{DIY} A Chalkboard Wedding

We all remember the infamous chalkboards our teachers used in our school days. Everything we've ever learned about prepositional phrases and quadratic equations was likely first shown to us on a blackboard. These days, anything can be converted into a chalkboard for just about any purpose! The best news? Your wedding can be completely personalized with some incredibly simple DIY projects. Get ready to be inspired...

Here Comes the Bride by Selbe Lynn

Skip the Paper: Providing your guests with a program is important. Most people appreciate knowing what's coming up, but a paper program is not your only option. Find a frame that fits your wedding decor, and spray the glass with chalkboard paint. Simply write your wedding agenda on the board to keep guests in the know. This will save you printing costs, and your friends and family won’t feel guilty for pitching a paper copy. This is also a perfect way to display your menu!

Menu by Selbe Lynn

The Mini Version: You can construct personalized table numbers by creating mini versions of the DIY project above. Just purchase square photo frames and use chalkboard paint. You can simply specify table numbers or customize the frames with a quote or your wedding date. The possibilities for this project are endless.

Blackboard Wedding Table Number by Gemma Morgan

Spice it Up: Baskets or buckets can be spruced up by adding small chalkboards as labels for your wedding favors, card basket, etc. Give them a little extra pizzazz by adding raffia, flowers, or another embellishment. Small touches make the biggest difference.

Card Box by clownsrscary

Beyond Basic: If you want to go beyond the basic blackboard, consider using chalkboard paint on jars or buckets to make a statement. You can really liven up your decorations, including centerpieces, by adding this element of surprise.

Blackboard Theme by Gemma Morgan

Chalkboards are useful in the classroom, but we’d argue that they’re much more fun at weddings! Using these easy DIY tips will make your wedding day extra special. It won’t take a lot of time or effort, and your guests will chalk it up to your amazing creativity!

Choosing a Wedding Venue

Between the engagement ring and the wedding ring, there is a whole lot of planning to be done. One of the very first steps a newly engaged couple should take is choosing a venue. Why? The place you choose to get married will impact every other decision you make when planning your wedding. Here at The Plunge Project, we want to make sure you are well-informed about venue pros and cons. Let’s take a look at the various options to ensure your walk down the aisle is in the perfect location…

Marquee Wedding by David Higgs

The very first question to ask yourself is, what is most important to you? If having your entire family and circle of friends in attendance is your top priority, having a destination wedding may not be your best bet. On the other hand, if you’re envisioning a formal ceremony with a gourmet meal, you’ll need to choose a venue that can accommodate your vision (and your food). Determining the most important elements will help you to narrow down location possibilities.

Going Traditional: If you are planning to go the traditional route, the venue will most-likely have preset policies. While this may not allow for much wiggle room, it does ensure there will be few surprises. Be sure not to book a traditional wedding venue (or any venue) before you have had all of your questions answered. Common complaints come from brides who didn’t realize they couldn’t begin decorating until the morning of the ceremony, that liquor is not allowed, that wedding-goers must leave the location at a particular time, or that the venue must be left in pristine condition. To avoid additional fees, be sure to follow each and every rule. One huge bonus about going traditional? The staff will know exactly what to do, leaving very little for you to worry about.

Another note to take into consideration when planning a wedding at a traditional venue: It may take more work to create a unique experience. Consider what will set your event apart from other traditional weddings. The venue plays a big part in the overall experience.

Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel by Frank Thompson Photos

Religious vs. Spiritual: Differentiating a religious wedding with a spiritual ceremony may not be a big deal for some couples, but to others, it’s the deciding factor in choosing a location. A religious affair may align with some of the traditional guidelines above. Often, religious leaders will only marry couples in their place of worship; this is something to keep in mind if you have an idea of who you would like to officiate your ceremony. If your wedding wish is to create a spiritual vibe, consider being surrounded by nature. Does the thought of a beach or lake wedding make you giddy? Would you love to tie the knot surrounded by trees, flowers, and birds? In some cases, a well thought-out plan is in order; in others, it’s best to go with your gut.

DO-Wedding by Virginia State Parks

The At-Home Wedding A wedding at home may seem like a way to cut costs, but that’s not necessarily the case. Depending on the number of guests, rental fees can be over-the-top, and having supportive family and friends to help with the work is vital. An important step in determining whether you should have an at-home wedding is to find out if you’ll need a permit. You can contact your local city or town hall to get this information. You’ll also want to get in touch with your home owner’s insurance agency to see if you need additional coverage for your special day. Parking is an important consideration as well. While there are many questions to take into account, an at-home wedding can be intimate and unique. Don’t count it out if you can pull it off.

A Destination Celebration: One thing’s for sure... Nobody will every accuse you of having a cookie-cutter wedding if you go the destination route. Although planning a celebration from afar can be stressful, the benefits often outweigh the hassle. If you’re considering an event far from home, keep in mind who will (and won’t) be able to make the trip. Some couples choose to have a small destination ceremony and honeymoon, then host a party after they return home. One important factor to keep in mind is obtaining your marriage license. All states and countries have their own guidelines. If you have a destination in mind, you can check out their requirements at www.usmarriagelaws.com. If you’re planning an overseas ceremony, check out www.marryabroad.co.uk.

Beach Wedding by Lindsay Clark

The Totally Unique Wedding: So, you’re determined to have a wedding like no other? Let the fun begin! The most memorable weddings are often in the most unexpected places. Whether you’re dreaming of saying "I do" in your favorite sports arena, a castle, or an art gallery, you’re sure to make a statement. Because these venues don’t host many weddings, you may be able to negotiate price. Be sure the location can accommodate all of your guests, and if you plan to include booze, make sure the establishment allows it. You may also need to purchase liability insurance. If there will be non-ambulatory guests, make sure there are accommodations for them as well. It may take some extra prep, but your unique wedding will be worth the time and effort.

Before the Wedding by Jamie K Johnson

If you’re having trouble deciding on a location, ask yourself if the venue gives you the feeling you want your guests to have when they arrive. Once you do make the decision, book your wedding ASAP. If your heart is set on a specific spot and you miss out, you may feel like you settled. No bride should feel that way on her wedding day. Where you get married should be your idea of perfection! Choosing the perfect place is the first step to creating your ideal wedding. Well, after finding the perfect guy, of course...

Fun Wedding Ideas

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of attending a really fun wedding, you most likely took mental notes as to what made the event unique. While your wedding day will undoubtedly be memorable for you and your new bride or groom, unfortunately, guests may be less than impressed if the celebration is a cookie cutter version of weddings they’ve been to previously. There is no better gift than overhearing a guest say, “This is the best wedding ever!” We’ve compiled the very best ways to incorporate fun into your wedding to ensure your family and friends enjoy the day and leave with happy memories:

Pre-Wedding Duties: Let guests know that your wedding will be interactive before they even arrive. On your RSVP cards, include a line for a song request. You’re guaranteed to have an eclectic mix of tunes at your reception, which means there will be something for everyone.

Bet on the Vows: If you want to bring an element of surprise to your ceremony, play rock, paper, scissors to determine who says their vows first. This will set the tone for the entire day, letting your guests know that this party will be unlike any other!

Rock, Paper, Scissors by Lee Winder

A Sneaky Surprise: If you’ll be participating in the traditional garter toss (or even if you’re not), surprise your groom with a funny or sentimental garter that will wow him and your guests. Under her very traditional dress, one bride I know donned a Transformers garter for her husband, who had been collecting the action figures for years. It wasn’t only a surprise for the groom; it was a conversation piece. Get creative! This is a subtle way to infuse some fun into your wedding day.

Start with Dessert & Keep It Coming: Veggie platters and cheese trays are fine but totally expected. If you want guests to get a fun vibe right away, serve dessert-style hors d’oeuvres. A do-it-yourself ice cream sundae bar can be a fun accompaniment to your wedding cake, and a candy bar can double as a wedding favor. Simply provide cute boxes or bags for guests to create their own combination. Keep your crowd fed and full all night, and they’re sure to leave happy (and on a sugar high)!

The Candy Bar by MINInurse

A Different Kind of Bar: Take the stuffiness out of your first meal as a married couple by offering a food bar. Some fun ideas? Waffles or pancakes with breakfast fixin’s, a taco bar, a burger bar… the possibilities are endless!

Bring Outsiders In: To keep the party interesting, bring in a cartoonist to sketch your guests, or hire a juggler or magician to keep the audience captivated. Not only will this allow you and your bride or groom some downtime, it will keep everyone engaged, including the kids.

Speaking of Kids: Kids remember fun! I once attended a wedding with fish bowls as centerpieces. At the end of the night, the bride and groom announced that the children could each take home a centerpiece. Oh boy! Many years later, my kids still talk about that wedding surprise. Stock the kids’ table with easy-to-assemble craft kits, games, and coloring pages. These small touches will make a big difference to them.

Not Your Traditional Guestbook: There is nothing exciting about signing a traditional guestbook. Remember Polaroid cameras? If you can find a couple, have guests take photos and paste them into a scrapbook along with a personalized message. Not only will you have a one-of-a-kind guestbook; you’re guests will have created a scrapbook you can keep for years to come! Another option? Jenga blocks. Have guests write on them for a keepsake you can actually use!

Guest Blocks by MjZ Photography

Create a Wedding Day Facebook Page: Allow your guests to be wedding photographers! Add everyone who RSVP’d to a private Facebook group, and encourage them to snap candid pictures of the wedding and reception. They can then post them in the group for you and your other guests to see.

Anticipation is Everything: To avoid guests sneaking out before you cut the cake, keep them guessing. Sprinkle surprises throughout the night and plan a grand finale. A fun send-off (think sparklers or glow sticks) or a surprise fireworks display should do the trick. Don’t let the party die off; end it with a bang!

Bride and Groom by Ryan G. Smith

Your wedding celebration is sure to be memorable if you focus on the fun! By mixing tradition with a few surprising twists, you’ll create a unique experience worthy of being called “the best wedding ever!”

Wedding Invitation Etiquette

Deciding who will attend your upcoming wedding may seem like the difficult part, but many brides-to-be soon realize that sending out written correspondence can be a tedious task. Don’t get bogged down by the details. We’ll help you out of the invitation rut and give you suggestions to keep the process easy and fun!

When to Send:

  • Save-the-dates: If you are planning to send save-the-dates, aim to have them in the mail 3-4 months before the wedding. Sooner is fine, too! We promise none of your invitees will fault you for giving them plenty of notice.
  • Invitations: Traditionally, wedding invitations should be mailed out 6-8 weeks prior to the event. However, there are exceptions. If you are planning a destination wedding, or have guests who will be traveling from afar for your big day, consider sending invites out even earlier.

Wedding Invitations by UglyKitty

When to Receive: Request that response cards be returned at least 3 weeks before the ceremony. Some etiquette experts recommend 2 weeks, but an additional week will reduce the stress of having to reach out to those guests who haven’t taken the time to RSVP. A few quick phone calls should help you to pin down an estimated headcount. Don’t forget to ask invitees to send back their response cards, even if they’re late… it’s nice to have them all on-hand.

Details Matter: Be sure to address envelopes correctly to ensure there is no room for misinterpretation. If the wedding is adults-only, simply writing “Mr. and Mrs. Terry Smith” should convey the message clearly. If you are particular about who attends your wedding, consider using specific names rather than “and Guest.” This will keep the surprises at a minimum on your special day.

What to List & What to Omit: Your save-the-date card is a great place to include information that will not be on your invitation. Giving friends and family your wedding website information months in advance will allow them to follow your journey. There is, however, no place for gift registry information on any written correspondence. Registry info can be shared on your website, but it’s important not to appear that you are pleading for gifts. If you are uncomfortable adding the information to your website, rely on word-of-mouth. Your loved ones will surely ask if they are unsure of what you need.

Keep Guests In-The-Know: Your invitations should reflect your wedding style. If you’re planning a formal ceremony, choose elegant invites. To alleviate any concerns as to what guests may show up wearing, it’s perfectly okay to discreetly include, “Black Tie” or “Casual Attire” in the bottom corner of your invitation. Your guests will appreciate this info and won’t worry about showing up over (or under) dressed.

Wedding Invitations by Jonathan Vo

More often than not, invitees will ask if they have a question. Don’t let invitation stress take the fun out of your planning. Above all, enjoy yourself! While etiquette is important, a happy bride-to-be should always be top priority.

Wedding Music Suggestions

When couples think of the difficult decisions they must make when planning their wedding, music isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Themes, dresses, and cake flavors tend to take top priority, but many couples underestimate the importance of good songs on their big day.

Music sets the tone for the entire event, from pre-ceremony to reception’s end, and it takes plenty of planning to get it right. Unless you are giving your DJ or band free reign, it’s best to have a strategy. Here at The Plunge Project, we’ve compiled a list of the best ways to make your wedding day memorable with music:

Wedding Dance captured by Chewy Chua

Start with “Your” Songs. If you have a song that holds special meaning to you as a couple, be sure to find a way to incorporate it. If you’ll be taking part in the traditional first dance, consider having your song play during that special moment. If your song is upbeat, it may be fun to enter your reception to it. Many couples are opting to dance down the aisle for their recessional to their favorite dance song. This lets guests know that the party is about to begin!

Break it Up. If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of planning several hours of songs, take it one step at a time. Often, prelude music is mellow and traditional (though it doesn’t have to be). Processional music can be live, instrumental, or ceremonial. Recessional songs range from classical to fun and contemporary. Making a list of categories will help to keep your music-planning manageable.

Consider Your Crew. While your wedding day is all about you, it’s fun to incorporate songs that have meaning to your guests. Choosing favorites you’ve danced to with friends or a song your husband-to-be always belts out at karaoke night will ensure the dance floor doesn’t stay empty. To refresh your musical memory, ask friends for song recommendations. And if you’re really brave, allow for band and DJ requests. Sometimes the element of surprise can enhance the vibe of the reception.

Chicken Dance by Rona Proudfoot

Mix it Up. Choosing a variety of fast and slower numbers will keep your guests engaged. Some wedding-goers will only dance to silly songs (think of Chicken Dance or YMCA), while others prefer songs they can slowly rock back and forth to. (Hey, we don’t all have mad dance skills). It’s not difficult to find a happy medium between music you enjoy and catering to your crowd. The key is to meet in the middle.

Consider a Do-Not-Play List. If you don’t want your grandmother to be subjected to Eminem or heavy metal, be sure to enlighten the band or DJ in advance. It’s perfectly fine to ban certain songs –or artists- from your wedding.

There is No One-Size-Fits-All. It’s your day, and that means you have the final say. Don’t worry endlessly over who may be offended by your song picks or what your best friend played at her recent wedding. The soundtrack of your wedding day should be meaningful, versatile, and totally you! With that combination, you can’t go wrong!

A Little About Us

From before the aisle to after the plunge, the Plunge Project is a wedding and lifestyle blog for real women. The Plunge Project is a place for the detail-oriented woman to find ideas, inspiration and advice for everything that comes after that one little question, “will you marry me?”

From walking down the aisle, to building a home and entertaining, to keeping the spark alive (and one day even having babies…but we’re still getting there), the Plunge Project is written for the stylish, savvy, DIY loving, bargain hunting, detail-oriented, do-it-all woman who never lets a limited budget limit her style.

The Plunge Project’s mission is to provide wedding inspiration, stylish party ideas, unique DIY projects, tasty recipes and real world advice to the real woman.


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