Tag Archives: DIY

A Quirky Country Diner Wedding (Dinosaurs Welcome): Sam & Stew

What started as an ‘in’ joke about a love of dinosaurs, ended up being the  inspiration for Sam & Stew’s wedding, which took place in South Africa last September. “Neither of us can really remember where the dinosaur thing started,” Sam explained, “but it is now well and truly an inside family joke – the fact that Stew and I are ‘dinosaurs-for-life’. I found the plastic models at Pollocks Toy museum in London, and added the little details to turn them into our very own bridasaurus & groomasaur, cake toppers (by far and away the groom’s favourite part of the decor!)”

The couple knew they wanted a casual wedding, one that screamed ‘them’ and one that all their friends and family would enjoy. “The idea of a formal wedding day, frankly – scared me!” the bride continued, “Giving ourselves permission to go ‘off script’ and make our day more FUN than formal made all the difference! My Mom (who never believed I’d get married) used to joke that if the day should ever arrive, she’d stretch the budget as far as the local hamburger joint, and treat everyone to a milkshake and fries. So, that’s just what we did! Our caterer was wonderful, and created a gourmet five star ‘Build Your Own Burger’ feast that included salads, homemade relish, a choice of filling and even a veggie patty – made from chickpeas.”

“We also opted for a lunchtime wedding – unusual in South Africa, because we wanted to relax with our close friends and family after the more official part of the day was over….which we did, looooong into the night!”

“Our day would not have been the same without the help from our families,” she concluded. “My amazing and beloved 92 year old Grandpa hand made all our blackboard signage, and allowed us to raid his shed for old milk cans, farm buckets and brass coal skuttles. To not only have him with us on the day, and share a dance with him, but also look around and see his handiwork displayed on every table was unforgettable!”

 

“From my Grandpa’s DIY blackboards, to the cake, and to my Dad’s valiant effort to drink enough Miller’s to create the impressive ‘hanging garden’ backdrop. We also asked Stew’s Gran to make us a batch of her famously delicious fudge (which we added to the dessert table) and we made a batch of my Gran’s super secret cookie recipe for our favours.”

The bride even wore her Grandmother’s wedding dress, a vintage original from 1947. Although it needed a few repairs it fitted her like a glove and it was a really special to Sam to be able to wear the same dress that her Grandmother did 64 years ago.

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A New Orleans/Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball Wedding: Emily & Courtney

New Orleans has a lot of sentimental meaning to both Emily & Courtney. Although their wedding day in Virginia, they wanted a New Orleans/Mardi Gras theme for the event. Their wedding photographer Crystal George explains, “Emily had been through some pretty difficult years and took a trip to New Orleans on her 28th birthday. During that trip she said she hit a turning point in her life. The city itself has been through so many difficulties and still perseveres with it’s culture and beauty, and she said it was an inspiration to her. At a large cathedral, St Louis Cathedral, there in the city she had a spiritual moment.”

“On her 31st birthday she revisited the city, bringing Courtney along. They had a civil ceremony and then visited the cathedral together. For their church celebration at Grace Memorial Episcopal Church (the images here) and their wedding party they wanted to continue that New Orleans theme. With an unpretentious black tie celebration and masquerade.

The reception was held at The Aviary, VA, and the couple crafted as much as they could themselves to fit the theme. “Emily is super creative and she says that her wedding she wanted to do her way, and feel like it had her fingerprints all over it,” Crystal continued. “The decor for the reception was all from the bride and groom’s own collection of things from New Orleans, including the dress and lingerie the bride wore for the civil ceremony.

“Emily wanted vivid color and a comfortable feel. She handpainted and blinged out the bridesmaids shoes and masks to match each girl’s personality. She also as customizing the earrings for the girls.”

“The bouquets were made by Skull Fly and had 5 removable pieces in them for the girls to keep and use later. They were a necklace, 2 hairpieces, a brooch and a hair clip. Skull Fly also made Emily’s bouquet and the boutonnieres for the men.”

“Emily & Courtney were working on a budget. They did specialty drinks for their bar, serving beers from New Orleans including Turbo Dog and Black Voodoo, and Hurricanes etc. Anything other than the specialty drinks was paid for by the guests. Their food was made by friends of the bride and included blackened Cajun shrimp, chilis and a sweet potato bar.”

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“Joyfest 2011” A Weekend-Long Festival Wedding: Jen & Rob

“A weekend of celebration” was how Jen & Rob described their festival wedding to me, and that couldn’t have been a more perfect description. Stokes Barn, specialising in self-catering group accommodation, in the Shropshire hills played host.

“We knew we wanted something different,” explained the bride. “We wanted to celebrate with the special people who enrich our lives and who share and understand our values and beliefs. We had the idea of a festival type celebration where we could create a magical, memorable and warm weekend (whatever the weather!) of celebration, relaxation, much merriment, Peace and Love!”

After the ‘legal ceremony’ at a register office on the Friday morning, the couple had a humanist ceremony outside, on the Saturday afternoon, in front of all their guests. “We made our commitment to each other, and shared our aspirations with our guests as they sat on rugs and chairs in a semi circle around us. My brother was our celebrant and our daughter read ‘the Owl and the Pussycat’ and my son read ‘The Art of a good relationship’.”

“We are not practising pagans but are pagans by heart and believe deeply in our connection with Mother Earth,” Jen continued. “Therefore we wanted to find a peaceful and natural environment where our friends and family could also share with us the beauty of nature and of the countryside. We found Stokes Barn, the most perfect location imaginable, a place which provided shelter but also allowed our guests to camp while enjoying views stretching across Shropshire.   Our daughter came up with the name ‘Joyfest’, a perfect description of what we were hoping to create: A Festival of Joy!”

For catering, the couple asked their guests to bring their favourite dish instead of wedding gifts. This not only meant they had a really unique and delicious meal, but that everyone was able to feel involved in the day. “We asked people to bring a dish for the Friday night buffet and, if they wanted, to bring something to decorate the courtyard or marquee. We wanted to make the whole event very personal to every single person that was there. We wanted our friends and family to feel like they were truly a part of it and that they could make themselves completely at home!”

“We hired a bouncy castle which was a complete success with not only the 46 children who celebrated with us, but with many of our adult friends and family too,” the couple continued. “We asked people also to contribute to the entertainment so our guests organised tug of war competitions and rounders. We also put on a morning of archery.”

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A DIY Carnival Wedding at Home: Bethany & Eric

Bethany & Eric’s carnival-themed wedding was held at their home, Antebellum Farmhouse in Granville, Ohio. “The inspiration for our wedding really started with our pre-civil war home”, Bethany told me. “When Eric and I first saw our house with our realtor we both stood on the front porch with tears in our eyes. We had not even walked through the front door but we knew this was our home. Eric looked at me and said ‘we could be married here.’ He then carried me across the threshold. Sounds like a fairy tale…. But so real.”

The theme may have started with their home but over time ‘a day and night at the fair’ became their manifesto. Royal Steamline provided the perfect stationery to fit the idea. “We wanted to create a vintage carnival feeling for all ages of guests to enjoy,” the bride continued. “I have an antique and interior design business named after our home, so I incorporated many antique and vintage items, furniture and props to create the scene. I searched auctions and estate sales for real vintage goblets, punch cups and plates for our guests to enjoy. I used vintage furniture outside to create a living room area that was a fabulous photo booth for all of our guests as well as the bridal party.”

The ‘outdoor living room’ was a particular highlight for all the guests. “We NEVER realized how much of a hit the backyard living room would be,” Eric explained. “I would have bought five more couches and cocktail tables and candelabras had I known it would have been so popular a place to sit! We also used it as a makeshift photo booth area — it was perfect!”

Bethany wore a vintage handmade lace dress that a friend found in a suitcase that she had bought at a garage sale! “When I tried it on, it fit like a glove and I knew it was meant to be,” she explained. “The only problem was that it was so old that it was pulling apart in places and no seamstress wanted to touch it because it was so fragile. I finally found a lovely woman named Peg Smith who had sewn the costumes for the Columbus Ohio Ballet for decades and was willing and able to hand pleat the tulle hem and hand mend the lace.”

“We had a bar under a maple tree where we used a vintage wood bar and stools lighted with globe lights and feathered lamps,” continued Bethany. “The gazebo was an iron structure from Mexico that Eric gave to me as a gift before the wedding. We used hay bails from our farmer neighbor topped with oak planks from a local mill for our ceremony seating.”

“We wanted the food to have a carnival feel as well,” she remembered. “We chose Leslie’s Creperie, a local food truck, to serve our guests fresh made to order crepes. It was a visual experience to watch the crepes being made as well as being delicious. We also served fresh baguettes made by our neighbor who has a bakery called Lucky Cat. The children (and adults) enjoyed the spun cotton candy, popcorn, and shaved ice cones.”

“There was something for all ages at this wedding. The children played vintage carnival games as their parents danced the night away to a live band. The night ended with a spectacular fireworks display that lighted up the sky over the farmhouse.”

“The best thing about our theme was that it gave the kids something to do, ” Eric confirmed. “Our bestest kid-sitter Sarah brought a friend and helped the kids win ‘carnival coupons’ that would be drawn from a hat to win some prizes. All they had to do was spin an old carnival wheel I bought and get above a certain number, or put the softball in old milk jugs that were in the barn when we moved in, or put the bean bag in the corn toss, each ticket making them more eligible for a prize. Yes, we sugared them up with cotton candy and snow cones and a lot of candy. But then the kids had THEIR area and the parents had their area under the maple tree bar or on the dance floor, or on the big front porch.”

Even though their wedding looked spectacular, like most newlyweds there are a few thing they wish they could have done differently. “I wish we had a ferris wheel and I checked into hot air balloon rides,” the groom explained. “I bought fireworks — it was soooo much fun to just let them rip toward the end of the evening. My simple addition was antique lanterns that I bought while I travelled. I went from Oklahoma to Boston to Arizona antiquating before work and finding old railroad and barn lanterns to hang in the lights. I packed them gently and travel them like gold in the airplane overheads. Many times I had to explain to TSA that is was for a wedding and that they could test away for explosives. I already had my fireworks! However I think the simple lanterns, torches, and lights in the trees and tents presented a very easy way to light our 3 acres. An outdoor fire-pit added to the romance as well.”

Obviously a huge undertaking, the couple called upon friends and family to help plan and execute their wedding. “The day before the event, all of Eric’s family, sisters, brothers-in-law, their kids and grandkids showed up early to start the set up,” said Bethany. “They set up tents, tables, carnival games, outdoor bar, cotton candy and snow cone machines, lights, dance floor, hay bales for seating, etc. They were an amazing team. They left the farm looking absolutely fabulous.”

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A Mendhi Ceremony & A Beautiful DIY Wedding: Jenni & Alex

Jenni & Alex’s wedding celebration began with a Mendhi ceremony held at the groom’s parents house a few days before the wedding. Their photographers Madlove Photography were there to capture this intimate event as well as their actual wedding, which was held at Rancho Guajome Adobe in Vista, CA in November.

“They were such a sweet and fun couple!”explained photographers Mike & Nickie. “Their day was filled with so many beautiful details, many of which were handmade by Jenni. She DIY’ed the boutonnières, table settings, wedding favors and so many of the cute decorations. They were really able to achieve a beautiful, vintage aesthetic for the whole day.”

The bride wore a Dolly Couture short wedding dress and Wild Diva shoes which she customised herself by adding flowers and other materials bought from a craft store.

“We loved working with Jenni & Alex because they are the type of couple who just keeps you smiling and laughing the whole time you’re with them. Their ceremony, which was officiated by a friend, had their guests laughing the whole time, yet it was also so beautiful and heart-felt. Besides the awesomeness of having food from Whole Foods and an ice cream truck, our favorite part of their day was the first dance. Alex sat Jenni down in the middle of the dance floor and danced to/mimed ‘I Put a Spell On You’ around her in front of all of their guests. It was hilarious!”

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A Heritage & Handmade Australian Wedding: Janelle & Liam

For their December wedding, Janelle & Liam wanted an aspect of heritage and an element of the handmade. They chose Eryldene Historic House and Garden in Gordon (Sydney, Australia) as the place to host their celebration. “Most of our wedding was handmade – assembled and painted by bridal party,” the couple explained.

“We made our own vintage fabric bunting and table cloths as well as hand made fabric napkins. We sourced over 100 vintage plates from op shops and collected jam jars from family and friends. For favours we had home made seed pouches and home made orange flavoured lolly pops. The seating chart was a window from an old home in Epping and some fence posts. We wrote on the window panes so people knew where to sit.”

Janelle wore a silk crêpe de Chine dress, hand dyed in tea leaves, which was designed and made by her sister, Louise Welling. Her baby’s breath flower head garland was put together by her Mother.

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