Alina Sewing and Design

DIY Wedding Details

Hello friends!

After showing you how we DIY-ed our entire wedding (along with my top 10 tips), I’ve shown you, more in-depth, how we DIY-ed our wedding invitations, the programs, guest cards and sparkler holders, cupcake stand, and the ringerbearer pillow. These were all ideas that I came up with completely on my own.

Today, I’m going to round up all of the details that came directly from a tutorial or “Pin”spiration. This includes:

  • Handpainted banners
  • Flower girl dresses
  • Flower pomanders for flower girls to carry
  • Faux craspedia for boutonnieres and bouquets
  • Twine globes
  • “Cards” suitcase
Handpainted Banners
There wasn’t one particular “pin” that inspired this, but rather, it was the theme of weddings I’d been seeing recently. I love the use of props in photos, so I knew I wanted to make a couple of banners–that way, they would double both as wedding decoration and photo prop. I had leftover cotton duck in a cream color (you could also used bleached drop cloth), cut out the pieces in the sizes I needed, then used iron-on adhesive to to wrap and hold the fabric around the twine. For the large banner, I actually found an advent calendar hanging from a small decorative dowel rod at the dollar store, so I bought it solely for the dowel rod and replaced the hanging ribbon with twine. From there, I just measured out my letters, sketched them in pencil and then painted them in with charcoal acrylic paint. 

Flower Girl Dresses

These came directly from a tutorial at Me Sew Crazy. Her “20-minute ruffle dress” took me longer than 20 minutes, but it was fairly simple for a sewing novice like myself!

Flower Pomanders

I found the tutorial for paper flower pomanders on Once Wed. Their photo below shows how easy this project was!

Pinned Image

I also added wooden tags to ours; you can purchase wooden tags from Hobby Lobby (or other places, I’m sure) and 25 cents. I then stained them and wrote our initials on one and our wedding date on the other. After drilling a small hole through each, I attached them to the pomanders with some yellow thread and called it done!

Faux Craspedia and Wedding Flowers

When looking for flower inspiration, I ultimately decided I wanted my bouquet to be ranunculus and baby’s breath, while I wanted the bridesmaids’ bouquets and and the boutonnieres to be baby’s breath and craspedia (a.k.a. billy buttons). However, what I didn’t want was to special-order more off-season flowers than I really needed. So, when I saw this tutorial on Design*Sponge for faux craspedia, I knew I had to at least try it. Guess what! It worked, and we saved a lot of money as I spent less than $10 on the materials for all of them. We made 43 total, which required two packages of yellow wool roving and two packages of wire flower “stems,” and I bought all of it with coupons (of course) from Hobby Lobby and JoAnn. Maybe people could tell they were faux, maybe they couldn’t, but I thought they lent themselves well to our handmade wedding theme.

P.S. Yes, I did end up putting all of the boutonnieres and bouquets together myself two days before the wedding. I’ve never put any kind of bout or bouquet together before, so I definitely learned as I went. By the time I was working on my bouquet, friends/bridesmaids had arrived and they help me eyeball it, telling me if it was too “mountainous”! Also, I mentioned in our first wedding post that I special-ordered the ranunculus. This is the only thing I would change. Special-ordering flowers means expensive and I think I could have achieved a just-as-beautiful white bouquet by picking up whatever they had in stock that day. The ranunculus ended up being over half of our flower cost ($120 total) and they were so small that I ended up having to pick up what they had in the store anyway (which is also what I used to fill out the bouts and bridesmaids’ bouquets). At $3 a bunch vs. the $3/stem I paid for ranunculus, I would have been much better off skipping the ordering and using what they had in stock!

Twine Globes

This is another that didn’t come from a specific place, but rather I gathered information from various sources and put it all together. We ended up using a cornstarch/elmer’s glue/water mixture. We found that dumping the twine or string in to the mixture and letting it soak for a bit helped when wrapping. Also, two people are definitely necessary! One needs to be wrapping the balloons and one needs to be feeding it to them, squeezing out the extra liquid as they go. After we allowed them to dry and cure for a couple of days, I gave them a coat of clear spray paint (so any amount of water wouldn’t cause them deflate in a matter of seconds). We made them back in November and they’re still holding up great around our house!

“Cards” Suitcase

 I saw this pin on Pinterest (only sourced back to a google image, so if you know where it’s from, please let me know!) and wanted to re-create. So, I found a suitcase at Goodwill for a few bucks, spray-painted it gray (it was blue) and then lined the inside with a cute yellow-striped fabric and pom pom edging. I then picked out a font I liked, printed the large letters on cardstock at home, cut them out and glued a textured scrapbook paper to the front. Hot glue and mod podge were the only glues I used! This project cost less than $10 and we got a ton of comments and compliments.

I know that’s a lot of information to handle, but I hope it’s helpful! There were so many hours and so much love (and frustration) put into our projects that it made our wedding that much more special.

As we get into wedding season and many of you are in this “detail” mode, what are you working on?

P.S. ALL images, unless otherwise noted, are courtesy of Jackie Cooper Photo.
P.P.S. BIG news and exciting changes come to MYU in the month of April! Stay tuned!!

Our [sort of DIY] Wedding Album

That’s what I was thinking as I heard the mail arrive a couple of weeks ago. I’d been expecting something I was super excited about, and one of the perks of working from home is being able to check the mail as soon as it arrives.
Low and behold, it was waiting for me in front of the front door.
And not only was I elated to find it there at all, I was also delighted by the adorable packaging, which I’m also a sucker for.

What was it, you ask?

Our wedding album. 100 pages beautifully showcasing the best day of my life.


 And here are a few of my favorite pages…

[If you want to see all of the pages, you can check it out here.]

It’s exactly what I wanted. I used My Publisher, which has a free downloadable program where you can decide the book size, hardback vs. paperback, the type of cover (you can go more professional with leather or linen, but I loved having one of our photos as the cover, spine and back!), the layout and design, and you can add wording to the pages. And 100% bleed (the pictures go all the way to the edge of the page). Ours is pictures only and the quality is incredible. Best part is that they’re always having sales and e-mailing out coupon codes. I got one for 60% for anything over 60 pages and, since I knew I wouldn’t have a problem doing that, I jumped on the opportunity, got it done, and ended up with a 100-page, 8×11 hardback and professionally-printed album laid out exactly how I wanted for $55 (including shipping). [I couldn’t have even printed all of these pictures at Wal-Mart for that price.] Without my 60% off coupon, this book would have cost $135, so I am definitely glad I had the coupon! Based on this experience*, I will definitely be ordering books like this in the future. I really like the idea of yearly books as Cowboy and I start this life together! Also, heaven forbid, if anything ever happened to this book, it’s saved on my “bookshelf” within My Publisher, so all I would need to do is hit the “order” button again (and pay for it, wah wah, but at least I wouldn’t have to re-create it!).

*And noooo…My Publisher is not paying me to say any of this. They have no idea who I am. 🙂

Have you guys used a printing service like this before? Or did you go the more traditional route and place printed pictures in a photo album?

DIY Tree Trunk Cupcake Stand

This is a story about how a girl with inspiration and a hard-working fiancé met the fate of downed trees. 
One day, as I was building my ever-loved wedding Pinterest board, I ran across this:
The Original Designed 4 Tier Tree Slice Large Cupcake Stand reserved for Amy
Yep–from an Etsy shop. It was already sold, so I have no idea how much she sold it for, but I do know that shipping alone was $40. I showed Cowboy while mentioning it in passing and then left it to be, thinking it would be so incredibly hard to find one downed tree to cut in to, let alone four trees of differing diameters.
But, little did I know that a storm in Overland Park a couple of months later would down massive trees, and then a local park would open its doors to let people bring their branches and tree trunks for the city to dispose of it. Our friends (Krissy & Alex) live just a couple of blocks away from this park, so when we heard what was going on, we all walked over there. 
[Ah, when I had a tan and thought that was white.]
While looking for tree trunks, we found these awesome branches to use as the center pieces. And they were covered in moss. WHAT LUCK!
After scoping out the goods, we hid our finds amidst the piles (like other people were going to come steal our branches and trunks…haha! Do you see that pile behind us girls? That wasn’t even half of it!) and ran a quick errand to Lauren & Tyler’s house, where they just happened to have Tyler’s dad’s borrowed chain saw. Seriously…fate. 
So, my hunk of a guy went to work chain-sawing…because he loves me, after all.
 And slowly, but surely, we started to collect our pieces…

The next steps were my job…these guys had to be sanded completely smooth (and hopefully level) and then I gave them a coat of polycrylic.

Cowboy even carved our initials and the date into the bottom. 🙂

We cut our center pieces, and then those also got a coat of polycrylic. (Check out that moss! I died!)

We used a 3/8-inch dowel rod to connect all of the pieces, drilling pilot holes into each piece and then connecting them. We didn’t glue anything, so it can be taken apart for easier storage.

Here’s how it turned out on wedding day (photos here on out courtesy of Jackie Cooper Photo)

 Here’s a great picture showing the size and scale of the stand put together (and me laughing at my new brother-in-law’s best man speech).

It turned out perfectly and even better than I expected. Not only did it look incredible amidst everything else, but it had such fun and special memories attached to it. 
Have you guys ever been inspired by something and pushed it off, thinking it impossible–or at least unlikely, only to have things fall into place for you?

DIY Wedding Invitations, Programs and Comment Cards

Happy weekend, friends! Today, you learn Cowboy’s real name. 🙂
Yesterday, I shared a summation of our DIY Barn Wedding. I promised project details, so I’m starting at the very beginning–invitations. These were the very first project we took on, as they had to be completed first. We decided not to do save-the-dates, so we sent these out in mid- to late-September. (Since the wedding was the week before Christmas, we wanted to give people plenty of notice to make plans, but we also knew that–since the wedding was the week before Christmas–the timing would either help or hurt. Because of this, we decided to save the money we would have spent on save-the-dates.)
We have such a fun story that my main priority was to include and showcase it. I’m also a fool for beautiful typography. So, I set out to tell our story in a way that was appealing to the eye. Once I had designed the interior portion and monogram for the front, I handed things off to my mom, who makes beautiful, hand-stamped, layered-paper cards as a hobby. 

She hung the inside sections from pop dots at the top, so they hung like banners from within (pictured below). Then, she folded them into a tri-fold and wrapped them in a piece of gray scrapbook paper and secured it with twine and a vintage button (from a collection that her friend Lisa had scored inside of a mason jar at a garage sale). (P.S. You’ll also notice that we did not ask for RSVPs. Since we weren’t having a meal, we didn’t really need the RSVPs, therefore saving the extra work and postage for those.)

My mom ordered light gray envelopes and my step-mom addressed each invitation with her beautiful calligraphy (people asked me who I had hired…she’s that good!).

Here is the actual file of the interior, so you can read the text (click on the file to make it larger)!

Then, a few weeks before the wedding (OK, like one week), I carried over the same typographical story design into our wedding programs.

The only cost was the paper (a ream of white cardstock from Walmart will run you about $5) and the printing (we printed two to a page to be efficient). From there, we cut them in half and called it done!

Again, I included the actual file below so you can read the text!

The third piece I designed was paper holders for our sparklers. We purchased short-burning sparklers (they were SO much cheaper), so we gave everyone a pack of three so that our sparkler send-off wouldn’t burn out before we could get to the car. To contain them (and to help communicate the plan), I designed these simple holders. We printed six to a page (again, on our own paper and cut them ourselves) and then used exacto knives to slice small openings for the sparklers to run through. 
Finally, in place of a guest book, I designed comment cards for guests to leave us a note or their best marriage advice. My favorite came from J’s grandma, who said, “May the love lights keep shining forever…and ever…and ever…”

So there you have it! The main “cost” was the time my mom, step-mom, Cowboy and I spent designing, putting pieces together, addressing, printing and cutting. We got SO many compliments on our invitations, which made it that much more gratifying to tell them we had done them ourselves.

Have you made your own invitatons–wedding or otherwise–before? How did you do it?

We’re off to work on projects…the never-ending list of projects that I dream up and subject my husband to. 🙂 Have a great Saturday and a restful weekend! 

Our DIY December Barn Wedding + Top 10 Wedding Tips

Hello, folks! Finally, the long-awaited wedding deets. First, I will say that I could probably write a book about the process of DIY-ing a wedding (because of how many details there are, not because I am an expert), so I’m going to do my VERY best to be concise when summing everything up. There were so many hours put in to planning, researching and dreaming before we ever got to the doing part. I was completely and totally guilty of wedding brain (when everything you do, say, think, write is done so in the context of something wedding-related. Sorry to any of my co-workers who fell victim to wedding brain).

First-off, let me say that until I had planned my own wedding, I had no idea how many details there were to be considered. I will have a whole new appreciation at the next wedding I attend.

Second, let me also say that it was my goal to spend as little money as possible. This made it interesting, challenging and a little more fun.

Third, as many people also want, I wanted our wedding to be unique. I wanted every detail to say “us.” I wanted people to see everything and say, “wow–this so fits who you guys are as people and who you’ve become as a couple!” This also provided many opportunities to think outside of the box!

Finally, we never bought anything from a wedding web site or vendor. Time and time again, I would see products selling for double the price just because it had “wedding” in the name or description. For example. we had a sparkler send-off. When researching prices, I compared prices on one wedding web site to the non-wedding web site I ended up choosing. Because I chose regular, you’d-buy-them-for-4th-of-July sparklers, I paid less than half of what I would have paid for “wedding sparklers.” And the kicker? They looked exactly the same!

So, before I get to my lists of vendors, budgets and DIY projects, let’s look at some pictures! (My favorite part.)

Sigh…yes, Jackie IS marvelous. And brilliant. And amazing to work with. She also did our engagement photos that so many of you loved. (And if you missed our wedding video by Brickhouse, check it out here!)

I’m going to do my best to break things down (we’re already 2.5 months post-wedding and my frazzled brain is healing without trying to remember all of the wedding planning details!), but if you have any questions, please ask!

Things we DIY-ed
(future posts coming to detail most of these!)

  • My mom and I designed and hand-made our wedding invitations
  • I designed and printed our programs and the sparkler holders
  • We designed and built our cupcake stand from trees downed after a storm (so, it was free!)
  • I made and hand-painted all banners and props used in photos and decorating
  • I sewed the flower girl dresses and ringbearer pillow 
  • I handmade the paper flower pomanders for the flower girls to carry
  • I made faux craspedia for the bridesmaid bouquets/boutonnieres and then put together all of the bouquets/boutonnieres a couple of days before the wedding with fresh flowers–even my bouquet! 
  • In lieu of a traditional guest book, I designed comment cards for guests to leave us comments, marriage advice, etc. 
  • We built an “I Do’s” sign to direct people around the barn
  • I collected Goodwill and dollar store frames, spray-painted them white and designed a timeline photo table to illustrate all of the times we’d been in the same places with the same people and somehow never met! 
  • My mom and I made twine globes and hung them over the candy table with yellow and gray patterned paper lanterns from a large branch
  • I overhauled a thrift store suitcase to create a place for guests to drop their cards. 
I’m sure there were other little things here and there that I’m forgetting (mostly just gathering supplies for the DIY projects), so if you see something that I haven’t mentioned, please ask!
Budget & Top 10 Wedding Tips
At the beginning, I was doing a great job of tracking expenses and trying to be careful to be as frugal as possible as we thought of more items that needed to be bought and included (if we even decided we really needed them). We decided to forgo a meal, as the wedding was at 3:00 in the afternoon, which saved a lot of money. As things got more hectic and stressful right before the wedding, I stopped tracking every little expense for the sake of getting things done. All in all, though, I estimate we spent between $5,500 and $6,000, with the help of our parents. If you’re like me, you’re thinking that’s a good chunk of change. But, friends, I know with all of my heart that we saved SO much money. Here are my tips:
  1. Think about getting married in the off-season; by having a December wedding, we got our location for half-price, simply because it was their off-season. 
  2. To second my note above, stay away from anything labeled “wedding” just for the sake of being labeled. I saw so many prices doubled just because they had “wedding” in the name!
  3. Think ordinary; our cupcakes were bought in bulk from Sam’s. We heard (I didn’t have time to stop and eat one!) that they were awesome. They also looked pretty because my mom insisted that we cut out cupcake wrappers and top them with a monogram.
  4. Do it yourself; you can see for yourself the list of items we made ourselves above. By simply spending the time creating the things we wanted, we cut out all of the expenses we would have incurred in paying someone. For the items we didn’t have time to make, we tried to use local businesses and Etsy shops. What you’ll end up with is something totally unique and completely personalized.
  5. Cut down on fresh flowers; the only fresh flowers we bought were babies breath, ranunculus and a couple of bouquets of simple white flowers they already had in the store. If I could do it over again, I wouldn’t even special-order the ranunculus. They were beautiful, but accounted for over half of our total flower cost ($120 total, if you’re wondering), and they had so many beautiful white flowers I could have also used (which I did end up doing since the ranunculus were so small). I’ll do a post on flowers later, but these are my initial thoughts!
  6. Do your research; we were able to buy $100 custom suits and all of the ties were under $15 (some were even $5!). That’s less than renting a tux for each guy AND they all came out of the deal with a custom suits, folks! By doing your research to find the best price, you can feel confident in what you are buying. 
  7. Shop on clearance and thrift your heart out; my shoes were bought on clearance, my dress came from a consignment shop, our mason jars came from thrift shops/Craiglist/friends, everthing (except the mason jar drinks dispensers) from World Market was on clearance, most of the glassware was thrifted…rarely did we buy something for full price, but if we did, we did our research first (see #6). 
  8. Decide what’s important and spend your money there; I’ve always said that pictures would be the most important for me. My feelings are that your big day are gone in such a flash that all you’re left with is photos, memories and maybe even a video. So, photography took the biggest chunk of our budget, which was 1000% OK since we planned for it. From there, we were able to allocate the remaining money to everything else. It helped us to pare down and sort through the list of possible items to include. For example, we didn’t have a DJ, so we set up a Spotify playlist on my Mac and had a friend in charge of making sure everything ran smoothly. F-R-E-E! (Thanks, Ben!)
  9. Let people help you; this one was hardest for me. Not because I wanted to control it, but because there were so many little things I was picturing, I had a hard time communicating and delegating it all. Probably the biggest help to me was when my mom came down for the weekend and sat me down to research and order things we needed (like the candy). I needed someone to make me focus on getting it done, rather than spending my time stressing about it. (Thanks, Mom!) We also made our twine lanterns (interrupted in the middle by an earthquake!) and I finished the flower girl dresses that weekend. Oh, and my Nana came up a day earlier and we took care of buying all of the paper goods. Not only was it a huge help to me having them there, but we also created some fun memories. So, have a girl’s night with your friends or get together with your family and knock those projects out!
  10. Finally, know that your big day is going to go fast. By preparing myself for that, I remembered to stop at different times during the day and try to freeze that moment in my memory. I missed things, yes…I didn’t get anything to eat or drink and I didn’t see the kids eating candy or people enjoying the fires outside, but I do remember what my thoughts were when I woke up, I remember seeing my friend Krissy on the couch as I was leaving for my hair appointment, I remember the quiet time spent with my mom, Jackie and Kayla as I was getting my hair done, I remember the looks on the groomsmen faces during the ceremony, I remember the things my daddy whispered to me when we were dancing (he made me cry big time), I remember the hugs we got right after the ceremony, I remember seeing precious friends that live far away, I remember the moment we decided it was time to leave and I remember being on cloud 9 as we drove away. That day was truly the best day of my life and I’m still so elated as I sit here remembering. 
So, that, my friends, in the best nutshell I can muster, is our DIY December barn wedding. Project details to come; get excited!
For those of you who have planned a wedding before (yours or someone else’s)–what tips do you have? Do share!

Our Wedding Video

Happy Friday, friends!

I’m happy to report that our wedding video is finished. 🙂 🙂 🙂

We were more than happy with how everything turned out (and for their amazing prices in the professional video world!), so if you’re in the Wichita area and need a videographer, Craig and Mary Beebe of Brickhouse Studios should be your first pick!

Alina + Jonathan from craig beebe on Vimeo.

Have a great weekend!


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