Wedding décor turned First Home décor

Wedding Planning Tips

A lot of people out there will say, “Your wedding is only one day of your life!” and that’s true—your wedding day is only one 24-hour period of time. But you CAN bring items from your wedding day into your new home so that your memories become a part of the space you two share AFTER the big day!

Here are some examples of how I incorporated a few of our wedding items into our home:

1. A standard shadow box can show off several items, creating a pretty presentation or “snapshot” of the overall wedding. To start, it’s a great space to display your invitation and save the date. You can also add some dried flowers from your bouquet or your groom’s boutonniere, your and your husband’s place cards from the reception dinner, fabric from your bridesmaids’ dresses, personalized napkins, the cake topper, and the rehearsal dinner invitation.

The frame of the shadow box I used measures 16 x 20 inches. You can usually find them on sale at Hobby Lobby and Michael’s (or use a coupon!). And while you’re picking up the shadow box frame, be sure to grab a package of pearl-tipped pins because the box typically only includes four.

2. You can incorporate your guest book into the décor of your guest bedroom or even your family room. Our guest book is not actually a book; it’s more of a piece of art that’s hung on a wall. But even if you used a physical book, place it in a space that’s visible to visitors and friends so it becomes a conversation piece. They’ll be able to reminisce on the words they shared in it, or if they are new friends, they’ll enjoy reading through the names and well wishes from your wedding guests.

3. During your wedding cocktail hour or the reception itself, guests may like to take a look at some of your family wedding photos. After all, a number of your guests could have also attended your parents’ weddings! This type of photo display takes people down memory lane and sparks the retelling of fun stories.

If you do decide to share pictures of your families’ weddings on your own big day, purchase frames that you and your fiancé would also like for your home and have the pictures inserted into those frames. Then, all you have to do when you’re unwrapping items after the reception is pop those beautiful framed photos onto a wall or dresser.

4. This is definitely the nerdy “I LOVE WEDDINGS” part of me… but let’s talk about table numbers. These paper pieces typically get tossed after the big day, but that doesn’t have to be the case! When you’re working on your table numbers, make sure to have all of the numbers that make up your wedding date.

For example, if your wedding date is September 5, 2015, then you’d want to have the numbers 9, 5, 20 and 15. Of course, if you only need 10 tables at the reception, you don’t have to place the 15 and 20 on tables; just be sure to hold onto them for after the wedding. That way, you can put them together with the 5 and 9 from the reception and display the date of your wedding in a unique way in your home.

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking! Definitely print and frame some photos of you and your husband, and display your wedding album in an area where you and your guests can flip through it often. Although it’s only one day, your wedding is full of so many moments that truly last a lifetime!


Christine M. Darden

How my FOCUS technique can help you save money

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One big question I receive as a planner is: How can I save money on my wedding?

My answer? Focus on the top three most important aspects of your wedding day, which will be personal to you and your fiancé. List them on paper so you both know what they are and you can easily share them with whoever is helping you plan your big day. Think of them as the three FOCUS points of your wedding day.

That’s the hard part… Now comes the money-saving part!

F – Form a budget

Make sure that everyone involved in paying for the wedding is aware of their financial responsibilities and open about how much they can contribute. If they are offering a set monetary amount, discuss which parts of the wedding they would and would not like to use that money for. Then share what you and your fiancé have chosen as your FOCUS points. This will help everyone to know which areas you’d like to prioritize and prevent anyone from splurging in an area that isn’t as much of a priority.

O – Outside the box

For the areas of the wedding that are not as high on your list, think outside the box. There are so many different places to find talented professionals, so many opportunities to DIY (but be mindful of your time, abilities and stress levels here) and so many ways to reduce costs while maintaining quality. Just get creative! For example, if fancy catering isn’t one of your three focus areas, see if a local restaurant—perhaps one that’s known for a specific type of dish—would be able to serve large quantities for your wedding day. (Just remember you’ll need to ask them about providing a group of service staff who’d be able to replenish and clear plates.)

C – Coordinate

Work together with your planner to coordinate your wedding in a way that highlights these three items. For example, if you’re focused on live entertainment, look into venues that have a unique area for your band to be set up in. By coordinating that special venue to match your highlighted area, you will have a built-in focal point for the band and will not have to utilize extra money on décor to turn attention toward them. Or if florals are a priority, consider having your wedding in a garden or an indoor location overlooking a naturally blooming area to add even more of a “wow” factor.

U – Understand

Always understand what you are signing before you sign on the dotted line. This point is very crucial to ensuring that your vendors meet your expectations, especially in the focus areas for your wedding. It will also save you so much money to read through contracts very carefully before signing. The last thing you want is to come to the final weeks of planning and find out you’re missing something that you thought you had covered or paying for something you don’t need, resulting in extra time and money spent.

S – Surprise

By really focusing on your three areas, you may be surprised to find yourself a lot less stressed throughout the process. Your families and vendors will be on the same page about what is important, and you’ll be able to say “That’s not necessarily something we’re focusing on” to any unsolicited advice-givers. And you might even discover that you were so great at focusing on your priorities that you saved enough money to actually make a fun addition to your night… Maybe a food truck? Just saying.


Christine M. Darden