A Fun Colourful DIY Wedding

paper wedding flowers

WWW readers Anita and Tony handmade their crafty DIY wedding and wanted it to have a relaxed and fun feel for their guests. Anita and Tony were married in September at The Barns Hotel in Bedford.

They crafted their stationery, the paper flowers, felt flower brooches as favours, alongside home baked cakes by their friends and a music play list chosen by the guests for the evening.

Anita wore a gorgeous customised tea length dress from House of Fraser, while her bridesmaids looked so pretty in their 50s style halterneck dresses. Tony found a smart suit from Marks and Spencers which he teamed with a hot pink tie. Ohhh i love it.

Thanks so much to Esme Robinson for sharing her photography with us today.


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Names….  Anita and Tony

Wedding Date…. Friday 7 September 2012

The Proposal….  In May 2011 Tony had organised a surprise weekend away in London at the K West Hotel and Spa to celebrate the anniversary of us being together for 10 years.  We had a great time shopping and then dining out on the Saturday evening.    Although we had discussed marriage before neither of us had been particularly bothered about the fact that we hadn’t got round to it.  We had vaguely mentioned that we would like to be married when George, our son got to 5 years old but we hadn’t got any further than that. However, a discussion on the Sunday morning of our weekend away culminated in us nipping back over to Westfield (it was within walking distance!) and choosing a ring!  It was very exciting and spontaneous but not exactly the romantic proposal I had envisioned! However, as the ring we decided upon was too big we had to send it away to be altered, so I didn’t really feel engaged and only a couple of our  very closest friends knew that we had decided to get married. Fast forward to a week later and I was called to my sons bedroom only to find Tony and our son George, who was 5 at the time  on bended knee,  ring in hand asking me to marry them!.  It was a very emotional moment, and our son loved being a part of the proposal and telling everybody that he and daddy had asked mummy to marry them!

The Vision for the day…. Relaxed, fun and informal.

The Planning process…. I had never understood how people could plan so much for just one day but once I got started I literally could not stop! I thoroughly enjoyed the planning process and searching wedding blogs and craft sites for inspiration.   We didn’t have a theme other than we wanted the day to be bright and fun. Tony and I did have quite different ideas about certain aspects though. Tony is more traditional, whereas I seem to love all things quirky!  We were both happy to compromise though and ended up with a day we were both very happy with, ecstatic in fact!  There were also things that we decided we didn’t need early on such as wedding cars (we got ready at the hotel).  I also designed our invitations and a friend in the printing trade printed them up for free.  I became a spreadsheet queen and Pinterest was my new best friend (almost!). In fact, planning has now become a bit of an obsession and arranging the wedding gave me alot of confidence.  I work at a local University and this year I enrolled onto a BA Hons in Event Management, part time.

The Venue… We loved the Barns Hotel in Bedford and it was the first venue that we visited when we started searching for a venue.  However, we did visit quite a few more and nearly even booked another until we finally decided that the Barns Hotel ticked all of the boxes and would provide the relaxed vibe we were looking for.  The riverside location was perfect and the fact that we could hold the ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening reception all in one place was definitely a bonus for us.   We just wanted our guests to arrive, grab a drink and relax without having to journey anywhere else once we had married.  The photographs that we had taken by the river with the sun setting in the background were some of my absolute favourites.

The Dress + Accessories… My dress was from House of Fraser.  The sash was custom made by Flossy and Dossy on Etsy. The  petticoat was purchased from Hell Bunny.  One of my closest friends, Jackie is a very talented seamstress and she was able to add the sash and petticoat to the dress to make it one of a kind. My shoes were Irregular Choice, second hand from Ebay.  My cocktail hat was custom made  from Talulahblue on Etsy.

Finding the dress…. I had seen the dress online and loved the lace and its simplicity.  I had always admired short dresses too.   I wanted to be able to dance and move freely throughout the day.  Also as I’m quite short I would have just felt swamped in a long dress.    I was with a friend when I tried the dress on, it fitted perfectly and we both cried! . I knew it was the dress I wanted to be married in and that was it.   I also love the fact that it was also customised and truly a one off. 

Groom’s attire… Originally Tony looked at hiring morning suits but eventually decided on buying his and the best man and ushers suits from the Marks and Spencers –  Saville Row collection.  I loved him in the grey and the hot pink ties tied in perfectly with my giant flower.

The Readings + Music…. We decided on a Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton, it’s about dinosaurs and as we aren’t exactly spring chickens it seemed to sum us up pretty perfectly!.   However, we did adapt the words slightly to incorporate Tonys love of golf.   One of our bridesmaids Gill read the story and there was much laughter from all of our guests as I don’t think they had expected such a light hearted tale!  We wrote personalised vows too and reading those out to each other was a highlight.

We wanted an upbeat start to the day so we chose ‘I Do’ by Colbie Caillat for my entrance.  My bridesmaids actually skipped down the aisle as they were both so nervous and just decided to style it out by skipping! We walked out to ‘You’ve got the Love’ by Florence and the Machine.  Although we did also have ‘Is this the Way to Amarillo?’ on our CD but we chickened out on the day! Our first dance was ‘Thank you’ by Dido.

Beautiful bridesmaids….. My 2 close friends Gill and Lorna were my bridesmaids and were so incredibly excited and honoured to be part of our day.  Getting ready with them was such fun and that really helped with my nerves.   I spotted the dresses online and luckily the girls loved them.  They are called Mayday by Hell Bunny and we purchased them from Soho’s in Weymouth.    I loved the fact that they weren’t plain and that we could then incorporate the colours of the dresses into our day.    We had such fun trying on the dresses and finding their accessories.  Especially the shoes from Irregular Choice.   Their hair decorations came from a stall at Twinwoods, a vintage music and dance festival held locally every year.    We asked Gills daughter Daisy and my niece Megan to be our flower girls. Megan held her flower and Piglet as she walked down the aisle.   Their dresses came from John Lewis and TK Maxx.

The Flowers… In one of my many internet searches I came across a wonderful tutorial  on a wedding blog for making these amazing paper roses.  I really wanted something alternative to a traditional bouquet.  After a few more searches and an unsuccessful diy project with some whisks and lots of hair accessories (!), we decided that the flowers were the one.  Luckily, I had another talented friend, Liz who offered to make the flowers for the bridesmaids and I as a wedding present.  We got so many compliments on the day as they were so different.  My flower has pride of place in our living room now and is a lovely reminder of a wonderful day. 

The Cake… After being so decisive about many things, we really got stuck on the cake! We just couldn’t decide and literally ran out of time.   It really wasn’t something that we had fully budgeted for either. We were incredibly lucky to have some hugely talented home bakers as friends who helped us out by baking a selection of different cakes so that we had something for everyone.   As we had decided against the cutting of the cake we arranged for the cakes to be brought out in the evening.   I did purchase some purple and turquoise acrylic initials for cake toppers but unfortunately they got misplaced on the day and didn’t make it to the cakes.   The cakes were delicious and luckily there was some left over  for Tony and I to have cake for lunch the next day.

Your Photographer…. What can we say! We love Esme’!  Her style and her willingness to take on board our request for a relaxed style of photography was brilliant and nothing was too much trouble for her or her assistant James.  Having first met Esme’ at an antenatal group when we had our sons, I had always admired her work so when she agreed to photograph our wedding, we were thrilled.  One of my fondest memories 2 days before the wedding was sitting at our local swimming pool with Esme’ and her lovely mum helping me make paper pompoms !

 The Details + Decor… I wanted to make as much as possible myself  because I was so inspired by so many things I saw on blogs such as Whimsical Wonderland Weddings and I really enjoyed channelling my inner craft geek.

We designed the invitations and the RSVP cards ourselves and luckily a friend printed them for free, a huge cost saving.  We also asked our guests to name 3 songs on the RSVP that they would like to dance to at the evening reception.   We then compiled our play list from all of the song choices. It was a great idea as our dance floor stayed full from the beginning to the end of the night.

We bought a small gazebo to use as a photo booth and the lovely girls at the Barns Hotel decorated it for us with all of the printables and props we had gathered together. We collected dressing up items, and props from friends and family too.  We also downloaded lots of free printables from the internet and a particular favourite was a wonderful company called In The Treehouse. Our wonderful friend Diana was our official  photobooth photographer and the shots that she took were amazing too.

We made the table plan ourselves, from a memo board and various bits I had collected on my craft store travels, plus I enlisted the help of  a friend with particularly lovely handwriting!

Instead of a traditional guest book we purchased some retro saucy seaside postcards from Ebay and asked our guests to choose a card and write us a message on the back.  It brought tears to my eyes the next day reading all of the lovely wishes.

My friends and I also had many a fun evening making felt flower brooches in lots of bright colours for our ladies wedding favours.  For the mens favours we chose fun stick on moustaches and everybody had a voucher to exchange at the bar for a drink.  We were keen to ensure that we managed to buy everyone a drink on the day.

I really did become The Laminator towards the end!  We had so many little bits to do like popcorn tickets, movie tickets and I Spy cards for the children. We also set up a projector and dvd player in a separate part of the hotel in the evening and invited them to a movie night.

The hotel package we chose included chair covers and sashes plus flowers for the ceremony and top table.  However, we really weren’t keen on the chair covers and became frustrated that the assumption is that your wedding has a colour theme and this seems to be governed by the colour of the chair sashes.   We decided to hire plain white chairs and tie mini pompoms to the aisle chairs as we thought that these would look lovely in the Barn and they did.   I had also collected coloured bottles from various poundshops and the venue florist kindly agreed to fill them with flowers for our table centrepieces and make the buttonholes too.

Honeymoon…. Tony was keen to organise the honeymoon destination and insisted on keeping it a surprise! I actually didn’t find out where we going until the day after we were married, although quite a few of our friends knew.  Tony had booked us to go to Las Vegas and we stayed at the Encore.  It was absolutely fabulous and so decadent but quite exhausting. There is so much to see and do but we did have a fabulous pool to laze by too.

Memorable moments… The whole day! If I were to pick just a few it would be the moment before George and I walked into the Barn, he looked up at me and whispered ‘I love you mummy’ and then very gently kissed my hand.  Having him with me when I walked down the aisle to meet his dad at the altar was magical. The amazing feeling of walking towards my future husband with all of our wonderful friends and family gathered to be with us. Laughing! All day!  Our faces actually ached because we had laughed so much. Instead of long and lengthy speeches, our best man, Tony’s eldest son, Harry said a few words.  That meant so much as he was thrilled to be his dads best man but was really nervous about speaking.  He did amazingly and it really touched us both.  Tony had written a short speech but left it in the hotel room, so made an attempt to recall it from memory!   I read a short poem I had written for Tony, as a surprise.  We then asked our guests to complete a Mr & Mrs quiz about us and gave a prize to the table with the most correct answers.  The answers of that quiz were certainly a highlight! 

Advice for other couples….. We funded the majority of the wedding ourselves, which meant that luckily we didn’t have any family pressures that dictated what we could and could not do at the wedding.  This meant we could personalise our day without upsetting anyone.  We were incredibly blessed with fantastic weather on the day but thanks to the lovely wedding planners at the hotel we did have a plan B had we not been so fortunate. We were also relatively careful with our budget as we wanted a lovely day but not to be paying for it for a long time after.  We compromised on the things that really weren’t a necessity for us or where we knew we had friends and family who could help us out and boy, did they pull out all the stops!  It was absolutely amazing and we can’t ever thank all of those people enough as they helped make our day so incredibly special. If you are keen to DIY your details, scour the high street as well as the internet. I found some wonderful bits and pieces in bargain shops and saved a fortune. Keep focused on the vibe that you are hoping to create for  the day and don’t get sidetracked.  We kept to our vision of a bright, fun and relaxed day with few formalities and we think it worked. For us it was our chance to declare our love and commitment to one another in the company of our nearest and dearest. Seeing the friends and family that you love laughing, dancing and enjoying themselves is something that we truly believe is one of the most magical feelings. EVER.

Credit where credit is due…

Wedding dress:  http://www.houseoffraser.co.uk/women’s+designer+dresses/301,default,sc.html

Brides Hat:   http://www.etsy.com/shop/talulahblue

Sash:     http://www.etsy.com/shop/flossyanddossy?ref=shop_sugg

Bridesmaids dresses: http://www.sohos.co.uk/women-dresses/hell-bunny-dresses/hell-bunny-may-day-dress

Brides and bridesmaids shoes:    http://www.irregularchoice.com/

Grooms & Best mans suit:    http://www.marksandspencer.com/View-All-Savile-Row-Inspired-Mens

Ushers outfit:    http://www.debenhams.com/bluezoo

Venue:   http://www.barnshotelbedford.co.uk/

Photographer:  http://esmerobinson.com/

Free printables:     http://www.inthetreehouse.co.uk/

Flowers:   http://greenweddingshoes.com/diy-giant-paper-rose-flower/

Pompoms: http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/decopompoms

Bridesmaids hair accessories:     http://www.twinwoodevents.com/

Ring cushion:       http://www.polkadotbride.com/2012/02/felt-ring-cushion-tutorial/

Chairs:       http://www.rosetone.co.uk/


Just fantastic, so many wonderful crafty touches! Thanks so much to Anita and Tony for sharing their amazing wedding with us today XOXO Lou

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