Rhode Island Wedding Ideas – The Dangers of DIY for Brides on a Budget

Hello brides to be! Happy Spring!

Many of Emily Things followers are from the Rhode Island area looking for places to have a wedding and most of all – save money! We all know that wedding bells bring wedding bills, and savvy, crafty, DIY brides are always looking for ways to be resourceful and ultimately save on the overall wedding cost. But are there dangers in trying to plan a DIY wedding if you are on a tight budget? Could your efforts to save money be ultimately countered by what you end up spending in trying to make everything yourself?


Take it from a previous RI bride and craft guru herself – I’ve been there and done that.

Like you, I knew I was clever enough to figure out how to make things myself and diligent enough to not get carried away with spending. I was incredibly blessed to have parents who provided a very opulent wedding at Glen Manor House, but honestly, I truly wanted to keep everything as simple and stress free. The very principle of spending a lot of money on a wedding just seemed so outrageous to me that I wanted to figure out how to cut costs wherever I could. So why not save on all the wedding stationery and decorations if you can just make them yourself, right?


Before I got involved in the stationery, wedding planning, and wedding accessories business of Emily’s Enchantments, I did not have a wholesale license or any fancy shmancy way to get access to bulk shimmery paper, ribbons, lace, jewels and all the other wonderfully splendid wedding decorations that you see on Pinterest. Chances are, unless you are a professional stationer, you don’t have this either.

1. DIY Wedding Invitation Cost Reality

Crafts stores and online shops are a RIP OFF for invitations!

Did you fall in love with a lace invitation on Etsy or Pinterest and thinking of DIY? Good luck. Joann’s Fabrics charges $4-5 per yard. From experience in making lace invitations by hand, I know that you need about 1/3 of a yard of lace per invitation. So you’re talking $1.66 just for the lace!  Basic, single sided faux silk ribbon is about $4 per spool and from my experience that gets you only about 6 invitations, because they obviously don’t give you very many yards.

Here’s a breakdown of other invitation components if you were to look at (PER INVITATION):

  • Lace $1.66
  • Pocketfolds $0.80-1.25
  • Card stock $0.40-1.99
  • Ribbon $0.50-$0.75
  • RSVP envelopes – $0.20-$0.30
  • Mailing envelopes – $0.23-$0.35
  • Rhinestone buckles – $0.75-1.99
  • Rhinestone brooches – $1.00-10+

Then you have to factor in (for someone who doesn’t have professional printing and cutting equipment):

  • Basic paper trimmer – $30
  • Glue for all of the invites – $7-15
  • 60-70 hours of your time (depending on how many and how involved your invites are)

You could be thinking that you’re saving when you see at the register $20 here, and $20 there as you make several trips to the craft store or make several online purchases from different retailers. But you never realize how much that really adds up. What is your time worth?

 * I will, however, suggest that if you are willing to wait 4-6 weeks to receive craft supplies and take a gamble on the level of quality you receive, eBay can be a pretty good hit or miss option for finding many invitation making supplies for a bride with LOTS of time who doesn’t care if she wastes $30 here and there and several weeks of time waiting around for something that could end up being nothing like the photo and complete crap. Sometimes you can luck out though but just take that into consideration.


2. DIY At Home Rhode Island Wedding Venue Reality

Ok, so I really and truly entertained the idea of hosting our wedding at my then-fiance’s home in Cumberland, RI. He had a gorgeous colonial home and a big, very private back yard with lots of luscious grass and space. Plus there was plenty of parking on the street for guests. I figured this will be PERFECT and we will save on having to spend $5K at a venue somewhere in Rhode Island. We all know that most of the East Bay and Providence wedding venues charge an arm and a leg just to have your wedding there with nothing else included.

But here was what I learned when I did my research and priced out what it would actually cost to have a wedding at home in Rhode Island:

Let’s talk about RENTALS!

You want to host your own wedding at home in RI but chances are you don’t have 50 or even 100 chairs nor do you have event tables and other very important items. So what are your options for renting?

Rhode Island Rentals

Newport Tent Company

Rentals Unlimited

Quality Rental


I have a pros and cons list for each of these companies but those would really require separate blog posts. For now, let’s just do a break down of what things would cost to rent items for a small, backyard wedding.

Backyard Wedding Rentals Checklist:



  1. TENT – please, please, please DO NOT think that rain will not happen. I will keep my fingers crossed for all of you that it won’t rain a drop on your wedding day but in New England we all know that it is completely unpredictable. If you are having any sort of outdoor wedding, you absolutely need to have a tent!!! No ifs ands or buts! This is #1 on the list of priorities for your backyard wedding rental list.
  2. Hallman’s Portable TOILETS – you are probably laughing out  loud thinking that I’ve lost my mind. You might be rolling your eyes saying, Really? Toilets?  Ladies and gentlemen, this is NOT a joking matter.  Do you really think that your guests even say a small group of 30-50 people are not going to clog your toilet? Think again! I was at an event once where children clogged someone’s home toilet by throwing salad down it. The little girls were incredibly adorable and giggling, but the scene of the overflowing toilet made by the next user who did not know it was clogged, not so adorable…DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN AT YOUR WEDDING. You are a smart bride, you know better. I have wonderful things to say about Hallman Toilets and I’ll write a separate post later, but just trust me, you cannot forget to rent these.
  3. Dance Floor – unless you have an enormous patio or do not plan on any dancing at your wedding, you need a floor space. These rental companies provide pieces of flooring you can snap together yourself to make your own floor. You can get anything – floor that looks like wood or even faux stone. DO NOT assume that everyone will want to dance on the grass. And again, remember the rain possibility…even if you faithfully followed my suggestion #1 with the tent, grass will be wet, and dancing on wet grass even in casual attire is just a don’t.
  4. Reception tables (for guests to sit and eat…obviously)
  5. Buffet food station tables (assuming you are going with a buffet style as it’s more affordable with caterers than sit-down and serve)
  6. Tables for music (DJ or you can save money using an iPod, you would just need to rent speakers which cost about $1000 to rent)
  7. Tables for a bar area
  8. Table for gifts or guest book
  9. Chairs for Ceremony
  10. Chairs for Reception (you could use the same chairs for both ceremony & reception…just think about who is going to be coordinating the moving of them. Hope you’re paying for a wedding planner!)


For a 40 person wedding, you are looking at $6,800 in rentals for the above mentioned items.

This pricing has been compared between all 4 of the top RI rental places and they are all within the same price ranges +/- $62.00

Oh and in case your caterer does not provide these items you will need:

  • Plates, Glassware, Flatware, Napkins (unless you wanted to do BBQ style disposal plates, napkins, glassware, and flatware then you will need to rent these items!)

Factor in another $800 for a 40 person wedding

So $6800 for just rentals??? This means that you’re already shedding close to $7K on having a 40 person wedding at your house. You could have almost rented a fancy spot in Newport for that price. Yikes!!


Other DIY Backyard Wedding Expenses and Issues to Consider:

  1. Catering – you may be charged additional fees for the caterer to come to a home versus a commercial building. There is liability and other issues involved with hosting food and having a bar set up at your house in addition to the extra time spent on the caterer’s part in traveling to you and setting everything up.
  2. Parking & Neighbors – do your neighbors like you? Well, hopefully they still will! You want to make sure your neighbors are fine with you having a wedding at your house, on their street, within their earshot. And where will your very small 30-50 person group of guests park? Oh, on the street? So 15-28 vehicles can fit on the street and won’t block any traffic or upset neighbors? Hopefully not!
  3. Clean up – my instant thought is bride in yellow rubber gloves. Caterers will usually clean up all the food and beverages, but they are not going to be cleaning up everything else. Who is putting away chairs, breaking down the floors, folding up tables and everything else? Hopefully you have factored in a wedding planner to be your savior in this situation, but if you’re a DIY bride, chances are you think that “wedding planner” and “the bride” are one in the same.


Hey, I’m a DIY everything. I love DIY and I was definitely bride & wedding planner at the same time. I’m not hating on DIY weddings or brides. I’m just giving you the whole honest truth and showing you a reality so that you can make the best and most informed decision. Maybe you see things that I mentioned that don’t apply to you because you’re doing it completely differently. I am so impressed and inspired by those who have DIY weddings and can really pull off saving money. Anyone who has had success in it, please send along your story so I can share with our fellow brides. I hope this has been helpful in your wedding planning journey!


(And don’t forget to rent those toilets!!!!)

Wedding Menu Cards – Rhode Island Invitations

That moment when you first walk into your reception is a truly magical and mesmerzing experience. For a few moments you may lose your breath at the sight of just purely decadent, jaw-dropping beauty all around you – as you take in every last indulgent detail that you worked so hard on putting together for your special day. Sparkling intricacy and blissful elegance encompass the very essence of Emily’s Enchantments’ stationery. Whether you have chosen a simple, sophisticated menu card with a touch of glitz or an ornate, luxury wedding menu bound-book with personalized names of each guest – you will find pure enchantment for every taste.

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Bride & Groom chairs – custom designed for the perfect sweetheart setting at an elegant wedding reception.

Gold chivari chairs with shimmery wedding menu cards at each setting create unmatched sophistication for any special event.




Personalized wedding menu cards provide a unique greeting to each guest as he or she takes a seat at a breathtakingly beautiful reception table.







If you love lace as much as we do, you would know why we enjoy wedding menus, wedding programs and rehearsal dinner invitations such as these with touches of matching lace on each!





Signature cocktails should always be featured on shimmery card stock bar signs with a touch of glimmer.



While each guest may have his or her own bound personalized wedding menu, the bride & groom have their own reception menu that pays tribute to their first dinner as “Mr. & Mrs.”


Wedding Table Numbers – Rhode Island Invitations

Table numbers are a small detail for the wedding decor, but they can make a significant impact and accent your theme. I chose to have table numbers that matched our wedding menus and other colors used in the wedding – very shimmery, sparkling, and elegant.

A growing trend is to use “table names” instead of numbers, which is creative way to make your wedding unique to you. Some couples may choose names of their favorite cities, restaurants from memorable dates they’ve had together, or perhaps just sweet words and phrases like “love” and “joy.” I saw a wedding that was French themed and each table was named a city in France. The fun part about the table numbers and place cards is that you can really get creative and add some pizzazz to your wedding in an easy, simple way.

You can make Table #s like these using chipboard, shimmery cardstock, ribbon, and rhinestone  buckles 🙂 Display on an easel or personalized stand!




Don’t forget to include something cute for your sweetheart table!

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Rhode Island Wedding Invitations – Pink, Coral, Orange

What is it about weddings that we find so enchanting? Maybe it’s the way the groom looks when his face lights up as his bride first appears at the end of the aisle on dad’s arm, or the way the bride’s incandescent, glowing smile and glistening eyes trigger little joyful droplets on everyone’s face. There are so many moments in a wedding that make it truly magical. Sending the save the date or invitation to your guests is the very start of it all – it’s where all the enchantment begins. Emily’s Enchantments is a Rhode Island Wedding Invitations company that enchants brides and their wedding guests across the globe. If you’re going to make the first impression to your guests with the invitation, and the last impression with the thank you notes, and everything in between – why not choose a stationer whose paper products evoke enchantment? After all, this is your wedding day – the most magical day of your life. 

Take a peek at some new favorites – pink, orange, coral, and lace!

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Rhode Island Wedding Venue Review: Mount Hope Farm

Peaceful waters and pristine grounds. Rustic charm and oceanic elegance. Mount Hope Farm is a quintessential Rhode Island gem that makes for a breathtakingly beautiful venue for your wedding.  On a mildly warm November weekend, I was able to spend an overnight at this historical Bristol site that is truly magical.

In January 2012 (nearly two years ago), I considered Mount Hope Farm (MHF) for my fall 2012 wedding. At the time of my Rhode Island venue searching frenzy, I met with John, the farm’s event coordinator at the time. You may recall from my first RI venue review that my original impression of the farm was not a very favorable one.  But, I hope you will be as pleasantly surprised as I was to learn some wonderful new things about this historically charming venue.


My first greeting was by David Rubino, innkeeper and events manager, who not only provides a warm welcome and delicious breakfast to guests staying at the inn, but also plays a vital role in a bride’s wedding day. He’s the person there to save the day if a dress rips or something goes amiss. With his devoted passion for Mount Hope Farm, and its beauty and rich history, David provides impressive, unmatched hospitality to his guests.


After a lovely morning breakfast at the Governor Bradford House inn, I met with Jennifer Bristol, the new executive director of Mount Hope Farm, who was incredibly wonderful, friendly and professional as she took us on a tour of the site. We not only were shown the 2 areas of the grounds in which brides can choose to have their celebration, but we were also given some of the powerful history that is sewn into the 127 acres of this magnificent property. Jennifer also gave us some updated pricing and guideline information too!

So remember when I was told there was “no dancing in the barn”? Well, we should set the record straight from here on out – there IS dancing allowed in the barn at Mount Hope Farm and lots of it!!! Celebration is greatly encouraged! And the new prices are very reasonable.

1) The Barn:

MHF describes it best by saying that it is “charming yet polished” because it is truly that. When you step inside and walk across the varnished wooden floors and experience the fireplace ambiance you can envision your rustic wedding elegance come to life. Now, if you’re thinking “barn” you were probably like me at first, instantly picturing a tight, small space and not sure how your 6 foot something, semi-claustrophobic future hubby is going to hold up in a venue like this. But the barn at Mount Hope Farm is quite the opposite. It is spacious, open, and airy with a very tall ceiling and large authentic barn door that opens up to give you a refreshing view of the gardens and Governor Bradford House. You can also set up little stations outside of the barn like a cigar bar, candy bar, ice cream station or even a horseshoe game section so that guests can move between the different ares of the property and yes, they can definitely dance!!

Priced at $4,000 for a Saturday night for most of the year (and $2,500 in the winter months), the Barn is quite a bargain for a 5-hour rental on a property that feels completely your own for the day. If you’ve been doing your wedding research in Rhode Island, you already know that it is impossible to find something on the East Bay for a better price, let alone a unique and timelessly beautiful one like this.

The Barn at Mount Hope Farm

2) The Cove Cabin:

Your other option for a wedding at Mount Hope Farm is down at the cove. You’re greeted by a jaw-dropping view of the Mount Hope bridge and a little pathway of crushed seashells that lead to the cabin’s stone steps. While the inside of the cabin is suited for small parties up to 60 guests, there is a large lush grass area that is perfect for setting up a tent overlooking the water. Jennifer mentioned that many couples are having rehearsal dinners in the cabin too.

Since it isn’t heated inside, this cabin is available May-October at $5,000 for a Saturday evening which again is unbeatable if you consider the water view, rustic charm, and peaceful privacy of this location. The best part is that Jennifer stressed how separate wedding events will be from each other so that if a bride is getting married at the Barn and you are getting married at Cove Cabin, you will both still feel like it’s just your place for the day and the event staff work diligently to direct guests and traffic accordingly.



Another great fact to learn about Mount Hope Farm was that they are now going to be exclusively partnered with Russell Morin Fine Catering. This makes things so much easier for a busy bride because you have the vendors already working well together and essentially taking on the role of wedding planner so that you don’t have to stress over all the little details. One thing I really appreciated from my own wedding was the fact that our coordinator already knew the caterer and florist and they had a great synergy between them which helped me immensely when it came to organizing everything in the whirlwind at the end (if you think it won’t be a whirlwind at the very end you are just kidding yourself – trust me it happens to the best of us, even those of us who are extremely Type A!). So if you have Jennifer, David, Alicia (the hard-working liaison between MHF and Russell Morin Fine Catering), and MHF’s close relationships with two highly reputable tent companies, you will have the BEST support for your bridal whirlwind moments and will get to enjoy every moment of your wedding day.

So brides to be, go out there and check out Mount Hope Farm for your wedding and be prepared to fall in love. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to spend an evening at this precious little piece of rustic, Rhode Island heaven.

Check out some other photos of the grounds and inside the inn that I took while I was there! 🙂


Have a peaceful little moment with your groom inside this cute little house on the property right outside the barn and Governor Bradford House inn.






I was so excited to capture a photo of the swan in the pond! How precious is that?



Lace Wrapped Wedding Invitations – Rhode Island Invitations

There’s something special about lace that just makes us smile. Maybe it’s the textured, elegant fluidity or its graceful sweetness. Maybe it’s the swirls of joyous patterns that bring us to a state of enchantment when we see lace. Or maybe it’s the timeless sophistication that evokes unmatched exuberance.

Whatever the reason – we all tend to gravitate toward lace and ribbons. What better way to send an invitation to your closest family and friends for the most magical day of your life than with one wrapped in lace?

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Heidi and Daniel’s Laurel Creek Country Club Merchantville, NJ Wedding Invitations

Heidi & Daniel are getting married in the fall of 2013 at Laurel Creek Country Club in Merchantville, NJ. I’m excited to share some samples of the couple’s wedding invitations 🙂 I had a few different design ideas to capture their elegant, sophisticated style that includes navy, gold, cream, and silver with touches of bling and shimmery paper. Congrats to Heidi & Daniel!

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