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Making a Handmade, Homemade Wedding

Ten days ago I was the proudest daughter on the planet. Ten days ago, I had the pleasure of giving my beautiful Mum away on her wedding day, and I was absolutely over the moon. It’s actually taken me these ten days to get around to writing these posts as I’ve felt somewhat anti-climatic. The wedding blues as they say, but ironically not even for my own wedding. When you plan a wedding and intend on having everything handmade and homemade, people don’t fully understand and realise just how much work goes in to the preparation and build up to the big day.

For months all I have spoken about with my Mum is decorating plans, baking regimes and table dressing ideas. Like seriously, WHAT ON EARTH are my Mum and I going to discuss over Facetime now? My Mum is a lover of all-things-vintage. Pretty floral teacups, lace tablecloths and rooms filled with pastel shades. I can never walk past a ditsy floral object in a shop without thinking MUM. Apologies to Terry (Now her husband!), but he sure as hell didn’t even stand a chance at getting a say in anything decor-related!

The wedding plans started to fully bloom back in November, when my Mum and I would discuss the ideal aesthetic for the day (whilst sipping tea from a vintage tea cup of course, pinky’s in the air…). It didn’t take long before it was decided they wanted a vintage 1950’s theme wedding. There were 60 people to cater for, which meant 60 teacups and saucers to be sourced, along with 60 vintage floral side plates, 14 vintage teapots, cake stands and pretty milk jugs. Needless to say that we were in and out of charity shops almost every single day. I hunted down a great selection from Emmaus in Portslade who always seem to have something that you need, it’s genuinely one of my favourite go-to places.

There was stacks and STACKS of china in boxes ready for the big set up day.

In the month running up to the wedding, we prepared everything in advance that we could take for the set up day.  Mum and Terry were relentlessly buying tons of decorations and they sourced the chair covers and bows for a really good price on eBay.

I was busy writing up two chalk board signs to display at the entrance and on the wall, to welcome the guests and clearly display an ‘order of the day’. The chalk boards were also sourced on eBay for a really good price!

SO, the Wednesday before the wedding and my Mum comes to pick me up, very excited of course! We drive back via Asda to purchase some of the many flowers we needed, and we may have accidentally got side-tracked in to trying and buying loads of bargain clothes too. Thank goodness it was open until 10pm! Also, Baileys iced coffee was an essential to keep us going over the next few days.

A long restless sleep (on a super uncomfy air bed in my Mums treatment room), and Thursday began bright and early at 7am. The first task of the day was FLOWERS. Lots and lots of flowers. It amazes me how much some people are willing to spend on flower displays and arrangements for their big day. Luckily, with my experience, and in my particular field of work, I’m quite often creating flower displays. We went on a mission to all the supermarkets, Lidl, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, and £90 later arrived at the hall with a car-load of ready-to-roll blooms.

We unpacked and unwrapped all of the flowers and WOW it smelt amazing. I genuinely felt like I actually owned my own florist for a few moments.

My Mum had creatively crafted some little jam jars as vessels to hold the flowers. They’re truly so simple and cost-effective to make. Simply decorate a jam jar (new or recycled) with hessian and lace ribbons and secure with a glue gun. When the arrangements started to come together, they looked absolutely fantastic all lined up together. The cheapest, most cheerful way to make your wedding flowers.

I also created a flower arrangement in a teacup to stand proudly at the top of the cake stand…

By 11am we’d finished all of the floral prep, and made our way back to begin the next task… BAKING.

It was a pretty daunting prospect having to bake and decorate 60 cupcakes. Along with that we had treacle tarts, tiffin, orange cake, flapjacks, brownies and meringues that also needed baking or decorating. Let’s just say it was a really long afternoon and by the end of it, all I could smell was buttercream…

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of joining the lovely Laura from Enchanted Cupcakes on a buttercream course (see post here!). I’d like to add that it was an absolute LIFE SAVER having done this course, because the cupcakes we made wouldn’t have looked half as good as the final results we achieved!

I was taught how to make a rose-like cupcake, so we bought the appropriate piping nozzle in advance ready for preparation. My mum had earlier created 120 (Yes, one hundred and twenty!) little green icing leaves, to decorate them with, so that on this day all we had to do was bake and buttercream!

They looked amazing. Although, don’t look too closely as some of them were a bit questionable.

Lizzie, my Mums friend, was a complete PRO at decorating the brownies. We returned home at 6pm after popping out to get our nails done and we honestly though we had walked in to a fancy high-end chocolatier.

We were decorating until 9pm, covered in butter, chocolate and icing…But, WE DID IT. Everything was officially prepped and ready to take to the hall for the big set up day on Friday.

Another restless nights sleep. Anxious and excited. Coffee was very much needed in the morning!

We were up again at 7am, and started the day with packing everything in to all the cars. We had a car load full of decorations, a car full of drinks and alcohol, and a car load of cakes. This was the important day as we only had 12 hours to get everything up and running.

We arrived to an empty hall. There was so much to do! Of course, I took some before photos so you could see the transformation…

We began with the bunting and hung it in a square, criss crossed formation where the seating area would be.

Then we positioned all of the tables and chairs to the layout we had already planned for the seating arrangements.

The men stayed well out of our way (as if they’d dare try!). They spent the day in the kitchen, making us tea and coffee and preparing all of the sandwiches for the guests…

‘Remind me again why I agreed to do this?’

Those are the exact thoughts I had whilst I covered 60 chairs and tied 60 bows. What a mission…

Whilst I was busy bow-tying, my Mum and Lizzie began laying out the tablecloths ready to dress the table settings. Slowly but surely, the room was coming together and it was beginning to look amazing.

We had the Nan’s working hard, washing up all of the china and then attaching the name cards to individual tea cups and saucers so the guests would know their place.

Then, we started putting the table dressing in to action and laid out all of the crockery, napkins, cutlery and flowers.

The room was finally coming together!

We decorated the foyer where people would enter with a table filled with Prosecco glasses, a guest book and card box. I also brought along my easel to hold the seating plan.

Everything was pretty much ready to roll!

A final bit of titivating here and there, and the room was DONE…

If you didn’t realise quite how much work goes in to one wedding… well, you do now!

In all honesty though, if I could wind back time and go back a fortnight I would most definitely do it all over again. It was so much fun and extremely rewarding seeing all of our hard work come together.

I’ll be sharing another post about the actual day itself later this week so keep an eye out!

1 Response
  • Karen Sims
    May 16, 2017

    This is AMAZING Gemma!! What an inspiration you are! Congratulations to you and your lovely Mum. Hope you had an amazing day XX

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