How To: Party Store Banner

A backdrop alternative that won't break the bank

One of the reasons we decided to do large scale backdrops for our current DIY tutorial series, is because the secret of wedding decor is you don’t really need as much STUFF as the wedding industry tells you. As Meg said in the comments of this post against inspiration boards, “You notice table decorations for the five seconds before you sit down. Then you can hardly see them amidst the food, and you’re focused on conversation anyway. If I were doing my wedding again, I’d cut centerpieces. So much work for five seconds of noticing.” Which is not to say all of those little things can’t be awesome (they really can be), but if you don’t have a lot of time/ money/ energy/ give-a-shit-ness, it can be smart to focus on big impact items. Backdrops, in particular, are generally a lot of bang for your buck. They make your pictures look pretty and they don’t usually get destroyed, so you can even hang them up in your home after the wedding.

But backdrops don’t have to big big or expensive to be impactful. (I’m looking at you, commenter who wanted a cheaper alternative to last week’s backdrop. How does less than $10 sound?) The secret to making this one look hip and not cheap is in stringing together enough words to make an actual, well, statement. We also decided to spray paint ours gold when we were done to give it a more polished look, though even that is not necessary (and we kind of wish we’d painted one hot pink). Like many of our How-To posts, this one is less about teaching you how to do something, and more about showing you that you don’t need an overcomplicated project to make something really cool. In fact, if you decide to eschew spray paint, then this tutorial only requires one item. We bought our pre-made party banner kit from Party City for $9.99 plus tax.

The hardest part of this tutorial is figuring out what you want your banner to say. (Brainstorming in the comments, please).

And just to show you the kind of impact this project can have at a wedding, we asked an APW reader if she’d be willing to share the final product from her actual wedding. Hers was a little more labor intensive (glitter!), but you get the idea. As for me, I’ll be co-opting this idea for our living room, quoting Harry Potter, and painting it neon.

Photos: Allison Andres / Styling: Michelle Edgemont / Final photo: Hart & Sol West

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  • MM

    I really like this idea. Not sure I need another project to finish in the next 2 weeks, but this is a contender. My ideas:

    My Sun and Stars (because I’m a Game of Thrones nerd)
    To The Moon and Back

  • Karen


  • Kate

    I gotta say, these dollar store DIY projects are some of my favorite ever APW How-To’s.

    • meg

      Ours too.

  • Laura C

    As a person who planned zero decor, I find myself unexpectedly tempted by these. I think the fact that this week and last week it’s been words adds to the appeal for me — last week I couldn’t think of one single word I’d want, and now this week I’m like, ooh, I could have a whole line from a favorite song…

    I wish I had the nerve to say we’re just not doing centerpieces, but on the plus side, my FMIL plans some events at her job, has a relationship with a florist through that, and is prepared to not even tell them it’s for a wedding until late in the game. So I think that will be relatively little fuss.

    • cait

      I didn’t mean to report that! Sorry :/

  • Love Conquers All
    A Life Without Love is No Life at All (bonus points to whomever can name this movie and it’s ‘fictional’ speaker)
    We Go Together
    Best Day Ever
    You’re My Everything

  • AmandaS

    Mawwiage, mawwiage is what bwings us togever twoday.

    You could even do it without the “w’s” is you had to.

    • Laura C

      OMG, I may do this project just to steal that idea.

    • K down under

      at wedding of husband’s friend, couple are being married by groom’s pastor-dad, and these are the first words that come out of his mouth for the address/sermon/thing. So. Much. Win.

  • MK

    How is the bottom one done? I like that it has a thinner cord because it’s easier to read. Any basics for that?

    • Kelley

      Hi MK! For the bottom sign, I used individual styrofoam letters, glittered them up and taped them to fishing line with scotch tape. Easy peasy! :-)

      • Girl! Genius idea with the foam letters. I WILL be borrowing that.

      • MK

        Love it! And scotch tape held it up? No drops mid-reception?

        • Kelley

          Yup! It’s even holding up in our apartment, three months later. Although it’d be more than easy to use duct tape or something stronger instead if you’re worried. =D

          • Sarah

            Hi Kelley. Do you know if the kind of letters you used are available to buy online? I can’t seem to find the same sort of thing.

  • Elena

    OK. So this not wedding-related, but I totally want to make one for my husband’s office that says “Never, never, never give up.” (That phrase is kind of his mantra.)

    Or actually, that might be an awesome banner for a wedding.

    • AnonCat

      I love it for a wedding!

  • SamiSidewinder

    If you spray painted them before you put them together, you could do the symbols in a different color!

  • D

    Yay! Here she is: the cheap commentor!
    I like this one so much better and NOT even because of the under-$10-costs. I just find it so much more appealing. And I also want to appologize (a little) if I had been rude in my previous comment (I’m Dutch, bluntness is in my genetics AND education). I love so many of your how-to posts, the bouquet made of single flowerspecies is my absolute favourite.
    Maybe I just suffer from professional deformation: as a productdesigner I love making things from scratch. So, would you be up to the challenge to have me make a how-to for decorations? If you allow me some time and tell me what would be a complement to the APW How-To section, I would like to give it a try.

    • D

      For this project, I would do Love And Bravado

  • Caroline

    I Have Found The One In Whom My Soul Delights
    I Am My Beloved’s And My Beloved Is Mine
    (Both from the Song of Songs)

    I Want To Hold Your Hand (From the Beatles song)
    We Fell In Mutual Weirdness (from that Dr. Seuss quote)
    A quote from your vows

  • Malorie

    I’m thinking I might try this with “It’s dangerous to go alone”. Because we’re nerds.

    I wonder if I could make a little sword to go with it?!

    • Oh my god, “Exactly” is not enough for this BRILLIANCE. Do iiiiiittttttttt!

  • Lindsey

    Fly me to the moon

    (because we are considering it as a first dance song)

  • Marcela

    First Dance lyrics would be so good.
    I’m months post wedding but we have a lot of blank wall space right now.
    Now to pick a line from La vie en Rose that won’t take up the entire wall.

    Holy shit. What if I do the whole song and cover the ENTIRE wall?!

  • Anon

    When we were figuring out the decor for our ceremony, we wanted to have a banner that said:
    “Family Love Wedding”, as a shout-out to one of our favourite shows, Arrested Development. We thought that maybe we wouldn’t want that behind us in every single ceremony photo though, so we nixed it. I still think it could have worked, especially if every word was on a separate line, since it would seem like 3 wedding-related words. We just weren’t brave enough to do it!

    • ANDREA

      Omg pleeeeeeeeease someone do this

    • Rebekah

      Could you also make a banner for your getaway car bumper that says “forget me now”?

      I’m cracking up here. You’re awesome.

  • Teafortwo

    I love this idea, and have been mulling it over for a few days. I love the suggestion of “I have found the one in whom my soul delights.” I was also thinking:

    “And delight reigned” from The Secret Garden, over the entrance to our reception, or
    “yes I said yes I will Yes” from Ulysses. Although I am guessing that most packages do not come with 3 “y”s.

    • Kayla

      I bet they do have three y’s! There are probably two so you can spell happy birthday, and a lot of names have y’s, so there should be extras for happy birthday so-and-so.

  • Sarah in Australia

    I love this!

    We had “to have” over our dessert buffet and “to hold” over our tea and coffee serve- yourself table. Made from card stock that was pre-glittered. It was a one episode project and I loved it.

    We also had “YAY” in giant gold letter balloons. They were on the stage as our reception was in a country town hall, and a vacant stage does not look like a happy place. A vacant stage saying YAY though – well it sets the mood for every one to party!

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