Monday 29 June 2015

A Quirky DIY Wedding with a Groom in a Top Hat

DIY weddings are always pretty special, because of all the personal touches. This wonderful Alice in Wonderland themed wedding definitely falls into that category - it's chock-full of brilliant handmade details! Bride Sophie made her own wedding cake and marshmallow favours, her friend made the cute toppers, her sister and mother made all the wedding decorations, including incredible vintage china cake stands, and the groom and his ushers were in charge of all the music, and the brightly coloured 'Drink Me' favours. Even the flowers were provided by a friend of the family. Feast your eyes on these amazing pictures by Sarah Jane Ethan Photography, and be sure to check our the Ceremony and Getting Ready pictures too.

We celebrated our wedding at Crook Hall and Gardens in Durham. We both fell in love with the Medieval Hall and Georgian Tea Room. 

We chose to host an Alice in Wonderland wedding, and the variety of secret gardens fitted our theme perfectly. Crook Hall was the first and only venue we visited. 

My bridesmaids dresses were from TX Maxx. I didn't have a colour theme in mind at the time. They were a taupe colour, and suited my bridesmaids beautifully. They chose their own shoes as I wanted them to be comfortable. They looked stunning. The ushers wore grey suits with red ties and hankies, plus a playing card in fitting with the them!

Our wedding photographer was Sarah Jane Ethan. She did the most amazing job at our wedding. My husband used to be a keen amateur, so we knew what we wanted when it came to style and SJ fit the bill perfectly. 

We reviewed the work of a number of photographers online, and met with a shortlist of five. Sarah Jane’s natural light style and lack of formal structure was really appealing, and as a person, she really lived up to her promise of fitting in just like a guest. She's super positive and her personality really put us at ease during those potential awkward moments. Highly recommended!

My father-in-law owns Grove House Plants Nursery in Greatham so he arranged for our flowers to be supplied by another family business, Blackfords Nursery in Hartlepool. I wanted to have simple rustic greenery and white flowers, so we opted for gypsophilia and white roses, with a red rose buttonhole for the groom.

We hired a self drive vintage VW camper van for my wedding car, in which my mum drove me and the bridesmaids to the venue to get ready. We used it for photo duties too, and have some great family shots in and around it! 

After our wedding ceremony, we hosted a Mad Hatter's tea party in the tea room with plenty of quirky twists, followed by a hog feast in the Medieval Hall, with an open fire and candles for our evening guests, all with appropriate music and decorative touches.

We wanted as many unique touches as possible, and I'm fortunate to have a very creative mum and sister who made the majority of our wedding decorations, from moustache drinking straws to giant card bunting.

Our Afternoon Tea wedding breakfast was by Crook Hall, and our evening feast menu was put together especially for us by Mandy at The Spitting Pig.

We didn't go for traditional take away favours, but added a few edible treats for guests. I made small marshmallow treats for each place setting, and my hubby and his groomsman mixed up some multi-coloured alcoholic shots in small drink-me vials.

My sister made cake stands from vintage cups and saucers, which was really effective.

Our magician, Jonathan Pickard was really well received and created some great photo moments with his amazing close up magic. 

Music was a big part of our day, and my husband and his groomsman, Dave, took great care to select fitting tunes for each part of the day, which were played back through a PA system hired from Ingram Sounds

I loved planning my wedding. It mainly consisted of Prosecco, tea, cake and lots of lists!! Every weekend was spent spending! My mum had so many lovely ideas and at whatever cost she made them happen. My bridesmaids were and still are wonderful! They kept me calm when things didn’t go to plan or when my husband and I disagreed on things – he wanted a lot more input than most! 

Our parents were utterly fabulous and we could not have done half of the things we planned without them! They supported us in whatever way they were able – financially and materially, with advice, love and guidance. My Dad even missed the football! We are an incredibly lucky Mr and Mrs!

We had a specially decorated vintage suitcase for our wedding cards. Heritage Blacksmith Partnership created a beautiful copper memory box, that my husband gave to me for our engagement. 

My sister made gorgeous hand embroidered hanging clocks and a personalised, hand-stitched guest book designed around the gates of our wedding venue. >My mum made the cute bride bunting from doilies and hand-painted Alice in Wonderland-style signs around the gardens. 

After a lot of deliberation, I decided to design and make the cake myself. This saved us a lot of money plus, as a cake maker, I thought I would put my skills to use. The cake was Alice themed with two tiers, a chocolate sponge and Victoria sponge. We had personalised toppers made by our very talented friend Annie, from Millerville Mini Models.

My advice for other brides? Enjoy the day! Enjoy the planning! Don't stress over the little details, they’ll take care of themselves. Do “six impossible things before breakfast” {I suggest prosecco} and “who is to say what is proper?” – Alice in Wonderland.

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