Real Utah Wedding Feature: Handmade and Lovely

It is always fun to see real-life wedding features and imagine the possibilities. Although, I will secretly admit that sometimes I wonder if any of them are staged. How realistic is it to have 10 bridesmaids who all look like supermodels?  Plus, they are always in dreamy locations like a beach in Hawaii or vineyard in Napa Valley. Who couldn’t put together a gorgeous wedding in those locations?

I promise that today’s wedding feature is a real Utah wedding despite the insanely gorgeous people and dreamy backdrop. Meet Mel and Danny…


The luncheon was a picnic underneath the Groom’s tree house. Isn’t that so dreamy and romantic?

I can’t imagine a more child-friendly party environment.

Cake pop anyone?

And yes, there was even cotton candy!

There were a lot of great DIY projects that made this wedding absolutely lovely.




Photos courtesy of Abbie from little family in the big city (sister of the bride)

Setting the Mood: Lighting Inspiration

Ambiance. I love that word. All the decor, entertainment, music…it is really just an effort to create a special ambiance for your wedding day. You want the very air filled with romance, happiness, charm, beauty, celebration, and of course, love. Am I right? Well a somewhat easy way to achieve ambiance is lighting. Lighting can make everyone forget that you are actually throwing  a party in a barn or a church gym or Uncle Joe’s backyard (or wherever your reception happens to be) and can transform a space into something magical and romantic.  I’ve collected some lighting ideas ranging from easy to a little more difficult. Enjoy…

String Lights



The easiest of all: string lights. This look was achieved with some clear, round bulbs from Target. They also used clear fishing wire to provide reinforcement.


Here is a creative spin on a basic string of lights. I like how it is still decorative even when the lights are not in use. This would be a fun DIY project as would this origami lantern:
Available at this cute Esty shop



I would have picked “the candle” to be the easiest lighting method of all but many venues will restrict the use of candles due to fire hazards. Still, candles work wonders in creating a romantic ambiance. You almost can’t get through a wedding day without using them somehow.

Here is a different approach using tea lights. You can find instructions here.



Lanterns are one of my favorite ways of creating ambiance.


I came across this online vendor where you can seriously find every type of lantern in every color imaginable. Very inexpensive too!


Glowing Balloons

These glowing balloons are fun. All you need are “balloon LED lights” and some strong helium balloons. Look online or at a party store  (I did a quick search and found them here and here).
Stage Lighting
Warm pearlescent lighting creates a more dramatic look. Something like this is what you would be looking for but I would consult a professional to know how to use it properly.

This image was actually my inspiration for the post. Don’t the clear bulbs reflect the light so perfectly? This is definitely a more involved project. Find instructions here.
I could keep going (trust me – this is so much fun) but hopefully you’ve been inspired with some lighting ideas to set the mood for your big day. Still, I want more! Have you seen any creative lighting methods recently? Any recommendations or good deals you’ve found on lighting fixtures? Please share!

A Wedding Quilt


When I saw this idea on 100 Layer Cake, I knew it was a winner. I love when creative people find a way to weave their guests into the wedding in a fun, meaningful, or even useful way. I have a photo album that our guests signed as they entered the reception, but I’ll admit that I don’t look at it very often.

This bride had each guest send in a piece of fabric along with their response cards (although I think you could also request that they bring a piece of fabric to the wedding if you are not sending out response cards). The result…


What a great idea! Especially if you like to quilt or know someone who does. If this look is a little too crazy for you, adding a small square of each fabric piece to a white background would create a more streamlined look. In the end you would have a wedding keepsake that each guest helped to create with little or no expense on their part.

This idea could also be adapted for a bridal shower. My husband’s extended family (aunts, cousins, etc.) threw me a shower where we spent the whole time tying a quilt that I still use on my bed. It was a great way to pass the time and get to know each other without awkward party games or long pauses with nothing to do.

I would end the post there but this wedding is so visually stunning I can’t resist including some more eye candy…


Yes, that is a double rainbow. Are you hoping for rain on your wedding day now?


I suddenly wish I had a barn at my reception!



Brazilian Wedding Ring Tradition

I know that I am about to tread into dangerous territory with this post. It seems that if there is anything a bride has a strong opinion about, it is the wedding ring she will wear for the rest of her life. Sometimes those opinions are very affordable for the groom and sometimes those opinions result in years and years of paying it off (or saving up). I completely understand why a bride would desire a particular style or size ring, but sometimes the bottom line makes that “dream ring” unrealistic. If you are looking at such a bottom line, consider the wedding tradition adopted by this beautiful couple, Marcos and Metta. It is both affordable and, in my opinion, meaningful and romantic!


In her own words…

On rare occasions I will go out with my flashy cubic zirconia “bling” ring that I bought for $2.50 on clearance at the mall, but every other day of my life I am a wedding band kind of a girl!  When my husband Marcos was planning to propose and called my mother to ask if she knew my ring size, she hinted to him that I wasn’t exactly the type of girl to wear a diamond, but he was already hatching plans of his own.  In Marcos’ home country of Brazil, traditions around wedding rings are different than in the United States.  When a man proposes, he presents his fiancé with a wedding band with his name engraved beautifully on the inside, and he in turn wears a band with her name engraved on the inside.  During their engagement, the couple wears the rings on the right hand, and on the wedding day rings are switched to the left.  Shortly after the wedding, the couple also has the wedding date added to the engraved names on the insides of their rings, to signify the date of their union.  This tradition has matched beautifully with our marriage, and I love the simplicity of my meaningful wedding band.  Maybe by the time our 50th wedding anniversary rolls around I will want a diamond, but every day until then, I will be a wedding band kind of a girl!

Having a meaningful and beautiful wedding ring doesn’t have to leave you drowning in debt. Or maybe you just aren’t a diamond kind of girl.  Just adopt this Brazilian tradition as your own and you will always have a sweet and simple reminder of your marriage commitment.

The Perfect Wedding Meatball Recipe

Generally, serving meat at a reception may not be considered the most affordable option, but if you’re willing to add a little extra expense to your food budget, these baked meatballs will be a hit with your guests. I always receive a lot of compliments when I make these and they are so easy! The addition of spinach and Parmesan cheese gives a fresh, sophisticated taste and makes for a classier, “wedding worthy” meatball in my opinion. I would recommend preparing these ahead of time and then flash freeze so they keep their shape. Admittedly, this recipe is not my own but is from the Food Network. I will include the original recipe and add a few of my own tips.


  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground lamb
  • 1/2 pound ground round
  • 5 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs, divided

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the pork, lamb, ground round, spinach, cheese, egg, basil, parsley, garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs. Using your hands, mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Use immediately or place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Place the remaining 1/4 cup of bread crumbs into a small bowl. Using a scale, weigh meatballs into 1.5-ounce portions and place on a sheet pan. Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds, roll in the bread crumbs and place the meatballs in individual, miniature muffin tin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

A few pointers:

I have never been able to find ground lamb at my grocery store and I can’t imagine it would be very affordable. I always just leave it out and use extra ground pork. The bread crumbs are optional. I also have never used a scale to measure these individually but I think if you make them about the size of a ping-pong ball then they will cook quickly and make a great bite-size addition to your buffet table.

To flash freeze, just place the raw meatballs on a cookie sheet with wax paper underneath (or grease it really well so they don’t stick). Make sure they aren’t touching each other. Place in the freezer for a few hours or until solid, then transfer them to a freezer safe ziploc bag to store. This will ensure that they keep a nice round shape while still allowing you to store a lot in the freezer. Make sure you thaw completely before baking.

Paper Flower CRAZE!!!!

You want beautiful flowers everywhere at your wedding, but don’t have the thousands of dollars to do it? Luckily for you, paper flowers are the hottest item right now! They are not only absolutely affordable and easy to make-but will make that statement at your wedding you are looking for. Depending on the papers and style of your flowers, you can have anywhere from a sophisticated simple look, to a colorful wild look. Your imagination, not your budget will be your only constraint.


So, where to start, and what types of flowers should you make to get the theme you want. As I see it there are two ways to go when making paper flowers…

• crepe paper flowers
• stiff, decorative craft paper flowers

Tissue/crepe paper flowers will give a more natural, soft look and would work great in more formal settings. Craft paper can give you a look as versatile as the paper you choose. It generally is more of a hip, fun look, although could be transformed into almost anything. Let your creativity guide you! This is one way to make this wedding uniquely “you” in a way nothing else could. Lets look at the two types of paper flower fun.

Crepe Paper Flowers
To get a good idea of the time and supplies to make these flowers, has countless ideas and tutorials. You can go to her website and just type in “paper flowers, or here are links to instructions and pictures from her website…

I heard a paper artist once say she collected vintage crepe paper for her flowers. It will be exciting to shop and gather the papers you will use.  I bought a book on called “Tissue Paper Flowers” by Klutz that was great.  They are pretty pricey, but buy a used one for $6-you won’t need the sample paper, just be sure it includes all the patterns!

Decorative Paper flowers
Before you read one word further, click this link to see the amazing possibilities of paper flowers.

All I can say is WOW!!! I made some of these flowers for a room decoration along a ceiling shelf, and it was F-U-N!!!!!! Scissors, a glue gun, and paper are the only supplies you will need! It took me a while to figure out how to bend the paper without ripping it… but after a few attempts, my flowers kept getting better and better until overcome with the coolness of these flowers, I couldn’t stop myself! I got nothing else done that day.

Here is another good website on how to make these flowers, some cool examples, and my humble attempt at the bottom.,0,7#0


SO, get some crafty friends together, block out a couple of days, rent some chick flicks and have FUN!!!! The possibilities are endless, and you CAN have the look you want of flowers everywhere at your wedding.

Below are some other ways to decorate with the paper flowers.

Who knows where to get good paper?

A Call for Guest Writers

Hey Friends of Affordable Utah Weddings.  As many of you know there haven’t been very many new posts lately.  Unfortunately our primary writer, Jess, has been facing some health challenges lately and is unable to write posts right now.

For that reason we are going to change things up for a while.  We are putting out a call for guest writers. We are looking for the experts and pros of the Utah wedding scene. Are you a vendor of affordable wedding cakes that would like to get your name out?  We would love to publish some of your articles about new wedding trends.  What about wedding apparel, decorating tips, etc.  We would love to get in touch with you.

If you are interested in writing for Affordable Utah Weddings, please contact us at

How-To: DIY Cake Plate

Image via Max and Ellie


Image Via Max and Ellie
Image Via Max and Ellie

Okay lovelies. I know we can’t all spend a ton on our wedding day, but we still want it to be magical. What’s the answer? DIY.

I know the time leading up to your wedding can be the busiest time of your life. Have no fear. There are plenty of quick and easy projects you can do to make it your own. One of my personal favorites is the DIY cake plate courtesy of Max and Ellie. If you want a chic display for all the yummy goodies on the big day but don’t want to spend a couple hundred dollars on chargers, here’s your solution:

  • Go to any second-hand store and look for plates. They don’t have to be very cute, but if they have a nice, raised design or a scalloped edges or something interesting going on along the edge, it’ll turn out really cute. Also look for candlesticks. Make sure they have a nice, fat bottom and a flat top. I didn’t pay attention to the tops when I bought mine, and one of my trays is wonky because the top of the candlestick wasn’t flat to begin with. None of your pieces have to match at all!
  • If you don’t already have spray paint, go buy some in the color of your choosing. I bought a bunch of Krylon for $3.27 a can at Walmart.
  • Remove the price tags and all of that nasty adhesive with Goo Gone, then wash all of your plates and candlesticks in hot, soapy water. Let them dry.
  • I skipped this step, but it probably would have been helpful, which is why I’m including it: using a measuring tape or ruler, find the center of the bottom of your plate and mark it. I’m a notorious eyeballer. I never measure anything if I don’t have to. And pinning when I sew? Let’s just say I’ve had to pick out many a crooked seam. Ahem.


  • Get some really tough glue. I LOVE E6000. Seriously, I use it all the time. Crafts, home repairs, you name it. Anyway, carefully squeeze a thin line of glue all the way around the top of your candlestick. With your plate face-down, place your candlestick (glue-side-down) on the plate. Let it all sit, untouched, for the amount of time prescribed by the glue bottle. If you want to make a tiered cake plate, make several individual cake plates and glue them together after the initial application is dry.
  • Take your cake plate into the backyard, put it on something like an old cardboard box that you don’t mind covering with paint, and spray away. Continue adding coats of paint until you like how your cake plate looks. Let the paint dry completely before touching
  • If you want to put food directly onto your plate, you need to seal it with something, but I didn’t have any luck with that, so I can’t help you there! The clear acrylic I put on my lovely turquoise stand made the paint blister. My plan is to use my stands for things like cupcakes where the food doesn’t directly touch the cake plate, or to put a cardboard cake circle or a doily or something between the cake stand and the food.


Tip: For some added charm, get some pearl or lace trim to embellish the edges. Get creative.


Hope this “How-To” was useful!


Check out Max and Ellie’s blog to see these instructions with step by step pictures:

And their adorable Etsy shop:

The Nearlywed & The Newlywed

Hello all you Beautiful Brides To Be!

My name is Alyssa, my friend Kristie and I are going to be guest posting on here for a little bit, as the “Nearlywed & Newlywed.”

Just a little about us so you can get a feel for where we’re coming from and then we can get down to business:

I’m the “Newlywed.”

I just barely married Mr. Right at the beginning of May and we had two weddings, to accommodate both my family back East and the hubby’s family here in SLC (2 ceremonies and 2 receptions!) So I feel that I come fully armed with tips for both simple and formal weddings.

Kristie is the “Nearlywed.”

She and the man of her dreams are planning a wedding mid- July and is right in the middle of all this wedding planning fun- so she’s got a few tips and tricks up her sleeve as well!

We hope that we’ll be able to offer some helpful information including what we’re going to call THE “How-To’s” and “Who’s Whos” of wedding planning in Utah.

Please feel free to leave comments and opinions about what you want to hear about & how we can be better at what we’re doing! <3

Sorry for the Lull :(

Hey you brides to be and wedding vendors-

Just wanted to let you guys know that I have to take another little break from blogging :(  I hate that I have to, but my health is just not cooperating! (if you happen to know anyone who’d like to fill in and write some posts please please please send their info my way!  I’d love to keep this site going while I’m unable to write)

Hopefully I will be up and running with more blog posts soon (cross your fingers for me!) but until then please take advantage of my previous posts (you can find them lists by category on the right hand side of this page) and if you have any specific questions, check out our Utah Wedding Forum.  You can write your specific questions there and get answers from other local brides, vendors and on the days when I feel healthy enough- me! (I’ll try to check it when I can, even if I’m not doing posts yet)

I hope that allows you to find all the resources you’ll need in time for your wedding.

Happy wedding planning!

Mrs. Dresses Giveaway!

When I first heard about Mrs. Dresses I remember thinking- what a great idea- why didn’t I think of that!? Located in Logan, Utah, Mrs Dresses is a home based wedding gown rental service.  They can set you up with a beautiful gown for your wedding day or, if you’ve decided to purchase your gown you can work with this guys to rent it out after the big day and make a little money to help you and your new hubby get started- great idea if you ask me!

And what’s better, to make your wedding gown rental a little more affordable Mrs Dresses is offering a few of our lucky readers $100 off their rental fee!  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post.  You can enter once a day if you like- the winner will be selected on Friday, April 2, 2010.