A Sweet DIY Christmas Keepsake

There’s so much to look forward to when you begin creating your own traditions as a couple. Whether newly engaged or newly wed, the holidays are an exciting time to celebrate ‘firsts’.

Take that lovely holiday tree you have decorated and set up in your home. It’s a symbol of beauty, strength and the cycle of life. Inspiring, isn’t it?

When the time comes to take it down, before you throw away (or recycle) it, try this simple but sweet way to create your own everlasting memory for years to come:

You’ll Need
Tree Trunk
Sharpie Marker
Thin rope, twine, or ribbon

How To:
Make straight cut from the bottom of a small tree (perfect if you are discarding your holiday tree at the end of the month). About 1/2 inch thickness.

Allow it to completely dry (we recommend 3 weeks as tree trunks retain water for a while)

Write a commemorative message with a Sharpie,

Seal it with Verathane and let dry overnight

Once dry, if you wish to use it as an ornament or hanging keepsake, drill a small hole and loop wire, twine or ribbon through.

Keep Forever.

Wishing you the happiest of holidays and many merry adventures ahead, from all of us at PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com.

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It’s A Snap: DIY Photo booth

One of my favorite DIY inspirations that keeps popping up at backyard weddings is the homemade photo booth. Remember being a kid at the arcade and cramming into the photo booth with your BFF (or cute boyfriend) and snapping silly/goofy/crazy photos that still make you smile today? Professional photo booths are all the rage at today’s weddings. But at $1,000 and up for the rental, it’s a bit too pricy for many couples. Keep it simple (and economical) by creating your own backdrop for photos and assigning a friend the (fun) job of snapping guests’ photos. Read on for more tips and how-tos when creating this easy DIY project.

photo credit: thewedhub

Choose a location: First, decide where you will set up your photo booth. Make sure to choose a spot away from the crowd – you don’t want your photo booth distracting guests from your first dance or cake cutting. An out of the way corner near the guest book is ideal.

Create a backdrop: Create a stylish backdrop for your guests to pose in front of by purchasing fabric in bulk (3-4 yards should be plenty). Upholstery fabric works best because of it’s weight. Depending on your location (a backyard wedding, for instance) you may be able to simply nail or tape the fabric to a wall or deck. But, if your reception is being held at a rented venue, you may need to construct a simple frame to which you can attach the fabric (check with your local hardware or home improvement store for helpful hints). For a more stylish and cohesive look, coordinate the color and design of the background fabric with your wedding colors.

Set up your camera: Here’s where you have several options – ranging from super simple to more involved. One easy way to take the pictures is to assign a friend/guest as your photo booth photographer. Some guests would relish this assignment – you just need to figure out who they are (maybe a niece or cousin who might be without a date?). Another option is to pay a friend of a friend an appropriate, but budget friendly amount (say $50?) to take on this role. Have your designated photographer use  a point and click digital camera to take the photos during the reception. Close down the “booth” the last 45 minutes of the reception so that he/she can print them off on a digital printer (make sure to provide extra ink cartridges for printing).  Want to make it even easier? How about breaking out the instant camera? Did you know there’s new generation of Polaroid camera that will be on the market soon? You can pre-order the latest model of this classic camera now. Fuji film currently sells a similar product – the Instax camera – that prints instantaneously. Talk about instant gratification!

If you have more time and energy to devote to the photo booth project, you can achieve a more “professional” result by checking out software programs that allow you to use your webcam to take and load pictures right on your laptop. The photos can be automatically shared on Facebook, Twitter and photo finishing sites such as Snapfish. Another bonus of these programs is that they run automatically, leaving your guests unattended (and uninhibited) for more candid photos. Visit the website sevenEightcline for one such software program and helpful hints on setting up your photo booth.

photo credit: sevenEightcline

Accessories: For a fun and lighthearted twist on the photo booth idea, purchase silly props at a local novelty store and watch your guests ham it up! Suggestions include: plastic glasses, fake mustaches, feather boas and silly hats. Provide guests with a small dry erase board or chalkboard so that they can include a message.

photo credits: (left) a backyard wedding; (right) wedding bee
photo credit: ruffled.com
photo credit: hostessblog.com

Sharing: Last, but not least, share all your fun and funny photos with friends and guests. Here’s one creative idea that I love: the clothesline photo display. It’s pretty much self-explanitory — just string clothesline (a fence or decking works great) and attach photos with small clothespins. It’s perfect for a backyard wedding! Try to set up your display near the exit, so that guests can take their photos with them when they leave (remember, unless you choose the “Polaroid” option, you will have all the pictures saved on your camera or computer). Don’t have a good place to string clothesline? Set up a display table (or use the guestbook table) with a large framed cork board to show off photos.

photo credit: the Knot
photo credit: weddingbee

There’s nothing more treasured than memories from your special day. The DIY photo booth helps you capture those memories in a relaxed, fun and economical way. I’m willing to bet that the photo booth will be a hit at your wedding and these will be the photos that make you smile for years to come!

photo credit: thoughtfullysimple
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Do-able DIY: Wedding Cakes with Sugar Flowers

If you are looking for a way to personalize your wedding, consider making your own cake, or a cupcake tower.  It is not as daunting as you might think if you make the cake and then decorate it with professionally made sugar flowers.

Sugar flowers are sweet and stylish and add an amazing look to a wedding cake.

Sugar Flower Cake Shop in NYC sells over 30 different types of sugar flowers that can be shipped anywhere in the country.  Here are some of my favorites:

The price point for the flowers depends on their intricacy.   Really large ones that make an incredible statement as a single piece on a large cake are priced around $100.  Small decorations for cupcakes are usually $1.

Thinking of giving it a try?  Test your baking skills with Sugar Flower Cake Shops Owner, Amy DeGiulio’s favorite cupcake recipe.

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1-1/2 cups self-rising cake flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place all ingredients except for the milk into the bowl of a food processor.  Combine until smooth.  Pulse while adding the milk gradually.

Fill 24 cupcake baking cups with batter.  It may seem that there isn’t enough batter, but keep scraping (use a rubber spatula for the best results)!  Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Cover with your favorite icing!

Amy’s Baking Tips:
(1)  Always start with room temperature ingredients, specifically the butter.
(2)  If you can’t find or don’t have self-rising cake flour, mix up a batch:  a quick ratio is 1/4 tsp of baking powder and a pinch of salt per cup of flour.
(3)  Try to source ingredients locally, especially the eggs and milk.  You will be amazed at the difference in the quality of your results!

If you want to see more of these beautiful sugar flowers, check out Sugar Flower Cake Shops’ gallery. You won’t believe how pretty sugar flowers can be!

All photos courtesy of Sugar Flower Cake Shop.
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