Tag Archives: DIY

A Quintessentially British (slightly) Royal Tea Party

The royal wedding is kind of a big deal…people worldwide are gearing up for the ‘show’ and even London has gone all patriotic for once. Union Jack flags hang above Regent St and pretty much every shop window is littered with red, white and blue tat. I however, am not so excited about the whole thing. I’m not averse to two people falling in love and getting married…far from it in fact. I’m more than a little bit thrilled that William and Kate are getting married. I love marriage and I couldn’t be happier for them!

However it’s the media charade that surrounds the whole thing that kills me…and the fact that, as someone that works in the wedding industry, this is supposed to be some ‘once in a lifetime experience’ for me…and seriously, if you’d been sent as many irrelevant royal wedding-related press released as I have, you’d be pretty over it too. Yaaaawn. Most un-Rock n Roll wedding ever. Fact.

As you can well imagine, since the announcement of the wedding I’ve been sent a whole host of snooze-inducing royal wedding inspired photo shoots. None of which I’ve really given the time of day. However this shoot by photographer Adam of  Viva Wedding Photography really stood out to me. Mmm… tasty tea and scones and vintage styling – all with a hint of quintessential Englishness but without screaming “Check me out I’m a royal wedding photo shoot!”

I approve.

“I always had an idea for a decadent / last supper type of shoot,” photographer Adam told me. “So Maryanne of Jam and Tea and I arranged a venue / props / models etc and pulled it all together. The original idea was to just get the one final image with lots of impact of all the girls having a tea party, with a slight hint of coronation royal connection. However the way we built the set up, you couldn’t really see the china in detail and the original first world war union jack in the back ground was obscured, not that we wanted it to prominent.”

“I always like to get a bit more out of my photo shoots, whether it is a proper shoot or just the bride and groom on their wedding day. So I always try and shoot some separate portrait shots at my shoots. In this case we used the vintage union jack as a background, and shot each model in slightly different dress (all clothes are the models own, but some of them were so beautiful, including a lovely 1930s french silk top) each holding a different original coronation cup.”

And there you have it, my mini-nod towards the Royal wedding. I am genuinely thrilled for William & Kate and I really do hope that they have the most special day and the happiest life together. I’m not a completely cold hearted b****.

And although I may have a few more ‘Rule Britannia’ inspired shoots coming up on the blog this week, be rest assured that I’ve only chosen to feature the most kick ass of the bunch…and the ones with only an insy bitsy hint of royal wedding-ness!

Continue reading

Jessica & Jason’s Halloween & Horror Wedding

Jessica & Jason were married at Grand Island Mansion in Sacramento. They both adore horror and so their Halloween themed wedding was held on the 30th October.

Their home is decorated with Halloween decorations all year long including a life size pirate that talks when you walk by him (!) so they actually brought a lot of items from their home to decorate the venue. They played Phantom of the Opera as the bride walked down the aisle and the majority of their guests dressed up for the reception party!

Continue reading

Ilka & Mars’ Early 20th Century-Inspired Wedding

“Circa 1991, and like most 9 year old girls at the time, my dream wedding typically consisted of getting married in a castle, having a horse-drawn carriage at midnight and saying ‘I Do’ to Jason Priestly. So fast-forward 20 years…our castle was in busy Tooting Broadway, wedged in between a Mecca Bingo Hall and a McDonalds, with a KFC conveniently across the road. Our horse-drawn carriage was a local taxi, well beyond midnight. And Jason Priestly? He got bumped for my love and best friend, Mars. It was completely perfect for us. Sad to say, Brandon had been banished to the Peach Pit forever.”

I love Ilka & Mars already. How about you?

Mar’s proposed at the airport, just before Ilka was about to fly home to Australia, with her Grandmother’s engagement ring. She explained, “So after a couple of years of living together and rarely talking ‘seriously’ about getting married, I was waiting in the busy security line at Heathrow, about to spend 3 weeks back home in Australia for a Christmas apart, when Mars popped the question. After unknowingly foiling an attempted romantic proposal during a holiday in New York a few months earlier, it was a perfect chance to catch me unawares while I was unsuccessfully trying to stuff the contents of my entire handbag into a tiny clear zip-lock bag, and rush off to board the plane. It was simple and just perfect. After a quick, teary goodbye and my grandmother’s beautiful engagement ring now firmly on my finger, I was herded through security and onto the plane. Needless to say, the next 24hours consisted of me taking full advantage of the onboard trolley service, trying to come to terms with what had just happened!”

When she got home, Ilka told her Mum the story and they quickly started brainstorming wedding ideas. She had always loved vintage things and so mentioned to her Mum that this was the style wedding she would want. “I’m the only daughter out of four kids, and Mum and I have always shared an obsession with antiques and vintage clothing, so it was no surprise to her when I said I’d love a vintage dress,” the bride continued. “It was to my surprise however when she then opened up the wardrobe, gently unwrapped a parcel and produced the most incredible antique lace wedding veil. She simply said ‘I have this if you’d like to wear it?’ It was originally worn by my great-grandmother in 1928, and again by my grandma in the late 40s. I had no idea that mum had it in her possession. Once I’d picked my jaw up off the ground, I asked why she’d never mentioned it before. ‘I didn’t know what kind of wedding you wanted to have’, meaning, I shouldn’t feel obliged to wear it if I wanted something a little less traditional. So, now at least I had a starting point. The veil. It was coming back to England with me.”

After many fruitless attempts to find her perfect dress to go with her perfect veil, Ilka’s friend Kelli offered to make her one, “My brave friend Kelli was my partner in crime on the dress hunt. With grand plans to find an incredible vintage dress, we visited endless vintage textiles and clothing fairs over the next couple of months. But with each unsuccessful mission we became more and more disheartened. We just couldn’t find the right dress. I relented and went to a ‘proper’ wedding dress boutique, and although the dresses were no doubt very beautiful, I knew deep down that buying one off the rack wouldn’t be for me. Fortunately for me, Kelli is a fashion designer by trade and sensing my growing depression, kindly offered to design me a dress instead. God bless her!”

“So, we embarked upon a series of evenings with lots of red wine, sketching dress ideas. We took inspiration from anything from Katherine Hepburn movies to Alexander McQueen, endlessly repeated the mantra that would later haunt us as we rushed to get it finished 3 days before the wedding –  ‘don’t worry, it’s just a dress’. We laugh about it now, and refer to it as ‘it’s just a #!@^ing dress’!, and I know I will never be able to repay all the sleepless nights she had over it. We found some beautiful silk crepe in McCulloch & Wallis, a fabric shop in central London that has been operating from the same premises since 1902. The fabric had apparently been sitting untouched in the shop for 20 years, so it was a lucky find! I bought some 1920’s rhinestone buttons on Etsy that we used at the back of the dress. My belt buckle was an amazing 200 year old Georgian paste buckle found at Camden Passage Antiques Market, worn on a black velvet belt.”

The couple were keen to make sure that their wedding was a laid back, intimate and fun affair for their closest friends and family. They put a lot of work into the details of their day, but oh doesn’t it show?! “Neither of us was completely comfortable with being the centre of attention, so the idea of a big wedding was just not going to be for us. Style wise ‘The Blessed Union’ (as it was henceforth known) was influenced by eras that we already loved, 30s and 40s fashion, Victorian ephemera and industrial design. But overall we went with the philosophy – if it feels right go with it. We just made it up as we went along. We also attempted to organise everything by ourselves, keeping the majority of the wedding details a surprise for our family and friends to enjoy. I didn’t have any bridesmaids, as not only were a lot of my friends over the other side of the world and logistically it would be a nightmare to organise, but I was also really conscious that people were already sacrificing so much to come, and the last thing I wanted to do was burden anyone with a list of chores to do or fuss over me. Their jobs would be to have a good time.”

“And finally….Advice for people getting married? Try to cut yourself some slack. If it is your first time getting married, like it was for us, you’re not meant to be an expert at how the whole wedding thing works, no matter what you’re lead to believe in magazines and on TV! So be kind to yourself. Improvising is perfect; you’ll concentrate on the things that are ultimately important to you, and the whole shebang will be really personal. We generally made things up as we went along and it worked for us!”

“And if like us, if you are attempting at putting the whole thing together by yourselves, then I salute you. It’s bloody hard work, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way – at the end of the evening you can both sit back and share a proud moment that it all came together (and breathe a massive sigh of relief!)”

Continue reading

Sandra & Colin’s Budget, DIY, Bicycle Ride Wedding

Sandra & Colin’s were married on 10.10.10 at The Franklin House, a private mansion in Tucson, Az. Their wedding was a super budget affair and 99% DIY. The couple did it their way and Sandra even had her dog walk her down the aisle (after some family disagreements.)

“Our wedding was 99% D.I.Y. and very low budget,” the bride told me. “We did get our wedding cake as a gift made by Busy B’s Bakery. Colin designed all the programs and invitations and printed them at Vistaprint. We used all biodegradable bamboo utensils (that were wrapped with recycled fabric napkins I made) and sugar cane plates we found online pretty inexpensive Green Party Goods. At the time I was teaching a recycled art class in a middle school. For one of the classes I had the students decorate the plates with edible markers.”

“All the food we prepped and made the day before the wedding as well as that morning by the wedding party and us both. We wanted to keep it really simple and picnic style since it was outside, so we had bread, crackers, spinach dips, bean dip, cheeses galore, pasta salads and sandwiches.  I baked our favors which consisted of vegan banana bread, oatmeal raisin cookies and we got maple leaf cookies from Canada. My husband is Canadian and we wanted to pull in that a little to the mix, as well as the fall theme. From the start of us dating I always baked for him. His favorites were the banana bread and oatmeal cookies. Somehow I think that is how I won over his heart, with sweets. I packaged them in brown bags and tags made on moo.com of our engagement shoot.”

“All of our flowers were purchased locally from the supermarket and the bridesmaids put them together. I made the decorations that were all over the place and together that morning we set everything up. It was a lot of work but totally worth it. His parents were so amazing to us. They rented tables and chairs from a local friend for the event not to mention helped us pull it all together.”

“Since we met on a bicycle ride and he proposed there too, we had to incorporate bicycles. We had our guest bring or ride their bikes over and after the ceremony we went for a little ride downtown.”

Continue reading

Linsey & Wes’ Totally Rock n Roll Wedding

Linsey & Wes found their photographer Jessica Monnich through a feature on Rock n Roll Bride (yeeey!) so it’s only right that it’s come full circle and I now get to share their awesome wedding too. The wedding took place in February at Mercury Hall in Austin, Texas beginning with a beautiful ceremony in the gardens.

“I was not a traditional bride in any sense (even down to the short dress), so I just kept looking for things that felt like us,” bride Linsey told me.  “We were always going after more of a feeling than a look, which made it hard, but in the end the feeling was achieved and everything just fell into place thanks to awesome friends and family.”

“It was challenging with everyone else’s opinions and being told things have to be done a certain way, but we threw that out the window a long time ago.  Working on a budget that we put together from the beginning, we were also able to get more creative and decide what were the most important things for us on that day – friends/ family felt loved for and had fun and that we were able to enjoy ourselves.”

Continue reading

Laura & Ian’s Hollywood Glamour Wedding

Three week’s ago photographer Annamarie Stepney was in Reading (where I live) so she popped by to say hello…to my cats. Yeah people never come to see me any more, it’s all about the internet sensations that are Henry & Rachel! Anyway, as we walked Henry round the back garden on his lead (I kid you not) she was telling me all about the wedding she was shooting the next day….at my wedding venue…well in actual fact, what should have been my wedding venue. You see, as soon as Gareth & I got engaged, I knew I wanted to have our wedding at The Forbury Hotel. It’s an amazing venue and I wanted it. Bad. But sad face for us, it was already booked on our day. However I am really excited to see how Laura & Ian’s Rock n Roll wedding turned out at the venue that should have been mine!

The wedding had a glamorous Hollywood theme. With Laura being a hair & make up artist, she sees a lot of weddings in her work, so she was keen that their wedding was really different. “We had a very short think about a theme and instantly came up with old Hollywood glamour!” Laura told me. “We both love old fashioned styles and music. As a hair and make-up artist I absolutely love this era its beauty and artistic flare.”

“It could never have been anything else for us. All our guests spent hundreds on outfits and everyone conformed to our theme! Very well dressed wedding. We thought it was really nice for ladies too, to wear the outfits they always are dying to wear but would usually feel too overdressed or think they might upstage the bride. At our wedding there was no such thing as too overdressed!”

The couple really went all out with their theme, DIYing a lot of the details and hiring a popcorn machine, a photo booth and a 1952 yellow buick convertible (“Which is the car that all our feature stars on the day – Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Audrey Hepburn etc used as their chauffeurs” Laura continued.) The couple even made their own invites to look like a cinema ticket stub with an ‘admit one’ part for the RSVP.

Continue reading