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  1. Last month I shared with you a "Nautical Punk Rock Festival Wedding" - the amazing wedding of Jess and Dan, which was featured on the Rock n Roll Bride blog. I had the honour of making the bouquet, corsages, and men's boutonnieres for the wedding and this month, the newly weds kindly share with us their advice, recommendations and tips on organising and enjoying their perfect wedding. Read on the Rock n Roll Bride blog for more detail of their unique festival, music-centred wedding, and here, we have just a little bit more to help you get on with your own planning!

    Thank you Jess and Dan for sharing your experience with us! xxx   

    Festival wedding, rockabilly bouquet by Blue Lily Magnolia, photos Assassynation

    1) After you'd agreed on your theme for the wedding, where did you go for inspiration and ideas on how to turn your vision to reality?

    We used all sorts of resources as inspiration - Pinterest, alternative wedding blogs, punk festivals and traditional tattoo styles!

    Our theme was based on our love of punk-rock, 50s style, polaroid photography and of course, music. we were ultimately trying to throw a kind of festival-party that we would love to attend. We didn't want a generic wedding band or DJ playing chart music, we wanted it to be like a festival or gig that we'd look forward to going to - all the bands we booked were bands that we have seen live at gigs/festivals or have been desperate to see and just not had the opportunity yet. 

    2) Did you attend any wedding shows that you'd recommend, specifically for alternative ideas? 

    We went to the Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza - it's aimed at people who want a slightly alternative wedding. It's put on by both our photographer (Assassynation) and my dressmaker (Jo from The Couture Company). It was brilliant and I'd highly recommend going - they even put on a party in the evening now! 

    3) Was the actual big day exactly as you first imagined? (Or did your ideas change along the way?)

    The look and feel of the day was exactly as we imagined - just with rain instead of sun! 

    4) With hindsight, is there anything you spent money on, but feel was not necessary, or could have been done cheaper? 

    No - we really considered every option when booking suppliers or buying stuff. We didn't always pick the cheapest option, because we were going for quality and passion, which was really important to us. However, we knew a few of our suppliers and made our own buntings and fabric table flowers so this helped us save money, and kept us on budget. 

    5) How did you select your suppliers out of so many out there? 

    We picked the people that were the most passionate about what they do and the most interested in our weding, and helping to make it go smoothly. We went for the people we had the best feeling about, and it wasn't always the cheapest suppliers we went for, as they weren't always the best quality, or most interested in what we were going for. Overall, we went for the suppliers we trusted the most. 

    6) What would you say were there first few things to sort out / book for a style of wedding like yours? 

    Book the venue and bands ASAP - you can't have a festival wedding without the music or the infrastructure! We sent emails out to a band we were certain on, and the tent supplier on the same day. The band could only do one date that we could work with, and it worked for the tent supplier, so that decided the date we got married on!

    (Jess:) After that, I would suggest to not to forget to book hair and make-up - I left this quite late as I was so concerned with everything else, but it's really important. Your hair and make-up, if you're anything like me, will give you a huge confidence boost, and you need to feel 100% confident in them to do a good job.

    7) If you had to do it again, anything you'd do differently?

    (Jess:) I would have made time to dig out our GoPro and put someone in charge of making sure it always had battery and SD card space - to film bits of the wedding that weren't captured by the videographer. I'd also have given a point and click camera to one of my bridesmaids to take photos once the photographers had left - we would've had photos of the third band, and of us both crowd surfing when Thrill Collins played the Dirty Dancing classic, 'Time of my Life'! It was the first time either of us  had crowd surfed too, so it felt really special! There was also a fair bit of skanking during the headline set by New Town Kings, which we wish we'd captured on film, but they went on later in the evening after the videographer had left.

    I'd also say, if something doesn't quite go to plan, make sure you speak up - a few things happened on our day that weren't quite what we'd planned with a couple of our suppliers, but I found myself in a 'Bride Bubble' and didn't speak up, which isn't like me at all!

    8) How involved was the groom-to-be? To what extent should grooms-to-be be involved?

    (Jess:) 100% involved in every aspect. We're a team and planned the day according to what we both wanted. I think it's best to both be equally involved. I did most of the admin, but we decided on all the suppliers, designs and bands (etc.) together.

    9) What were your biggeset challenges, and what helped to make them easier?  

    Pressure to conform to wedding norms and missing out on cool stuff that was going on because we were saving or preparing for the wedding (too many missed gigs!). I loved being so busy, but this was definitely the downside for us. It helped knowing we were planning a wedding that we both really wanted and knew that everyone would have an amazing time! 

    10) And finally, what advice would you give to couples who are specifically planning a quirky or alternative wedding? 

    Write a 'day of' plan and circulate to all suppliers  - especially photographers, videographers, make-up artists and hairdressers, as well as all bridesmaids and groomsmen, as they can help guests better that way if needed. We used Google Docs for this and it really helped. Start a budget spreadsheet as soon as you can to help keep you on track financially. I'd also suggest using experienced professionals for key jobs - I ended up having to find a hairdresser and make-up artist quite last minute as I originally decided to try to save money by going with people I knew. Closer to the date, I realised I'd taken too big a risk on such an important piece of the day when a trial fell through. It was very stressful and could have been easily avoided. 

    Have a call with your photographer in the week running up to the wedding to go through what group shots you'd like - we found this really helpful, as well as a run through with your videographer. If you can, have a 'day of coordinator' - ours was a colleague that I work with and she really helped things run smoothly, and stopped us from having to worry about when bands were turning up etc. 


    Jess and Dan got married in a big top tent in a field in Gloucestershire, with a festival-themed wedding. The festival name was aptly 'Tie the Knot Festival'. Read more and view the amazing gallery here

    Photo credits: Assassynation

    Blue Lily Magnolia makes bespoke bridal and wedding accessories, specialising in creating fabric flowers for your unique accessories.  If you want to see examples of work, have a look at the gallery here

  2. 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!  



    Photo Credit: Creature Comforts

    DIY Fabric Peony Flowers via Photopin (licence)



    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


  3. 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


    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