I had pretty clear visions for what I wanted most of our wedding details to look like... the reception tables, however, put me into an indecisive panic. Our reception took place in a fairly typical resort ballroom with wall to wall windows on two sides. Aside from these windows, the room itself didn't have a ton of character. (I'll confess that the ballroom wasn't exactly the converted barn I'd dreamed of, but I learned pretty early on that when 90% of your guests are from out of town and you have to plan for the unpredictable Pacific NW weather - a dream wedding location is one that requires minimal travel and ensures your guests aren't dodging puddles on the dance floor. And I really can't complain - the mountain setting and resort itself were simply perfect.)
I had to come up with ways to personalize the tables that were small in scale so as not to compete with the gorgeous view, but still big enough to transform the space into something that was fun, charming, and unique. Oh, and they had to be budget friendly because we'd reached a point with the decor where things could easily (very very easily) get way out of hand. Hence - DIY table runners.
I searched high and low for the right ones, since making them seemed out of the question given the timing. But the rental ones just didn't seem right and even if I had found ones to buy (which I didn't), I couldn't justify the cost. This is when having a bridesmaid that likes to shop (okay, likes is a total understatement in her case) comes in very handy. Sarah remembered an Ikea fabric that we'd both seen a million times and after pricing out the cost of making my own vs renting or buying, it was clear this was the way to go. (Did I mention Sarah also volunteered to have her mom go to the Ikea in Houston to get me the rest of the fabric when the Portland store only had 6 yards and the Seattle store was sold out? Thoughtful, resourceful, and totally willing to pimp out her mom during fabric emergencies - what more could a girl want in a friend!??)
Anyway, I calculated that I'd need each runner to be 3 yards in length, and that I could get 3 18" wide runners (with double fold hems) out of a 3 yard piece of the Ikea fabric. I needed 12 runners in all so I purchased 12 yards of fabric, which totaled $83.88 or about $7 a runner. Not too shabby! On top of that, they were pretty easy to make (one of those projects where the cutting takes longer than the sewing) and surprisingly one of the easier DIY wedding projects I took on.
PS... these runners are currently in storage, waiting for me to repurpose them or find them a new wedding to attend. If you're interested in them, please let me know! :-)