In which there are DIY details

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It may have been a month ago but our wedding is still at the forefront of my mind, what with photos coming in, thank you cards to write and cake to eat.  As I’m still in bridal mode, and I’ve had a few requests to detail the DIY elements of our wedding, this seems like a good time to write a little bit more about our crafty endeavours…

Right from the very start of the wedding planning, I really wanted to make it as DIY as possible. This was partly to keep the costs down (wedding invitations, for example, seem to be a licence for people to print money), but mostly because I really enjoy getting creative.  We also wanted a unique and slightly quirky wedding, personal to us; something that didn’t feel like a cookie cutter event.  Doing things ourselves was a really good way to make sure the wedding was something people would feel was a true reflection of us as a couple.

Thank goodness for the internet.  There are some amazing blogs and websites out there providing brilliant wedding ideas – Rock My Wedding, Style Me Pretty and Rock n Roll Bride were my staples.  I found bridal magazines on the whole to be very traditional and not that useful, so it was great to have alternative places to look for inspiration.

(On a side note, I was surprised to read this recently – bridal magazines really need to rethink their stance and move with the times.  I hope she didn’t let them use her pictures.)

We didn’t have a theme, per se, but there were threads running throughout that we based things on – cerise and turquoise, Scrabble, and books.  We also included ideas that we thought would just look nice, such as the teacup candles and the bunting.

The table decorations came about from our decision to name the tables after our favourite books.  This worked really well with another idea I wanted to use (a Decor8 tutorial that I first saw via Holly’s amazing wedding) – customising lanterns and then using them as our centrepieces.  I am allergic to pollen so using traditional flowers wasn’t really an option – the thought of sneezing all day didn’t appeal!

The lanterns themselves came from IKEA, as these were by far the cheapest ones with flat sides that I could find.  We scanned pages from the ten books we’d chosen and found cover illustrations for each that we really liked from images online.  These were then printed onto vellum and stuck on the glass of the lanterns (using repositionable glue – not a fun experience).  A few electronic tealights later and voila!  All done.  The lanterns served double duty as both decoration and table name, as well as providing a nice cosy glow during the meal.

The idea of making the individual place cards look like old fashioned library index cards evolved from the books.  I created a template in Word which we then customised for each person and printed onto  parchment style card.  The font we used was called Mom’s Typewriter, which I heard about via here, and which we also used for the table plan, the menu cards and the lantern labels.  We stamped “overdue” on some people’s cards as a bit of a dig at ourselves about how long it took us to get married!

I had a vague plan to use an old wooden library card drawer in some way for the table plan, but unfortunately I just couldn’t make it work.  Instead I designed a poster using the cover illustrations  on the lanterns which we then had professionally printed and framed in a wooden frame that usually hangs in our house.

Thanks to our amazing invitations created by my brother, Scrabble was another “theme” we had running through the wedding.  To include this in the day I bought turquoise Scrabble tiles and used them to make our guestbook sign, which also brought in one of our colours.

We then used Scrabble and turquoise again in our thank you cards.

I can’t take credit for the beautiful bunting we used to decorate the gazebo, as it was made by S’ super-sewing-talented mom.  It picked up our cerise and turquoise colours really well (and was apparently a first for the venue).

The idea for the teacup candles we used to decorate the conservatory came from the lovely Vicky at Clara Bows.  I met Vicky at a wedding fair at our venue, where a selection of her fabulous hats was on show as well as some lovely teacup candles.  After a chat, she not only agreed to make my birdcage veil and headpiece (which I absolutely loved) but also pointed me in the direction of a tutorial on her blog on how to make the candles for myself.  Over the next six months my mom was pressed into service to find teacups in charity and junk shops, and then a friend and I made them up into candles in an evening.

Extremely easy and very pretty – that’s my kind of DIY!

There were so many more ideas I would have loved to use but one thing I learnt from the whole wedding planning experience is that sometimes it’s better to do less rather than more.  It’s very easy to get caught up in minute details but, whilst details are definitely important, it’s also good not to be stressing about getting everything finished on time because you’re committed to too many things.  We were lucky in that we had offers of help from other people which definitely made everything a lot easier!

Most importantly, we had a lot of fun making our bits and pieces, and I would definitely recommend the DIY approach.  It made the day even more special to look around and see all the bits and pieces that made the wedding unique to us.

And, if anyone wants a lantern or a candle, give me a shout…

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