Centerpieces: Sand Castles
How I did it:
I found the receipe for a permanent sand castle here.
I mixed up the appropriate amount of sand, and then my sister and I got to work! It was fun remembering how to make castle components from our family beach trips as kids. We made two castles, and adorned them with things I had laying around in my craft closet (shells, marbles etc). Then I made little flags out of cardstock and toothpicks and drew our initials on them. I put them on these cardboard bases - they are a little brittle when they're dry, so try not to have to move them much after you make them. If you break a piece off, a hot glue gun works nicely to put it back together. When I put them on the table, I covered the base with extra sand and added a few candles to the table.
Variation: What if you made a flat piece of sand, kind of roundish, fading out to thinner on the edges, then wrote something in the sand before it dried? Like W+J=Love, or just a heart, or something else that's meaningful to you. You could either display this flat, or try to prop it up (remember, it's not the most stable stuff so it probably wouldn't stand straight up unless you glued it to something or if it was really thick)
For the candles (which I didn't take pictures of) I bought regular votives in my colors (lime green and bright blue), and molded some of the sand mixture around the bottom half. Then I pressed some shells into the sand and let it dry. They turned out really cute.
Placecards: Treasure Chests
I thought I had saved one of these to take a picture of but I can't find it!
How I did it:
I bought these little cardboard treasure chests from Oriental Trading Company, which is an amazing resource for all DIY'ers. (I also bought flower lei's and several other things here)
I painted the boxes with regular acrylic paint, watered down to try to make them look a little weathered.
I then painted each person's name on the front in my same bright blue color. (You don't have to be a professional calligrapher, just make it readable!)
I filled them with crinkle paper, which you can usually find in the craft or gift wrapping department.
Then I added things specific to each person, including mini liquor bottles, chocolate coins, etc.
When I put them on the table, I propped them open a bit so you could see both the name on the front, but also the goodies inside!
I designed my invites myself on MS Word. I strongly recommend searching for new, fun fonts to make your design custom. A great site for this is Urban Fonts.