong, a pastry chef at Town Hall and Salt House in San Francisco. I was inspired to make the ribbon flags by the beautiful food blog Forty-sixth at Grace. The paper banner, which reads "Mr & Mrs Ferrari," was by Bell'occhio.

  • We didn't have a traditional reception (just dinner downstairs at the yummy Italian restaurant in the hotel), but we did want a first dance. After dinner, Michael and I went back up to the suite and danced to Yaz's "Only You" — I know, total cheesefest!

    Photos Courtesy of Michael Bautista

Brides DailyBudgetDIYFlowersGuest BloggerWedding Style

DIY Boutonnieres in Just Three Steps

Hello, lovely readers—I'm Katie from and so excited to share this project with you on BRIDES Daily! Not only because it involves fresh flowers that pop with color and smell delicious, but because BRIDES is one of my absolute favorite wedding publications of all time. It's a bridal blogger's dream come true. ;) And as a lover of all things wedding, handmade, and pretty, I thought this DIY project was the perfect way to share some crafty wedding love and help you get your creative juices flowing!

When you think of wedding flowers, the mind first jumps to the bouquet, reception centerpieces, and ceremony decorations. But sometimes we forget about flowers for the guys! If you're a DIY gal (or have crafty friends helping you with your handmade wedding), consider making boutonnieres for the guys in your bridal party. Here are a few simple steps to help you make your own hand-tied arrangements!


Courtesy of Katie Olson

You don't need much to make these! Grab some shears (or scissors) and floral tape. If any of your stems are flimsy, get some floral wire, too. Pick out the flowers you want to use. Here we are using green trick, pink and white ranunculus, and myrtle branches.

step 1.jpg

Courtesy of Katie Olson

STEP 1 - Prep your flowers. Remove any leaves on their stems. Remove the lower portion of the leaves on your foliage. If you are using single leaves rather than branches, as we're doing here, use your floral wire to create a longer stem. To do this, take a four-inch piece of wire and feed it though the leaf toward the bottom, close to the stem. Twist it around the existing stem to create a longer stem. The wire will be hidden when you wrap everything together in step 2.

step 2.jpg

Courtesy of Katie Olson

STEP 2 - Build your boutonniere. Take your larger leaves or branches and group a few together. Add one flower at a time, placing each at a different level and in a slightly different direction. If you see any holes in the front, fill them in with more foliage. Rearrange as you feel necessary, then wrap the stems with floral tape to hold everything in place.

step 3.jpg

Courtesy of Katie Olson

STEP 3 - The finishing touch. Wrap the stems (over the floral tape) with ribbon that coordinates with your wedding colors and flowers. Start at the bottom and wrap your way up. Just below the flowers, tie the ribbon in a knot or a bow.

Finished Bout.jpg

Courtesy of Katie Olson

Add a pin or two and it's ready to be placed on a lapel!

—Katie Olson, Wedding Fanatic and Gown Studio

BRIDES magazineBrides DailyDIYFlowers

DIY Centerpiece in 3 Steps


Photo by Andrew McCaul/BRIDES

All you need to make this easy arrangement is ample prep time, willing helpers (bridesmaids!), a cool storage area, and a way to transport the centerpieces to the party. Check out your local nursery and craft stores for supplies.


What you need:

  • A three-ply plastic trash bag
  • Bamboo cylinders (in various sizes)
  • Succulents (such as echeveria)
  • Potting soil
  • Tropical leaves (such as monstera)
  • Flowers (such as protea)
  • Flower frogs (available at crafts stores)
  • Floral tape

Step 1: Cut the bag to fit the cylinder bottoms. Line them with it, and secure the lining with tape.

Step 2: Repot the succulent plants in some of the cylinders, using the potting soil. Then place flower frogs in the bottoms of the remaining cylinders and use them to anchor the stems of the flowers and some of the leaves. Pour about 2 inches of water into each cylinder.

Step 3: Set the cylinders on the remaining leaves (using them as place mats).

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Brides DailyBudgetDIY

Paper Wedding Crafts Made of...Post-its!


Luigi Menduni/BRIDES

When the BRIDES editorial staff was sent packages of multicolored Post-it craft paper to test out, we knew we'd love it—our office desks and walls are already covered in the square sticky notes. We resolved to have a friendly competition to see how many ideas we could come up with for using the paper guessed it, weddings.

Managing editor Joyce Bautista, photo assistant Luigi Menduni, and online coordinator Jackie Lebowitz entered the ring and put their creative skills to work. (After all, it's not every day that you get to do arts and crafts at the office.)

With just over an hour allotted to them, they created table numbers, flags and banners, escort cards, candle votives, book centerpieces, even a boutonniere—all made out of little more than the paper (and absolutely no messy glue!).

These are just a few of the ideas we had for creating simple, budget-friendly crafts and accessories for your wedding. Now we want to hear from you! What paper DIY projects are you incorporating into your special day?

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Brides DailyDIY

6 Steps to Planning Like a Party Pro


Photo by Mark Matcho/BRIDES

Going the DIY route and planning your reception yourself? Don't panic. BRIDES magazine has got your back—and the vital info and tricks every bride needs to know.

Step 1: Figure out the seating chart
You don't need to assign each guest to a specific seat, but you should definitely assign each guest to a table.

Step 2: Arrange escort cards
These are also known as seating and table-assignment cards; make sure people see them as soon as they enter the dining room, but also avoid causing a traffic jam and don't put them right inside the entryway or by the front doors.

Step 3: Position the bar
It will be the reception's center of attention (after you, of course), so don't place it against a wall. Instead, leave room on all sides, so guests can be served from any direction. Same goes for positioning the buffet table—but do not put the food and bar near each other, or you'll get a traffic jam!

Step 4: Set the table
A nicely dressed table makes guests feel welcome. The basics: A charger (decorative plate) is centered at each person's place setting. (A waiter will remove it just before dinner is served. If you're having a buffet, there's no need for a charger, but do set out glasses and flatware.) Flatware is placed in the order it will be used, from the outside in. Put the salad fork to the left of the dinner fork (on the left of the plate), and the soupspoon to the right of the knife (on the right of the plate). The bread-and-butter plate goes above the forks. The water goblet goes above the knife, and the wineglass to the right of the water goblet. Place a folded or tied napkin in the center of the charger.

Step 5: Stage the dance floor
Position it in front of the band or DJ, with tables radiating out from the other three sides. Allot 2.5 square feet per guest, based on the entire list (only 30 to 40 percent of them will be on the floor at any one time).

Step 6: Station the cake table
Get the cake ready for its close-up by putting in a well-lit, accessible area. To avoid collisions with guests, make sure it's on a sturdy table that's far from the dance floor and major traffic-flow areas. The table should be 5 to 10 more inches around than the diameter of the cake. Use linens that complement your overall scheme and that drape to the floor. A little drama + a lotta buttercream = a guaranteed showstopper.

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Brides DailyDIYGuest Blogger

Vintage DIY Save-the-Dates


Hi everyone! I'm Amanda from Ruffled. I am beyond thrilled to be a guest blogger on BRIDES Daily today! This save-the-date project I created is super-easy. With the same concept, you can make menus, escort cards, and place cards stamped on vintage hankies, napkins, kraft paper—just about any flat surface.


• Stamp kit from Staples (about $25 with ink pad)
• Vintage postcards from eBay (also try Craigslist—you can find larger quantities for super-cheap!)


Arrange the letters on the stamp (with the help of the tweezers that come with the kit), alternating between the large and the small fonts (see photo). Luckily, you only have to do this tedious step once. You can also use the smaller stamp for your return address on the envelopes. It will match the font on the save-the-dates and give a crisp vintage vibe.

Get crafting and enjoy!

—Amanda Nistor, Ruffled

Photos courtesy of Ruffled Blog.

Brides DailyDIY

Biggest DIY-Wedding-Music Mistakes and How to Avoid Them


Photo credit: Jennie Sewell

At BRIDES, we've been seeing a lot of cash-strapped (or just musically picky) couples doing their reception music themselves. Going digital is tempting, but bear in mind that nothing sabotages a party faster than a music malfunction and an empty dance floor. Check out these possible iPod pitfalls and smart solutions.

GLITCH: The gap of silence between songs is deafening in a crowded room.
HOW TO AVOID IT: Despite the common use of the term iPod wedding, it's actually easier to work with iTunes on a laptop than on an actual iPod—the screen is bigger, and you can avoid those uncomfortable silences and tweak equalizer settings to improve sound quality.

GLITCH: Your laptop dies on the day of the wedding, and you can't get to your music.
HOW TO AVOID IT: Always have a backup plan. The easiest is to load your wedding playlists onto your iPod as well. Be sure you have the right cord to connect it to the venue's speakers—and be sure it's fully charged.

GLITCH: Your laptop isn't connecting to the venue's sound system.
HOW TO AVOID IT: Do a dry run: Ask your on-site coordinator what type of cord you need, and plan to bring your laptop to the venue a few weeks before the wedding (perhaps during your final walk-through) to test it out.

GLITCH: Turns out Eminem clears the floor fast.
HOW TO AVOID IT: Think about hiring someone (not a guest!) to be your "music minder" during the reception. She should keep an eye on the crowd's mood and quickly change the playlists (from "cocktail" to "dinner," for example); introduce the person making the first toast; and perhaps make special announcements, like those for the parent dances.

GLITCH: You run out of songs and the party's nowhere near over.
HOW TO AVOID IT: Make each of your playlists 30 to 40 minutes longer than you think you'll need. This way, if your cocktail hour runs long or guests start dancing earlier than expected or stay later, you won't have to frantically download new music as the party rages in the background. (It's happened!)

—Lexi Dwyer, BRIDES magazine

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