Backyard weddings

If you are looking for an informal wedding the backyard is number 1 on the list for me.

Location – the sucess of the backyard wedding obviously depends on the house, if your house isnt up to scratch or size, consider your extended family. You may be able to borrow a house if you can assure its owners that they wont have to lift a finger other than to drink their champagne.

A great space for a reception may not have the ideal ceremony location. If you don’t want to hold the ceremony elswhere then you can make a backdrop of the ceremony. Streamers, baloons, bunting, candles…the possibilities are endless. A quick search of pintrest for wedding backdrops will yield a thousand wonderful ideas. I love the idea below to bring some colour to the location.


Having access to the location for at least the day before is a huge advantage. You can mannge the decorations and set up well before the wedding. much less stressful than having only a few hours to set up and having to rely on the venue to do it or pay your florist extra.

Below friends and family install an amazing branch chandelier in a marquee set on the driveway.


Time – you will have full controll over the time, no need to start later or finish earlier than you would like. Make sure you do consider the neighbours, better yet, invite them.

Children – In most cases a backyard wedding is ideal if you will have children attending. There may even be a few spare rooms where the little ones can be put down for a sleep. The bigger ones can be set up in another room with a perpetual loop of Frozen.

Drinks – Alcohol can be a large expense. If you purchase it yourself it can save you a lot of money. Using a venue with a liquor liscence you wont be able to do this. I spent a weekend scouring hunter valley cellar doors for a mix of great wines at a much better price than retail (and Dan Murphys is hard to beat).

Beers and ciders can be served in the bottle (with cute straws where appropriate) Most bottle shops and supermarkets can get you a few cases of little mineral waters or ginger beers if you want.  Set the tables with some ice buckets and allow the guests to get their own bottle from the bar to share at the table. This avoiuds the need for anyone to serve drinks.

Flowers – When working with a florist consider asking them to order you what you will need for the table decorations. They can apply their skills to the technical bouquets and you can collect the flowers the day before  and make simple bunched in vases for tables the day before the wedding. The florist wil be able to advise you on the flowers who will still look amazing the next day.

The flowers below a mix of florist supplied and garden collected made the day before, proving that Australian natives are a great choice.


Relaxing – Finally the most lovely thing about being at home is the ability to relax. You and your guests can take off their shoes at the end of the night, chairs can be shifted and cars can be left to be picked up tomorrow.

Finally one of the most lovely parts of the backyear weddings I have attended has been the guests who are able coming over the next day to help clean. It is a great time to catch up and polish off the last wine and cheese. Delegate someone to cook the egg and bacon rolls on the bbq while the others rinse and stack glasses. This is the perfect antidote to waking up the next day and feeling sad because it is all over.


Flower Inspiration – Ferns

It isn’t always the value of the item that makes something special. Sometimes it is the thought, care and time that turns it into something surprising.

With this in mind I have given some time to something I have in abundance in my unloved rental garden, ferns.

Green on green is an emerging trend and I love for its simplicity and unpretentiousness.

Here are some Ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Antique botanical prints as inspiration for invitations.


Potted ferns as centrepeices. Most species in domestic gardens can be divided and re potted easily. Pot up what you need a few months ahead and keep the seaweed solution up to them to have a green lush reception. Consider making friends with a local nursery, they may be willing to hire larger specimens.


Is your reception somewhere with a sturdy roof? What about a ball of ferns as a centrepiece over your dance floor. All you will need is a hanging basket that will allow you to insert plants into the bottom to make a sphere. Here is a similar idea but using succlents.

mix the species  for texture.


Larger leaves gently twisted into wreaths for a lush green backdrop for your ceremony or to decorate a wall at your venue.


Simple white flowers combined with ferns

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These are cut ferns where the lower leaves have been stripped and simply used like flowers in a glass vase. These arrangements once made lasted 4 days before they showed even the slightest sign of wilting. This would make them a great  option to make even 2 days ahead.



Citrus Bouquet

A splash of colour does not always need to come from flowers. A recent trend I love is to use fruits, vegetables and herbs in flower arrangements for weddings. Now is the perfect time of year for citrus. (The top image is actually sugar flowers, I found out as I followed the link. I decided to use them anyway because they are lovely.)

Cumquats are easy to find in the gardens of friends and family. No one knows how to use these bitter little fruit so it is usually easy to convince them to strip back their tree of fruiting branches. The tiny fruit are perfect to include in flower arrangements.

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 These limes have been cut in half and used to hide the oasis in a clear glass vase. If you use limes in your flower decorations it is a nice tie in to use them smashed in a mojito or served as a sorbet.


more citrus sliced in half. This time used in on sticks in a table arrangement. I am sure with some wire and tape they could be secured into a bouquet.


More ideas using fruit and vegetables (figs, radishes, mint….) to come.

A tutu experiment

Here is a sneak peek of a project I am currently working on.

I have had a roll of stiff white tulle in my stash for years just waiting for someone to ask me if I can make a tutu. This will be my first time so I am hoping that with the sewing skills I have and the research I have done it will turn out beautifully.

The plan is for a waist high adult size rehearsal tutu. I am using a stretch knit for the base which I know isn’t technically correct but will function well enough for this purpose. If this works as I hope I will try another using a mesh base and separate basque.

At school I remember thinking how pointless things were, when was I going to have to use Pi in the real world. Well the joke is on me, I want to make the top layer from a straight piece where the length is the exact circumference of the skirt. I will need to re-aquaint myself with Pi.

The image above shows me working out the widths I will need for each row. The image below shows the first sample of the base with fit adjustments and approximations of where the tulle will go so I can work out lengths (I have already planned my pleating ratio)

making a tutu


This little apron is made from a tea towel.


Materials – Nice teatowel, 5cm wide bias tape 2m ish long (I made mine from calico).

Sewing – Measure your toddler to work out the width and height of the front of the apron and trim the tea towel accorningly. If it is far too long take some length off and finish the raw edge with a roll hem or some binding before finishing the sides.

Stitch the bias on leaving length enough for bows on either side. sew onto the back side of the fabric. Press the fold along the length of the bias tape and then fold it in half tucking the other raw edge into the seam. Top stitch along the whole strip. Below shoes the folds and the stitch line is marked by pins. Beside it is the fold done to tidy each end before sewing flat.



Experiments in Flowers


I love the idea of making your own wedding flowers. When there is a possibility of raiding your mothers Banksia tree the savings make this an even more appealing option. Australian natives are a great choice for a relaxed wedding and their drought tolerance means that even if left out of water (like this bouquet was) for 24 hours they still look exactly the same.


Materials – Flowers and pods and some stems of only leaves, strong wire and ribbon/string to cover your stems. Dont forget a bag to put all your flowers in, the stems are so wonky and short you wont just be able to hang onto the bunch.

Sort your flowers and pull off any damaged leaves watching out for spiders. Use the flowers you have with the longest and straightest stems as your centre flowers. The shorter and more crooked stems will work better around the edges. Keep adding, moving and looking down from the top until you are happy. I left the leaves mostly as they were attached and clustered some pods off centre. The flowers are large so may sit slightly sideways but this looked worked for me.

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Wrap wire around just above and below where you are holding the bouquet. I twisted the wire to make it super tight and hold all the twisted stems together. Trim wire and fold flat. Trim all the stems and wrap. If you use a ribbon use dressmakers pins to secure, the string is fine to knot.


If you want to make this a few days before leave the stems uncut and unwrapped and keep upright in water.

If you still have a year before your wedding make sure you look around to see what is in flower in friends and families gardens. You could even make a test bouquet and see how well it lasts. Some native flowers may even last 2 days. A bouquet may be a little stretch but what about your centrepeices?