Today, the DIY bride is turning her hand to everything. From customising her shoes, to baking her own cake (yes, really), there’s nothing she can’t do. If you fancy getting creative for your wedding’s finishing touches, this post is for you!
Before you start shredding tissue paper, stocking up on sequins and customising your cake, there’s something you should know… DIY’ing your wedding day, isn’t for everyone. If you’re not creative or artistic in the slightest, this probably isn’t the best option for you. You should be prepared to have your patience tried, are well equipped to deal with stress and be okay with the fact that you’ll
probably ask yourself countless times: “Why am I doing this?” You’ll also need a team of trusty people on hand, who are super organised and willing to help.
While doing it yourself isn’t a decision to taken lightly, DIY weddings are definitely some of the most memorable ones! Plus, putting your heart and soul into every aspect of your wedding day means that it will definitely go your way as you possess the power to only include things you actually want.
As as wedding photographer who prides himself on having an eye for the alternative, I never forget a wedding where the couple really went the extra mile. Without a doubt, you’ll leave guests with a lasting impression of your wedding, as they marvel over the fact that yes, you did actually do everything yourself.
So if this sounds like your cup of tea, (you’ll need plenty of that too throughout this journey), then this post is especially for you. Here, in the final instalment of our Ultimate DIY Bride Guide, we take a look at every aspect of your wedding day, and how you can put your own unique stamp on it.
Firstly, unless you’re a dressmaker or you’ve been making clothes for years, do not attempt to make your own wedding dress. It’ll be too much, you’ll regret it and you risk running around last minute as you attempt to rectify an error, or worse still, having to shop for a brand new dress.
If however, you’re keen to add some DIY element to your attire, instead turn your attention to your accessories. Let’s face it, traditional wedding shoes are boring. If white stilettos just don’t do it for you, check out our round-up of alternative wedding shoe designers here.
Or, if you find a pair you love, but they’re lacking in something, make your mark on them. Customising shoes is definitely becoming more popular and we can’t say we’re surprised. Wedding stickers for your shoes are a very real thing (yes, really) and can easily add an unexpected element. These simple “I Do” ones can be added to the heel area or the souls. Or, you could opt for “Wifey for lifey” or add your wedding date to mark the occasion. If you fancy getting a little more intricate, adding pearl detailing is perfect for the crafty bride, or embellishing just the heel with glitter can really add the wow factor to a simple pair of shoes. Finally, the addition of a brooch clip to either the back or front of your shoes is so effective and can be added to your bridesmaids’ shoes too to offer cohesion.
If you fancy yourself as a bit of a boho bride, a pretty floral crown could be your pièce de résistance for your wedding day. The great thing about floral crowns is that they’re perfect for any season (simply swap spring and summer’s pastels for autumn and winter’s moody hues). Plus, they work for all hair types and look equally killer with beachy waves or on-trend braids. This means, that as well as making one for yourself, you can create them for your bridesmaids and flower girls too (meaning they double up as the perfect gift).
You’ll need floral wire, floral tape, wire cutters, greenery and flowers (real or faux, the choice is yours), a steady hand, and lots of practice. Lauren Conrad has a simple (yet effective) tutorial here. Be prepared to have to try a few before you create one that you’re happy with. The amazing thing about creating your own crown is that you can design it exactly as you wish. Decide whether to go bold or subtle and incorporate your wedding colour scheme to tie it all effortlessly together.
Flowers are definitely one of the most expensive features of a wedding, so it isn’t surprising that more and more brides are lending their DIY hand to this area. If you do decide to create your own flowers, it helps if you already possess a little knowledge (or know someone who does). This way you’ll have an insight into what’s in bloom.
If you’re not getting married for a couple of years and have your heart set on a particular type of flower, now is the time to turn your attention to growing these in your garden. Alternatively, you can shop around, checking prices at local florists and supermarkets to get your hands on the flowers you want this way, and then make them up yourself.
When it comes to your wedding flowers, you’ll need to consider every instance that flowers traditionally occur, and whether you want to DIY all of these or just a select few. If you choose to outsource some to a florist and do the rest yourself, the key is to keep things consistent.
Typically, flowers at a wedding include:
- Your bridal bouquet
- Maid of honour and bridesmaids’ bouquets
- Buttonholes for groom, best man, groomsmen, ushers and fathers
- Flower girl’s headpiece, basket decorations, and petals to toss
- Corsages for mother of bride and mother of groom
- Ceremony entrance arrangements
- Altar, or other central arrangements
- Pew or chair decorations
- Centerpieces for each table at the reception
If you decide to take it all on yourself, we say, go for you! Or, if you’d prefer to have a go at just a few of these, the most common DIY flowers at a wedding include bouquets (real, brooch or paper) and centrepieces.
Real flower bouquets
If you’re opting to create your own bridal bouquet using fresh flowers, now is the time to learn the art. It’s best if you can pick up these skills from someone else, either by going for a private lesson with a local florist, or by attending a class. If this isn’t an option, check out Youtube tutorials online and practice, practice, practice.
If you’re new to floristry, here’s our simple, step-by-step guide on how to create your own bouquets:
Step 1: Choose your flowers – The first and perhaps most important step is to choose your flowers. You’ll need to consider your colour scheme and the season. Two days before the wedding is usually the best time to buy your flowers. However, those that are cut when they’re in a tight bud, such as freesia or lilies should be bought about a week early to give them time to open.
Step 2: Prep them – Before you begin, give your flowers plenty of water so that they’re stronger and easier to work with. Work on an uncluttered area and lay the flowers flat on tissue paper to avoid causing damage to the petals. The area below where the bouquet will be tied should be free of all buds, leaves and shoots, so begin by stripping this section.
Step 3: Choose a focal flower – With your focal flower, tie string to the stem where it will sit at the top of your fist. Begin building with foliage around the centre, binding with the string.
Step 4: Work outwards – Once the centre is secure, start adding more flowers and foliage at a diagonal angle, binding as you go.
Step 5: Store them – When you’re finished, place your bouquet upright in deep water overnight, so that all of the stems have access to water. Keep them in a cool place, such as a garage or shed, avoiding direct sunlight at all costs.
Step 6: Add the finishing touches – Decorate the handle of your bouquet as you wish. First, dry the stems and wind around ribbon or lace. Secure in place with pearl pins for the perfect finishing touch. Finally, trim the stems to your required length.
These remain a popular choice with brides with a penchant for vintage. Plus, it’s a really lovely way to incorporate a hint of sentiment into your day.
Before you get started, you’ll need:
- Hot glue gun
- Rubber bands
- Florists’ stub wires
- Florists’ stem tape
- Florists’ foam filled bouquet holder
- Around 50-60 brooches or earrings, depending on the size of your bouquet
Follow this step-by-step guide from The Knot here to nail the perfect brooch bouquet. Be prepared to spend most of your time choosing your brooches. It helps if you draft in friends and family members to keep a look out for these in second hand shops and vintage fairs.
Or, if origami is more your thing, turn your attention to paper bouquets, which serve as the perfect memento of your day. Yes, this bouquet of peonies really are made out of paper! We definitely think they look like the real deal.
For this one, you’ll need:
- Peony Flower Guide
- Floral wire (16G)
- Floral tape
- Hot glue gun
- Glue sticks
- Rubber bands
- Lambs ear leaf spray
- Seeded eucalyptus
Then, head over to Ruffled Blog here and give it a whirl. Once you’ve mastered the technique, you can create multiple bouquets or even use these are a basis for the centrepieces at your reception.
Probably one of the most common tasks taken on by couples themselves, creating your own wedding stationery really affords you the opportunity to get creative, and learn a new skill in the process. You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s easy to design your own stationery at home. It can become a little tricky if you don’t carefully plan it out first. Here, we’ve done all the hard work for you, thanks to our top tips for DIY’ing your wedding stationery.
Allow yourself plenty of time
Do not – we repeat… do not leave this task to the last minute. In fact, as soon as the date is set and venue is booked, get to work. Give yourself double the amount of time you think it’ll take. There’s designing, printing, assembling and sending to consider and these things all take tons of time.
Print quality matters
You’ll need to do several print tests until you’re happy with the final outcome. Colours can look different on screen and the hue of the paper you choose will also impact on the final result. If you’ll be printing at home, you’ll need a top notch quality printer. If your printer prints good quality photos, this is a sign that it should be good enough for your invites.
Continuity is key
If you’re planning to print the entire suite of stationery, i.e. save the dates, invites, order of service, table plans, menus etc, pick a theme and carry it throughout. It’s much easier to stick to the one theme, whether that be design or colour, and replicate it across everything.
Create a prototype
Spend some time perfecting one. When you’re happy with the print, add any embellishments (should you prefer to do so) and take the finished product to the post office to be weighed. This will help determine what your postage costs will be.
Consider the cost
If your sole purpose for doing it yourself is to save on money, work out a rough quote for yourself. Consider your tools, cost of ink, embellishments, paper etc to make sure that it is actually cheaper than hiring someone else to do it.
Find a template
If you don’t have the skills to create your own design, don’t panic. There are a wealth of websites out there offering an array of templates that won’t cost the earth. Etsy is a great place to start for these.
Be well equipped
There’s nothing worse than starting a project, only to realise you’re missing something, which then holds up production. So before you begin, ensure you have the right tools at your disposal:
- Computer with an appropriate programme for creating your design, such as Photoshop (if you’re not purchasing a template)
- Good quality printer with plenty of ink
- Long arm stapler (necessary for ceremony booklets)
- Shape blade and scissors
- Cutting mat
- Stationery guillotine
- Glue (for embellishments)
- Paper and envelopes
Another common area that many couples decide to tackle themselves is decorating the reception room. In choosing to do so, you can fuse your personalities for a truly spectacular finish. Again, there’s the option to go all out and take on the entire task yourselves, or pick and choose a few areas to tackle, leaving the rest to the professionals.
The good news is that there are loads of easy ways to decorate your own reception room, for maximum impact. Here’s just a few of the ones that we love…
Perfect if your reception room lends itself to a rustic feel, a vintage barn can be easily transformed into something truly spectacular, thanks to a little draping. Go chic with white or cream, or go bold with a pop of colour!
Create chalkboard signs
This one is definitely all about minimum effort for maximum effect. Chalkboards are a chic form of signage at your reception. Plus, they can be easily jazzed up, if you wish. Spray an ornate frame in a colour of your choice, and drape with greenery.
Create your own centrepieces
If you’ve opting for vintage vibes, the feel of ‘just-picked’ flowers are perfect. Start collecting mismatched jam jars and vases in an array of sizes, and fill with various flowers for a quiet statement.
Throw in tons of candles
Stick to all the same or go mismatched. These will look spectacular lit for the first dance. Just beware of potential fires!
Opt for statement table runners
A perfectly finished table really leaves a lasting impression and the easiest way to do this is with a chic table runner. Fancy going all out? Choose sequins or a bold colour for the wow factor.
Get creative with table names
If you have a theme for your wedding, effortlessly tie it all together with themed table names. This will create consistency and give guests something to talk about.
Hang (loads of) paper lanterns
While these might have been around for a while, they still make our eyes light up when we see them. Hanging these from the ceiling will draw the eye up and create the illusion of space.
Again, an oldie but a goodie. We love bunting for a garden themed wedding. It definitely helps if you’re a pro on a sewing machine for this one.
If the Great British Bake Off contestants have nothing on you, turn your attention to DIY’ing your own wedding cake. Cake is (obviously) one of our favourite things so before you get stuck in, here are our top tips for creating your own wedding cake…
Be practical about it
First up, baking under normal circumstances can be stressful. Add on top of that the fact that it’s your wedding week, you’ll be running around, carrying out an endless list of tasks. Therefore, making your own wedding cake is definitely for the more confident baker. Even if you fall into this category and the thought is already bringing you out in hives, step away from the cake mixer. However, if the idea of baking your own wedding cake fills you with excitement, read on.
Just because you’re making your own cake doesn’t mean you have to go cray cray on the design. Remember, guests will already be super impressed that you’ve baked it in the first place, so save yourself (some) blood, sweat and tears. Whether that be having the same flavour for all three tiers, or decorating it with a simple ribbon, keep things seriously chic.
Prep is key
Even if you’ve made this cake one hundred times before, do at least one practice run. Carry out as much prep beforehand as you can. Stock up on the ingredients you’ll need (and extras, to be safe). Plus, deciding on a filling such fruit, means you can bake it a few days before and it’ll taste even better.
Whether that be a mum or a friend, seek the help of someone who also knows what they’re doing. Bonus points if they’re calm in the kitchen. And by one, we mean one. Too many cooks, and all that. Clear everyone else out of the house so that you don’t have anyone popping in to check up on you.
Clear the clutter
While you’re clearing out people, clear the clutter too. Ensure your kitchen is clean and tidy before you start. Lay all your ingredients out on one side and your equipment on the other.
Set the whole day aside
Yes, really! Don’t underestimate how long it will take. As well as baking it, you’ll need to allow sufficient time for it to cool before decorating. And if you’re a perfectionist, this will take a while.
The finishing touches
These are what will really take your cake to the next level. Adding ribbon around the side and a simple topper is sometimes all that’s needed to bring a cake to life. However you decide to decorate it, choose a design you’re comfortable executing.
If you think these will be easier to manage than baking a cake, go for it. Decorate them in a theme that’s fitting for a wedding and bring individual cupcake boxes so guests can take them home.
Think about transportation
One of the major advantages of having your cake made by a professional is that they’ll deliver it to your venue. You don’t even have to think about it. Poof, and it’s there when you arrive at the reception. If you’re making your own cake, don’t forget that you’ll need to transport it too. Before you finish your cake, consider what’s best. Would it be easier to assemble it there, or can it be transported in one big box?
There’s no shame in this. When it comes to baking, everyone has flops (we’re still recoiling over Baked Alaska Gate on The Great British Bake Off). Scout a shop which sells iced white cakes and have some extra decorations, just in case!
Check out the previous posts in our DIY Bride Guide Series:
- Part 1: How To Use Etsy For Your DIY Wedding
- Part 2: Pinterest Wedding Favours
- Part 3: Utterly Brilliant DIY Wedding Hacks
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