February...the month of love. There's Valentine's Day, of course. But for my husband and I, February 25th is also our wedding anniversary. My husband was still a graduate student at the time (and had been a perpetual student of some kind for 15 years at that point), so we didn't have much in the way of a budget for a wedding (have you seen the cost of weddings nowadays?? My goodness.). We decided to keep it super small and very simple, and ended up putting our wedding together in five weeks. Five weeks! Thank goodness it was only our immediate family, plus a friend of ours who took photos and a close friend of his to act as his best (wo)man (he's an only child; I had my twin sister act as my matron of honor).
|(My hubby is not actually shorter than me; I'm standing on a stair here and wearing 3 1/2 inch heels.)|
In my attempts to keep our costs as low as possible, I managed to put together my entire wedding ensemble--dress, shoes, veil, accessories--for less than $250. I had originally planned to just wear a nice dress--I didn't think I could find a wedding dress, have it altered, and stay within an impossibly modest budget, all in less than 5 weeks. And then I found a *gorgeous* dress for $99 on a clearance rack at David's Bridal and it was petite-sized and it fit just about PERFECTLY, so I didn't need to do a lick of hemming (thanks to my heels) or altering. I altered/decorated a $20 pair of fuchsia satin heels that I found at Nordstrom Rack with some rhinestone pendants that cost all of $10. I made my own birdcage veil and flowered headband for less than $25. I even quickly made the fathers' and groom's boutonnieres and mothers' corsages from ribbon, tulle, feathers, silk flowers, and vintage earrings that I already had on hand.
Funny fact--the only thing I actually paid full price for was my jewelry! How ironic is that? I'm a jewelry maker and that's the one accessory I didn't make. Unfortunately I was really sick while we were putting everything together. I mean really sick. I came down with a really terrible case of mono in January (who gets mono in their 30s? Of all the poor timing.) and it took me several months to recover, so I was still one sick puppy for the big day in February. I really wanted to make something special and unique, with high quality materials and intricate wire working...and I was stressing so much about time and money and I felt absolutely horrible and had zero energy for anything other than simple tasks. So I finally gave in and bought my jewelry instead of stressing about making the perfect pieces to go with my ensemble. I kept it really simple and decided not to wear a necklace since my dress had some really beautiful and delicate bead embroidery at the top of the bodice, as well as a lovely ruffle across the entire top of the bodice, so all I wore was a gorgeous pair of long, dangly, crystal-encrusted earrings and they were just what my dress needed.
|(This is the best close-up I can find of my earrings, the headband and the bead embroidery on my dress.)|
Looking back though, I think a necklace would have been really nice, and the best way to keep the cost and stress down would have been to consider some other more easily make-able styles, look for sales on supplies, and perhaps not worry about using high quality semi-precious stones and precious metal wire. I don't think anyone besides myself would have actually noticed if the pearls I used were glass rather than real pearls, or the wire was coated German copper rather than sterling silver, or if the beads were glass instead of crystal...you get the idea. But it would have still been special and unique and one of a kind!
So today I want to give you some ideas for bridal necklaces you can make yourself and on a budget. What a wonderful fashion era we're in right now where major bling is fully acceptable for everyday wear...and these styles translate beautifully to wedding accessories! You can tailor the style, color(s), size, etc. to perfectly match your dress, your bridesmaids' dresses, the mother of the bride dress, or any other dress you want. They can be frugal or expensive, depending on the quality of the materials you choose to use. But best of all, they'll quickly become treasured heirlooms since they are handmade especially for your amazing day!
Necklace Style #1: Vintage Modern
I've posted several vintage-style yet modern statement necklaces (see here, here, here, and here), and any of these would make for a fabulous bridal piece. They'll be even more special if you have vintage or heirloom family pieces (like the ones I had from my grandma) to use!
|DIY instructions for this necklace here.|
Necklace Style #2: Edgy and Unique
I've seen many brides going for a modern, edgy feel with their wedding dresses lately, and an edgy, unique necklace is the perfect way to complement this look. Here's a fabulous textured chains-and-pearls look.
|This necklace is so much more sparkly in person! The photos just do not do it justice.|
|This necklace can be made following the same techniques in this tutorial, or it can be found here.|
Necklace Style #3: Simple and Classic
Maybe you want the focus to be on your dress and to keep your jewelry more simple. Simple doesn't mean it can't still be beautiful. Try a classic look like this one--you could use colored beads like in the photo below, or use pearls instead to keep with a more traditional look. And you can choose focal pieces as plain or colorful as you want--the style is totally up to you!
|This necklace can be made following the same techniques as in this tutorial, or it can be found here.|
Necklace Style #4: Romantic (Contemporary) Victorian
This necklace reflects the beautiful drape and elegance of Victorian jewelry, while remaining modern with the heavier chain and dark hematite color. You could use any style and color of chain you want here and pick rhinestone focal pieces that best reflect your dress' style (and even color, if you choose to go with something other than clear rhinestone pieces). This necklace has such a romantic, feminine feel to it while at the same time remaining so modern!
|No tutorial for this necklace yet, but the technique is fairly simple. Necklace can be found here.|
|This Victorian necklace also features a beautiful clasp, which is a must if you'll be opting for a pretty updo with your hair!|
Necklace Style #5: Industrial yet Feminine
I love love LOVE this necklace. I love the mix of metals, I love the bling--both on the focal pieces and up near the clasp, and I love the feminine feel of the beautiful flowers paired with the industrial look of the mixed metals of the chains! Adding multiple chains on either side really gives this necklace presence without feeling too heavy or overdone. This mostly-metal necklace style would be gorgeous with a dress that has metallic embroidery or other metallic accents (or maybe is metallic in color). To tailor this necklace to your look just change up the chains for some in whatever metallic tones work best with your dress' embroidery, accents, color, etc.
|This necklace can be made by following the same techniques in this tutorial and adding extra chains on either side.|
Necklace Style #6: Sparkle and Shine
If you're looking for some major bling rather than intricate detail, this is a great way to go. This pretty charm-style necklace is more about sparkle and shine and less about any particular style. The first necklace pictured below is a lovely mix of crystals, glass drops, and semi-precious stones wire-wrapped and dangled from two strands of heavy gold chain. You will certainly be noticeable in this necklace! It's a great way to add some flair to a simpler dress. Or, choose beads and crystals in your wedding colors and make these necklaces for your bridesmaids. You could even do this with various sizes of pearls, or a mix of crystals and pearls, for a more traditional look.
|This is a simple charm-style necklace. Several good tutorials for wrapping triangle beads, briolettes, and making bead dangles can be found here. Necklace can also be found here.|
|While this necklace isn't exactly the same, you can see how using loads of pearls instead of crystals can make for another beautiful charm-style necklace. This necklace was blogged about here.|
|Here's another version of a charm necklace in shades of white and silver. This necklace is also made with two layers of chain (like the first necklace), but the charms are carried up the sides of the necklace for a fuller look. Necklace can also be found here.|
And if you've made it all the way through this extra long post, I have a special deal for you! To celebrate the month of love, I'm offering readers 20% off everything in my shop through the end of February! Just use the code FEBRUARY20 at checkout. Happy shopping!
Would you consider making your own wedding jewelry? If you're already married, what sort of jewelry did you wear for your wedding day? I'd love to know.
Linking up with:
Your Whims Wednesday at My Girlish Whims
We Did It! Wednesday at Sew Much Ado
Show & Tell at Gingerly Made
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest
The Party Bunch at 30 Handmade Days
Link Party Palooza at Tatertots and Jello
Think Pink Sunday at Flamingo Toes
Take-A-Look Tuesday at Sugar Bee Crafts