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A decade in the making: Getting creative with crafts

03 Jun 2019

Alicia Dunning gets creative and shares her wedding DIY secrets that can save on your wedding budget

Image gallery

Image gallery

It’s no secret that weddings are expensive so it’s important to try and make savings wherever you can and crafting/DIY is a perfect way to try and save some pennies.

When we first got engaged and started going to wedding shows, I took hundreds of photos of things I liked the look of which I thought I might be able to recreate myself. I also scoured Pinterest and Instagram for items which fitted our theme. One of the first things which stood out to me was upcycling an old wooden ladder. I’d seen several used as props at wedding shows, at barn venues and online. The ladder is a great prop because it’s so versatile in terms of where and how you can use it.

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I searched on local 'seek and sell' pages on Facebook, eBay and Gumtree for wooden ladders and found one for £5 from a retired painter and decorator who lived a short drive away from us. In all honesty, I’ve never really done anything crafty and I would never call myself an ‘arty’ or creative person – in fact I was actively discouraged from studying art at GCSE. But I thought how hard can it be? And if all goes wrong it only cost £5 and I’ll just recycle the wood.

I’ve so far sanded the ladder to get rid of the paint splashes and damages and smoothed it all over. I now need to decide whether to paint it white all over or whether to wax it and leave the wood exposed. We’ll be using the ladder at our wedding to display photos of all of our loved ones who can’t be with us to celebrate our special day.

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I was quite lucky that I had a cousin who got married last year and had lots of items which she didn’t need after the wedding, so I kindly offered to take them off her hands. She’d used wooden signs for the table names and they fit perfectly with our table centrepieces – the only issue is that their tables were named after their favourite places to visit in Italy but we’re obviously having different names. I’ve managed to scrub off the paint without damaging the wood and then waxed them to restore the colour as much as possible to give us a blank canvas for our table names. It might not seem much but it’s saved us from having to buy new stands and they will look great on the day.

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There’s lots of little bits and bobs we’re doing towards the wedding just to make things a little more cost effective and to make it feel a little more personal. Our invitations came in bundles so we’ve put them together ourselves with a belly band and even though it’s only a small element of the invitation it’s made it feel like we’ve put a bit more love into them.

Another area we’ve focused on is the favours. We originally liked the idea of using miniatures to give everyone their first drink on us and were going to choose a few options (Jack Daniel's, pink gin, vodka etc.) and try to tailor them to people’s tastes but it was a lot of guess work so we decided against it. We then decided we’d like everyone to celebrate our wedding in the way we celebrate – with a shot of Jägermeister! We priced up buying miniatures of Jäger in bulk and it was quite costly but then I recalled an idea I’d seen on Pinterest using miniature glass bottles with cork lids. We’ve now ordered some of these jars and a funnel and will fill them ourselves and have created labels for them with the wedding date on so they’re cheaper but also more personalised.

If you’re willing to put in a little time and effort there’s loads of great ways to save money without compromising on the details by making things yourself.

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Here are my top tops for DIY-ing to save on costs:

  • Take pictures and screen shots of anything and everything you like the look of and see if it’s something that you can create yourself – but do double check the costs of buying or renting from a supplier as the cost savings might not be worth the time and effort.
  • Be creative, you might not be able to make the item exactly as you saw it on Instagram or Pinterest, but you’ve got the opportunity to use that inspiration to make something great and that’s unique to your wedding.
  • Think of alternative options for materials  – I’ve seen a great idea of using a copper hoop with foliage and flowers draped around it. Aesthetically, it would look just as good by using a plastic hula hoop and spray painting it copper/rose gold and if it’s hung up as decoration guests really aren’t going to be able to tell what material it’s made from.
  • I’d only use crafting and DIY on smaller details of the wedding which won’t impact on the overall look and feel of the day such as favours, personalised items and some smaller venue decorations as too much DIY can make the whole wedding look homemade. 

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