Do-it-yourself Tabletops

By DiAnne Crown

July 16, 2010 5 min read

No doubt, planning a wedding reception is work. Location, music, food, decorations. Anything but a receiving line with cake and punch in the living room can become a full-time job in which you pay all the bills. Answer: Start early, and hire yourself as the designer. With your having a little creativity, advance planning and a few tips from the professionals, no one needs to know you did it yourself and saved a bundle. Step One: Decide on a look that will reflect the season and style of your wedding. Traditional glass and crystal? An eclectic array of mixed vases and colors? When you have a concept in mind, arrange a centerpiece on your table at home. Work with it until it's right for the date, time of day and location of your party. From there, you easily can work those design elements into the reception entryway, table settings and other focal points of your location. Step Two: Gather your own useful vases, candleholders, ornaments and table runners, and figure out what else you need. Then make a complete shopping list. Take your list and samples of your main colors everywhere you go. Working a year or so in advance, you can purchase much of what you'll need for pennies at flea markets and yard sales. Step Three: Shop sales all year. This year's clearance is next year's centerpiece. Try to visualize individual sale items off the sale rack and into your setting. Create a beautiful room with bargain silk flowers, Christmas ornaments, ribbons, candles, lanterns, wreaths and more. Consider buying glass wholesale in bulk online. That's it. Start small; plan well; buy smart. To put it all together, here are some ideas from the professionals at Jeffrey Alans and Michaels. Jeffrey Alans designer Samra Aslam transforms seemingly random parts and pieces into fast, easy and stylish centerpieces: --Make your own table runner. Stitch together strips of wide ribbon to the desired width. Use shiny vinyl ribbon for a contemporary look. --Top a mirror with three (or any odd number) clear glass cylinders, stemware or footed vases. Partially fill each with clear marbles and an electric votive. Scatter marbles on the mirror. --Stack ceramic dinner plates on top of chargers in contrasting deep colors for a rich, vivid look. Accent with matching glasses. --Dress up tables anytime with Christmas ornaments in your colors. Set them in and around a mirror-based or swag centerpiece. --Loosely coil a length of wired ribbon inside a glass cylinder to hide silk flower stems. --Party favors are fun and festive. Use them on the table as decorations and gifts. --Wind ribbon around three candleholders of different heights. Use a beaded zip tie to attach a sparkly ornament to each bow. (These small plastic ties are available by the box online.) --Use scrapbooking papers, leaves, ribbons and more to create your own place cards. Use gold stickers to add initials. --Make the table look like a gift. Place a large bow in the middle of a long ribbon runner. --To cover more area for less money, use a length of seasonal garland as each table's centerpiece and fill in spaces with fruits, bows or ornaments. --The more colorful and sparkly the candle the more expensive. Purchase plain, unscented candles, and add a ribbon to each. What about natural pine cones, pumpkins and gourds? Jo Pearson, manager of creative services for Michaels, doesn't think so. "This year, brides are looking for elegance on a budget," she says, "vintage Hollywood glamour. Pumpkins, gourds and hay bales aren't going to do it." You will see great big leaves layered inside a glass vase, tied to the outside of the vase with ribbon, and completed with an electric candle and river rocks. But, Pearson says, "the bride out there wants to have a special once-in-a-lifetime, even clever, idea, not a ho-hum carved pumpkin." Here are her DIY reception tips: --Candles are important, but many places now have rules against open flames. Electric candles work well. --Scrapbook paper with cutouts looks like a lace doily when used as a glass cylinder liner. Cylinders can be kept or given to the guests. --Double-sided Tacky Tape "will hold just about anything but can be peeled off easily. We use it on everything, including to make glitter designs and stripes. It looks awesome." --Vintage weddings are popular. Use a vintage piece of jewelry in each table bouquet. --This year's color is turquoise. For fall, use turquoise with champagne and silver. For winter, add it to a snow-and-ice theme. --Roses are still the first flower choice for brides. Use silk if you want to buy in advance, and take advantage of weekly store coupons and specials. This year, rules for weddings and receptions are out, Pearson says. "Whatever color the bride wants, whatever theme, the answer is 'sure!' It's the bride's day to have whatever will be special without asking anyone's permission. If it makes her happy and feel good, she'll remember it forever."COPYRIGHT 2010 CREATORS.COM

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