Now that most of my thank-you notes have arrived at their destinations I can share my tutorial with you.
The very first thing I needed to do was to make a pile of faux wax seal bookmarks for our friends (the tutorial is coming!)
After I made my faux-wax seal bookmarks I needed an attractive way to present them so I made a run to my favorite Belgian crafting store, AVA to see what they had available.
Since all of their paper and cardstock are made in the same styles and colors it was pretty effortless.
I went straight to the area where they sold the bright blue paper that I’d used for the wedding invitations and I quickly found some A6 sized trifold cards with a cut-out window on the front. Perfect! Right beside those cards were the perfect size of envelopes so I grabbed a stack of each and continued my search for supplies.
The rest of my supplies came from my card making stash. I used one of the stamps from our invitations and the same ink pads and markers that I’d bought for the invites. I found that I needed a turquoise gel pen to write the thank-you notes so I picked one up on my next trip to AVA.
I used my bronze ink pad along with my new “Merci” stamp to decorate the front of the blue card.
I used the “handmade” stamp to decorate the center back of the card. Then I set them aside to dry while I worked on the white inserts.
First I folded the white cardstock in half and then I used my cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter to cut each sheet of paper into two 20 1/2 cm by 14 1/2 cm pieces.
I folded each cut piece of white cardstock in half and used my hole punch to make a hole in the top center of the left hand side (the side that slips behind the window of the blue card.)
I placed a glue dot in the middle of the front of the white card, stuck a clay seal to the glue dot and passed the ribbons through the hole.
I inserted the white card into the blue card like this:
I decorated the flap of the envelope with my Heyda Bird stamp in bronze.
I used my bronze pen to address the envelopes with our address on the back to keep it clear.
I used my blue gel pen to write my message on the inside of the insert.
Once I had all of my materials gathered, these thank-you cards went incredibly fast. It took longer to write my messages than it did to make the cards and once again everybody seems to be very pleased by their cards. I mailed them off the very next day and they started arriving right away.
I really think card making is going to become one of my most useful hobbies!
We were fortunate enough to find a gorgeous reception venue in one of the most beautiful parts of Belgium.
The venue was Les Jardins de la Molignée… The gardens of the watermill in the beautiful Route de Maredsous. If you ever have a chance to drive along this road, do not hesitate. It is one of the most beautiful roads I’ve ever driven on since coming to Belgium. I kid you not, the first time I had to take this road to go someplace, I ended up parking on the side of the road until I could stop crying from the beauty of it all.
I wanted to make as many of the decorations as possible. A wedding is expensive no matter how you do it but one of the best ways to not only save a ton of money but to make sure your wedding is as customised as possible is to make as much of your decorations as you know how to make. Here is what I did, perhaps it will give you some ideas.
The first thing that I had to make for the wedding ceremony was the pillows for the wedding rings. Our theme was ‘lovebirds’ so we were very fortunate to be getting married around Easter. At my favourite store, Ava, I found some wicker nests and feathers. I wove and sewed some white feathers into the nest, took my blue and bronze ribbons and made some of the most original ring bearer pillows I’ve ever seen.
The bird on the tags was made with this Love stamp kit from Heyda (I found it at AVA but it is available through Amazon)
I used some more wicker nests, blue and white feathers and lovely dyed eggshells that were also from Ava’s Easter section to make my table centrepieces.
The place settings and table linens were provided by the venue but I found these beautiful little feathers at Ava to personalise the tables just that much more. The rest of the decoration went quickly thanks to my sweet sister who had sent us a beautiful handmade pennant banner. We set up standing tables on the dance floor for the appetiser part of the evening. Maxime helped me decorate the standing tables with artificial rose petals, confetti and candles. All that was left was to set up the receiving table with the card holder and guest book. Finally, the hall was ready for our wedding and we could go to our best man’s house for a pre-wedding dinner.
I wanted to make a simple decoration to give as a gift to the people who helped make our wedding possible, a kind of wedding favor for those friends and family who had gone above and beyond during the planning of our special day.
I discovered some pretty little glass bottles at two local stores: AVA Papier and Action for less than two euros each and I felt the inspiration start to brew.
Before I left AVA I grabbed a bottle of decorative sand in the same blue as my wedding invitations and some simple brown card tags. Honestly, if you’re lucky enough to live near one of these stores you need to go explore it a bit. The company started as a paper factory and has expanded to become a paper-crafts extravaganza… where all the colours are coordinated throughout the store!
I don’t know how I’d have kept our wedding on a budget if I hadn’t discovered this place.
I had some blue feathers left over from the invitations so I put them to good use. I filled each bottle with an inch or so of the coloured sand topped by a single fluffy feather and then I stuck the adorable little bird stopper tightly back into place.
I used my singing bird stamp on one side of the tags to help the gift coordinate even better with the wedding plans. Then I neatly wrote “Merci” near the bird and carefully signed the name of the recipient on the other side with my bronze gel pen and used my turquoise marker to give it a bit of a shadow.
I cut lengths of brown metallic and blue satin ribbon, threaded the tag onto them and tied a neat little bow to hold it in place.
There you have it, an incredibly simple thank-you gift made with about € 3 of supplies and finished in a matter of minutes and the recipients adored them!
For the most part, the template was perfect for my needs so I will not repost the templates and the English versions. If you want to use this template, please go get it on their original post.
I did need to make a few changes, however, to make these work for me and I will allow myself to share them with you here.
Additional supplies needed for my version of the invitation:
1 large sheet of stencil plastic from AVA Paper (basically a Belgian version of Office Max but with a lovely craft section) The plastic that I purchased was simply sold with the other large sheets of paper. I’m sure most office supply stores should have something which will work
The first thing that I did after downloading the templates was to personalize the text and translate it so that I could print both English and French versions.
I scanned a sheet of the blue paper from AVA and used Photoshop to find the RGB value of the color. Then I went through the invitations to make sure that all the blue was the right shade.
While adjusting the colors I noticed that the tree images were very pixellated and not unicolor so I spent a couple of days polishing them up as well. Here are my finished trees.
We printed the envelope template from roberts2b’s tutorial and I traced the measurements onto a piece of stencil plastic. I carefully cut it out with a craft knife and used my new stencil to trace the envelope onto pieces of A3 paper. Some friends came over twice during that week to help me cut out all the pieces. The pockets were folded into place and glued with a glue stick. Then the stack of envelopes was placed under a heavy book to dry.
We then had to print out the templates for the invite and happiness backing and cut my bronze paper to size.
Step three was to print out our invitation, menu, information, happiness, and RSVP pages and cut them to the correct sizes using a metal ruler, rotary cutter and self-healing rubber mat.
As I cut out the invitation pages, I used one of my stamps and the bronze ink pad to put a small singing bird into the branches of the tree.
It was time to assemble the invites. The info, rsvp and menu pages were slipped into the pocket. We used a glue stick (don’t use liquid glue or it will make your paper ripple!) to glue the invitations and happiness tags onto their proper backings. After the stack of invitation pages had dried under a heavy book, they were glued into place in the envelopes. Just before closing the invitation envelopes, we stuck a single ribbon inside so it would float out when opened.
The next step was to prepare the ribbons. I used a fine bladed craft knife to cut tiny slits in the backing of the happiness tags, right along the edge of the white paper so that the slits were nearly invisible. I cut the ribbons to size by wrapping a long length of it around a stack of envelopes which happened to have the right size and then cutting through the wrapped ribbon on one edge to have many pieces of uniform length.
I slipped one end of the ribbon in a slit on the happiness tag, wrapped it around an invitation and slipped the other end in. I tightened it down and slid it off of the invitation. I sealed the ribbon ends in place on the back of the tag with a small piece of clear tape.
I stuck a pair of rhinestones onto each tag and then the ribbon was slipped back into place to hold the invitation closed.
The tags were slipped back into place around the envelopes with the tag on the back so that there was nothing but ribbon over the opening.
I opened up my package of glue gun sealing wax and went to town sealing all of my invitations. Be very careful with this step! I melted a few ribbons by getting too close with the tip of the glue gun and more than once I realized far too late that I was holding the seal incorrectly. Still, it only took a few test runs before I was pumping out beautiful wax seals.
I strongly suggest buying yourself a new glue gun… as cheap as possible. This wax melts like crazy inside of the gun and I STILL haven’t gotten it all out of mine. I actually used my dirty glue gun to my advantage in another project but you’ll have to wait to see that.
Address all of your mailing envelopes. For our envelopes I used simple craft paper envelopes from the bulk office supply aisle of AVA and simply folded them to size. I used the Love Birds stamp from Impression Obsession to decorate the corner of the envelopes. Once the envelopes were addressed, I rushed out to the post office and mailed them off.
There was a TON of scrap paper left over and it saddened me to think of all that expensive paper getting thrown away. So this is when I went back to AVA and found the dove hole punch. Many a night over the next month was spent watching Netflix while I punched away at the scraps. I ended up having a very large cookie tin full of little bronze and blue birds to decorate the reception hall!
Thanks to the helping hands of my fiancé and our dear friends, the wedding invitations were finished and in the mail just before the deadline. Philippe was proud to tell everyone that I’d made the invitations myself and we received many compliments over the next week or so as the invites started appearing in people’s mailboxes.
The only complaint I overheard was that some people felt broken hearted at the thought of actually breaking the wax seal to get into the invitation. If they only knew what will be arriving in their mailboxes any day now!
I was never really one of those little girls who dreams about her wedding dress. I never really started thinking about what I’d want to look like until I was in my mid twenties.
This is often one of the most stressful parts of wedding planning but I found a great way to remove some of the burden from my shoulders.
Originally I was going to make my dress. I have a pattern on hand which I bought many years ago and still love.
I fell in love with this pattern in part because they had a fashion doll sized version of it available as well. What a sweet idea, make matching dolls for my flower girls!
I was so excited to make this dress for myself… until I started looking at fabric prices. I would be spending more or less 400 euros simply for the fabric!
I started to ask myself some hard questions. Would I have the time to make it? How much stress would I be bringing down upon myself if I sewed this myself? Did I even have enough sewing experience to be ABLE to make this dress?
My fiancé wasn’t overly fond of this dress at all. Would it be worth it to spend all that time and effort making a dress that my future husband wouldn’t even like?
We decided to scrap the ‘make my own dress’ idea completely. I spent a week looking for affordable wedding dresses available online and the next time the boys were home we sat down as a family to look through them all in hopes of finding one that everybody would like.
This dress was fantastic! It was on sale for about 160 €.
Even though I had to pay about 50% of the price in taxes, the total price paid for the dress was less than half of what I would have spent on fabric to make my own. When I noticed that the dress would be custom-made to my measurements I no longer had any reason to hesitate.
I was so nervous about ordering a wedding dress online but I couldn’t have been happier with the results. The dress fit like a glove the first time I put it on and I received many compliments throughout the ceremony.
The only alteration that I had to do was to shorten the sleeves as I didn’t like the length of them.
The next time I need a quality dress on a budget I will be sure to shop here again.
April 11, 2015 was not only our seventh anniversary but also the date of our wedding. There were many DIY components to our wedding as we were trying to save as much money as possible.
I have decided to share with you all of the resources I used to plan our wedding as well as some tutorials for the various projects I made. Perhaps they may prove as useful to you as they did to us!
The first step when one is planning a wedding is to get organized!
I signed us up for The Knot right away. This website has many checklists and inspirational photos to help you get an idea for your wedding. I was really hopeful about this site as I know many other brides who have used it. Unfortunately only an American couple will get the full benefit of what they have to offer. Mostly we used this site to look for ideas and to organize our guest list.
The next thing I did was create a board on my personal Pinterest account to brainstorm everything about the look of the wedding.
Every time I saw an image or link that I liked, I would pop it into the wedding board. Every few weeks I would make Philippe sit down and look at the board with me so that we could eliminate ideas which didn’t please both of us. This also helped me narrow down our colors and theme until we had something definite.
In order to have a physical place to keep track of our plans, I downloaded this free wedding planner from Worldlabel.com’s blog. They have so many free labels and printables there that I’m sure I’ll be a frequent visitor.
These resources were invaluable. I don’t know how I’d have kept everything organized without them!
Setting a date was easy. The first thing we had to do after that was find my dress.
Once we found the locations for the wedding and had everything reserved, we needed to create the invitations and a website. The website took a lot of thought since I needed to find a wedding site provider which would allow me to create both English and French versions for our various guests.
I finally found a great service. Twowed was a fairly simple wedding site creator but it is the only one I found which allows multiple languages for a great price. $30 for unlimited use is just about unheard of these days. (And that’s probably why, three years after our wedding, the site sadly doesn’t exist anymore.)
We even created a facebook event since it’s thanks to Facebook that we found one another.