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Rachael’s Tips on Making Your Wedding More Personal

Today, Preloved hands the blog over to site member Rachael to talk about her and husband Kieron’s Big Day, what they did to make their wedding that bit more personal, what was done on a budget and why Rachael ended up with three wedding dresses!

My husband Kieron and I met at college when we were 17, and our engagement was a long one. We got engaged on our 3rd anniversary together, and were engaged for another 5 years before finally tying the knot! Because we’d been together and waiting for the day for so long, we wanted to go all out on the venue and experience, but make sure all the details were handmade and personal to us. A little bit of us was in everything. We got married in Kendal, as we’re keen hikers and love Cumbria and the Lake District, and as we’re big gamers/anime fans – and it was Easter Sunday – we were spoilt for choice when it came to possible personal touches!



For the main meal we had a lamb shank and roast vegetables – the same meal we had on the evening we got engaged. Our cake was a recreation of the Master Sword’s pedestal from The Legend of Zelda games, and our table names were handmade (printed pictures on card backed with blackboard paper) and featured our favourite Studio Ghibli films and quotes from those films.


Favours and flowers

Our favours were great fun to make (plain white porcelain egg cups, all decorated uniquely with guest names and patterns, topped with a Kinder egg) and they doubled as place cards. Even mine and my bridesmaids’ bouquets were home made – the flowers were bought from my local flower shop, and my bridesmaids and I enjoyed a few drinks and tied them all together the night before the big day.


It’s the little things

We really enjoyed coming up with ideas to make the wedding a little bit special, and fun and memorable for our guests (and us!). We bought cheap mason jars from Ikea, dolled them up with ribbon and labelled them (using more self-adhesive blackboard paper) and then filled them with sweets to make a sweetie table. I also bought some old wooden easels, sanded them back and painted them white. We used these to hold two large pictures, which we asked guests to help us colour in – a bit different to a traditional guest book! We also made little ‘gift baskets’ for our young guests, filled with cheap colouring books, craft sets and toys to keep them entertained.


If I could change one thing…

We wouldn’t change anything about the day itself – it was everything we wanted and more, and we got many comments from guests complimenting us on how personal and well-thought out it all was. We even struck lucky with the weather, which held out long enough for us to have the ceremony outside. If I could change anything at all though, I would be a little more decisive about my dress – as I ended up with three (which I’m now selling, along with a number of other props used in our wedding)!

The first I bought a few years before the wedding, before a date had even been decided. I simply saw it in the shop window, fell in love, and had to have it! As it was a few years before the date was even set though, by the time it came around, my tastes had changed, so I went looking for another dress. The second I bought online, but when it came, it wasn’t quite right for me and would have cost too much to return to a company outside of the UK. So I went on a final (slightly panicked) dress hunt – and finally found the one! A beautiful fishtail ivory dress, with lace and beading detail that was perfect for me. The rest of my outfit was on a budget – white and grey leopard print heels from M&S (which I’ve worn since many times – why only wear a pair of killer heels once!?), a handmade tiara and veil and my jewellery was a wedding gift from my mum. Kieron wore a hired suit, and all of the men wore handmade button holes.


Any tips?

Our tips to others wanting to create a day they love would be to pick one or two things that are ‘non-negotiable’; decide what you really want for the day. For us, it was the venue – and then almost everything else can be done on a budget. Lots and lots of things can be handmade, and materials can be bought from anywhere – market stalls sell flowers, wholesalers are great for bulk purchases (e.g. sweets and other things for favours). And finally, choose something that’s personal to you and your partner, and run with it – a little imagination goes a long way!


In true Preloved spirit, Rachael has a few of the items she mentions for sale such as the dresses, the easels, or other props. Get in touch with her if you see anything you fancy!

Rachael McLaughlin

Rachael McLaughlin

Community User

Rachael and Kieron married after a very long engagement. Rachael's interests range from reading, sci-fi to craft work. A cross-stitch lover and new mum, she works as a custormer service specialist, which she will return to after her maternity leave.