DIY Bridal Show Business Cards and/or Favors

I just had an "Oh my gosh, you should really be proud of yourself!" moment when I saw that I had NOT neglected this blog, but had actually posted just a few days ago....go me!

...Then I realized that the most recent posting was January 4....2010. Dang. Anyway, I'm back...not really refreshed and probably quite a bit more tired than I used to be...BUT with a shiny new crafty career that I can talk your ear off about!

(Part of my new craft career is making ginormous centerpieces...but that comes later)

I'm knee deep in the wedding industry now, having taken the position of Event Coordinator for a local banquet facility. I was at a wedding and/or reception every single weekend this summer. You probably don't care about that. What you might care about is this:

I've learned things. Things that might help people who are planning wedding type things. Things that might help YOU. First thing:

How to make a stand out but relatively cheap wedding favor

As part of our (event coordinators) job, we occasionally set up a booth at local bridal shows. Rather than hand out business cards and cross our fingers and toes that it didn't get lost in the pile of business cards that was being thrown at every bride who walked through the door, we decided to make favors.

We were fortunate because we had a pile of "shooter" tubes in stock, unused and still in the shipping box, hiding in one of our offices. These normally cost anywhere from 27 cents to about a dollar each. Ours were free - score! The bad news - they were free because they were branded with someone's company logo and we had to be a little creative in hiding the labels. No worries - we've got creative covered.

I have a pretty large stash of vintage fabrics, papers, laces and ribbon. Vintage rather than antique means I got the stuff cheap. We covered the mid portion of the tubes with sheet music, lace and ribbon, at a cost of about 20 cents total for a batch of 100.

We then filled each tube with pastel colored candies. I love Jellie Bellies, but they're super expensive. We compromised and did a mix of the Bellies, some mint melts and some tiny chocolate nib things. Because we didn't plan far enough ahead, we ended up buying the candy at a local store, at a cost of about $27.00 to fill the 100 tubes. Had we ordered ahead of time, and in bulk, it would have been significantly cheaper.

We also had to get creative with the lids - we didn't have any and buying corks was cost prohibitive. Instead, we cut circles out of cardstock and used masking tape to hold them in place. Which wasn't very pretty...

So we glued fabric hydrangeas on top of each one and all of the sudden - pretty!(I always buy my flowers on sale - I think each hydrangea probably cost a penny)

We then punched holes in my business cards, took some tulle and lace and attached them to each tube. The tulle and lace? Part of my collection, so super cheap.

(Sorry about all of the grainy photos - my phone camera skills are seriously lacking. You get the idea though, right?)

Test tubes: Free
Lace, fabric, paper: 25 cents (although probably not even that much)
Hydrangeas: 1.00
Candy: $27.00

Total per favor = Approximately 29 cents

The bridal show attendees loved our business card favors and took them even if they didn't need a reception hall (which is ok - everybody knows somebody that's getting married).

You can do the same thing, super cheap, using the following tips:

* Buy tubes in bulk - "shooter" tubes ae the cheapest way to go (a Google search will bring up lots of options), but you might need to get creative creating lids. You can do it - you're totally creative.

* Check thrift stores for ribbons and lace - you'll save major money. I thrift a LOT, and in my experience, church run thrift stores always have the best selection of laces and ribbons, at unbelieveably cheap prices (remember that 20 cents part I wrote about up there?)

* If you're being crafty and frugal, and you want the nicest fabric flowers at the best price possible, go for hydrangeas. They come in bunches, pull apart easily, and you get the most flowers for your money. You can even add tiny rhinestones to the middle of each one to give them a bit more "wow!" Don't forget that most craft stores discount their flowers on a regular basis - wait for the sales and save even more.

* Hand cut favor tags from card stock and stamp the back with a pre-made "thank you" stamp. Just like the flowers, stamps are regularly put on sale and if you hold out, you can get them 50% off. If you want something a bit more personalized, this shop:

Letter Girl is one of my very favorites. I used her for my own wedding and cannot say enough good things about her service and products.

Good luck, and if you have questions, let me know - sometimes I 've got answers!