Unique wedding decorations

Get creative and make your own

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In today’s anything-goes wedding industry, suppliers are savvy to the fact that couples want to style their day, their way. As a result, keywords like “bespoke”, “customised”, “unique” and “unusual” now have huge cachet, translating into lucrative sales for both independent and established sellers.

Keen to add a creative touch to my wedding decorations, without the price tag, I invited some friends over for a making day - luckily they all like making things just as much as I do. They arrived brimming with ideas and with fine haberdashery in tow: ribbons and notions thrifted from Deptford market, antique lace donated by Grandma, and lots and lots of empty jam jars.

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Handmade paper pom poms.

 

 

The wedding venue my fiancé and I have chosen is quite posh, so I’ve decided to limit any overtly rustic touches, like bunting, fabric garlands and paper pom poms, to the outside space. Inside upcycled jam jars will act as quirky vases for a meadow of wildflowers, while silver votive tea lights will add a decadent feel to the bar and dancing areas after-hours.

 

 

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Picture by Sian-Estelle Petty.

 

 

Here’s a selection of the jars we decorated. To recreate the look, just attach some lace or fabric with glue or sticky tape, then tie on pieces of ribbon or decorative twine. Keep within a colour palette – I like weathered, vintage hues like faded pinks, greens and creams –or mix and match for an eclectic, thrown together look.

 

 

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Styling: Hannah Bullivant. Picture: Emma Case.

 

 

Among the girls who gathered at my flat was fellow writer Hannah Bullivant, who charts her home decorating projects and London discoveries on the blog seeds and stitches. In the years since Hannah's own thrifty yet stylish nuptials, she’s helped decorate countless friends’ weddings, and had some great tips to offer me...

 

 

 

 

 

For example, distressed silver votive tea lights have risen in popularity in recent years as the vintage-inspired look has taken hold. I’ve gone for this gorgeous selection from Rockett St George (£19.95 for six), but, if you’re on a budget, Hannah suggests making your own: ‘you can add a crackled mirror effect to a plain jam jar with mirror glass spray paint. Just spray on, allow to dry, then use some vinegar and rub with an old towel to distress the finish’. If you need extra guidance, Hannah recommends this tutorial.

 

 

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Styling: Hannah Bullivant. Picture: Emma Case.

 

 

Another good tip from Hannah: swap the classic village fête style bunting for a paper doiley garland instead. ‘I made what seemed like hundreds of metres for my sister-in-law’s wedding – enough to decorate the railings leading up to the ceremony venue, as well as wrap round the room – and they generated quite a few compliments from guests.’ To make them, ‘simply cut different sized paper doilies in half, and iron a piece of floral ribbon in half. Tuck the doilies into the fold, then sew along the ribbon on your sewing machine, ensuring the doily is safely tucked underneath it.’

If garlands are a bit OTT for you, you can still get the look in a more subtle way: ‘doilies also look great wrapped around cutlery then tied with coloured ribbon, or why not try wrapping one around a bouquet of flowers?’

Here's another inexpensive idea: keep a stash of ribbon to hand. ‘A simple ribbon bow tied around a white cotton napkin and silver cutlery looks stunning with a sprig of Rosemary or Thyme tucked underneath it', says Hannah. 'You can also tie a larger piece of ribbon on the back of each chair, perhaps holding a brown parcel tag with each person’s name written on it.’

All of these ideas are simple to do, but can have a big impact. If, like me, you don't mind devoting a bit of time to a handmade project, and you're lucky enough to have a group of friends that are willing to help, you're on to a winning streak. But, if you're pushed for time or you lack the confidence to get it right, there's no need to panic. Just head over to Etsy Weddings and let someone else do the work for you.

Catch up with ELLE's wedding blog

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