Macabre meets Elegance…on a Budget

WARNING: This is one of those nerdy “Do It Yourself” posts. I can’t help it – I’m damn proud of my work and now I want to share! 🙂

As I detailed in a previous post “Let’s Give Em Something to Talk About“, Jamie and I are planning on having the kind of wedding that has people talking for years. Our hope, although not our motivation, is to surprise and wow people all through the night. Our motivation is simple – do us. Every detail of this day has been hand-constucted (and I do mean hand constructed) by us, for us. I decided pretty early on that I was going to make everything the for the wedding myself*. I am pretty crafty (and VERY thrifty) so it worked out. I quickly became one of those “DIY Brides” one might see all over the internet, although I consider myself in a separate category since I never once looked at a Bridal Magazine nor did I ever sign up for Pinterest. 😉 “Doing it myself “also helped our budget significantly, which was a major bonus since we are paying for this shindig on our own.

Even though we really didn’t get serious about planning the wedding until we booked the venue back in March, we had slowly been creating our vision over the course of the last 10 years. It is that vision that has been coming to life these last few months….and IT. IS. BEAUTIFUL.

Since our theme is “Day of the Dead” (which totally speaks to our cultural interests and lifestyle) we have been challenged with finding the perfect combination of Macabre and Elegance. We both agreed we wanted the theme to come across clearly, without looking too much like a Halloween Party. I, however, am obsessed with all things Halloween so I couldn’t help but get inspiration from the classic Halloween Tree for our center pieces.

This is a typical Halloween Tree

Being from California, I thought it might be really cool to work in Manzanita, a plant native to desert regions of California, Arizona, Nevada and other similar regions. It has that Halloween Tree look so it worked perfectly.

Here’s some manzanita growing wild in California.

I went online and found a place in California that shipped the branches wrapped in string to preserve them. When they arrived, I cut the ropes off and let them sit.

They looked like this

Even though the umber look of the raw branches looks amazing, we decided we wanted them black so I laid them out on plastic and spray painted them.

Painted black

I then casted the branches in plaster using a throw-away plastic cup and Plaster of Paris. The throw-away cup was key so I could just cut it away after the plaster dried.

Cup is key

I bought little glass vases at the dollar store and, once the plaster was dry and free-standing, I placed it in the vase. In order to cover up the ugly plaster, we came up with the idea of using sand. It reminded me of summer camp as a kid when the counselors would give you a weird looking bottle, googgly eyes and 5 different colors of sand. All of those strange Google-Eyed-Sand-Creatures are probably in my Mom’s attic somewhere. But at least I got some practice for this! Our color scheme is Black and White with Cranberry accents throughout so we chose black and cranberry sand:

Step 4

Next I got to work on decorating them. I ordered crystals online and bought black wire thread from a crafts store. I threaded over 600 crystals over the course of about 2 weeks, but since I was off for the summer, it was really fun and almost soothing. I also decided to make paper flowers. The images below look a lot more like pink or red, but it’s really black and cranberry.

Made using a punch-out

Finally, I went online and ordered a bunch of black butterflies to add to the branches. They turned out so cute!

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I’m finding that working on all of these little projects (I also made a photo booth, all 9 bouquets, the guest book and the table assignments) has made me so proud of this wedding. Of course, I would have been proud of what it stands for no matter what, but since my own, hand-made touch is on everything- things that Jamie and I cooked up in our creative brains – it makes the day so much more personal. If not a single person at the wedding comments on the intricately painted cake-topper, the handmade photo booth, or the one-of-a-kind guest book, it won’t upset me. Because each time I catch a glimpse of those things in the background of pictures, or each time I remember that night, I hope I’ll also recall the heart and energy put into creating it all. And that is the whole point.

*If you’d like information on prices, where I ordered my supplies, or specific how-to’s just  shoot me an email at thatlesbianteacher@yahoo.com.

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5 thoughts on “Macabre meets Elegance…on a Budget

  1. Wow. Donna and I just spent two weeks in Oaxaca (in the beginning of October) – they were just starting to prepare for the Day of the Dead (it is nearly impossible to book rooms for the week around the DOTD). Very intense images. I like your decorations and hope everything works out for your celebration. Looks like a labor of love.

    • Haha it certainly is! I’d love to experience Day of the Dead authentically. Growing up so close to the Mexican border, I got to see a great deal of authentic celebration, but nothing like some places deep in the heart of Mexico!

  2. Pingback: Pride Baby | That Lesbian Teacher

  3. Pingback: Pride Baby | That Lesbian Teacher

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