real wedding: blue & purple DIY wedding {stephanie & glenn}

Today’s real wedding really has it all!  A super cute and fun loving couple who were high-school sweethearts, photography full of love and emotion and a whole heap of amazing DIY details.  Everything, from the stationery to table decor and even parts of the beautiful bride’s outfit were made by the couple themselves. Stephanie and Glenn’s day was captured by Michelle Joubert-Martin.  With her easy going and relaxed South African attitude, Michelle shoots weddings both in the UK and South Africa, capturing beautiful stories with spirit and personality.  Her style was the perfect match for Stephanie and Glenn’s creative day.

Here’s their story ~

We met at 17. We’re both from the same town, but went to different schools, and met through a friend. It took me a while to convince Glenn that he wanted to go out with me, but in the end I persuaded him to go to a gig with me and the rest they say is history! We’d been together 8 and a half years, and living together for 3 years, before Glenn proposed. We’d talked about it, but Glenn said he wanted to wait until he was ready. And I was happy to wait… when I wasn’t feeling incredibly impatient! Even so, I didn’t see the proposal coming. I’d rushed home from work on a Friday as Glenn had told me we had to go to a party of a work colleague of his. When I opened the door I found the hallway full of candles and balloons. Hanging from the balloons there were cards leading towards our spare room. Each card had a word from “Will You Marry Me?” on it! By the time I reach the spare room I was in floods of tears from emotion! Glenn was there to tie a ribbon around my finger (he’d booked us an appointment to design the engagement ring together) and set of the massive exploding balloon he’d got! He then whisked me off for a romantic weekend in the Lincolnshire countryside! Although we live in Nottingham we decided we wanted to get married back in Oxfordshire, near where we grew up. We settled on Heythrop Park after viewing loads of venues. We wanted a venue that could host both our civil ceremony and reception (so we weren’t rushing from place to place) and hold our 100 guests. Heythrop Park fitted the bill, as well as throwing in a stunning building and grounds.

My dress was from Proposals of Witney. I won a raffle at a wedding fair to get 50% off my wedding dress there, so wasn’t going to turn that down! I thought I wanted a lace Enzoani type dress, but all the ones I tried one just felt too big and heavy. The assistant actually suggested I try on my dress as she thought it would suit me. It’s a Benjamin Roberts sample that didn’t make his collection, so apparently there’s only two of them in the world! It fit me like a glove and I liked the simple lines. I wouldn’t say it was “The One”, but I kept on going back to it and felt happy with my choice once I’d bought it.

The the most important thing about our day was that it reflected us as a couple. Throughout the wedding planning process I became a little obsessed with wedding blogs and magazines! I would be checking blogs every day and looking out for DIY tutorials. You can learn a lot from craft websites. I haven’t quite managed to kick the habit now we’re married! We DIY-ed a lot of the wedding details so we could put our stamp on the day. We designed and printed our invites, order of the days and menus. We also spent many an evening and weekend making 100 of our own flags, for our guests. Glenn even took a turn on the sewing machine!  I also made my bridesmaid’s and my own bouquets from brooches and ribbon roses. My bouquet was too heavy to throw (it would have knocked someone out!), but I didn’t mind keeping it!

Our table names were painted onto books we bought from a car boot sale. We thought it was nice way of incorporating our love of reading into the day. Glenn also made a photo wall for our guests to have their photos taken against, kind of like a posher version of the photo boards you find at the seaside! We had a instant camera and the guests could stick their photos in our guest book. They had great fun dressing up and pulling faces. I roped my mum, sister and mother-in-law-to-be into making hundreds of woollen pom poms to use in place of confetti! We were anticipating rain, as we got married in November, and the venue didn’t allow confetti inside. In the end we were super lucky with the weather and got to through them outdoors. We even customised our processional music! We’re lucky that a lot of out friends are talented musicians. One of the ushers completely rearranged Inhale by Killswitch Engage to use as our processional music. The end result was beautiful.

We felt the wedding was about the two of us, so Glenn helped me with the wedding decor whenever he could. He was really keen on adding coloured uplighters to the walls of our reception room. I wasn’t sure to begin with, but he won me round in the end, on the condition we had some fairy lights! It was well worth the extra money as the lights transformed the venue and made it look extra special. I would definitely recommend thinking about using lighting in your wedding venue, as it can really change a room. However, think outside the box when looking of vendors on this. The wedding specific suppliers can be really expensive. We found a theatre and live entertainment lighting company who were reasonably priced and really helpful in working out our ideas for the venue.

We also felt it was important to have good photographer. I found Michelle online and we were blown away by the photos on her website. We had an engagement shot with her which was great fun, after we got over feeling awkward in front of the camera, which helped us to feel at ease with her on the wedding day. She really managed to capture the feeling of the moment and our wedding photos are amazing!

What was your first dance, and how did you choose the song?

Our first dance was to the iTunes Originals version of “Maps” by Yeah Yeah Yeah’s. We didn’t want to go down the more traditional ballad route, but wanted something with feeling. We felt Maps captured what we were looking for. I didn’t want to do the “wedding shuffle” so we decided to learn a choreographed dance. There were a few mistakes on the day, but I don’t think they were noticed too much! We hired a band to play for the evening entertainment as we didn’t want any of our musician friends feeling like they had to work. Dangermouse were brilliant and the managed to keep the dance floor busy for most the night.

Do you have any advice for future brides & grooms?

I’d say get exclusivity on your venue!!! We were told that other events could take place at the same time as our wedding, but would be held in another part of the hotel. We were warned a month before the wedding that a balloon convention was booked for the same date, but were again reassured that it would be in another part of the hotel and we wouldn’t really notice their presence. So imagine my shock when I entered the venue the day before the wedding to be confronted with huge balloon sculptures in the lobby, which featured quite heavily on our plans. It turns out a mix up meant the wedding coordinator hadn’t been informed of the full extent of the conference. To Heythrop’s credit they helped us rearrange the day around the balloons and offered us some good concessions. Our wedding coordinator, Andrew Hogg, was brilliant throughout the whole process. In the end we decided it wasn’t worth the stress to worry about the balloons and the guests loved them on the day! They were great distractions for the kids. But if I could do it over again I would have made sure we had exclusivity. I would also say don’t by afraid to DIY. I was surprised by what I could achieve with a bit of thought and effort!

Michelle Joubert-Martin is available for weddings, engagement and family shoots in the UK and South Africa throughout the year.  She is next in the UK in June 2012, and would love to hear from you! Check out Michelle’s recent work on her blog, or email your enquiries to [email protected]



Dress ~ Benjamin Roberts from Proposals of Witney
Shoes ~ Office, customised with ribbon by the bride
Hair Accessory ~ Proposals of Witney   
Necklace ~ DIY by me
Stationery ~ DIY
Venue & Catering ~ Heythrop Park 
Flowers ~ The Flower Fairies
Lighting ~ Origin Technical Productions
Hair ~ Katy Dunn from The Hair Gallery   
Makeup ~ Sally Crouch Makeup   
Band ~ Dangermouse


After a decade-long career in corporate interior design, I took a giant leap of faith, left the security of an office job, and founded B.LOVED in 2011 as a platform for romantic and beautiful wedding inspiration. Thanks to a whole lot of creativity, hard work and passion, my gamble paid off and B.LOVED became one of the leading wedding blogs in the UK.

I'm also a co-founder at The Brand Studio, where I design and curate beautiful photoshoots for wedding and lifestyle brands, as well as running wedding industry community the B.LOVED Hive where I support and nurture wedding pros building industry leading businesses. Yep, I definitely have the best job in the world.

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