Tag Archives: DIY

A Quirky Afternoon Tea & Library Themed Wedding: Ney & Phil

Ney & Phil’s DIY wedding was loosely based around the theme of a books and libraries.

“We wanted a literary theme and thought using vintage books as invites would be a lovely idea,” Ney told me. “We met at University studying English Literature and just love books, in particular old Penguin classics. We found some companies that can make them for you, but they’re expensive so we decided to do them ourselves.”

“We spent weeks to-ing and fro-ing all the vintage bookstores on Charing Cross Road (they do great bargain deals like hardback books for a pound).  I sourced a template for library card sleeves online, used an embossed gold paper to make them and then slotted our wedding invites inside to complete the book.  As much as possible, we tied our book choices to our guests’ interests, e.g. a Portuguese travel guide for my Mum, classic English poems for friends who studied literature with us, and a Guide to British Birds for Phil’s old-charmer Dad.  I love the idea that the invites had a life after the wedding, and it’s great knowing that they’re sitting on our friends’ bookshelves as part of their collection.”

“I used websites like Rock n Roll Bride and many, many (OK, hundreds of) wedding blogs for ideas and inspiration.  We have quite a taste for old vintage things and are constantly rummaging around in markets so used these trips for inspiration on how to display things or what to buy.  Things like the idea of covering books with vintage-style wrapping paper for the centrepieces we got from passing an antique shop in Chelsea, for example.”

It was also really important to the couple to incorporate their different heritages and cultures and so the second part of their wedding theme was based around this. “Throughout the day, we tried to make sure that the wedding was representative of our families’ cultures,” the bride continued.

“Phil’s got an English/Australian background – hence we started the day with afternoon tea, but made sure there were little ethnic touches (like Portuguese custard tarts on the cake stands).  As for my side, the Angolan culture is very celebratory – we make lots of noise, eat lots of food and dance like crazy, so we ended the night with a great big knees-up.”

“One of our favourite moments on the day was after the first song (Jamie Lidell’s Another Day).  As soon as it finished, my Mum made the DJ play an old Brazilian love song we’d never heard before.  Our bemusement turned to wonder as she led my entire family – almost 50 of them! – in a serenade en masse as we danced the, er, second first dance.  What a wonderful memory!  Also memorable was my lovely husband taking secret Portuguese lessons for his wedding speech.  The family went wild!”

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A Patriotic Red, White & Blue Wedding: Julia & James

Julia & James had a handmade and patriotic Great British theme for their September wedding – red, white & blue. “I knew from the moment we started to plan the wedding that I wanted it to be DIY,” the bride told me, “and to be able to keep all the aspects to decorate our home. We had so many great comments on the day from the registrar and venue that they had never seen a wedding like ours before. I am a avid follower of Rock n Roll Bride, Ruffled blog & Green Wedding Shoes so I scrapbooked a lot of ideas from them all over the past 2 years!”

Julia wore two dresses, the first was made by her Mother which she wore with Union Jack Irregular Choice shoes. In the evening she changed into a dress which she bought from eBay. “I saw it one evening when looking for a joke dress to wear to a friend’s hen party and my heart stopped,” Julia continued. “It was the one! I bid as far as my purse would let me, and I didn’t win. I was tweeting away and some of my followers suggested I contact the seller directly.”

“So I did, and asked her how much she wanted for it. I was devastated when she told me the amount as it was more than I could pay at that time. Anyway, I kept tweeting my dismay and had resigned to the fact that the dress wouldn’t be mine. I had a DM from one of my friends saying that I could start a group on facebook asking all our mates to donate some money and that it would be a wedding present from them all. I didn’t think anything would come of it but not long after the same friend DM’d me saying ‘check your email’ and there was a PayPal amount awaiting me – to cover the WHOLE amount for the dress. As you can imagine I cried and laughed and jumped for joy!”

The reception decor was all DIY including the bunting, 400 pinwheels (which they had instead of flowers on the tables as well as instead of traditional bouttonierres for the boys), the string ball decorations and all the table decorations. Instead of a traditional wedding cake, they had a cake competition where they asked their guests to bring a homemade cake. They had all kinds of entries including a barbie doll cake, apple and cinnamon muffins and sparkly cake pops.

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A Super Sweet Backyard Bash: Melinda & Jesse

Melinda & Jesse’s backyard wedding can only be described as ‘super sweet’ I feel, because that’s what it was – a super sweet wedding filled with love and family.

The wedding was held in the groom’s parent’s back garden and the bride made everything herself from the invites to the horseshoe seating cards, the boutonnieres to her bouquet (the flowers of which were picked from the garden), the hand-drawn table numbers to the centerpieces.

Although Melinda had a broken foot, a fantastic time was had by all and that certainly didn’t stop them rounding off the evening with a good old fashion boogie with their DJ Josh Styles from the band The Stalkers. CUTE.

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“It’s not all About the Typewriters” A Stress-Free and Intimate Wedding: Dawn & John

It was really important to Dawn & John to have a stress-free and personal wedding. John proposed on a bridge in Paris after the couple had been together for sixteen years (erm, excuse me guys but you don’t look old enough!) John is in a band, and although he’s used to being on stage, he was super nervous about having all eyes on him at his wedding, so his understanding bride-to-be promised a low key and intimate wedding.

After a ceremony at The Cotton Exchange, Liverpool came the reception at The Racquet Club. “Both John and I live in Guernsey in the Channel Islands but John went to University in Liverpool and we both lived there for nearly 4 years after he finished” the bride explained. “Liverpool is really in our hearts – we love it and go back as often as we can.  There was no venue in Guernsey both within our budget and that was quirky enough.  The Racquet Club was perfect – its really quirky and is beautiful in itself without needing huge amounts of decoration.”

“My husband is a musician and a lot of our friends are in the music industry in one way or another so we knew we wanted something a little out of the ordinary but also something laid back, personal and fun.  Whilst I love going to those traditional weddings I knew that just wouldn’t cut it for us.  After doing lots of research on the internet I knew I wanted to diy as much as I could.  It’s amazing that there are so many wonderful people out there that are willing to share their talents and their ideas in tutorials and websites like Rock n Roll Bride  I honestly don’t know how anyone ever got married without the internet!”

“I actually used a couple of tutorials on Rock n Roll Bride and elsewhere including this fabric flower tutorial for the bridesmaids bouquets, and this vintage brooch bouquet tutorial. I adapted it to make it my own though and my motto soon became – ‘if in doubt glue gun!’. I ordered fabric hydrangeas from eBay and added these around the edge of the brooches to fill it out a little.”

It was also really important to Dawn & John that they ignored a lot of the wedding fads that they’d seen on many blogs. “At first I was slightly overwhelmed by all the weddings I’d seen on the blogs,” Dawn continued. “I couldn’t get married on a cliff top at a Californian vinery or a beach in South Africa and I couldn’t afford to give everyone personalised bags full of wonderful favours but I remember reading a quote on Rock n Roll Bride that simply said ‘it’s not all about the typewriters’.”

“Although I had actually already bought my own 1960’s tiffany blue typewriter for the guestbook, I understood the sentiment and this was a turning point for me.  It taught me that it’s important to make your wedding about what you as a couple want, whether that’s a traditional church wedding with all the trimmings or an elopement to Vegas you should just go for it.  It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks and you most certainly should never organise a wedding with a view to what someone else will think of it.”

Here here lady! You guys are just aces.

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A Bride in Black: Bethany & Doug

Bethany & Doug were married at Houston Station, Nashville. The bride wore a black Betsey Johnson dress. “My dress was a big deal,” she began. “I had originally purchased a vintage inspired white dress and the bridesmaids were going to wear black but I kept thinking about a photo I had seen of a model bride in black that our photographer had used as an ad for her studio. I really wanted to wear black but I was having a hard time finding one that didn’t look goth, since that’s not my style at all.”

So in the end, Bethany wore black and her bridesmaids wore white! She told her bridesmaids they could wear any white dress they wanted so they all picked their own, “I was lucky that none of the bridesmaids had bought their dresses before I found mine, so it was okay with them to get a white dress instead of black. I am so happy that I went with the black dress because it was exactly what I wanted! I wanted my bridesmaids to have something that they liked and would show off their personal styles. I had chosen each one for different reasons including their different personalities so their dresses came from everywhere from a vintage shop to Bebe.  They also picked their own shoes after I asked them to choose different colors. They also wore hair pieces that I had made for them as part of their thank you gifts.”

“I would call our wedding theme ‘random’ (as did Doug when I asked him!)” the bride continued, “That’s also how I would describe us. I am happy to say that we don’t really fit into a category. We had elements that were vintage, eco-friendly, rockabilly and modern.”

“I was inspired by so many different places, it’s hard to know where to start. I definitely kept Rock n Roll Bride bookmarked and checked back often.  I was originally looking at a lot of mainstream wedding magazines when we first got engaged but they were a little ridiculous.  They make everything look so easy when really a lot things that they feature are pretty difficult and mostly way too expensive, so I put them down and started searching the internet for things that Doug and I liked and tried to incorporate them.”

“Etsy is full of inspiration.  So many times I would be browsing a category on and find something that was similar to what I wanted but that I could make my own.  Really, I just tried to keep my eyes open and whatever I saw anywhere that I liked I tried to figure out how to put it in the wedding.”

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A Relaxed London Wedding: Sally & Clifton

Sally & Clifton’s city wedding had a classically elegant but quirky vintage vibe. The wedding was held at Century Club on Shaftesbury Avenue, London, which really set the relaxed tone of the day.

“We didn’t really have a theme to start with, we just went with what felt right and what would make us happy,” Sally told me. “We just wanted a really great party with only our closest family and friends and for it to be relaxed, informal and fun. So it ended up really personal and fortunately all the styling came together very nicely too. Our outfits had a 1950’s vintage vibe and my dress was from Fur Coat No Knickers.

“I think I was really lucky with the people I hired to help too – they all really made a huge difference and all came to it with a very similar relaxed, personal, professional approach which made it easy. There were no outlandish over the top bridezilla moments (my best ladies made sure of that), nothing was over-organised so there was plenty room for spontaneity, and I didn’t go anywhere near any bridal magazines. And the result was that we loved every minute of it.”

The couple chose some of my all time favourite wedding suppliers to be a part of their day. As well as a Fur Coat No Knickers vintage dress, they employed the expertise of Elbie Van Eeden for Sally’s hair and make up and Charlotte of Restoration Cake who made their yummy heart-shaped cake.

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