10 things we LOVE about this real rustic, DIY wedding

A simple but impressive rustic wedding theme 

Everything down to the bamboo plates, wooden table numbers, and burlap seats sings woodsy rustic in this impressive DIY wedding.

Those of you planning fall weddings will find plenty of inspiration here. Leaf tagged mason jars, tree-themed programs, ribbons softening a burlap edge, neutral colors. Here's what we particularly love about it and what sang out to us. 

  1. The way the bride really thought about her color scheme - it's all neutrals really, down to the bridesmaids dresses. But not dull - there are plenty of textures going on here. (You can buy similar bridesmaid dresses at Dessy here.
  2. Covering benches with burlap is so simple and inexpensive but so effective. Tie with a co-ordinated ribbon for a pretty detail.
  3. We love the raised wooden platform and the simple, draped arch behind the bride and groom.
  4. Being rustic is also thinking sustainable and these bamboo plates fit the bill, besides fitting in with the color thing that's going on. Also the wooden knife and fork set
  5. Possibly our favourite thing are the mason jars, tagged with leaves. Something you really can prepare in advance, writing the labels and what a beautiful favor they make. (You can find similiar leaves on Etsy here.
  6. Also we've loving the overhead paper flowers festooning the trees. Here's a handy tutorial to watch on how to make them. 

  7. Whilst we love burlap, you need to be sure you don't make it too much of a good thing. Burlap tablecloths would have been a tad too much - we like the classic white used here.
  8. The simple calligraphy on the wedding programs - on recycled paper.
  9. The sweetie table and neutrally frosted wedding cakes
  10. The setting. What could be better for a rustic wedding like this than to be married under the branches of a forest? 

Photography by Hugh Forte 

Are these the ultimate chocolate wedding cakes?

Wedding cakes aren't what they used to be. Oh, no. 

Back in the day, you had a tiered fruit or sponge cake, with white frosting - and maybe some colored paste flowers. And that was pretty much that. If you were feeling adventurous you'd have a skyscraper of tiers - but the decoration would follow a pastel, white or ivory iced convention. 

Well those days are over. Cakes are a little more adventurous these days. Well, quite a lot actually.

Today's brides have cast their eyes over their wedding cakes and decided they wanted something quite radically different. 

And if that sounds like you - and you love chocolate - then there's no reason why you shouldn't have a chocolate wedding cake.  

Why a chocolate wedding cake is a great decision

 Well, just about everyone loves chocolate.

You could have different layers frosted in white, dark or milk chocolate.

If you're watching your budget, then an indulgent chocolate wedding cake will stand in perfectly for dessert. In fact, people will probably be expecting it.

A chocolate cake would be completely perfect at a winter wedding when you want rich, intense flavors to combat the cold outside.

It's a real talking point

You could have tiers of sponge in different flavors (we're thinking red velvet, vanilla and chocolate) finished off with a chocolate ganache. (Ganache is a mixture of chocolate and cream, melted together and used to glaze or fill a cake or whip into frosting.)

If a friend wants to make your wedding cake and they are a good baker, then a chocolate cake might be a good option. Ask your baking friend to make cakes in graduating sizes so you can have tiers or a naked cake. 

Going naked

Naked chocolate cakes are getting really popular and with good reason. (What's a naked cake?  It's when the cake is left unfrosted or has a minimal scrape of frosting and decorated with fruit and/or flowers, like the cake above.)

Another decorative option would be to have a 'drip' cake like the one below. That's when ganache (a sort of liquid frosting) is poured on the top of the cake and allowed to 'drip' down the sides. Something to think about if you don't want to go overboard on the chocolate part. Have a vanilla cake with minimal frosting and then a chocolate 'drip' topping. 

We've found this video here to show you how the drip effect is created.

 If you're thinking that a pure chocolate wedding cake might be a bit too rich, remember you can break up the intensity with fruit layers - and as we know, strawberries and raspberries go with chocolate just perfectly ...

Seasonal berries would also work well, as would freshly cut figs. 


Top image, clockwise from top left: Cake Parlour London, I Take You, The Hudson Cakery, Jeff Brummett

Second image, clockwise from left: Pinterest, Cake Parlour London, Steven Leyva

Third image, Cassie Rosch 

Four image, drip cake by Buttery Bakery

Fifth image, DessertsvilleLondonCocoa Bakery


This is how to make sure your engagement photography shoot is a BIG success!

So you got engaged at New Year? Congratulations!

One thing we'd really recommend you do soon is have some engagement photographs taken.

  • You can use them as Save The Dates
  • If it's a while before your actual wedding, then it's a way of telling the news and keeping everyone happy in the meantime!
  • Your engagement is a very special time in your life together and you should have something to remember it by.

So here are some useful tips to help you with your engagement photography planning. Follow these and you won't go far wrong! 

Thinking about the location

Aside from picking the photographer, you will want to pick a location.  Do you have a location that has sentimental value to both you and your fiancé?  Maybe it's the place where you had your first date? Or somewhere scenic, like a beach or an open field? Is there a location you have always loved and thought would be great for photos?  If you don't have such a location, you can have your photographer pick some ideal spots that will work for your engagement photos.

The time of year is important 

After you get engaged, it is important to decide the time of year (prior to your wedding of course!) that you want to take your engagement photos.  If you are looking to have your photos taken on a beach, summer or spring may be a good time to have them done.  If it is an apple orchard or the changing colors of the trees strike you, maybe you should consider fall.  If you are looking for outdoor pictures in general, seasons like spring, fall and summer are perfect. But! winter makes for some awesome outdoor photos too!

Yes - you need to consider your color palette

What you wear on the day of your photo shoot should have similar color tones. We're not saying they should be identical (although, how cute would that be?!) but similar color palette is important.   It's important that your clothing choices works well with the location you have chosen. Often times, couples will pick two locations and two sets of clothing for their shoot.  One set more formal and one set more casual.

Looking your best

You will definitely want to get your hair and makeup done for the photo shoot. If you are on a budget,  you can can do it yourself, perhaps have a friend who is a good at hair and makeup help you.  But take your time, because you will want to look your best for your engagement photo shoot.

Image credits all by Wedding Chicks. Click to see full post clockwise from top:  Top centre snowy engagement, middle desert engagement, bottom right Palm Springs engagement , bottom left beachside romantic engagement

Why sweet pea colors could be the perfect choice for your rural, rustic wedding day

sweet pea wedding colors

(Image credits: Top right Tino & Pip, bottom right Flowers Online)


Sweet peas are the most perfect, cottage garden, rustic country flower.

  • They come in beautiful colors - from delicate pastels through to vibrant purples and pinks
  • They smell absolutely wonderful
  • They're delicate - but have tough stems which make them ideal for buttonholes and bouquets
  • A sweet pea wedding bouquet is a timeless classic
  • And sweet pea tones would be beautiful as a wedding day theme, as you can see above

Finding bridesmaid dresses in sweet pea colors is easy with Dessy. Take a look at colors like Tahiti, Honeysuckle and Persian Plum.

Mix up the shades for an ombre effect. Let each maid choose the best hue to suit them.

sweet pea wedding colors

Image credits: Bridesmaid dress by Dessy in more than 50 colors

Then tie the look in by having a sweet pea bridal bouquet in a single pastel shade, and let your maids' bouquets be a riot of contrasting colors.

  • Sweet peas also look wonderful on wedding tables. Put them in Mason jars for an unstructured look
  • Offer sweet pea seeds as wedding favors
  • Have a trellis of sweet peas climbing up behind you as you say your wedding vows
  • Macaroons would be a perfect choice to serve your guests at a sweet pea themed wedding. Delicious with cups of English afternoon tea!

If you're planning a rustic style wedding then this is really an idea to think about. Have simple bunches of sweet peas as your table centers, make sure the bridegroom and his party have sweet pea buttonholes and of course think about the colors you could be using for your wedding stationery - the invitations, order of service sheets, table planner and name cards.


How delicious is this wedding - in raspberry pink and lime green

raspberry pink and lime green wedding theme

One of the best investments you can make when you first get engaged and you're planning your wedding is to buy a color wheel or color book. Really? Oh yes. Because it's a sure way to see which colors go together - and some shades that you may never have considered work perfectly together. 

For example, raspberry pink and lime green. The combo is fresh, original and definitely these are two shades to choose if you don't want to go down the pastel wedding route (but you're kind of fond of pink though).

raspberry pink and lime green wedding theme

Thinking about pink

Flowers that come in a raspberry shade? There's roses, hydrangeas, gerberas ... your florist is going to have a whole load of ideas. In addition, this is a theme that could save you money on flowers. Really? How? Well, greenery tends to come in less pricey than flowers, so you can focus on lime green leaves and have raspberry pops of colored blooms.

What about a green and pink cocktail for your guests when they arrive? We like the idea above of having a glass frosted with pink or green contrasting sugar. We're thinking maybe mohitos?

On your dessert table you could have raspberry and pistachio macarons, pink meringues ... and we're sure you'll have some ideas for your wedding cake. 

We love the way the table above has been decorated with green sashes and paper lanterns in pink, white and green overhead. It looks a million dollars but will have cost a whole lot less.

raspberry pink bridesmaid dresses

As for raspberry pink bridesmaid dresses, you'll find plenty of choice at Dessy - like the Dessy bridesmaid dresses shown above. Whether you want strapless, one shoulder, long sleeved, cocktail length, full length. Take a look at Dessy's raspberry pink bridesmaid dresses here. And if you'd like to move the theme a bit further, you could mix and match with lime green bridesmaid dresses and accessories for the bridegroom and his party. Look out for the Dessy colors of punch and Pantone turquoise to get the look.

Image credits top: Anne Edgar Photography.

This is the new Jenny Packham Bridesmaids Collection - exclusive to Dessy

Have you chosen your bridesmaids yet? Because when your girlfriends hear this news, you're going to be innundated with requests from would-be bridesmaids. 

You see, the big news is that red-carpet designer, Jenny Packham, who has dressed stylish women, from royalty through to A-lister movie stars, has created a bridesmaid collection and it's exclusive to Dessy. It's something all girls are going to want to be wearing. 

Lucky bridesmaids-to-be. 

So what brought about this exciting development?  We had a one-to-one chat with the designer about the development of this collaboration with Dessy. 

Why has Jenny Packham produced an exclusive bridesmaid collection?

Says the designer: " I have always aspired to create beautiful pieces for a special occasion but with bridal, the challenge is to create something really special – it’s got to have that extra magic that makes the bride fall in love with it. Designing bridalwear is one of my greatest pleasures: to extend the signature Jenny Packham style and aesthetic to create a beautiful, elegant bridesmaids’ collection, is extremely exciting."

What is the Jenny Packham signature style?

"It's very feminine and contemporary, with vintage inspired beading and understated embellishments." 

Where do you look for design inspiration?

Replies Jenny Packham: "I find inspiration everywhere I go, from a painting to a piece of jewellery to a luxury boutique. The Jenny Packham Bridesmaids collection was inspired by the English Country Garden – from the fluidity of the fabric to the soft colour palette. I’ve taken silhouettes that are popular from our ready to wear collection and flattering for all body shapes."

What is the most important thing to consider when shopping for bridesmaids’ gowns?

"I think it’s important to ensure the style of dress you choose for your bridesmaids, compliments your bridal look.

"It can be a daunting task to find one gown for many different shapes and sizes. When I’m designing, I’m always considerate of the way the cut, draping and beading will best enhance the woman who will wear the dress, making her feel confident and beautiful. I think having a tonal colour palette in a variety of styles is a contemporary approach for adult bridesmaids."

Who is your favourite celebrity bride?

"Elizabeth Taylor when she married Richard Burton - she wore canary yellow and her hair was styled in a long braid woven with white flowers."

Take a look at the Jenny Packham Bridesmaids range for Dessy here, available to buy now. 






Secrets for a rose quartz wedding day theme

Rose quartz could have been made for weddings.

The color comes from the rose quartz crystal, which is supposed to allow one the capacity to truly give and receive love from others.

Rose quartz has a very feminine energy and the crystals have been used as love tokens since around 600 B.C.

It all sounds absolutely perfect for a wedding day.

And as these images show you, rose quartz is also a very versatile wedding color.

It looks wonderful on a romantic chiffon wedding dress - or bridesmaid dress. There's something about this soft color that just lets a bride float along. 

Add pale pink roses to the mix to add to the romance. You can combine rose quartz with gold but it looks very striking with green too, as shown in the bride's bouquet here. (In fact, as you can tell, we really like the look of tying a bouquet with a strikingly long velvet ribbon that trails nearly to the ground.)

Ask your caterer to search out rose gold cutlery for your wedding tables. 

And of course, pink champagne is a must. 

Browse through what Dessy creates in rose quartz and you'll feel really inspired. Dress the bridegroom or groomsmen in rose quartz vests and ties. Gift your maids rose quartz chandelier earrings or a soft pashmina. 

This is a color that works beautifully in the depths of winter - the pink contrasts beautifully with snowy whiteness. 

In spring too you could have a wedding day of pink spring blossoms or a midsummer rose quartz celebration. 

Be inspired! 

Image credits: 

Top board clockwise from top left: Happy Wedd, Bridesmaid dress by Dessy, Grey likes weddings.

Second board clockwise from top left: Happy Wedd, Grey likes weddingsGrey likes weddings, Happy Wedd

Third board: Tuxedo, vest and cravat in Rose Quartz by Dessy, Dessy bridesmaid dress from real Dessy wedding on Facebook

Fourth board: Rose drop earrings by Dessy

Things to think about BEFORE going DIY with your wedding

DIY wedding advice

While DIY (do-it-yourself) is definitely a way to cut costs in various aspects of your wedding, can you in fact do things yourself? Or are you creating more of a hassle than is necessary? Here are some thoughts before you decide to go DIY with your wedding.

Are you crafty or would you just like to be?

If you're really and truly artistic and creative, then go for it. But if art or sewing class was never really your thing then really consider whether you'd enjoy going down the DIY wedding route or whether in fact you'd just end up feeling really frustrated.  

There are a ton of videos out there that make it look easy to wedding DIY but watch them carefully before you make any big decisions.

For example, you might like the idea of making your own wedding bouquet but we think this is something you should spend money on. Apart from the fact that it will be a massive stress making a beautiful bouquet on the evening (or even the morning) of your wedding and keeping it fresh until the ceremony. 

You might like to read this - 5 things to DIY on your wedding day and 5 things to avoid

Do you have the time? Time flies by while planning a wedding, so before you decide to do any DIY projects for your wedding, make sure you in fact have the time to do it.

Do you have HELP? You could ask your bridesmaids to help you make centerpieces or DIY wedding favors but don't ask them to take on too much. Besides which, they may not be that arty themselves! Alternatively you could ask a crafty relation - maybe a grandmother who is an amazing quilter and scrapbooker. See if she has some ideas. 

Have you considered other alternatives? Maybe cutting costs at the wedding doesn't mean having to go DIY at all. Maybe it means cutting down the guest list, or not going overboard on alcohol or flowers. If you know you aren't the DIY type, don't give yourself any additional stress.

Trying to figure out a color scheme for your wedding? Have a look at our Pantone color guides which will show you which colors work together. 

Things only a newly-wed bride knows

wedding inspiration

We've talked to some recent brides about what they wish they'd known before their wedding day. 

Here's what one told us. 

"You can never be sure exactly everything is going to be exactly 100% as you want it. I was a real control freak and thought I had everything sorted. I'd Pantone colour co-ordinated my invitations, the bridesmaids sashes, my seating plan and wedding favors. Hey - even the flowers in my wedding bouquet matched up. 

And then my fiance got a black eye two days before the wedding when he fell off his mountain bike. Nope, I didn't see that coming either. Thankfully he didn't break any bones but the wedding photos were certainly interesting! "

Go with the flow

You see, there are always going to be some things that are out of your control and it's best not to stress about them. Better to take a deep breath and leave it to the Universe.

So what exactly are these things (black eyes apart)?

1. The Weather

You may have planned a destination on a hot and sunny beach. Or maybe you're having a rustic wedding. The thing is, the weather will always - but always - have a mind of its own.

If you're having a beach wedding somewhere exotic then it may be superhot that day. In which case, you need to have back-up sunshades at the ready for people to shelter underneath. And check the weather at your destination at the time of year you're marrying to make sure that it's not monsoon or hurricane season. Find out about air-conditioning. Because whilst getting married on the sand at midday might be romantic, you may all want to slope off into somewhere shady and cool for the afternoon (and then come out to dance under the stars in the evening).

2. Emotions

A wedding day is a perfect storm of emotion. Bear in mind the potential flashpoints. For example, if your parents have both remarried to other people then there could be an atmosphere. Have a word with them beforehand and tell them what you expect. Avoid run-ins by sitting certain couples separately.

Children can get overtired and scratchy - so have a chillout room for little ones where they can recharge their batteries, watch a movie quietly or nap.

And if a friend has recently broken up with a boyfriend and no longer has a plus one, put her on a table where she'll have fun.

3. Pregnant Bridesmaids

You probably selected your bridesmaids a while ago - and a lot can happen in the meantime. Including one of your bridesmaids announcing that her delivery date is very close to your wedding day. In which case, don't give her too much to do, just in case she doesn't make the wedding. Rope in another girl who's unlikely to be expecting a baby then who will be available to help you. (Also check out Dessy's maternity bridesmaid dresses.)

4. The Way You Look

This one might take you by surprise. After all, you've got your dress right, your hair right, your makeup - it's all decided. However the lead up to your wedding day can be stressful so if you're prone to breakouts and skin conditions exacerbated by stress (eczema and psoriasis for example) just bear in mind that you might end up with a blemish on your skin just when you least want it. To reduce the likelihood of this happening don't have a facial just before your wedding day and don't embark on a new skincare routine either. Stay as calm as possible - you might want to investigate meditation techniques to help you stay grounded.

5. No Shows

Some relatives - particularly those flying in from distant places - could have their travel plans interrupted by bad weather, strikes or even illness. Again, be prepared for this to happen and if somebody can't come last minute then don't make a big deal of it. There's nothing you can do about it. Instead, make sure that your wedding photographs are wonderful, that you get the event videoed so that you can share it with them afterwards.

The important thing to remember is that it's your wedding day and there are always going to be unforeseen hiccups that you can't do anything about. Take them in your stride and enjoy every moment, rather than focusing on what can't be changed and what can't be helped.

Image credits clockwise from top left: Wedding Chicks, Wedding Chicks, Wedding Chicks, Dessy


Wedding Etiquette A-Z

wedding etiquette



It's a tradition that the bride never arrives bang on time at the ceremony - just a few minutes late.

Bridal Registry 

Nowadays many couples live together before they get married, so they may have much of what they need already. However, guests still love to give the bride and groom something for their home, so maybe it's time to upgrade your bedlinen, your cutlery or china? Some couples ask for money towards their honeymoon. 

Whatever you decide, it's a good idea to have a list of gifts you'd love to receive. 


Think about whether you want children at your wedding. If you're having an evening do then it's not really appropriate and in any case, the parents may be glad of an evening off!


If you and your new spouse are planning on opening the dancing, then think about having some professional dancing lessons beforehand. It's a good life skill to know how to waltz properly! 


A newspaper announcement reads as follows: The engagement is announced between (groom's name), son of (parents' names) of (parents' hometown) and (bride's name), daughter of (parents' names) of (parents' hometown).


A bag of five sugared almonds for each guest used to be the traditional favor, representing fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness. Nowadays favors can be much more extravagant but you don't really need to have them and if you're on a budget, then it's probably best spending the money on your food or drink. 


One of their most important jobs is to show each guest to their seat at the ceremony. Make sure they've been well briefed beforehand so they don't stand chatting around at the entrance, leaving people wondering where they should be sitting. 


Traditionally the groom should organise and pay for the honeymoon and make it a surprise for his bride. 


Do you want to invite plus ones? If you're not keen, then a singles table or tables at your wedding could be the solution. 

All individuals over 18 should always receive their own wedding invitation. 


Don't wear any rings other than your engagement ring on your wedding day. Before the ceremony, put it on the third finger of your right hand and then place it by your wedding ring after you're married. 


Giving your bridesmaids a gift as a thank-you is a lovely idea. Jewelry to wear on your big day is perfect. Don't forget to give your young flowergirls and pageboys a framed photograph of themselves in the wedding group. 


Make sure your bridal underwear fits you perfectly, is comfortable and does its job as well as looking beautiful. Get yourself fitted out in a lingerie shop so you're measured correctly. 

Morning coats

It's a good idea to have a dress code on your wedding invitations. If morning dress should be worn by everyone then say so. Or if tuxedos or lounge suits are the order of the day then make that clear. 

No show

Hopefully this won't happen but make sure your caterers know to take away empty place settings, so that there are no gaps. 

Order of service

  • Entrance of the Bride
  • Welcome and Introduction 
  • Hymn
  • Readings
  • Sermon
  • Exchange of Marriage Vows
  • Prayers; Hymn
  • The Signing of the register
  • The Final Blessing
  • Exit


Try not to have guests hanging about waiting for group photographs in cold or wet weather. 


What accommodation is nearby? What do the couple want as a gift? Where can I park? The mother of the bride is a good person to field questions - just make sure she has the right answers and has been briefed properly. 

S is for Speeches

The bride's father gives the first speech, followed by the bridegroom and then the best man.

Thank-you notes

If you want your wedding day to be remembered for the right reasons, then make sure you write those thank-you notes. It's particularly important to thank guests for their gifts because a) they will know you received the present b) it's very rude not to.

Umbrellas (and parasols)

These should be at hand for guests if you're marrying on a rainy day or if you're somewhere very bright and sunny. If guests have to walk outside from the ceremony to the venue, make sure they are protected from the weather if necessary. 


Wear the right veil for your wedding style. If you're marrying on a beach, don't opt for a cathedral length veil and if you're marrying in a large church, a birdcage veil will look out of place. 

Traditionally pregnant brides and second-time brides don't wear veils. 


Think about the weather at the time of year and location you're marrying in. Make sure that guests are going to be warm enough in a marquee and if you're having a destination wedding, put the temperature it's likely to be on your wedding information. 

X factor

Do you really want to invite your ex to your wedding? Or are you happy if your other half does? Sometimes it's best to leave the past alone. In any case, it's something you need to talk about together, to see how you would feel about it.


Always have a chill-out area for small kids and elderly relatives so they can relax a bit and take time out if they need to. 

(Image via Dessy real weddings Facebook page)