Vintage DIY wedding on a budget

Isn't that beautiful?

Milk glass display, image by Steve Cridland at

Planning for your big day is stressful – and money can be one of the biggest stresses around. We talked with DIY expert, Shannon Quimby, to get her insights on creating a vintage DIY wedding on a budget. Join us as she walks us through the major considerations and you’ll be on the road to success in no time!

Top tips for reducing wedding costs

Shannon recommends you call in reinforcements first! DIY means just that – do it yourself. You don’t want to be hurrying or stressing out over details – call in the support network. That may be your girlfriends, your mom – anyone who is happy to help and easy to communicate with.

After you’ve assembled your helpers, determine how far you want to go with the DIY components. You can create details from place settings, napkin rings, to menu boards – but it just depends on what your time frame looks like. Block out the amount of time you’ll need on the calendar, giving yourself plenty of wiggle room so you’re not rushing.

The key thing to remember: create a DIY wedding because you want to, because you’re looking forward to not just planning – but actually building memories with friends and family as you personalize your wedding. Don’t do it because you just want or need to save money.

Love the way that pink pops!

Stack decor, by Aniko Productions photography at

Think realistically. As you start to define your scope – think about who can help and, more importantly, who is best to help with your different tasks. Be clear with what your expectations are. Precision is key because someone else’s interpretation of your vision may vary. Example pictures are very helpful. But to this point, be willing to give up a little bit of control too. Recognize that each item will look a bit different because they’re made by hand.

If you decide to go down the DIY path, the rewards are great! The event will seem even more special because things are made from the heart. With strong communication, consistent planning, and a trusting attitude toward your helpers – your DIY wedding will come together brilliantly!

Great DIY wedding ideas


Shannon has been helping brides make their unique events possible for years and she’s got some really great DIY wedding ideas that she’s sharing with us! Her favorite item: books. There are so many creative ways a bride can re-purpose books on her big day. Perhaps the simplest is to take apart individual pages (sheet music works well for this too) and tape them together on the backside into a long strip. Take an edger stamp to make a patterned edge and you have an instant table runner. You can expand this idea into place mats, name tags – even invitations. Books can be stacked for plate risers, replacing renting/buying cake plates. Quotes from books can be used for place settings as well. Books are cheap and plentiful – you can always get these at a great price!

So simple and so lovely!

Table runner and edge treatment, image by Aniko Productions photography


In addition to book pages, a roll of paper can become a great design accent. Encourage your guests to sign their paper tablecloths and create a scrap book from these family signatures. You can combine the two concepts with a butcher block paper table cloth and a book page table runner.

The important thing to remember with DIY is to maintain balance. In our paper examples, you can dress it up with beautiful china. Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns – find stunning pieces at the flea market or thrift shop and build your place settings from there.

Flower pots

Metal flower pots are another great DIY asset. They are so inexpensive and versatile. You can paint them, turn them upside down and use them for plate risers, or use them as vases. Consider your color palette and you can have different shapes/objects look like they belong to the same family with a simple hue selection.


Fabric is another highly useful component for your DIY wedding. You can drape them over a chair, gather the excess, and tie that with a rubber band. Tie a ribbon around the band, to disguise it, and pull a jar through the gap between the excess. Add greenery to the jar or tie a name tag around it to further personalize it. This look is one of Shannon’s favorites and she said you’ll never hear the end of the compliments! If you want to incorporate more family history into this idea, have your friends and family bring a table cloth to the shower and use those clothes as some of your chair coverings. The draping won’t damage them and it will add a nice, personal touch to the day.

depression glass and tablecloth table

Image by Aniko Productions photography,


Window and picture frames round out the wedding checklist. Use a large frame for your menu board. Simply apply chalkboard paint and you’ll have a great piece that can even find a place in your home after the wedding. Shannon recommends that you follow a specific process with this kind of paint. You will need more than one coat, but once you are done painting let it dry. Next, put a bit of chalk on a rag or eraser, rub it along the painted surface and wipe it off. This seals the paint job. If you don’t take this crucial step, you won’t be able to successfully erase your menu notes.

Shannon’s picks for Portland, Oregon wedding rentals

Something Borrowed
Shannon loves how great they are to work with, how diverse their selection is, how many different styles they carry, and how helpful they are when it comes to accommodating budgets.

Grand Marketplace
With about 10,000 SF of space – it’s easy to see how any bride can find everything she’ll need for the big day.

Cause A Frockus would like to thank the amazing Shannon Quimby.

For our brides: Are you planning a vintage DIY wedding on a budget? What are some of the components you’re incorporating into your special day?

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