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My DIY Wedding (Part II): Smell, Eat, Party

Now that you have read my tips and ideas for the wedding dress, hair and make-up in  Part I, it’s time to move on. In this section I will reveal my secrets on how to make your own wedding bouquet, organize a wedding lunch and a great reception/party.


Wedding Bouquet

I have to say making my own bouquet was probably one of the most enjoyable experiences of wedding preparations. Rather than spending lots of money on a bouquet made by a florist and if you like working with flowers, I would suggest making your own. This way you can incorporate your favorite flowers and choose colors that will match your outfit and the overall theme of your wedding.

In my case since the dress was creme color and it was an autumn wedding, I wanted to have warm and soft pastels.


Don’t be afraid to experiment and add different types of flowers and textures. Once again Pinterest (see my board) and Youtube are great sources of tutorials.To make a bouquet similar to mine, you can follow these simple tips:

  • Once you have decided what type of a bouquet you want and picked the color scheme, do a bit of research and find out where you can get your flowers and fillers. They can come from a flower market, online wholesaler (e.g. Blooms by the Box, McQueens or Interflora) or a grocery store (e.g. Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, etc). I actually found great roses in M&S food hall at really good prices, baby’s breath in Sainsbury’s and the rest of the flowers/greens and berries came from an inexpensive Interflora bouquet.
  • Also, don’t forget to prepare a pair of scissors, green floral tape, sewing pins (I recommend ones with pearl tips) and white or creme wide satin ribbon.
  • Next step is to lay all of your flowers and fillers out (kitchen counter works best) and remove all leaves and thorns of the stems.
  • Pick a few flowers that will be the center of your bouquet and trim stems to the length you want, arrange them tightly and wrap with floral tape.
  • Working in a circular motion, add more trimmed flowers and fillers, distributing them evenly as you go, and securing with floral tape to keep them in place.
  • Once you have achieved the desired look, wrap your bouquet with floral tape leaving about 1-1.5 inches from the top of the stem and about the same at the bottom. Then wrap the stem with the satin ribbon, making sure no gaps are left and stem looks nice and neat. Secure end of the tape with a sewing pin. I have all also added more pins throughout the stem and even placed some in the centres of the rose buds.
If you are still not sure what to do, check out this great and easy step-by-step tutorial. Also, I made a matching boutonnière for my husband-to-be using a single creme rose and a bit of baby’s breath following these instructions.

Wedding Lunch 

Now on to the fun and yummy part – wedding lunch and reception! Since our wedding was a civil ceremony at the Hackney Town Hall, my husband and I decided to host a post-ceremony lunch for our families at a nearby restaurant. We picked a somewhat hipster but very homey restaurant Rawduck that specializes in fermented and pickled dishes and offers seasonal and locally sourced food. We stopped by a couple of weeks before the wedding and discussed with the restaurant manager a lunch menu, which was created especially for our wedding party. We were able to create amazing three-course sharing platters that allowed us to taste the best dishes Rawduck had to offer at a reasonable price (£25 per head excluding drinks).
We had a great time and enjoyed yummy food at Rawduck, while super-friendly restaurant staff made us feel welcome and well-taken care of.

Wedding Reception

Rather than hosting a big reception at a venue and paying hundreds, if not thousands of pounds, we decided to host a small wedding party for the rest of the family who weren’t present at the wedding ceremony. For inspiration for how to make it classy and fun, I once again turned to Pinterest (see my board for ideas) and picked few looks.
I really wanted something elegant in soft pinks and cremes, with tea lights, small bouquets of roses and baby’s breath  in miniature glass jars, pom-poms and bunting.
Source: Pinterest
My sister-in-law and her hubby offered their beautiful house with a spacious back garden to host our wedding party. We ordered party decorations from Hobby Craft, which has a great selection of wedding party supplies, while flowers came from their local garden center.

For food we went with party platters from Sainsbury’s Party Platter Service, which offer great sandwich, dips, cheese and desert platters at really good prices. Other stores, such as Waitrose, offer similar catering services so it’s worth shopping around to choose which ones suit your budget and wedding party needs. Also, to avoid any washing up the next day and worrying about any broken glasses amidst the celebrations and crazy dancing, we  hired plates, glassware, cutlery and even a cake stand from ABC hire, a family run business local to the party venue.
Being the centerpiece of every wedding celebration, our wedding cake had to be both beautiful to satisfy me and tasty to satisfy my hubby. So, I picked a Fiona Cairns Ivory Rose Petal Celebration Cake from Waitrose. Made of chocolate sponge with chocolate buttercream filling, the cake was covered in soft icing and decorated with shimmering handmade sugar-paste petals.
To make it more fun you can ask/delegate your friends and family with some of the easy tasks on the wedding day. For example, my brother-in-law served as a wedding photographer and DJ, and even a pyrotechnic throwing us amazing fireworks display; while the best man was our ring holder and made sure everyone got from point A to point B on time. In the meantime, my Mum and sister-in-law with their impeccable taste helped with flowers and decorations, making my dream of a beautiful wedding party come true. Mum even got us fun party prompts and a Polaroid camera to capture funny moments for our wedding scrapbook.
Finally, I want to say how lucky we were to be surrounded by our loving and supporting families who were there for us every step of the way for our big day. Everyone chipped in and made our wedding day stress-free and a magical, unforgettable experience.
If you are planning a small city wedding, I hope you found my story interesting and my tips useful. Good luck and lots of love!

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