Since setting up our new office, I’ve become a little book obsessed and currently, I’m reading my way through a number beautifully inspiring editions that are not only invaluable resources for our upcoming wedding, but will be great for ideas when we get around to buying our dream home. Although we always advise that you choose your wedding DIY projects wisely and with your eyes wide open, we are still big believers in trying your hand at at least one element of your wedding day. I thought I’d share a few of my favourite DIY and wedding inspiration books with you today. Even if you have no intention of crafting anything for your big day, you might like to take up a new hobby after the event and in any case, all of these wedding books would make great gifts for other brides to be.

Flowers

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Oh my favourite topic of all, wedding flowers! While it is quite the task to take on doing your own flowers for your wedding day, especially abroad where you haven’t got a cool room away from the blistering heat to prepare and store them, some people are naturally green fingered and just love playing with pretty blooms. Personally, for a destination wedding – I love the thought of getting the girls together the day before the wedding to prepare beautiful arrangements. As an activity and over a couple bottles of wine, it is a great way to bring the ladies together for a little bit of fun away from the guys! To set you on your merry way to floral perfection, here are my four favourite flower inspiration books, one of which offers an alternative to fresh flowers in favour of paper made petals.

First of my personal three favourites is The Flower Recipe Book. Packed with over 120 different arrangements, you will learn everything from the very basics of flower arrangements to recreating theatrical displays, all step by step with detailed bloom recipes for each design, so you know exactly what you need before you start. A great start for anyone hoping to arrange their own wedding flowers, a nice addition to any coffee table and a beautiful gift for someone who just loves to get their hands dirty.

Paper to Petal is a great DIY book for those of you who are perhaps a little bit nervous about working with fresh flowers or on a tighter budget that won’t stretch as far as garden roses. There are over 75 paper flower projects jammed into this book, not all of which are wedding related so it really offers something for everyone.

Next up is another of my favourites, Bringing Nature Home. Although it not as “step by step” as The Flower Book Recipe, Bringing Nature Home has been a huge source of inspiration for me when it comes to styling work as it has helped me understand the benefits of working with florals that are in season (and when they are in season), creating florals for a specific space and environment and all in all, it offers really offers a fresh and unique perspective on floral design. All arrangements are by Nicolette Owen of Brooklyn’s Little Flower School, a superstar in the floral design industry and is one book that I will always turn to for inspiration.

Finally, Decorate with Flowers is a collaboration between Leslie Shewring of Decor8 and interior stylist Holly Becker, and although it has been put together in the context of home decorating, it shares  a lot of inspiration and ideas that can easily be extended beyond a beautiful living room arrangement to the top wedding table setting. Lots of tips and tricks on vessels, trims and other ideas to create simple, inexpensive designs with class and style.

Calligraphy

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If you spend any amount of time on Pinterest, you will most likely already have noticed that calligraphy is well and truly in vogue. Hand-lettering is something I have always enjoyed and after a day spent on the computer, I always enjoy dipping my pens in black ink. Living in such a digitalised world, it’s so great that the art of handwriting is making such a comeback. If you are a keen writer or have ever been complimented on your penmanship, then perhaps DIYing your invitation envelopes and place cards might be a more realistic and enjoyable task than flower arranging.

Starting from scratch is made easy with Eleanor Winters “Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy”. Learn basic alphabet formations and numbers in traditional copperplate calligraphy style, moving on to simple sentences and paragraphs while learning about suitable calligraphy supplies. This is a great book to get you started on simple projects like place cards and envelopes.

If you want to take your calligraphy to the next level and design and digitalise your work to create a full invitation suite,  then Modern Calligraphy by Molly Suber Thorpe is a must have on your book shelf. It is very well narrated and the step by step guides are second to none but you will need plenty of time on your hands to perfect your skills and will also need to invest in programs like photoshop and illustrator, so it’s not really for a one off project.

Cakes

I’m not a baker, I wish I was but I’ve only ever successfully baked one chocolate cake. And by successfully, I mean that it didn’t burn because it certainly didn’t taste good. For those of you that are far more talented in the kitchen than I, I am assured that the following two books are a must have if you intend on making your own wedding cake, or outsourcing it to someone close to you (either would make a beautiful gift, really!)

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Frostings by Courtney Dial Whitmore is a winner if you can bake but aren’t so nifty at the decorating side of things. A complete lesson in yummy frostings, learn how to whip up wickedly good ganaches and glazes that taste as amazing as they look.

Perhaps you are just looking to bake something a little more special than your standard cream sponge, something a little more memorable? Well, Sweet and Vicious  is all about tantalising your tastebuds and trying new flavours. All we will say is you should definitely trail a few of these recipes before committing to one on your wedding day!

Bridal Fashion

Let’s not lie, one of the first things we are interested in after the excitement of the engagement dies down is the wedding dress and all the pretty that goes along with it! If you are in need of some inspiration, you are in luck as there are hundreds of bridal books out there on the shelves but to give you an idea of the range of inspiration available, we have selected two very different reads for you to try out!

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Myra Callan, the lady behind Twigs and Honey gave us all a wonderful gift when she released Adornments; Sew & Create Accessories with Fabric, Lace & Beads in 2012. It would be a really special thing to put your own final touches on your bridal look and with this book as your guide, you can do just that. Floral-inspired necklaces, in-full-bloom fascinators, and earrings with wispy feathers and sparkling beads are just a small example of the beautiful projects that you can get lost in running up to your wedding day (although we wouldn’t recommend leaving it to the last minute, rather enjoy the process) and will enable you to create beautiful accessories for many a special occasion after your wedding day

If you would rather just read and be inspired, then why not be inspired by the worlds leading wedding gown designer as she shares her best tips, advice, thoughts and visions on weddings. As well as going into detail on how to choose the right neckline and fabric that is flattering and appropriate for your body shape and wedding location, Vera Wang also offers ideas on all aspects of wedding styling, such as flowers and invitations and everything in between!

Wedding Inspiration

To round off our book reviews, and quite sadly at that as there are so many more amazing books to go through, we are finishing on two greats, although we would actually recommend that you start with them as they will go a long way in helping you decide the type of wedding you want.

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The Luminous Portrait by none other than crazy talented Elizabeth Messina is an education in beautiful photography and light. Not strictly confined to weddings, it’s perhaps a little too heavy to start suggesting you learn about optimal lighting conditions for your wedding but if you you buy it for no other reason to be inspired by beautiful images, it will forever be a treasure that you will enjoy time and time again.

Last, but certainly not least and in fact, I would go so far as to call this the wedding bible that every bride to be and wedding industry vendor should have next to their night stand is ….Style Me Pretty Weddings by SMP founder Abby Larson. Get to know your personal style, spend hours poring over lovingly crafted and styled weddings for all the inspiration you need and get crafty with 15 gorgeous DIY projects. Its an amazing book, I love it and regularly go back through it and can’t say much more than that!

So, make space on that bookshelf or coffee table and set aside many many hours to just enjoy, whichever book you choose and best of luck with any DIYs you decide to take on for your own wedding day!

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