Want to find out how I created my quirky DIY wedding? Keep reading!
All photos in this blog are by Caroline Smyth Photography
On Saturday 25th August 2018 at 3 pm, I married my best friend, my soul mate and my partner in crime. Read about our wonderfully quirky, DIY wedding and you’ll get some amazing quirky DIY ideas for your wedding!
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Everyone says their wedding was the best day of their lives and it’s true. We were so happy and in love and it was everything that we both wanted it to be.
As I’m sure by now you’ll realise, I don’t typically follow convention.
At the age of 32, I am quite happy to say that I am content in myself and I have no interest in toeing the same traditional lines as some other brides have done. Don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong with being traditional. It’s just not me. Or us as a couple.
That being said, I don’t see the point in being unconventional just to spite tradition.
How did we do it?
We had a fantastic day and we can wholeheartedly say the whole day was our personalities on display!
You’re probably wondering how we created the perfect quirky DIY wedding that reflected us as a couple? Let me guide you through our wedding planning and how created our amazing day.
Finding the perfect venue for your quirky DIY wedding
We knew from the beginning we did NOT want to get married in a church (neither of us takes religion too seriously) and we did not want to get married in a registry office.
Hotel weddings aren’t really our thing either. The thought of having the same wedding day as countless other couples made me wince. Even though booking a hotel may have been an easier option, but this meant we were able to narrow down the list from the beginning.
We knew that we’d like somewhere a bit different to get married, but most of the time different comes with a price tag. A pretty hefty one at that!
Where to look and what to search for?
After some careful research (i.e Googling things like “Quirky wedding venues Northern Ireland”) we found Breckenhill, a stunning venue just outside Ballyclare, Northern Ireland.
As most of our guests were coming from either Belfast or South Derry, we wanted a venue within a reasonable travelling distance. Breckenhill is approximately 45 minutes from Belfast and South Derry. This was certainly a winner!
Breckenhill is a truly gorgeous place with two barns and ample luxurious outdoor spaces for stunning photos. Not to mention that they also offer a range of activities on site from Archery to Paintball.
Being that we did not want a traditional venue, Breckenhill ticked all the boxes and gave us the flexibility to put our stamp firmly on our day.
The stone barn provided an intimate and rustic setting for the ceremony and a chillout space down stairs, while the larger green barn was ample space to be used for the reception.
Being a blank canvas we could decorate each space to suit our theme – rustic vintage styling for the ceremony using unique bottles as vases along with decoupages flower boxes for the registry table.
Our reception theme was a lot more colourful, featuring multicoloured bunting, uplighting and colourfully decorated bottles with beautiful flowers and candles.
We also made use of the long trestle tables and white picnic chairs which gave us a much more relaxed atmosphere.
With the recent extension to the green barn, we were able to set up the catering area, and also make use of the bar area.
Choosing the right catering for your quirky DIY wedding
The thought of serving three courses with full table service and all the formalities that come with that, leaving our guests too full to try our wedding cake really solidified our choice.
Hog Roast or BBQ?
Narrowing our choices down to a more relaxed BBQ or hog roast we contacted a few caterers. Luckily, we managed to find a butcher who was able to provide our hog roast, along with set up and buffet service within our budget.
I have to say, the food was delicious. Andrew Mulholland butchers put on an amazing spread and everyone seemed pretty satisfied.
Let them eat cake?
For the wedding cake, we were really keen on something a bit different. You’re seeing a pattern here right?
We didn’t want the typical wedding cake that was made about a week beforehand and decorated with the same fondant icing as everyone else.
Fortunately for us, we have a close friend who is a fabulous baker in her spare time. She was able to create the perfect cake for us. A galaxy mirror glaze masterpiece!
She created three different flavoured cakes – Salted Caramel, Triple Chocolate and Raspberry and White Chocolate. Topped off, naturally, with a custom made Doctor Who cake topper. What more could anyone ask for?
The Evening Buffet
In the evening, I figured we’d all need a little something to soak up the alcohol in our stomachs, therefore, we organised some crepes. Who doesn’t love crepes? There were sweet and savoury to satisfy all palates.
The fear of leaving our guests too hungry throughout hit me close to the wedding. So a few days before the wedding I ordered some platters from M&S for collection the day before.
I also bought some extra nibbles like crisps, and fruit. Then of course, I organised a sweet table too. In hindsight this was probably going a little overboard, but there wasn’t a crumb left.
alcohol? Don’t mind if I do! Home brewed
There were some perks to hiring Breckenhill. We were able to supply our own alcohol and our guests were able to bring their own drinks too. The perfect option for a quirky DIY wedding.
We had been to a few weddings in the past and spent a small fortune on drinks. Therefore, we wanted to make our day as easy on the wallet for our guests.
Before moving back to Belfast from Edinburgh I was fortunate enough to work for a craft beer club.
A benefit of that job was we got to brew our own beer. In Edinburgh, I brewed a Bourbon Imperial Stout.
I priced up the options of buying alcohol against the cost of making our own alcohol. Needless to say, it was SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper to brew our own.
For Christmas 2017, my brother and I bought a homebrew kit for my dad because he had an interest in brewing too.
The homebrew kit had all the necessary tools to get us started. You can buy it here on Amazon.
What to brew?
We had a few ideas about what to brew before settling on drinks that most people would like. Irish stout (which tasted like Guinness), Mexican lager (which tasted like Desperados) and pear cider (like Koppaberg).
In addition, we expanded our brewing knowledge and made our own wine – Pinot Grigio.
By brewing our own drinks, we were able to make 120 pints and 30 bottles of wine for less than £100.
Our guests loved the wine and homebrew, so much so that we only had one bottle of wine left afterwards!
The Quirky DIY wedding approach
As I mentioned, I don’t really follow convention and I definitely have my own style. As a creative soul, I love the DIY approach. I couldn’t have imagined our wedding any other way!
I do love a project and I found creating our own unique, quirky DIY elements to be very calming.
Our theme may seem a little mismatched. We had the rustic area in the ceremony barn and the multicoloured styling of the green barn. But overall we tried to keep in line with a general rule of ‘things we like’.
The only real flowers we had were in the decoupaged boxes that my very talented stepmother created for us. Including rescuing some flowers from the roadside the day before the wedding (roots still attached…)
Comic Book Buttonholes
For the men, I made their buttonholes from three comic books donated by my husband. To make the buttonholes I used:
- Floral wire
- gardening twine for the stem
- a template to cut out the petals
- a hot glue
gun greenglitter foam paper for the leaves.
I created six buttonholes in total in a matter of two to three hours.
A few years ago I saw a brooch bouquet for the first time and I LOVED it. I knew when I was going to be married, I would be walking down the aisle with a brooch bouquet.
Staying true to my word I made my own brooch bouquet. I purchased this teardrop armature from Amazon. My mother in law adored the idea and helped me by collecting a range of different brooches for me.
I finished the bouquet with some white ribbon, silver roses and beautiful charm to remember the two people we missed the most.
Assembling the bouquet was fairly straightforward and was done by using strong floral wire and
I adore colour, the brighter the better! The easiest way to introduc colour to our reception, without going OTT, was to have decorated bottles on the tables. I used them as vases and candle holders.
Luckily, by working at a beer club, I was able to get as many empty beer bottles as I needed for free!
Then it was just a case of removing the labels, cleaning the bottles and decorating them with some garden twine, a hot glue gun and acrylic paint.
We prepared over sixty bottles, but we only used thirty bottles on the day because we over-estimated how many we would need.
Classic DIY move…
Quirky DIY Wedding photo booth
Ok, so this was an idea I ‘borrowed’ from a friend of ours who got married a few months before us (and also made our wedding cake).
We wanted something silly and fun for our guests to enjoy in between the archery and food. However, we were also looking for a creative but cost-effective way to make our guest book. It had to be something that we could treasure that wasn’t going to end up in a box in the cupboard.
Therefore, we bought a second-hand Instax Pixma Polaroid camera for guests to take pictures, have a bit of fun with and to leave us a message.
To secure the pictures, we bought an A1 sized box frame and some led peg lights. I attached the peg lights to the frame by staple gun and then I decorated the exterior of the frame with white rose garland. This is now proudly displayed in our living room!
Hubby and I first met in 2003 when we were both studying music
As our final personal touch and a way to avoid us dancing in public, we decided to play our first song. Backed up by some amazingly talented friends, we played Otis Redding’s “I’ve been loving you” as our first song.
We also played some of our other favourite songs such as “Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett. “Hold on, I’m Comin” by Sam & Dave, and of course my absolute favourite happy tune “Higher and Higher” by Jackie Wilson.
As an ultimate surprise, the drummer, and man who introduced us 15 years ago, organised a custom drum skin to commemorate our wedding day. What a beautiful and special thing to do.
Our wedding day was our personalities on full display. It was made even more special by the people we love sharing in our happiness.
Has this post given you some ideas on how you can personalise your quirky wedding?
Has it helped give you some inspiration on where to start planning your DIY wedding? Let me know your ideas in the comments!
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Coming up next our fantastic honeymoon on the beautiful island of Santorini!
Until next time…