My Big, Fat, Homemade Wedding

Posted in Blogging, Second Hand Shopping, Weddings.

If you’ve been reading Little Bird for a while, you might remember this post from a few years ago. Way back in December 2009, Rob and I got engaged. In true blogger style, I wrote an overexcited post complete with plenty of photos… but then didn’t really mention it again. I’m not usually one to talk about my personal life in great depth, plus I’ve never been a very wedding-y person. In fact, when I tweeted about starting my wedding planning, 2.5 years after getting engaged, I was met with a wave of ‘OMG CONGRATS!!!’ replies. So this post may come as a bit of a surprise to many!

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This book marks the start of my planning and represents the entire theme of my wedding – no, not Vera Wang (I wish!) – it’s ex-library stock and was bought for me by one of my bridesmaids. Starting as we mean to go on by sourcing things second hand!

After a couple of years fielding the most irritating question a happily-engaged couple can be asked – ‘when’s the wedding?’ – we decided to just forget all the traditional wedding stress and go for it with a big celebration for all the people we love. Our rough date is September 2013 and there’s really only one thing that’s definite at the moment – it will be our big, fat, homemade wedding.

I’m very lucky to have three teachers in my bridal party, plus my mum who worked in a school for 20+ years. Teachers are THE BEST people to help with a homemade wedding – the things they can do with sugar paper and a Pritt Stick are quite spectacular. Team the teachers with a web designer husband-to-be, a graphic designer brother and brilliantly enthusiastic mother-in-law and I’m hoping to just put my feet up for the next 14 months.

I won’t, of course. I’ve already got an extensive wedding board on Pinterest (who doesn’t?) and have been collecting vintage china for the past year. I’ve instructed everyone I’ve ever known to save their pasta sauce and jam jars (no labels, please), and I’m making plans to speak to the Bunting Committee in the village that will host our day. Yes, they have a Bunting Committee!

We’ve chosen the venue for our ceremony and will be having the following celebration in a marquee in Rob’s parents’ garden. I won’t be writing about it too often – as much as I love wedding blogs and reading about other people’s experiences, I don’t want to overload this blog with my planning. Although I’m sure I’ll keep you updated along the way!

wedding blogger uk
My vintage china collection in action… I need about 50 more pieces to cover all my guests!

I’ve decided to avoid all bridal magazines and find my inspiration online, in charity shops and at car boot sales. Let me know if you’ve got any great ideas or have been to a fabulous homemade wedding… I’ve got 14 months to get it together but I’m sure that will fly by!

Now, a Jenny Packham dress is totally homemade, right? 😉



Having recently got engaged myself, I really love the idea of a home made wedding or finding everything on ebay. I’ve become obsessed with the idea of drying flowers. Don’t think my finance’s too keen mind you 😀


I am getting married in September 2013 too! We are going to Vegas with a group of close family and friends around us, but then having a big party for everyone when we get back from honeymoon, which I plan on organising using every creative contact I have! I too am avoiding all wedding magazines and wedding fayres because we’re trying to keep the budget to a minimum and cannot afford to get distracted! As a former bank adviser, the best advice I can offer for anyone is decide on your budget for everything first and keep that at the front of your mind at all times, although with your super-thrifty ways I think you’ll nail it! x


Although my marriage didn’t turn out so well, the wedding was fab, and sounds a lot like the one you’re planning! We had 13 guests (close family and three friends) and held our reception in my mother in law’s garden. We had a big barbeque, which was great because everyone could cook their own so no-one got lumbered with the catering! It was so much fun, and I felt really relaxed because I didn’t have to ‘work the room’ and make sure everyone was ok!

Happy wedding planning!



Urgh, the “when’s the wedding” We had that about 5 minutes after we’d got engaged. Give us chance!! 😉
So exciting you are getting married next year, love hearing all about it and your plans sound beautiful so far.
I’m also avoiding bridal mags, too much pressure. Instead me and Andy are planning the day we want, with family and friends. All happening at a lovely country hotel complete with hog roast. 🙂
My dress, hair and make up are completely under wraps until the big day though.

Jessica Devonport

Should the time ever come, I will have a very low key “bring a skill” wedding. Rather than people giving wedding presents I would rather they offered something towards the weddng, so I have a friend who teaches photography so I would ask him for a few photos, that sort of thing.

I think there are far more important things to spend thousands of pounds on, rather than just one day.



Jen, you speak of marquees, but I just saw some images the other day of a wedding in a back garden with a YURT/TEEPEE marquee thing. It was dressed up all vintage and looked AMAZING. I would so do it myself! I hope you think this is a good idea! Will link a picture if you like, tweet me @tobeapoet and I’ll send it you 🙂 xo


I loved reading this! Our date is next September too and I too have been saving and finding vintage crockery since I got engaged but obviously have much less than you! We’re doing ours in central Leeds but it’s still going to be pretty homemade/rustic. I’ve been running through my ideas for homemade favours all afternoon. So exciting! And I love your wedding pinterest board too xx


I went to a wedding the other week that was absolutely lovely, so many little personal things. They’d spent three months making 5 origami birds each every night! There was a tree and a supply of parcel tags so people could leave personal messages tied to the tree. The tables were decorated with flowers from the groom’s parents’ garden and lavender plants grown by the bride. The band was composed of her workmates and they both played a song with them. Oh, and homebrewed beer and elderflower champagne! I could go on!
I think the thing that’s really important is to make it yours, there’s so much on Pinterest but you can’t possibly do it all and lots of it won’t fit. The things that will make your guests tear up will be the little personal touches 🙂


Hi we got engaged years ago too but its hard to find time to plan the wedding lol. I want a similar homemade wedding too. Ooh and I’m a teacher! 😉 I bet your day will bebe amazing! x


Hey there, I work at a private house in Cheshire. We love a good old vintage wedding and having read this post I jumped at the opportunity to share them with you.

We recently had a bride who I think you’d get on just perfect with, she runs a fabulous blog including many posts in the run up to her own special day. There were some fab home made creations inc. table number holders and lots of vintage additions inc. china

We also did one at Christmas that I think you may like. Slightly less of the home made but still the perfect vintage touch.

I hope you enjoy 🙂 good luck with all the planning!
Hannah –


I’m from a country where most weddings are “home made” 🙂 There’s no point in spending a ton of money on a magazine wedding 🙂 My husband organised our wedding in 6 months (I don’t like event planning much), it took place in rural Australia and our photos have cows in the background 🙂


Since you are an Internet whizz I’m assuming you’ve already checked out Rock n Roll Bride, but if not you really must! Tonnes of great wedding inspiration there, with lots of DIY/homemade/vintage stuff – including some cute tutorials. I’m constantly in awe of the way people manage to DIY so many beautiful things, I’m really clumsy when it comes to that sort of thing! xoxo


Have you seen the movie Rachel Getting Married? The backyard wedding is beautiful (not homemade, as it’s in a movie haha, but so lovely). Really, you should watch it, there might be some good ideas in there. Also it’s a fantastic movie.


You are definitely going about this the right way and I”m sure it will be lovely and YES to Jenny Packham!

Maria xxx


We were engaged for five years, so I no all about those annoying ‘when’t the wedding questions. A home made wedding sounds perfect! I wanted to try and do as much of mine, home-made stylee, but I’m so disorganised that I ran out of time to make most of my ideas…rubbish! Good luck, Niki x


Although not totally homemade, I highly recommend these cake toppers from Etsy:

I had a teacher (obvs!) friend paint them and gave her a photo of my dress. The results were stunning & the toppers live on my mantlepiece.

We also managed to find a reclaimed A-frame blackboard & used this to direct people to the ceremony room & used the other side for the seating plan. Looks vintage & is cheaper & less cookie-cutter than average seating charts.

Good luck!


I had a big fat homemade wedding nearly 8 years ago now and can heartily recommend it. Here are some of the things that worked for us:

Clear glass wine bottles as vases for flowers and grasses. I used a combination of shop bought flowers and grasses from the garden and had lots of them.

Ditto clean jam jars and glass yoghurt pots with tea lights.

Chocolate brownies and cup cakes instead of traditional cake. I used a glass IKEA cake stand on a large white plate and loaded it all up to look really abundant.

Clean stones with names written on in silver pen for place settings

Good luck Jen I’m sure with your creativity it will be wonderful.


Hi Jen, I’m also planning a 2013 wedding here in the heart of very traditional Indiana. Off Beat Bride,, if you haven’t already discovered it, has been a great help for me planning a DIY wedding and seeing how other non traditional, budget concious couples have planned their wedding. Also Martha Stewart Wedding is one of the quintessential bridal magazines here but her website as a load of free downloadable templates. I’ve managed to make a ton of great paper flowers for mere cents!


Me and my husband got married back in August 2010 after a two year engagement. Before that I hadn’t made a single thought about weddings, I’m not one to enjoy being the centre of the attention so the thought of a massive wedding with all eyes on me was making me sick so naturally we went for a small affair with just close family then a big knees up for the evening do with all of our bestest friends.

The amount of money people spend on weddings makes me a little bit woozy, my dress ended up costing £90 as I went to a department store and picked out end-of-season dress material (the concept of material going out of season confused me really, but I’m not really into ‘high fashion’) and my amazing seamstress auntie made it for me. The thought that people can spend upwards of £10,000 on one day is just so alien to me… that’s a decent car or a great start on a house deposit!!


Hi Jen. I am relatively new to your blog and just read about your wedding preparations – congratulations.

Me and by now husband did a homemade wedding in March this year and I too sourced lots of vintage china. I have lots that I am hoping to sell and wondered if you might be interested? I have a little vintage and homemade craft business set up which was inspired by my wedding. The facebook page is

Just in case your interested! 🙂

Adele x
P.S. Love your blog – love your style.


I got engaged NYE and everyone keeps asking if we have set a date yet which is driving me nuts!! How did you bat everyone off for so long!?!
We certainly want a homemade wedding too and are trying to find somewhere we can have a marquee without paying £2000 just for ground rent! Unfortunately no one has a big enough garden tho!
Good luck on the wedding plans!



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