An event as momentous as your wedding warrants your personal touch. Think about it –it’s an occasion wherein your closest loved ones from both sides come together, most meeting for the first time, to celebrate precisely the fact, that the two of you are together. How much more personal can that get?!
For Daniel and I, we knew we had to work in TRAVEL as a theme for our wedding, as it laid deep in the core of how we’ve met and how much we’ve grown with each other. We also knew that we’d rather save up for our future home, rather than go overboard with the expenses, so that meant DIY all the way. The craft-crazed kid in me cartwheels.
As any star-eyed bride-to-be, I threw myself to scouring endless pages of Pinterest and Etsy, gobbling up ideas and willing inspiration to strike. And now that the dizzying but utterly rewarding chaos of wedding preparations are over, I’d like to share what I came up with, and hopefully these will be useful for your own, or your loved one’s travel-themed dream wedding!
1. Maps are your friends.
Scavenging for beautiful but affordable atlases is arguably the most essential thing I’ve ever done in the name of decorating our hall. Colorful and already entertaining on their own, maps as decoration offers so much versatility — I used them for paper flowers and airplane centerpieces, as well as for banners and bands for the vases. There are a lot of paper flower tutorials out there, but here’s the one I liked best — the steps are much simpler, freeing your time for your other tasks, and yet the flowers still come out so eye-catching! I found it much more cost-effective to buy atlases instead of individual maps; second-hand bookstores and eBay are good sources for the thrifty.
2. Line your invitation envelopes with maps for an elegant look. Heck, use maps for your whole invitation!
Your invitations are the first touches of your wedding that your guests will lay eyes on — make sure to set the perfect tone. Out of all the wedding sites I’ve browsed (and there were a lot), I’ve found the Wedding Chicks’ selection of free printables the best. For almost no effort at all, you can personalize their free monograms and come up with invites that are très chic. Need more travel invite inspo? I’ve got the board just right here.
3. Tell your story through your own memory map.
This must be my favorite among all our DIY decors. Here, we printed some of our favorite travel photos and arranged them around a map mounted on cardboard, with pins and twine denoting where each photo was taken. We placed it on the table right by the hall entrance, so that our guests, particularly family members who we barely get to visit together as a couple, could learn more about the life Daniel and I have shared so far, as they line up for the guestbook. Everyone raved about it so much, that now it hangs in our living room!
4. Please your sweet tooth with a travel-themed wedding cake.
Your wedding cake is going to be front and center of your cake-cutting photos, so don’t forget to work in your theme there too! Daniel’s aunt baked this luxurious fondant luggage-tiered cake for us, with a different flavor for each layer. As for the adorable cake topper, we found them from Martha’s Cottage — it was seriously hard to pick just one from their selection.
5. Ace that travel-themed photo booth.
I initially had my heart set on this hot air balloon backdrop, but with the limited space we had, we rolled up our sleeves and had to be a bit more creative. Rounding up the spare maps (I really had a lot) and table runners, we were able to come with this simple but vibrant background. What really made a difference were the travel-themed props we left at our guests’ disposal: Hawaiian leis, luggages, sunglasses, old cameras — our guests had a hoot!
6. Use luggage as decoration.
Our bridal table may be not the fanciest one around, but setting up the vintage luggages we borrowed from relatives front and center definitely set the wanderlust-y mood! Added onto the pile were vintage cameras and binoculars we’ve rummaged from flea markets. If you want to throw in more greenery in there, hide a vase or two inside the duffel or ladies’ bags and fill them up with flowers, so it looks like a tiny garden is trying to burst out of the bags — a perfect mix of still life and flora.
7. Craft a centerpiece that’s ready for take-off.
Once I saw the DIY tutorial for the hot-air balloon centerpiece, I knew I just had to make those. A simple and affordable centerpiece that’s not just conversation-worthy, they’re also functional. Fill them up with mints and candies for your guests. (In the tutorial, the balloon is meant to be hung from the ceiling, but I fixed mine with bbq sticks instead, no problemo.)
8. Have your guests sign your globe guestbook.
Okay, full confession — we ended up using a beautiful traditional guestbook, but let me explain: I bought a used globe, with the full intention of having everyone sign them, but the globe turned out to be SOOO pretty (plus it has a light too!) that it ended up in our bridal table instead (and now it’s a permanent fixture in our living room). Still, a noteworthy idea to have a guestbook which you’ll end up displaying in the future instead of being hidden in a shelf.
9. Have your guests swaying to a travel-inspired playlist.
Now that your guests are inspired from all the travel eye-candies, go for surround sound as well! For cocktails, we set up a playlist that had destinations and travel in its spirit. Hopefully as everyone sipped their drinks, their minds also flew wistfully to exotic places, fond memories of past trips and future grand adventures, yes? Hear the playlist here.
10. For the post-wedding thank you’s, send personally written postcards.
Similar to the wedding invites, the thank you notes will be the last touch of your wedding that your guests will personally receive. It was important for me that I express my utmost appreciation for everyone who made our day truly memorable. Everyone was just thrilled to find a candid and heartfelt message waiting for them in their postboxes, and it simply made the magic last a bit longer, way past our wedding date.