DIY Wedding Ideas

I began planning my wedding this time last year and I was always thinking about how I could do something myself in order to keep to our budget as well as wanting to make our wedding day as personal as we could despite having a big guest list. Of course I wish I’d been more organised about it and began the decorations earlier on so that we could have done more ourselves but time ticks away so fast before you know it you’ve a matter of weeks to go!

There are so many things you can make yourself for your wedding and the web is full of thousands of them. My advice would be to just pick a small handful that you really like, that you think you’ll be able to do, and that you think you have the time to do. Have a short list of essential ones you’d like to make, and another list of ones you’d like to make if you have the extra time.

I’ve had a gander and picked a few of my favourite handmade wedding ideas and I’ve popped in some of the things I made for our wedding..


Retro Typewriter

 Image taken from:

Invites. We decided to just write little letters to our guests to invite them to our wedding. We bought some nice paper from an art shop and wrote our letters. On the bottom of each letter we had brief wedding details printed from our computer (location, times etc) and the rest of the space we wrote a personal message to each guest. It was time consuming but made it very personal.

ceramic hanging pots

 Image by Giulia Zonza

I did admittedly leave it quite late to do my wedding decorations as I had such a busy summer in the studio but I did have time to make these ceramic hanging pots. I used terracotta clay and porcelain and made them on the pottery wheel. I glazed them with a thick white tin glaze and a sky blue stoneware glaze. I wrapped strong string around them and hung them from nails on the outside of our barn. I filled them with little plants I bought from a local garden centre. I loved them and they were all taken home by the bridesmaids!

If you’re not able to make the ceramic version though you could have a go at this gorgeous glass version:


Hanging flower jars

 Image taken from:

We really wanted to keep our decorations quite simple and to concentrate on having plenty of flowers. My dad sourced plenty of glass vases from charity shops and we filled them full with flowers my dad grew on his allotment and extras we got from a flower market early one morning. I love this idea of having the jars filled with flowers hanging with strong string creating a very pretty wall decoration.

Wedding favour ideas

Image by Giulia Zonza

 Favours. For our wedding favours I wanted to give everyone a little bunch of our flowers from the day. I made these tiny porcelain name tags so that the favours doubled as place settings. They measured around 2cm in length and had each persons name stamped into them with little dots of colour dropped onto them. I used some thread to wrap them around the little bunch of flowers. This could be replicated using a paper or card version of a name tag and you could use any colour you liked, hand write them or type them.

diy Tablerunner

Image by Giulia Zonza

Tablerunners. We spent ages researching tablecloths! It was going to cost a lot to buy enough and similar to hire them. Luckily my clever friend suggested just using the thick paper ones which were a fraction of the price. We bought ours from Wilkinsons. So to liven up our tables I decided to make some table runners which wasn’t as time consuming as you’d think. We went to Abakhans Fabric house in Liverpool and chose some striped French style fabric. I worked out the dimensions we’d need, cut the fabric up, then hemmed the edges on my sewing machine. If you don’t have a sewing machine you could just use pinking sheers. This is also a job that if you cut the sizes up you could maybe hand them over to a family member or friend to hem for you. They looked very pretty with our flowers on top and the little porcelain tags at each persons seat.

diy Buttonholes

Image from: DIY herbal bouttonnieres.

 Buttonholes. We made our buttonholes ourselves. We made tiny bunches of flowers and wrapped bakers twine around the stems and used pins to pop them into place on the ushers jackets. It worked really well. We made them the day before the wedding and just sprayed them with water a couple of times before they were worn. I came across these gorgeous ones pictured above which would be lovely to make. I love herbs and lavender and it would be nice to smell them all day! These would hold really well too as the stems are so sturdy.

wedding bouquet ideas

Image by Giulia Zonza

Bouquet. I wanted a small wedding bouquet. The day before the wedding my two sisters made mine and the bridesmaids bouquets. We had all the flowers we had laid out on a table and they just made them up how they liked. Out of the 9 they made I chose this one which had tiny daisies, gypsophila and purple heather in it. They were all similar sizes with slightly different flowers and layout. They wrapped the stems in the bakers twine and we kept them in a bucket of water overnight and they were perfect the next day.
floral arch

Image by Giulia Zonza

Entrance. I bought some thick garden wire from B&Q and we (my sisters again!) made this archway to the wedding barn the day before. We nailed a garden trellis to each side then used the wire across the top. Then we wound the greenery around the trellises and the wire before popping in the flowers into any gaps. We sprayed it with water and it survived with only slight drooping of some of the sunflowers for the next day.
 origami bird decorations
Image from:
I wish I’d come across these gorgeous origami birds before my wedding…I really really would have put in the many hours needed to make hundreds of them! I love origami and once you’ve got the pattern right (and the web is full of online tutorials) then the only equipment you need is paper. This is a job to get everyone involved in. Teach all your bridemaids and family and you could have hundreds of them before you know it!
porcelain Tea lights
Image by Giulia Zonza
I also had time to make these little porcelain tea lights with gold plated wire handles. Surprisingly we didn’t need that many to give a lovely light. We placed them on a shelves either side to our entrance outside the barn. I think I had 8 each side and they looked really pretty at night. Candlelight if your venue allows really gives a more romantic, magical light and tea lights are so easy to come by and don’t need any electrical supply!
homemade Perfume
Extras. When you were younger, did you used to collect lots of petals and make your own perfume? I did and I loved doing it and thinking about it makes me feel very nostalgic. I thought it would be such a lovely idea to make your own perfume for the wedding.The internet is full of different recipes and you could make it as complicated or as easy as you liked. You could place jars of it in the bathrooms, maybe even a more herby scented one for the gents! If you really had plenty of time you could make lots of tiny jars of it up as wedding favours. But I do remember it lasts only a week or so, so its probably a job to do closer to the wedding date but wouldn’t it just be the loveliest extra ever!
wedding cake ideas
Image by Giulia Zonza
And so I’ve saved the best till last. The Cake! My sisters…again…decided that they wanted to make our wedding cake and I was all for it. After a lot of trial and error (or so I hear) they made a 3 tiered wedding cake all by themselves. They made 100 tiny icing daisies too which they covered the cake in and each layer was a different flavour. My favourite cake when we were growing up (and still is) was angel cake. The top layer was a delicious angel cake. I saw it for the first time on the wedding day and I had no idea what they were making. We loved it!


my top picks of the week

By the end of the week I always notice that the desktop of my laptop is covered in photos and saved websites of all sorts of things that I’ve seen, loved and appreciated. So I thought it would be nice to pick some and share them with you. I’ve narrowed it down to 5 (forgive me…one of them is shamelessly mine!) and I hope you enjoy them…

First up is Caitlin Shearer, a painter and textile designer based in Sydney.

Caitlin Shearer

I found her work via my favourite magazine, ‘Frankie’ as she has recently done the illustration for their front cover. Her illustrations and paintings are beautifully real and sweet. It makes me miss my life drawing classes from college and I wish I could paint like this!


My second pick is my studio neighbour ‘Illustration by Lucy E Wilson Design

Lucy Illustrates

Lucy’s work evolves around contemporary illustrative design that still grasps themes and techniques from the traditional. I think I could be Lucy’s biggest fan and she never makes something that I don’t want to buy! Which is bad when you are next door to her! I’ve recently bought this print and it looks perfect in a black wooden frame in our bathroom.


Thirdly is Chiara Scarpitti an Italian jewellery designer

chiara scarpitti

This collection of jewellery is inspired by ancient images of flora and fauna. I came across these intriguing pieces as they are currently being exhibited at a beautiful gallery in Venice called ‘Oh My Blue’ love to follow the exhibitions at this gallery, its a great way to see whats happening in Europe and the standard is so high.


Fourth choice of the week is one of my wall pieces,

Porcelain wall piece

  Photo by Tony Richards.

As I’m sure many of us do in January, I’ve had a major clear out of my home and studio. I’ve been meaning to put up so many things I’ve bought over the years and I’ve finally got round to it. So my house walls are now full of beautiful paintings, prints and my porcelain wall pieces plan to make more of these this year..I’m going to need more walls!!


And finally a beautiful one to finish on…the exquisite work of Emily Notman,

Emily Notman

Emily Notman

Working from her studio at Unit Twelve Gallery Emily creates bespoke textile installations mixing media and building up tactile delicate surfaces. I met Emily a couple of years ago doing craft shows and instantly loved her work, luckily for me she likes my work too so we do the most wonderful swaps!! And for my last swap I got one of her wall pieces..I am thrilled with it, and every time I pass it, I notice something new.


Thank-you for reading, wishing you all a wonderful weekend x x



reflections on a great year

Marie Canning hair pins

I love to read how other businesses are progressing and have enjoyed their reviews of the year. I thought it would be a good chance for me to reflect on my own year. When I sat down to begin this I wondered how on earth I would fill 12 months but as I thought about it I realised quite a lot has gone on this year and I think I’ll always look back on 2014 as a year of big changes for me and my business.

This time last year feels like a life time ago..and there have been a lot of changes to my work since. A big change was my step into the world of silver smithing..something I’d touched on in university. After a course in January I now make tiny silver cups and holders which my precious porcelain pieces sit into, making my jewellery much stronger. I’ve had two great photoshoots and a very exciting wedding…but I really should get started…so hear I go…

So hears a little round up of my year…


Petit porcelain pots

January is my favourite month of the year. Its a time for lots of planning, list making, research and having a really good sort out! This year I began January with a research trip to beautiful Paris, my favourite city. It was cold but wonderful..I loved wondering the streets, visiting galleries, drinking coffee and eating crepes. When I came home I began making these tiny porcelain lidded pots on the pottery wheel. I decorated them all with tiny porcelain details, gold petals and silver wired handles. I realised they were the result of my inspiring visits to many a patisserie! Its funny how you can be so inspired from something as simple as food! I exhibited these little pots at later in the year. I hate to part with them…they are just far too sweet.


Hothouse 4 Crafts council

After a nerve wracking interview at the Crafts Council in London I began Hothouse. ( Hothouse is a scheme for new makers lead by the Crafts Council. It is a program of business support alongside creative development and has been vital for me to figure out where my business is heading and who I am as a designer. The things I learnt over the 6 months on the scheme I will be putting into practice for years to come. Any newly set up businesses I would really recommend applying for this program. I also met lots of wonderfully talented and like minded makers who are all early on in their careers. They really kept me going during some of the intensive sessions.


Little Ivory Rose Halo H03

In March I had my first photoshoot of the year with the fabulous Giulia Zonza The lovely ladies at The White Closet Eve and Nikki were so kind to let us use their beautiful boutique for the day. I love having photoshoots….it pushes you to get a collection finished and makes you proud once you get the images back. For new makers out there I can say for sure that having good images has been so vital to my business and is worth every penny! Thank-you Giulia, Eve and Nikki.


porcelain rose rings

So April is a little turning point in the year for me where I need to have all my summer pieces ready and heading to the shops. It’s a really exciting time when you begin to finish all your collections for stockists and start sending them out. This year a big newbie were my porcelain rose rings set in sterling silver. I was really pleased with them and already have plans for new rings for 2015!


porcelain Jewellery

May was the month Marie Canning hit the shelves of Brighton and Bristol! I began stocking two wonderful craft and jewellery shops; Made Just So  and Brass Monkeys They have been so nice to work with and I’m very grateful for their support.


contemporary craft fair

The most manic time of year is preparing for a show and June 2014 saw me getting ready for the huge Contemporary Craft Festival in Devon Despite the hectic build up it is always great to actually meet customers and to network with other makers. It was also wonderful to meet Victoria Sewart there, whose beautiful contemporary jewellery gallery in Plymouth I now stock


rose porcelain pendants

July was pretty crazy…Marie Canning went international! And pretty much as far from England as you can get….New Zealand! I’ve visited New Zealand twice and it is the most beautiful country with the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. I was so delighted to be stocking the gorgeous Primrose and Finch in Auckland  Thank-you Kerry for having me!


Cluster of Roses Halo

August was a busy month for me with my bridal accessories. I loved getting pieces finished and sent off to brides. It is so exciting to be a part of somebodies special day. I also began stocking at a new and very cool bridal boutique in London called Heart Aflutter The boutique was opened and is ran by Cecilia Di Vita who is all about showcasing independent designers. This boutique is one to watch, the dress designers are out of this can read more about it via this blog post by the GB Wedding 


me and paul

Actually September was most definately the craziest month because thats when I squeezed in my wedding! You can read about it on my previous blog post here and I’ll pop more photos up in the new year. I made a lemon rose on gold halo to wear which I wish I could wear everyday!


the bluecoat mostyn gallery

Wedding over I had 3 weeks back in the studio until my honeymoon..and good job too as I had two more collections to make for new stockists The Bluecoat Display Centre in Liverpool and Mostyn Gallery in Llandudno I visit the Bluecoat a lot with it being so close to me and I never believed I would stock there! The staff are so lovely…you really should pop in. Mostyn Gallery has such a beautiful shop full of amazing pieces and in a wonderful location. Thank-you to Maureen and Barry!


Gold Petal Pendant - P01

Just about returned from my honeymoon and I’ve a new collection in the White Closet Bridal Boutique in Manchester I have worked with the White Closet for two years now and I’m so happy that they saw something special in my work when I first met them. They are a joy to work with, so friendly and welcoming. I made a ‘Something Blue’ collection which is exclusively available at the White Closet and features a collection of duck egg and cornflower blue coloured porcelain accessories. I look forwards to blogging about the collection in 2015.


jewellery collectionDecember was the month my new website was completed and was also the month I gained enormous respect for all those web designers out there!! It really is another language and one Pete Ruane from We Are Life patiently walked me through. I am so happy to have it up and running and to be able to do regular blog posts like this….in fact my new years resolution is to keep blogging!!


Thank-you everyone for reading, I hope 2014 was a great year for you all but I hope 2015 is even better. Wishing my stockists, customers and followers a very very happy new year x x