Tag Archives: DIY

“Under The Boardwalk” – Aimee & James’ DIY, 1950’s Carnival Wedding

Aimee & James were married on The Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, Ca. The day was a 1950′s inspired vintage one with a carnival vibe. The bride wore a custom made dress inspired by Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face and amazing blue shoes by Moda in Pelle. The couple were engaged in Paris. James proposed on new years and the stroke of midnight.

“We wanted to have a 1950’s vintage carnival theme wedding because we were having it at the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, Ca. Due to the rich history of the location, we were not short on ideas for how we would bring the nostalgia of the times through. We wanted to almost transport our guests back to a time when family values and marriage were really celebrated. For me the idea of marriage is an old-fashioned concept, but one that should be pursued if you find someone that makes your heart sing.”

“The entire wedding was DIY,” explained the bride. “Most notably were the carnival games. What would a 50’s carnival be without games? One of the groomsmen was very generous with his time and volunteered to make the carnival games as a gift to us. We had a hat toss, bottle toss, beanbag toss, ping-pong toss, and a photo wall. The beanbag toss and photo wall were probably the most involved games with regards to execution.”


“The photo wall was a freestanding wall with 3 holes of various sizes cut out and lined with frames. Photos from the bride and groom’s sibling’s, parent’s, and grandparent’s weddings were framed and placed on the wall. A photographer friend of ours took professional photos of our guests and let’s just says that it was a good thing this booth was set up next to the bar.”

“The flowers were a big deal for me. I did not understand why flowers could be $3000 – $5000,” she continued. “That would have been a 3rd of my budget. I was looking through my wedding porn and I came across an article in Martha Stewart Weddings, which is by far my favorite wedding magazine, where the bride’s flowers were made out of paper butterflies. I loved the idea! Butterflies didn’t make sense for me, but it opened my mind up to the idea of other possibilities. I liked the idea of paper flowers, so I started looking for different patterns. The ones I settled with were crepe paper roses and tissue paper flowers for the bridal bouquets. I used pipe cleaner for the stems and covered them in flower tape.”

“Then I had the idea to have the jewellery flowers when I was at the groom’s parents’ house. His mother makes handmade jewellery out of jewelry she finds in stores and cannibalizes it to make it unique. She has tons of left over pieces that are too large to use in her creations, so I got the idea to have her make flowers out of them. She really got creative by gluing them in tiers and adding crystal accents. We then took wire and glued them to the wire to make the stems and covered them with flower tape.”

“Our centerpieces were also different. They were handmade paper flower pomanders by the bride, groom, wedding party, and family.

We put them on top of acrylic candelabras lit with LEDs. We used one type of flower to make it easy (tissue paper flower) and made hundreds of them every day for 4 months. I am still finding slivers of red tissue paper in my living room. I had the idea for acrylic candelabras but could not afford them. Then it occurred to me that my friend works in plastics and I asked if he could do it, so he designed it for me to be in a baroque style with a slot for an LED tap light at the base to light it up.”

“The one thing we take from this whole experience was that the elements that really made it different were the most important to us and ultimately what we received the most nay-saying about leading up to the wedding were things we received the most complements on afterward,” Aimee concluded. “People would ask me about elements of the wedding like my shoes and I would tell them they were going to be a bright blue and people would kind of look at me with this odd stare and say, “huh”. Then when the photos went out the one thing that everyone commented on was how beautiful the shoes were.”

“When we started talking about paper flowers people didn’t really get it. I think a lot of people didn’t think we knew what we were doing. To be fair, we didn’t always know what we were doing, but we knew that it was going to be amazing and it was. We have been told that our wedding was the best wedding that some guests had ever been to and is a benchmark for all future weddings in our community of friends and family.”

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Rob & Justine’s Beeeautiful Art Retreat South African Wedding

You’ll know when I’m really excited about blogging a wedding because I’ll sneak peek a photo on facebook and twitter as soon as it hits my inbox. It’s almost unfair for me to keep it to myself! That’s exactly what I did when Rob & Justine send me over their beeeautiful wedding…and actually, beeeautiful is literally the only way I can describe what I saw accurately. Love love love…

The couple were married at Hillhouse – a quirky converted Barn that is used as an art retreat, which has the look and feel of a dolls house – in South Africa. “Rob and I met a photography gallery and almost instantly clicked,” Justine told me when I asked about the proposal. “I liked that he loved animals and the environment and he loved that I was edgy and confident (his words). We were engaged six months later. Rob proposed in a beautiful vintage Victorian Era locket, I opened it and he had written ‘Will you marry me?’ in it.”

“In South Africa and especially Durban, there isn’t a market for quirky, different weddings,” the bride continued. “People seem to stick to the basics. We were adamant that we wouldn’t do that. It was hard to convince certain family members of our vision especially the ‘vegetarian’ bit.  We knew that the only way we were going to get the wedding we wanted, was to physically source and make everything ourselves. Every Saturday morning we went to the local charity shop and cleared them out of teacups, plates and vases. Rob and I even co-designed our gorgeous wedding invites even though neither of us are graphic designers. Rob was as much a part of the design of the wedding as I was, so it wasn’t a completely feminine wedding like some tend to be. Our venue wasn’t a wedding venue but an art retreat, our caterers wernt wedding caterers but an Eco friendly restaurant and our photographer wasn’t a wedding photographer. I think these elements brought such diversity and made our wedding, the absolute perfect day that it was. ”

“Our wedding was our art piece. Rob, being a designer and myself, loving design, we managed to create such a wonderful wedding day, something we are so proud of. Rob and I collected everything used at our wedding from charity stores. We chose every teacup, every plate, every vase, every book, every piece of cutlery. We chose each piece of material for our napkins, Robs mom sewed each one. Rob designed all the signage and I sewed and designed all the decor and we completely poured over every detail. Both being vegetarian, we decided to go that way and after the wedding, so many people commented saying it was ‘the best food, (not just wedding food) they have ever had.’ Rob hand made the portico that we got married under and the badminton net that provided hours of fun for our guests.”

“We wanted our wedding to be eco-friendly, to go with the theme of recycling, helping others, being kind to animals and the environment. When designing the wedding, we were going for the look of almost ‘a vintage attic with a modern edge.’ Our entire wedding was DIY as its always the little touches that make a wedding great. Rob made 12 signs for the road on the way up to wedding. It gets peoples attention straight away. I sewed about 50 felt hearts, stuffed them and put them on sticks. This brought little dashes of colour on the grass and people loved using them for photos. The hearts also matched my Vivienne Westwood shoes.  Rob made the badminton net structure and then I hung ribbons with little hearts on for the net. We put old vintage racquets in a trunk which added another great element. We hung the left over ribbons with hearts in the surrounding trees.”

Don’t you just adore it? Justine concluded with a great piece of advice for you guys too. Read and absorb it people! “A personal wedding is a good wedding, despite your budget, you can make your wedding beautiful as long as it true to yourselves.” Couldn’t have said it better myself!

(Be sure to check out their gorgeous video…and prepare to cry – it’s beautiful… after the ‘jump’) You can also see their engagement video here)

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Jo & Johan’s Eclectic Cocktail Party Wedding

Jo & Johan and we were married on the 25th of September in Brisbane, Australia. Their wedding was an eclectic mix of their own personal styling ideas.

“The wedding planning for me was a process of questioning absolutely everything that was the ‘norm’ when it comes to weddings,” Jo told me. “We kept the traditions that had value to us, but completely reinvented or simply discarded those that we felt were unnecessary. One of the very first decisions I made was that I knew I didn’t want to have a traditional bridal party. Instead, we asked all our guests to wear black and white, then our bridal party and immediate family members wore colour – that way they stood out as important, without having to be matchy-matchy. I’m so glad we did it, it was one of my favourite things about our wedding.”

The couple wanted an intimate and special chapel ceremony and so chose Broadway Chapel. Their criteria for their reception was to have a rockin’ cocktail party – not in anyway a traditional wedding reception – but finding their perfect venue was quite difficult, “We knew we wanted to have a cocktail style reception, because we wanted it to be casual and social. We finally found a converted warehouse called Lightspace which we fell in love with – and we were their first ever wedding!”

Jo’s dress came from Bridal on James and it was the very first dress she tried on. “The dress originally came in standard white and ivory, but the ladies there were brilliant and helped me source the perfect colour fabric,” the bride continued. “I’ve known pretty much all my life that I wouldn’t get married in a white dress, and I couldn’t be happier with what I ended up with! In fact, I tried on two other dresses that day, but that was it – I didn’t even bother looking elsewhere. It was quite liberating!”

Jo asked her bridesmaids to wear different dresses (I love this look!) and she tied their styling together with shoes from Novo (same style, different colours) and those awesome Chanel temporary tattoos. This idea RULES!

The couple wanted to make sure their reception décor and styling was perfect and so did a lot of the work themselves. “Decorating and event coordinating, I knew I had to put people I trusted in charge or I would just lose my mind with stress. Fortunately I have wonderfully creative, and generous friends who were there with me every step of the way. We had decided that I was going to walk down the aisle to “The Crane Wife 1 & 2″ by The Decemberists, so we decided that we wanted to use origami cranes as a bit of a motif for the whole wedding. Some friends and I all got together and made the origami cranes that hung from the ceiling at the reception, and from the pews at the ceremony, and one girlfriend made the beautiful origami flowers which adorned the reception venue. Our beautiful cake was also made by these girls at the last minute when my cake maker bailed on me. I also bought a lot of my diy decorating bits from Etsy. We didn’t have any flowers at the wedding (yet another tradition which felt pretty pointless to me), but I did carry a white rose (my mum’s favourite flower.)”

“One of the major money saving ventures that we made was to create a wedding website instead of posting out invitations. I did all the graphic design (in fact, I did the graphics for everything – the save the date cards, the order of service etc) and Johan did all the coding to make the website work. It was a really great way for us to combine our skills, and it meant we could have more contact with our guests, and were able to make the website really personal. A lot of both sides of our families live overseas, so we had sections on “getting to know” us, our family, and our bridal party – as well as all the important wedding details, and an RSVP section (which we loved, because nearly everyone RSVP’d within the first week!). The website was definitely another of our favourite things from the wedding.”

“Johan and I both have musical backgrounds, so when it came to the idea of a first dance, we decided instead to do a ‘first song’. We did our own version of Angus & Julia Stone’s ‘The Wedding Song’, and kept it a complete surprise (except to my matron of honour and her husband who we practiced in front of). It was such a special moment. Looking back on our wedding now, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing – I’m so glad we didn’t bow to traditions that didn’t mean anything to us. We have absolutely no regrets!”

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Sarah & Jason’s Perfect-for-Them Wedding

One of the (many) things I love about Rock n Roll Brides is how different you all are. You are diverse and fabulous in you own unique ways and that makes me so happy! I love the way I see you all bring who you are to the table, to create the perfect wedding for YOU. It’s great to get inspiration from wedding blogs like this one, but at the end of the day it’s you + your fiancé who should create YOUR perfect wedding.

Sarah & Jason did just that.

“What made us Rock n Roll, was that from the beginning, we just couldn’t picture us having a traditional wedding. We felt like it would have been fake for us,” began the bride. “That’s fine for some people, and we don’t begrudge anyone the right to the kind of wedding they want, but we wanted something that was all about us. There are very few things I love more than being the center of attention, so it was really important to me that our personalities were on display from beginning to end. From the black envelopes our invitations went out in, to the amount of glitter on the tables, everything was picked and placed specifically by us. We had a vision for what we wanted and what we didn’t care about, and we met with very little resistance from anyone. We weren’t planning a “wedding” so much as planning our dream party.


“Planning our wedding wasn’t the joyous event a lot of people make wedding planning out to be. My sisters and mom had moved out of state, so I was on my own a lot,” Sarah continued. “I was planning a wedding in Bakersfield, while living in LA. It was really overwhelming, and I was lucky that my bridesmaids were helpful in any way they could be. I stressed out about it a lot, and then just decided that as long as everyone had fun, as long as our wedding was full of love, nothing else really mattered. We had a small budget, that we mostly funded ourselves. I learned that we didn’t need all the stuff the bridal “machine” pushes on brides. We spent our money on things that were most important to us, and cut corners where we could. Little touches, that speak to your personalities, make a big impact.”

Be sure to check out their beautiful wedding video after the ‘jump’ too.

Nathaniel & Eve’s Quickie Wedding

When photographer Eliza Claire tweeted me to tell me the bride she had just met was wearing a Vivienne Westwood dress for her wedding I immediately got excited. So excited in fact that I ‘bagged’ featuring the event before I’d even seen one photograph! Eve’s dress was not an actual ‘wedding dress’ at all, but one from Vivienne’s Anglomania range that she had fallen in love with.

“I’d been non stop dress shopping for two weeks and so far had six wedding dresses hanging in my wardrobe – all cream or ivory, all perfectly lovely, but none quite hitting the spot,” Eve told me. “The fact was that I wanted a Vivienne Westwood dress – I just love that VW look, the corset style waist, emphasis on the bust, full skirt… But I’d been to her shop and couldn’t find anything, I think at that point I was still set on a white wedding you see. Then, the week before the wedding, in one last ditch attempt to find THE dress, I was racing through Selfridges when I passed the Anglomania concession – and there it was. I fell in love with it straight away. It helps that grey and navy are my favourite colours.”

“However, I was conscious that I needed to ‘wedding it up’ – and I only had a few days to make the look work, so I booked a personal shopping session at Selfridges (it’s a free service) for three days before the wedding. Luckily for me I got Debbie styling me. She’s getting married herself in March – so she’d been doing her own wedding recce of the store for the past year. Debbie totally got the look I was imagining (wedding with an edge) and proceeded to storm round the store picking out killer heels (me: “but i can’t walk in those!” Debbie: “who cares? it’s your wedding – IT’S FASHION!”) and beautiful head pieces. She fixed me up with Christian Louboutin shoes (D: “all brides should tread on red darling!”) and a Cherry Chau head piece (mercifully in the sale…).  I’d love to see what she looks like on her wedding day – amazing I bet…Now all that remained was to take those six ivory wedding dresses back….”

The wedding took place in Oxford, and after a ceremony at Oxford Town Hall the wedding party headed to North Oxford Community Centre for their last minute reception! You see, Nat & Eve may have been together for more than six years but it they got engaged and married within a month!

Eve explained, “I’d been bugging him to propose for years – he didn’t see any immediate need. But then everything changed…In November Nat and I interviewed for jobs in Qatar, in the Middle East, but we weren’t really expecting to get them. Suddenly, on 19 December 2010 it was on – and on fast. They needed us to start in a month (our first day in our new office was 18 January) – and by the way, it’s illegal to live together in Qatar if you’re not married…So action stations – we had four weeks to end our jobs, get married and relocate to the Middle East. Add to that the fact that everything was closed for Christmas and New Year and you’ll see why our wedding was a ‘make do and mend’ affair – and all the better for it we reckon…”

Nathaniel didn’t actually officially propose until a week before the wedding too! “It occurred to me a few days before the wedding that the nature of the job offer and the necessity to get married meant that I’d never had a proposal”, said Eve. “I pointed this out to Nathaniel who immediately went down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I cried – which seems ludicrous when you consider we’d already been organising the day for three weeks…”

However, Eve was sure that the last minute/throw it all together and see what happens nature of their wedding was what made it perfect – and perfect for them.

“I wanted the day to not just be a wedding, but a leaving party too. Most importantly I wanted it to be fun. I’m usually someone who’s really into the details, but I couldn’t be, I didn’t have time, and I think that’s what made it work.  Given a year to plan, I’m sure I’d have become obsessed with it, planning the minute details and watching as the costs rocketed. But as it was I knew I needed everyone to rally round and help, which seemed to make everyone feel more involved in the day. It wasn’t a case of Ii hope nothing goes wrong’  – it was so last minute that my ethos was ‘things will definitely go wrong – but let’s just make sure we enjoy it whatever happens’.”

“Nat and I sat down early and decided what we wouldn’t compromise on – what really mattered. We wanted people to party – there had to be plenty of food, plenty of drink and tons of dancing. For us – our priority was a laid back ceremony and photos of the day to treasure forever. So we invested in a great photographer, a delicious middle eastern themed buffet and a great live band. We made sure we had plenty of booze from Majestic – and the rest we didn’t worry about too much.”

Amy & Jonathan’s Cute, Vintage, Village Hall Wedding

Amy & Jonathan were married in May, in a cute village hall wedding. The couple clearly put a lot of love, thought and detail into their wedding as you can see from the incredible reception images! The whole thing ties together so beautifully – the bunting, the sweets, the cake, the flowers, the mismatched tea cups…I just love it all!

The ceremony was held in Kington St Michael Church, Wiltshire and the reception that followed was at Kington St Michael Village Hall. “We tried to do as much as possible ourselves so the wedding would be as personal as possible,” explained the couple. “We had our wedding in church and then walked across the road to the village hall which we had decorated the day before with our family and friends. It made the day very personal and very different. We hung bunting that a friend had lent us, fairy lights, union jack flags etc and had jam jars of flowers on the tables. We made favours of jam and chutney that doubled as place names.”

“We tried to keep things fairly traditional but with our own spin on it and we tried not to be limited by what a wedding “should” be.  So many weddings seem like the same thing over and over but we wanted ours to stand out. We made summer berries gin for the toasts by adding raspberries, strawberries and blackberries to gin with sugar and letting it sit for four months. Then we removed the fruit and we had pink gin! I also made the cake topper after a visit to Hobbycraft!”

Amy wore a stunning vintage lace dress which she found on eBay. She added her own personal touches to it by adding a silk dress underneath made by Alison Miles.

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