DIY Favours

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Beach Boho… Part 1

It’s apt that we are sharing a wedding by Phillip Allen aka Mister Phill this week, as his weddings are amongst the most emotively shot that we ever show on Rock My Wedding.

The ethos behind this wedding makes me think of all the things I would do if I did it again… the relaxed vibe, the chilled out bride and the beautiful great outdoors playing such a big part in their ceremony.

Enjoy ladies – it’s perfect for Friday daydreaming…

We (Stephen and Beth, as we are known) got married on Thursday 21st April 2011. Despite mid-week weddings gaining in popularity (I think due to both cost and availability), we felt we’d done really well getting this Thursday to be married. It was the Thursday before Good Friday, so the following day was a bank holiday. Not only was it significantly cheaper for us to hire our venue on the Thursday (even compared to the Friday), we were also able to use all of our preferred suppliers, as they were all still available – despite us being a little bit late booking certain things!!

Bronzed and Beautiful…

Stephen’s very lovely cousin, Lou – who just happens to be an accomplished hairdresser, offered to do my hair for me, which I gratefully accepted. Lou did a fantastic job of interpreting what I was asking for – up-styles that were still quite relaxed and informal – tying in with the romance and whimsy of my dress. My hair looked amazing on the day – and still was in one piece by the end of the evening (a near miracle for my hair – I can tell you!)

Lou had also, very kindly, offered to do my make up for me. I was having a spray-tan for the wedding (off-white dress against off-white skin = not a good look!) and so needed to get some new foundation, as of course, I would be darker than my normal skin colour. I had a “practice” with the spray tan a couple of months before the wedding (something I would thoroughly recommend – it gave me the confidence that I would be a nice brown, not an orangy brown, as my Mum was so concerned I might be). It also meant that I could take myself off to Bobbi Brown, fake tan in situ, and get some foundation and conceler that were the right colours for the “bronzed” me. Lizzie at Bobbi Brown was great – and I really recommend their make-up, it lasted all day. Lou did my make-up in quite natural coulors – shimmery browns for my eyes and pinks for my lips and cheeks. My make-up looked really lovely on the day – natural, but highlighting my features, and also looked great in the pictures. Lou, you are an absolute star xxx

Simple Shoes

I stayed quite simple with my shoes – 3 inch heels to give me a little bit of height (but not too much – I didn’t want to be towering over my 5’4” father as he walked me down the aisle!), Ivory satin peep toe shoes, which I bought online from www.1stforweddingshoes.co.uk. Because the bottom of my dress was lace, I was advised to stay away from shoes with anything attached to them, which might get caught in the lace! I also invested in some “clean heels” heel stoppers – hardly the most glam accessory, but they made walking on grass sooooo much easier…still had to take my shoes off for the beach though!

Finding The One

I had initially considered making my dress myself, being that dressmaking has been a hobby of mine for many years and I had always thought I would make my own wedding dress. However, on my Mum’s advice (which I would consider to be well-informed considering she made both her own wedding dress, and my sisters when she got married 10 years ago) I decided that, with all the other planning that goes into a wedding, making my dress might just be a little too much, so off to the shops it was…

I started off my dress hunt with genuinely no clue of what I wanted (other than I didn’t want it to be the same as everybody else’s!). While this was a little daunting at the time, I think it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it meant that I really explored every available style and possibility. I tried on dresses from Alice Temperly to Monsoon – Liberties to a Vintage Dress shop my design conscious, architect brother knew of in Notting Hill. Although so many possibilities meant making a final choice quite difficult, I was also confident when I made a decision, that I wasn’t going to regret it or see something I preferred….plus I had an amazing time trying on all those dresses!!

After such an extensive search, I ended up finding my dress in Daisy Bridal, a really gorgeous bridal shop in Bournemouth. The dress was by La Sposa and called “Denia”. It was a beautiful lace fish tail dress, with a tulle and lace overlay, which went into a beautiful train at the back. I must admit, that when I tried it on, I wasn’t hit with the thought that this was “the one” – but just that it was a really beautiful dress. It was much more “bridal” than I thought I would go for – I loved the Jenny Packham and Temperly dresses that I tried on, which were more of a Grecian style and had initially thought that this was what I would go for. My thoughts, however, kept going back to the La Sposa dress – and whenever they did, I would get really excited about it. I knew it would suit the elegance of our venue, but was also whimsical and romantic enough for our beach setting, and it was when trying it on for the 3rd time that I was certain it was the dress I wanted to get married in. I never once questioned my decision. Leanna and her team at Daisy Bridal were fantastic and gave me fantastic advice about the size, fit and style – even down to the type of accessories I should think about going for – and all their advice was completely spot-on.

Because I am quite short and petit, I was a little anxious about over-accessorizing. My fear was that jewelry, or a headpiece that was too large would simply end up wearing me, instead of the other way around, and wouldn’t suit the delicate lace of my dress. I decided upon a hair vine, worn like a delicate headband for my hair, which I bought online from Essesea. My friend, Becky, then lent me her diamond earrings and diamond pendant (my something borrowed!), which were beautifully delicate and suited my dress really well.

Finding the Perfect Venue

We got married at the Italian Villa, Compton Acres – a beautiful venue set in 10 acres of gardens only a couple of miles from where we live. Choosing a wedding venue was certainly our first challenge – and it took some time to pick the perfect one. The problem lay in the fact that, as both great lovers of the beach, the sea and surfing, Stephen and I had our hearts set on a beach wedding – currently not legal in this country (our photographer brought the Any Campaign to our attention). We briefly considered a wedding abroad, where weather is more predictable, but threw this idea out fairly quickly, as we knew it would mean that some people who would be able to attend – and it meant that we would not be able to be as involved in the planning of our day as we would like to be.

We spent some time looking at some of the beachfront hotels here in Bournemouth and Poole (thinking that, at least we’d be able to see the sea – and maybe have a drink and some photos on the beach), but none of them were what we were looking for. Either the style of the venue was wrong, or the capacity wasn’t enough. In our search, we went and looked at the Italian Villa and, although it was beautiful and perfect in every other way, it was a whole 2 miles from the beach!! We sat down and had a long think and talked it through. What we did know, was that we wanted a civil wedding ceremony, but with a Christian blessing as part of our day.

It seems so simple now – looking back on it, but it took a while for the penny to drop. We could get married at Compton Acres – by far our favorite venue, and due to it’s close proximity to the beach, we transport our guests down there for a blessing! We knew we couldn’t guarantee the weather, but we knew that, worse case scenario, Stephen and I would be there – along with my brother-in-law, Simon (who agreed to conduct the blessing) and to have just a small part of our wedding on the beach would mean the world to us both.

The beach was also really helpful to us, as it gave us a theme – a motif to run through our day.

Grey for the Groom

Stephen chose grey, three-piece lounge suits for him, our Dad’s, his best man and two ushers. The suits were by Peter Posh and were hired from “Well Groomed”, also in Poole We bought the ties and pocket squares separately online from Dessy as they did a really close match to Rachel’s bridesmaid dress colour – they did have to be fed-ex’d in from New York – but I’m afraid I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and it was the closest I could find! They looked so smart on the day, that it really didn’t matter.

Stephen looked very handsome, but the thing that touched me most when I first say him waiting for me at the end of the aisle was just how excited he looked. He also looked incredibly nervous (I was late, and that is very much unlike me, which I think threw him a little!) but just so excited!

Photographer – Mister Phill

Venue – Italian Villa, Compton Acres

Hair and Make-up – Brides sister-in-law using Bobbi Brown.

Shoes – www.1stforweddingshoes.co.uk.

Heel Stoppers – Clean heels

Dress – La Sposa from Daisy Bridal

Hair Vine – Essesea

Suits – Peter Posh from Well Groomed and Pocket squares, Dessy.

No wonder Stephen looked excited, what a beautiful Bride and what an amazing day – that blessing on the beach looks so relaxed and dreamy. Part 2 coming up in just a few hours folks!

Yours Truly,


You can find Mister Phill on The Love Lust List, however, all real weddings are chosen on individual merit and no part of this post is sponsored.

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Worth Waiting For…… Part 2

If you have not yet witnessed part 1 of Jo and Jon’s stunning soiree then I suggest you go back and have a butchers (and even if you have already seen it make sure you go back and have another look, so much pretty to see……)

And if the ceremony didn’t bring a tear to your eye then the reception certainly will, not to mention give you all a whole heap of inspirational ideas to steal.

Jo and Jon’s big day was all about them, encompassing the story of their relationship and celebrating their marriage with those closest. There is so much laughter, joy and love that I simply couldn’t edit down the images…so I used them all.

Happy HAPPY Thursday you gorgeous lot.

Without Doubt

I was doubtful of many decisions throughout the wedding planning process, my dress, my hair, the décor, my jewellery etc…but the one thing I had complete faith in was the photography. We found Penny and Cameron McKinley-Rodgers online whilst I was in Australia, and I just knew from their blog and then subsequent emails that we were going to love them! I was not disappointed, when we met them for the beloved pre wedding shoot we could have happily spent the day with them as friends.

What gorgeous people they are…and the photography was the stuff of my dreams. They knew exactly the vibe we wanted to capture and I cannot recommend them enough to people. They went above and beyond our expectations in their integration with everyone at the wedding and with the quality of the photos. I can be very fussy with images, and rarely like a photo of myself, but they produced images that everybody (especially me and Jon) adored…We are SO very happy with our photos, and happy just to have met Penny and Cameron! Thank you!!!!!

Rock My Wedding Bride

I was remarkably ambitious with this THE Wedding project and approached it as an artistic feat – my main problem was looking at lots of blogs (checking Rock My Wedding most days from Australia) and having too many ideas! There is such an abundance of inspiration on the blogs that I found it hard to narrow down my ideas and keep to a certain theme.

Even now sometimes I think, ‘ooh that would have been a great idea!’ I did settle though for a very loose travel theme, with some old vintage suitcases around and brown luggage labels everywhere! I wanted the wedding to reflect a going away party since we would be leaving. I also wanted everything to be messy, mismatched and painterly to give an atmosphere of a thrown together, quirky garden party. During the ceremony we had cans of drinks and strawberries available, blankets and cushions on the floor for a picnic-like feel. Determined to do everything myself to make it very personal, I made the invites, the order of services, signs, painted tablecloths, etc…

One of my favourite parts was collecting lots of photo frames from car boot sales and charity shops and spray painting them gold. We used them for the place faces on the tables and also used them on the giant guest book painting wall we created. I made some posts with jam jars of flowers attached at the top for the outside ceremony too, at the very last minute! We attached gold frames with extracts from the vows in them to the posts and they added something unique to the gardens.

Other than that we had a multitude of mismatched lanterns, lots of greenery, some bird cages and stamps sprinkled everywhere. So it ended up a real mish-mash of ideas and I have Rock My Wedding and some other blogs to thank for all the inspiration, and also all those amazing people who dare to do something a bit different for their wedding…I bet I will still be checking the blog most days even without a wedding to plan!

The Sweetest Favours

We always wanted to go for something organic, that people could keep and grow for favours. It was my florist, however, who managed to provide them for us. We went for small pots of Sweet pea shoots in the hope that people would plant them and keep the garden theme going even beyond the wedding.

Cake Love

Ooh, cake…Jon had designed the menu for the starter and the main as he is a fantastically yummy cook, so I was given the task of dessert (very happily). I wanted to make ‘cake’ more the theme of the dessert rather than having one particular special wedding cake. There is an amazing little tea room in Portsmouth called The Tenth Hole which sells the most extravagant looking, chocolately, fudgey, yummy cake (with GLITTER on top), so we ordered 12 of these instead of having one wedding cake and we hope they were enjoyed by everyone.

The Ultimate Soundtrack

For the entertainment we decided to ask friends of ours to do a few different gigs. We wanted music to really be playing throughout the day, in the garden whilst people mingled, in the evening whilst people drank…etc like a soundtrack of the day (I am crazy for soundtracks). Our friends, Jon Walbrin and Johnny Dunlop did beautiful acoustic gigs at different times, and then Jon’s Aunty did a short Motown gig to get everyone on the dance floor for the rest of the eve!

The Blowers Daughter

The first dance is quite a story. Years ago when Jon and I met in India, the first thing we bonded over was music. We used to sit on the roof of the orphanage at night playing tunes on our Ipod speakers. Gradually, to the soundtrack of Damien Rice, Iron and Wine and Elliot Smith, Jon realised that maybe I wasn’t a ‘cold’, reserved English girl, and I thought there was something more to this Aussie lad.

One night in Kerala, we were listening to Damien Rice’s The Blowers Daughter and I said that one day I would walk down the aisle to this song. Jon looked up in surprise, smiled and said that he had always imagined it played at his wedding. The moment went by quietly and wasn’t talked about until a year later. We first danced to Damien!

Making It Ours

I hope that people considered the wedding unique, but more importantly that they felt it was ‘us’. I think there is something very special about a wedding which is like an extension of the couple, their ideas and interests.

It’s such a great time to throw yourself into planning a party exactly how you would like it, the way that satisfies the little girl inside the bride (although when I was younger I reportedly wanted a fluorescent, glow in the dark wedding dress!). But above all else I would recommend setting a time to say ‘stop’ before the wedding, to cease all DIY-ing and to just enjoy the lead up to the wedding, whether that be 2 weeks or 2 days before it.

I didn’t do everything I had planned because I ran out of time, but it was much more valuable to have a few days with my parents and groom to take it all in than just have a few extra artistic touches. And on the day…enjoy! Things may go wrong (it was a windy day and my ‘LOVE’ sign fell down free times during the ceremony!), but the day will unfold beautifully and with a life of its own, still wonderful even if some elements are imperfect! Oh…and one final thing brides…being married is BRILLIANT!!!

Photographer – Pen Mckinley-Rodgers

Cake – The Tenth Hole

Venue – The Walled Garden at Cowdray

I can honestly say, I was really really sad when I had finished putting this together.

And for all of the W-days we see day in day out at RMW HQ, I am still bowled over by the amazing and inspirational design ideas you gorgeous lot continue to surprise us with. So thank you, to Jo, Jon and all of you other lovely brides and grooms out there, for helping make Rock My Wedding one of the prettiest places on the web.

Big Living Every Moment Love

Charlotte xxx

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Mismatched Perfection… Part 2

You lucky lot are going to enjoy this! This morning we shared the first part of Gemma, a (self confessed!) RMW addict’s wedding, and her email to us in the days before she left for Australia to get married. If this is the product of a RMW readers wedding, then I am fit to burst with pride. So so pretty and full of love.

Enjoy, I certainly did!

Our ceremony was at St Mary’s Cathedral in Hobart, which was where my Dad married my Mum and also where my grandparents were married.

Our reception was at Stonefield in Brighton, a country farmhouse built in 1824. It has the most beautiful cottage garden where we were hoping to do champagne for our guests as they arrived at about 4 pm, but it was misty and freezing. Luckily Eric, the owner, had another room available for this very problem, and instead people gathered around roaring fires(!) before entering the main reception.

Spring Florals

Our florist was in Sandy Bay, Hobart. I wanted old fashioned-y, higgledy piggeldy, overblown spring flowers and I wanted them everywhere! Gay Flowers were brilliant, and again, I organised the flowers from London with the help of family ‘on the ground’ in Hobart.

I had a mixture of spring flowers with cream roses – my only stipulation was that it be ‘mostly wedgewood blue, oh but with a bit of mauve, and those pale pink ones are nice… what are they called?’ (I think by this stage the florist was regretting letting me into the cool room)

They did bouquets of a stronger blue for my maids and spring posies for the flowergirls. Raymond came with me and chose the buttonholes for his grooms.

I raided my Grandfather’s jam making supplies and prettied them up with ribbons, more vintage wall paper, brown paper and raffia. The night before the wedding, Raymond, his Mum and I went out to look at the venue and the flowers had been delivered and installed – they took my breath away. I wanted to stay there and look at them all night. The bouquets were just as gorgeous.

Photography that speaks for itself

Our photographer was Lisa Kuilenburg, and not only did she take photos that surpassed anything I’d ever imagined for our day, she also became a good friend into the bargain.

She is funny and incredibly easy-going, and having her around made the day run more smoothly because she helped with a lot of things outside her remit. I think her photos speak for themselves.

A Taste of Home

We had miniature bottles of Glenlivet Scottish Whisky as favours sourced (and lugged to Australia) by Raymond’s sister, as well as a CD with songs that are special to us as a couple.

Raymond took responsibility for designing and making the cds, and I loved the way they turned out, and that they gave him a chance to be the one obsessing over the DIY design detail!

I made table runners out of floral wallpaper, some vintage and some from Paperchase. The place cards were made out of prints of vintage maps that I bought from Oliver Bonas

I ordered a vintage wedding magazine from 1930 from Etsy – it was French and called ‘La Petit Echo de La Mode’, and we had notecards for people to write messages for our guestbook which they then pinned onto a lemon ‘money’ tree.

Cupcakes and Love Birds

The cake was a stand of cupcakes from Cutie Cups in Hobart. Again, all organised over email, we topped it with a pair of kissing lovebirds I’d bought in Covent Garden long before I even met Raymond.

Half the cupcakes were vanilla and half were chocolate, and the top tier was a traditional fruitcake with a layer of marzipan for those who wanted it (R and I certainly didn’t!)

A Good Old Fashioned Knees Up

We both wanted to make the wedding a celebration of Raymond’s Scottish heritage and the fact that he proposed at Loch Lomond near his home city of Glasgow – so we decided on a Scottish Ceilidh dance and found Dancer’s Delight who provided a good old fashioned Scottish knees up, and we literally had a ball.

We chose ‘Please, Please, Please let me get what I want’ by the Smiths as our first dance – we are both indie kids at heart and the Smiths was one of the first bands we bonded over. Neither of us are very good dancers (I am abysmal) so we kind of swayed and giggled throughout the song. It was lovely, we didn’t know whether anyone was watching us and we didn’t care.

A Wise Bride

Our wedding really was a celebration of the two of us, and the bringing together of our families. When we all landed in Australia lots of relatives from both sides hadn’t met, and that was why we decided to have the Bridal Party made up of family only…if we’d included all the special friends we love into our day in matching dresses and suits, we’d have had a church full of maids.

Raymond and I have both travelled a lot in our lives, both together and separately, sometimes by choice and sometimes (like when I was stuck in Australia waiting for a visa for 9 excruciating months) definitely not. When we first met we both felt like we had come home – and that feeling of belonging, the ‘anywhere I lay my hat with yours is home’ was how the style of our wedding evolved: encorporating the florals and art deco touches that I love with the vintage maps, rockabilly aesthetic and green hills and rivers that say ‘Raymond’.

Choosing readings on the day for the Church was one thing that was difficult – because we had decided to get married in a Catholic Cathedral, we were bound by having readings and music that were solely liturgical. I found a reading called ‘two are better than one’ from ecclesiastes which I’m just putting in here because I thought Rebecca, particularly, might be interested to read it. I agonised over what readings and music to have because R and I are so into literature and music that having solely Catholic liturgy (especially as he’s not Catholic, and agreed to the cathedral because he knew it was an important link to my mum etc) limited us and sometimes didn’t feel very ‘us’. We thought this was simple and said it all – that we are an unbreakable team.

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

Photography – Lisa Kuilenburg

Flowers – Gay Flowers

Ceilidh Band – Dancer’s Delight

Table runners paper – Paperchase.

Place cards (Vintage map paper) – Oliver Bonas.

Gemma is the first person on these pages to articulate the way I feel about my own husband and her church reading really resonated with me too… (You were right Gemma! In fact I think we might be some kind of spiritual twins as I have that paper (for the placecards) too, and when I was a child I was always found playing dress up with a band on my forehead… 😉 )

Thank you so much Gemma for sending this in, on behalf of all our readers too. I have loved sharing it with them all.

Yours Truly,


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Easter DIY and Inspiration shoot

I don’t know about everyone else around here but I’m just about beside myself at the prospect of the four day weekend. I’m planning some celebrations as some of my friends visit from the South and lots of birthdays coincide, along with a well deserved break. With all this in mind, the glorious weather and plans afoot for spring time festivities, when we got an email from the very lovely Lou over at Whimsical Wonderland Weddings asking if we would like to share some of her recent DIY projects, I was bouncing around like a mad march hare!

Last week Lou celebrated her blogs 1 year birthday and instead of sitting back and counting her successes, she went all out and completely DIY’d her own little Spring inspiration shoot. Flowers, Favours, table runners, cake display, the lot.

And boy is it Pretty with a capital P.

Every single item you see here is budget beautiful and lovingly crafted by Lou’s own fair hand. Even better Lou has been kind enough to give you all instructions on how to re-create some of the elements she slaved over. Obviously this is perfect Wedding Inspiration, but you know what… I am totally planning on re-creating some of these bits and pieces for my Easter table and celebrations! (I’ll send you the pics Lou!)

I’m particularly in love with that little cake topper and her ideas for RMW – customising the egg cups 🙂


So without further ado, I’m going to hand you over to Lou and her DIY tutorials… please make her very welcome ladies!

Hi Rock My Wedding readers!! I’m Lou from {www} and I’m so very excited to be guest posting for you today.

Cake Topper DIY Tutorial

There is a trend at the moment for simple, rustic, homemade-style cakes in the wedding industry and cake toppers are BIG news right now. It’s an easy, cute and quirky way to personalise your day.

There are so many toppers out there to choose from, but this one is very easy, you can completely personalise and adapt it to your taste and wedding theme.

What you need:

Assorted coloured paper

Two paper straws




Scissors/Craft Knife

Print off your selected words in your preferred font, preferably on card.

Draw around your letters onto the paper and cut out using scissors or a sharp craft knife.

Tie one end of your twine or thread to one straw, and start threading your letters onto the thread. Be sure to choose the same height to thread and thread through twice in each letter to ensure the letter lays flat. Be careful, the paper is delicate. You can use card if you wish but it may be harder to make the holes for the thread.

Once the row of letters is in place tie the other end of the thread onto the second straw.

When you start on the next rows of lettering, make sure the thread is shorter; you want the straws to be closer at the bottom and wider at the top for full affect. Also find out the diameter of your cake to make sure it is in proportion.

Now insert the straws into your cake. {Make sure you store the topper safely until your wedding day, a box is best, as it’s very delicate.}

Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, it all adds to the ‘look’.

DIY Tin Can Centre Piece Tutorial

I thought for ages about what inexpensive way I could present my flowers in for the shoot. In the end I came up with tin cans, which given a lick of paint are given a whole new lease of life. They are the ultimate eco-friendly, budget and gorgeous centrepiece concept.

What you need:

Assorted Tin Cans

Paint {gloss}



Collect tin cans, different sized cans together look best.

Remove the labels and give them a good wash.

Start painting the cans in your chosen colours or patterns. Warning: I used acrylics and the cans started to rust, we ended up using some gloss paint we had.

Tie around mismatched pretty ribbons and fill them with gorgeous seasonal blooms.

DIY Egg Cup Favours Tutorial

Choosing original and fun favours that your guests will treasure is tricky, but I have the perfect solution for those Spring and Easter weddings…. Egg cups of course!

What you need:

Wooden Egg Cups

Paint {I used acrylics}

Paint Brush



Felt or Fabric




Lightly sand your egg cups, so that the paint sticks well to the cup.
Choose your colours and get painting; a contrasting colour on the inside makes it look really vibrant. You could even paint patterns such as the RMW polka dots!

For the name tags, get some felt or fabric and mark the initial lightly in pencil. Using your needle and thread, create a running stich along the initial. Cut to size. I like the little flag effect at the end, or choose another shape.

Get your twine and fold in two, thread it through the top of the tag and pull the ends through the loop.

Tie around your egg cup. For an extra cute finish why not put a flower head or some sweets in the egg cup?

I put my egg cups on mismatched fabric napkins with doilies on top of my plates to finish, for an extra touch tie some pretty ribbon around the cutlery. Layering really adds to the effect.
And voila, your guests will remember your big day each time they tuck into their boiled egg.

Top {www} Tip: Grab your egg cups cheap from eBay or craft shops.

Have fun and get crafting… your wedding day will have a personal touch, you will save money and of course it will look just divine 😉

Much love

Lou xoxo

Erm, supper pretty no? And are you not impressed by Lou’s dedication to the crafty cause with all this hard work! I hope you’re getting to put your feet up over Easter!

You can head over to {www} and see the whole post Lou did on her DIY inspiration shoot here, but do drop her a comment in the box below too and let us know if you will be using any of these little ideas for your Easter table or indeed big day! 🙂

Yours, Truly Inspired,


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What Julie Did……Do Me A Favour!

I’ve been a busy bee over the last few weeks, ordering paper samples for the invitations, sourcing cupcake wrappers, favour boxes, ribbons, buttons, all sorts of pretty bits and pieces for the next few DIY make offs! Time is quickly ticking away so I thought I’d better get started on my next project, sooner rather than later as my major stationary marathon is getting closer and closer and I need total concentration for that one!

Ever since last Christmas whilst watching Kristy’s homemade Christmas, I knew exactly what I wanted my favours to be- mini cupcake soaps! Whilst watching the show I saw Kristy making soap from scratch and thought the things she made were so beautiful I had to try it, the only thing that slightly put me off was some of the scary chemicals required to make soap from scratch and the thought that I might poison or burn someone with my beautiful innocent favours.

After a quick search on the internet I found you could buy readymade soap base which was completely safe, even for me to use.

So here is how I made my favour:

Equipment List

– large glass microwavable bowl
– wooden spoon ( preferably one you won’t be cooking with again)
– knife
– a syringe without a needle or pipette
– your favourite essential oil
– silicone moulds in your desired shape
– dried flowers for decoration
– melt and pour soap base
– cling film

Step 1

I used 1kg of melt and pour soap base, which I bought from Ebay, this was enough for 50 of my mini cupcake soaps. I cut the large block of soap base into smaller cubes and placed in my glass bowl. I then covered the bowl with cling film and placed in the microwave. I heated the soap on full power for 2 minutes, taking out and stirring every 30 seconds until it was completely melted and all the lumps were gone.

Step 2

Next I added my essential oil. I chose my favourite scent, gardenia, one of the main notes in my favourite perfume. I put about 8% oil to soap, but this may change depending on the strength and quality of the oil, usually the oil bottle will advise how much to add. I now laid out my silicone moulds on a tray. Next using a syringe I gently poured the mixture into my moulds, taking care not to let any bubbles appear as they don’t go away when the soap hardens. I only filled each mould about 2/3 of the way to the top as I realised my flower decorations would not float, so I had to create a base for them to sit on.

Step 3

I put my 1/2 filled moulds into the fridge to speed up the hardening process. They were quite small so they only took about 15 minutes to become solid. I reheated and melted my soap mixture again, and filled the moulds to the top, gently placing my dried roses on the top for decoration. I got my flowers from a Chinese tea shop but you can easily find other types on Ebay. They then went back in the fridge for the final time.

Step 4

Once solid, I gently removed them from the silicone cases, this was really easy, they just popped out without any trouble. I had to repeat the whole process about 4 times as I only had 12 silicone cases, however I had a really nice afternoon doing it and my house smelled divine for days!

Now that job is done, my mind is focusing again on my stationery epic that’s about to begin! One of the things I’ve been thinking hard about is the wording for the inside, in particular about gifts. JP and I are not at the stage yet where we are lusting after Le Cruset casserole dishes so we really don’t want things for our house. We have decided instead to go for a honeymoon gift list as we want this holiday to be the most amazing experience of our lives and we hope people understand this.

After some internet searching we decided to opt for senduspacking.com, not only because I thought the name was excellent, but because it seemed like the safest option, as the money is paid directly into your PayPal account and you’re not left with vouchers or worrying the company your money is with is going to go bust.

So that brings me to you ladies, I know you are a creative bunch , not to mention a gold mine of information so do any of you have any ideas on good ways to word, no household gifts or vouchers please? I like the idea of some sort of poem or limerick or something a bit funny, just don’t really know where to look.

Looking forward to all our suggestions!

Julie xxx

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The Beautiful Truth……part 2

This has turned out to be more than a bit epic. The main reason being that I didn’t know what images not to choose, there are so many pretty details and delicious moments In Sam and Pete’s gorgeous Autumn affair that I was literally spoilt for choice.

And you know how I love a random “couple shot” backdrop right? Well then. How about we throw some trawler fisherman into the mix?

Uh huh my lovelies really.

Oh and the blooms, so many beautiful blooms…..and they all came to the grand total of two hundred and fifty quid.

We freakin’ die.

Add all that to some truly wall-worthy Polaroid’s, one of the most well written reports to date, plenty of do it yourself inspiration and the bride wearing A CARDIGAN ( yes I know! major knitwear worship!)…. and you’ve got Rock My Wedding perfection right here folks.

Everybody Smile

I knew as soon as I saw Mister Phill’s photographs that he was the one for us and luckily Pete agreed! I’m a journalist and had come across Phill’s site while looking for content for one of our websites. Part of what I do is about curating and showing off awesome pictures, so it was always important that we had the right photographer – everyone in Phill’s pictures looked so relaxed and happy and he had some great shots capturing the sort of moments you don’t often see in wedding photos.

I think weddings are about people, not things, and Phill’s pictures prove the point again and again. Every time I look at a new wedding he’s posted there’s at least one picture that could be a story all by itself. I also loved the fact that all the people on his blog looked like real people having the best day of their lives, in their own way, and not models (I hate having my picture taken because I’m not very photogenic. No chin).

One of my favourites from the day is of my mum and dad holding hands during the ceremony but we’ve got so many great shots,I couldn’t be happier.

D.I.Y Decor

(Deep breath……..) the room where the ceremony was is a conservatory full of mirrors and fig trees, with two trees either side of the doorway.I bought loads of fabric and made a template and the mums made 26 metres of bunting for the conservatory where the ceremony was. I made 150 tissue paper flowers to string as garlands in between the bunting (not as time consuming as it sounds, I promise!)

I bought shepherds crooks to hang candle holders from and they went either side of the doorway. We had loads of white fairy lights in all the trees in the room and hung pictures of ourselves around the walls. The birdcages the florist had filled for me hung from the beams either side of the registrar’s table. I had lots of candles in birdcages but they never got used. I also made dozens of paper pinwheels to hang from the trees but they didn’t get used either…

On the tables we had the flowers, plus I’d made leaf shaped table confetti to tie in with the autumn/trees theme. I made blackboards (picture frames and blackboard paint) for the table names, and we put a copy of the book each table was named after on the table. The guestbook table had a blackboard that said Welcome Best Beloveds on it (I love Rudyard Kipling!) and framed photos from other family weddings, plus postcards so people could leave us a message.

I made another blackboard for the menu board. For the table plan I cut down a branch from the garden, glued it inside a vase and made leaf shaped escort cards with names and table numbers on them – you may have seen this in Rebecca’s DIY Friday post a month back – I even emailed her to tell to stop posting my DIY projects in case she spolied the surprise! Name cards were luggage cards tied to wine glasses with a piece of ribbon.

The Obvious Choice

We had cheese instead of cake. Pete and I once drove to London for the afternoon to have a cheeseboard at a cheese shop we’d seen on the TV so it was an obvious choice!

For the food we had roast goose, beef and pork, followed by cherry, apple and gooseberry pies with custard. So cheese, served as the evening buffet seemed like the perfect ending. It came from Cheeseworks in Cheltenham and the girls there were quite happy to give us tasters and let us decide for ourselves exactly which cheese we wanted.

Music Lovers

When I made the invites, I included a space on the RSVP card for everyone to choose a song guaranteed to get them on the dance floor. Then we put those together with some of our favourites, my brother, who’s a musician, arranged them into an all-killer-no-filler playlist and we brought our Bose dock and played it out of an iPod. We toyed with the idea of barn dance or a band or a DJ but a) we didn’t have any money and b) we thought having a playlist everyone had contributed to would mean everyone would get at least one song they loved.

It’s All About YOU

We chose “All About You” by McFly – partly because nobody would have expected us to pick it in a million years but mainly because we’d spent quite a bit of time dancing round our kitchen to it! When we started talking about first dances it was the first song both of us thought of, so it was a done deal. (Pete now listens to it every morning on his way to work!)

For favours we made CDs of our favourite songs people might never had heard of. Geeky as it sounds, we both really like English folk or folk-inspired music (my favourite from the CD is called Song for the Road by David Ford), and we threw in some others of “our songs” too (like the version of Your Song from Moulin Rouge – seriously. it’s awesome).

I made CD liners from paper I had left over from the invites. We didn’t have too many left behind on tables so I think they went down well. I also bought puzzles for the children at the wedding to play with while we were doing the speeches so they wouldn’t get too bored.

Keeping It Real

The overwhelming impression I have of the day is that everything felt really personal, like it was a party at our house, not at a hotel. Not just because of all the things we’d made, but other little things too.

My brother was toastmaster – he introduced us and all the speeches, and told everyone what was happening and I would definitely recommend this if you have a family member brave enough. Being annouced as Mr and Mrs by someone who knew us both felt so much more heartfelt than if a stranger did it.

My mum read the whole of I like you, by Sandol Stoddard Warburg during the ceremony, because even though it’s really long we couldn’t choose a bit we liked more than the others.

I didn’t have a wedding band but used the antique ring we bought together when we got engaged – it’s so beautiful and has so many great memories that I didn’t see the point of buying a standard wedding ring just for the sake of it (plus nothing looked right next to it and I didn’t want to move it to the other hand.) Pete wanted gold and not white gold so we don’t even have matching rings, but no-one seemed to care. We didn’t have or do anything we didn’t want and no-one batted an eyelid.

You’re probably reading this and thinking we’re mental for doing so much stuff ourselves (in fact, the food was the only thing we didn’t do!) We did it that way partly for finance reasons and partly because I really enjoyed it! On the day and the night before, so many people mucked in to help with the setting up and I always wanted to walk into the room knowing that everything in it had been made by people who cared about us.

Practically speaking, I’d say if you like being creative, then give yourself plenty of time, but try your hand at anything you fancy. You’ll soon get the idea of what’s going to work for you and what isn’t.
Designing our invites took me probably six months by the time I’d worked out all the different elements but it gave me chance to think about how we wanted everything to look and what we wanted it to feel like.

Over the year of planning I attempted and abandoned lots of ideas – fabric buttonholes, a crepe paper bouquet – and there were lots of others that in the end just didn’t fit in, timewise or spacewise. But if DIY isn’t for you, don’t do it!

And if I had one piece of advice, this would be it. You won’t listen, I know, but it might help if things get stressful.

Weddings are not about rooms, or dresses, or hairstyles, or favours, or food, or cake. They’re not even about rings (seriously, read the vows. The ring part comes way after you’re man and wife).

Weddings are about you and your husband, standing in a room full of people who love you, promising each other that “I will go on choosing you and you will go on choosing me, even if I live to be a hundred”. They’re about saying the words that generation after generation have said, in whatever form you choose, and knowing that everyone watching is willing you to be happy.

Everything else really is just stuff. Fun stuff, admittedly, and if you want it, then you should have it. But when everything stresses you out or you can’t afford your dream venue, or buying the dress you want means you can’t have the flowers you want, remember, it’s just stuff. When you’re holding hands and saying the magic words you really, honestly, won’t care.

Oh, and being married is AWESOME 🙂

I know.

And the word issue I had? I still have it. I just can’t describe how many things about this wedding I love but take it from me, there are HUNDREDS.

And if you want my advice, go and take a second look, I find something new to admire every time I take a peek.

With huge gigantic massive thanks to Mister Phill and Sam and Pete for sharing all that is wonderful.

Big I’m off to buy a Polaroid camera Love

Charlotte xxx

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A Rustic Revolution…….Part 2

Right then.

I don’t even know where to start folks.

Laura and Dave’s rustic wedding reception at “The Old Barn” in Brandgore is so unbelievably personal and inspirational, with so many unique and clever idea’s that I can’t begin to point out everything that I love about it. The escort card plan, the giant cake, the original and abundant guest entertainment, the sweetie bar…..oh my goodness the sweetie bar, by far the loveliest I have ever seen in the whole of weddingville.

Just the kind of joyous Big Day that I would give my right arm to be invited to….

Unusual Blooms

The centrepieces were designed to reflect the rustic theme and to fit into the silver birch wrap vases that my husband and I had made. They had similar blooms.

I came across an unusual flower that I had never heard of before called ‘Craspedia’ or Billy Buttons and was so taken by them, that I decided I had to have them! I chose to use them mainly for the buttonholes, as they are not overtly blousy or feminine and I thought they would go with the boy’s outfits.

THE Sweetie Bar

I loved the idea of a candy buffet but wanted something different, preferably that would excite our guests. Again, I spent hours researching, but couldn’t find anything that was right, so we decided to make our own unit. The result- a huge dresser with 21 drawers, glass jars and lots and lots of colour co-ordinated sweets! We even padlocked a drawer with a special prize and gave everyone an old iron key (part of our escort card board).

It was fun seeing all ages trying their keys in the padlock then shovelling sweets into yellow stripy bags to take away with them! We loved the whole thing so much that we are now starting our own business! www.onesweetday.co.uk

A Fruity Number

I designed a lemonade stand to compliment the rustic theme. It had a glass dispenser full of cloudy lemonade and pretty bottles of pink lemonade that guests were able to help themselves to all night! The kids loved it!

A BIG Treat

We decided that we were going to ‘go large’ on the cake! Because we didn’t want to cut the cake, we chose to have a 5 tier, alternate depth ‘dummy’, stacked on a huge chunk of wood with twigs, a birds nest and fabric birds!

My mum was responsible for the creation (although it took 4 of us to lift and place the icing on the huge bottom tier!) My mum made delicious kitchen cakes of vanilla, chocolate, carrot, toffee and fruit! Her friends ‘the dog walkers’ also contributed lots of lovely delights for the dessert table!

Aside from the lovely cakes, we had ice cream for dessert courtesy of www.brockice.co.uk 5 yummy flavours and a really nice prop for photographs. Lovely couple who run it too!

D.I.Y Decor – To the MAX

We dressed everything ourselves, with lots of help from our fantastic wedding party! Bunting, gingham table covers, dessert tables laid up with Hessian fabric, chunks of wood topped with cakes, brown labels and old iron keys, personalised teabag place-settings, cowboy hats on hooks and a guestbook area with an old typewriter, patterned paper and a battered leather suitcase that was my granddad’s.

The Piece de resistance- yellow and white paper lanterns that hung from the ceiling.

We had bales of straw for extra seating in the barn, covered in gorgeous knitted and crocheted blankets lovingly made by my mum and the dog walkers! My mum even had personalised labels made with our names and wedding date to sew onto them! We are going to sew them together to make a keepsake throw for our bed!

The guestbook area had a section for photographs taken before the wedding by our guests. Our ‘save the dates’ were actual dates in matchboxes that I designed and sent to our friends and families, requesting they take photographs of the dates for our competition! The dates went all over the world!

A matching convertible beetle and camper van trussed up with yellow ribbons to complete the look!. They were so amenable and lovely, giving me tictacs and tissues on the way!

Accidental Excitement

We accidentally came across the most wonderful photographers, Teri and David at Murakami Photography. From start to finish they have been so fantastic; friendly, creative, hard-working and professional. We chose them after we described a mad idea we had of having some wedding photographs in a pumpkin field!

Other photographers just smiled and moved on but Teri and David were as excited as we were, spouting ideas and possibilities about the shoot! They have recently won awards for one of the photographs they took in that pumpkin field! (You can access information about this on their facebook page).

All Day Entertainment

We had the brilliant ‘Switch’ a saxophone quartet to welcome our guests, which really added to the ambiance of the day. ‘Mr Wiseguy’, an amazing live cover band was our choice for the evening entertainment. We had seen them at a couple of local venues and were so impressed we had to book them! They got everyone up dancing (and even called a couple of ‘victims’ my lovely bridesmaid Cookie and our usher Dave O, to sing Mustang Sally with the band!)

Brilliant entertainment!

Wise Words

Have everything you want and make what you can’t find! It took tremendous commitment to source and make everything but we took great satisfaction in seeing little details throughout the day and so did our guests who were entertained all day by them!

Reception Venue – The Old Barn

Sweetie Bar – One Sweet Day

String Quartet – Switch

Live Band – Mr Wiseguy

Ice Cream Dessert – Brockice

Car Hire – The Wedding Bug

I want to know exactly how many of you are going to steal the following from this W-day:

A huge gigantic cake on a tree stump

A sweetie DRESSER ( marshmallows in a draw?! – I die!)

An old iron key escort card plan ( so stylish, so clever)

A help-yourself lemonade table

A “snogging at sunset” shot ( NB: can I say snogging? it just seemed appropriate….)

Let me tell you, if it was my turn I would STEAL.THEM.ALL.

With huge thanks to Dave, Laura and Murakami Photography for choosing our lovely readers to showcase this little piece of delicious to.

Big do you think a permanent sweetie dresser in my house would be OTT? Love

Charlotte xxx

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DIY Devotee

This week I have been inspired by the generosity of SophieC who won our giveaway with Idyllic Days to win Vintage crockery hire for a hen party for her friend. My thoughts turned to Hen parties of the tea inspired variety and I decided to use a couple of ideas I’ve had stashed for a while.

Romancing the Recipe

This first one is one I actually made for my friend Laura, who was married this July – always a keen baker and lover of tradition I found this Recipe card DIY over on The Wedding Chicks and created it for her Bristol hen party.

To make the home made gift more sentimental I issued each of the hens with one of these to fill in their recipe and pass on to her, kind of like a wifey starter kit ;). I have to say there was great consternation about what each hen would write, but even those who kept it light hearted provided a really sentimental keepsake – one writing a sandwich recipe they used to share at university and others passing on valued family recipes. I even passed some cards to her mum so her family members could pass on traditional recipes then presented it all in a box.

check out the full DIY Recipe cards how-to on The Wedding Chicks.

Time for Tea

Charlotte found this little Gem and ever such an easy DIY over on Project Wedding. Cost effective for a tea party hen do favour, this would even be perfect for wedding favours using some fancy fruit teas.

Any one with a little bit of computer or crafting expertise could whip up a suitable printable to infuse (get it?!) the day with personality and charm.

Find the full how-to for Easy Tea Bag Favours on Project Wedding

Button Beautiful

It’s pretty vague inspiration but I seriously couldn’t help sharing these images that Charlotte sent over to me too. Also from Wedding Chicks the feature is a Bridal Shower inspiration shoot and uses buttons and shabby chic as a theme…

So just because we are good to you, here are some teaser images of the button festooned event and hopefully some chic ideas for you too!

Head over to see the full Shabby Chic Bridal Shower post on Wedding Chicks.

Have you found some inspiration in the DIY corner here today?

Yours Truly,


PS! It’s something of an exciting weekend… we may just have a themed week coming up on Rock My Wedding. You know how we love a theme and we’ll be unveiling it complete with the usual wicked graphics sometime this weekend, so make sure you stop by and join in the excitement!

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DIY Devotee

Spurred on by the success of last weeks DIY Devotee, I wanted to share another yummy idea today which Charlotte spotted over on Something Old, Something New.

These candy coloured cookies make perfect little messages for your guests, whether you choose to embellish them with your name and wedding date, a thank you or welcome message, or even naughty/nice wedding phrases to get guests talking they make perfectly sweet favours. All you need is a bit of creativity and a piping bag!

The message cookie cutter is available from Williams Sonoma for $19.95 and they do ship internationally, you just have to call them to set it up.

Peonies and Pearls

Our other share this week comes from Adelle over at Peonies and Pearls. Adelle was sharing some of the clever DIY’s she did for her own wedding with us and I was particularly taken with this retro cute Just Married Banner.

If you would like Adelle to share the template with you she used to make this cute banner (she also cleverly used it for a a Thank You card prop) there are full how-to details and her email address over on the blog post.

It’s kind of gone out of vogue now, but I love the idea of driving away earlier in the evening to spend a bit more energy than the usual collapsed state with your brand spanking new hubby and this would make a wicked photo op – even just from church to reception or photo location.

So that’s it for this week. Enjoy folks and happy weekend planning 🙂

Yours Truly,