Scroll through Pinterest and there’s one wedding trend that crops up again and again: homemade. ‘Arts and crafts’ meets ‘vintage chic’, the homemade wedding is characterised by hand-illustrated invitations, novelty cake stands and mason jar tea light holders. Charity shops and crafts fairs are your outlets of choice and your eye for a bargain and creative flair will come into play.
But what is it about second-hand style that appeals to the modern bride?
According to Wedding Days (http://www.weddingdays.co.uk/), the answer is simple. ‘The price of getting married is at an all-time high, and couples are looking for ways to reduce their wedding costs without compromising on the quality and style of their ceremony’. It’s true: once you take into account the venue, the dress and suit, the catering and the honeymoon, the average wedding bill is estimated at over £20,000.
A homemade wedding allows you to trim your budget without cutting corners. Whether that means swapping your three-course meal for a ‘pot luck’ buffet, where guests bring dishes to share around, or creating natural table arrangements out of large pinecones and gifting them to your guests as favours, crafting your wedding by hand is a truly affordable way to tie the knot.
But the reasons for homemade weddings go beyond saving money. By recruiting your artistic nephew to design your seating plan, or your fashionable cousin to do your hair and makeup, the end result is a wedding that is unique and personalised down to the last detail. These are the people that know you the best, making their contribution to your big day all the more meaningful.
After all, at the most important party of your life, wouldn’t you want your family and friends to be involved as much as possible?
Homemade weddings are also an antidote to today’s reality TV culture. When planning their dream wedding, some brides and grooms-to-be try to mirror the elaborate productions they’ve seen on screen and become obsessed with trivial details, like the size of their centrepieces and the calligraphy on their place cards. When this happens, the focus of the day becomes impressing others, and in all the glitz and glamour, the big picture is lost.
This is why there is something very down-to-earth about a homemade wedding. I have been to reception venues where snapshots of the happy couple were pinned around the room with wooden clothes pegs. This warm and completely personal decoration cost nothing more than the printing the photos.
I have been to services where literally hundreds of tea lights glowed from jam jars in every alcove and on every window ledge. Every one represented the kindness of a friend or relative who had saved and washed their empty jars and helped to light the candles on the day. And I have even seen the bride herself, a talented jazz and blues artist, perform at her own reception. Each of these unique celebrations left me with an impression of warmth and individuality that remained long after the cake had been polished off and the honeymoon tans had faded.
While homemade weddings certainly aren’t for every bride and groom, there are certain aspects that you can take and apply to every ceremony. Involving your family and friends as much as possible and focusing on the celebration, rather than the canapés, is a great place to start.