Monday, October 22, 2012

It's Such a Perfect Day...

I remember the delight I felt back at the beginning of this year, when my daughter asked if I would help her create a vintage themed wedding for her and her fiancĂ©, to take place in the autumn. You see, all through childhood, my 3 daughters showed little interest in my passion for old things. Yes they were always good thrifters and often found bargains to fill their wardrobes from the local charity shops, but for the most part, anything else second-hand that I would come home with, usually met with a roll of the eyes from them all. I think it was mostly that feeling of uneasiness that children can experience when friends visit their home for the first time - Ours wasn't perhaps the 'coolest' and certainly not the most modern, which may have been what they had wished for at the time, but slowly I think they realised that many of their friends liked to visit our house because it was welcoming, homely and comfortable. At the time it must have been character building, for now none of our girls really follow the rules, or try to conform...
Anyway, as we chatted, it was clear to me that my daughter knew exactly what she wanted for all aspects of her wedding day. The challenge was to achieve it on a very tight budget. I am proud to say that we spent a fraction of what many would consider the average spend for a wedding these days...It took a lot of work, regular early mornings visiting car boot sales, fairs and flea markets, and hours spent making things, baking cakes, creating the outfits for the main wedding party and planning every detail. But the rewards were of course worthwhile and the smallish dent to our purses can easily be endured. 
Here we go...
As well as the vintage theme running throughout, a reflection of the season was also important to my daughter. Having booked a local village hall for the reception, we decided to decorate the tables with an abundance of vintage goodies, colourful autumnal flowers, harvested berries and vegetables, and some personal touches such as framed photographs of the happy couple (and their little one!)
Over the months we collected vintage duvet covers and bed sheets in floral designs of orange, yellow, pink and green. The tablecloths needed to cover 6' trestle tables, so a large piece of fabric was required. After opening up the duvet covers, I was able to seam them where necessary to create the right lengths, with generous drops on each side.
Any fabric left over was cut into a pennant shape for bunting (we wanted LOTS!). Any smaller off-cuts of fabric were cut into diddy triangles to make mini bunting to dress the bar area and buffet room.

Photo by Andrew Brannan Photography.

Another textile project was to cover this old Raleigh Shopper bike in vintage floral you do!! :)

I used PVA glue and scraps of heavy weight furnishing fabrics which I smoothed on to the bike frame, saddle etc. I also lined the shopping basket on the front and wired a little green wicker basket to the back.

The baskets were filled with plants that I bought for a couple of pounds from my local car boot sale. I added bunting across the front of the bike with the word 'welcome' stencilled across it. The bike stood in the foyer of the village hall to welcome guests as they arrived for their warmed mulled cider - served by Jill and Reg - thank you guys! - You were stars! 
Vintage china was of course another major feature and was another thing we were constantly on the look out for...
Autumnal shades were first choice, but it soon became apparent we may not be able to be that focused with the time factor involved.

Dinner plates for over 100 guests to serve themselves to the buffet...
I made the cutlery pouches for each guest too.

We did all the catering ourselves, including making chutneys...
And a huge array of cakes, which were mostly family recipes.
We were even sent a traditional New Zealand cake recipe from my eldest daughter who lives there at the moment, which meant, unfortunately, she was unable to attend the wedding. My youngest made the cake, which included kumara (sweet potato), pineapple and kiwi fruit amongst its ingredients. 

Photo by Andrew Brannan
Tea plates for serving slices of cakes.

We also bought lots of vintage tea pots and jugs for holding flowers...

The tea pots were filled with viola plants, which we displayed on each table standing on piles of antique books. (Both bride and groom love reading, which was another personal connection to them. We also used antique sheet music where we could as my new son-in-law plays the guitar.)

So, as the big day drew near, my Mum came to stay with us...
On the Wednesday we visited my friend Debbie, whose neighbour had promised us as many hydrangea flowers as we'd like to pick...for nothing! 
We ended up filling three dustbin bags with them - The colours were beautiful, ranging from deep reds to soft pinks and greens. They became the perfect base to our floral creations, making our lack of floristry knowledge and skills less of an issue...
On Thursday morning we went for a walk to the local fields around my home. We foraged branches of hawthorn berries, blackberries and rose hips to add another nod to autumn to our displays. I also picked some of the sedum flowers growing in my garden. 

We then spent the rest of the day (that's my Mum, my youngest and me) flower arranging.

(These particularly beautiful hydrangeas are what I saved to make the bridal bouquets)

We ended up with masses of little posies to spread amongst the guests tables at the reception.
We even added a few feathers in there too.

For some of the larger displays, we threaded a few artificial flowers in amongst, but all in all, I am chuffed to think the whole floral content for the wedding cost us virtually nothing! :) 

Last minute jobs, before the setting up of the hall could begin, included sharing boxes of chocolates onto plates for guests...
Nuts too!
And preparing lots of fresh salads and cold meats. 
Then at around 6pm on Friday evening, (the earliest we were allowed to get into the hall), we loaded up the cars with everything that we'd prepared, to start the mammoth task of dressing the hall for the reception. 
This was the head table, which we actually placed in the centre of the room, surrounded by tables for guests. I wasn't sure how this was going to work, but my daughter was adamant this is what she wanted rather than one long table at the end of the hall, which would make it difficult for us all to chat. I have to admit, she was completely worked a treat. 
There are so many details I could mention, 
Like the hand made corsages for the girls...
and the boys...
The matching place cards for the head tables...
And the typewriters for friends to leave their messages for the guest book...
but I fear I may be boring you...
(I am thinking of putting together a short self-published book about all the hand crafted items, to show you don't need to spend a fortune to have a perfect day.)

Photo by Andrew Brannan
I would just like to mention my daughters beautiful bridal gown though.  She bought a fairly inexpensive evening gown from a high street chain...

Photo by Andrew Brannan
And embellished it by hand with antique lace, brooches and buttons.  Another huge saving on the cost of the wedding...and a wonderful reflection on my daughter's skill, who studied fashion and textiles at uni. She looked sooo beautiful on her wedding day...I can't stop looking at the photos.

Photo by Andrew Brannan.
She also made her own headpiece  She used some antique French  lilac flowers which some of you may have seen in the past in a vase in our living room. (They can be seen on our mantelpiece under the bauble wreath on this Xmas post.) I've had them for years, but they proved to be the perfect colour to go with my daughters dress. 
Photo by Andrew Brannan.
So, the stage was set...On Saturday morning my Mum, Dad and me headed off to the hall to deliver all the food and arrange on the plates. When I got back I hand-tied the hydrangea bouquets for the bride and two bridesmaids with antique lace...then to get ready myself!

As we drove to the ceremony, my gorgeous girl asked me if I thought it would be OK for her to be bare foot, as the little sandals she had bought were uncomfortable…I thought ‘why change the habit of a lifetime – just do it!’  I love the fact that she ended up walking down the isle bare foot…it sums her up – she was always my ‘wild child’ and a bit of a gypsy…A last minute decision  but one of our best! - I'm so glad our wonderful photographer was able to capture this memory for always…

Photo by Andrew Brannan.

They were married at The Little Theatre In Bath. 
Another of the highlights was that our eldest daughter, unable to attend the wedding, (as I mentioned she is living in New Zealand) - sent a short film congratulating the happy couple,  which was shown on the screen at the end of the ceremony. Sniff...

Photo by Andrew Brannan.

Photo by Andrew Brannan.

Photo by Andrew Brannan. 
Photo by Andrew Brannan. 

It was a magical day - one which we shall never forget. Its great to have such a lovely son-in-law, who I know thinks the world of our Marrissa and also their own little girl. They are a young couple and the simple ceremony and style suited them - fun was the order of the day! 
Photographer Andy was with us from Saturday morning, taking shots of us all getting ready (we had a houseful that morning with 13 of us all getting our glad rags on!) - to the evening celebrations at the village hall. I can't recommend him enough. If you'd like to see all the photos that he took from the day, they can be seen here.
His website also features some of his favourite shots as part of his portfolio. 
Sorry this was such a long indulgent post, but the wedding has been a huge part of our lives this year and I didn't want to forget some of the details, which I shall now be able to look back on here on my blog in the future.
Niki x


  1. What a lovely post, good idea about writing a book!

  2. What a wonderful day you all had. Why shouldn't you be indulgent, you don't have weddings every week, and this one looked the most perfect.
    Julie xxxxxxxxx

  3. Every aspect was absolutely beautiful Niki. I am full of admiration for your skills ( and of course hard work) in designing and creating such a wonderful celebration for your lovely daughter's wedding.

    So many ideas and tips about how to do it that I think you should definitely make book to show how it can be done. Maybe get in touch with Pretty Nostalgia magazine for sponsorship or a joint publication?

  4. Looks fantastic! I'm glad the day went so well.
    Best wishes,

  5. Hi Niki,

    What a lovely post, so glad you daughter had the day she wanted -and yes, you should write a book.


  6. Absolutely won-der-ful! Yes, you should publish a book about all the details and how economic it all can be done.

  7. You must be so proud in helping create the most perfect wedding day for your lovely daughter and son-in-law, I loved every bit of it, makes me want to get married all over again!! Please do think about publishing a book as I loved every one of your ideas, Lucey x

  8. I am so pleased you shared the wedding with us and you went to so much trouble.Having paid a small fortune for our own daughter's wedding not long ago I think your way is so much better and so much more personal.You do need to write a booklet or at least a magazine article about it.

  9. congrats to you looked fantastic!!

  10. Boring???!!! My goodness, NO!!!! I'm trying not to salivate. A good friend and I have organised quite a few weddings together (including each other's)and I'd adore to do a vintage, romantic one like your daughter's. My friend is very matchy-matchy and it would drive her mad!!! ;-)

  11. Congratulations to the Bride and Groom! It all looked so lovely, thank you for sharing it with us!!

  12. It looked amazing Niki ~ the amount of work you put in really paid off, it looks utterly gorgeous! The bike is fabulous!
    Ali x

  13. I love how you decorated the bike. The wedding must have been a wonderful event and yummy cakes to eat. I also love all the teapots with flowers planted in them.

  14. It all looks wonderful you must have worked so hard, you daughter will look back and think my lovely mum did all that for me'... so special
    Thea x

  15. Perfect unique day, everything looks wonderful. I think a book would be excellent for anyone on a budget wanting to organise a very individual event.
    Congratulations to the happy couple.
    Carol xx

  16. Oh, Niki,
    what a wonderfully creative,beautiful and personal wedding...certainly a day to remember and such a good idea to cherish all those amazing ideas in a book.Thanks forsuch a lovely post.
    Anne x

  17. Hello Niki, thank you for sharing your daughters wonderful day with us. I have two daughters & both love all things vintage. These photos & your post are great to show them that you can get away with having a wedding or any sort of party on a very small budget.

    What a good idea to make a book on the things you made for the wedding. Look forward to its publication.
    Hugs Elizabeth xxx

  18. Wow! Thanks for sharing your daughter's wonderful day! Everything looked amazing and her dress was so beautiful! The details were amazing and I was swooning over all those antique dishes! You really out did yourself! I know she will never forget how special you made her wedding day!

  19. just stunning, these weddingas are the best,,,everthing made with love

  20. Lovely photos and what a super day.

  21. Lovely post and what a beautiful wedding - everything looked simply perfect and the photographs are stunning. Elizabeth

  22. Wow! You did a STUNNING job! What a gorgeous wedding and what beautiful people (loved your outfit, dear Niki, you look beautiful). Do write the book - that's a real celebration. I looked at the entire wedding photos - what a superb photographer - a fantastic eye. My dad was a photographer and he would have been very impressed. Love your daughter's attitude. You all deserved such a beautiful day. Suzy xx

  23. Best post ever!! I love weddings and this was spectacular! Thanks ever so much for sharing.♥♫

  24. So impresssed with your creativity. Everything was lovely and true to vintage. Loved everything you created and yes, this is worthy of being published. Wow, what a lot of work but so worth the effort.

    As I recall my wedding, it took a year of planning and even though our reception, dinner and dance were at a resort, I worked so hard on all the details and having to make so many decisions, can't imagine baking, and making decorations.

    You are a superwoman. Thanks for sharing. Put me down for one book. :)

  25. Hi Niki.
    What a magical wedding, have organized a wonderful ceremony!
    You have worked so hard but the result is almost touching, perfect!
    The bride and groom are happy and satisfied, you will be proud of this!
    Thank you for these beautiful photos that make me dream!
    Hugs and kisses, *Mary*.
    (with translator)

  26. Ah your daughter the bride looks deliriously happy. Well done! You are such a loving (and talented) mama.

  27. Here's the perfect wedding!
    The wedding dream for my daughters.
    You did a great job and you are
    came from a dream, beautiful.
    Congratulations to all and for
    beautiful pictures, you are all lovely
    Love Susy x

  28. Niki that was so beautiful I've just cried all over my breakfast!

    I think a book is SO the right thing to do, after all you have all the photos...

    What a lovely lovey day, just as a wedding day should be

  29. It looks absolutely wonderful Niki. I think you should definitely write a book on creating the perfect vintage Wedding on a budget. So many lovely creative but simple ideas. Your daughter is very lucky to have such a creative Mum. Thanks for sharing it all with us. Fiona x

  30. Magical memories and so... YOU & Yours. Loved every


  31. Aw what a gorgeous post ,i love personal weddings ,yours looks fabulous ,i love all the attention to details ,the ideas you all had ,the flowers ,clothes ,how the tables were set out ,all of it it looks magical and very personal to you all ,well done ,wish i could have been there too!! xxx

  32. Ohh its all delightful, beautiful and I really loved looking at the pictures Nicky...
    Thanks for sharing and your lovely girl looked amazing!
    I do think you should write that book too.
    Weddings are so crazy over prized and not at all what married life is all about.
    Go for it...
    Love Maria x

  33. Absolutely beautiful.

    What a wonderful way to start your married life together.

    Lovely photos.

    Sue xx

  34. Wow, Niki... what can I say. that is truly wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing everything. x

  35. Oh Niki! what a fabulous post! congratulations to you all,you are so clever,I dont think I have ever seen such a beautiful and original Wedding,your attention to detail is just amazing xx

  36. Stunning stunning stunning....may the marriage be as beautiful as the wedding....
    Warm Wishes,
    Callie x

  37. May I say that this is the most beautiful (and beautifully prepared) wedding I have ever seen! Just stunning! Congratulations! xxx

  38. Boring - no, no ,no. Lush.
    Love more details on the food and how it worked. What to do a charity something next year and may pinch ideas

  39. Such a wonderful wedding, which they will always remember! All of the 'cost-cutting' details made it so much more personal than an 'off the shelf' wedding. I have friends who were asking me about vintage/thrifty wedding tips - I shall send them the link to your post here!

  40. lovely Niki! I so enjoyed all your photos & wonderful ideas for this special day.
    I think a book is a fantastic idea to help other see what can be done without spending a fortune.

    See you next week at the jumble!

  41. Thanks for sharing such a special day. So many personal touches. I love the bike and the typewriters. A book is a great idea.

  42. Anonymous8:40 pm

    Hi Niki,thankyou for sharing such a perfect day,so personal,love all the little touches,the books,the bike,the typewriters,etc.You all worked so hard but it was so worth it.Love the book idea too :) Xxxx

  43. Goodness me Niki.. what a monumental amount of work and planning went into this wonderful day and it has to be said.. that it is probably the most stylish wedding preparation I have ever seen. I am certain that all of your family, friends and particularly your daughter and son in law will remember this day for being so special and bespoke in the best Stonehouse Nostalgic way! Congratulations to the lovely couple!

    Michele xxx

  44. Oh wow, what a beautiful wedding!!! You've put so much thought into every aspect of the day & it shows.

    My dd, who also loves vintage, got engaged a few weeks ago. I'm really hoping she'll decide on a 'vintage' wedding.

  45. Oh what a perfect wedding and oyur memories will be so much more than the day but the days of making things and the love that was put into them by not only you but friends. You are a truly wonderful Mum apart from being a very talented lady. Your family will remember the time for so many years. This was a true family celebration of love. PS the book sounds a brilliant idea, I think it will be so good for family weddings as we strive to bring back the true values of real living

  46. wow Niki, I've been away too long, fancy missing the Vintage wedding, what a good idea putting it all in a book.

    Such a beautiful wedding, you did a fabulous job and the bride and groom make a handsome couple.

    Best wishes Ginny x

  47. Absolutely stunning! How proud you must be. You must write that book! I think this is the best blog post ever. Congratulations to you all, it looked like a perfect day.

    Jak x


Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx