WINTER WEDDING WITH DIY DETAILS

As it’s our wedding anniversary this month I thought I’d share our day with you including the DIY details. We had a classic winter wedding with modern elements, winter whites, crystals and candlelight, nods to the nautical town we got married in and lots of personal touches to really reflect us as a couple. If you’re planning a wedding I hope this provides some inspiration and ideas for you.

Venue

We had our ceremony and reception at Fowey Hall Hotel in Cornwall in January 2010.

Fowey Hall is way more than a wedding venue; it’s part of the Luxury Family Hotels collection and has cottages behind the main house that are dog friendly, offers delicious afternoon teas and has a spa too, so there’s something for everyone if you fancy a trip away. The town of Fowey is truly beautiful and is home to the annual Daphne Du Maurier Festival of Arts and Literature, where she resided and which inspired many of her novels. It’s also a short distance from The Eden Project.

There are many beautiful beaches nearby, including Readymoney Cove where we had some photographs of just the two of us taken. Being January (and absolutely freeeeeeezing) we had the beach to ourselves to enjoy a bottle of champagne and spend a bit of time together.

On the main gate outside we fixed a homemade ‘tie the knot’ sign which incorporated fisherman’s knots as a nod to the nautical town we were getting married in.

The dress

The dress was made from dupion silk in the colour ‘Candlelight’ by Australian designer Martina Liana and my love of detail became the reason for falling in love with this dress. It was a simple a-line shape with an empire waistband but it had a vertical bow with winter white bead detailing, pockets (I loved those pockets!), one beaded strap which ran diagonally across the back and the most beautiful little buttons.

I wasn’t going to have a veil because I didn’t want to distract from the detail of the dress but my friend pointed out that you only get to wear one once and I could have a single layered full length veil to avoid ‘fuss’ around my face or the top of the gown. This is what I had and I’m so glad I did!

I ordered an extra dress strap and asked a local designer to create my side-headband from it, which was inspired by the Jenny Packham diamanté version. There was some left over which we used on the cake too.

My shoes were Louboutin and as well as being totally and utterly beautiful they were also necessary as the huge platform and heel gave me a bit of height against my 6"1 husband! The ‘I DO’ rhinestones were my ‘something blue’ and can be bought here.

I had not one but three pairs of shoes! My gorgeous heels, some white flip flops for dancing in (which were aptly from the brand Daniel, my hubby’s name) and some last minute white wellies to cater for the snow forecast and planned photos on the local beach, which we upcycled.

Flowers

My mum was a florist and I have grown up with a love of flowers, so it was a shame that our wedding flowers were a bit of a disaster! The heavy snow that week meant they arrived to the florist completely frozen and unusable, so he spent the night before driving to supermarkets around Cornwall scooping up all the white flowers he could get his hands on. My ‘Glamelia’ bouquet where tulip petals were individually wired to create the look of one big flower was too cream against my dress and after spraying it with pearl lustre bought for the cake it was still not right.

At last minute I ended up swapping with our flower girl who had a winter hand muff created from gypsophila or ‘baby’s breath’ and I’m actually really glad it happened as I loved it. My grandmother’s engagement ring was fixed to it as my ‘something old’.

Our bridesmaids carried simple bouquets of white tulips, the groomsmen had baby’s breath buttonholes and my hubby had a tulip which was finished with a crystal to tie in with the theme.

Our bridesmaids wore moss green dresses by Dessy with individual vintage brooches we’d sourced online. They all had different style dresses which they chose themselves and as one of our bridesmaids was seven months pregnant we ordered fabric from Dessy and had a dress made for her, along with ties and handkerchiefs for the men in the wedding party. This is our gorgeous Maid of Honour Rachel who is heartbreakingly no longer with us, so I had to share this precious photo of her with you.

She was also responsible for creating our bespoke K&D pattern and monogram which ran through the invitations, wrapping paper and used as the border for our table plan and other bits and pieces like our personalised match boxes.

To add a bit of interest and contrast, we chose to add a pop of magenta pink in the form of carnation balls fixed around winter branches with hanging crystals and fairy lights in the bottom of the vases. (Me and my bridesmaids also had the same colour toenails, a detail no-one else would have picked up on but I know it happened nonetheless!)

Music

A DIY and money-saving option is to create a playlist via iTunes or Apple Music for your ceremony, into drinks reception, then into background wedding breakfast music and First Dance. I’ve also known people to play their own playlist for the evening instead of hiring a DJ too.

We chose Eva Cassidy’s ‘Songbird’ for me to walk down the aisle, a friend sang ‘Over the Rainbow’ while we signed the register and we walked back up the aisle to Lyden David-Hall’s ‘All You Need is Love’ after loving that iconic scene from Love Actually. Our first dance was Katie Melua’s ‘Come Away with Me’ and we used the edited version from the Strictly Come Dancing soundtrack as we had a Waltz choreographed for it.

Decorative Details

After the ceremony, children were treated to crisps in fish & chip paper cones (laminated paper) whilst adults were offered a selection of canapés served on slate. Warm Winter Pimms and a ‘Coke Station’ with bottles of cola and different flavoured syrups were our welcome drinks.

There was also a sweet table which offered an assortment of white and silver confectionary in different clear glass bowls and vases, which were placed on white organza fabric which had ‘Love is Sweet’ embroidered on it by a friend . We fixed personalised tags such as ‘be a devil’ and ‘eat me’ to them using ribbon and supplied silver scoops. Guests could put the sweets in a clear sweet bag which had personalised K&D stickers added to each one. To close the top we supplied micro white elastic bands.

We used our engagement shoot photos to write our own personalised newspaper article for guests to read, which was also used to serve our wedding breakfast of traditional fish & chips with mushy peas, using fish caught from Fowey Harbour the day before.

We had been to Cuba on holiday and brought Cohiba cigars back, so we created a Cigar Station and included ‘K&D – The Perfect Match’ personalised match boxes, which were a DIY by simply wrapping personalised labels created at home around plain boxes.

Printables

All of our DIY printables were created on Word by importing the JPEG pattern into it but if I were to do it now, I’d definitely use PicMonkey, a fabulous online design website which is wonderful if, like me, you’re a bit inexperienced with InDesign and PhotoShop. I have the Royale package and used PicMonkey to create my logo and branding colours for Oh So Kel as well as regularly designing things like business cards, editing images and creating the main pictures for my blog posts. It’s so easy to use and they also provide templates for things like party invitations and correct sizing for social media banners.

We ordered a plain cardboard wedding post box and themed it with ribbon, a vintage brooch and a crystal strand also used in our table centrepieces.

A photo collection of our parents and grandparents on their wedding days added a personal touch.

Instead of a Guest Book, we bought a black room divider and ran lengths of ribbon down it. We used Facebook and our own photographs to create black and

white postcards of each guest, couple or family, which they had to find and write a message for us on the back before fixing to the ribbon using a silver peg. Afterwards we bought a photo album with clear pockets on both sides to put them in and treasure.

Wedding Breakfast

We made our table plan tree by spraying some branches from the garden then fixing them into oasis in a pretty sequin box and adding strands of crystals to maintain our theme. Two copies of the names for each table were printed on thick paper and fixed back to back using double-sided sticky tape. A crystal was fixed to some thin black ribbon which hung at the bottom as a weight on each plan and the ribbon ran up the middle to create a loop at the top to hang onto the tree.

The venue only had large dark mahogany wooden chairs so we borrowed a work van to transport 90 conference chairs from the venue where I worked and hired white chair covers with organza sashes. The silver sashes picked up the silver mesh ceiling pendants which I totally fell in love with; this room offered such modern elements in contrast to the traditional venue which fit in perfectly with our style (I have since discovered that I have ‘Transitional Style’. Read more here)

If we’d have had an endless budget I probably would have chosen clear perspex ghost chairs or white wooden ones but what we had was definitely more in-keeping with our theme over the mahogany ones. I’d have also hired different linens for the tablecloths and napkins to add additional texture and depth.

We had visions of masses of beautiful gypsophila overflowing from the vases to look like snow, with a huge orchid cascading down the side to add a modern touch. In essence this is still what we got but the supermarket flowers and potted orchids didn’t quite have the same effect! Fairy lights added a glow to the bottom of the vases and the strands of crystals carried on the theme, adding a touch of glam.

I know you see lots of gypsophila at weddings now, particularly in rustic and winter weddings, but at the time it wasn’t really a done thing as the flower was considered to be a bit of a ‘filler’ flower for cheap bouquets. Likewise with carnations, which we chose for our magenta pink balls, so I’m sure it was considered by some to be a bit of an odd choice, but by grouping these flowers together in isolation rather than mixing them with other flowers, the effect is truly stunning and I’m so glad we didn’t get swayed by perception or stigma. My Pinterest board has lots of similar ideas.

Not all tables had exactly the same vases; some were tall martini vases on round mirrors with votive candles whilst others were in low vintage crystal cut vases on square mirrors with a crystal candlestick at each corner to add interest.

Fowey Hall Hotel is said to have inspired Toad Hall in Wind in the Willows, so we named our tables after the characters in the book and gave the children a copy each as a gift. We printed the names, again using our bespoke pattern, and fixed them into double sided glass block photo-frames.

Our personalised napkin rings doubled up as favours and were made using bearing remnants and a laser cutter from my husband’s work at the time. We tied the name tags to each which we produced ourselves, and we also created the menu cards which were individually stamped with our K&D monogram.

We had our bespoke pattern printed locally in silver on white A3 silky paper which we used as wrapping paper for our gifts.

A plain three-tiered cake was sprayed with pearl lustre to add a shimmer to the icing and we made bows out of the fabric from the bottom of my dress which had to be shortened (being 5"1 this was inevitable but handy!) and the beaded flowers left from the extra strap ordered for my headband.

I’d seen cakes that replicated the design of the bride’s dress and loved the idea so mimicking the bow on my dress was our DIY version without the hefty price tag.

The cake was placed on a stand which we made ourselves by turning a glass bowl upside down and fixing crystals to the top so they hung down from the inside. So simple yet so effective. In case you’re wondering, the rather large knife was Dan’s godfather’s military sword!

Lanterns and candlelight

Instead of ordering more flowers for the top table we simply added our bouquets which framed the freestanding ‘I DO’ letters in the middle and our clear glass candlesticks which we bought rather than hired because they’re great to use at dinner parties and will be a lovely heirloom to share with our daughters.

I loved the shape of those windows and how light the room was, then at 4.30pm it began to get dark and all the candlelight and crystals reflecting from it really came into play.

We bought clear and frosted glass votive candles in bulk then bought different strands of crystals on ribbon which we glued to the top of each. For the bar area we added black ribbon and a K&D square left over from the invitations.

The two branch displays with magenta pink flower balls were moved from the ceremony room to the wedding breakfast room and votive candle holders fixed with magenta wire were added so we could have tea lights hanging from them for the evening.

The staircase was filled with storm lanterns and more gypsophila which looked beautiful in our photographs.

The large silver mesh ceiling pendants were dimmed for the evening and we, along with both sets of parents, let off a large white Chinese lantern which flew up into the sky and over the sea (after a heart stopping moment where it landed on the gas box and nearly got caught in a tree but we’ll skirt over that!)

I hope this has inspired you to DIY and add lots of personal touches if you’re planning your own winter wedding or event.

It’s been really lovely to share our special day with you and a good opportunity to reflect on it, remember the details that can get forgotten over time and provide a record for our daughters to read when they get older.

For more winter wedding ideas check out my winter white tablescape and winter wedding Pinterest board