In praise of home crafted festivities and celebrations

Logos on BuntingLogos on BuntingThis morning I heard on the radio how someone thought it was a pity firework night had become so professional. He missed the old-fashioned back garden sparklers and pathetic rockets. But I thought; that was just what we were planning on doing! A back garden sparkler and maybe even a mini bonfire, if we can find enough space.

Home made events are so much more fun – the thought put into them, the preparation and the economy of making something from nothing.

On Halloween night the little ‘monsters’ who came knocking on the door were just as happy to have their costumes praised (or rather told they were horrible) as to be given sweets (after I had run out of them). It was obvious they had loads of fun putting on some make up and dressing up in improvised costume – to my mind far more effective than just a bought costume. Decorations are great to make as well. What is better than a carved pumpkin lantern?

Recently, a local W.I. group made the news for having such a long queue of women wanting to join – yes, I was there. I think this reflects how people want to be involved in the community and have fun learning new skills.

Many of these principles can be applied to other family festivities – Christmas, Birthdays and don’t forget Weddings as well.

What can you do to add your own personal touch and contribution?

Personalise Your Country Style Wedding

With all the lovely local apples at their best at the moment I was inspired with this idea – which you still have time to add as a finishing touch to an Autumn country style wedding.

appleFeature an apple as the base of place, table settings or decorations.

Use the method as described in Save the Date blog to make labels, and adjust to a suitable size/scale. Use a wooden skewer to thread through and push into an apple.

At different times of the year you can use other seasonal fruits, as long as they are firm enough to take the weight of the skewer and not go squishy.

This style of banner label can also be used to display on cakes or flower arrangements.

jam & wine2

If you are lucky enough to have a family member or friend to make jam as favours, give the jars a special home made label too.

You could customise wine or water bottles for the tables in a similar way.

Remember to measure your jar or bottle to make the right size label to fit.

Wedding Invitations – making your own

There are many guides on the formal etiquette of traditional wedding invitations. But, if you would like to make your own contemporary invitation there are only a few things you need to remember – ‘Who, Why, What, Where, When’.

When producing your own invitation, you don’t need to worry about the precedent of whose names come first – which order you put the information in is up to you. The most important thing is that you let your family and friends know all the details of your wedding and that they will be in the right place at the right time.

Who – you are inviting. It saves confusion and embarrassment to spell out exactly who is included in the invitation (children, partners?) Write names, if possible.

Who – is doing the inviting, yourselves or parents?

Why – to celebrate your wedding – don’t forget to say who you are*.

What – the ceremony, the reception, a party? Let everyone know which part of the celebrations they are being invited to – all or part.

Where – each part of the wedding is taking place. You may like to add a separate more detailed sheet with maps, transport links and suggestions of places to stay.


When – date, times.


Additional considerations

Reply – also include whom guests should reply to, address and a by-when date. To make this simple you could include an addressed card they just complete and return.

Size – something else you may want to consider is envelope size and postage. Look at everything you are thinking of including – what size envelope will be needed to fit it in and how much will it cost to post?

Web page – There are dedicated sites where you can easily set up your own website. You can include information about the venue, travel, gifts – anything you would like to share with your family and guests. New information and details can be updated quickly.

* A really romantic way to do this is with a personalised Romantic Type wedding logo.

Environmentally Friendly Weddings

Here are some ideas to help make your wedding more environmentally, ecologically and ethically friendly. You may like to consider about how and where items have been produced – fairtrade, sustainability, food miles and workers conditions. It will also give you an even greater feelgood factor to your special day and there is no need to compromise on style.

  • Have your own Wedding Website
There are dedicated online sites where you can easily set up your own website. You can include information about the venue, travel, gifts – anything you would like to share with your family and guests. Combine save-the-date and invitations to the website and send out by email.
All this saves using paper and envelopes and postage costs. New information and details can be updated quickly.
  • Email stationery 
Send out your invitations and information by email.
  • Printed stationery
When printing your stationery look at recycled, FSC, or other fibre (non wood pulp) paper options.
  • Make your own
Make stationery and decorations yourself from reused and scrap items.
  • Favours
Think of something individual and long-lasting.
  • ‘Pre-loved’ and Vintage items
Many items can be found from second-hand shops, car boot sales or ebay. From little details for decorating invitations or tables to the wedding dress itself.
  • Hire
Many items can also be hired instead of being bought. This way there is no wastage.
  • Reuse
Choose things, that you would like to buy, that can be reused or passed on to others.
  • Gold 
There is a new certificate of Fairtrade and Fairmined gold to ensure gold is mined responsibly. Check for this when you buy your rings.
  • Organic, Seasonal, Local
Think about where your food and flowers are sourced from.
  • Flowers Get double the enjoyment of your flower arrangements by moving them from the wedding ceremony to the reception.
  • Travel
Look at organising shared transport for guests coming from the same area or to travel between venues – a double-decker bus?
There are many beautiful places to honeymoon in the UK as opposed to ‘long haul’.
  • Numbers
Think carefully on how many guests you invite. Obviously the more you have the larger the impact – financially and environmentally. Fewer people can be more intimate, just as much fun and you can get a chance to enjoy everyone’s company.
  • Gift list
If you are lucky enough to already possess sufficient household items, think about a charity you would like your guests to support instead of buying you a superfluous gift. Alternatively, you can ask for ‘Promises’ of gifts in kind such as to help create a new garden for your home.