Planning the wedding decor was 100% my favourite part of the wedding planning process. I’ve been trying to think of a way to share these little details without doing 1000 more wedding posts so thought I’d include flowers, dresses and some of our Kent wedding suppliers in here too. If you are interested in the wedding day itself, scoot over here.
How to DIY wedding decorations
During the planning people kept asking what our ‘theme’ was, but I approached it backwards by just creating things in colours that I liked. In the end it certainly looked like we had a theme as everything pulled together!I started making the decorations in April and finished them the week before the wedding. I’m so glad I started early did because things like the place cards took so much longer than expected. (So did the wedding invitations but that’s for another post!). I kept worrying that the marquee would look too empty, but I kept adding to the decorations gradually in the six month lead up and I was really happy with how it all looked. Here are a few of my tips if you are planning to DIY wedding decorations for your day:
1. Plan plan plan.
I had so many little details in the end that I thought we were going to forget something. In the end, the only thing we forgot to bring out was the celery for the cheese board! If you are a worrier like me, my advice would be to go through every step of the day in your head and write down all the things you might need.
Use a word or excel document and keep adding to it over months. From confetti holders (I ordered cheap metal buckets from Amazon for guests to hand around), to the parking sign, to the labels for the cakes, the little tin of toiletries I put in the bathrooms, and the s’more ingredients for the bonfire, and more… It’s impossible to remember everything, so make a million lists, box things up in the weeks before, and make a timetable for the day.
I wasn’t great at doing this as I’m both a control freak and also really enjoy being creative, but my mum helped me paint the watercolours on the place cards and dry petals for confetti. And my talented bridesmaid Polly wrote out all the guests’ names on our table plan. On the actual day we had loads of help, with the groomsmen chopping all the rosemary sprigs for the cocktails, unpacking all the drinks, and everyone getting involved with setting up the marquee.
3. Know your skills.
You can’t do everything, so choose what you are best at and leave the rest to a professional. I knew I could design wedding invitations and sew paper garlands but I didn’t have a clue about flowers. Alex made lovely photo tasks for the four kids to do, which kept them busy for a bit!
4. Stick to your budget.
With Pinterest around, you could go wild with the budget for decorations. My sister helped us make a spreadsheet at the start of our planning and we managed to plan our wedding on a pretty small budget. The things we didn’t want to scrimp on were flowers and a photographer. Having said that, our florist was amazing in helping us save money by pointing out that church flowers were unnecessary (you are only there for an hour, and everyone looks at the beautiful building itself and us!), and that we could reuse our bouquets instead of paying for table arrangements.
5. Use what you already have.
Look around your home (and your parents/friends’ homes!) and see what you can use at the wedding. We used all our own cake stands, plates, and boards and my granny had lots of lovely crates and milk bottle holders. A chalkboard became a menu, photo frames displayed pictures of us, an old box of postcards became our guest book, and a candleholder displayed straws. Those glass ramekins in which fancy chocolate mousses come in the supermarket make pretty tealight holders. If you need an excuse to eat loads of puddings…
6. Go to IKEA.
We picked up all our grey linen for the tables, linen napkins, candles, spare serving bowls, and easel in IKEA. I painted the easel for our menu and table plan, and it was so easy to roll the linen out onto the tables and cut it to the length we needed. I have since sold this but am still selling the remaining napkins if you need around 50 napkins for a wedding!
I love love loved planning the flowers! Lynsey did all our bouquets, button holes, marquee decorations, and cake flowers. She picked up lots of eucalyptus and arranged it down the centre of the tables for us too. We chose a mix of Australian and English flowers, including protea, eucalyptus and peachy David Austin ‘Juliet’ roses. Other than that, I left it to Lynsey to put the bouquets together based on a Pinterest board we shared, with a smaller version for the bridesmaids.
I swear I almost cried when I first saw my bouquet, it was exactly what I imagined. The big foliage hoops looked amazing too, and were still quite a budget option to have such an impact in the marquee. I’ve dried my bouquet now but I wish I could just preserve the fresh version forever!
I tried some dresses on when I visited London in April last year but wasn’t keen on the places I visited. It was a really fun experience with my mum and sister but the dresses were all huge princess dresses and I just felt like I was dressing up in a costume rather than feeling like me.
I used Instagram to scour for wedding dresses back in Australia and came across Karen Willis Holmes. I tried on a few of her gowns with my friend Ellie when she came to visit and fell in love with 3. While I was trying to work out if our budget could stretch to one of these, I spotted their upcoming sample sale. I dragged another friend along and ended up buying the exact dress I had wanted, but at a quarter of the price so was very happy! It definitely pays off to follow your favourite wedding designers on social media.
Back in London I had a veil and little beaded belt made by Elaine who also fitted my dress. I kept my jewellery really simple with borrowed pearl earrings and silver bangle, and these shoes in rose gold.
Rewritten Bridesmaid Dresses
For the bridesmaid dresses we went to Rewritten, a beautiful new brand from two women who struggled to find bridesmaid dresses they liked for their weddings. I found the same, after searching through ASOS, and fell in love with Rewritten. I wanted to move into their stunning showroom, and we had a lovely time trying on the dresses and sipping champagne followed by pizza nearby!
The girls looked gorgeous in the Rewritten dresses, which flowed really beautifully. They paired them with the necklaces from Posh Totty for a delicate touch.
Being literally dotted around the world, we decided to have mis-matched suits for the men. Alex asked them all to wear a blue suit and then they paired them with white shirts and floral Liberty print ties from Etsy which looked so nice! I also gave Alex some cufflinks on the morning of the wedding, engraved with our initials and wedding date. His suit was by Chester from John Lewis.
Phew! Congratulations if you made it to the end of this mammoth post. I found blogs SO useful when planning the day, especially for researching suppliers and inspiration for the details. So I hope that this helps if you are planning your wedding! While I’m quite glad to not be planning the wedding still, I so loved how it all came together and feel like I learnt a lot. Let me know if you have any questions or if I left anything out.