DIY Stationary

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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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Marriage is Like a Skateboard… part 2

Welcome back for part 2 of this University Wedding where the Bride Laura and her Groom Tim met. They had a ton of DIY details and Laura has heaps of budget savvy advice on ways to decorate your day so make sure you have a good read of the gems hidden away in her text.

Without further ado, lets enjoy the pretty!

Country Garden Blooms

Jenny at Jenniflower in Exeter was extraordinarily passionate about bringing my ideas to life and her shop reflected the style of our wedding perfectly. She kept my bouquet strikingly simple with Sweet Avalanche, Faith and Amnesia roses, in beautiful dusky shades for a vintage look, while the bridesmaids’ blooms contained more foliage and bit more variety.

We wanted to keep the simplicity of the chapel so we just put two large arrangements at the front that looked a bit wild and natural, with September Flower (multiple daisies on one stem) Larkspur, Delphiniums and Antirrhinams.

We continued the country garden feel through to the reception, with tins of varying sizes on each table and a selection of scented Stocks, flowering Dille & Mint, Astilbe, Antirrnhiams, and Lisianthus.

Tea Cup Pretty

I really liked the idea of the guests each having a vintage teacup, but with 114 sit-down guests, this proved too pricey. To get a similar effect, I rummaged through charity shops and managed to find about 30 beautiful teacups, popped a candle in each one and dotted a few on every table. It gave it a tea-party feel, but without the expense, and was a bit more original too! (Tim will kill me if I take credit for this though… it was completely his idea!) Towards the end of the meal, guests were taking the marshmallows from the jars and toasting them over the teacup candles!

Unobtrusive Photography

We visited a few photographers before making our decision. One offered us a free engagement shoot to reel us in, but when we saw the finished photos they were so cheesy and posed that we really cringed!

Andrew Hawker is based in the south-west and was recommended to us by Tim’s sister-in-law who works in a wedding dress shop in Cornwall. We actually had his brother Steven and assistant Naomi because he wasn’t available on our wedding day, but they were incredibly talented. The style was much more relaxed and journalistic – they were fantastic at catching the little moments and weren’t remotely intrusive during the proceedings.

The package also included a CD – much more valuable to us than a photo album. We didn’t have a limitless budget for photography, but we knew how important good photos were, so we opted to pay for our chosen photographer until the end of the speeches.

This way we got some fantastic photos for the most part of the day, rather than some reasonable ones throughout the whole wedding. We still have some very amusing amateur ones from the evening party as well!

Marks and Spencer comes good…

We went for a delicious sponge and white chocolate Marks and Spencer creation, because they have such good value cakes, but added a bit of personality with a wooden-top cake-topper, lovingly created my Tim’s sister-in-law Sara. She even managed to make a mini replica of my dress, tiara and Tim’s suit!

Sara was also responsible for creating beautiful illustrations on our Orders of Service, and drew a gorgeous map of campus for us to send out with our invites. Her husband Nigel – Tim’s brother – works as a printer and produced all our orders of service and Invitations, sending me countless drafts when I kept making revisions to the designs.

They proved quite a valuable pair!

Budget Bargains

I certainly recommend making use of the skills of talented students! Even if you’re not getting married at a college or university, there may be ones locally that have talented musicians or artists who would love to build up their CV or portfolio. We asked the university choir to sing a version of Take That’s Rule the World while we signed our registers, and it was a great way to make the day unique without breaking the bank. They also sang the hymns throughout the service (thankfully masking our voices a little bit!). We got ten choristers for the bargain price of £200 – a professional group would have cost us far more.

We both adore old-school jazz music, but we wanted something that would really get our guests up and dancing in the evening. The Cadence were very reasonably priced but did a fantastic selection of crowd-pleasing rock ‘n’ roll, pop and Motown favorites. They even brought along tambourines and maracas so the kids could get in on the act! We still liked the idea of a jazz element to the day though, so we hired a jazz saxophonist and pianist to entertain guests during the drinks reception and meal. The duo created a wonderful atmosphere, but were a lot more cost-effective than hiring a full band.

The Sweetest Favours

I asked a few of my friends to keep aside all their old jam jars in the lead up to the wedding, placed a thank-you label on each one, filled them with retro sweets and covered each with a bit of floral fabric and some raffia.

Since the guests were staying in the halls of residence, I also painted some little wooden hearts, added fabric scraps and a little message, and placed them on every guest’s door with a little bag of humbugs, to get them nice and excited on their arrival! I painted some more wooden hearts and hung them on the trees from the halls to the chapel, so guests knew which way to go on the morning.

Child Friendly

We had 12 children at our wedding, so I collected vintage looking toys (dominoes, teddy bears, etc), to keep them amused at the table. A lot of people thought we were bonkers to invite so many children, but they had a fabulous time climbing trees on campus and looking cute for photographs.

Luckily the weather was great on the day so they were able to run around outside, but we’d also set aside a room in Reed Hall with space and games to keep them entertained if needed.

DIY Decor

I bought scrap fabric and collected fabric samples, which became the inspiration for a completely mismatched theme. I roughly cut a bit of fabric and placed it on each place card, and used a different piece of fabric for each table on the table plan.

I also bought a variety of mismatched vintage-esque frames from TK Maxx, Argos and Oxfam, and used these for the table names (which were all named after halls/ pubs/ student bars we’d frequented in Exeter!)

Tim proposed over dinner in the Ritz the day before Christmas Eve in 2008. Afterwards we celebrated by dancing the night away to the jazz band, and one of the songs they played was Cole Porter’s Night and Day. The lyrics are just beautiful, so we asked our band if they could learn it for our first dance. They really did it justice!

Advice from a Bride

Don’t be motivated by the need to impress others… Some people might have big, flashy extravaganzas, but if it’s not you, then don’t do it. If YOU love your day, then it will be obvious, and your guests will have a brilliant time too.

If you can find a lovely venue where the accommodation, service and reception are all within walking distance of each other, then don’t hesitate to book. Our guests could forget about cars and arranging transport, and completely relax for the weekend. Gathering everyone together for a little pre-wedding party on the Friday night was a great ice-breaker and helped ensure that Tim and I managed to speak to absolutely everyone.

Only do it if you enjoy it… your wedding day really shouldn’t be a chore, so give yourself plenty of time, set aside a few evenings and get cutting and sticking over a bottle of vino. And remember that it’s only one day… if you’re going to spend lots of money on something, think about whether you’ll be able to use those things again. Now I’ve got all my teacups and cakestands, I’m really enjoying throwing tea parties for family, and the mismatched frames on every table make fabulous gifts if I stick a wedding photo inside! I’ve also used my left-over fabric to make a very fetching patchwork cushion!

Flowers – Jenny at Jenniflower

Reed Hall (Venue) – Exeter University

Photography – Andrew Hawker

Entertainment – The Cadence

Stationery – Brides Sister and Brother-in-Law.

It’s just all so sweet and pretty isn’t it? such a radiant bride, Laura looks absolutely gorgeous. There’s just something about the pictures too that convey a really heartfelt, homespun relaxed vibe.

And if marriage is like a skateboard… these two look like they’re going to get the hang of it really really quickly 🙂

Yours Truly


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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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Vintage by Verity, a DIY Wedding… Part 2

Welcome back for Part 2 of this wedding with tons of real Rock My Wedding inspiration in every detail.

We Love. And judging by yesterdays comments, so do you guys!

Friend for a Photographer

Although it was important to us to have some amazing photographs of the best day of our lives, we didn’t want the day to turn into a photoshoot with lists and lists of shots to get through. We also wanted photography that was a bit different than the norm. Dean and I are lucky enough to know some really talented people and so we asked one of our friends, Adam Foster, to be our photographer for the day.

Dean has known Adam for 4 years. He is a very creative and talented guy. Adam’s website and Flickr account was a constant source of inspiration and we passed ideas back and forth between the three of us leading up to the wedding.

Inspired Cake

My Auntie Lynne has been making fabulous cakes for family events for years so she was the obvious choice for our wedding cake. She and I spent a whole Sunday night searching for inspiration online, and when I came across the Maisie Fantasie website, I began to get really excited. We quickly picked the Paris chic wedding cake and soon Lynne was deciding how best to recreate it. I somehow managed to find the exact cake stand online and then a few weeks later a friend got in touch saying that there was a Maisie Fantasie cookbook! The rest is history, but as you can see from the pictures, Lynne did such an outstanding job of recreating the design – it looked pretty as a picture. We had two layers of fruit cake and a scrumptious layer of chocolate fudge cake.

We served the cake alongside an enormous 3-tier cheese board, devised by Bashall Barn and sourced from Leagrams. The mix of fruit cake and cheese went down really well.

The Swing Commanders

The Swing Commanders are a jive sextet which hail from our home town, but have had huge success around the world. We’d been to see them play a number of times and always loved their eclectic mix of songs and their ability to read a crowd so well. The 3 guys and 3 gals, all of whom play at least three instruments each and have an impressive set of costumes, just always make it a night to remember.

I can’t tell you how many of our guests came up and asked us about them and commented about how amazing they were. They had us up doing a conga around the bar and even taught us the Charleston in a line formation. I thoroughly recommend them for a wedding.

The band played our first song – It had to be you. It was of course recorded by many an iPhone, so we threw in a few jive moves we had learnt in the last few months. The wooohs and waaahs we got in return were worth the lessons!


In the venue itself, which is a converted cow shed, we implemented a cow-based theme. Each guest was shown their place by a seating card stuck into a champagne cork. The cards were created using Moo cards and had a cow on one side, and names on the other. We’d already used Moo cards in our invitations, with each card telling guests about a different element of the day.

The cow theme was continued with the menus and “In case you were wondering” signs that we made and placed on each table. These were to let the guests know about the personal touches we had added to the day and to thank our ‘creatives’ for the cake, flowers, hair and make-up and photography.

When I saw the feature about the DIY photo booth on RMW, I was actually scared to show Dean. We already had a list as long as your arm for DIY creations so I thought he’d go mad, but when I sent him the link, his reply was “We must do this!”.

To say I was excited was an understatement. We decided to make it a secret from everyone, including our families, which meant creating it was even harder. And I must point out to anyone thinking of doing the same thing, make sure you consider transporting it once it is finished – we didn’t, and I’m not exaggerating when I say we had to literally flag down a man with a van the night before the wedding. But, we got it there, and boy was it worth it.

Our guests LOVED it. We had a tripod and camera set up in front of the booth, but they were also using their own cameras and the disposables and it is wonderful to see just how many of our friends and family have now got pictures from our photobooth as their facebook profile pics! It just added another dimension to the day and kept everyone entertained all night long.

My Advice for Brides

My biggest piece of advice for a future bride is to enjoy the planning! It is easy to get stressed out during the planning stage, but when it got close to the end, I wanted it all back! The wedding is one day, but if you treat the planning as part of that day then the whole experience becomes more rewarding and enjoyable. Reading RMW every morning was part of that for me and it often gave me little goose bumps when I saw another bride’s day done her way.

Also try and stick to your guns and make sure that every decision you make is right for you and your husband-to-be. Customs and traditions might have worked in our parents’ day but there are no strict rules anymore and as long the happy couple are happy, that’s all that matters, right?!

Seriously, how much fun? Tell us your favourite bit – there’s so many to choose from!

Yours Truly,


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What Naomi Did… Saving Grace (And Dates.)

6 months and 14 days to go.

This is according to my new iWedding Planner. On my new iPhone. A contract entered into sheerly for my own wedding planning pleasure. I’m not kidding. I got a new phone and sold my soul to the 24 month contract devil, just so I could plan my wedding. I needed direct access to my photographers replying email and RMW’s new post immediately whilst getting my morning cup of rooibos tea on my way to work.

Oh God! I had become one of those people.

I spent a lot of all of my time looking at blogs, magazines, design websites, twitter links, wedding planning books, ebay, hair and make up tutorials… the list could go on, but I won’t.
Basically, I had become a wedding planning machine.

But it had to stop.

It got to a stage that I was spending all my waking hours bombarding my mind with imagery, hints, tips, stories, how to’s and ideas. My social life began to suffer, so did my work and most importantly my relationship. Gavin would come home to see the back of my head and my face glued to some sexy little wedding blog… “oooh look at that table plan!”. I became such a sentimental sausage that I would whole heartedly weep at tacky wedding shows and throw hissy fits at the slightest mention of changing the guest list. It had become clear, that I was exhausted.

So I had a detox. A wedding planning detox. I stepped away from the computer, I recycled the magazines and I spent some time with a note book. I wrote down what was important to Gavin and I, what we wanted for our day and for our marriage.

I realised a lot of things in this time. I realised that all of the beautiful images I was looking at were in fact making me feel inferior, under pressure and in many ways inadequate. They were also firing up some kind of need to be original, quirky and produce never-seen-before details for the wedding. I was putting myself under immense pressure and didn’t even realise it. So I had a breather. I spent time with friends, I spent time with Gavin and I allowed myself just a few glances at my favourite blogs.

This little break worked a treat. I regained my focus and my passion for OUR wedding! I could now look at blogs and other folks weddings with admiration and grace, rather than jealousy and some kind of competitive compulsion to do better. With the weight of my own expectations lifted from my shoulders, I became more creative than ever.

I hit the ground running and began designing our save the dates. I wanted to give people something that they would use, something that they would look at regularly and keep as a token. One of the sweetest things Gavin ever did for me was at dinner one night. He listed all of the books he had fallen in love with and wanted me to read on a piece of paper, then folded it and gave it to me. Two years on this is still my bookmark. In honour of this romantic notion I decided to design bookmarks for our guests. So with Photoshop on my side, I set about them like a bear eating beans.

I had so much fun making these and am genuinely proud of my efforts. I have had lovely feedback from family and friends. It excites me so much to actually be DOING stuff now, instead of planning to do stuff. I think that the planning side can really take over. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my wedding porn. I am also still constantly inspired by images I see. But I feel much more fluffy about it all now. Happy and content with our own efforts and not pressurised by those of others.

Since what I like to call “the wedding melt down” I have become at peace with the fact that not everything we plan will be noticed, not everything we try will work and not everything we do will be original. But it will be ours.

Ever The Recovering Psycho,


P.S. Here’s a sneaky peeky of what my next post has to offer.

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A Fresh Garden Wedding… Part 2

There was a lot of love for this garden wedding yesterday and of course, that dress :). In the second part, Jo shares her ideas and decisions behind planning a carefree wedding day.

All the stunning images are courtesy of Segerius-Bruce Photography – thanks Guys!

Garden Style

We planned a garden wedding with a relaxed feel. We wanted it to be a wedding celebration with closest friends and family, without the formal feel some weddings have.

We used Merlins catering who did a ‘Posh BBQ’ with Steak, Salmon, Chicken, Vegetable kebabs and salad/pasta followed by choice of 3 desserts.

Quality Photography

We chose Segerius-Bruce Photography for our wedding photography.

Our best idea was the the photography – soooo worth the money and the quality on the day and after was top drawer! Chanelle and Craig were such a lovely couple to deal with and have to share the day with.

DIY Stationery

Kevin designed and hand-made all the invites, order of service and table plans and they were just stunning. We themed each table with our special memories like Venice, V festival etc.

With the relaxed feel of a garden wedding we wanted Greens and whites and to have a home made, personal feel but still professional and classy.

Garden Florals

Our flowers were by Daisy Chain Flowers I had a whole mix of green and white flowers including thistles, roses and frushas – I wanted it to feel as if I’d picked it myself from the garden

They were all chosen to fit into the green and white relaxed garden wedding feel.

Simple Cake

We chose the romantic Pearl cake from M&S – wanted it simple with the flowers on top

A Relaxed Day

The garden relaxed theme came from Jo’s uncle’s 30th wedding anniversary do which had a few friends and family in his garden at home which was just so personal and intimate – wanted to capture that feeling and we both didn’t really like the formality that goes with traditional weddings.

Dancing the night away

The party went on till midnight as that was the curfew but carried on on the coach and back at the hotel!

Our first dance was to ‘The first time I saw your face’ by Roberta Flack – the words say it all.

Making it your own

The things I remember most from the day were:
Saying our promises.
My mum and Kev’s speeches were amazing and Kev’s was so funny.
The very funny dancing done by Kev and his friends.
The firework display.
Singing on the coach on the way to the hotel.

My Advice

Make it your day and don’t worry about pleasing anyone else, Kev didn’t wear a tie which I was totally happy with as it fitted into our relaxed theme but some people found it very strange. We didn’t have a proper top table either (was circular as wanted to mingle in with everyone). Just do what you want and make it the day you want it to be. Everyone has different opinions on what something should be, but it’s your opinion that matters most.

We’re all for a bit of informality here at RMW and Jo and Kevin certainly showed us how it’s done.
Which traditions will you be ditching for your wedding?

Yours Truly,


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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,