Michael & Sheena were married in July on a shoestring budget. With just $5000 to spend they were able to pull together a truly personal and totally beautiful wedding. The day took place at Independence Lake Park by Whitmore Lake in Michigan.
“We met on an online dating site, plentyoffish.com and our relationship took off like wildfire”, began the bride. “This was the 2nd time around for both of us, and though we moved quickly, we knew what we wanted and every day we realize more and more how perfect we really are for each other. Our dream is to move out to the Pacific Northwest (Washington State, or Oregon) and start a small organic farm, raising veggies, dairy goats, egg chickens, and alpacas. We want to be self-sustained and raise our children to love nature and animals, and to help the environment.”
Describing their wedding as “A DIY, natural, outdoor, lakeside, rustic, upcycled & recycled”, the couple’s first aim was to spend as little as possible, “We wanted to do this cheap!” Sheena continued, “$5,000 or less, and we did it. Secondly, we wanted to do things ourselves – the decorations, the bouquets, the jewelry, we even wanted to rent a grill and make the food ourselves, but practicality of the big day forced us to finally hire a caterer – who totally rocked and did better than we could have. The things we made had to be from recycled or upcycled materials, and everything had to have a future home before we would buy it. After the wedding our plan was to sell our mason jars to a local organic farmer, our burlap to another bride and our recycled tissue paper decorations are being used as packaging supplies in our little business. The material for the fabric flowers came from unwearable wedding dresses bought from a local cancer charity.”
So firstly a little apology. I’m away this week at Photography Farm so there’s no Thursday Treats. “Waaaah” I hear you cry, but fret not, I have something even better! Who fancies making rainbow pom poms?! OH GOD YES!
You might remember Jen & Ben’s epic rainbow wedding… oh yes, it’s one of my all time faves too. So it’s taken a while but I’ve finally bartered Jen enough and she’s created a DIY tutorial of just how she made those fabulous rainbow pom poms… and if that’s not enough for you, she’s even done a step by step video!(scroll down to the end of this post).
Over to you Jen…
This tutorial shows you how to create your own seven colour rainbow spectrum pom-poms. If you prefer softer shades, I show you how to use the same technique for ombre pom-poms in my tutorial video. The method is the same, so you can use your own colours and get creative.
For rainbow spectrum poms, which look lovely as a garland, you will need 7 colours of tissue paper, and at least 4 sheets of each – I used red (fading into) orange (fading into) yellow(fading into) green (fading into) turquoise (fading into) blue (fading into) and purple.
When I was looking for tutorials for paper pom-poms for my own wedding, the number of sheets of tissue paper varied from tutorial to tutorial. I tried out lots and found that 12 sheets per pom-pom made the best, fluffiest poms. You can make the poms in lots of sizes. Large ones, by using the full sheet (approx. 50cm x 75cm), working to smaller ones by cutting the sheets in half, and smaller in half again and so on.
In this tutorial I am using 50cm x 75cm sheets cut in half, for a medium sized pompom.
I’m rather partial to IKEA… I know it’s not the fanciest of home stores, but whenever I persuade Gareth that we need a trip there (I’m sure we’re due another one soon) I feel like a proper grown up. I can actually afford the stuff (like who decided £2000 was standard for a table and chairs? pah John Lewis, PAH!) and it makes me feel all educated buying things with Swedish names. Plus their items are always pretty… even if not always functional – “why yes Gareth I do need that cardboard deer head to put on my office wall…” And don’t even get me started on the kids department. I just wish the pink chest of drawers came in adult size…
So when wedding photographer and all round cool dude Chris Barber sent me Janet & Dave’s wedding I was excited. Not just because of Dave’s Rock n Roll stylings but because they chose the Coventry Ikea as the location for their wedding day portrait sesh. GENIUS! Oh and they spent just £4000 on their day. I’m IN AWE.
“We had our daughter in January 2011 and that gave me a serious itch to be married”, Janet began. “Dave proposed on Christmas morning 2011 with my Granny’s wedding band. He had a calendar printed with a photo of our daughter from each month last year, and on December 25th 2012 he had written ‘anniversary of our engagement’, which is when he nervously popped the question!”
The couple were married in July at Coventry Registry Office, and their reception was held at Varsity Warwick, a local student bar with delicious food. “We were originally planning a bigger and more expensive wedding for September 2013. It was the wedding we had talked about before we were engaged, and before we had our daughter. It would have been a wonderful day, but something about it just wasn’t sitting right with us. We hadn’t booked anything yet, despite having found the venue we wanted already, so we changed our mind. I had been looking at options for having a small ceremony and then a meal for close family and friends, but even the costs for that seemed astronomical for what you would get, and none of the restaurants were ‘us’ or had any meaning to us as a couple. Then Dave jokingly said ‘why don’t we get married at Varsity?’ – our favourite place to go for a meal, a somewhat quirky student pub in Coventry with an amazing menu. Unbeknownst to him, I made some enquiries and spoke to the super lovely manager, Rachel, who was so excited to have us there for our wedding reception. It wasn’t something they had ever done before, although they have parties there all the time, but they pulled out all the stops for us. They really went the extra mile, putting up all of our decorations for us and setting everything up beautifully (after my very helpful instructions of “here is a box of stuff, please make it all look pretty”).”
A warehouse might just be one of my all time favourite wedding venue ideas. Maybe it’s a throwback from my teenage rave phase or maybe it’s the fact that it’s so raw and grimy – a fabulous antithesis to the over-saturation of pretty-pretty wedding fluff that I’m subjected to by working in this crazy little industry. But either way I flippin’ LOVE Kari & Torkel’s wedding. They had their legal ceremony 9 month’s earlier but wanted a big party in August to celebrate with their friends & family.
“We both have demanding work and work long hours as well as travelling extensively,” began the bride. “We met through internet dating, both sharing a strong interest for physical outdoor training like running, cycling and canoeing. Since we had cheated everyone by having a small 5-minute ceremony the November before, my parent’s decided to reenact this part of the day with my father taking the role of the officiator. We used flower wreaths as a symbol instead of exchanging rings.”
The warehouse, Färgfabriken, an exhibition and art space located in Lövholmen, Stockholm, was an obvious choice for this couple who didn’t want to do things at all traditionally. “We did not want a traditional mansion wedding; it’s just not for us”, Kari continued. “We wanted friends and family to have a good relaxed time and enjoy a great party in a non-traditional setting. We were very happy when we found Färgfabriken, a converted 1930s paint factory located in an industrial area, but still easily accessible in central Stockholm. And of course you can play the music loudly without disturbing any neighbours. Torkel is passionate about music. He’s been a tour leader for bands like Deerhunter and has worked as DJ at the coolest nightclubs in Stockholm. So the music was obviously very important to him. He spent A LOT of hours mixing the perfect wedding playlist and the dance floor was busy until sunrise.”
Nellie & Matt planned their Whistable wedding in just three short weeks. They wanted something small, something personal and something relaxed. They found the amazing Beacon House, right on the beach, for their ceremony and were able to use the back garden of the bride’s brother’s holiday cottage for the reception.
“Serendipity and our amazingly supportive family and friends brought our wedding together in just 3 weeks,” the bride began. “Matt and I had been engaged for 3 years, neither of us are planners but we had a clear idea of the kind of wedding we wanted, a relaxed, seaside celebration centred around our close friends, family, good food and drink. But every option we explored in Cambridge and Brighton, our two home cities, in one way or another tied us into expensive packages, so we put off the wedding and skipped to the baby.”
“A year after our son Ted was born Matt was offered his dream job in the USA, the prospect of leaving our life in the UK brought into focus the importance of celebrating our love and commitment to our new little family. With a little over a month before we were due to leave we thought lets just see if we can do this, finding our dream venue on our very first internet search and them having an available date seemed like fate. Indeed fate struck again on the day when the predicated storms were replaced by sunshine. We decided on Whitstable because my brother lives there with his family and we were planning on visiting them that week anyway. When we saw Beacon House we fell love with it immediately. It is small and personal and is in the most idyllic location, overlooking the sea. It feels secluded and private. Getting married outside to the soundtrack of the sea was a dream and my most special memory of the day. Having the freedom to spill out from the garden to the beach afterwards was perfect for our wedding party’s large brood of children; Beacon House is everything we’d tried and failed to find in Brighton.”
Honestly? I struggled with what to write about today. Usually on a Sunday I’ll post something non-wedding related that’s caught my eye or I’ll share something exciting that I’ve done in the week. But I shared my Photography Farm retreat escapades in this week’s Thursday Treats and since then I’ve basically been chained to my computer replying to the squillions of emails that came in whilst I was away and writing as many blog posts as physically possible. I also spent rather a lot of time on the phone to Cosmopolitan Magazine. NO BIG DEAL (more on this soon!)
And then this wedding pinged into my inbox and it all became clear.
Show me a rainbow wedding and I’ll show you a very happy wedding blogger. Of all the weddings I feature, I think I’ll always be have an extra special place in my heart for a wedding with so much colour. Like, seriously, what’s not to love?! With $12,000, Jason & Gwen planned this colourful explosion in Jason’s Mum’s back garden. “It isn’t always cheaper to DIY,” wrote the bride. “But we never could have done so much ourselves without the mega-ton of help we received from our friends and family. I am so glad we did it that way though, because we had some great times working on projects, planning, and being excited with our closest people.”
“It’s hard to want things different from the norm sometimes”, Gwen continued. “Some people had a hard time understanding some of my ideas, but overall people were great. I really wanted the wedding to represent us and our styles, and to do what felt right to us, not what it felt like we should do to fit into everybody’s idea of what a wedding is supposed to be.”