Tag Archives: DIY

A Stylish East London Wedding: Charlotte & Jonathan

When the bride is an in-demand fashion stylist you just know the wedding is going to be incredible right? Well Charlotte & Jonathan certainly put their own stamp on their day, with Charlotte’s expert knowledge and uber cool credentials coming in pretty darn handy for all the pretty bits.

The wedding was held at Town Hall Hotel in London’s vibrant East End. The deco decor suited the theme of the day perfectly, which was also echoed by the bride’s gorgeous genuine 1960s vintage wedding dress from Elizabeth Avey.

“I’m a fashion stylist I wanted our wedding to be a bit personal to us both and for it not to be too stiff and formal”, Charlotte told me. “It was important for everyone just to have fun! Jonathan is Jewish and I’m not so we had a civil ceremony in the amazing Courtroom at The Town Hall Hotel and then Jonathan’s Dad did a little Jewish blessing afterwards so Jonathan could smash the glass! We also played the ‘Hava Nagila’ song later and were lifted up on the chairs for the Jewish dancing. Before the service started the music playing was acoustic versions of Rihanna and Beyonce songs! The Town Hall Hotel has loads of cool features too as a venue, lots of work is featured from East London artists which is a really nice touch. We live in East London too so wanted it to be local! I love that the venue was really amazing and beautiful but then there’s a council estate opposite and it’s still the original town hall building.”

Being a creative couple DIY was an inevitable part of their day, as Charlotte continued, “We (my Mum and I) made the cards and stationery. We made the table plan using an old rococo mirror and Liberty print wrapping paper and we are going to hang the mirror in our house afterwards.”

“I think the main drive for our wedding theme was that we didn’t want our wedding to be boring!!” Charlotte laughed. “I wanted it to be pretty, cool and fun – loads of flowers, candles, hearts and nice touches, not to traditional but not try hard/flashy. I didn’t want a long dress either as I wanted to be able to dance and for it to set the tone of the day.  The music in the evening was just like a big party – no normal cheesy wedding songs!! I think we wanted to keep it real.”

“I also hate traditional wedding cakes but love big old proper cakes! We liked the idea of it being a bit of an English, springtime, fun version of Marie Antoinette ‘Let Them Eat Cake’!”

“I think words I’d use to describe our wedding would be fun, modern vintage romance and pretty”, she concluded. “The dress code was black tie and pretty dresses… I also didn’t want a proper colour scheme – everyone kept asking us about colour schemes and we just wanted all lovely Spring, pastel, sherbet colours, nothing set in stone. And we had colourful ribbons tied in bows on the backs of chairs instead of chair covers (I hate chair covers!)”

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A DIY Vineyard Wedding: Christopher & Kerrie

For their vineyard wedding, Christopher & Kerrie wanted something kitsch, warm and welcoming but without being restricted by a particular theme. “We put in all the elements that were ‘us’ that blended well and looked good together”, the bride told me. “I would say our wedding theme, if anything, was ‘uniquely us’. We are young romantics, whimsical, mismatched and a bit scruffy, we are lazy Sunday afternoon tea on a patchwork quilt in the sun and piece of cake to take home with you.”

The wedding was held at Immerse Winery in the Dixon Valley, Australia. “There is no one thing in particular that inspired our day”, Kerrie continued. “Our inspiration came from our experiences and adventures together, from the pattern on the tea cups at our favourite café, the lane ways of Melbourne we explore and the vintage markets we paw through on weekends. We like things higgledy piggledy and mismatched so we used that to our advantage. Everything from the invitations and bombonieres, to my shoes and my dress were all made by myself with help from my fiancé and Mum.”

Oh yes, Kerrie’s beautiful dress! Can we just stop and admire it’s gorgeousness for a second please?

“My mother and I designed made my dress together!, she explained. “Not only was it an amazing bonding experience but we bought the lace from the same store at the same counter from the same man who sold my mother the lace for her wedding gown 25 years earlier.”

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An Oxfordshire Tipi Wedding: Saskia & Paul

Weddings don’t have to be detail heavy or complicated to be Rock n Roll – Saskia & Paul’s stunning Oxfordshire tipi wedding proves it! The Swedish tipi was erected in Paul’s father’s back garden, the bride had no bridesmaids and the groom had no groomsmen. For this couple, ticking things of the proverbial wedding list was of no regard – what mattered was them, their love and celebrating with their friends and family.

“The wedding planning revolved around our laziness”, the bride told me, “no bridesmaids or best men, no cars, no place settings, no hair trial, no fancy wedding cake… We wanted to have the least amount of stress as possible in the lead up to and on the day of the wedding. We had less jobs to do by cutting out lots of the traditional weddingy things. In the end, everything was awesome! My dad and I spent the day before playing badminton in the garden, and although the hairdresser was dubious about me not having a practice, it turned out great! We really enjoyed the day because we fit it to suit our personalities.”

“We ate a lot of soup in preparation for the wedding to collect tin cans for our flowers,” Saskia continued. “Instead of ordering flowers, Paul, my dad and I went to the flower markets in London a couple of days before the wedding. We got lots of pretty flowers for more than half the price I was quoted by a flower farm. We bought some florist block to weigh down the cans and spent a couple of hours arranging them. They fit the rustic vibe of the tent and it was a great father-daughter bonding experience!”

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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!”

“
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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A Quintessentially British Wedding on the Queen’s Birthday: Jess & Dan

Jess & Dan’s wedding was quintessentially British with the theme carrying through from the attire to the cake to the DIY reception decor. Why the theme you ask? Well the wedding was held on the weekend of the Queen’s birthday!

The couple were married at Edes House, Sussex and had two reception venues, both of which were within the grounds of Chichester Cathedral. Their afternoon wedding breakfast was held at Vicars Hall and the evening party was at George Bell House.

“For us, our wedding was all about having fun and celebrating with those closest to us, we didn’t want a typical wedding and very quickly built a list of all the things we didn’t want!” the bride told me. “We even discussed having Sambuca shots for after the speeches but the venue felt that this maybe too much at 2.30pm in the afternoon. Considering we were having 4 speeches they were definitely right. Although we personalised our day with the things we like what really surprised us in the end was how traditional we actually were.”

“My Mum gave me away as my Dad passed away some years ago and in light of this my sister did the ‘Father of The Bride Speech’ which was very well received.  I too did a speech, as someone who likes to chat the lure of a captive audience was too great! The best man had put together a Powerpoint presentation with images, videos graphics and even props. Half way through the presentation it developed an IT malfunction, the best man recovered well by breaking out into a rendition of ‘Hakuna Matata’ (the song relates to something that happened on the Stag) while the staff fixed the problem.”

“For the meal we had steak and ale pie which people are still talking about. If our guests remember anything from our wedding it will probably be the pie. Our compliments go to the chef as it was a pretty spectacular. We had cupcakes for dessert which were a gift from the Best man and his wife. In the evening we had a BBQ and a sweet table followed by a cheese wheel cake; we even got the DJ to announce that we were ‘cutting the cheese’! This was served with a selection of chutney and crackers.”

“We wanted to create most of the wedding details ourselves partly to save money but to also give our wedding a personal touch” Jess continued. “Dan is a graphic designer so created all the stationery and printed materials. We spent many hours cutting and sticking our invites together.”

“Inspired by a recent trip to Tokyo, Dan created the flowers out of paper using an origami pattern for a kusudama flower and the buttonholes were made in the style of a rosette. I made all the wedding favours using buttons, the boys got cufflinks and the girls rings.”

“Our theme was definitely ‘Eclectic, British and most defiantly us’. We went for a British, red, white and blue theme as we got married on the weekend of the Queens Birthday. It’s also a very patriotic year in the UK with the Diamond Jubilee and London Olympics.”

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Button Moon, Moomins, Rainbow Petticoats and a Wedding in a Cave: Caroline & Johnny

When wedding photographer Sassy of Assassynation told me she’d booked a wedding through a feature on my site last year I was super thrilled. However my excitement was pretty much quadrupled when she them told me the bride was wearing a short dress… with a rainbow petticoat… with glittery turquoise leopard print wedges and ankle socks… oh yes and that they were getting married in a cave. I think died and went to wedding heaven right about then.

Caroline & Johnny were married on a Monday, on the 14th May this year. The ceremony was small – just the two of them, the celebrant and Sassy and her husband Ian, who not only photographed the event but acted as witnesses. The ceremony was at Carnglaze Caverns in Cornwall. “One fabulously weather proof venue!” the bride laughed. “Subterranean lake, 500 candles and really dangerous steps for the clumsiest bride. What could possibly go wrong?”

“We had to wear hard hats in the cave. Instead of using the ones provided we decided to make our own. We made ones for Sassy and Ian with their names and the date out of buttons, glitter glue, feathers and wiggly eyes. I think I described them as a 5 year old with ADHD being let loose in Hobby Craft. Johnny painted my hat black with a yellow rim for Button Moon. Johnny then made all the Button Moon characters out of Fimo – including the rocket, painted them and stuck them to the hat. He also made a Clanger which he stuck to the front. Johnny hand painted his own hat, again inspired by HR Giger. He then made a Fimo female figure from one of his own artworks of painted glass. It was just brilliant.”

“As we had no best man or ring bearer we created one. I had bought Johnny a giant Zippy a while back and his mouth opened so we used him as a ring cushion! I bought Zippy a crazy bow tie for the occasion and we put our wedding rings into his mouth. He also wore Johnny’s steampunk goggles we’d bought for our engagement shoot. Zippy took pride of place on the registrars table together with some Clangers and a Moomin. We even covered the registrars table with Moomin fabric we found online. We are now going to get a shirt made out of it for Johnny.”

After the ceremony the couple and Sassy headed to Bodmin Jail for some portraits. “We knew that we wanted the pictures done in the dilapidated Naval Prison part of the jail,” Caroline continued. “A mini trash the dress on the wedding day. Perfect. We booked a cab to be on hand all day to ferry us around as we were going to various places. Turned out to be the best idea we could have had. Barry the driver was brilliant. He suggested a bridge we might want to have a photo on. We weren’t sure but went anyway and it was a really quirky little bridge giving us a photo with a slight optical illusion which we love.”

“We arrived next at East Looe Beach. Johnny and I live by the sea and knew that it had to feature in the day. I even bought a tide timetable booklet last year to see if it would be low tide so we could get some piccies in the sand.”

After the photo session came a small reception at Squid Ink Restaurant in Looe. “Johnny surprised me with a weekend away to Looe in Cornwall not long after we’d got engaged. We fell in love with it straight away. We found Squid Ink and we had just the best food and service in such a fabulous environment. When we’d decided to run away to Cornwall to get married, we knew instantly that we’d stay in Looe and Squid Ink was where we wanted to have our reception. Catherine and Warren who own the restaurant (and Warren is also the chef) were just brilliant. They really engaged with what we wanted to achieve – even our little nod to a Mad Hatters tea party from our original wedding ideas.”

“Johnny and I made tea cup wineglasses and had our wine served out of a teapot. Catherine out did herself with decorating our table with the bits and bobs we’d brought with us. Instead of scatter crystals we had scatter buttons to tie in with the button moon theme. Moomin character napkins and our piece de resistance cake with buttons and Clangers. The food was amazing and the service impeccable. I can’t recommend this place enough. It’s just awesome.”

“Our colour scheme came about from Alice in Wonderland. I’ve got an Alice mug and one day looking at it, Alice was there with her blue and white dress and bright yellow hair with a flamingo. That was it. Our colour scheme would be the brightest version – turquoise, yellow, fuchsia with white.”

Caroline’s dress was from Vivien of Holloway. She customised it herself with the multicoloured petticoats (bought from Vivien of Holloway and Swingtime) and the rainbow feather accessories. “I’d seen a wedding dress made completely out of feathers”, she explained. “It was just stunning. This inspired the addition of feathers to my dress. It added texture and was just so tactile. Adding the coloured feathers to the neckline and to the fascinator just brought them alive. I also made the belt out of ribbons, buttons and feathers.”

“Johnny and I have planned and compiled numerous budget spread sheets for countless weddings”, Caroline concluded when I asked where their ideas and inspiration came from. “From a balloon over the Masai Mara to a full blown Alice in Wonderland extravaganza. From the Giger Museum in Switzerland to Central Park New York. I don’t think there was idea that we didn’t look at. Nothing was really us. I was envious of couples who just picked venues and sorted out their day. We just couldn’t find us.”

“Through the loss of loved ones and reality checks, the thought of putting our life on hold to try and save for a couple of years to afford one day, elopement was born. We really would have our day the way we wanted it. I know that everybody says that they want their day to be about them and ours really truly was. We got it to be about us to the ultimate. Every detail from all the crafty DIY bits to the readings and vows, the venues, the whole day in fact, everything had a reason or meaning to be included and reflected of us as a couple. Because it was just the two if us, we had carte blanche to do it exactly as we wanted without having to worry about anyone else. We can truly and honestly say that we really did marry our best friends. We know things about each other that only friends share not couples. We got it all.”

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