blog

Last Sunday we held one of our DIY wedding workshops at the fabulous Bake and Crafthouse in Cranbrook. Crafting expert Kate took our workshop attendees through their paces setting them to work on bunting, stationery, place cards, pom poms, favours and table settings.

Here is just a little taster of what we did on the day. You can also get instructions on making the cute favour bags and edible favours by clicking the links.

diy workshop

 

All our Brides-to-be and their Mums and chums had a great time and we absolutely loved having them. I helped the Brides with some advice on how to plan the perfect DIY wedding with our insider hints and tips. Here’s are our top three DIY tips that we talked about more at the workshop:

1. Be warned DIY doesn’t always mean cheap

As much as I love DIYing I do sometimes have to admit defeat and realise that actually I can’t make it any cheaper than buying it in from a professional – especially not when I add my limited time into the equation. Suppliers can buy in bulk, have all the right equipment and can do a professional looking job. Hobbycraft and your old glue gun sometimes just won’t measure up and it’ll cost you more in the long run.

2. The Clock is Ticking

You’ll need lots of time and energy if you’re making everything from scratch. Do a reality time check. If you work 12 hours a day, 5 days a week then things might get a tad stressful for a novice DIYer especially in the run up to the big day. If you don’t think you can fit it in think about getting help and plan accordingly.

3. Fail to Plan Plan to Fail

Now even if you have managed to get everything done on your DIY schedule do think about the big day itself and how much setting up will be needed. If you have lots of DIY elements from bunting to pom poms or table settings, photo booths and sweet tables you’ll need to schedule in how you are going to get it all to the wedding venue and how long you’ll need to set it up. Check with your venue when you can get in to start your decor and when you’ll need to clear them all out by. Plan accordingly and make sure you have enough pairs of hands to get everything done in the time allowed.

If you would like to go on the waiting list for our workshops in early 2014 then please email hello@theweddingdolls.co.uk and we’ll be sure to let you know the exact dates very soon.

If in the meantime you need any help or advice with your DIY wedding, styling or how to go about setting up on the big day do give us  a call – we love to chat DIY weddings!

Happy Planning!

Emma x

P.S Kate at the Bake and Crafthouse does fantastic craft hen parties – get those hens to help!!

If you’re getting married over the summer and have DIY elements in your big day now is the time to start planning them. Whatever your level of creative skills you can’t go wrong with some basic edible favours and here our DIY expert Kate from the Bake and Crafthouse shares three simple ideas with you. Over to you Kate!

1: Shortbread or Ginger Biscuits

Shortbread is so simple to make, tastes delicious and is not at all expensive. You could cut shapes to match your theme, hearts, flowers for a spring wedding or bunnies at Easter! The recipe is easily multiplied up to make whatever quantity you need as it is just equal parts of butter and plain flour to half the quantity of sugar and rice flour. You can add chocolate chips or lemon zest to the basic recipe or drizzle with chocolate after they have cooled.

A mix using 50 grams of butter will give you about 10 biscuits so if you need 100 favours then you would need 500 grams (2 packets) of butter.

Ingredients:

50 grams unsalted butter
50 grams plain flour
25 grams caster sugar
25 grams rice flour
Pinch of salt

 

Ginger Biscuits Ginger Biscuits 2 Shortbread

Method:

  1. Weigh all the ingredients together in one bowl.
  2. Rub together using your fingertips until evenly combined and resembling the top of an apple crumble.
  3. Continue to mix, rubbing the ingredients together an eventually it will form a ball of dough.
  4. The dough is quite crumbly and delicate but you should be able to gently roll it out to about ½ cm thicknees and cut your shapes.
  5. Place on a baking tray greased and lined and bake for 8-10 minutes at 180 degrees Celcius until light golden.
  6. Cool on the trays and they can easily break while still warm.
  7. Store in an airtight container until needed.

If you make a firmer biscuit dough (usually with egg in the mixture) then you can cut out more complicated shapes or print lettering into the top of the biscuits that will still be visible once they are baked.

2. Homemade Fudge

Fudge Favours

Fudge is one of everyone’s favourite sweets. It also keeps really well so can be made well in advance of the big day and packaged up ready to go. It takes a little patience to make and you will require a baking thermometer but it is fun and easy to make in large quantities.

The recipe below will make a large tray full (25X25cm).

Ingredients

1/2pt water
8oz butter
3lb granulated sugar
2 tbs golden syrup
1 can condensed milk

Method

1. Heat the water in a large saucepan and melt the butter into it.

2. Add the sugar and syrup and bring to the boil stirring constantly.

3. Once boiling, stir in condensed milk and carry on simmering until you reach ‘soft ball’ temperature on the thermometer.

4. Remove from the heat & beat vigorously with an electric mixer for about 10 minutes. It will begin to cool and thicken.

5. Pour into a greased and lined tray & leave to set in the fridge.

Cut into squares and package up as favours or cut heart shaped using a cookie cutter and serve with teas and coffees.

3. Sugared Almonds or Sweets

If you really can’t make your own then you can cheat by giving the most traditional edible wedding favour of sugared almonds. Packaged up in handmade cute favour bags (see my previous blog on how to make them here) to add a really personal touch. Traditionally, five almonds are given to represent fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness. The bitterness of the almond and the sweetness of the coated candy are a metaphor for the bitter sweetness of a marriage. If you don’t want to use almonds then buy retro sweets, heart shaped choccies or your own favourite confectionery!

Sugared Almonds

Happy DIYing!

Emma & Kate x

If you are on a tight wedding budget one way to make the most of your hard earned cash is to go second-hand. And now thanks to Sell My Wedding, you can buy all manner of pre-loved wedding prettiness at a fraction of the normal cost. The online wedding marketplace has everything you could possibly need for your big day, from your dress to dressing your venue, all at bargain prices.

We love this website as buying some items second-hand, especially decorative items, can make a huge difference to your overall budget, leaving you more money to spend on the all important stuff like staffing, catering and photography.

So whizz over and take a look at what’s available. And then, best of all, once you’ve had your wedding you can go back and sell everything all over again. Be warned though if you’re anything like us you’ll be totally addicted after your first look!

 

Happy Shopping

Emma x

Images from Sell My Wedding by Simon Kench Photography

 

I’m a big cake fan. The biggest. There’s not a single type of cake I don’t like and so I’m in heaven when it comes to helping brides source wedding cake and sweet treats. So today I’m very excited to share with you Little Boutique Bakery of Tunbridge Wells, who are makers of gorgeous wedding cakes, cupcakes and cookies.

 

Their cake flavours include Madagascar vanilla, chocolate truffle, lemon and orange zest, as well as the more traditional rich fruit cake and the list of fillings is enough to send me over the edge. Buttercreams of Madagascar Vanilla Bean, Belgian Chocolate Ganache, White Chocolate, Organic Lemon, Orange Zest and Salted Caramel, all of which can be teamed with quality preserves of Strawberry, Raspberry, Morello Cherry and Apricot plus Organic Lemon Curd.

We caught up with owner and cake designer, Jennie Bishop, to find out more about ordering with them. Jennie tells us “We are known for our elegant and unique designs and attention to detail, we only take on a limited number of commissions per week so we can ensure the utmost quality and time required to complete your order.  Booking early is advised, especially during the peak wedding season as we work on a first come first served basis. Right at the start we have a complimentary design consultation and tasting session with you so we can come up with the perfect design for you.”

Jennie will ideally need a minimum of three month’s notice to create your wedding cake so booking early is advisable. Delivery is available in Kent, East Sussex and Surrey.

And lastly, if you need a taste tester you know where to find me….

Image credits: Little Boutique Bakery

Finding brilliant wedding suppliers right on your doorstep is one of the best things about working in Kent and today we can share with you gorgeous stationery designer, Suzanne Osborne, whose studio is just a stones throw away from Wedding Dolls HQ.

Suzanne launched Prettywild Design as a full-time business after working in design studios with clients including ITV, BBC and Abbey National, but she tells us “I’d always yearned to run my own business allowing me the freedom to share my ideas and love for creative event stationery”.

Suzanne says “At design college, I learnt the beauty of typography, played with paper, met my future husband and graduated with a 1st! A year later we got married – it was my first wedding stationery commission. Whilst studying I had Saturday job in a local stationery shop. It was a wonderland of beautiful fountain pens, greetings cards and office equipment, with a small print division. It was an inspirational family run business and I’ll always be grateful to the owners for teaching me the importance of good customer relations, hard work and how to wrap the wedding invitation orders!”.

Suzanne’s stunning range of designs can be customised or she will create an exclusive design just for you depending on what you require for your event. Take a look at her website for more information about pricing and ordering. You’ll be really glad you did!

From our experience nothing makes Brides break out in a cold sweat more than deciding on wedding favours.  But worry not. Wedding favours kept simple and stylish will bring a cheeky grin to the face of your guests and leave you with a smug wedding smile. They are a great way to express your inner creativity and if you don’t mind doing the work yourself, they don’t have to cost a fortune either.

If you are willing to try your crafty hand then a good place to start is Martha Stewart Weddings which is brilliant for all things wedding DIY, or take a trip to a local craft fair (there are so many brilliant ones in Kent) for inspiration.  To get you started here are our favourite five ideas, which all have that personal touch and are not to complicated for any crafty beginners.

1.Vintage Personalised Sweet Bags

Get your own custom designed stamp made up and then use it to print your thank you message onto muslin pouches. Fill the pouches with old-fashioned sweets for a unique little favour. You can put different sweets in the bag depending on guests favourites.

 

2. Paper Flower with Dahlia Bulb

These eye-catching tissue paper flowers make lovely additions to your reception tables and can be made to fit in with your own colour scheme. They are really easy to make from the template on Martha Stewart Weddings and can be tied up with a planting instruction tag and ribbon to look like little leaves. At home, guests will peel back the petals to reveal a dahlia bulb which they can plant and enjoy.

 

 

3. Vintage handkerchiefs

A really lovely little gift which requires hardly any crafting at all, but does involve lots of shopping (now you’re talking I hear you cry) is the vintage hankie. Granny’s favourite is now making a huge comeback and you can easily get beautifully printed hankies from boot fairs, antique shops and online.  The fun really is in the collecting! When shopped out simply write your message on a little card, hole punch and secure to the hankie with a ribbon. Another take on this is to buy plain old hankies and use a personalised stamp with your own wedding message or pattern on them (see personalised stamp above!).

 

4. Honey Stirrer

Buying a little usual gift is a good way of guests remembering your big day for years to come.  A little honey stirrer is really lovely ribbon-tied to guest place names.  If you really want to go for it you can match them with little honey pots that can be adorned with custom-made wedding stickers. Check out Moo for brilliant sticker ideas and cheap printing too! Lovely to add that special touch to a country wedding theme.

 

5. Whole lotta love in a bottle

How about giving your guests an after dinner drink they won’t forget in a hurry?  Make your own infused vodka, put in miniature bottles and tie on your message. You can find loads of recipes online but our favourite is for Blackberry Vodka by the fabulous A Thrifty Mrs that has been tried and tested by your’s truly. It is easy to do but is time-consuming so don’t attempt if you are seriously lacking in patience or have left it until the last-minute. If you can’t stretch to making your own then do it the cheats way. Buy small bottles of juice or your favourite tipple, soak off the labels and put on your own designer stickers.

Have fun and let us know how you get on. See you in Hobbycraft Ladies!

Image Credits:

1. Martha Stewart Weddings, 2.Martha Stewart Weddings, 3. Photography by Chloe Browne of Caught the Light via Martha Stewart Weddings 4.Lindsay Flanagan Photography via Weddingwindow.com, 5. mydiyweddingday.com

Get Blog Updates

Enter your email address to subscribe to the Wedding Dolls blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.