DIY Décor - tips and tricks...
This topic is so huge I could write about it for days! Hopefully this post can help to give you some ideas as well as some inspiration, whether that be for décor or just for yourself as a couple. This task is only as big as you make it and can be a very enjoyable process if you allow yourself.
So where do you even start? Well, research is key even if you think you know what you want already. It’s like they say with your wedding dress for example, always try one on that you don’t like on the hanger because it’s probably the one you will buy. I can personally say there is a lot of truth in this as I did not like my dress on the hanger but once it was on, it was my dress. My advice is to use Pinterest and create some boards (check out our page for some ideas, https://www.pinterest.co.uk/cosenershouse/boards/). Once you start, everything else sort of just spirals from there and before you know it, you have several different boards with several different themes and ideas. Take a tea (or wine) break and then come back and look through your boards. You will probably find that you have subconsciously picked out a theme without even realising it.
Are you still struggling for inspiration? Think about your venue… think about the colours of the space(s) you’re using; perhaps you can go with a similar theme? For example, if you’re using an old house with lots of wooden features, perhaps go with a woodland theme with things like logs, leaves, golds, browns, greens… If you’re not a huge fan of your venue décor, perhaps think of the season in which you’re getting married and go with that. Something bright and cheerful like yellows, greens and pinks for Spring and Summer. Something a bit richer for Autumn like oranges, reds and browns. And for Winter, well, you can either go full on Christmas and use the venue decorations (if they have them) or something classic like a winter wonderland so lots of whites, silvers and blues. Don’t forget to look up colour combinations that work together too – having a few different colours or even tones of the same colour in a room can really make your décor stand out without too much effort.
When following a colour theme, you can take it literally and have some real fun with that. For example, if I were to have a yellow themed wedding then I would have yellow bows on the chairs, I would have yellow flowers on the tables. I would ask for the venue to ensure there is always lemon in the water jugs and I may even have a lemonade stand with lots of lovely lemon slices in the jugs and little yellow striped straws. I may even incorporate honey and bees into the mix… which then makes me think I could also incorporate lemon and honey into the food so now I’m thinking about tarts, cheesecakes and macaroons… if you do a little brainstorming, your brain could go off in all sorts of directions!
So, what do you need to include within the décor? Well, the beauty of DIY is that there are no limits. This can also be a curse because… well… where do you stop? The best way to organise your thoughts is to compartmentalise the day into sections which in turn, splits the décor for you into the below categories:
Your Wedding Ceremony:
Most people go with something simple and colourful as it is, after all, the shortest part of your day - albeit the most important! It’s a great idea to line your aisle with something, especially in spaces where there isn’t a literal aisle. A nice way to do this is with floral arrangements, lanterns/candles (battery powered are best, especially when at foot level!) or petals (real petals stain carpet so bear this in mind). Often, you can re-use your centrepieces for this too i.e. if you have jars with arrangements in them for your tables, you could first use them to line your aisle and decorate your registrar’s table before moving them to your tables afterwards. Depending on the type of chair you’re using, you may wish to dress those too. A lot of venues can arrange this for you and include it within your quote but if you want to DIY, make sure your venue is aware of your plans so that they can either arrange a time for you to come in and dress your chairs beforehand or they can discuss other options with you. As a wedding planner, I’m usually more than happy to dress the chairs myself but I do appreciate it when the couple at least ask me if that’s ok. There are a few different types of chair cover and depending on the size and shape of your chair, you may prefer to use stretchy chair covers to be safe. Linen covers can look beautiful when they fit the chair properly so please remember that it is not a one-size-fits-all with linen chair covers.
Your Wedding Breakfast:
As mentioned, you can re-use your centrepieces in your ceremony, but this also works the other way around. Anything you had in your ceremony can be brought up and incorporated into your wedding breakfast décor. Even if it doesn’t have a place on the table it can dress the room/space for you. Whether it be bunting, balloons, paper pom-poms, flowers, candles etc.
Your wedding breakfast essentially consists of your top table, your guest tables, your chairs and any additional tables such as a gift table and a memory table. You could also dress your cake table, but I often find this isn’t necessary as the cake itself dresses that table for you. (Saying that, it’s quite nice to have some scatter crystals or some petals on the table depending on the overall look of the cake.) Your guest tables are probably the biggest thing to think about when decorating the main space – you have centrepieces to think about as well as individual places. In each place, your venue usually provides crockery, cutlery, glassware and napkin (but always double check this) so you need to think about stationary (place card, menu if you’re having one and table number) and wedding favours for your guests to enjoy and/or take away (if you’re having them. Some couples choose not to so don’t feel bad if you aren’t planning on providing them). Personally, I gave each of my guests a little slab of fudge, simply because my husband and I love fudge… sometimes it really is that simple! Most of the time, the tables and chairs being dressed up, in turn, dress the room more than enough for you. However, if you find you have a lot of bare wall in the background, try some fairy lights, bunting or perhaps make some photo collages of the two of you throughout your relationship. Paper lanterns are also a really nice touch (I had these and loved them!)
Your evening reception:
Often, you can simply switch the lights off and voila! Your DJ/Band’s lights can dress the space more than enough for you as well as using your table centrepieces from the wedding breakfast. Usually, as a venue I would move tables around for the evening reception and actually remove the white table linen because you want your evening to have a more casual atmosphere (unless of course, your tables need linen as they are unsuitable underneath, in which case definitely keep the linen on!) I would then re-set the centrepieces around the room, usually on every other table (including in the bar) and then on windowsills and ledges. It’s nice to have something sprinkled on the tables in the evening, especially when the linen is gone. Something like scatter crystals for example are very simple but very effective, especially against dark tables. You could also scatter something over the buffet table, however, I wouldn’t say it’s hugely necessary as once the food is out nobody is looking at the sprinkles!
You can do a lot of DIY entertainment in the evening… one of the most popular is a sweet table. These are simple – the table and linen can usually be provided by the venue and you can use some of your day décor to decorate the table if needed (meaning if there’s space – I don’t know about you but I’d rather have no décor and thousands of sweeties!) Collect some jars over the time you’re planning your wedding, nip to your local shop or even look at Amazon etc and buy some sweet jars. Sweets come in all different shapes and sizes so something that fills one jar may only fill half another jar which means it’s a good idea to get different sized jars if you can. I advise getting some little tongs for serving as that that is a lot of hands in jars otherwise… and some nice little sweet bags for your guests to take them home. They look great and can easily be matched to your décor theme. (Coming back to my yellow theme… foam banana’s, fruit salads and lemon sherbets would be a must!)
Another popular DIY table in the evening is a makeshift photobooth. This is a fun addition to any evening reception and can be simple to DIY. Again, the table and linen can likely be provided by the venue so all you need to provide are props and a camera! I also advise providing an album for guests to put copies of their photos with some space to leave a message. This is a modern ‘guest book’ of sorts and is something you can take away and enjoy while you wait for your professional photographs. The best versions I have seen are with polaroid cameras. This is simply because you can print it there and then and put it into a book as a memento. Guests can also take a copy home with them which could act as a wedding favour… A great alternative is to have a line of ribbon/string hanging over the photo table with pegs. Each guest can then peg their photo up and everybody can see it! (You guessed it, yellow pegs for me!) Another great thing about polaroid photos is the space around the image – a great option for messages when not using a book. As for props, these can be collected over time and can be an inexpensive as you like – hats, masks, hand props like blow up instruments and wands etc as well as the favourite – the feather boa! All of these items can be found in local shops and the cheaper the better because let’s face it, do you care if they get ruined after a few hours? Probably not…
Of course, venues often have leftovers from events so here’s a top tip – ask your venue if they have anything you can use before purchasing anything! Facebook is also a great place to look for décor as so many couples buy all this stuff and have no use for it afterwards, so often put it online for cheap and cheerful prices to sell it on.
Amazon (amongst other websites and shops) will become your new best friend for the little things. Scatter crystals, organza bags, blue tac, sticky dots (definite new best friend), pegs, easels, miniature versions of everything, batteries, confetti, gift bags... the list is endless. Something I found helpful was a book of stamps! I used them to post my invites and I also put them on the RSVP envelopes so my guests wouldn’t have to source a stamp. Something I didn’t know could be purchased online before becoming a bride myself.
The possibilities are truly endless… just remember to take it slow and ultimately, have fun with it!