Most wedding ceremonies are short and sweet, so why spend a majority of your money decorating a place where people are most likely only going to be for a half hour or so?
If you want pew bows, they can be made quite inexpensively, but don’t decorate each pew. Decorate every other one for the first 10 rows or so. Ribbon for bows can get quite expensive, so doing every other pew is the frugal thing to do.
Speaking from experience, initial bow making can be extremely frustrating. Give yourself plenty of time and practice when you start this craft. While it may take a few tries to finally master it, once you do, you’ll start cranking out the bows fairly quickly.
Below are instructions for two different types of bows that can be layered for a more elaborate effect:
You will need approximately 4.5 feet of 1” wired ribbon, approximately 4.5 feet of 6” tulle (more or less depending on how long you want the tails), craft wire, wire cutter, scissors.
The Tulle Base:
- Lay the ribbon horizontally. Find the middle of your strip of tulle and pinch together with your left hand.
- With your right hand, pinch the tulle on the right side about 8” away from the middle.
- Bring the second pinched spot to the center, moving underneath. This should form half of a bow. Pinch together the middle with your right hand.
- Repeat the same thing with the left side, only this time instead of bringing the tulle underneath to form the bow, bring it over the top.
- You should now have a simple bow. Secure the middle by twisting craft wire around it.
If you’d like to stop here, hot glue a silk flower in the middle to finish this simple project.
However, if you want your bow more ornate, follow the next set of instructions to add a second layer.
The Second Ribbon Layer:
- Lay the wired ribbon vertically on a table or flat surface, moving away from you. Take the end closest to you, bring it up and then tuck it in to form a small loop. Pinch the loop in place. This will be the middle of the ribbon.
- Just after where you are now pinching, twist the longer end of the ribbon 180 degrees. Keep the twist tight and “hide” it underneath the middle loop. Grab the long piece of ribbon about 6” away from the middle. Then form a loop by bringing the ribbon underneath and back to the center. Pinch together.
- Twist the long piece of ribbon again just after the center pinch. Make an equal sized loop on the other side using the same technique.
- Continue making equal-sized loops that rest directly underneath each other by using the same technique. Stop when you have three on each side.
- Secure the middle with craft wire and leave some extra wire in order to attach it to the tulle base.
- Cut off any tail you might have left over from the ribbon.
- Spread out the loops to create the look you desire.
With the extra wire from the second layer, attach the ribbon bow to the middle of the tulle base. Consider adding long wire hooks or extra ribbon to the back for easy attachment to the pews.
You may want to consider using simple floral swags at the end of each pew as well. These can be found inexpensively and made even more inexpensively!
Many churches have single candle holders that you can use or rent for a nominal fee. If you are a member of the church, ask! The clergy has had exposure to many weddings. He or she might have some terrific, low-cost ideas you may not have thought about!
What we did for my second wedding was an idea I had never seen before. My mother went to a discount store and found battery operated candles – the kind people put in their windows around Christmas time – on clearance. They can also be found at craft stores or craft warehouses pretty cheaply.
Mom attached a Velcro strip to the bottom of each candle and got permission from the church to attach a strip to the end of each pew. We bought a huge pack of batteries and attached one to the end of each pew. My 8 year old cousin was responsible for twisting the base of each candle to turn them on right before the ceremony – a job she was quite proud of – and we had a gorgeously lit sanctuary!
If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, the scenery will be your most dramatic decoration. Most couples opt for the traditional gazebo or arch when getting married outdoors. I’ve seen these on sale at a local wholesaler before at a mere $19.99! You can also rent the archway from a party rental place. Decorate it with flowers, Christmas lights, or greenery to make it beautiful.
Seating at an outdoor wedding usually consists of folding chairs. These can usually be found at a benevolent association like The American Legion – excellent place to find seating especially if you’re having your reception there – churches, or community centers. Even if you have to pay a few dollars to rent them, it will be worth it!
Decorate the ends of the chairs with greenery and flowers to match your wedding bouquets along with strategically placed ribbon. To set off the “important guest” area (parents, grandparents, etc.) cover the backs of the chairs with simple white pillowcases.