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  1. Fabric flowers

    Lots of brides to be love to get involved in the creative side of their wedding and make things themselves or with their partner, family and friends. This month, I will be posting lots of DIY ideas and handmade inspiration for weddings on social media (follow what's going on on Instagram, Tweeter or Facebook), and I thought I should really start by sharing my own experience of a DIY wedding. 

    Our wedding was massively self-made with lots of input from family and friends. Now that I look back, I just wonder, how on earth did we coordinate and do all this - but we did! Creative friends and family made our Save the Date and Table Plan. Musical ones played the music for the ceremony and put together the reception Music Playlist. My husband and I designed and printed our own Invitations, Wedding Programme and Table Numbers. We put together our own Table Centrepieces with fresh live orchids and goldfish bowls. Friends put together a make-shift photo booth with all the props everyone could gather. I did my own wedding bouquet of vintage brooches, my own dress (with the help of one of my bridesmaids for the finishing touches) and my own make-up. It took about a year, but it was well worth it, and I'd like to share my thoughts on this whole process.

    1. Why do you want to make things yourself?

    This is really the first thing you need to clarify in your head, because it does affect your whole approach to projects. For me, it was because I felt that I could save money by doing things myself; because I knew that we could do all these things that we did at a fraction of the cost of what suppliers would charge. When like me, it is budget driven, you can be a bit restricted in your projects because some DIY plans can turn out to be more expensive than buying ready-made. So, if saving money is your driver, cost each project up and compare with ready-made before committing. 

    I now often still have DIY projects, but they're not cost driven. They're here because I need a creative outlet, because I want to create something unique, or because I want to learn something new. And I need to accept that for some of these projects, the cost and time inputs are going to be way over the value of what's available on the market. Some brides will have this same feeling, and here, it is worth considering the time projects will take (as well as accepting they may not come cheap). Don't get engaged into a project that looks amazing, but is beyond the real amount of time you can allocate to it.

    Some brides want to get their family and friends involved in the organisation and include a bit of DIY to get everyone to 'muck in'. It is a great way to bring people together, but choose your DIY project for this activity very carefully. Obviously if you can match particular skills to a project that'd be wonderful - e.g. arty nieces and nephews to make some room decorations, an expert seamstress to help with your dress, etc. But for shared projects which involves a lot of people of different skills levels, choose something that you're not particularly precious about - because it may get a little bit out of your control!

    2. List what you are willing to compromise on, and what are the key essentials

    This will help you decide what you can do yourself, what you should ask friends and family to help with, and what you should outsource to professionals.

    3. Enlist help

    You definitely can't do everything on your own! At the very least, one other person (partner, bridesmaid, mother, etc.) but ideally, as many people as you can, so you can distribute the stress and make it fairly stressless to everyone. However...

    4. Involve everyone, but choose wisely when you allocate tasks

    Don't bother relying on people who you love but know can't deliver on time for essentials. While it's all nice and good to make them feel good about being involved, at the end of the day, no one will be happy when the stress crunches in. Get these people involved in projects that are nice-to-haves but aren't going to be the end of the world if they don't materialise. For critical tasks, get those who you know have an innate sense of responsibility! 

    5. Delegate whenever possible

    Keeping the above in mind, let go completely of some tasks and let someone else take full responsibility. This is easier said than done if you have a slight tendency to want to control everything (i.e. a little bit of a control freak!).

    6. Be honest with yourself

    If you can't stitch a straight line to save yourself, don't attempt to make your own wedding dress at short notice! I am joking about this (a bit). More seriously, the biggest challenges in having a DIY wedding are time and motivation. Do you have enough of both? 

    7. Start as early as you can

    It is easy to put off doing small or big tasks when your wedding seems to be ages away, but believe me, it'll come fast! If you find it difficult to overcome the initial inertia, get people who are natural starters to inject a bit of energy.

    8. Cost out a project before starting it

    You might find that it would be a better use of your time to get a professional to do something that you thought would be cheaper DIYed. And it may help you keep track of your overall wedding budget. To cost out something, estimate the cost of raw materials, consumables and tools you might have to purchase. But also consider how much time you will be spending on the project. 

    9. What about equipment, setting up and carriage costs? 

    Don't forget to factor in the cost of hiring or buying equipment for your projects. Whether it is a printer for printing your stationery, a sewing machine for stitching together your buntins, or other equipment, getting new equipment in will bump up the cost of your DIY. If there is a possibility of borrowing from friends and family, explore your options fully! 

    And don't forget, if you are making large decorative items, or those that need to be hung from high ceilings, you might need to arrange transportation to the wedding venue, and equipment for setting everything up on or before the day. 

    10. Enjoy the DIY

    I love the quote "It is not the destination that matters but the journey", and find it of some relevance to embarking on your own DIY journey. Although in this case you want to fully enjoy the destination, it is easy to forget to also enjoy every moment of organising the wedding. You will get stressed, frustrated and all sorts, but hopefully, there will also be lots of great satisfaction, and funny, happy memories!

    With that, enjoy the DIY!  

     

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    Photo Credit: Creature Comforts

    DIY Fabric Peony Flowers via Photopin (licence)

     

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    Blue Lily Magnolia makes bridal accessories, both ready-to-wear and custom-made. Follow me on Facebook this month for lots of DIY ideas for your wedding: here

     

  2. Last year around this time, I was contacted on Etsy for an amazing project to create a bouquet and other wedding flowers with a rockabilly theme. This fun wedding took place last summer, and here's a link to the Rock n Roll Bride's blog for the full details! 

    Photo of the finished bouquet by Assassynation, from the Rock n Roll Bride's photo gallery.

    rockabilly bouquet by Blue Lily Magnolia, photo Assassynation

    And watch the beautiful video by Rhubarb Martini on Youtube here

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    Blue Lily Magnolia makes bespoke bridal and groom accessories using fabric and other textile and textile related materials. I love to create unique items, so whether you have a wild and wacky idea or a modestly quirky one, get in touch

  3. To have a veil or not, is this your question?! 

    Some brides-to-be know for sure, even before they have their dress, that they're a veil type of girl. Some know exactly the type of veil they want to go for, and have pictured it for years in their head. Others could be swayed - how long should the veil be, should it cover their face, their head, or simply the shoulders or back? Should they wear the veil at the reception too? How much should they spend on the veil? Should it be embellished?  

    Wedding veils, bridal veils

    This lovely image above, which is from the Blog of Honor, illustrates some of the different lengths of veils typically worn at weddings. Although it excludes some more modern ones, such as the birdcage veil, alternative ways of wearing the veils (e.g. boho style) and any other funky or asymetrical styles, it is a great illustration for the traditional brides. Shopping for a veil could be as complex or simple as shopping for a wedding dress. Ultimately, the best advice is to try a few (with your dress on ideally), fall in love in one, and buy it.

    For some other brides-to-be, a veil is out of the question. Perhaps because they don't like wearing big adornments on their head, perhaps because they're having a more modern wedding, or perhaps they're simply not bothered and it just seems a bit superfluous. I personally did not wear a veil, but to be honest, I don't really know why! I think that I was going with the flow and veils did not seem to be highly fashionable at the time I got married. In fact, I remember distinctly that of all the catwalk shows I attended, none had a model wearing a veil. Veils just seemed to be a very low priority for me a the time. 

    Now, as a bridal accessories designer, I love veils! Rather than the traditional styles seen in the illustration above, I love the new ways of wearing veils - short birdcages, boho styles, floral veils, coloured veils, funky ones with a statement headpiece, etc. But, of course, just like traditional veils, they're not for everyone. In fact, I'm not sure myself that my character and physionomy would allow me to wear a veil for any occasion! 

    If you're undecided, the best thing is to give it a try in a shop, preferably while you're wearing your dress. And perhaps you might be asking yourself some of the questions below. There are no right or wrong answers as often it depends on your personality, but here's what I personally think:

    Am I too old for a veil?

    More mature brides-to-be often wonder whether a veil is going to make them look like mutton dressed as lamb. It needn't be! For those opting for a vintage style dress, birdcage veils look amazing on mature brides. And for traditional brides, a finger-tip, elbow or waltz length veil hanging down from an updo (not covering the top of the head) still looks beautiful whatever your age, if you are thinking about one for the full wedding effect. 

    I have short hair, can I wear a veil? 

    Absolutely! Talk to your hair stylist about how your hair will be done on the day, and get their advice on the best way to secure the veil. Perhaps a standard comb may not work, but a headband, crown, circlet or pins will do.

    Bridal veil with circlet, wedding veil short hair

    Image above: Over-face veil with a bridal circlet by Blue Lily Magnolia. Works great with short hair, on a boho style wedding. 

    We are not very traditional or formal, should I bother?

    Nowadays, veils come in all sorts of shapes, lengths, colours, textures and patterns. Whether you like feathers, stars, flowers, sparkles, bling, bright colours, it is possible to have any of these incorporated in a custom-made veil or headpiece with veil elements. If you love headdresses, then you should definitely look around for some quirky veil styles - you might find something that catches your eye. 

    Should I go for a long or short veil? 

    It all depends on your dress style, wedding theme and venue. There is no mathematical equation to define which veil you should go for, and the best advice is to try different ones with your dress, while considering the setting of the wedding too. A church wedding is a wonderful setting for a cathedral length veil, as the aisle is just the perfect setting to show off the veil. The traditional or formal wedding is a great match for longer veils as they are the perfect iconic representation of the bride. Shorter veils give a more informal, relaxed look - great for the modern or more casual wedding.  

    Should I go for an embellished veil or a plain one? 

    Again, the best advice here is to try different styles. As a general rule though, it is best to match the style of the dress with the style of the veil, while ensuring that there is the right balance of embellishment. More embellishment on the dress calls for less on the veil. On the other hand, a plainer dress can take a wider range of embellishment on the veil. If your dress has got lots of lace detail, a little bit of lace edging might look good, but not a lot of other embellishments such as flowers or sequins, which lend themselves to diffferent styles.

    How would my veil be attached? 

    Generally, your hair stylist would be the best person to advise, depending on your hair style, the veil style, and where you want to position it. Veils tend to come with hair combs, which can be tucked into your hair; but can also be attached to headbands, hair grips, or secured to a bridal crown or circlet with hair pins. Tell your stylist if you want to remove your veil at the reception, or want it strongly secured to withstand all the party activities! 

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    Blue Lily Magnolia makes bespoke bridal accessories, including veils and headpieces. If you would like to have a custom-made veil or other headdress, get in touch!!

    Rainbow wedding veil

    Short lemon yellow veil with rainbow heart edging by Blue Lily Magnolia on Etsy.