Sunday, 9 December 2012

Centre pieces continued - keeping it cheap

OK so once you have picked your centrepiece of choice or maybe even before you have finalised your idea, you will be thinking about costs.

Depending on the amount of guests you have coming and therefore how many tables you will have will depend on the amount of centrepieces you will need. I had five tables and a top table. I opted for round tables so I needed one per table, and then the top table was rectangular and we had 3 centrepieces on that. So in total I needed 8. If you have the budget to be able to afford to pay someone to do it for you then why not? It's that little bit less hassle for you nearer the time.

However, I decided that although I probably could have paid someone else to put together a centrepiece for me, I would instead save myself some money and do it myself. E-bay was my friend! I bought 10 goldfish bowls for £29.99, I bought a 4kg bucket of pebbles for £6.99, although if you wanted to be cheaper again you could always go to your nearest beach and collect the pebbles yourself. The Red and Ivory butterfly confetti was £6.00 for three bags which decorated all the tables, top table, cake table & guestbook table. The mirror plates & tealights were thrown in by the hotel for free (don't be afraid to ask for freebies, it will save you a fortune!) and the LED lights were £5.99 for 6. I bought 4 packs to do all my tables. I could have done it cheaper with floating candles, but didn't want to risk it!

So how else can you do it cheaper yourself?

  • Pebbles, shells or stones: To save time buy them cheap on ebay or from a gardening supply store. To save money further, go to the beach for the day and collect them youself.
  • Confetti: Save time & money purchasing them on ebay or at a craft store. If you are already rather arty, then purchase a paper cutter and some coloured card and then make it yourself.
  • Bowls or Vases: Cheaper to buy online or from a wholesalers. But if you don't mind having mismatched vases or bowls then get raiding your cupboards and family/friends cupboards and borrow them instead.
  • Instead of paying a company to make sweet trees or buckets, purchase some oasis from a florist or wholesaler, go on ebay, amazon or to a wholesaler for cheaper sweets and then make your own. Chocolate lollies or covered strawberries will be cheaper to make your self. 
  • Personalised sweets are very cute, albeit a little over the top. But the price tag that comes with them can be 2 or 3 times that of non personalised items. Save yourself the money, and either make your own personalised labels, or forgo the personalisation.

If you can do it yourself in advance and it will save you money then go for it. Find out in advance from your venue how much they are willing to do for you. If you have to go there the morning of the wedding and do it yourself then you need items you can put together well in advance and give to a trusted person to take down and set up. If they are willing to assemble some of it for you then give them your specific instructions and save money with purchasing as much of the stuff yourself as you can. If it needs a bit more putting together on the day, it won't matter so much as the venue can help. 

TOP TIP: Don't be worried about spending £30 on glass bowls or vases etc if you can't get them off other people. Keep the packaging it comes in and after your big day give it a wash and sell it back on to make back some of your money. Anything you can't sell on, such as confetti, don't spend more than £10 on. You don't want to spend money on things you can't sell on and have no use for yourself.

That's my tips for keeping it cheap - ebay, DIY & getting the facts from your venue. Know where you stand before you purchase anything!

Thanks for reading :) x

10 Ideas for Centrepieces

The Centrepieces are one of the many areas of a wedding where you get to let your creative juices flow and create that perfect final touch to the tables of your Wedding breakfast. You can go as creative or as simple as you like. Here are 20 of my ideas and a picture of my actual tables for you to see what my choice was. Remember this is a chance to tie in your theme but it is also a chance to add a little something extra if you want to stray from your theme... in reality you need to remember it's entirely up to you!

1) Flowers: This is as far as this suggestion will go with me really. I'm not a huge flower person so that was the one thing I knew I didn't want. However if you like flowers this is your chance to get some centrepieces made up with the flowers of your choice... as I said I'm not a flower person so can't claim to be an expert. But ask your local florist or google Flower centre pieces to get the ideas flowing.

2) Candelabras: Simple and Elegant. Variations of Candelabras are endless. From twisted and looped, to straight forward candle holders, from silver to black.

Once you have picked the style of candelabra you can either fill them with candles, obvious but classy. Or flowers! There we go a flower idea for you all! You can decorate them by draping with beads/pearls or tie coloured ribbons to them. If your theme, like mine, is butterflies then you can buy craft butterflies and attach these the the candelabras. Don't be afraid to try out something different.

3) Goldfish Bowls. There are so many variations you can do with this. Water pearls, pebbles, coloured water, floating candles, floating LED lights, Rose petals. You can put them on a mirror (especially effective with candles) or surround the bowl with flowers, fruit, decorative stones. There is no limit to what you can do. Here are a few pictures of Variations I've seen and loved.

 Particularly love this for a wedding abroad/near a beach. Very original. LOVE!
 Lilies are classic and elegant, wrapped in side a goldfish bowl is so simple yet gorgeous! 
 Clear water pearls with flower, very pretty, think coloured pearls and a white flower would work just as well.
Candles and pebbles. Could work with just the candles, or swapping pebbles for water pearls, once again you can find variations within the variations.

4) Sweetie Trees or Bowls - OK so it's not the usual decorative item, and by the end of the night it will probably be all gone! But it's different, something the guests can enjoy after the meal. Once again there are so many variations, firstly you have to pick how you want to present the sweets. In glass jars, bowls, Large martini glasses, oversized teacups or on a sweetie tree. Then you need to decide what sweet you want to use. Here's a few pictures of ideas I have seen and liked.
 Birdcages - this one is filled with marshmallows. Not my favourite choice of container but it sort of works with the marshmallows - different
 Buckets - fill with some oasis top with tissue paper and then push chocolate lollies in to the oasis. This one should be relatively cheap to do your self as well, if you don't have the budget to pay someone to do it for you.
 Candy Canes - would work at a wedding around the Christmas season? Looks to me like a table weight usually used for helium balloons with wire attached to the sweets and pushed in to the weights, could do this with other hard boiled sweets like pear drops maybe? 
 Wine glasses - just fill with you choice of sweet. In this one they have stick of rock pieces with names written on. You can buy sweets like this, you can even get M&M's with your initials on, but personalised sweets will cost more... wine glasses on the other hand will be cheap!
 Martini glass - same as the wine glass really, but I loved the added touches to this with the purple butterflies and petals. 
Sweetie Trees - You can make these your self if you are a little bit crafty, but if not there are plenty of places to buy them online. Ferrero Rocher, marshmallow, Haribo seem to be rather popular ones.

5) Buckets - Apart from filling them with chocolate lollies, there are other ideas I have seen that have made these cute little buckets take centre stage for me as a unique and cheap/easy idea for wedding centrepieces.
Flowers, my not so favourite thing, do look pretty cute in these buckets. Daisies in particular have a very cute look. Once again though, your choices are endless. Here are 3 ideas (4 if you include the chocolate lollies in the previous idea) that I thought were very doable and look great.

 Daisy & Candle combo - the beauty of this is you can change the ribbon and the flowers and still get the same affect and have it tie in with your colour theme.
 Light/Pearls - This bucket has a UV light in it and clear pearls. Change the colour of the pearls or light to mix with your colour theme. 
Another beachy themed centrepiece. It's different and perfect for those beach themed weddings.

6) Teacups! An idea I didn't come across until after my wedding, or I probably would have wanted one of these as my centrepiece. Vintage and unique I am in love with the 3 ideas I have come across, and given more time to explore possibilities I'm sure there are some wonderful things you can do with teacups. Here's my 3:

 Cupcake Teacups - I'm pretty sure these ones are cupcakes in icing made to look like teacups, but I've also seen Cupcakes put inside Teacups. These really rock my world to be honest! I was blown away at how good they look... both to eat and to look at! Only problem I can see with this is finding someone to make them for you if you aren't a baker. Could get expensive.
 Teacup Candle - I love it, and think lit during dinner would provide such a brilliant mood/lighting. Other option if you can't find or make one like this would be to buy tea cups and place a normal candle or tealight inside.
Flowers - I may not be the flower girl, but I have found a few flower ideas for you. Stick come oasis in a teacup and put the flowers in. Faux flowers... also known as silk flowers, may be better as you can make these up in advance, where as with fresh you would be doing them pretty close to the wedding, and you will have plenty to think about that close to the wedding.

7) Confetti, Petals and gems. These aren't really stand alone centrepieces, unless of course you decide thats all you want on your table. However add a sprinkling of these to your centrepieces to really set off the table. I added confetti to mine, and on ebay most shapes & colours can be found. From hearts to butterflies, from doves to Rudolph! Petals & gems you can get most colours on ebay also. If you wanted to make a centre piece purely with Gems, petals or confetti I would suggest purchasing 2 or 3 larger table crystals and surrounding them with either petals, confetti or smaller table gems/crystals. I haven't been able to find a picture of this as most people tend to use these three items in addition to a bigger centrepiece. 

8) Fruit. So many colours to choose from, red and black berries for a warmer wintery feel. Or lemons and oranges for that summery bright feel. Here are three ideas I think may tickle your fancy.

 Citrus fruits in square/rectangular vases. Very summery, fresh & bright.
 Berries and Oranges below a red tea light. Very warming and wintery. 

My favourite of the fruit ideas by far! Strawberries plain or dipped in white, milk and dark chocolate in a white pot/bucket. Looks so good, and will taste fantastic with a few vinos!

9) Mirror - Alone it doesn't look like much, but a mirror plate with some candles on it, reflecting the candle flame is gorgeous. Doesn't have to be with candles, I've seen them under flower arrangements and all sorts. I won't put pictures up for this one, but if you do go for a candle centrepiece I highly recommend the mirror underneath!

10) LED lights. Don't want to risk a fire with those candles? Worried your goldfish bowl will crack with the heat from candles? No problem, replace candles with LED lights. If there is water involved make sure you have waterproof ones. LED lights add an ambience to the room and can be bought in various colours & shapes. Heres 3 different LED lights I found that you could incorporate in to your centrepiece.

 LED Roses - you can buy these on Ebay in different colours, and ones that change colour. If you want them to float they have Roses that light up once in the water and they last between 6 & 12 hours.
 LED Plate - Put a martini glass or gold fish bowl on top of this to light it up.

String LED lights - Come in so many different colours, wrap around fruit, flowers, vases etc

OK Soooo.... Heres the centrepiece I had for my wedding tables: 
 This is daytime so you can see all the condiments, see below for picture minus the condiments
Night time - So what I had was goldfish bowls with pebbles and water, floating LED roses that changed colour on a mirror plate with tealights either side scattered on the table around the mirror plate is Red and Ivory butterfly confetti.

Think this post is long enough, so will do a seperate post on how to do these ideas cheap/by yourself. Hopefully it's inspired you and got those ideas flowing. :)

Thanks for reading!!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Bully for you!

I am straying from the promised wedding related blog post yet again, instead opting to blog about something that has really been playing on my mind. Bullying, I believe, is something we have all been affected by at some point in our lives. If you haven't been bullied then chances are you have been the bully... or have stood by and watched when someone else was bullied.

We all know children can be nasty. As children we have a survival of the fittest mode, and the school yard becomes the place to display our muscles, either physically or verbally. Personally I have never intentionally bullied anyone, but I know that my worst trait is that when backed in to a corner during an argument instead of backing down I will sharpen up my tongue and say whatever it takes to "win" the argument. I'm not always proud of the things I choose to say, but then again I didn't always used to be that way. I used to take it, and that's probably why I was a target for some bullies. I didn't like confrontation so if people lied about me or said mean things I would rather let people believe those things than argue back. But we all have a point where we snap. When you bully someone, you have no clue at what point they will snap or how they will snap.

It's a sad fact of life that some people, insecure or just plain evil, take pleasure in hurting people. Another sad fact of life is that although technology such as internet, social networking sites and mobiles have become an integral part of our lives and help us all keep in touch, they have also made it near impossible to escape from the bullies. Worse still they offer the bullies an anonymity that they never had before. If like me you have ever sat in your bedroom as a teenager crying at the prank phone calls, vindictive text messages and cruel voice mails you were receiving, you will know there is nothing worse than knowing it had to be a friend who you gave your number to, and yet not knowing which one has decided to play games with you. Even when you figure out who it is, you can't prove it. Technology is wonderful and yet such a curse. 

It allows people to spread lies about you further than before. It gives people a voice, even when they don't have anything nice to say. It opens the world up to trolling and griefing, which no matter how you spin it, is basically deliberately winding people up, offending them or trying to obtain a negative reaction from a person. I understand people think it's OK to just joke about, throw an insult or two around, gang up on someone as a 'laugh'... I understand but I don't agree. For example, on Facebook there is a poker game, I used to play. One day a group of boys 'griefing', trolling or whatever you want to call it, came in to the room I was playing and for a joke said things to everyone in the room to provoke a negative response. I cried myself to sleep that night... over people I don't even know calling me an ugly troll. A young man said he was going to kill himself when they made comments about his skin/acne in his profile picture. I don't know to this day if he did or not, but it haunts me that he may have.

Another sad fact of today's society is, all to often you turn on the news, open a newspaper or go online and discover another victim of bullying has taken their own life. Children of 13 & 14 are writing on their friends walls after arguments "go kill yourself, no one will miss you" and worse still some people believe it, take their own lives and end their misery while creating a whole new unimaginable pain & suffering for the family, friends and loved ones they leave behind. I know that this blog post can not solve the problem of bullying, and it won't stop every bully in the world. But if it makes even 1 reader think twice about how they treat people then I am happy I wrote this post.

I've been in situations where I have felt bullied. In school, in the work place, by 'friends', by family and by people I loved & trusted. There is nothing worse than being at the lowest point of your life and having a 'friend' mock you and laugh about the situation you are in behind your back. Or having a family member use the one thing they know will break your heart to get to you. There is nothing more heartbreaking than realising you have trusted the wrong person with your secrets, fears, hopes, insecurities and the thoughts you never shared with anyone else in the world. To find they have spread those things around, laughed at you at times of pain, and used your insecurities to make you feel so insignificant and unlovable. To hear those very people turn on you at the very moment you need them most. To take physical, emotional or verbal abuse from someone you trusted or loved is unbearable. It leaves you feeling weak and ashamed. I've been blamed for others making mistakes and telling lies, I've been blamed for saying things I never did, and I've been blamed for lying about things I would never lie about. I've made some bad choices friends wise... trusted the wrong people and learnt the hard way that not everyone is what they seem.

To anyone who is being bullied, trust me, you can and will get through it. No matter how weak or ashamed you feel, it isn't you who should feel that way. You are strong for living with your insecurities and fears without turning on someone else to make you feel better. No matter what anyone tells you, a loving heart and an honest person is far more attractive than any vindictive bully. Any 'friend' who makes you feel unworthy isn't a friend, any loved one who doesn't tell you how lucky they are to know you, isn't worth your tears. I got through it and you can to. Don't ever give anyone the power to make you feel anything less that magnificent. If you find out you trusted the wrong person, then cry over it, feel the heartache, and then move on. Move on to what you truly deserve.

For anyone that is a bully, or thinks "I haven't been the friend I should be" then think hard before you take your problems out on someone else. The person who you lash out on may well be having a worse time of things than you, they may not be able to laugh off your insults, or the feeling of betrayal. 

Bullying happens all around us. It's not just a school yard thing. Keep your eyes open and make sure you don't stand by and watch it happen. If you see someone treating your friend in a way they shouldn't, stand up and help your friend. Don't sit back and wait for them to hit rock bottom before you offer them a helping hand.

That's my ranting blog about bullying over. I've just seen and heard some nasty things being said online recently and I just hope my little rant makes even one person think twice about how they treat others and how they speak to other people. If it makes that one person think twice then I am one happy blogger.

Thanks for reading xxx