Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Signs of Spring- Budget Friendly!

Anyone from the DC area knows Spring is finally on its way (whether its chilly or rainy.. or even the occasional perfect weather!) in Mid March to early April when we start hearing a buzz about the Cherry Blossom Festival downtown. The flurry of tourist activity is usually around the official festival and happenings, oftentimes peak bloom. However, you don't have to be there for the festivities to take in the beauty and calming nature the cherry blossoms bring!

I remember the first time my parents let my friends and I go alone down to see the blossoms We were teenagers- got up early, drove south from Frederick, parked at Shady Grove, and took the metro into the city. It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning and the tidal basin was still quiet- the crowds had not yet arrived. I don't recall us ever appreciating silence more than we did that day. You could hear the water hitting the edges, and feel a cool morning breeze. By midday the sun was stronger, but it felt incredible- after such a long winter, we were finally ready for some sunshine!

Anyway- what a perfect nature scene to get inspiration for a wedding! Of course, it's been done before- but why not make it your own? I'm a power shopper, and always looking for a great deal- so I've dedicated this blog to be a source of affordable luxe and decor.

So you're using cherry blossoms as your inspiration, but not as interested in the asian decor? Try something different! Here are my finds:

Stationery-sets the tone- give your guests a sneak peak

This quantity of 50 set from Target.com retails fro $34.99- that's less than a dollar per invite! With this kit, you will print your own, so you can have some fun with your font choices. It's your wedding- so not just any font will do. Use a matching pink or red font to coordinate with the blossoms. Check out dafont.com for some fun free fonts to personalize and give your invites a fresh look.

Throw in the matching thank you notes ($12.99 for 50) and your stationery is set!

Too simple for you? add some pink or red backing to your invite for a more polished look. Check out paperandmore.com for some "Rose Pink" metallic text paper- to add a bit of shimmer- $19.99 for 100 sheets.

Little details- have a budget for favors? Why not end the night with a sweet treat:

Chocolate Cherry Truffles, like these from Indulgeinchocolate.com. They come in packages of 16 or 25, but a tiny box of 2 will be just enough for your guests.

To save $$, check out your local bakeries.
Here in Alexandria, Bittersweet makes amazing treats- send your guests on their way with a miniature version of their Black Forest Brownie Cupcake. Their description sums it up, "Fudgy chocolate brownie filled with tangy cool cherry and topped with a sweet cherry mousse and chocolate shavings - how could you not love this one?" In this case, just one mini cupcake is all they need!

As you may have guessed it from my company name- I LOVE ribbon and creating perfect pretty packages! My take is both pretty and functional. Having a plated meal? Let your favors double as escort cards- and cues to the waitstaff as to who ordered the beef,chicken, fish, etc!

I like these boxes from Invitations by Dawn ($22.95 for 25)

They are shipped flat, and are easy to assemble. Let's say you've got 3 plated choices. let your ribbon color dictate. For this event, I like the bark, blossom and white boxes- they are a nod to the branches and blossoms of our decor. We'll put two truffles in each box, and wrap with a complimentary ribbon. (bark will get blossom pink and white ribbon; blossom will get bark and white ribbon; white box will get bark and blossom pink ribbon). We will attach a gift tag/ escort card indicating where guests are sitting- and the color of their box will alert the waitstaff of their entree choice. Voila!

Hopefully this gave a glimpse for you, to be off and running with your own spring decor!

Outside the Box Moment-
Thinking you want the cherry blossoms- but with an even more natural color palette? Crate and Barrel has created the whimsy of the blossoms into a soothing olive green runner-Use crisp white linens. Guest tables could be a soft beige- and the sweetheart table/head table could be crisp white with this beautiful runner. oh the possibilities...


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