Blog, Books in Review

My Handmade Wedding – Part 2


In yesterday’s blog post we introduced you to the book My Handmade Wedding by Marrianne Mercer, which we’d been sent to review.

We were so thrilled with the book, that we thought it would be great to catch up with  Marrianne and chat in more detail about her Handmade Wedding journey.

Your book is a delight to read Marrianne, we’re massive fans of all things crafting here at Olann andAs a graphic designer for Search Press, we assume you must have a love of crafts?  Have you always enjoyed making things and do you regularly craft now?  If so what is it, you do?

To be honest, until I worked at Search Press I never realised I had a love of all things crafty. I remember sitting in my interview flicking through some of the already published books, feeling really excited about what I could be working on. Being a Graphic Designer, my skills and training are more 2D based with drawings and visual designs so it wasn’t until working at Search Press that I really got hooked on hand crafted items. I did make a few pieces of beaded jewellery before then but I have since started knitting, paper crafting, baking and now really want to learn to crochet with some of the beautiful books coming out.


Paul Bricknell Photography.

 What made you decide to have a handmade wedding and how did that idea evolve into a book?

I’m not really sure why or when I made the decision to have a handmade wedding, it just sort of happened. I think being surrounded by crafts on a daily basis helped inspire me to create a more personal day for us. But also we had a few friends’ weddings that were quite casual and low key, which incorporated simple handmade flower displays that gave a garden party feel. We never wanted a big sparkly wedding, so it seemed ideal to hire a blank canvas village hall and make it a really personal affair.

I regularly sat opening my colourful pom poms at work in my lunch hour, which attracted quite a bit of attention in a craft based office. It wasn’t until after the wedding when a few of my colleagues saw the effect of my crafting on the day that they realised perhaps there was a book to be written on it. A few months after the wedding I was commissioned to write ‘My Handmade Wedding’. Luckily I still had a few items left over that I couldn’t bring myself to sell or throw away.

With everything that goes into planning a wedding, were there areas you were adamant were going to be taken care of by the ‘professionals’?

The food and drink was something I felt could be left for the professionals. We were very lucky that the pub two doors down did a mobile hog roast and bar and regularly held such events in the hall that we hired. This took a lot of the stress out of it and we had a lovely hog roast with lots of salad. Also the outfits were bought/tailored for us. Making wedding dresses or bridesmaid dresses is quite a serious craft and felt it was something that had to be left for someone who had the experience.

Where did you find your inspiration for the projects in the book and how did you decide on the ones you eventually picked?

A lot of my ideas came from online blog sites such as Rock n Roll bride, and sites such as Pinterest were a source of endless inspiration. I think I picked almost anything floral. I was trying to create a 1950s village fete style for the day, so I picked projects wisely to fit.

 Were there projects you’d planned to include but scrapped in the end and are there any you’ve thought of since and would love to have included?

I don’t think there was anything scrapped in the end but there have been lots of ideas since that I would have loved to include such as outdoor games and hay bales to sit on. I really like the mason jar glasses with stripy straws too.

As well as the ‘makes’ in the book, you’ve also included some incredibly useful information on planning your wedding, including a month by month diary.  How important was it for you to schedule everything in and did you ever feel under too much pressure?

There were moments when I felt very overwhelmed or couldn’t quite work out which was the simplest way of achieving something. But luckily my parents are very creative too and were always on hand to offer their advice and help. It is really important to be super organised and know exactly what you want to achieve. Making lists and measuring your spaces is also really important and testing items out in situ before you make all of what you need. Have back up plans too, just in case you run out of time to make 300 meters of bunting or a wedding cake.

It looks like your wedding took place in the Summer and you were blessed with a glorious sunny day.  Do you have any specific tips for someone planning a handmade wedding in the Winter?

We were really lucky with the weather, it was August and it rained quite heavily in the morning, but it brightened up just in time for me to go to the church. Be sensible with your winter craft ideas. Don’t plan outdoor paper flowers in winter time as they are likely to turn soggy! Instead choose fabric bunting as it will dry; colourful winter pot plants that love rain; and concentrate more on the indoor decorations. Change your colour palette to either complement the wintry browns and oranges which will help people feel warm and cosy, or go for icey blues and silvers to give a fresher look. Think about your clothing too, incorporate long sleeves or a shrug to keep warm and buy or make a beautiful bridal umbrella to keep you dry during your travels.

It’s pretty obvious from the book, that you love colour.  Did you purposefully decide on a palette or did it pick you?

Choosing the colour scheme was my first job. I couldn’t decide between a mixed pastel palette or bright summer palette. I discussed it with David and he said although the pastel colours were more ‘weddingy’ the bright colours were more ‘me’. So that decided it. I love colour and feel that it helps lift your mood and create celebration.

If you had to pick just one project from the book as your favourite ‘make’ what would it be?

Definitely the pom poms. They are super quick, really easy and have a huge colourful impact on any space. Fully opened or half opened they really are very versatile.

Can we expect to see more books from you in the future and if so, are you allowed to hint at your plans?

I am not sure about any more books just yet. They are quite a big undertaking, especially when you already work full time. There have been a few jokes in the office about creating a series, the next one being ‘My Handmade Christmas’. But I certainly have no plans for it just yet!