Sunday 28 June 2015

An Alice in Wonderland Wedding with Dozens of DIY Ideas

Oooo, I do love a good theme! And there's nothing like a groom in a fancy red top hat and bow-tie! Rick and Sophie chose a brilliant Alice in Wonderland theme for their big day, and they really went to town with the DIY wedding details. I am so impressed with the creativity of Sophie's mother and sister - between them they created all the wedding decorations, from cake stands made from old cups and saucers, the hand-painted Alice-style signs, the giant playing card bunting, the embroidered hanging clocks, and even a personalised hand-stitched guest book based on the gates of the venue. You're going to want to Pin every picture! Huge thanks to Sarah Jane Ethan Photography for her beautiful pictures of the day - don't miss the Mad Hatter's Tea Party Reception.

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 dress and veil were fittingly from Phoenix Gowns' Wonderland 2014 range, purchased from Sense of Style in Darlington. My mum and I found it whilst out having afternoon tea; it was a little hidden gem. 

My shoes were a vintage find from my mum costing a grand total of £6.80! My earrings were from M&S and I wore my Grandma's engagement ring {on my other hand}.

We had an Alice in Wonderland theme for our day, and everything based in the hall was very Medieval in style. We had a Mad Hatter's Tea Party with plenty of quirky twists, and then a hog feast with open fire and candles for our evening guests, all with appropriate music and decorative touches.

We had lots and lots of DIY projects. 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.

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.

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! 

Our invitations were fantastic, made by my mum and sister. They worked very hard at making them meet our very specific ideas. Created like a little book, the back page of each invitation had a playing card which determined their seat for afternoon tea. It also allowed them a free drink, but only if they remembered to bring it! 

The invitation was titled 'It’s about Time' as this was a frequent response to the news of our engagement and tied in perfectly with our Alice in Wonderland theme.

My Mum made beautiful wicker hearts and spades to hang on the back of the chairs for the ceremony, along with cute bride bunting made from doilies.

My husband and I have a connection with the Gladiator soundtrack! I bought him the CD as a gift when we first got together. When he suggested we used it, everything seemed to fit really well with the venue and I agreed straight away.

The track we used for walking up the aisle was 'Now we are Free' from the soundtrack, and we used the second half of the same track {which is a bit happier!} for the way back! Our first dance was 'She’s got a way' by Billy Joel.

My geeky Husband is hugely grateful to Halfdan Hansen of Jens Hansen who created a custom version of their 'One Ring' for his wedding band.

My husband chose his own outfit so we'd both be surprised on the big day. He wore a three-piece mid-blue suit from French Connection, with white shirt, bright red bow tie and matching vibrant red top hat from Christy's, complete with Mad Hatter 10/6 price tag. 

Extra details included playing cards to go with pocket squares, and pocket watch bought by our friend {and grooms-woman} Sarah.

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 sister made the hand-painted Alice in Wonderland-style signs to put around the venue and the maze.  

To entertain our guests, we placed giant lawn games in some of the gardens, which we purchased from Uber Games.

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