The DIY Wedding
It’s not for everyone, but a self-made celebration can boost both savings and satisfaction.
How to Make Your Own...
Fashion Institute of Technology
227 W. 27th St., nr. Seventh Ave.; 212-217-7715
It may evoke images of Project Runway, but if you’ve got the fortitude to “make it work,” the Bridal Gown Sewing class at FIT’s Hot Topics seminar program will help you bring the commercial pattern of your choice to life over the course of six sessions. You’ll learn couture techniques, plus how to customize the garment to your shape. The cost is $365, which does not include pattern or fabric.
Kristin Hanson Fine Jewelry School
227 St. Marks Ave., nr. Vanderbilt Ave., Prospect Heights; 718-483-9559
Fine jewelry isn’t cheap, no matter where you buy it, but if you invest in a class with Brooklyn-based couture jeweler Kristin Hanson, who has designed custom pieces for Oscar de la Renta, you’ll end up with something that at least has sentimental value—and you’ll get the thrill of using a blowtorch as well. Hanson’s 36-hour short course ($900), called “Find the Fundamentals,” will take you through the technical aspects of the design process and a range of methods, from casting to sawing to soldering. Students can customize their studio time around their work schedules, and each will leave with three completed pieces.
55 Washington St., nr. Front St., Ste. 512, Dumbo; email@example.com
Open Craft Night at Etsy is a drop-in, peer-supported lab for crafty pursuits of all kinds. Bring your project of choice—tablecloths, place mats, cloth napkins, the groom’s pocket square—and the evening’s supervisor will guide you in using their sewing machines and complimentary supplies (fabric, ribbon, yarn) to perfect rectangles of all sizes. Open Craft Nights meet from 4 to 8 p.m. on the last Monday of each month. They’re somewhat unstructured, but the upside is that they’re free.
Institute of Culinary Education
50 W. 23rd St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 800-522-4610
The One-Week Wedding Cake Workshop, taught by famed cake artist Toba Garrett, includes comprehensive instructions on baking (and dowelling) a tiered cake, decorating it with everything from buttercream and fondant to white chocolate roses and Cornelli lace, and even how to transport your pièce de résistance to the event ($595, but there is a $525 cake-decorating prerequisite). If you’re looking for a twist on the traditional, a class called Cupcakes Unlimited ($115) taught by Nick Malgieri, ICE’s director of baking programs, covers endless cupcake recipes (sour cream, devil’s food, gingerbread, lemon vanilla bean), plus how to create a multitiered cupcake tower.
FlowerSchool New York; 5 Tudor City Pl., nr. 41st. St.; 212-661-8074
Ovando; 120 W. 28th St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-924-7848
Some brides are happy to carry a simple, naturalistic bouquet (for how to perfect a basic bouquet, see here), but others want something a little more complex. Flower professionals and novices alike take classes at FlowerSchool’s elegant studio, affiliated with florist Michael George, who’s known for his loyal fashion-world following and tight, monochromatic creations. The four-session Wedding Series, taught by four different designers, includes instruction on table arrangements as well as bouquets and is structured so that each lesson corresponds to a different season of the year ($300 per session). Just recently, inventive boutique Ovando began offering courses in DIY floral design. The monthly two-hour class, with a max of fifteen participants, includes instructions on making bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres. A designer selects a bouquet, either handheld or cascading, then gives a breakdown of the design principles ($200). There are also general classes dedicated to floral arranging and seasonality. Small group classes of four or more can be arranged if there’s a specific design theme in mind; price depends on materials, but groups of eight or more receive a 15 percent discount.
195 Morgan Ave., nr. Stagg St., E. Williamsburg; 718-715-4961
Impress your upcycling friends by bringing all the papers you’d normally recycle to 3rd Ward’s Papermaking by Hand class to learn how to turn them into colored, textured sheets that evoke the offerings at professional paperies ($90 for a five-hour class). You can either print your invitations yourself or go more advanced: The school’s DIY Printmaking course covers methods such as carving designs into linoleum blocks and monoprinting, which results in a less precise, more handmade feel ($125 for five hours). These classes are limited to ten students.
195 Chrystie St., nr. Stanton St., Ste. 402F; 212-533-9995
Instead of asking your bridesmaids to shell out for a dress they may not really want, sew them something that’s customized to their measurements. Diana Rupp, Make Workshop’s founder, designed the universally flattering pattern for the “girly go-to dress” as an exercise for beginning to intermediate sewers. It quickly became a popular bridesmaid option, since students loved the fit (scooped-neck tank top, A-line skirt) as well as the economics: Three two-hour sessions are $240, plus supplies. If you’d prefer more one-on-one attention, private classes with Diana are $40 per person per hour for a group of four or more, six hours to complete the dress.
To give your invites a more personalized touch, the Postal Service lets you upload your own photo to create customized stamps for postcards or first-class letters. Through Zazzle (one of four services available) you can choose the size of the stamp ($17.95 for a sheet of twenty small) and whether the image is horizontal or vertical; orders are shipped within 48 hours, and you can save 10 percent on your purchase by adding your design to the website’s marketplace so that others can use it too.
Harriet Rose Calligraphy & Design
845 West End Ave., nr. 101st St.; 212-663-4564
If you’ve been to an event thrown by Vera Wang, Dolce & Gabbana, or Ralph Lauren, Harriet Rose was likely responsible for the calligraphy on your invitation and place card. After teaching the lost art at the Learning Annex for 25 years, she now offers intimate three-hour workshops ($195, including materials), with a max of eight students, taught by two calligraphers. Usually she teaches her most requested style, the copperplate script, which calls for a pointed pen dipped in ink (think Declaration of Independence). After one workshop, students will walk away with basic skills, such as the proper angle to hold the oblique pen holder and the ability to connect letters, as well as all the materials they’ll need, from special ink for script calligraphy to pen nibs to continue to practice their technique. Brides looking to refine their skills often sign up for one or two private sessions as a follow-up (call for prices).
From the Winter 2010 New York Wedding Guide