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Brooch Bouquets Made Easy


One of the more popular alternative ideas in the wonderful world of weddings in the last few years has been the brooch bouquet. If you’ve got access to a bunch of fun sparkly pins, you can make a unique – and potentially quite meaningful – bouquet to carry when you marry.

But you may be wondering how exactly it’s done.

Best Destination Wedding has a great article on creating your own brooch bouquet. With just a few simple tools and materials, you can make a bouquet like the one shown above. Or leave out the faux flowers for an all-brooch one.

The author mostly bought brooches from inexpensive sources, such as thrift stores, eBay, and Etsy, but if you’ve already got a selection of sparkly brooches or have ones you can borrow from family members or friends, it gets even less expensive to make.

I don’t know about you, but I love these things!

Two Opposite and Equally Awesome Thoughts on DIY


(Illustration via A Practical Wedding)

You guys know me. I’m a DIY diva and proud of it. Give me some threads, some scraps of paper, a little ribbon, and a hot glue gun, and I’ll make you something remarkable with it. I love making things and I’m good at it, too.

So it’s no surprise that I loved Sam and Stew’s handmade South African wedding when I read about it at A Practical Wedding. Together, they made most of the accessories for their big day, and both families got into the fun of it.

Most of all, I loved the reason Sam gave for loving all the projects she, Stew, their families, and their friends did for the wedding:

There was a moment, when I stood back, and looked around at the happy smiles and goofy grins of all our favourite people, and literally felt surrounded by love.

Because there it was—hammered into the menus, baked into the cookies, sewn into the seams of the table runners and sprinkled into that darn confetti. So if the crafty crazy is getting to you, don’t worry too much. Because it’s neverabout the details you get out. It’s about the love you put in.

You know what? That’s how I felt when I looked at my wedding, too. Everywhere I looked, I saw concrete evidence of the love our friends and families have for us. Everywhere I turned, there was something I poured my heart into that was making someone I love smile.

But you know what else? I’m not every bride. There are other equally valid ways of choosing to do things. One of these ways is described by guest blogger Danielle in a july article, also at A Practical Wedding.

In it she discusses how she almost panicked her way into doing a series of last-minute DIY projects because they’re everywhere on the internet.

Having carefully chosen to marry in an art gallery so she wouldn’t have to worry about decorations, Danielle almost decided she needed to make piles of random things to fill out the space, once she looked at a few wedding blogs and Pinterest boards… but she remembered something at the last minute: DIY isn’t her.

An intervention from a good friend brought her back to sanity just as she was pricing out the cost of making her own pinwheels.

I remembered that we can have whatever kind of wedding we want, and that just because I’m not panicking in these final pre-wedding weeks doesn’t mean I’m doing something wrong. It probably means I’m doing something right.

And knowing that I won’t glance around the room at the end of our wedding night and see sloppy homemade pinwheels abandoned on tables and tossed into trash cans? That feels pretty right too.

Always remember, there is no wrong way to plan a wedding as long as you’re enjoying the process and feel your personality as a couple is being represented. Craft it all by hand, don’t craft a thing, find a middle path by all means. Don’t worry too much about what other people are or aren’t doing. Seek inspiration, but never forget who you are.

It’s your wedding. It should look and feel the way you want it to.

Napkinly Ever After

It’s pretty common knowledge that I’m big into crafts and DIY. Readers here have heard for years about my handmade wedding lace, self-catering, and so on and so on and so on. I’m a big fan of seeing the happy couple’s fingerprints all over a wedding, whether it’s intended to make the event unique or simply save a buck or two.

Well, I recently found a project that’s intended for the wedding day, but also has the advantage that it’s something practical you can keep and use for years afterwards, too.


In a recent article at Green Wedding Shoes, you can learn how to make these delicious stamped linen napkins from carving the stamps to setting the ink.

Just choose your own colors, carve or purchase a stamp that speaks to you, heat your iron, and go to it!

This is a particularly nice project for a small wedding or for head table needs… unless you have a lot of trusted volunteers who can help out or a very long timeline. It won’t save you cash, either. This is about putting your – wait for it! – personal stamp on the celebration.

But the great advantage is that the napkins can be saved and reused for anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, dinner parties, or even just to class up wednesday night mac and cheese.

Me? I’m not getting married again any time soon. The first one is still holding nicely, thank you very much. But I may just make these anyway. They’d be nice for Christmas dinner or as gifts for friends who entertain.

Wool You Marry Me?


If you’ve been reading this blog for more than two minutes, you know I’m a huge fan of DIY for weddings. Choose your projects carefully, give yourself plenty of time, and it’s possible to save big as well as add uniquely personal dash to your big event.

The lady shown above is an excellent example of How It’s Done Properly.

When Ash Pears asked lady love Lydia Taylor to marry him, she did try on some commercially made wedding gowns… but only for inspiration. She designed and made her own gown. In point of fact, she knitted it.

Watching as much bridal reality as I do, I know well that moment when the bride walks into a bridal salon and announces she has only two grand to plonk down on her wedding gown and accessories. They do their best not to react, but you can always see a flash of worry and an involuntary breath taken in on the part of the consultant. Bridal runs to big bucks.

But Taylor’s elegant knitted frock set her back less than two hundred pounds and needed no alterations, since it was made to measure.

Between knitting her gown, finding reception plates at garage sales and thrift shops, making her bouquet out of fabric flowers and a vintage brooch or two, creating her own favors by hand (pear shaped pin cushions) and doing her own decorations, Taylor and Pears kept their overall wedding budget down to around five thousand pounds… allowing them enough left over to have an eighteen night honeymoon in Bali and Singapore as well as a down payment on a house to raise a family in.

Would they change anything if they had had more money? Says Taylor:

‘If we had won the National Lottery the only change we would have made is a free bar for our friends.’

Fair enough. I have to say, I love that gown.

There’s Not Another Like It


Patriotic wedding gowns are nothing new. Wedding gowns based on the flag of a country – while not terribly common – have been made commercially and sold for years, if not decades. But it’s not terribly often that a bride chooses to celebrate her favorite team that way.

That’s only one reason that Karen Bell’s wedding gown is so remarkable. It’s also a rather ambitious DIY upcycling project. When Karen and her new husband Simon decided to tie the knot, they reasoned that since they’d both been married before in white weddings, they wanted to do something different. They decided to celebrate their hometown of Manchester, England across the Atlantic… oh, sorry. Flashback to that production of Hair I saw once. Anyway, yes, their hometown of Manchester, England where they both still live, and the football team they both support.

Over the years, Simon had developed a collection of Manchester-themed shirts. He handed these over to Karen who spent the next eight months at her sewing machine turning them into the gown shown above.

After the wedding, the happy couple went straight to romantic Etihad Stadium to watch their beloved team play. There is no word on whether or not the bride changed her clothes first.

Whatever the case, I do wish them the very best of British luck, and may Manchester City win often.

Buy or DIY: How to Decide


(Illustration via Austin Wedding Blog, where you can find instructions for a cute tissue paper cherry blossom centerpiece)
Here at Manolo for the Brides, we’re big fans of the wedding DIY project. Virtually everything I was capable of making for my own wedding, I did make… including the lace for my wedding gown. To me, handmade things give a unique air to an event, and all the moreso when the hands belong to the people giving the shindig.

But not every bride is a DIY diva. Not every bride is good at all the things that go into making a wedding pretty and unique. Not every bride has the time or the inclination to create very much by hand. And you know what? Any one of those things is a good reason to leave the work to the experts and have it done for you.

And then there’s the bride who really wants to make at least one or two things, but isn’t certain what projects to pick. How do you choose what to make for yourself and what to give to a professional to do?

As per usual, I’ve got a few thoughts on the subject.
(more…)

Want Your Cake to Sparkle? Here’s How!


(illustration via Bride’s)

I’m not a terribly sparkly kind of woman. I could have had a diamond – or any gemstone – engagement ring. I chose a sterling silver frog. I could have had any kind of embellishment on my wedding gown. I chose handmade silk lace. I could have worn any jewelry on my wedding day. Again, all silver without gems.

In general I’ve ignored nearly every style trend that sparkles for the better part of fifty years now, and I doubt seriously that I’m going to change on that. Glitter just isn’t me.

And yet I found myself intrigued by that sparkly purple sequined cake shown above. Why? Because the sequins are edible.

I’ve hated the cake jewelry trend of the past few seasons in large part because I firmly believe that nothing inedible should go on a cake. But if the sequins are edible… well, that’s kind of interesting.

Of course, a fully sequined purple cake isn’t for everybody. It’s nice to see on other sites that it’s more than possible to use the sequins subtly, as well:

… as demonstrated by this charmingly understated sequined cake posted at Cake Central.

The best news of all? I’ve found instructions for making your own edible sequins if you want to give them a go in your own kitchen, or at least get a better idea of what they might taste like before you instruct your baker to do the ultimate sparkly Vegas-themed cake for your reception. This handy tutorial at Confessions of a Scratch Baker should give you plenty of information to decide if this is an idea for you.

Me? I’m still not a sparkly woman… but I am a crafty one and an avid baker. Who knows? I may just have to give this a try sometime.

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