The best advice I received about party planning was that it’s important to break up monotony/ un-fun list making/ making phone calls/ obtaining addresses mumbo jumbo with fun stuff that you look forward to doing. The person who gave me that advice happens to be a therapist so she for sure knew what she was talking about. For my husband and I that fun stuff was the crafts and shopping. Whenever we were starting to feel stressed, we’d make a point of changing our focus for a few days over to crafting or buying supplies online or at stores.
My favorite craft from our wedding reception was also the most time consuming. We made every single one of our one-hundred-thirty-some guests a personalized drinking glass that they could fill up themselves at the bar with whatever they liked.
photo credit: Caitlin Lyons or Jackie Mancilla or Erica Schroyer or Liz Shaffer-Wishner…I can’t remember. Or it may have been another guest…if I didn’t credit you, my bad.
Ain’t they cute?! Let’s talk about mason jars: One could call them the scruffy beard with a fancy hairdo of weddings. Meaning, they may be very much a trend that we will associate with the mid-2010’s and also very much a hipster thing. I have to say that I’m ok with that. They are cute as shit and also cheap as shit! And most importantly instead of wasting a bunch of paper cups you have a wedding favor that people can keep. That said, we probably went a little overboard with our mason jar theme as I’m sure you’ll see as I continue to post about our event. Oh well. I’m sure I will still look back at everything fondly and joke about how it was all oh so 2014. :-)
So how’d we do it? First we bought a ton of mason jars as cheaply as possible. Instead of worrying about everything matching we ended up getting a mixture of plain glass, blue glass, wide mouth, and regular mouth glasses. That way we could just grab whatever the store had. I think we got about half of our jars at Fred Meyer and half off of Amazon. We got pint jars for the grown-ups and little 8 oz jars for the kids.
In addition to the jars we used: Chalkboard spray paint, a Chalk pen and blue painter’s tape. And beer. The beer is for drinking. Keep it out of the range of the spray paint.
I should start by saying the credit for making these jars goes to my husband Tim. All projects involving spray paint were done by him…possibly because spray painting involved being outside and drinking beers. Also because he’s awesome and helpful and was very hands on with the party planning which I appreciated so so much.
So, the first problem we ran into was that half the mason jars we bought had designs on every side of the glass. In other words, there was no flat surface to spray paint on. On those glasses we ended up doing smaller rectangles of chalkboard paint instead of bigger squares. Just something to keep in mind when you buy mason jars for a project like this. It may be best to buy ones that have at least one smooth side.
Tim had read that when spray painting squares on mason jars, one must tape plastic bags all around a square sized space that you leave uncovered. So basically, the only part of the jar not covered in plastic bag is the square shape you will be painting. Then just spray the whole thing and the square is the only part that will get paint on it, leaving the rest of the jar pristine.
Here’s what happened when he tried it that way:
If at first you don’t succeed and fail so badly that you almost pee yourself laughing, have a beer or two then try, try again.
So yeah. The bag sort of made a pattern when we pulled it off and it just really didn’t keep a nice seal from the paint.
By the third time Tim had down a fail-proof-ish system that he would like to share with you:
-Wash all of your jars and make sure they are completely dry….so maybe do this the day before you start your project. It’s such a huge pain in the ass. I’m sorry. But speaking of ass, if you take the lid off the jars you’ll realize they really do smell horrible before being washed.
-Make a square with painters tape and go around the tape with your nail making sure the tape is really on there well and no paint can get under it. Maybe even make a second row of painters tape so your squared off section is surrounded by like an inch or two of painters tape.
-Then just be careful when you’re spraying to stay within the square. Be gentle. Go over it a few times with the spray paint. If you mess up wipe it off quickly. If you have a little black streak somewhere else on the jar, maybe you’ll notice later and you’ll scrape it off. Maybe you won’t notice and just your wedding guest will notice and then they’ll never talk to you again.
-Let the paint dry fully and completely before you peel the tape off.
-store the glasses until you have your final guest list and then write everyone’s name and table number on their glass with a chalk marker. We used our glasses as, I think the formal term is “escort cards”, which tell people where to sit. They were at the front table of the party just as you walked in.
So there ya have it. :-)