DIY Weddings or “How I Singed Off My Fingerprints in the Name of Love”

25 Jun

Weddings, by their nature, are beautiful events, but there is something particularly lovely about the touches that are made by hand.  Whether it’s the bride- and groom-to-be, their mothers, the bridesmaids, or some combination thereof, some people have the gift of craftiness.  Invitations, name cards and favors are common DIY items at weddings, but as a photographer’s assistant with Roberto Farren Photography, we’ve seen some spectacular shows of skill.

Roberto Farren Photography

For the year before their London wedding, Claire, Joe and their friends folded over a thousand paper cranes to decorate their ceremony. According to Japanese legend this granted them one wish, which they shared on their wedding day.

Don’t think you’re one of those Martha Stewart-esque DIY brides that can make a to-scale copy of the Eiffel Tower (with functioning elevator) out of organic, locally sourced crudités?  No worries.  You’d be surprised what you can pull off before your wedding if you’ve got the time, patience and willingness.

There are certainly amazing things that you can do, and there may be wonderful aspirations that you have, but my first tip is to be realistic and honest with yourself.  And I mean realistic and honest with yourself.  Know your strengths and (more importantly) know your weaknesses.  Not the most patient puppy?  Maybe don’t select a project where you have to paint, stamp and pin 350 petals per hand-made hydrangea.  Have no spatial awareness, nor a steady hand?  Maybe don’t try to address all of the invites in Merovingian script.

Another good thing to remember: If they’re invites, favors, or place cards, you are probably going to be creating these lovely, delicate tokens by the hundreds.  Start early and pace yourself!  You don’t want to end up ostracizing all of your friends before the wedding, or worse, end up on first name terms with the graveyard shift at your local Michael’s (shudder).

However you stretch out the task, at some point you will probably hit all of the following stages.  Be prepared, be patient, and know when to give yourself a break and step away from the grommet press.

  • Once you figure out the 1st one, you’ll be ecstatic (“Look how nice they’re coming out! This is going to be AWESOME!”)
  • By the 8th one, you’re hitting your stride and turning your living room into an assembly line, and starting to spew out pure insanity like: “Alright people, we’re gonna trace, cut, fold, glue, fold again, embossing powder, heat dryer, then you just need to carefully wrap, ribbon and tie on the hand-calligraphied labels!”
  • By the 42nd one, you’re half cut on glue fumes and glitter and running an operation that should probably be reported to the Department of Labor.
  • By the 87th one, you’re starting to question whether marriage is actually worth this and accidentally (on purpose) glue some of your hair to your grandmother’s place card.
  • (Time lapse.)

Time lapse

  • Instead of a clear memory of completing the last item, you’ll probably wake up from an origami induced blackout, surrounded by tiny scraps of colored paper that you’ll still be finding years later.  Congratulations!  You made it!  You’re ready for your wedding, where family and friends will “ooh” and “ahh” over the lovely DIY accents you’ve created for your celebration.
  • NOW: Go bandage those papercuts and get a manicure.  And you should probably make sure that your friends/sweat shop workers are still speaking to you…
Roberto Farren Photography

Mike’s unique boutonnière was handmade by his new wife Denise for their recent Cambridge wedding.

Finally, just a reminder to give your wedding photographer the details of the special items that you created (see my post on creating your shot list) so they can be sure to photograph them for you.

One last tip: Beware the Pinterest.  More on this to come…

Thanks for reading,

Erin

‘Like’ Roberto Farren Photography on Facebook

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