{DIY Photo Booth Ideas}

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I personally love the photo booth idea at weddings.  Your guests are having fun, and they are dressed up, so what better time to let them cut loose and get their picture taken?  The days of renting a photo booth for a few thousand dollars are over.  Wedding budgets just aren’t that elaborate for most people. And now, thanks to the internet, a great photo booth can be created for a fraction of the cost and with a little bit of forethought.

The exact photo booth idea appropriate for your wedding or event will vary depending on a number of items, such as your venue type, the layout of your event, limitations in your rental contract, and what resources you’ll have available.  You will have to figure out if you will be able to hang things on the wall, or will you need a self-standing frame.  If you have to come up with a self-standing frame, will you have a wall available to help support it?  If you want to set up your booth outdoors, you will need to figure out if you will be able to make use of the grass for anchoring your frame or will there be trees available that can be an asset to your set-up.  Then you also need to think about prep-time.  Will you have time to assemble it before-hand, or will you have to do it all on-site when you arrive at the venue?  All of these things matter.  But luckily, there are quite a few simple and low-cost options for creating a great DIY photo booth.

One thing you need to remember is that the backdrop is just the backdrop.  You do not need to create the world’s most amazing photo studio.  When the picture is taken, you will not see the white pipe or the clips holding the backdrop in place.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make it look as nice as possible, but just keep in mind when you’re planning what will be seen by the camera and what won’t.

Here are a few ideas…

{clothing racks/pvc pipe and curtains/fabric}

TheGirlInspired tells you how she does it.

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{use balloons as a backdrop when no wall or structure is available}

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{hanging frames/backdrops from string}

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{self-supporting frame}

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{science project style}

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{tiki torches with a frame}

 Smarty Had a Party tells us how she did it

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{turn a wall into a backdrop using diy pendants}

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In summary, a DIY photo booth can range from simple to complex depending on the options you have available at your venue, spacing restrictions, and whether you are allowed to stick or hang from the walls and ceilings.  Luckily there are a lot of low cost options that may work as a great solution.  What you can’t do with your backdrop, you can make up for with chairs and props (to be discussed in a future post).  Make sure you have a good understanding of what your venue does and does not permit.  Know where in the venue you want to set the booth up.  And work with what you have.  Give it some thought.  Run your ideas and obstacles past someone that wants to see your vision come true.  There will be a lot of people that don’t get it and will try to talk you out of it.  Why do you want to do that?  That’s too much trouble.  That’s what the naysayers will say.   Those will be the main ones you have to drag out of the photo booth once it’s up and running.  When all else fails, keep it simple – try a lot of balloons and some chairs, and have a great time!

{Cute Find – Stop By and Say Hi}

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I was just perusing Pinterest…which I do faithfully, almost as if it’s a job that I get paid to do…and I stumbled across this idea.  What a great way to encourage guests to come by while also keeping it to a minimum.  At this point in the day, you will be (a) exhausted (b) relieved (c) starving and (d) excited to be sitting next to your new bride or groom.  You’ll want to share smiles and laughs…but also want to eat…and you’ll want to just savor and enjoy the moment with your new life partner.  By placing a chair or two on the other side of your table, you are saying “hey, come say hello…but I’m also going to keep eating while we chat because it’s been a long day, and while I want to talk to you…I also really want to eat before I faint.” lol.  Or something like that.

{What to Put on Your Sweets Table}

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Sweets tables have become all the rage at weddings these days.  The table is the perfect end cap to a day of love, celebration, food, and cake.  Some couples offer a goodie bag for you to fill up with the different sugar treats.  Some couples serve a multitude of sweets along with their cake.  The sweets table has become a cute, sweet (yes I used that word) addition to the reception that ties in the theme, color scheme, and personality of the couple.

The sweets table can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.  But for a bride that may not have a patisserie in her immediate friend-circle that owes her a favor, or that maybe doesn’t have a lot of time or money to devote to the effort, I’m here to help provide some simple options that give you a table that still makes an impact.

First things first…let’s put the sweets table into context.  People are looking forward to the cake.  The sweets table is somewhat an extension of the decor while also providing your guests with something to nibble on.  A lot of people are watching their sugar intake, calories, fat, or what have you.  They’ve already indulged in a meal, and made room for cake.  The sweets table does not need to fill their bellies.  Many will pass on the sweets table all together.  Others will have one or two things.  But most will not fill up on the sweets at your dessert table.  That means…you don’t need to purchase enough of each item for the 150 people at your reception.  You also don’t need to break the bank putting together a nice display.  The things that makes the sweets table so adorable are typically the cake stands, platters, and apothecary jars that hold your sweets, and the way that they are arranged.  Signage helps to tie in your wedding theme and add a decorative element.  Sweets tables are a great example of the saying that “presentation is everything”.

After you have the cake stands, jars, doilies and signs…now it’s time to figure out the sweets.  Here are a few no-fuss options.  Some can be found in most grocery stores for a reasonable price and placed right out for display.  Others on the list below may take a little preparation time.  Here goes…

{powdered donuts}

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{marshmallows} 

dip them in melted chocolate, white or colored to suit your theme, add some sprinkles and voila!

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{nilla wafers}

dip them and sprinkle them and make them adorable

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{powdered lemon or keylime cookies}

found in the cookie aisle of your local grocery store

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{various store bought cookies}

most bakery sections have fresh cookies that you can buy by the dozen…or by the bag or platter

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{iced oatmeal cookies}

i’ve fallen in love with ones sold in Giant that are 8 for $1.  LOVE!

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{sugar wafers}

they come in vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.

if none of those match your theme, dip them in white chocolate and/or sprinkles

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{rice krisy treats}

dip them to match your theme or put them on a platter, doily, or small cupcake wrapper

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{popcorn}

hey, everybody’s not into sweets.  try popcorn…buttered, colored, or covered in white chocolate.

here’s a recipe to try: She Wears Many Hats

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{pretzels}

both salty and sweet, when covered in white chocolate or white yogurt, dipped and sprinkled (optional)

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{merengues}

available in stores…I saw them in Trader Joe’s last night…$3.29 for about 30

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And now I have a hankering for a sweet treat…

{15 Reasons Why Maryland is Amazing}

I ❤ Maryland. That is all.

BS in BMORE

I may not have chosen to grow up in Maryland, but I did decide to continue to live here (and trust me, I have thought about moving away, California always sounds nice). There is just something about Maryland that keeps me here and keeps me happy. On this day, 380 years ago, the first European settlers landed on what is now known as the great state of Maryland. In honor of Maryland day, I bring you 15 reasons why Maryland is amazing (in no particular order and by no means, an all-encompassing list):

1. We have all 4 seasons. Yes, while snow at the end of March is not ideal, it is going to be in the 60s later this week. Maryland, you crazy. I like you, but you’re crazy.

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2. Getting crabs in Maryland is not a bad thing. Blue crabs that is.

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3. We have it all. Beaches…

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{Baby Bundts in Your Wedding}

 

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If you have ever been to a Corner Bakery Cafe, then you are well aware of the oh-so-tempting display of sweets that they have at the counter.  Some days I’m able to ignore it, but many times I have succumbed.  And one of the things I love the most are the baby bundt cakes. I am just a sucker for the cutely displayed dessert.  Ask the Starbucks birthday cake pop or the Potbelly sugar cookie displayed in the precious shabby chic lunchbox.  Mmmm mmmm….

Anyways…back to the baby bundts… I ordered a tray for a birthday party once, put them on a cake stand, and I was an immediate super star.  So this leads me to today’s post.

Baby bundt cakes are flat out adorable.  But more than that, they are delicious.  They are an easy addition to any DIY bride’s sweets table or a great idea for wedding favors.  They could also be used as an alternative to a traditional wedding cake or in a welcome bag for your out-of-town guests.  Take a peek at how they were used in these weddings.

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So now that you agree with me, and find bundt cakes adorable, let’s talk about next steps.

Silicone Mini bundt cake pans like the one pictured below are available everywhere from Target to Kmart to Amazon for about $10. You may want to buy a few…baking six cakes at a time could make for a REALLY long night.

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If you’re a non-baker, keep it simple and buy a box cake mix.  If baking is your thing…pull out your favorite cake recipe.  If you can, try different flavors…red velvet, chocolate, yellow, etc.  Top them with powdered sugar or a simple sugar glaze.

For the wedding, you can put the baby bundts on display at the reception, add them to your sweets table, have someone from your bridal party walk them around on a tray for guests as they mingle, or wrap them up with a cute thank you note from the bride and groom as a wedding favor.  People will love them.  Remember, adorable and delicious is an absolute no-fail recipe.

{More Tips for Your Big Day!}

Looking for innovative solutions for your wedding day?  Silly question, right?  Well  I LOVE these ideas originally posted by Fried Green Design ! These are great ways to save money AND get people involved…and honestly, people love to be involved, so take advantage of it!  Think having people get their own drinks is tacky?  No way!  Make your event feel more casual and personal by having a self-serve beverage table.  Don’t want to ask your bridesmaids to do too much? Nonsense!  They are there because they love you and want to be there for you, so ask them to take on some of those unassigned wedding day tasks.  See what other ideas Fried Green Design has!

Fried Green Design

If you’ve been following for any length of time, you know I love a good wedding. I love the details, the sparkles, the happiness, the fancy shoes. Though wedding season in New Orleans never really takes a break (some of the best weddings in our city are winter weddings!), wedding season is ramping up in the frostier parts of the country and I’m working with some amazing brides and grooms this spring who are throwing truly unique parties to celebrate their love! I can’t wait to see how they all turn out.

I wanted to share with you an updated list of things to think about to make your big day even more special and memorable for you and your guests. Last summer, I shared with you a few Tips for the Modern Wedding that I think are still super relevant. I wanted to expand on that list, so keep reading…

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{What Inspires You? Create Your Own Inspiration Board}

Once upon a time, you actually had buy a $10 bridal magazine to get your wedding inspiration.  It would be huge, thick, and full of ads.  It would also contain pages and pages of gowns you could never afford with the closest vendor being two states away.  And the rings…my word…they would be gorgeous and huge and out of most people’s price range.  You might get some ideas for a color palette or places you wanted to go for a honeymoon, but they really didn’t help you figure out too many details and specifics for your wedding.

Fast forward a decade or two, and now inspiration is at your fingertips.  You can find the ever-changing wedding styles, what’s hot and what’s not for any given season, and tips for everything from invitations to gift registry to decorating your salt and pepper shakers.  Thanks to google, pinterest, and the thousands of wedding blogs on the web, you can search while on your lunch break or  in between work meetings.  So now your problem becomes having inspiration overload and figuring out which of the thousands of ideas you want to implement for your wedding.

That’s where inspiration boards come in.  Any bride-to-be has seen them.  They are on all the wedding blogs and photography sites.  They are perfectly laid out diagrams with dresses, bouquets, smiling brides and grooms, wedding favors and gorgeous tablescapes.  A lot of them look straight out of a chic wedding magazine.  They look professional and hard to do.  The good news is you easily can create an inspiration board tailor-made just for your big day.  And you can fill the board with things that are realistic for you, your budget, and your abilities.

Here’s how you can create your own inspiration board.

Let me be up front about the following.  I am not a photoshop genius or graphic artist by any stretch.  I don’t even actually know how to use photoshop…or really any photo editing software.  I fake it til I make it, and there’s no shame in my game.  So this post is more for those individuals that are not savvy with photo or publishing software.  My tool of choice is Powerpoint.  Most people have it on their laptops or desktops, it’s easy to use, and it offers a little more layout flexibility than Word.

With that said…here goes.

The first step to creating an inspiration board is deciding what kind of inspiration board you want to put together.  Do you want to put together pics showing your bridal party coordination?  Wedding decorations?  Photo ideas?  Or a combination.  Here are a few suggestions for your first inspiration board.  Start simple and start with the things that are probably the most prevalent on your mind – how do I want the wedding party to look and how do I want my venue to look?

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So once you figure out what kind of board you want to create, start surfing the web to find pictures that fit your board.  Save them to your computer or copy and paste them into a blank document or Powerpoint presentation.

Next, open a blank Powerpoint presentation and pick a background for your board (if you want a background.  It certainly is not required).

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Insert a white rectangle within your background so that it appears to be a framed white shape.

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Insert a title for your board.  I’m going to keep it simple, and just call it “Wedding Inspiration Board”.

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Now just start inserting your pictures.  Don’t worry about placement yet.  Just get your pictures onto your presentation.  You can move them around later.

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Once you get all of your pictures onto your presentation, start arranging and cropping.  Lay them out however you want.  You can layer them or just put them side by side.  Whatever works for you.  The design board is almost like pretty scratch paper.  It’s where you brainstorm your thoughts…neatly.  Your design board becomes a great way to see color ideas and style concepts come together.  Once you see things in one place, it gives you a sense of what may or may not work well together.  Better to make that decision from your computer, than go from store to store, spend a ton of money, waste time assembling ideas, and then realize you don’t like something.  It’s a lot easier to decide you don’t like teal and coral from your computer screen, than to have 6 girls go out and buy a dress and shoes, and realize you hate it on wedding day.  Play around with ideas.  Create more than one board if you can’t make decisions.  And have fun with it!

This is what I came up with for a teal and coral color scheme.  Now work your magic!  Have fun with it, and then make your decision.

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{Bringing Back Baby’s Breath}

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When I think of baby’s breath, my mind reminisces back to a bad 80s prom movie or a tacky old school boutonniere.  But I am finding more and more instances of baby’s breath being used in chic table settings and amazingly perfect bridal bouquets.

Hear me out.  Or rather…see me out.  Look at the adorable way baby’s breath was used in these weddings and judge for yourself.

Baby’s breath screams whimsy, angelic, innocence, and fantasy.  When you see it in bunches, it looks like beautiful floral clouds.  On your flower girl, it makes her look like the most precious girl on the planet.  On your tables, it makes guests smile.   It is an adorable accent to your gift table or in your aisles.  In your hair it looks playful and sweet.  On your groom, it brings out the glimmer in his eye that he has when he smiles. The possibilities are endless but the feelings are all good.

Baby’s breath is one of the most cost-effective floral items on the market.  No, I am not suggesting your entire wedding be decorated in baby’s breath from top to bottom…though it certainly could be.  But baby’s breath is a great way to fill in and supplement the more costly flowers in your event.  For every rose, you can add two sprigs of baby’s breath.  Or you can place a bunch of baby’s breath in a vase, and accent it with a sunflower.

Baby’s breath offers a great way for brides to keep costs down while still keeping the presentation and décor looking amazing.  Give it some thought.

{ bouquets }

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{boutonnieres}

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{centerpieces & decor}

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{hair}

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{Managing Wedding Stress}

stressed bride 2Budgets, venues, bridal party, and menus.

Anyone that has been involved in a wedding knows from experience or has seen first-hand how stressful it all can be. For the bride, the stress doesn’t begin on the wedding day, but can start long before the walk down the aisle. It is huge, it is overwhelming, and believe it or not, it is (somewhat) manageable.

  • Stop and breathe: Being in a tizzy gets you nowhere. Stop, breathe, and get your mind right. It will all be ok, but being frenzied and panicked only leads to bad decisions, hysteria, and possibly offending somebody that you really need to have by your side through all of this. Most actions and decisions don’t need to be made in the heat of the moment. It is ok to calm down, take a breather, and make decisions with a clear head. It is much easier to make the right decision from the beginning than to spend time clearing up something you’ve already said or done. That’s how you end up with a caterer that swears you told him the wedding was Sunday instead of Saturday. EEEEK!!!
  • Stay focused: It is so easy to get sidetracked and overwhelmed when it comes to planning a wedding. Input is limitless, and ideas are everywhere. If you know that your colors are pink and grey, don’t let yourself fall in love with a peacock green bridesmaid dress that does not come in pink nor grey.
  • Make a list: When you have a ton of things on your mind, the best way to stay on task is to make a list of what you need to do. Personally, I do way better when I get my thoughts down on paper. Or in a spreadsheet. Or in Evernote. Don’t add the stress of trying to remember everything that’s floating around in your head. Write it down, categorize it, prioritize it, and decide how to act upon it. If it isn’t worth writing down, it isn’t worth remembering and causing stress.
  • Identify key dates: Yes, you need to book the caterer. But maybe it doesn’t HAVE to be done this week or even this month. Knowing when things need to get done will help stop you from thinking about them nonstop.
  • Set realistic goals:  Weddings cost money and take time to execute. Having chandeliers hanging from the sky for an outdoor rustic chic wedding may not be practical. But maybe strings of white lights are.
  • Set a realistic budget: Yes, everybody would love to have a wedding comparable to Will and Kate’s. But most people are working with a budget that has limits. You probably can’t hire the planner for the stars, or have Beyonce headline the reception. Have a realistic idea of what your budget and timeframes are, and set goals accordingly. A three-course meal may not be realistic for every bride. Once you realize it, move on and look for options that work for you.
  • Allow times for wedding planning hiatus: Take breaks from planning. It’s ok to go a week or two and not think about your wedding. Breaks are needed for your own sanity. Trust me. Take a break, do something fun, and jump back in when your head is clear.
  • Remember what the point is: The point is to get married and to share your big day with those you love. Everything else is secondary, if that.
  • Look into the future: At some point, this will all be over and you will be able to reflect upon the madness that was wedding planning. It will be a distant albeit fond memory and you will have moved on to honeymoon bliss.  Remember that there is life beyond the wedding.  When you find yourself bogged down in picking out tablecloths or silverware, think about the wedding afterlife and ask yourself how important the current decision is with that in mind.  Nobody will remember if your fork was sterling silver or even disposable silver.  Mentally thinking beyond the wedding will help you keep things in perspective.