Picture a wedding, and a few standards will probably come to mind. The food, the flowers, the styling and everything in between were once kept to a narrow choice of traditional offerings.
For a Western-style wedding, for example, this would mean a white gown, a pristine multi-tier cake, and a strategically unflattering line-up of bridesmaids’ dresses, all put together under the watchful eye of a wedding planner. Now, however, with a rising trend for personalisation, more and more brides and grooms-to-be are moving away from tradition and taking the DIY approach.
It’s easy to see the appeal – being more hands-on means couples can personalise everything from favours to food, learn new skills and have more control over their day. Planning the day themselves also means more flexibility with their theme, so couples can craft a bespoke wedding that truly represents them and their relationship. As Norfolk-based Emma Kuntze, an early adopter who took the DIY route for her 2011 wedding, puts it, ‘People like to feel that what they’re doing is somehow reflective of them as individuals – a cookie-cutter wedding never appealed.’ Anna Byrne, a London-based editor who married in 2015, echoes this sentiment, saying ‘We wanted our wedding to be memorable, and to feel like it came from us as a couple.’
As DIY weddings have taken off, more and more resources have appeared, providing valuable support to those who may have once found the idea too daunting. Emma chose website Rock My Wedding, launched in 2009 by Charlotte O’Shea, to help her plan the day of her dreams. Her commitment to the DIY approach even earned her the title of ‘a true RMW bride’ from Charlotte.
The site is a valuable resource for many would-be wedding planners, providing not only ideas for every part of the day, but also a list of hand-picked suppliers, tutorials for the more complicated touches and inspirational wedding photos from other couples. Emma’s inspiration came from time spent in the States – where she’d seen an emerging trend for ‘alternative’ weddings – and from her and her fiancé’s pre-marriage life spent travelling the globe – particularly Japan. Taking place in a licensed barn in Cornwall, Emma’s big day had a heavy Japanese influence, with the space festooned with origami cranes and colourful koinobori (koi carp flags). The DIY touches spanned from the decor right down to a photo booth hand-crafted by her fiancé from plywood and a recycled circuit board.