What do you do when the bride would like an elegant wedding and you are trying to work within a tight budget? You roll up your sleeves and do-it-yourself, that’s what! Our bride fell in love with the look of mercury glass vases but, at $20 to $80 apiece, that just wasn’t affordable. Read on to see how we gave her the look of mercury glass, lavish centerpieces and a lovely bridal bouquet for less than $300!
Searching the internet, I found painting techniques to lend a mercury glass look, but they were for the INSIDE of a vase. Fearing that the paint might come off in water or ruin the flowers, I decided to try a painting technique on the outside of our glassware.
Although time consuming, the following painting technique worked great! Practice on some glass that is not destined for the wedding first until you get the coverage recipe down that you want. Empty Starbucks bottles worked well, and we ended up using them too in decorating for the wedding!
HOW – TO’s (I recommend doing this outside or in a well-ventilated room)
Mix 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of water in a mister/sprayer bottle. Set the sprayer and test it until you get a fine mist that beads up on the glass. Believe it or not, this is the trickiest part! Mist the entire piece. (I found it easier to place the glassware upside down to start, then turned it over for the second and third sprayings)
Now, lightly spray over the entire piece of glass with KRYLON “Looking Glass” Silver spray paint.
Time drying for 1 minute, then lightly dab the entire piece with a rag (I used an old tee shirt cut into pieces)
Let the vase dry thoroughly, then repeat this process, layering until you get the effect you want. I did three rounds on each piece, but you can do more if you want a darker mercury glass look.
For the luxurious look of multiple vases on the tables, I gathered large vases from garage sales and the Goodwill and bought medium vases at Michaels, plus ten glass salt and pepper shaker sets at the Dollar Store. It took me about one and a half cans of the Krylon Looking Glass silver spray paint to do three coats on these forty pieces of glass. Timing each piece makes it difficult to do this assembly-line style, so I spent two full afternoons getting this project done.
You can decorate your vases well ahead of your event. Then, two days before the wedding, we collected the flowers: 100 cut Zinnias from a local farm, $47 in cut flowers from a local discount produce/flower store (Produce Junction), $68 in pre-arranged white flower bouquets from Costco and $80 for fancy roses (for the bride’s bouquet), seeded Eucalyptus bunches and white Lisianthus from a nearby florist. In addition, I cut buckets of Limelight Hydrangeas, Rudebeckia triloba, Bronze Fennel, tall Sedum “Matrona”, Sea Oats, Baptisia, Dusty Miller, Ferns, Rosemary and Ivy from our garden. All the flower stems were re-cut and placed in buckets of water containing some florist preservative.
It is important to select a color scheme before buying your flowers. Our bride had printed out pictures of pastel bouquets with a “gathered in the garden” look, so we kept our main centerpieces light and full with added color in the smaller vases. You have to be flexible to save money. We went out hoping for the best and bought what was seasonal. Finding the blue delphiniums was a pleasant surprise and they were the crowning glory of our arrangements! After arranging, the vases were kept in a very cool, air-conditioned room in open boxes. The corsages, boutonnieres and Bridal Bouquet were placed in the refrigerator.
Here’s a break-down of all the wedding flower expenses:
$5.00 (9 large vases bought at garage sales and Goodwill)
$10.00 (10 medium-sized vases from Michaels)
$10.00 (10 glass salt & pepper shaker sets from the Dollar Store)
$20.00 (2 cans of Krylon Looking Glass silver spray paint from the hardware store – with a coupon!)
$10.00 (100 cut zinnias from a local farm)
$47.00 (15 single-type bouquets of assorted flowers from Produce Junction – Asiatic Lilies, Delphinium, Daisy Chrysanthemums, white & pale yellow Carnations, Pink Alstromeria)
$80.00 ( 7 fancy fragrant roses, two big bunches of seeded Eucalyptus and one bunch of white Lisianthus)
$68.00 (pre-arranged white flower combos from Costco)
$ 0.00 (flowers gathered from the garden)
$250.00 total cost for table centerpieces, extra bouquets for the venue, Bride’s Bouquet, a “Toss-a-way” Bouquet , 5 ladies corsages and 5 men’s boutonnieres
I think you will agree that our bouquets are every bit as nice as those from a fancy florist, at a fraction of the cost! A little planning and elbow grease can save you a lot of money without sacrificing or settling for humdrum wedding flowers! And, we gave the bouquets to special guests who were thrilled to get them! Easy clean up for these two diy florists!
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