Your DIY Wedding

Written by Caroline, one of our dedicated wedding coordinators.

For many couples, the chance to use their crafting skills to personalise their wedding day is an exciting prospect, and plays a big part in the overall preparations.

When I planned my own wedding 15 years ago, creating unique items to personalise our special day was one of the most important aspects of the organisation. Back then, most of my inspiration came from wedding magazines and visiting wedding fairs. I had a huge scrapbook filled with magazine clippings, samples and ideas. Nowadays the volume of ideas and information to be found on the internet is staggering, and those scrap books have taken a back seat to virtual collections on Pinterest and saved items on Instagram!

If you're keen to put some handmade elements into your big day, we’ve put together a few ideas to get you started:

Venue Décor

Edible goodies for the favours, such as fudge, shortbread, jam, chutney, flavoured vodka or sloe gin (the latter two are often used to end the speeches followed by a loud cheer!)
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Napkins and/or table runners made from colourful vintage fabric. You could also make your own fabric bunting if you wanted to using haberdashery off cuts, or fat quarters like those sold in Hobbycraft. 

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Chair sashes. A Scottish Mother-of-the-Bride once made tartan chair sashes. A lovely idea, but timely to make and unlikely to have a future use!

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Family photographs pinned to a board or in vintage frames. At one particular wedding a photograph of each guest was pegged to a line, with their table number for dinner on the back. The guests loved this and enjoyed having a laugh at some of the amusing photos!

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Different types of gin bottles (empty!), used as table names. They were filled with fairy lights with the floral arrangement fitted around them. Alternatively empty bottles or vases filled with water with single stems of something like eucalyptus topped with floating candles look gorgeous. 

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Rustic and vintage décor is very popular and this style can be achieved fairly easily using props such as old wooden ladders and crates, vintage suitcases, vintage china and coloured glassware. These could be further decorated or embellished to match your theme. If you can’t find vintage glass, a really good little trick is to collect ordinary glass bottles and jars and spray them with sea glass effect spray!

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If your theme is a little more boujee, adding gold leaf to standard wax candles is a really easy way to upscale their look.  Dark wood is also a fantastic contrast for more colourful wedding palletes, and can be sought easily by collecting wooden accent pieces such as frames or little tables from charity shops, and staining them yourself. 

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For a Christmas wedding, hand-made crackers could be named to double up as place names, or a Christmas card at each place setting, or even a little snowglobe (Baker Ross can supply kits for these!)


Stationery

Save the date cards, invitations, guests’ name cards, the table plan and menus can all be hand-crafted. If you don’t have the use of a suitable printer, you could consider having basic versions of these professionally printed, then add your own embellishments to match your theme or style.

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One thing we see a lot of couples do which we love, is buying a personalised wax seal stamp, and sealing their invitations with it. Some use their initials, others use an animal or image of something that means a lot to them. 

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For your table plan, you could always repurpose an old mirror and use sticks to create your plan or glass pens. 


Bridal Wear and Accessories

Some hand-made jewellery for your bridesmaids could double-up as a thank you gift! We're not talking anything fancy here, perhaps a shop-bought bangle with an embroided charm, or if you're more confident than we are, an epoxy resin design!

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Matching jackets, or a single accent bridal jacket always make for great photos, you could source some simple denim of faux-leather jackets and hand paint something on the back. 


For Added Interest

If hosting your wedding at a historical or interesting venue, you could include some facts about the venue for the guests to read. Some small information cards on the tables or dotted around is a nice touch.

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Another fun idea is to prepare a sweepstake for the length of the best man’s speech. Or a small quiz on each table.

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If you are inviting children to your wedding, you could set up a treasure hunt/spotter sheets to keep them busy during the drinks reception.


To bring It All Together...

Have a plan, and be realistic about what can be achieved in your time-frame - don’t be over ambitious. You want to enjoy your wedding preparations with minimal stress, and taking on too much could mean your crafty additions becoming a chore.

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Family and friends may like to help and perhaps there is a talented baker or seamstress among them. How about hosting a crafting afternoon to make some of your decorations? 

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Just remember to make sure it's fun for you. If you're not enjoying it, or if it's causing unnecessary stress, consider purchasing something rather than making it, instead. Your wedding day is going to be one of the best days of your life, and you don't want to spend it glaring at your wedding favours and reliving the countless nights it spent to make them if you didn't enjoy doing it!