Tag Archives: balloons

Red, Polka Dots & An Ice Cream Van – A Budget-Friendly DIY Wedding: Kelly & Matt

With a budget of just £8500, Kelly & Matt pulled of a wedding that perfectly encapsulated everything about them. From the cute red colour scheme, the DIY details and the relaxed photography, their wedding was one to remember. “We did absolutely everything ourselves for as little money as possible!,” began the bride. “We wanted the day to represent us as a couple and to be really personal. We wanted to make it a really relaxed atmosphere and make sure all our guests and we had fun. The theme was slightly retro, with red as the main colour set around black and white polka dots and loads of red love hearts! Everything looked exactly as we had imagined and seeing it all for the first time was one of my favourite parts of the day. All the details looked amazing and we were glad we put so much time and effort into them.”

The bride bought three dresses (third time lucky!) before finding her perfect gown. “The first was ordered online from America and was not the size described”, she explained, “the second was a ‘settle for’ dress and then I fell in love with the third and final dress which only arrived a week before the wedding!! It was by Marc Le Carr – the ‘Kelly’ dress – and I got it from Berketex Brides in Bristol.”

The couple also wanted to have a few surprises throughout the wedding for their guests to enjoy. After the wedding breakfast, an ice cream truck showed up for dessert, which also provided some great photo ops as well as being a delicious alternative. Then for the entertainment they had ‘bandeoke’ which, to their delight, everyone got involved in!

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A Black & Red, 50s Rock n Roll Wedding: Hannah & Lewiss

Hannah & Lewiss’ small and sweet wedding was held at St Fagans Castle, the National History Museum of Wales. For their evening party they moved to the trendy Jolyons at No.10, a boutique hotel in the heart of Cardiff. The venue choices were important to this couple and they both wanted places that stood out. Hannah explained, “We both didn’t believe in long engagements so we set a date for 9 months after we got engaged. Finding a unique venue was important to us, but this was harder than we imagined. Living in Cardiff, we wanted somewhere in South Wales but it seemed to be flooded with chain hotel venues or vast historic buildings which were too big for the small wedding we had dreamed of. After overlooking it a couple of times we went to visit St Fagans Castle. St Fagans is the National History Museum of Wales, an outdoor museum full of historical buildings from all around the country. The Castle is a Grade 1 listed Elizabethan Manor House set in the most fabulous gardens. Even though it wasn’t what we originally had in mind, we knew straight away it was perfect. Also it’s in the area where Lewiss grew up and his parents still live, so it being local meant a lot to him.”

For their wedding theme, they oped for a subtle 50s theme, but really, they just included anything they loved. “The last thing we wanted was a one colour themed cookie cutter wedding”, Hannah continued. “We are both really creative so we did pretty much everything ourselves. Not only did this help us stamp our personality on the whole day, but it worked well with our smaller budget too. We started off with quite a strict theme idea, but over time, we stopped thinking about it too much and just let our natural style and quirkiness shine through. I love the classic look of the 1950s so that inspired what I wore as well as some of the decor; we went for a simple black white and red approach. I was very specific about what decorations I wanted so ended up making a lot of it myself. I did a lot of sewing with the table runners and tablecloths, and we designed and printed the stationary ourselves. We both LOVE rock music, I’m all about 1970s classic rock, and Lewiss is obsessed with 1980s metal, so we threw a bit of that in too with the table names and some of the decorations. We filled the day with music we love; I walked down the aisle to Joe Satriani, we signed the register to Led Zeppelin and we walked out of the ceremony to Creedence Clearwater Revival. During the day reception we had on Free and more Led Zeppelin while everyone was enjoying their lunch and our DJ in the evening loved British Punk music so we danced to a lot of The Clash which was amazing!”

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A Backyard Pool Party Wedding: Kate & Doug

Kate & Doug’s backyard wedding took place in Kent, in June. Kate designed her own dress, hand-crafted the decor and played in a band with her husband at the reception! She told me all about their magical day. “We have been together for 10 years so we really wanted to have a proper big wedding to cement our relationship and have a blast with our friends and family. I really wanted to get married in the garden of England, Kent, where I grew up and have a proper English country wedding. So we started looking at venues and found Ratsbury Barn, a beautiful 17th century Kentish barn in Tenterden for the ceremony. Then, my Mother’s boyfriend who lives down the road very kindly offered to let us use his amazing place for the reception! We got a marquee and extended his pool house area, it was perfect.”

“I had our good friend Adam who works as a designer at Penguin books help me design a fun tea towel wedding invitation with a matching rsvp postcard”, she continued. “I really enjoyed designing it with him and we were so happy with the result, we love the fact our guests got to have a little pre wedding favor to get them in the mood for the big day! We went with a red white and blue colour scheme to tie in with the Queen’s Jubilee which was the weekend before our wedding.”

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A Whimsical Alice in Wonderland Wedding: Kristi & Ben

Our Labor of Love, Sharkpig, The Flashdance, Smilebooth.… oh boy did Kristi & Ben have the dream team behind their San Francisco wedding! With an Alice in Wonderland theme and a ceremony at the Golden Gate Park, they really did go all out to make their wedding day extra special. The reception was held at RF-80, a studio space in the city.

“Our inspiration was the eclectic city we live in combined with a love for all things imaginative”, began the bride. “We wanted a wedding that wasn’t cookie cutter and that reflected both of our personalities. There were a lot of DIY elements involved. I scoured wedding blogs for my ideas. I also got inspiration from magazines and store windows. I would recommend figuring out what is doable within your timeframe or it can all get overwhelming. Enlist your friends, buy or make some cake, pop open some champagne and get crafting. It saves you money and gives such a personal touch to your wedding. I’d also advise other no not listen to the masses, they will scowl at your ideas, mostly because they’ve either never seen anything like it before or can’t get the proper visual. It’s your day, do what you want.”

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A Spaghetti Western, Day of the Dead & Frida Kahlo Inspired Wedding: Jess & Martin

Jess & Martin’s quirky wedding fills my heart with glee. It seems that these days, it’s not the wedding details I’m falling in love with (although seeing the pretty/cute/alternative/awesome ideas that people come up with is ace) but the people behind them. How can you not fall in love with these two?

“We wanted a relaxed, quirky and easy going wedding that was easy for most people to get to, so set it close to where we lived in Stoke Newington”, Jess told me. “We love the funky yet friendly atmosphere of this area and are passionate about where we live.”

The ceremony was held at Stoke Newington Town Hall and was an emotional service. “The local registry office has just been renovated back to its art deco glory and it’s a beautiful stylish venue”, she continued. “One of our friends had written a beautiful, personal speech, so much so it left the Registrar in tears – having apparently not cried during a single ceremony for 12 years.”

“We chose a laid back arty pub for the reception in Islington that was just perfect. Originally we were going to another pub in Islington but they cancelled on us 12 weeks before the wedding which was a little stressful. Actually, this worked out for the best as The Wilmington Arms were so helpful and really got into the style and spirit of the day and nothing was too much trouble – we got the relaxed atmosphere we had always wanted!”

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Pastel Colours for a 1950s Inspired Wedding: Emily & James

As soon as I laid eyes on Emily’s incredible silver embellished 1950s inspired wedding dress I was smitten. What an utterly gorgeous bride and a completely beautiful wedding. I couldn’t wait to get it on these digital pages of mine! The couple were married at Edes House, Chichester and had their reception at the groom’s father’s house in Bosham.

“We wanted our wedding day to completely reflect James and me”, Emily told me. “This was something we kept in mind during the whole process, as I think it is easy to lose sight of what and who weddings are for, when you are surrounded by so many people in the wedding industry telling you that you absolutely need this and definitely need that. 
We both adore the 1950s and the pastel shades, and I really feel like these things were very present in the whole day. We also chose from the beginning which things would be the most important to us – these ended up being the food/drink for James and the flowers for me. We chose a catering company who were very local and produced the most delicious food. We hand picked each of the types of alcohol we chose, with Arundel Ales coming from Sussex and the cider coming from Appledram which is just around the corner from the reception.”

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My biggest advice to future brides is to always keep a clear idea of what you want the overall feel of the day to be. Use Pinterest as it will really help you to channel your style of the day and keep you focused. And don’t be afraid to delegate. I was terrible at this and had to really be coaxed into it by my lovely Dad, who was concerned I would end up having some sort of bridal breakdown with the amount of work I was taking on. As soon as I began to delegate the smaller jobs, I found it so much easier to relax and enjoy the bigger jobs. Lean on your family and friends who offer to help – they do genuinely want to be a part of the process!”

“I’m a very creative person and always have some sort of project on the go, so we always knew our wedding would be DIY heavy”, Emily continued. “Little did our wedding party know just how much they would be getting involved as well! 
I had seen beautiful ‘doily bunting’ on a couple of blogs, which involved taking a large doily and folding it in half over a pieces of cotton tape, and repeating to create bunting. This had the quaint look I was going for, but I was eager not to have them in white as I wanted to bring as much colour as possible into the blank canvas of the marquee. So, after much looking, it seemed near impossible to find doilies in the right shades of blue and pink, and it was then that I decided we would have to make them ourselves! 
I fashioned a template which worked, and my parents got stuck in at home, with various family members, creating a production line of doily bunting. They were fantastic and I think we ended up with approx. 300 metres of it!
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“The choice of paper lanterns came about when I hit a stumbling block with lighting. I originally wanting ‘festoon lighting’, conjuring up images of old fairgrounds, like the one out of The Notebook. Sadly, the ones which our marquee company had were only allowed to be used outdoors. That was when I found some stunning photos of paper lanterns inside marquees with dimly lit bulbs inside. I sourced mine through eBay and was so pleased with the outcome. One friend said ‘It looks like the wedding in 500 Days of Summer’ – it was the perfect compliment!”

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James and I both love all things whimsical and retro, and we’re big readers. So, I chose to use old books as our table centres. These were relatively easy to source through eBay and old book stores. I loved picking out ones with quaint and quirky covers! The flowers were then dotted around them in old jam jars and bottles. I love using these around my house, as it has the lovely ‘just from the garden’ feel, so I knew straight away that this was how they would be displayed. With the help of some kind friends and family, we quickly gathered together around 150 jars to be used as vases and also lanterns in the evening, which were painted a light rose pink colour and gave off a beautiful, warm glow.
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“I wanted to add some colour to the tables, so I used the same 5 patterns of fabric which we used on the chutney jars, and made 70 placemats to go in each guest’s place. They were a little labour intensive as the pinning and sewing of the hems was fiddly, but I was so pleased with how they looked when we laid them out.
 The ‘Mr and Mrs Dall’ banner originated from my Hen Weekend. My wonderful bridesmaid, Penny, had made a lovely ‘Mrs Dall’ banner from card, paint and ribbon. I took it home with me after the weekend and realised how fantastic it would look with ‘Mr &’ added to it, and then hung behind us at the top table.”

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Working in theatre, I saw a great opportunity to go wild in the Chichester Festival Theatre props store and hire plenty of old bits of furniture and the odd trunk and suitcase to give a truly whimsical and old fashioned feel to the day. We used two suitcases and one hat box on the cake table to tier the cake levels and display them a little better. We used another suitcase for the presents and cards table. We also had a small ‘lounge’ area near the photobooth, where people could relax and feel like they were a little further away from the dance floor action if they wanted. For this we chose a couple of large, wing-backed armchairs, a nice big trunk as a coffee table, and a few little side tables with mismatched wooden chairs dotted around them. It gave a really lovely cafe style atmosphere and was very popular with all the guests, particularly the littlest ones who liked the big chairs!



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‘So what about that amazing dress?’ I hear you cry! “My dress was designed by Emily Garrod“, the bride told me. I realised quite quickly that I would not find my wedding dress in a bridal shop. I adore vintage style dresses and have a few 1950s style prom dresses with big petticoats. I knew I needed something in this style, rather than the classic long wedding dress. 
I found Emily by chance through a friend who worked in a shop and enquired about Emily’s dress which she was wearing when she wandered into the store. It turned out she had made herself. She is a wedding dress maker who is relatively fresh to the industry but absolutely fantastic and keen to fulfill your brief but also aid you with understanding what designs work with your height, shape etc. I gave her a brief of ‘1950s MGM musical meets ballet dancer’ and I was over the moon that she managed to make a dress which looked entirely as I had imagined it would.
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