Doing it all yourself – the ups and downs of having a DIY wedding

Posted on February 21st 2015

DIY weddings have a certain charm and allure for me as I know just how much effort and let’s face it, stress that goes into any wedding. Let alone one that every single little detail has been planned and created by the couple. Our very own DIY wedding was a very intense labour of love and was even featured on the Love My Dress Wedding Blog back in December, but today I thought I'd share the ups and downs of our very own DIY wedding, a few behind the scenes photos and perhaps a little bit of advice.

Photo by Chris Seddon

When planning (and knowing that I am not one of those people that lets things go easily) we knew from the get go that I wasn’t going to get exactly what I wanted (We were engaged six years before we got married and there were not as many vintagesque vendors out there) so we prepared for an intensive DIY wedding. However I don’t think what we realised was just how intensive it would be. The following few pictures are not our beautiful polished ones but some sneaky behind the scenes ones taken by various people during all the prep.

To give you some background:  When we first got engaged six years ago I had a very clear idea on what I wanted and I was extremely lucky in that Dave was happy with my ideas and provided some of his own. We knew we wanted a vintage wedding. I had always loved anything pre 1950, especially the 1930s and 40’s and Dave loves anything with a history especially related to the Great War. Between us we had our own little collections me with china and vintage lace, him with vintage weapons and war memorabilia so it seemed perfect. There wasn’t as many vintage wedding vendors about then so we knew we would be doing it all ourselves and that was exciting. It all felt very unique and personal to us. (All the following photo's by Chris Seddon , venue Birdsgrove House and the very beautiful Wedding Yurts church service held at St Bartholew's Church at Elvaston Castle Country Park)


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fast forward a few years and we had pressed paused. I had lost my bridal gown design job and changed career we had also decided to buy a house. So as life took over our wedding was pushed to the side. When we picked up the pace again and set a date Vintage Weddings were all anyone was doing and I had a bit of a wobble about all things Vintage. I had still been collecting and sourcing china and props throughout the years but now we had a carbon copy of everyone else’s wedding and not the unique day we had set out to have. Then Dave said two words to me ‘who cares’ and then a few more, like ‘it’s our day and we should have what we want and shouldn’t worry about anyone else’ and he was right the day was a true refection of us, everything we love and will always love.



So we set about creating a vintage wedding and for a while had the luxury of time being on our side. But that soon goes very very quicky. All of a sudden it was a month before the wedding and I had a couple of wonderful bridesmaid making hanging birds and flower crowns, I even had my now husband and my dad making signs which I was then painting. But I still couldn’t let much go. I was making table labels, photo name tags, vintage props, buttonhole medals, painting a sleeping plan, painting room names for every bedroom and creating a hide and seek game for all the guests to play, so stressed doesn’t really cover it.





What we did: Collected china for 80 people, created seating plan, created a sleeping plan and matching room names, created a hide and seek game, created blackboard signs and hanging signs used in various areas, created a fingerpost, all the linenswere made by my lovey mum! All the Bridesmaid dresses, all the flowers at the venue, church and bouquets etc.. Buttonholes (Handmade medals in two different styles for the ladies and men), decorated and painted the cake, styled and decorated the whole yurt and gardens hanging lanterns and frames from trees, putting flowers everywhere (It really was everywhere!) and we also brought out all the food, provided a tea and coffee area, created a dressing-up/photo booth area and much more! 


In Hindsight: I think if we had thought about it more we would have hired a couple of people to set out the food and help tidy up after the festivities were over. It would have meant that Dave and the boys could have had more time for themselves in the morning and that it wouldn’t have been such a panic for everyone to muck in and get the food out when everyone arrived at the reception and then again tiding up the yurt after everyone had left (picture me with my dress tied up at my knees running china and dirty pots back into the house past midnight).



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We are incredibly lucky to have such amazing friends and family that just got stuck in with everything but it would have been easier on everyone if we had thought about that and planned a bit better. Sometimes though you don’t know that until it’s too late and this was just one of those times and with everyone getting involved, although it was hard work there was some really sweet and really funny moments that could have been missed if we had done it differently.

But with all that… I do only have myself to blame and would I do the same again? Take a look at our faces on these last few photos - most definitely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               My Words of wisdom: ASK FOR HELP – everyone says it and if you are like me you won’t listen but you really really should! You honesty can’t take on everything yourself. Even if you think you can, even if you are worried that things won’t be done how you would do them if you delegate. In the end it won’t matter as you will have the perfect day and no one will notice the things that didn’t go to plan.

Best moment: That's an easy one.  As another string to our DIY bow my now husband created a wedding band for the day. They practiced for months and months and performed late on in the evening. They were brilliant. I know I am biased but everyone was just blown away. So although cheesy as hell, when Dave sang a special song to me I had goose bumps.

For a more indepth view of our wedding with loads more photos and details, especially on the vendors we chose and why we did what we did, head on over to the Love My Dress Blog post that the lovely Annabel posted in December and take a look at our vendor list below.

Sarah x

The Sugared Rose

Just in case you wanted to know heres a full list of our lovely (and pretty amazing) Wedding vendors!

Wedding: St Bartholomew's Church at Elvaston Castle Country Park

Reception venue: I have no words for how perfect the Wedding Yurts were and Lizzie and Jim were just fantastic I could go on four hours about these guys. I Just love them!

Wedding Venue: The beautiful Birdsgrove House a stunning house with stunning grounds and we were able to rent it for a week! Kerry and Ian were brilliant and couldn’t have been more help.

Photography: The photo’s speak for themselves – Chris Seddon Wedding Photographer – everyone should book him – no I mean it, really you should he captured everything just perfectly and made everyone feel at ease. Our whole house is full of photos (of the usually very camera shy Mr and Mrs) now!

Wedding stationary: Some of the more ‘rustic’ tags and the painting based stationary were done by me but the beautiful 'story Book’ stationary you can see on the tables was by Selina at Alice Tree.

My Dress: Jenny Packham - Aspen Gown, brought from The Wedding Club.

My 2nd Dress (Worn for the legal ceremony and again later in the evening): Anna Sui - Aiguille Gown brought second hand from America via Ebay.

Bridal Accessories: Jenny Packham hair slide and shoes brought online through Preloved.

Bridesmaids and flower girl dresses: Styles, details and actual dress patterns designed by me but the majority of the sewing by my amazing mum.

Grooms suit and accessories: Next and Asos. Mr Sugared Rose came across his suit purely by chance and still looks for any excuse to wear it!

Buttonholes: Vintage pearl medals (brooches) for the ladies and Nottingham Forest FC medals (key rings) for the men. Pins brought and engraved with the wedding date from Award medals, I just put them all together with matching ribbon.

Flowers: We brought cut flowers from The Blossom Tree Boutique Florist and Flowers of Solihull. My mum created all the arrangements and bouquets and then all us girls filled tones of jars with flowers for the tables.

Hair & Make up (Bride, MOB and Bridesmaids): A long time friend and truly amazing at what she does: Sarah Russell Vintage Hair and Make-up

Confetti: Shropshire Petals.

Vintage Hire and garden games: Most of the chinaware is mine but we supplemented some of it and some of the glassware from Penny Lane Vintage Hire, we also hired some of their brill garden games (and brought all their china and Babycham glasses off them afterwards – oopps Mr Sugared Rose was not so impressed with that).

The Cake: Well you the know the story of this one right?

The Car: A stunning Daimler Consort DB18 from Wedding Classics.

The ‘Cheese’ Cake: The amazing Cheese Shed – we are in love with Garlic Yarg.

The beer: The Nutbrook Brewery supplied the all important beer, a favorite of Mr Sugared Rose so please check them out!

Food: M&S provided our buffet and we then had a brilliant Pizza Van from KK Catering later in the evening.

The band: The Visiting Dignitaries – a Mr Sugared Rose and friends creation that is still going strong. 

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