Story last updated at 6/3/2009 - 12:15 pm
We are quickly approaching that time of year when white lace skirts and satin pumps meet their demise at rainy beach ceremonies and muddy indoor receptions. Yes, it's wedding season here in Southeast, and while many a bride will opt for a pair of Tuffs hidden under her skirt, I still believe you can keep style in your ceremony with a little crafted care (and a pair of stilettos tucked away for a quick change).
DIY brides in Alaska are my favorite, for their ingenuity, multi-tasking (get ready to be bride, tour guide, chauffeur and B&B hostess) and budget-friendly smarts. With out-of-town guests and limited resources these ladies must share and care (I know of one particular set of lights that has seen three weddings and counting!).
I can't promise I am the end-all expert on these things (after all, I haven't experienced my own just yet) but I've found a few crafty pointers along the way to help anyone out. When the task seems insurmountable, I just break it down into threes: Know when to splurge, know when to save, and know when to craft!
Cake, decorations, lighting, food, gifts - the list can feel endless. In theory, a hardcore crafter could do it all! The reality is, there are times when you need to delegate to others, even if it means spending a bit more up front. My advice: splurge when it comes to crafts you're not familiar with. If you aren't a sculptor, don't use this opportunity to learn the delicate art of fondant (the décor on fancy cakes). Either hire someone who already knows, or go simple with an elegant display of cupcakes, and use local ingredients, like salmon berries and rhubarb. Splurge on items that you won't use again, like tablecloths. They may be easy for mom to whip up on a sewing machine, but what will you do with them afterwards? Instead, rent tablecloths and chair covers, and add a decorative flare with fabric accents that you'll love to make into pillows later. And always splurge on clean-up! Inviting bridesmaids and friends to help you craft decorations and gifts is an excellent idea, but keeping them after the festivities to clean and pack can be a drain, so hire a crew - you'll be glad you did when the antique crystal from your Grandmother makes it home in one piece.
Save by using those crafty street smarts to find thrifted or borrowed resources for big-ticket items like lighting. Re-use white globe lanterns (always elegant and affordable). If you're feeling like they've been seen before, paint them in colors to match your party. Thin paint and use a cheap sprayer designed for weed killer to get an even misted coat. To set the mood, use candles both as lighting and decor. Thrift varying styles of wine glasses, fill them with a touch of water, and float tea lights in them. Flip some over and set tea lights on top for added dimension. Or, for a rustic AK feel, find, cut or purchase 2' lengths of log. Drill holes every 2" and insert long, tapered candles to create an Alaskan candelabra. If you want a more intense glow, wrap several tall candles together with a non-flammable ribbon and place them in a dish surrounded by beach rocks. Combine and adapt these ideas for any centerpiece.
After you have splurged and saved, sit back, have a cocktail, and think about all the lovely crafting you still have in store...
Part 2 will appear in the June 17 issue of the CCW. Tanna Peters may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.