DIY Wedding: An intimate affair

Planning a wedding can certainly bring out your creative side, Pinterest is such a huge source of inspiration, but I also love to see photos and ideas from REAL weddings. I put out a message on my Facebook and Twitter just recently asking for people to share their wedding DIYs. The response was AMAZING! What a talented bunch you are. 

Over the upcoming months leading up to our wedding (and hey, if people like to read this kind of post I may even make it a regular thing!) I will be posting some inspiring weddings from my followers.

I am delighted to introduce you to Karen, The first bride to feature not the DIY wedding series. Her story is truely inspiring and the wedding was very well put together. But who better to tell their story wedding story then Karen herself. Over to you Gorgeous....

At the end of October 2014 Jason and I got married.  We had planned everything during the proceeding 6 months but apart from only a few people it was a secret.

Our reasons were simple.  We wanted an occasion that was exactly about us and so we wanted it to be small and discreet because, amongst other reasons, we had both been married before.  But probably the most important reason was that I really wanted my son to be a part of it because he’s such a huge part of our lives.  

Jason and I live at home with my daughter Courtney and my son Ben.  Jason also has four  children of his own who live with their Mum but Jason and I are Ben’s main carers.  Ben is 11 and profoundly autistic.  He finds change very difficult and cannot cope with crowded and noisy places.  He cannot communicate and he is in nappies full time.  Ben has a very low mental age and can become easily agitated and aggressive and therefore unpredictable.  

A picture of Karen and her son
We didn’t want to hurt anyone's feelings by choosing only a few friends and it wasn't about the cost either so we decided to be drastic and just invite our children, my parents and my sisters family plus two carers for Ben who over the time they have cared for him have become an integral part of our family.  We tricked the carers into attending on the day by planning it and saying it was my cousins wedding and they were there to help support Ben.  My nephews didn’t find out until the morning.  My Sister, My parents and our kids only knew the date and that we were getting married but nobody knew where because we had arranged their transport on the day. Everyone else had no idea.  We weren't even technically engaged so it was a BIG surprise.

We stayed in the quirky Ancient Gatehouse Hotel in Wells, Somerset the night before and night after the wedding because we weren’t having a honeymoon.  I was such a laid back hotel and the hospitality was fantastic.  The Hotelier was more than happy for me to do exactly what we wanted and were very accommodating.  We were married in Wells City Hall, in the Mayors Parlour and everything was perfect.  We staged a photograph which doubled as our wedding announcement which we added on Facebook during the early evening and the reaction and feedback was overwhelming.  
Karen and her husband Jason
Frances Louise Photography

Today, Saturday 25th October 2014, Jason and I got married.  Yep  …. MARRIED …. We wanted a small, discreet and calm occasion that we could celebrate together alongside our children, my parents and my Sister and her family.

We love each other very much and wanted to commit ourselves to one another 100% and so we just went ahead and did it!

As much as we would have loved to celebrate with so many of you, our lovely friends and extended family, but it was our intention to do something that was more ‘us’.  It was also really important that Ben, my son who’s profoundly Autistic, could enjoy and participate with us too because we made it one of our conditions not to exclude him.

The atmosphere may have been calm, laid back and relaxed and there may have only been 16 of us altogether but it was still amazing and a HUGE celebration of love.’

Everything was casual and relaxed but had also been planned meticulously.  I love planning and I enjoyed every moment.
I made the candle favours, lottery card holders and planned the tables because I knew exactly what I wanted and I made everything in secret.  My best friends and my work colleagues didn’t even know and that was the most challenging thing.  

Jason’s mum had passed away before I had met Jason but when he proposed he asked me if I would accept her 22 carat wedding ring as my wedding band which of course I thought was the best gesture of all time because I know how much he loved his Mum.  So on the wedding day I displayed a glass vase that I had had engraved and inscribed with:

In loving memory

A life and love remembered

Maureen Upshall

Forever present in our hearts’

and this is where I placed my wedding bouquet during our dinner and over night until the next day when I placed it on her graveside with thankfulness for her lovely son and for my wedding band which I will always cherish.  The other table flowers were scattered where my grandparents ashes are laid.

I like to think I am quite a creative person but I took a lot of inspiration from Pinterest.  I didn't buy or use any Bridal magazines.  I’m a project life addict so I also knew I wanted to make a wedding album with our photographs so our photographer was very happy to incorporate the ideas I had and so leading up to the ceremony and after was such a relaxed and lovely way to get married.

The table had a mixture of new and old decor.  New crystal candle holders mixed with vintage vases.  We had an open bar and everyone was seated around one large table which was really socialable and cosy.  The menu was printed on cards and made into sleeves which I wrapped around the material napkins, I love how simplistic it was which was exactly what I wanted.

Table decorations
Hand made table decor
Wedding menu

I made candles for the hotel patio by using miniature terracotta pots which I sourced off ebay. these stayed a light while we enjoy sparklers after our dinner as we glanced across the cathedral which was a few hundred metres away across the green. For the table I made heart candles for ladies as favours and miniature terracotta pots for the men. I made the candles from scratch including whitening the wax and adding a scent.  I really enjoyed it and I will be making more candles soon.  I made extra for my work colleagues, the hairdresser, photographer, make up artist, cake lady and accommodating Hotel Manager.
DIY wedding favours
The lottery cards were made on my computer combining two ideas I had seen on Pinterest that I  thought would add a bit of fun to the evening because we didn’t have any disco or entertainment.

DIY wedding favours
DIY Wedding favours with lottery tickets

I commissioned a talented local carpenter to make a cake board that was engraved and personalised for us.  It was the first time he had ever done one.  This can now double up as a cake or cheese board and is a lovely lasting part of the day.

Personalised cake board
Wedding cake on rustic board

I was really thrilled with all our photographs, Fran our photographer and a friend of ours did an amazing job.  Currently I am in the process of creating my project life wedding album which will include all of the details of planning and making all the wedding bits as I documented every step.

My advice is if you really want to do your wedding your way just do it.  If you can't aford certain  things (weddings can be expensive) find a way to achieve it and make it happen.  No one ever looked back at their wedding and said I wish I hadn’t put the effort in so I'm really glad I did.

Thank you so much Karen, I adore your wedding photos! So lovely. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

If you would like to share your wedding DIY's then please email me at Sa8rah56[at]

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My Kate Spade wishlist

I am a huge fan of Kate Spade, I just adore the entire look and style of the brand. I especially love the stationary (I'm a sucker for stationary!) With such simplicity to the look combined with gorgeous colours- how can you not love it. Above is my Kate Spade wish list which to be honest, could've just been a screen shot of the entire website, but instead, here are my top picks.

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My Pinterest boards

My latest pin

I find inspiration in many forms, Pinterest being one of the main culprits! I spend hours on there (far too much time) looking at pretty things and getting ideas! If you have never used pointers before- where have you been?! I suggest you get yourself over there immediately lol.

Visit Pinterest's profile on Pinterest.
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Bridal bouquet inspiration

Hi Bellas

Over the last few months I've been busy Pinning away on my 'secret' pinterest boards! Not that I don't want you lovely lot to know what i've been planning, but I suppose, to a certain extent I want to keep a few things to myself as I have A LOT running through my head right now!

Flowers can make a huge impact on the visual effect of a wedding, and here are some of my favourite bouquets that I want to share with you. I haven't made a final decision on what I want for my big day yet. As we are getting married in Ibiza, I need to do a little more research into what flowers are available in the summer season over there! Also, I'm a little worried that they won't be the right colours that I'm hoping for. I love the lush greens combined with the pops of colour in these bouquets.



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Crochet shell stitch tutorial

Here are the written instructions for the shell stitch that I posted on my YouTube channel.

They are written in UK terms (see my UK to US conversion chart)

ch(s)= Chain(s)
st(s)= Stitch(s)
dc= Double crochet
tr= Treble crochet

I have used stylecraft special DK in Spring green and Aspen from with a 5mm crochet hook.

Chain your foundation chain using multiples of 6 +2 for turning.

Row 1: dc in 2nd ch from the hook, *skip 2chs, 5tr into next st, skip 2chs, dc* repeat until the end of the row. (tie off and change colour if you like at this point, or continue with the same colour)

Row 2: ch1, 3tr into same st, *skip 2ch, dc, skip 2ch, 5tr* until the end, skip 2ch, 3tr into last ch, dc into same space and tie off.

Row 3: ch1, *skip 2chs, 5tr into next st, skip 2chs, dc* repeat until the end of the row. (tie off and change colour if needed)

Repeat row 2 and 3 until you reach your desired size.

Tag me in your projects! @bellacoco_ on Instagram and twitter


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Faith in Nature Grapefruit and Orange Shampoo*

Hi Bellas,

Recently I was sent some shampoo and conditioner to try by a company called Faith in Nature. I have to admit, I'd never heard of them before (even though they have been around for 40 years!), but I was keen to try a haircare product that was made with natural ingredients and that was made here in the UK.

I went across to their website and had a look at that they had to offer. They have a vast array of Shampoo and Conditioner, some suited to normal to dry hair and others to normal to oily hair. You can simply click on your hair type and it brings up a selection that will suit your hair type.

Some choices for Normal to Dry hair

I have fairly Oily hair so I had a choice of 5 shampoos and Conditioners: 
Grapefruit and Orange
Neem and Propolis
Pinapple and Lime
Tea Tree

As I have trained in aromatherapy, I am fairly familiar with different essential oils and grapefruit is one of my favourites! So I went with the Grapefruit and Orange.

First impressions

I really liked the packaging of the products, they were eye catching and had pictures of the ingredients used to make them. The smell of the product was different to what I expected. It smelt more like the actual grapefruit rather then the essential oil which I wasn't overly keen on at first. I liked the smell of the conditioner more then the shampoo for some reason.

This didn't put me off though, because if I was going for scent I would chosen the Coconut as I LOVE the smell of coconut! But I wanted to try something that would be good for my hair type.

After using the Shampoo and Conditioner for the fist time, I was so happy with the result. My hair felt very soft and felt like it had had a deep cleanse. Throughout the day I kept getting a gorgeous whiff of orange which was lovely. Usually, after I have washed my hair, it gets greasy very quickly again. However, I found that it kept the oil away for longer which is great!

Overall I was really happy with the products and for £5.50 for a 400ml bottle, I think it is excellent value for money. You can find the products I used here

They also offer skin care products, home care (which I'd love to try) baby care, pet care and have lovely gift sets too! I'd highly recommend you take a look at their website!

Have you ever tried Faith in Nature products?

*these products were gifted to me, however, as always, the views and opinions are honest and are my own.

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