Making Guests Feel Extra Special
A Natural Approach
Choosing place cards for your big day can be a really fun, but very tricky job. Online, they sell place cards with beautiful fonts, with graphics that match your invitations, bridesmaids dresses, and even cards that come guilded and embossed.
If you’re like me, you’re making everything you can yourself for the big day. I have some tips and ideas to help.
Making your own place cards always seems so much more intimate, the idea of you hand-writing that guests name out, and thinking of them when you do it.
I love love the idea of using river stones, garden stones, anything with a relatively smooth surface for the place card.
Every stone is different, just like your guest, and with a pretty gold or metallic color to the lettering, they get jazzed up and romantic with little to no effort.
If you choose to source your own stones (which I recommend rather than buying from a craft store), make sure they’re sprayed with a clear lacquer. Stones may appear solid, but most stones are slightly porous, and you’ll need a smooth surface for the paint (or marker) to stick to.
The idea of sourcing the stones from mom’s garden, or the creek you used to play in is a nice way to approach things.
The whole day of going out and picking out the stones turns into a nice walk down memory lane. Give it a try.
Leaves are free, they’re lush in color, they add texture and a live element to the table. Live greenery adds the romance to the table-scape; greenery and lighting, always.
Try cutting some leaves right from your own garden, or take a walk down your street. You’d be surprised how many different shapes are out there. Leave also provide a naturally smooth writing surface, if you catch them in summer. For Autumn weddings, try spraying some leaves with color with that clear lacquer, add some gold font, and you’ve got a beautiful way to welcome guests to the dinner table.
Step it Up
For the Bride with a bit healthier budget, try some hand-made paper for your place cards. Buying sheets of hand-made paper, or making the paper yourself can be a wonderful way to add some texture and a romantic feel to your table scape.
We’re loving these “gold dipped” place cards, and they can get that dipped effect just by drawing on them with your gold paint pen. Handmade paper is so full of different fibers, that it soaks up ink and paint in a really beautiful way.
These water color dip dyed cards are absolutely lovely, and so so easy to make.
A small bowl with water, and a few drops of food coloring. Dip the cards, and pull out slowly to get the “ombre” effect. May need to dip a few times to get the desired shade. Handmade paper works wonderfully for this method, as the loose fibers soak up the color beautifully.
If you’ve got a little extra money to spend, or just prefer a clean and defined look, try sourcing some neat tiles from a local handy-shop. Tiles come in so many different shapes, shades and finishes now that you’re sure to find some that are oh so chic.
(Just make sure to note the texture of the face of the tile. If it’s too shiny smooth, you’re going to want to spray it with that clear lacquer before you write on them, and maybe even again after. On super slick surfaces paint markers will bleed everywhere, and regular felt tip metallic’s tend not to show up at all.)
Accent a Theme
Trying to decide on the right place-cards for your reception table or just a dinner party can be a difficult task. Tying in the place cards with the general theme of the event is a great way to narrow things down.
I don’t mean generically using mini-pumpkins in the fall, but giving the hint of the time of year, or reason for gathering is a fun way to bring your personality out on the table.
Love the colors of the egg place cards above for a causal spring wedding, or even a lovely table setting at your bridal shower or brunch. Using things you can find in everyday life, and literally “bring them to the table”.
We love the idea of using your signature cocktail as a holder for your guests place-cards. Pop the name in on a fun flag, as pictured above, or even resting the card on-top of a glass of champagne, ready for the toast.
In short, it’s nice to give em what they want, booze.
While they can become admittedly pricey buying potted individual succulents or cactus, try bulk ordering some from your local green house and planting them yourself in individual vessels. There’s a lot of opening for creativity when finding a pot for your tiny plants, the adorable ideas are endless.
As an added perk, make these your small gift for your guests. They’ll love the personal touch and being able to take something so darn cute home.
Tools of the Trade
Finding yourself some good tools to write your guests names is important to achieve the right look.
It doesn’t necessarily mean dropping extra money for a few markers, but a blend of a few tried and true products will do the job, and I usually find myself using the same tools for other projects for weddings.
(Who doesn’t need gold paint more than once?)
These are Krylon paint makers, and they give some seriously gorgeous color. The tips are felt, and chiseled to help with the DIY calligraphy look. (You don’t have to be an expert). Because they’re Krylon brand (makers of wonderful spray paint, that also comes in ROSE GOLD), the paint does wonderfully at sticking to many different surfaces.
Whenever painting with paint markers on a potentially porous or too-shiny-smooth surface, always remember to spray with the clear lacquer.
(Tip: if you spray with two coats of clear lacquer on rocks or leaves before you write on them, you can do a first try with pencil first and it will show up. Amazingly helpful if you’re not too savvy at hand lettering)
For my own rock place cards (pictured below) I used Valspar clear spray lacquer, and a couple of Artist Loft gold paint pens in “extra thin”. You could also use a gold sharpie, depending on your surface. Cheap, easy, and they got the job done quickly.
Go over to Michael’s craft store, and grab an employee. Chances are they will let you test some markers, and give you the best advice on how “liquid” you want your paint to be for the surface you’re using.