Handmade bridesmaid dresses, garden picked bouquets, a Bride that designed not only her own dress but all the wedding details, and a family that pitched in to cater the entire affair – this, sweet SMPers, is a DIY wedding. And I love every little bit of it. Ben Adams was there to snap up all the sweetness, and when he did his images turned out to be magic. See all the DIY greatness here!

From the Bride… Last February, I married my best friend. It was a hot (really hot) summers day, but 200 of our dearest friends gathered in an old water works store house anyway, and we were wed. Josh and I met when we were 14 — he was a rascal and I was a star child, yet somehow we stuck together. God has been so very kind in surrounding us with the most lovely people, so when we decided to get married, we wanted to not only use our wedding to make really important promises to one another but also to love and thank those who had so diligently cared for us in the past.

I love old things. There’s such beauty in seeing that something has clearly been cherished by another in the past, so that was the main source of inspiration for our decor, paper goods and clothing. My dear Josh isn’t really the suit and tie type, so the gents sported some vintage vests and pocket watches (which were their gifts). The ladies wore hand-made dresses, and the flowers were picked from a few gardens (with permission) and arranged by a friend. We are pretty thrifty folk, and I designed my dress, designed and printed all the paper goods, hand-made the decorations and also made my getaway dress. Family and friends did all of the catering, serving, music, set up, makeup and crafting. We wholeheartedly believed that the wedding was not all about us, but was a day to recognise the beginning of a new family and to thank those who would help Josh and I love and serve one another all the days of our lives.

The reception was held at my great-aunt and uncle’s heritage-listed home, where my parents held their wedding reception years ago. We really wanted the reception to be joyous and welcoming, so the lovely garden was both lovely and accommodating. A diligent team coordinated and served the food throughout the garden as people strolled, explored, went for a boat ride, had a play on the jumping castle or relaxed on a picnic rug. After “marriage”, “DIY” was really the theme of our wedding day and the months leading up to it. We made the tiled photo guest book, card collector, invitations, signage, hair piece and decorations. Everything other than the photography and hair, including all the food, was created by us and our family and friends. Our amazing photographer also brought along his crazybooth, which was entertaining.

My advice to couples planning their wedding would be this: Don’t let the wedding distract you from your upcoming marriage. You will spend one day having a wedding, but a lifetime being in a marriage. Do what it takes to prepare equally for that. Plan a wedding that reflects what is important to you, care for your guests, and don’t be afraid to express joy in unique ways. Also, don’t be afraid of getting your guests involved. Hopefully they are not just there to watch from a distance — involve them in preparation, and give them manageable jobs on the day. People like to feel involved.

Wedding Photography: Ben Adams / Ceremony: Walka Water Works in Oakhampton, New South Wales / Reception: Clifton House in Lochinvar, New South Wales (Home of the Bride’s Great-Aunt & Uncle) / Flowers: Hand-Picked + Arranged by Karli Johnson / Officiant: Roger Burgess / Paper Goods, Decorations: DIY by the Bride / Wedding Dress: Designed by the Bride + Created by Rhonda Fry / Getaway Dress: DIY by the Bride / Hair: Janelle’s Hair and Beauty (02 4933 6002) / Maternity Bridesmaid’s Dress: Allyson Adeney of Harrysdesk