Monthly Archives: April 2012

If you have your heart set on a totally unique engagement ring, then you will definitely want to sneak a peek at the one-of-a-kind vintage pieces available from Erica Weiner Jewelry. It’s not easy to find the perfect antique ring, but Erica Weiner does the work for you, scouring markets around the world and hand-selecting jewels to share on their website. Here are just a few of my favorites from their wedding collection (I especially love the two with the Georgian diamonds)…

I wear a 1920’s cocktail ring next to my wedding band, so perhaps I’m a bit biased, but I’d say that a vintage engagement ring is such a beautiful way to express your unique style! In addition to engagement rings, Erica Weiner Jewelry also carries unusual accessories like earrings made from antique hat pins and rhinestone dress clips, as well as items priced perfectly for bridesmaid gifts. See anything that you just have to have? Which vintage pieces are your favorites?


This post sponsored by Erica Weiner Jewelry.

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Mood: jitterbug and soda pop
Palette: cherry red, whipped cream

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Top row from left: retro-inspired invitation by Ello There, cherry cocktail from Tartelette, vintage paper honeycomb bells, soda fountain kiss photo by Megan W
Row 2: cherry cupcakes by La Ciliegina Sulla Torta, simple white bouquet with red striped ribbon photo by Angela and Evan via Delightfully Engaged, lemon meringue pie from Martha Stewart, In-N-Out burger photo by Jonathan Canlas
Row 3: red dahlia centerpieces from Martha Stewart Weddings, vintage Coca-Cola bottles photo by 1313 Photography via Southern Weddings, bride and groom at jukebox photo by Megan W


The Idea:  With a fifties  theme, it makes sense to wear a short dress, serve burgers, and decorate with paper bells… just so happens those are all budget-friendly ideas!

The Paper:  Etsy is an amazing resource for all kinds of things, including charming and affordable wedding invitations. One of my favorite vendors is Ello There, and their vintage record sleeve invite would be perfect for this wedding theme (at $6.50, it costs a little more than the one pictured in this inspiration board, but for such a custom look I’d say it’s a steal!).

The Fashion:  Go retro and save! Scour vintage shops (Meg found her dress for $250 at the last minute!), sites like Posh Girl Vintage and Mill Crest Vintage, or Etsy shops like The Vintage Studio and Salvage Life. Or you could go vintage-inspired with a new dress from Dolly Couture or, if you’re splurging, Stephanie James Couture. And how about a sassy ponytail that you can DIY?

The Decor:  If you can find a fifties-style diner for your retro reception, then you’re all set! If not, dress up the space with inexpensive honeycomb bells, paper garlands, and tissue fans for a perfectly vintage look.

The Flowers:  Monochromatic arrangements deliver a visual punch, and can be created with any number of less expensive flowers. Find cylinder vases or drinking glasses on the cheap at Jamali Garden Supply or IKEA. For your bouquet, the same trick applies: bunch lots of inexpensive flowers of one color, and tie them when a bold striped ribbon.

The Food:  Burgers and fries are a great way to keep costs down, and they’re a perfect fit for this fifties-themed wedding reception. Find out if local burger joints will cater – they may even have a cute food truck to bring to your venue! Soda in glass bottles adds a touch of nostalgia, and diner-inspired desserts (like lemon meringue pie and chocolate layer cake) will be cheaper than a traditional wedding cake.

Other Details:  Small details like striped paper straws add a fun retro touch, and are only $6 for a box of 144 from Sur La Table. Something to consider is a vintage jukebox rental. In addition to a DJ or band, it’s a fun detail that your guests will love, and in place of other music, it’s a budget-friendly way to play some golden oldies.

It might not be the most formal wedding, but I do love this playful vintage look. What do you think? Want more budget-friendly ideas? Click right here!


If you like this budget-friendly inspiration board, you might also like:

Board #356: Fiesta Means Party
Board #186: Casual Dinner
Board #274: Playful!

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Mood: laid back garden party
Palette: poppy red, grass green, paper white

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Top row from left: vintage seed packet save-the-dates from Martha Stewart Weddings, photo of Saja wedding dress by Jose Villa, potted geranium and butterfly escort cards both from Martha Stewart Weddings
Row 2: Post Office with flowers photo by Meg Baisden, cocktail photo by Simply Jessie via Elizabeth Anne Designs, sweet pea bouquet and red poppy dress both from Martha Stewart Weddings
Row 3: rubber stamped invitations by Antiquaria for Oh So Beautiful Paper, geranium boutonniere by Chelsea Fuss for Once Wed, picnic lunch from Martha Stewart Weddings, strawberry buttercream cake via Whisk Kid


I’ve said it before, and it’s still true: in an alternate universe, my wedding would have been a picnic wedding. For this inspiration board, I imagined a picnic lunch for garden lovers – perfect for a spring or summer party.

The Idea:  Choose a lovely garden venue during warm-weather months, and invite guests to a relaxed picnic wedding.

The Paper:  Get creative with rubber stamps! There are some great tutorials over on Oh So Beautiful Paper of ways to use custom and pre-made stamps, and if you’re feeling really crafty, you can use them to create butterfly-silhouette place cards or save-the-dates. The other idea here that I love is to incorporate vintage seed packets into your stationery, or maybe as favors? They really set the tone for a retro-inspired garden party. A Google image search will turn up seed packet printables, or you can find the real thing on eBay or Etsy.

The Fashion:  This pretty chiffon dress by Saja is only $810, and would be especially lovely paired with a sun hat. Ruche also has a brand new bridal line full of beautiful budget-friendly dresses, and I think the Tiffany would be perfect for a picnic garden wedding.

The Decor:  Nothing makes an impact quite like a beautiful venue. Choose a local community garden, park, or perhaps the lovely backyard of a friend or family member, and let the surroundings do most of the work – if the venue is lovely on its own, you’ll save on decor. (Something else to keep in mind is that a daytime, outdoor wedding will result in photos with gorgeous natural light…)

The Flowers:  If you’re so inclined, potted flowers are an inexpensive way to decorate picnic tables – red geraniums are bright and cheery, but you can choose whatever is in season at your local nursery. Let them double as gifts and send them home with bridal attendants! You can also snip off a bloom and some leaves to create a simple boutonniere.

The Food:  Dress it up or down, a picnic reception is a unique idea that can save big. Whether you DIY or have it catered, a picnic lunch can be made ahead and doesn’t require an on-site kitchen. Set up a buffet of sandwiches, salads, and sodas, or pack individual lunch boxes or baskets with some of your favorite goodies. Here’s a great article that Jordan created for Project Wedding on how to DIY a picnic lunch. Ask friends and family to bring favorite desserts for an easy sweets buffet (this is also a great way to include people who want to help out).

Other Details:  Even if picnic tables are available, picnic blankets are nice to have around for guests who’d prefer to lounge on the grass. My mother used to paint roses on moving blankets for cheap (but attractive) picnic blankets, and Kathleen has a great tutorial on this exact idea right here, using a drop cloth from Home Depot to create a cute picnic blanket for under $7.

What do you think about a picnic wedding? Would you consider having this type of reception? For all of my previous budget-friendly inspiration boards, click HERE!


If you like this budget-friendly inspiration board, you might also like:

Board #279: Picnic in the Park
Board #277: Garden Party
Board #433: A Purple Picnic

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Mood: understated sophistication
Palette: muted pink, olive leaf, gray and white marble

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Top row from left: chic fascinator headband from Ruche, gray invitation by Martha Stewart for Crane & Co., feathered Sue Wong dress from Bloomingdale’s, photo of miniature chocolate cake by Elizabeth Messina
Row 2: olive leaf bouquet photo by Punam Bean via Style Me Pretty, photo of Lazzaroni amaretti by Katie Quinn Davies, custom chalkboard art by Custom Chalk
Row 3: my wedding photo by Elizabeth Messina, bistro tables via This is Glamorous, grissini breadsticks from Real Simple, olive branch arrangement by Saipua for Sunday Suppers


The Idea:  Focus on simple details that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

The Paper:  Depending on how many you order, this beautiful invitation from Crane & Co.’s Martha Stewart Wedding Collection could cost you as little as $2.34 each. There are a number of elegant designs in the collection that I just love, and they’re a great way to have classic Crane stationery without going over budget.

The Fashion:  This sassy feathered dress by Sue Wong is gorgeous, and only $528. Top it off with a fascinator-style headband from Ruche for just $55 – not bad for such a bold accessory!

The Flowers:  Instead of flowers, carry a bouquet of foliage such as olive branches or oak leaves – they’re unexpected, lovely, and less expensive than many floral options. Use them in bulk to decorate the ceremony and reception.

The Food:  Hosting your wedding at a favorite restaurant is a great way to get more bang for your buck. Not only will you possibly avoid a site fee (many restaurants only charge a food and drink minimum), but you can also cross rentals off your list, since tables, chairs, dinnerware and linens are likely included in the cost.

The Decor:  Choose a restaurant that you love the look of, and half of your decorating is done for you! Centerpieces can be understated (line the table with votives) and edible (fill vases or jars with grissini which you can buy for less than $5 a box, and place bowls of olives in between). Add a little something extra to your wedding reception with a small splurge: a custom chalk sign for $120 that you can hang as art in your home after the party.

Other Details:  Even if you can’t afford your dream location, see if you can take your wedding photos there. Ryan and I love Cavallo Point but knew it was way outside our wedding budget – that didn’t stop us from taking our pre-ceremony photos there! Museums, parks, and hotels are all great ideas for wedding portraits, whether you’re renting the venue or not. For favors, choose something yummy that already comes in attractive packaging, like these amaretto cookies from Lazzaroni – you can either place one at each person’s seat, or have them in a bowl by the door.


Would you consider a restaurant wedding reception? This is what Ryan and I did, and in a city like San Francisco, it was by far the best way to stretch our budget. We got the space, rentals, and food and drink, all for the same amount many venues charge just to open the doors! Needless to say, I’m a fan.


If you like this budget-friendly inspiration board, you might also like:

Board #358: Playful Minimalism
Board #282: Intimate Dinner
Board #275: Champagne Friday


Elizabeth Messina is a sponsor of Snippet & Ink.

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