When you walk around a craft show or hand-made market, you don't normally think of them as wedding shows, but that's exactly what I'm going to teach you to do in this post. Wedding shows are wonderful resources, but they only showcase a limited number of wedding-specific vendors and are often too expensive for smaller vendors to attend. That really limits your options, unless you look in other places.
The beauty of a hand-made market or craft show is that there are often many artists under one roof who are more than willing to work with you to customize items you can use for everything from wedding favors to bridal party gifts to invitations, food and decor. You can walk around and talk to real people, sample their wares and get a feel for personalities that you click with. The bonus is that you're supporting your local artists and businesses while getting distinctive items for your wedding. Win-win!
To show you how easy it is to turn any craft show into a wedding show, I will use the example of Seattle Square market, which I blogged about a few weeks ago. As I walked around that market, talking to vendors, I met some incredible artists who were very receptive to custom projects for weddings or other celebrations. Here are some of my favorites...
HAND-CUT PAPER HEARTS by PaperCutWorks
WHAT: Hand-cut paper hearts made from vintage dictionary pages and outdated maps. Dictionary hearts can be formed around a specific word and map hearts can be made to highlight a special place or location.
HOW TO USE: Hearts come mounted to a small wooden frame that is perfect for table numbers.
* Commission a set of map hearts for each of the places you've visited as a couple, the places where you were born or places you hope to visit - great for travel themed weddings!
* Dictionary hearts are charming for weddings that involve books, literature, or even forgiegn languages. Pick a series of meaningful words and then label each table with a heart.
* After the wedding, you will have a meaningful collection of art to hang in your home or give to friends and family as a thank you for their love and support.
CUSTOM PRINTED T-SHIRTS by Choke Shirt Company
WHAT: Custom designed and printed t-shirts...submit your own artwork or have them design something unique for you.
HOW TO USE:
* Calligrapher, Laura Hooper, shares how one couple had their custom hand-drawn wedding map printed on t-shirts to give as wedding favors.
* Create a custom logo for bachelor/bachelorette party t-shirts...I did this for a friend many years ago and they were a big hit! The party's Hawaiian luau theme was based on the couple's honeymoon destination, so the shirts had the cheesy, but fun tag line "I got lei'd at Diane's bachelorette party."
* Try rolling the t-shirts and present them in mailing tubes for a modern presentation...stick to recycled cardboard tubes for an earth friendly option.
HANDCRAFTED ENGLISH TOFFEE by Tweet Toffee
WHAT: Hand-crafted toffee made with love and all natural ingredients. Have some custom-made to suit your tastes, the season or to highlight a favorite topping.
HOW TO USE:
* Create a signature cocktail...try a green apple tini with crushed toffee around the rim.
* Top wedding cupcakes with shards of your favorite flavor...
Photo via Cupcakes Take The Cake
* Crush it up and add it to your wedding cake...either as an ingredient or as a decorative topping.
* Add a platter of toffee to a sweets table or dessert buffet...looks great stacked a mile high!
* Who says hand-passed finger foods are just for cocktail hour? Try having servers pass bites of toffee for guests to enjoy while sipping their after-dinner coffee.
* Package toffee pieces individually to give as wedding favors...add a cute custom tag or label.
PERSONALIZED JEWELRY by Baltica
WHAT: Handcrafted jewelry made with natural and vintage materials for an organic soulful appeal.
HOW TO USE: Work with the artist to design custom pieces for your bridesmaids...match them to your wedding theme or pick pieces that represent each person's unique personality. Present the jewelry to your maids to wear in the wedding or simply as a thank you for being a part of your big day.
FRAMED CURIOSITIES by Deviant Decor
HOW TO USE: These little framed treasures would make amazingly chic table names, photo booth props or gifts for your bridal party. With tons of objects to choose from, you can customize and personalize to your heart's content. When I spoke to the artist, she said she could even use objects you supply for a truly unique piece. After the wedding you can give them away as gifts to your guests or keep the collection to hang in your home.
So there you have it...now you know how to turn any craft show or hand-made market into your own personal wedding show. If you live in Seattle, there's still one weekend left to visit The Seattle Square market in Pioneer Square on 9/18. Be sure to check it out to meet these and lots of other artists and designers who would be happy to work with you to create something special for your wedding. For anyone who doesn't live in Seattle, check your local papers for craft-shows you can attend...you may be surprised by what you find. XOXO, Cindi