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Crafty brides are looking online for DIY wedding inspiration

January 30, 2013

» click to enlarge «
Photo by Tiffany Esshaki Bride-to-be Jamie Gnebba and her mother, Kerry, both of Warren, work on custom place cards for Gnebba’s upcoming bridal shower.
Event designer Alicia O’Reilly assembles custom floral arrangements at Emerald City Designs in Farmington Hills for a client’s big day.
This place card was created by Emerald City Designs.

Jamie Gnebba, of Warren, has been planning her wedding to fiancé Dave Rose ever since he proposed last February.

Like many girls, she’s hoping to bring her perfect wedding vision to life without breaking the bank. And that’s exactly what she plans to do — with some inspiration, careful preparation and plenty of card stock and Mod Podge.

Gnebba, like many women, has been bitten by the do-it-yourself bug. Brides are turning to craft mavens like Martha Stewart and websites like Pinterest — a virtual pin board for finding and storing ideas — for creative tips and tricks to make much of their wedding décor themselves. In fact, Gnebba said she plans to hand-craft all of the décor for her wedding, from the centerpieces right down to the escort cards and favors.

“We’re doing a lot of DIY — we’re on a budget here,” she said. “We’re even doing the bouquets with (silk) flowers from the craft store.”

“We can’t afford to go get a wedding planner to do all that,” added Gnebba’s mother, Kerry Gnebba, who has been helping assemble many of the craft projects for her daughter’s wedding and bridal shower.

With more than eight months until the big day, Gnebba and her mom say they have more than enough time to finish their crafty plans. But not all brides are as handy, and there’s a thin line between creativity and chaos. Some experts say that, while DIY may be trendy right now, some things should still be left to the wedding experts.

Jennie Wiegand has been planning weddings for about five years with her company, Beautiful Day Planning. The Chesterfield-based event planner said she’s working on about 20 weddings at any given time, taking the stress off each of her clients by tackling vendor phone calls, day-of coordination and every little detail in between.

Wiegand said that, when brides come to her brimming with crafty ideas they’ve seen online that they’d like to execute themselves, she gives them all the same advice: Keep it small.

“Pinterest makes everything look a lot easier than it actually is, in a lot of cases. The chance of being able to re-create something you see on the scale of a wedding isn’t a high one,” said Wiegand.

She advised brides to keep their homemade ideas to things that can be made weeks or even months in advance, like favors or place cards. She said anything perishable, such as flowers or food that needs to be made the week of the wedding, will not only be stressful for the bridal party, but it could end up being more costly, as well.

“Florists are going to get wholesale pricing on flowers,” she said, explaining that brides looking to do their own arrangements at home could pay more for stems at retail pricing. “It seems a lot of people that get into that do-it-yourself thing find themselves in a rut. They spend a lot more on these projects than they thought they would, and when they don’t turn out right, they end up having to go to a professional anyway.”

Sometimes whether a wedding detail should be made at home or ordered from a vendor all depends on the look the bride is going for, according to Debby Alighire, owner of Save the Date Stickers in Warren. Alighire specializes in invitations and unique “Save the Date” cards; she said some simple ideas can be easily executed on a home printer.

“I actually sell print-at-home packs. A lot of people out there looking online are also looking for a deal, and they’re more savvy with working on their computer,” she said.

Not all printers, however, can handle the thickness of cardstock or special papers, she said, and the ink may not always come out as crisp as it would on a commercial printer. According to Alighire, it’s not uncommon for a bride to make several trips to office-supply stores or craft shops in search of the proper papers and materials, after much frustrating trial and error.

“I’ve literally had to print off 50 copies before of one thing to achieve the look I wanted. You buy the stock and, the next thing you know, it might not turn out the way you thought it would. You’re wasting all this time and money.”

Getting just the right look is why Royal Oak bride Lauren Masson is leaving many of her wedding details up to the party pros.

“I’m not very crafty, so I’m getting a ton of ideas on Pinterest, but I’m either ordering them online or having someone else put them together. I’m not really using it as a DIY tool, but more of an idea generator,” said Masson, who plans to use a Pinterest-inspired purple martini recipe to match her wedding colors. She also plans on having a memory candle burn through the celebration, in honor of loved ones who have passed away — an idea she spotted on Pinterest, as well.

According to David McKnight, owner of Emerald City Designs, Masson has got the right idea. Emerald City Designs has planned elegant affairs across metro Detroit and was recently honored by Special Events magazine as Best Floral Design Internationally. While favors and papers can be created at home, he said other important elements are better left in the hands of specialists — if only for the couple’s sake.

“The opportunity to be able to execute details is one that is difficult to do when your emotions are abounding,” said McKnight. “When they’re getting ready for their big day, a couple’s emotions are at their highest. They trust in us to bring their visions to life and have them really stay in the moment.”

However, brides need not shy away from skimming websites in search of ideas, McKnight said.

“We do get the Pinterest pages now, where five years ago, we got the pages torn out of magazines,” he said, explaining that Emerald City now has its consultation room equipped with computers so brides can show designers photos and links they like.

Gnebba, though, believes her completely handmade wedding will be more meaningful because she and her loved ones handled the details.

“It’s creative, and it’s something that you don’t normally see. My guests aren’t going to get a little token bag of candy,” she said.

About the author

Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki covers Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Franklin and Bingham Farms along with Birmingham Public Schools, Oakland County Parks and Recreation and Oakland County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center. Esshaki has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2011 and attended the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Oakland Community College.


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