Creative, unique wedding registry ideas

via Design Aglow

So, maybe you already have full kitchen cupboards at your house, are particular about your personal aesthetic and/or would like to support independent, small businesses and crafty creatives instead of large department stores. Perhaps you would prefer to add to a holiday or home renovation fund, add some quirky experiences to your wedding gift wish list or ask your guests to donate to charity instead of a more traditional registry option.

I have done some work hunting out some really unique gift registries for the couple who don’t necessarily want to spend the day in a department store with a scanner!

♦ Check out this couple’s wedding registry – Diptyque candles, Japanese washi paper tape or a Diana instant camera yes PLEASE!  After their wedding they created their own wedding registry website called Mercy Registry, where you can add anything, from any shop. That is too good.

Not sure I could go past an Etsy wedding registry – I hope to be selling on there myself in the next couple of months and think it would be the bestest to be able to sell my jewellery for someone to gift a bride!

♦ From the Owl is a gorgeous, special wedding registry which I could pore over for a long time. I want everything! You can even get a Doppio bike (check this one out – yum!)

Honeyfund is a great registry for couples wanting to travel. The thing I love about this is that you can actually select certain experiences in the place you are honeymooning/travelling to and ask people to gift those.

♦ If you have everything your heart desires and want to ask guests to donate to charity, Karma Currency and Oxfam Unwrapped are excellent choices.

I also found a couple of quite designer focused Australian wedding registries – try the Wedding List Co for some more mainstream brands (Kate Spade, Marimekko, Florence Broadhurst among many many others) or the Melbourne Wedding Registry for classy, hi-tech kitchen and home appliances.

Don’t forget to take pictures of you both using and experiencing the lovely pressies and send to the person who gifted – such a nice touch!


Banning overwhelm instalment two – DIY (magic or madness?)

Photography credits: Ladder by Abby Jiu Photography via Style Me Pretty, Rose in bottle by Tori and Sal

Over the past few years, there has been such a proliferation in the amount of blogs, magazines, websites and books which deal with/promote/espouse crafty, unique, DIY weddings. There are lots of different reasons why people invest a lot of time in ‘doing it yourself’, but I think the main ones are being able to express yourself creatively and add an individual touch to your day, save money and/or you genuinely enjoy crafting and making things yourself.

Now, I LOVE me a crafty wedding! I adore all the lovely, visual, creative jazz you have license to create for – luxe centre pieces, individualised invites, twinkly lights and personalised detailing. That makes sense, I do have a blog which is mainly about weddings after all, and I love dreaming up creative projects and crafting. In saying that, I am known for over extending myself, perfectionism and working a little too hard. In other words, being a little bit nutty!

As well as wedding day beauty, I want to promote and value non-wankery (if there is such a word?), realness and sanity on A Cast of Two. It concerns me at times that weddings can be so competitive, as in, who is able to express the most creativity or echo their personal style in every little detail of the day.

Check out this vid as an example of some of the cringe factor that weddings can bring out in people!

In fact, I know that it is becoming more and more common for people these days to strive to create a wedding that is ‘blog worthy’, so it gets picked up and featured. I think it is more important to aim for a beautiful balance, designing a day which takes place in beautiful surroundings and makes you feel super lovely, but focuses on the things that really matter – your loved ones, the food and bev, music and most importantly, ensuring that you are your partner have an amazingly special day which just tickles you pink, without the headaches.

I know that a major trap excitable brides fall in to (and oh god can I see this happening to me!) is that they set out with the grand intention of having a crafty, indie wedding but realise that everyday life can get in the way of creating 200 origami cranes, 100 personalised favours, detailed bunting and sourcing gorgeous vintage finds for the guest book table. I could go on, yes I could! It is so easy to end up stressed and overwhelmed, rather than basking in the exciting glow of planning such a special event which already has so many different components to take into consideration.

Or, maybe the thought of a moustache on a stick makes you cringe, or you are just not the kind of couple who want to bop around holding up signs with something cute written on them, and that is ok too, despite what Pinterest is telling you!

Here are my thoughts on how to inject some thoughtful, creative crafting and DIY into your wedding, without losing the hair you want to be so luscious and plentiful on your big day!

Keep your crafting and DIY reflective of who you are as a couple. Just because something is fashionable in the wedding world doesn’t mean you have to have that as a feature in your wedding. Go with what you love and are naturally drawn to, and this will keep you feeling connected to the day and what it is really about – a celebration of your love and impending marriage.

Set a budget for the parts of your wedding that you choose to do yourself. If you don’t, it will easily spiral out of control once the craft store pixies lures you into their magical cave.

Don’t be a masochist or control freak! Get your friends involved and have a craft day – put on some snacks and drinkies and go nuts.

If crafting doesn’t come naturally to you, think of some ways you can add a creative touch without actually physically making anything. You can use paper lanterns, beautifully coloured glass bottles, arrangements of pretty things on trays, scatter delightful and unique items on a table top and so on and so on and so on.

If limited time is a factor, focus on creating large, eye catching pieces such rather than worrying about smaller details. This is where a beautiful, dramatic ceremony backdrop, effective suspended floral or lighting, cool collages, a sweet photo booth area and larger scale table settings come into it, as just some of the many ideas you can conjure up.

Photo credit: Laura Kaufmann via 52 Flea

Use the venue space you have chosen wisely. If there is an arch way, hang prettiness from it, or if there is an unsightly corner or area, cover it with lanterns, balloons or textile goodness.

I could go on for a long time, but for the sake of the word count in this post, my last words of wisdom are that unless you are a makeup artist, don’t DIY your makeup! You will have so much more fun relaxing while someone else does it for you, and will hopefully be able to get in a cheeky little glass of something bubbly and nerve calmy while it is happening.

Photo Credit: Steven Michael Photo via 100 Layer Cake

I will leave you with some links to some seriously awesome DIY tutorials, plucked from the plethora of online DIY ideas you can find with the click of your mouse. Go and craft to your heart’s content, but remember, a calm bride to be is nicest for everyone involved (especially the groom!).

A stunning ceremony backdrop

Make your own beautiful flower crown…and another lovely option for you here

Beautiful feather boutonnieres

A mecca of DIY wedding craft ideas from the goddesses at A Practical Wedding

Photo credit: Top EE Photography via Ruffled Blog, bottom via A Beautiful Mess

Banning overwhelm instalment one – the venue

Via Ensemble Magazine

When chatting to people who are newly engaged or planning a wedding, there is a very common theme. Overwhelm! There is such a massive proliferation of wedding inspiration at your fingertips these day, which can make it really difficult to work out what it is you actually want, and how to make that happen without driving yourself crazy!

In this series, I plan to don my event coordinator cap and provide some practical advice on how to get what you want sorted in your noggin so you can go forth and plan with confidence, panache and ease!

I think one of the first things to get straight is that this is NOT a competition. With all of the arty, creative and craftily stylish weddings out there it can be so easy to get sucked in to believing that your guests won’t think your wedding is beautiful unless you have the whole place packed out with cute knick knacks and decorations. Although pouring over magazines, blogs and Pinterest can be a fun way to get ideas that you love, (and of course, crafting can save you money and be heaps of fun), it is worth bearing in mind that the most important thing is that you marry the one you love in an environment you feel totally happy and comfortable in.

SO, you are engaged and have started the planning process. The venue is normally one of the first things that people like to lock in, but it can be easier said than done, as a lot of different factors come into play – the size of your guest list, your location, the budget and of course, your personal preference as to the type of space/place you would like to celebrate in. Even if you aren’t interested in crafting or DIY, it is probably still important for you to have a wedding venue which reflects your vision of what constitutes a fun event, as well as having the ability to add flourish and personality the way only you can.

I have an exercise for you…

Close your eyes, and picture your dream wedding. You may not quite understand at this stage what that actually consists of, so I would like you to focus on trying to pull together an idea of how things FEEL. Try and push aside all of the images you have got floating around in your mind from the thousands of pictures you have seen (Pinterest I’m looking at you!) and really connect with what you want, keeping in mind your natural style and personal aesthetic. After each question, note down what came to your mind, as this will help you to make things more concrete.

* What are your guests doing while they eat? Standing around eating canapes and mingling, or sitting down and chatting over a meal?

Different venues suit different function styles, so if you see your guests standing around and being able to mingle freely, you know that you can have a smaller and more intimate space suitable to a cocktail style event, or alternatively an outdoor venue, as it will be easier to feed your guests. A cocktail style wedding can be held at a quirky bar, on a rooftop venue, in an intimate art gallery or in a garden or backyard. A seated meal is a little trickier as you need more space, but there are still plenty of options – a winery, a restaurant, special designated wedding venue, and of course you can always have it in a hall/warehouse space and hire the required elements which make a successful seated meal. Of course, I am only listing a small amount of venues as I don’t want this post to go on forever! Let your imagination guide you, and do a specific internet search using some of the key words you relate to – elegant, modern, rustic, contemporary, unique, relaxed, simple, traditional, dramatic and the list goes on.

* What is the mood of your mental picture? Sophisticated and classy? Classic and refined? Colourful, boozy and full of dancing? Grand and ostentatious? This is really important – if you see people in black or white tie attire sipping Bollinger the chances are you are wasting your time looking for a field or a cosy cottage (unless of course you want the juxtaposition – I am not ruling that out!). When you know the ‘format’ of your dream wedding you can more easily match the venue to your desire for the day. If you are creative and artistic, an art gallery or warehouse space may be up your alley, and if you are into music festivals and live a more alternative lifestyle you may want to emulate a music festival and get married in a field…you get the drift.

* What season do you envisage? If you aren’t sure from your mental picture, you may be able to work it out through plain ol’ common sense. What season is your favourite and you find yourself the most comfortable and happy in? I don’t really need to explain this one – in Winter, safest to go cosy and in summer you can take the risk of an outdoor wedding, with a secure wet weather plan, especially somewhere like here in Melbourne!

* What style of decoration is coming to mind? Is it sleek and modern, rustic and relaxed, crafty and creative, or a combination of different styles? Again, if you find that your imagination is not playing ball at this moment, have a think about your day to day aesthetic and personality. What you wear, the way you accessorise, your belongings, your house decor. Don’t forget to think as a couple! If you are both completely different it makes it a little harder, and you may need to use your skills of compromise as best as you can. More on that in an upcoming post.

* Are photos super important to you? As in, do you want a stylised wedding ‘shoot’ or are you happy with more journalistic photos, having a photographer take more relaxed and natural pictures of you, your husband/wife and the guests simply enjoying the day? If you prefer more of a stylised photography session, you may wish to choose a venue that makes it easy to get great pictures in the minimum amount of time. I believe it is super important to spend as much time having fun and socialising with each other and your guests, as that is what your day is really all about yeah? You may want to get married in or close to a beautiful old building which would be a gorgeous back drop, a statue, park or particular spot which is important and has special memories for you both, a laneway with fun graffiti and so on! When my sister got married (at a lovely rustic winery in New Zealand) there just happened to be some very friendly and curious horses in a field behind the winery, which made for some hilarious pics!

* What is your budget? This one doesn’t really need explanation. You can only afford what you can afford. Be real, think practically and creatively and realise that being restricted to a particular venue due to budgetary or seasonal constraints, or one of the myriad of other reasons you may be restricted to a particular venue, is not a reason to be down on your wedding. There are so many other  affordable ways you can make your venue look amazing on the day. Don’t get too distressed – once the room is full of your beautiful family and friends, the faded paint or the unfortunate colour of the carpet will not be noticeable – or seem important at all!

After all that, hopefully you have more of an idea of what you might like on your day, and things may have come to the fore that you may not have realised were even there. You may decide you want a breakfast wedding, set your heart on the sunny balcony of a yacht club or envision yourself dancing all night to a dj in a cute hall. You might crave the simplicity of a registry office wedding and a potluck house party afterwards catered by your nearest and dearest. Whatever you decide, make sure you feel good about it in your gut. You will have to make other wedding related decisions using the same principle, so you may as well start now!