Tag Archives: DIY

A Handmade Informal Tipi Wedding: Katie & Will

Don’t gorgeous handmade weddings like Katie & Will’s just make you go weak at the knees? So much of what went into their amazing wedding was hand crafted by the couple and their friends, making the day a really special one.

Katie explains, “I didn’t want a traditional bouquet and so inspired by the web, I opted for my Mum and Mum’s friend to make a bouquet out of brooches and rings that I found on market stalls where we lives in Spain. It looked amazing and is something I can keep forever. To match the brooch bouquet, My Mum made Will’s buttonhole out of pieces of lace and a satin brooch.”

“We bought an authentic US Post box to use for the wedding cards,” the couple continued. “This came from eBay and was in a sorry state. Will restored it to a beautiful condition by removing all the old paint and resprayed it in cream gloss. He then stenciled ‘Mr & Mrs Dorling’ onto the side using some homemade stencils and paint from his hobby supplies.”

“To make the cake personal we bought two plain wooden cake toppers from Goose Grease on Etsy. Again, Will painted these using acrylic paint to match the outfits we were wearing on the day. He knew what his suit looked like but as Katie’s dress was a surprise so she gave him a colour palette to work with.”

“We opted out of having a table plan as we wanted a relaxed feel to the day. To make sure people had fun during the meal we made a selection of moustaches on sticks for people to play with and take pictures. We printed a selection of 5 stencils online and used thick black card as the moustache. We trimmed around the stencils making 2 at a time -100 in total! When all the moustaches were cut out we glued them to the sticks in batches – wooden kebab skewers bought at supermarket with sharp points trimmed off. These were presented to guests tucked into a folded napkin with a copy of the ‘Heads Up’ order of events sheet.”

“We also handmade some signs directing people to ‘The Wedding’, the ‘Loos’ and the ‘Favours Buffet’. These were made from some free MDF sheets left outside a woodwork shop in Brighton, painted purple using home emulsion and the text was stencilled on then brought out using a cream chalk pen bought online. Instead of a Guest Book we thought we would get one pun in relating to the earlier wedding of Will and Kate. We bought a souvenir apron crossing out the wedding date and adding our own. Guests then signed the apron with their message.”

Katie wore an incredible dress by Jane Bourvis who has a shop on Portobello Road, London. It was made of vintage lace from 1910. She also wore a 1970s white Marabou bolero jacket was bought from a vintage wedding fair.

“Katie managed to get halfway through one bridal magazine before deciding that the options she saw were very samey and not for us and so she immediately turned to the web for inspiration,” the couple continued. “Katie took a lot of inspiration from blogs such as Rock n Roll Bride and Ruffled which gave us the initial ideas that we could do whatever we wanted on the day and not to be restricted by traditional formalities. We found our wonderful and unique photographer Joanna Brown on Twitter and other suppliers via the web.”

“We must add that the photos taken throughout the day by Joanna were perfect and provide a real story, capturing the events of the day. We love her style especially the way she photographs people in a really natural way whilst they are enjoying themselves. Another skill of hers is to pick out the finer details and touches so that they aren’t forgotten.”

“Overall we wanted the day to be super relaxed, fun, and a really nice party – a wedding without the formalities. Where we chose to go down a slightly more traditional route, i.e. the venue for the wedding, we tried to pull it back into theme using variables we had control over such as the music. We wanted the reception venue to be different and the Tipis supplied by Beautiful World Tents are out of this world. When they are dressed with all the twinkling fairy lights they look stunning and were a huge focal point on the day. Most guests had not seen anything like them and the setting on the side of the lake at Duncton Mill was perfect.”

“Our day was rounded off staying at the ‘Old Railway Station‘ down the road from our venue. This unique accomodation has converted Pullman railway carriages as guest rooms resplendent with many original art deco features. Breakfast was served in the old ticket office. We will definitely be making a return visit.”

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A Vintage-Inspired Mountaintop Wedding: Roxanne & Braxton + WIN Her Twigs & Honey Veil

Roxanne & Braxton’s beautiful mountain view wedding took place at Meditation Mount, Ojai, CA. Photographer Lydia Hudgens was there to capture the day.

“We wrote the ceremony ourselves and our friend John was our officiant,” Roxanne told me. “We had some friends perform readings from favorite writers of ours – Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf, Paul Eluard, etc. Another friend, Rob, provided the processional & recessional music on guitar, accompanied by Braxton’s cousins Kati and Madi. We walked down the aisle to Joanna Newsom’s ‘Bridges and Balloons’ and finished with Michael Jackson’s ‘The Way You Make Me Feel.’ It was so lovely and just what we wanted; Meditation Mount was an amazing place for a ceremony–the view of the surrounding valley is epic, sublime.”

The reception was held at Little House, a community centre in Ojai, CA, and the whole wedding has a real community feel. “For the duration of the wedding weekend we’d rented a ranch down at the end of a remote canyon to stay at with a large number of friends,” the bride continued. “It was so relaxing to escape there as the day approached and spend time hiking in the mountains, swimming in the river, and chatting and cooking together. We didn’t have a wedding party so this was a way we could spend time with our friends and help them have a bit of a vacation as well.”

The bride wore a dress made by her Mother from an original 1930’s pattern with Melissa shoes and a headpiece from Twigs & Honey. From her outfit, to their decor ideas, the wedding had a subtle vintage theme.

“We didn’t have a theme as far as colors, but I did develop a fascination with 1910s, 20s and 30s postcards featuring a fede or gimmel (hands shaking). I collected a number of these and scanned and printed them for guests to write on for our guestbook; we also used some of these images for our website and postcard invitation. This led to a number of other hand themed things – my earrings were tiny silver madras hands holding sparrows holding pearls, and my mother wore a vintage hand brooch on her dress, and we had some hand shaped vases. We also had a shortened version of a hand-fasting as part of our ceremony.”

“Anyhow, the rest of the decorations were haphazard and came from what was on hand or easily accesible… I collected vintage tablecloths from family as well as antique and thrift shops, we bought candles at the 99 cent store, we used compostable bamboo plates and flatware in lieu of renting, we purchased parasols and paper lanterns and used live plants for the centerpieces and other floral arrangements. The centerpieces were planted in my Mother’s teapot collection. We also asked guests to dress for a 1930s garden party, and many of them did!”

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A Simple & Intimate Concert Hall Wedding: Valerie & Craig

“For us, we wanted our wedding ceremony to be kept simple – no flashiness and relaxed,” newlywed Valerie told me, “which is just the way we are. We wanted intimacy and for it to be very personal which I think was reflected in our music, readings (the lyrics of the Adam Sandler tune from the Wedding Singer and an extract from the Irrational Season, Madeleine L’Engle) and having our little boy with us. However, we definitely wanted a big party afterwards to celebrate.”

The ceremony was held at The Recital Rooms, Candleriggs, Glasgow and the recopetion that followed was at The Old Fruit Market, a concert hall also in Candleriggs. “There was a large visual and atmospheric contrast between our ceremony and reception but both were reflections of us as a couple,” the bride continued. “But we’re also an outgoing couple, for whom music and dancing is part of who we are.”

“The themes that ran through the wedding were peacock feathers and colours (greens and purples) so they featured on my hairpiece, the boutonnieres, page boys, flowergirls and bestmen outfits, the favours and place names. When we found our venue we wanted to stay in keeping with the rooms we used themselves. The ceremony room was a plain white room with art deco windows and draping at the head of the room. The lighting gave it atmosphere and these were subtly in our wedding colours. The only other decorations we used were the papal picado banners (found on Etsy) along the walls. For the reception room we wanted to keep with the rustic character of the room and I feel that everything from the flowers to the favours reflected that. For example, our placecard holders were simply made from branches from the tress in our garden and I made the favour CD holders out of hessian material for that natural feel. The Old Fruit Market is grand without being imposing and we felt it really matched what we wanted to create the party atmosphere for our wedding.”

With the reception being held in a concert hall, clearly music was a big consideration for the couple. Valerie explained, “The music for our wedding was always going to be really important to us, music is a big thing for both of us (even if our tastes can widely diverge at times) and we chose everything from the ceremony music to playlists for after the ceremony and during dinner. Friends of the Stars and James Summerfield played at the ceremony. Anna (from Friends of the Stars, the band that Craig sings and writes with) and James sang an acoustic version of Islands in the Stream for me to walk up the aisle to. It was lovely to have them sing for us as it made the ceremony feel so personal and intimate from the very start.”

“For the reception, our friend Kev Kiernan, DJ’d. We knew he’d rock it because of his wide and eclectic style of tunes. I’ve known Kev for years and have spent many nights dancing to Kev’s DJ’ing at house parties into the wee hours. He played everything from 60s funk, early 90s house and country tunes…And then of course, we had Elvis.”

“We knew early on that by choosing to have an Elvis, it couldn’t just be any Elvis. He had to be amazing for us to pull off this old wedding cliche. We did our research and pulled a blinder when we found Paul, a twice UK tribute winner no less. We chose the playlist of songs that he would sing too. He came out to the Space Odyssey 2001 theme and then went straight into See See Rider. The crowd literally went wild.”

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‘Rock n Robin’: A1950’s Christmas Shoot for the BBC

I know what you’re thinking…Christmas stuff already woman?! Well just hear me out would ya?*

I’ve known wedding photographer Ashton Jean-Pierre ever since we both went to Emma Case’s wedding back in March. I don’t think we managed to talk on the night, but after the event I saw some of his incredible photos (that he just took on his iPhone!) on facebook and so I got in contact to ask if I could share some of them on my blog. He said yes and we’ve chatted online ever since.

Ashton is deaf which makes no difference at all when communicating online, but when he asked if Gareth & I would like to do a mini shoot with him I was a teeny tiny bit nervous on how we would get on in ‘real life’. However I needn’t have worried. Ashton is so expressive and animated that it’s actually pretty easy to have a conversation. Although I didn’t know any sign language before we met, we were easily able to chat by gesturing and using a good old fashioned pen and paper to write things down when my feeble attempts and signing prompted confused expressions all round.

This is definitely one of my fave shots from the whole shoot…how cool does Gareth look?

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DIY Tutorial: Multi-Layered Tulle Petticoat (Make Your Own Rainbow Petticoat!)

First up, I have to say a huge thank you to everyone that’s emailed me with their DIY ideas. I’ve has a huge response and I’m really looking forward to sharing them with you over these coming weeks. Be sure to keep them coming!

I’m starting with this amazing underskirt tutorial by Alexandra King, an independent designer from Somerset. Alexandra produces fabulous vintage-inspired dresses and accessories.

So without further ado, over to the lady herself…

Our wedding was four years ago now and was mainly DIY, bunting, vintage linens everywhere, pearls, candelabras, bath tub bar, my Mum grew the flowers and I made the dresses. I was so lucky being able to this that I had a couple to wear on the day.

I adore vintage dresses, old movies and obsess over French couture designs and techniques from the fifties. All of this is instilled into my designs which are mainly one of a kind cocktail, prom and party dresses bespoke made for my customers. I have also recently introduced a small bridal range.

This underskirt is the must have piece for that fabulous full skirted fifties look. It also makes twirling all that more exciting!

Supplies Needed

1/2 metre of fabric
3 metres of dress net or tulle (per colour/layer)
thread, elastic
bias binding (optional)
sewing machine
tape measure


Step 1: Take the skirt you plan to wear and measure it’s length. Divide this number by three, one third for the waistband and two thirds for the skirt.

Step 2: Measure and cut your fabric. Cut one piece for the waistband (also measure it to fit around your waist) and six pieces of tulle at the skirt length.

Step 3: Double the the waistband fabric over and sew the short ends together. Then hem it by folding the fabric and stitching it down. Repeat this to make a channel at the top to thread your elastic.

Step 4: Attaching the tulle. Take the tulle and with your fingers gather or bunch it as you sew it to the hem of the waistband. Overlap each piece by an inch or so and continue until you have filled up the waistband with your six pieces of gathered tulle.

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A Late Summer, Rustic & Nature-Filled Shoot: Agnese & Iveta

Agnese & Iveta’s DIY shoot was set up with the help of Jaye from Tux & Tales Photography. Jaye has been doing a DIY inspiration shoot series, to show brides that they don’t have to spend a fortune to have a beautiful wedding (I featured one of her first ones here).

“For this shoot we decided to focus on a civil partnership. We decided early on to go for a ‘rustic’ theme that focused on the colours and tones of late summer,” Jaye told me. “Each of our DIY shoots was styled (including the dresses!) on less than £250. This shoot was particularly fun because we got to recycle and upcycle a lot of items which is really a great way to save some cash. Plus, we scavenged for items from ‘the wild’ to help create our top table.”

“I am an absolute nut for using fruit and veg as part of a design (c’mon, beautiful and edible!) and so we loaded the table with fresh fruit from our local green grocers. The confectionery and baked goods were all top shelf varieties from local supermarkets and just looked amazing mounded up with the fruit. A little macaroon to go with your cold grapes? Yummy!”

“We decided that we would use a same-sex couple for this shoot because we couldn’t think of any civil partnership inspiration shoots that we had seen before. There are so many considerations that go into a civil partnership that are different from those of a traditional wedding (such as clothing choices and who gets a bouquet!) that we think they deserve a little separate attention. That said, we really hope that brides and grooms of all makes and varieties find a little rustic inspiration in our images.”

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