It's January. The first snow of the season has fallen, the temperatures have dropped, and wedding planning season has commenced.
According to The Knot's annual Real Weddings Study, in 2014 the average cost of a wedding was $31,213. It's an all-time high, up 4.5 percent from the previous year, making it the fourth consecutive year for the fiscal increase.
It's not only one of the most expensive industries in the United States today, but also one of the most stressful. And for many couples, January is the wedding planning month.
Kick the stale white wedding to the curb in favor of one that compliments your unique love. Here's how.
RELATED: Here's how the guide appeared in print, if you prefer
After determining what season you're getting married in, plan the crafts around that season. Pinterest has millions of boards for each wedding season.
Barns are the best place to achieve that rustic wedding look. Check out the Mustard Seed Gardens in Noblesville for a classy, yet rustic location for your wedding.
If you're getting married in the winter but don't want to force your guests to freeze in a barn, consider looking into a wintery cottage.
When I think of rustic barns, I automatically picture the rustic cottage from the 1954 film White Christmas. It's just always been stuck in my mind as the perfect place to spend winter.
But let's be real — the backdrops were all blatantly fake and the snow was a flame-retardant concoction of Hollywood. So, how do you achieve the rustic effect but in a "real" environment? You keep your guests dry, keep a fire blazing and an open bar.
Goodwill is the perfect place to find not only cheap tacky knick-knacks, but also unique trinkets to doll up the entire day. I found a white clay pitcher that I tossed a simple arrangement of flowers in. The pitcher was only four bucks. Thank you, Goodwill gods.
Used goods also have Mason jars galore. If you know anything, then you must know that Mason jars are a "thing" now. People are decorating with them and you can, too. But please don't buy your Mason jars at crafting stores because they're $2.99 a pop, and let's face it, none of us are Rockefeller or going to win the next insane Powerball. Buy them used or in bulk. I found 12 classic glass jelly jars at Meijer for 24 dollars.
Go classic with your Mason jars by tying some burlap twine around them and throwing an arrangement including baby's breath and you will basically have a Pinterest wedding.
You could also take your Mason jars up a notch by painting them a seasonal hue. While Martha Stewart may be a crazy lady, she knows crafts and her crafting line is the go-to for all crafting needs. I tried her translucent glass paints on vases and jars and loved the way they turned out. Start by washing the jar with soap and warm water. Then use rubbing alcohol to get off any residual oils. Use a flat tip paint brush and paint in one direction. Let it dry for 15 minutes before painting in the opposite direction. Repeat that process until you're happy with the translucent effect.
Also, metallics are taking over the Pinterest boards right now. Try spray painting a variety of bottles in either silver or gold metallic paints. Don't use all the same shapes and sizes of jars, otherwise you won't achieve that whole "wow, I just casually threw this whole wedding together yesterday" vibe. Matching was so 2015, people.
CRAFT YOUR HEART OUT
If you're crafty and not a fan of the whole not-providing-birth-control-to-our-employees that Hobby Lobby offers, try hitting up Michael's. It's got everything that Hobby Lobby offers, plus it's operational on Sundays and they always have coupons on their website to save your dollars.
I would also suggest scouring the website for Michael's coupons or shopping during a sale because this stuff can get expensive.
Make your own bouquets. It's way cheaper than paying a florist or a designer to do it for you. Doll them up by tying the base in tulle. Or step it up a (rustic) notch and wrap burlap and lace around the stems and tie it off with some twine.
The only thing you need to know if you're wanting a Pinterest wedding is that your flower arrangements must have baby's breath in them. It adds a touch of simplicity to all flower arrangements.
For a simple rustic touch, you can tie doilies around the silverware arrangements and knot it off with twine. I found a pack of 36 paper doilies at Michael's for two dollars and the entire process took me 10 seconds per setting.
Make a classy table centerpiece in under five minutes and under $10. I found a glass vase at Goodwill for three dollars. Scour Goodwill for your perfect vases and fill them a third of the way with white sugar. Place a white candle in the center and sprinkle loose white pearls around the edges. This is the perfect centerpiece for winter weddings.
SPLURGE ON THE BOOZE
That's right, friends, don't skimp on the open bar. Alcohol will make your reception the best reception. It warms people up and makes it seem less embarrassing to dance their asses off.
But in addition, try adding some unique touches. There are three levels of craftiness: expert, mediocre and inept. But the crafts featured in this piece are perfect for even the most inept of crafty minds. Trust me when I say that if I can do these, you can, too.
Shopping is your friend. But keep it local and shop small. The Small Mall on Mass Ave. is three stories tall, so not small at all. Regardless, it is the perfect place to find unique wedding decor that most other weddings won't have.
What better place to find nature than — nature?
Warm-weather outdoor locales abound. A little research, a call or two to Indiana's more scenic parks, and you may find the perfect natural backdrop for your nuptials.
If you find a branch from a birch tree, you've just hit the centerpiece jackpot. It's the perfect size for rectangular table centerpieces. Cut holes in the log the size of tea candles. Space them an inch and a half apart. Place the tea candles, light them, and then you can successfully say you spent three dollars for centerpieces. And I can guarantee you that realization will make you feel great.
Finally, if you like booze, that's great! But don't recycle those bottles just yet. Paint them or tie burlap around them or use them for vases or use them for decorations. Alcohol is your friend, people.
Because social media allows us to reconnect with old friends, odds are pretty good you know folks with sewing or photo skills. Know a videographer who owes you one? Someone who can adapt an inexpensive dress to your liking? Is either a fan of a good bottle of Scotch? Don't be afraid to barter — and check with your extended family, too. Maybe your Aunt Betty is pretty handy with a DSLR camera.
And hey, if you don't like the ideas I've provided for you, scour Pinterest—it's wedding planning central. There are millions of other DIY crafting ideas. Make an account and find what's right for you.
Happy planning, party people.