Tag Archives: DIY

A DIY Church Hall Wedding: Zoe & Richard

Sometimes I see a wedding and I literally can’t wait to learn more about it and (hopefully if the photographer and couple agree) write it up to share it with you lot too. Luckily for me, in this instance both parties were more than thrilled to share this wedding with us today, particularly because newlyweds Zoe & Richard found wedding photographer Joanna Millington on this very wedding blog. Hurrah!

Their DIY, family-central wedding was held at Christ Church in St Albans. “When we were first engaged I asked Richard if he knew where he wanted to get married,” Zoe explained. “He said he didn’t want to get married anywhere but Christ Church St Albans. It was my childhood church on the estate where I grew up and where Richard and I went to school. We knew it wasn’t exactly the idyllic wedding venue – a flat-roofed, slightly tired and drab looking carpeted church with very green curtains – but it was home. We had our reception in the same place. Luckily they had just built a shiny new hall attached to the old church building, which was very handy. No one (apart from us) had to venture out into the rain!”

The reception hall was decorated with the help of friends and family. They didn’t have a concrete ‘theme’ per-say, they just made the space warm, welcoming and fun! “My Nanny had valiantly made 150 meters of bunting with bits of fabric donated by people from the church, friends and other family members,” continued Zoe. “It was so lovely because people at the wedding said things to us like, ‘that piece there was the material I used to make a dress for my honeymoon’ and ‘that fabric was my old kitchen curtains’, so it was like all of these stories were tied together, and all the people who came together for our wedding, with all of their histories, were connected in some way. It was also very colourful indeed!! We used the left over odds and ends as table cloths.”

“Richard and his Dad had also made the most amazing Alice in Wonderland comic foregrounds. Richard had proposed to me amongst the seagulls on Brighton Beach and right at the beginning of our preparations we’d talked about how amazing it would be to have one of ‘those things you put your face through at the sea side’, but I never imagined we’d actually have them!! Although now what to do with two huge comic foregrounds is another matter…We also had sparklers as we left, which was very entertaining indeed!”

Pretty much everything else was DIY as well including the cake which was made by the bride’s aunt, the fake pom pom flowers which were put together by the bride’s parents and grandparents, and all the entertainment and music that was performed by various talented friends. The catering was also put on by some of the women who worked at the church. “My Mum had found a team of helpers from the church, who selflessly doled out and washed up after us all. We really couldn’t have done it without them, and yet they all thanked us for inviting them. People’s generosity was just astounding. After the service we ate ginger biscuits lovingly made by both of our mothers and drank mulled wine. We were really keen that everyone could come to every part of the day. We didn’t want to send some people away for the reception and then drag them back for the evening, so we decided to have curry from the place across the road. We could literally see their shop from the window in the hall where we ate. They were just so wonderful and insisted that we couldn’t possibly have onion bhajis, because they are just onion! They would make us their speciality, which was very tasty indeed. Richard and I are both vegetarians, so there was no meat, but no one seemed too phased by that! We had asked guests to bring a pudding along, and so we were not short of choice!! In fact we didn’t even get to see half of them! Thank goodness for photos! For drink, my Nanny and Poppa had bought every last Cobra from Tesco when they were on offer, and my Dad got a deal with a mixed load of wine. So we ate, drank, and were very merry indeed!”

The bride wore a short dress which she found at Whistles. “Being a fan of recycling, hand-me-downs, charity shops and vintage shops (when I’m feeling flush) I had been looking for something second hand. I knew I wasn’t a meringue bride, and I had no desire what-so-ever for a strapless floor-length number with diamante tiara and shoes to match. One friend said to me ‘You win either way, if you turn up in something outrageous, everyone will be shocked, if you turn up in something classic, everyone will be shocked.’ I contemplated dressing up as a Power Ranger for the occasion (just think of everyone’s faces!) The dress I ended up in, however, even caught me by surprise.”

“My Grandma wanted to buy my dress for me, and so for a laugh we went to the bridal bit of a large department store, just so we could fake puke all over them. The sales assistant was horrified when I told her I was getting married in only four months time. We quickly left. We ended up buying my dress from Whistles. I saw it one day when I was mooching around waiting for a friend, I was certainly not looking for my wedding dress, and I phoned my Grandma and Mum that night and we arranged to head to Selfridges, where they had the last one in my size, the next day. When my Grandma used the word ‘vivacious’ to describe it, I knew I had to have it. On our wedding day, when I arrived at the front of the church, Richard said to me ‘You did it, you surprised me.’ I think he would have been less shocked by the Power Ranger costume!”

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An Alabama Cave Wedding: Melissa & Greg

Yes you did read that correctly – Melissa & Greg got married in a cave (and instantly went into my ‘coolest ever wedding venue’ mental checklist).

“Greg and I picked up the love of spelunking (caving) during our 4 ½ year relationship and wanted to show our families what we found so beautiful about underground,” Melissa explained when I asked them about their unusual choice. “The ceremony felt very romantic; low lighting, candles everywhere, glowing stalactites and the silhouettes of the people who love us the most. My stepfather Mark became ordained and performed our ceremony.”

“It was very special to have him be such a huge part of my wedding since my father refused to attend for his own personal reasons. One of the more emotional moments of the day was when I danced with my stepfather. I hate crying but there was no holding back my ugly crying face! Greg walked me down the aisle, which was a perfect way to begin our marriage. I was much less nervous than I would have been otherwise. We broke a few traditions that I used to think were important, but now I understand exactly what a wedding is all about; it’s about man and wife and everything else is too insignificant to worry about.”

After the ceremony came the reception at Morgan Creek Vineyard in Harpersville,”Our initial inspiration actually came from my lamp from IKEA! It was colorful, but delicate,” the bride continued. “I wanted to recreate the homemade vintage feel. While the stress did get to me at times it was important to me throughout the planning to make everyone comfortable because many weddings that I have gone to were to static and uncomfortable. I wanted my family and friends to relax and unwind. This wedding wasn’t put on by wedding planners who I didn’t know, or cake decorators who I picked from google, my wedding was put together by friends and family which made it more intimate.”

“The music also helped set the mood. I created a playlist on my iPhone around 3am the morning of our wedding. We played ‘Today’ by Joshua Radin, ‘Love Will Take You’ by Angus & Julia Stone, and we walked in to the beautiful soundtrack ‘The Winner Is’ from Little Miss Sunshine.”

For the reception decor, the couple decided to have each ‘centrepiece’ as a collection of differently coloured vases and glasses – a different colour for each table. “I refused to pick a color scheme. Why should I have 2 colors when I love so many colors?! It was a playful, kid friendly, colorful, wedding. My crew and I have hardly any pictures where someone isn’t hamming it up for the camera and my wedding photos reflect that too! A good percentage of out photos someone is making a face, I kind of feel a little bad for our wonderful photographers, but they got some lovely more serious images as well.”

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DIY Tutorial: Ombre Cake Icing

As I’m in the birthday spirit, what could be more celebratory than a big fat pink cake!? And with ombre being a wedding trend I’m still utterly loving, I thought this DIY from blog reader Heidi would be the perfect way to get the party started…

I’m Heidi, and I write the blog LittleMissLove. I work in Digital Marketing, drink too many iced lattes, and am also a pro hula hooper (more on that on the blog soon!) I write about things I love, and I love fashion, film photography, and getting crafty. I post a lot of mini DIY projects – pretty or tasty things you can make on a lazy sunday. It just so happens that my chap Dikki proposed to me over a home-made chilli just before New Years Eve, so since then most of my crafty projects have been some kind of trial run for the Big W. I’ve seen a lot of gorgeous ombre wedding cakes around t’internet recently, so here’s a how to if you want to try it out yourself!

Recently I met with my bridesmaids, to watch the awesome Bridesmaids film, drink cocktails and have a gossip. Of course, I need a cake for every occasion so I made a lemon sponge with blackcurrant jam in the middle. I tried out ombre icing for the first time – a gentle graduation of colour from light to dark. Here’s how!

Supplies Needed:

♥ Cake
♥ White Icing (can be bought ready made or you can home make some butter cream or cream cheese icing)
♥ Food Colouring in your choice of colour (I used red to make a white-pink-red ombre effect)
♥ Palette knife
♥ Spatula
♥ Bowl

Method:

Step One: Firstly, cover the cake in white soft icing, this is called a crumb layer, and it smooths out your palette. I cheated and bought a tub of Betty Crocker ready made frosting, since you can’t buy white butter in the UK (unlike the US) so you can’t make white buttercream at home. If you do want to go fully DIY just make a cream cheese frosting, that way it will stay nice and white (and it’s delicious!)

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A Barbie & Breakfast at Tiffany’s Inspired Wedding: Anna-Marie & Paul

Anna-Marie & Paul had a simple, down-to-earth and beautiful wedding. Barbie pink accents sat perfectly with their eclectic styling ideas and Breakfast at Tiffany inspiration. The reception was held at The Grand Café in Oxford, as the bride explained, “We went for a high tea affair in a beautiful 1920s style café. It is a special place for us as we started our dating years visiting Oxford and The Grand Café. In fact Paul proposed in Oxford too. We were aiming for a relaxed and informal atmosphere. No cutting of the cake, no first dance – just tea, cake and friends. We created a playlist of all our favorite songs and put it on shuffle throughout the night. It isn’t a wedding venue, partly why we picked it, we didn’t want anything typically wedding style. We aren’t crazy party animals so we only hired it for 4 hours, (5pm – 9pm). We wanted maximum impact, and minimal drunk people (the latter bit didn’t work out, It seems people cram more in a short space of time!!) All in all, it was the perfect choice for our wedding reception.”

Anna-Marie asked a friend from art college to make her wedding dress for her. She was inspired by the dress Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. “I wanted an exact replica of the iconic Breakfast at Tiffany’s dress but in ivory. I also designed a top to go with the dress and decided 3 days before the wedding to cover the collar in pearls…it was stressful but often the best ideas come to me last minute! She did an incredible job, she is a pattern cutter for Coast, so I knew she was good, but I had no idea she was that good until I saw the dress for the first time! She even made me a cute label inside with my college nick name embroidered in ‘Annabell’. It’s finishing touches like this that made it even more special!”

As well as the pink colour scheme, Barbie dolls were featured throughout the wedding, making it a really girly but cute affair. “I collect Barbie dolls, and was determined to feature them in the wedding somehow, so I had the flower girls carry a Barbie doll each and the page boy carried a Thomas the tank engine toy. That way they had something to keep them occupied during the ceremony. I didn’t want all my closest friends walking down the aisle with me, as there were 7 of them! I had a corsage made for each of them to wear on the day and I attached tags to each corsage with a scrabble ring tied to it. Each ring spelt out the word ‘Friends’ and I wrote on each tag the reasons why they were special to me. Even though they were not official bridesmaids (we wanted to keep it informal), funnily enough when I got to the church I asked my sisters and best friend to walk down the aisle before me, it’s funny how tradition creeps up on you, but Im really glad I did, it made it more special.”

The couple added DIY touches where they could including making their own personalised stationery. “I’m a printer and designer by trade, so the stationery had to be amazing!” continued the bride. “The pressure was on! I created a Rob Ryan style laser cut invite, with a really lovely poem about marriage and love intricately cut out to form the shape of a lighthouse (we call our house the lighthouse, it has become our own special theme!) I made a fun spiral bound long thin Order of service, to be different and included a double page spread of pictures of all our friends and family. Printed on all my favourite papers, all 50% recycled stock. Then I made tissue slip cases for the church with the words ‘Tears of Joy…or a runny nose’ printed on each one. Each guest had a packet of tissues and an order of service on their seat.”

“The reception stationery include tea bag tags personalised with each guest name. We made our table plan a compilation of guests faces on a Polaroid picture in random countries around the world as backgrounds and each table was named after a different tea.”

“I created our own logo using the Tiffany’s & Co. logo, but then crossed out with Hughes scribbled above Tiffany’s. I printed it onto large luggage tags with questions on the reverse for each guest to fill out, this was instead of a guest book. We asked guests how and when they first met us, what we should call our next dog and what their advise for our marriage would be. We got some hilarious responses! We then tied each one to the willow tree that we took from the ceremony (saves on cost). We gave each guest a free drink voucher, entitled ‘fancy a drink?’ and placed in a tiny gold envelope on each place setting. I also made round disks with ‘the legend of afternoon tea’ printed on for our tea cup candle wedding favours.”

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A Low Key, Family-Centric Wedding with a Bowling After Party: Daniel & Zara

Daniel & Zara wanted a really low key wedding that focussed on family, friends, celebration and laughter. The ceremony was held at Camden Town Hall (where the bride’s parents were married 35 years earlier).

The reception kicked off with drinks at The Gilbert Scott or Cider Tap (the guests went to either or both!) and finally Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes. “Over several bottles of wine on holiday last summer we drew up lists of things we did and didn’t want as part of the day,” Zara told me “Over-formality was a big no-no and fun was a big yes! We fell in love with the Kingpin Suite at Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes as soon as we saw it so that became our after party venue. It was as close as we could get to running off to Vegas without sacrificing having our friends and families there. Dan and I are both terrible at bowling, but he did propose outside a bowling alley (with a ring in a packet of hula hoops) just before we went in for a game – so it all seemed to fit into place. We managed to keep the reception venue a secret from guests until they turned up. No-one had a clue and it was brilliant for Dan and I to greet people with massive surprised smiles on their faces.”

“We put a real emphasis on little details of our wedding, not to save money but to personalise the day as much as possible and to satisfy my inner craft-geek.”

The bride wore a dress made by a friend, “My dress was made by a friend of a friend who is an awesome tailor, using a picture of an ozzy clark dress from the internet. We adapted it to include a brocade panel which was planned to match the bridesmaids who were all asked to wear brocade vintage. Dan and I had matching personalised converse trainers and I had a gorgeous pair of of Vivienne Westwood/Melissa shoes.”

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A Dusky Pink Wedding with a Touch of Vintage: Louise & Paul

Louise & Paul were married in London on 11th February, just a few days after their 12 year anniversary. “Our 12 year anniversary was the Thursday before our wedding!” Louise told me. “This is the reason why we chose this date. We got engaged two year’s previously on our 10 year anniversary! We were lucky enough to find our photographer Annamarie Stepney through a wedding blog and we just fell in love with her pictures. They are so romantic and unconventional. Her photos just tell a story of the day – people who were there can re-live every fab moment and fill in the gaps on the moments they couldn’t remember or missed. And those who weren’t there, get transported to the day. I’ve been blown away by all the amazing comments on them!”

The ceremony took place at The Old Marylebone Town Hall with the reception at The Union Club in Soho. “We just fell in love with The Union Club the moment we walked through the door” the bride continued. “Quirky, cosy, relaxed and friendly – which pretty much summed up what we wanted from our day! Then we ate there and the food was amazing. All their food is homemade – they don’t even have a microwave on site. We are proper foodies, so the grub was really important to us. We also loved how we didn’t have to choose a menu six months before – our guests got to pick their meal on the day.”

Louise wore a bespoke dress by Conchita Couture with Kurt Geiger shoes and a headpiece from Glitzy Secrets. “From the moment we got engaged I knew I was going to struggle to find a dress ‘off the peg’. I didn’t want a traditional strapless full length gown,” she explained. “They just aren’t my style – plus I’m only just over 5ft and a size 8, so didn’t want to be swamped! I just liked the idea of having sleeves and a high neck – I wanted that real Grace Kelly feel! My Mum actually married in a long sleeved dress too. I also wasn’t sure about marrying in white or ivory, so opted for a dusky pink number which was uniquely made by layering up different coloured fabrics. This kind of set the colour scheme for the wedding too.”

“We wanted to make sure our wedding day stood out from the rest!” Louise concluded. “We wanted it to be romantic but fun-filled at the same time! We didn’t follow the crowds, we chose not to have bridesmaids and ushers and favours on the tables and we also made sure our DJ pumped house tunes all night long. House music is what brought us together so was such an important part of our day!”

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