The two become one… And that day is the beginning of a new life, a new togetherness. It is the beginning of a couple, a family, a beautiful friendship. It is the beginning of a journey that will involve joy and sorrow, struggles and successes. Everything that happens, including the hardships now has a new value; it is cloaked with the power of love – tender love, sweet love, patient love, enduring love, sometimes tough love.
A wedding day is truly something beautiful, bringing together life and love, two of the greatest things in this world and the next. My husband and I have been married for over two and a half years now. A lot has happened during these years – we have moved a few times, changed jobs, and had two babies. But no matter how much time passes, it always seems, in some sense, as though our wedding day was just yesterday, because it is a reality that travels with us in every passing day. We never leave behind the words we uttered that day, and we pray daily that we will never lessen in the love with which we uttered them.
Because a wedding is such a beautiful thing, it is fitting that beautiful gifts go with it. I understand that many people make a wedding wish list of useful objects – gifts for their new home. However, useful as that may be, I also prefer to give a different type of gift – something that might or might not be used, but will definitely be remembered; a gift that will always remind the couple of the beauty and sacredness of that day, and help them draw strength from it as they continue down the road of their marriage, flat or hilly, smooth or rocky, straight or winding.
Since I also enjoy giving handmade and personalized gifts, I have come up with some simple and easy-to-make, but elegant wedding gifts. The following collection is something I’ve done for my sister-in-laws wedding, which is fast approaching.
Note: A few of these gifts require knowledge of using decoupage. If you have never made crafts with the decoupage before, here is a tutorial about the basic technique.
Monogrammed Wedding Candles
What you need:
3 small candles in glass candle holders (I like clear glass holders, but cloudy glass or colored holders could also work if the colors go with your design and monogram)
Decoupage (Modge Podge or other)
Gloss or sealer
Computer, printer and paper
Type the monograms of the bride and groom (I used the first name initial only) for two of the candles. The height of the font should be about 2/3 of the height of the candle to be prominent, but overbearing. I for the candles pictured here, I used Monotype Corsiva font, size 140 for a 2 square inch candle front. For the center candle, print out a small image or symbol that matches the color scheme of the monograms. I used off-white candles with gold font and an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary with a matching color scheme. A silver font and color scheme with pure white candles would probably also be turn out nicely.
Decoupage the monograms and image to the front of each candle holder. (Note: when cutting out the monograms, follow the border of the letters very closely to avoid any extra paper white from showing.) Put one layer of decoupage on top of the images. After the designated drying time, spray or brush on a clear gloss or other sealant. Although decoupage works as a sealer of sorts, but it can yellow over time and get ruined if it gets wet. Putting on additional coat of a separate gloss or sealer both evens out the surface of the object and gives it longer life.
Crocheted Bridal Purse with Monogram
A bridal purse such as the one below can be used to hold tissues, small flowers or other needed objects on the day of the wedding. Afterwards, it can be used to hold the jewelry worn on the wedding day, or hold potpourri and be hung on a closet handle or tucked in a drawer.
What you need:
Skein of silk – I used a slight off white color.
Crochet hook (size 3 steel hook)
Small white pearl or glass beads
White thread and needle
Option 1: Make a chain the desired width of the purse. Chain 3 more, then single crochet in third chain from hook. Single crochet in every chain stitch. Single crochet in every stitch along the back side of the chain also. Join to the first single crochet with a slip stitch. Chain three, then single crochet in each stitch to complete another row. Join, chain 3, and repeat. Continue crocheting more rows until the purse has become the desired height. Fasten off and weave thread tail into stitches to hide it.
Option 2: Make a chain twice the desired width of the purse. Join the end of the chain to the beginning of the chain with a slip stitch. (Chain three. Single crochet in each stitch of the chain. Join to the first single crochet stitch.) Repeat () until the purse is the desired height. Fasten off and weave thread tail into stitches to hide it. Turn purse inside out. Thread a piece of the silk yarn or thread into a needle and sew the bottom side of the purse together to close. Turn purse right side out.
Note: I used the single crochet stitch for the whole thing because it gives a nice tight, simple effect when the rows are crocheted on the same side, without turing in between rows. However, you could choose your favorite stitch or experiment with different stitches to find the look you like most.
The Edging: Use white thread to sew the beads around the top edge of the purse. Place a small dot of superglue on the bottom of each bead as you sew it in place to secure it more firmly so the pearls don’t fall off easily.
Flowers: I made small flowers to outline key points of the letter (in this case, N). Different crocheted flower patterns would work, but I chose to keep it simple, using a basic five petal flower design: Chain 1, then single crochet 5 times in the same chain and close loop with a slip stitch, OR chain 5 and close ring by joining the final chain with the first chain. In the first stitch: (1 single crochet, 1 half double crochet, 1 double crochet, 1 half double crochet, 1 single crochet, and 1 slip stitch, all in the same stitch.) Repeat () in each of the other 4 stitches to complete all 5 petals. Fasten off.
Pearl beads: After attaching the flowers to the purse, I sewed a line of pearl beads to connect each flower and complete the monogram. Like with the top of the purse, I put a dab of glue under each pearl to attach it more securely.
Draw Strings: Take three long stands of silk and braid them together until the braid is the desired length for the draw string (it should be more than twice the width of the purse. Thread the braid through top of the purse, around an inch down from the top edge. The extra length of the draw string on each end should dangle down the side of the purse (I have mine dangling off the right side, but you could choose the left if desired). Make a knot about 3/4 of an inch down from each end of the draw string. Slide a pearl bead on both ends, stopping at the knot. Make a second knot on each end of the string to keep the beads in place.
Click here for a simple tutorial on making rosaries out of bead and wire. It indicates the number of beads you need, how much wire is used, and other supplies. Once you have mastered the basic technique of fastening beads together with wire, you can add your own touch and style – note that, between the decade beads and Our Father beads, I have made a garnished wire connection rather than just a connection of chain loops to give a more elegant look.
To personalize the rosaries for the bride and groom, I used white glass beads for the bride’s rosary, together with a white and blue pendant of Our Lady and silver crucifix. For the groom’s rosary, I have used larger, darker wooden beads and a simple silver pendant of Our Lady with a larger silver crucifix. I think it would work out nicely to make the groom’s rosary out of black glass beads – maybe something I’ll try next time!
Purchase a simple but nice picture frame to capture their important moment. We choose a silver frame with a few embellishments. If you are giving a belated wedding gift, you can select one of the wedding pictures in advance and have it already printed in the frame. Since we are giving this before we’ll have access to wedding pictures, we’ve simply gotten the frame. We’re turning it into a combination gift together with the rosaries – one rosary will drape down over each side of the frame.
I actually came up with this idea as a gift for my husband’s parents. All of their children will now be married, so in honor of the occasion I wanted to give them something to celebrate their family and its new generation. I came up with the idea of decorative plates with pictures and names. There is one for each married couple, beginning with my parents-in-law, and one for each grandchild.
I selected the pictures and sized them based on the inner plate size. I printed the pictures on tissue paper, and decoupaged them to the plate. I also printed out the first names in a large font, cut closely around the edge of each letter, and decoupaged the names around the rim of the plate. I only used one layer of decoupage on top of the pictures and letters, and then one layer of sealer/gloss to complete the project.
Although I used this to make a family collection for my parents-in-law, the same idea could be used to capture many special moments – a wedding, a newborn, a special family gathering, etc.