One of the neat things about being a bride is having a bridal shower.  Usually friends or colleagues or the church you belong to will throw one for you if you are the bride, but my daughter had no one in those areas available to do it for her.  As her mother I definitely wanted her to have that experience and–is this tacky–the gifts, too!  

I scoured all the wedding magazines, books, and websites I could find looking for advice on family members throwing wedding showers.  They confirmed my belief that it was inappropriate for the mother of the bride to throw a wedding shower for her daughter–it would look like I was asking for gifts–but all agreed that another family member such as a sister or aunt could properly do so.
There is no sister, and there is only one aunt living near us, so my sister Sharon had the wonderful privilege of being solicited to throw the shower!  As wonderful as my sister is, she agreed, with very little trepidation.

Sharon is creative, so I knew she would do a memorable job, and I also promised her I would do the same for her daughter someday.  Nothing like a little bribe, huh?  Just kidding.  She said she was happy to do it.  I choose to believe her.

I have actually already shown the shower decor in a previous post.  This time I wanted to show you the invitation she came up with, designed by herself with materials she had at home:  computer, printer, ink, stickers, bits of ribbon, and scrapbook paper.  She printed the information on plain paper, tore the edges, and then glued them onto pretty scrapbook paper.  She also used different scrapbook paper so there were different designs, all put together by hand.  She did such a great job that I wished I had gotten her to do the wedding invitations!

Cute, don’t you think?  She didn’t stop there.  She also created a handmade gift record by cutting several sheets of scrapbook paper and stationery and tying them with jute twine to a brown piece of paper.  Very clever and fitting for the vintage theme!  And very CHEAP!

Wonder how much less creative we would be if we had all the money in the world to buy every little thing?  What is that old saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention?”  It is the same with creativity.  It takes need to bring it out!  See what you can create. . .




I promised that I would reveal just how much we had to pay for my daughter’s cheap fairy tale wedding.  Check out the photos below and see if you can guess how inexpensively we were able to pull it off. . .

The dress is from David’s Bridal and was the fifth dress that Natalie tried on.  I knew my budget of $400 was blown when her face lit up as she saw herself in the mirror.  This was her dream dress, and at $749 it was actually a great deal.  Of course, after we added the long-line push-up bra, petticoat, alterations, and preservation kit, it came to well over $1000!  Get ready, future mother-of-the-brides!  

I purchased the roses and baby’s breath from a local florist for only $99.  With some floral tape and ribbon I fashioned two bouquets and four boutonnieres!  I added my grandmother’s blue brooch to the bridal bouquet for something old, borrowed, and blue.  There was enough baby’s breath to fill galvanized buckets for the aisle and part of a five-gallon bucket used in photos.

I purchased Natalie’s hat on Ebay and added some birdcage netting and gears to it to make it more steampunk wedding appropriate.  She chose not to wear the birdcage veil over her face.  The goblets were borrowed from my mother’s crystal collection and tied with the same ribbon I used on the bouquets.

The steampunk-themed cake was purchased from The Luscious Crumb, a local bakery, for a little over $400, which was over my budget of about $200.  I couldn’t say no after the taste test, and we thought the baker did a wonderful job.  The bottom layer was made to look like a giant gear.  Natalie made the robot cake topper herself out of clay!

A photo of the bride’s happy family shows that we chose to clothe the father of the bride and best man (the bride’s brother) in plain black shirts and slacks of their own.  They had to rent only the vests and bow ties.  My daughter-in-law as the matron of honor was asked to wear a black dress of her choice, and I picked out a casual outfit I can wear anywhere after the wedding.  No one in the wedding party had to spend very much.

This is an example of the outdoor wedding decor.  Thrift store purchases and home crafts such as the vintage suitcase, silver-plated chalkboard tray, Goodwill guest book, homemade flower pens, and homemade rag garland sit on top a simple desk from a thrift store. Much of the decor came from my own home. 

So. . .have you guessed?  Yes, we did rent a tent, an arch, and 50 white folding chairs, which set us back about $600.  Yes, we had a dee jay, but we got him for free as a bridal show door prize Natalie won!  Otherwise, I would have corralled one of my nephews to run a boom box or laptop with speakers.

Give up?  Our grand total, including gifts and food supplies, came to under $4700!  I had hoped to pull off the wedding for around $3000, and I could have if I had stuck to my original dress and cake budget, and had done without a tent.  As it was, everything turned out perfect, and the bride left happy, with memories of a wedding day she won’t soon forget.  I have only one daughter, and I told her I will do this for her only one time.  Lord willing, she and her husband Bryan will be happy for many years to come. . .




My sister Sharon was gracious enough to host a bridal shower for Natalie, my bride-to-be daughter, this past weekend.  Sharon  is thriftier than I ever could be, being a stay-at-home wife and mom to three children.  She is a bit creative as well, a trait her mother and sisters recently discovered as her kids have grown and she has more time to exhibit that side of herself.  I just have to show you what she came up with for the shower decorations and food.  I was so proud of her!

First, the table. . .

My sister made the banner out of scrapbook paper and stenciled letters and a Sharpie marker!  (I saved it for the wedding, along with lots of other things!)  There were two tiered plates of cupcakes, fresh grapes, two kinds of cheese, top hat brownies, and chocolate kisses, along with punch and coffee.  Here are some close-ups of the goodies. . . 

Sharon made all the cupcakes and wrapped the liners with pieces of scrapbook paper she cut to fit.  She made the top hat brownies by setting circular brownies on top of a round chocolate wafer cookies topped with icing.  She also printed Victorian love quotes on bits of scrapbook paper that she made little flags out of.

Don’t you just love the variety of papers and the variety of icing styles?  I told you she was creative!  Now here is a photo of the bride-to-be with her proud mother. . .

Other creative touches included table centerpieces consisting of vintage bottles embellished and filled with bits of paper, beads, music, etc.  She also placed a candle with the bottles on burlap squares and topped each table with a vintage tablecloth.

To add interest, my sister also did quotes on pieces of black poster paper framed by heart cutouts which she pinned to the bulletin boards already in place in the church fellowship hall where the shower was held. . .

My mother sat behind Natalie to help her with the wrappings, and my niece (Sharon’s daughter) Libbie handed Natalie the gifts one by one to unwrap.  

She had a ball opening her wedding gifts, and I believe everyone present enjoyed themselves.  A huge thank you goes out to my sister from both of us.  It was a lot of work, and I’m sure she will be calling on me someday when her own daughter finds the man of her dreams.  Not any time soon, though.  She’s only 13!



Cheap Wedding Wednesday: THE Gown

Not only am I a retired schoolteacher who loves to decorate and hunt, I am now officially a wedding planner!  Since my daughter Natalie became engaged to her fiance Bryan, I have jumped in with both feet, scouring the web for bargains and tips.  Because, my friends, this wedding will be one of the coolest yet cheapest weddings on record!  At least, I hope.  
Natalie chose a Victorian steampunk vintage wedding theme, which is going to be great fun to shop for and decorate.  I have already amassed quite a collection of decor items and we have already shopped for and chosen the wedding gown.  If anything breaks my teeny budget, that dress will.  But our search of vintage and pre-worn dresses turned up absolutely nothing, so we headed to David’s Bridal.  Of course, she fell in love with the most beautiful gown which was completely over the dress budget.  We will save elsewhere.  
She bonded with that gown.  There was no way I could say no.  
Unfortunately, THE dress can’t be revealed until after the wedding on November 10!
However, I WILL share some of the contenders. . .enjoy!
The quality isn’t the best because I used my phone camera, but you get an idea.  We had a blast.  My personal favorite was the bottom dress, but it wasn’t her pick.  We both thought the top dress–the first she tried–was the one because she felt like a Disney princess.
But no, not her pick.  
Sorry, you’ll just have to wait. . .
April  xoxo