If you’ve spend as much time as I have trolling the internet for wedding inspiration, you’d be hard-pressed not to come across photos of engagement sessions and weddings using the illustrious ampersand. Whether the couple was holding one like in this photo from my A-MA-ZING photographer, Valerie Demo, or it was hanging between the bride and groom chair at the reception, I just knew this was one detail I couldn’t live without.
After making a few trips out to the local craft stores, I noticed that this little symbol was hard to come by. None of the stores seemed to carry them, and the ones I found on Etsy were perfect but kinda expensive. I figured there must be a way to make one DIY-style. After some extensive Googling, I came across a tutorial from Chelsea at Two Twenty One.
Photo via Two Twenty One
Although I really didn’t want a mossy ampersand per se, I used Chelsea’s tutorial as my inspiration. I didn’t have access to a projector, so I knew that part would have to be amended. I tried printing the largest ampersand I could on an 11” x 17” page through Word. My first attempt was not large enough (around 10 inches). After some more Googling, I quickly learned that “poster print” was not really an option for Word or Publisher 2010, but Excel would work just fine. The only problem there was that to import into Excel, the ampersand file now had to be an image. I read some instructions on converting my Word file to an image file, but I found them confusing and didn’t feel like wasting the time. (Hello impatience!) Back to Google I went, and I found an image of an ampersand in Georgia font that fit the look I wanted (see Web Designer Depot).
I opened Excel, went to “Insert” on my toolbar, and selected “Picture.” From there it was a piece of cake. By trial and error I resized until I was ready to print. (Print preview was my friend.) Once printed at my ideal size, I cut out the template and taped it together.
Since this was a last-minute DIY (ahem, the day before our e-session), I just decided to use some on-hand foam board instead of styrofoam. (Sidenote: I may go back later and tack on styrofoam to my foam board to add width and allow my ampersand to stand on its own.) I traced in pencil and cut out with an X-Acto knife. (I recommend cutting the holes in the center prior to cutting the outside to prevent bending and creasing of the board.) Since my cutting wasn’t exactly smooth, I then rubbed down the edges with medium-grade sandpaper.
I was very pleased with the results, and we were able to use the ampersand in our shoot the next day. My ampersand project isn’t quite complete, though. I plan on doctoring him up for the actual wedding. I’ll definitely let y’all know what I decide to do with him next.
Have you fallen prey to the ampersand? Or is there another wedding detail that has captured your attention?