Thursday, July 14, 2011

DIY Aisle Decorations

We are certainly getting down to the FINAL COUNTDOWN here - the wedding is officially a WEEK away! I have spent the last 2 weeks or so getting ready for the festivities by tying up all of the loose ends, finalizing all of our vendor plans & finishing up any crafts or decorations needed for the BIG DAY.

So far, this has been one of my favorite projects.  From the beginning, Mr. Hess and I knew that even though our ceremony will be inside of a church, we still wanted to be able to decorate it with a cool & even casual style.  Our chapel already included brass candelabras for each aisle, but to be honest that just wouldn't do for us.  If anything, we were going to rent silver ones to go with our color scheme, but that just seemed like an unnessecary expense.  After a little bit of researching online, and looking at wedding blogs, I finally came across a picture that gave me instant inspiration:

DUH! I have already given you all a Wedding Hint in the past that lets you know we will be using paper lanterns and decorations, but little did you know they would also be incorporated into our ceremony too!  Since the time I saved this picture onto my computer, I was on a mission to figure out how to make these babies on my own.

Step one was to find a place to get paper lanterns in the size and shape that we needed for the aisles.  Pretty quickly, I came across a great website that offers lanterns and other similar products in lots of shapes, colors, and sizes at a very reasonable price from a company called Just Artifacts. I found a few shades of pink that I was debating between, as well as size of lanterns that would look the best hanging from the pews.  So, a great idea my mom suggested to me was to order 3 lanterns to sample: 1 in each shade of pink, 2 different sizes, and 2 different textures.  When the lanterns came in (surprisingly fast after about 3 days) I was instantly drawn to the EXACT pink color of the bridesmaid dresses and knew I needed the Dark Magenta in 8" to get the look I was going for.

By now, you all know our other main color in our wedding scheme is lime green, so I decided the ribbon and bow should be this color.  By trial and error, I realized the cloth type of fabric was the best to use for this type of thing, over the transparent or shiny types of ribbon.  The cloth holds the lantern straighter, is sturdier & gives the lantern and ribbon combo a cleaner look.

So, I had the it was time to put these decorations together.  I promise that once you get the hang of it, these really don't take much time at all to assemble.  My mom and I came up with a great system to keep the ball (or lanterns) rolling while assembling them.

Below is all you will need for this DIY Aisle Decoration:

I took this picture before I figured out exactly what would work best...
But, I finally figured out: 

  • Paper lanterns.  I ordered 2 more than I needed, just in case.
  • Ribbon (to get through 16 lanterns we needed 6 spools).
  • 12" ruler, or measuring tape
  • Stapler
  • Scissors
  • Lighter
Pretty easy (and affordable) list if you ask me!  

First, I measured out how long the ribbon should be that's holding the lantern.  I wanted them to hang like the picture above, so I figured out cutting about a foot and 3 inches would do the trick.  Next, I had to figure out how to tie the bow and how long that ribbon should be.  Honestly, I didn't make the bow strings as long as I originally wanted them to be, but we were running out of ribbon and I'm pretty sure my mom and I bought out ALL of the local Michaels lime green ribbon we kept them a little bit shorter.

My mom, hard at work with me!
After the ribbon was cut and lined up for me to assemble to the lantern, I looped the ribbon through the metal wire part in the middle and stapled the two sides of ribbon together to form one big loop.  Staples turned out to be the best route to go, over tape or glue - and it took 2 seconds to do!  Also, I used the "bottom" of the metal part of the lantern's middle to loop the ribbon through so it was flatter and easier to loop.  That means there will be the top hanger part hanging on the bottom, but nobody is going to see it didn't bother me to keep it there.  If it bothered you, you could easily take a pair of wire clippers and cut the hanger part off.

By this point, I needed to anchor the lantern somehow to be able to tie the bow in place.  I had one of Mr. Hess's gadgets that resembled a hook on the table to hold it in front of me.  I tied the shorter ribbon on the top of the lantern to make a bow, very similar to how I did for my Bridal Party T-shirts.  (By the way, this is the same ribbon I used for do you see what I bought the entire inventory?!)  When the bow was tied, I used the same technique as before by cutting the ribbon at an angle and burning the edges with a lighter to keep the ribbon from fraying.  You can read all about these techniques in my post: Bridal Party Tanks.

So there you have it!  A simple, unique, fun and certainly cost effective way to decorate your aisles for your wedding ceremony! I could also re-use this idea for other events down the road, and know it would be great to decorate with anywhere from a backyard barbecue to a baby shower.  After assembling these, I am SO happy with how they turned out and I can't wait to see how they look at my actual wedding ceremony with all of the other decorations around them.  I am getting SO excited for everything to come together, and I couldn't be happier with how all of these little "project ideas" in my head are really working out. 

Thank you, Jesus for google image search.  I'm telling you, it's the only thing that's gotten me through this wedding planning process of keeping a budget. 

Hope you like them, and keep a look out for one more crafty post before the wedding.

ONE WEEK AWAY!!! Can't believe it! :)

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