TNWC Real Brides: Caroline tells us about making a wedding cake and getting help from family and friends


Izzy Burton illustration

The countdown for TNWC Real Bride Caroline has really begun – her wedding is less than a month away now so preparations are going at full tilt!  Caroline, and her Mr-to-be Gareth, are planning a very homemade wedding on their farm in Nottinghamshire with a picnic lunch full of local produce.  On top of it all, this month Caroline has been busy making a wedding cake for her friends wedding!

Over to Caroline to tell you what she’s been up to in the lead-up to her wedding…

Well the most exciting news this month is that the cows are out of the barns and in the fields!!!

The clean up job has officially begun!  This is the bit where I gracefully bow out (I have sooooooo much crafting to do so not possibly time to get up to my elbows in cow poo!!) and leave the mucking out, power hosing and yard sweeping to the boys.


The last few weeks have sped by at an alarming rate, and somehow, suddenly its only 4 weeks to go until I officially become Mrs Stafford – yay! – I honestly cant wait.  I was fully expecting to be feeling a little bit frazzled by now, but I actually feel relatively calm and collected (ask me again in 2 weeks time and I bet it’s a different story!).  It helps that Gareth just whisked me off to a nearby day spa for a pre wedding day of relaxation for a birthday treat this week I think too.

I think it helps hugely that our day doesn’t have a very strict schedule.  Because we’re doing everything ourselves, it doesn’t matter when we sit down to eat, or how long the photos take and I’ve realised, after reading endless wedding blogs, that there will always be little things that we wont get around to doing but on the day, no one will notice and it wont matter in the slightest – I’ll be happily married and to busy getting on with the celebrating and partying to mind!

A Homemade Wedding Cake

So this month, I thought I’d talk a bit about wedding cakes – nope, not mine, but one I’ve been making for some very good friends of ours, Holly and Haydn who got married at the weekend.  I’m making their cake as their wedding present.  I know, I know – at the time it seemed such a good idea, and I have loved every minute of it, but it has definitely been a bit of a challenge so close to out own wedding, and has meant that I don’t have the time to make our own, but it’s a lovely gift and means a lot to me to be so involved in such a special part of their day so its all good.

Holly has been brilliant, and totally let me come up with the design, she’s a very laid back bride! So over the past few weeks I’ve been baking fruit cakes and this week decorating their three tier ruffle cake.  It’s not quite finished in this picture, but almost there!

Homemade ruffle wedding cake

If you’re thinking of making your own wedding cake, I’d absolutely say go for it if you have the time.  I’ve really enjoyed the whole creative process from finding a design and tweaking it to making all the individual decorations – it is pretty time consuming though, and I’ve had to rope my mum in to helping out at REloved lots over the last week or so while I’ve been madly making sugarpaste roses – so if you are planning it, just be warned, and be prepared for seriously aching arm muscles from so much rolling pin action!

I just watched heaps and heaps of YouTube tutorials that I found on Pinterest, and borrowed some books from the library and then got stuck in.  It’s not as difficult as you might think, and a ruffle cake, although time consuming, means you don’t have to be absolutely neat and perfect which helps!

I also now have a huge respect for professional cake makers, and can completely understand why wedding cakes cost so much money!!

Homemade ruffle wedding cake with sugarpaste flowers

With A Little Help From Your Friends

One thing that I have learnt is really important throughout the whole wedding planning process is accepting help from friends and family.  Now I’m a self confessed control freak (I didn’t think I was at all until I opened my little shop last year and I quickly realised that I’m not very good at giving others jobs to do, as I apparently like to know EVERYTHING that’s going on all the time!!) but there’s no way we would be able to include all the handmade details for our wedding without the help of willing volunteers – and I’ve realised that it helps friends and family feel like they’re a real part of the wedding too.

From endless jars of homemade chutney for our picnic lunch, to metres and metres (400 to be precise) of bunting, cushions stitched from old embroidered tables cloths and hessian and lace table runners we’ve had an army of helpers and their sewing machines and preserving pans.  A friends mum who’s an absolute whizz with a sewing machine has been altering my dress and helping me to make a clutch bag for each of my bridesmaids using vintage floral fabrics, which I’ll fill with little essentials for the day, and offers of cakes for our dessert table are coming in thick and fast – I think we’ll be sending guests home with goodie bags!

This is one of the craft projects my lovely friends has been creating for us:
Homemade bunting

It’s important to accept that you can’t do everything yourself, and the little jobs take a lot of time, so if someone puts their hand up and offers to help – just say “yes please thank you very much!”

As you’ll probably all know by now, we want as many of the details from our wedding to be able to be enjoyed after the wedding day.  From our amazing wedding guest book quilt that’s being handcrafted for us by the very talented Holly Swann to the appliquéd bunting and embroidered cushion covers our friends are busy sewing for us.

Keepsake Quotes

A few weeks ago I had another idea for a wedding keepsake that we will love and enjoy for years and years to come…

I have a real ‘thing’ about quotes – anyone that knows me knows I have a quote for every situation and I just love the way a good quote can totally inspire and motivate you, or make a bit of a rubbish day seem a bit better, or just put a bit of a smile on your face and a spring in your step.  So I asked some of our very special friends and family members if they would choose one of their favourite quotes (not necessarily about love, but just a quote that inspires them and that they love) and somehow represent it in a way that can be hung on a wall.

The idea is we’ll have a quote wall in the barn on our wedding day, and afterwards I’ll have a huge quote wall in our bedroom.  This is definitely one of the absolute favourite bits of our wedding details so far – I am seriously bowled over by how creative and talented all our lovely friends and family are, and touched by how much thought and work has gone into the quotes.  Here’s a little example of a couple that have already been delivered to us ready to hang…

Framed quotes

Captured On Film

As I think I mentioned in a previous post the brilliant Rebecca at Milestones Photography is our wedding photographer, and we’ve been sharing lots of gorgeous photos through a secret Pinterest board, so we can let her know the styles and shots we really love.  It’s been such a fab idea of hers, as it just means that she’s got a real idea, before the day, of how we want her to capture it all.  Because it’s a secret board though, it keeps it all a surprise from all our friends and guests that also use Pinterest.

We’ve also been wondering about a videographer, and I’d love your feedback.  I hadn’t even thought about it until someone mentioned that it was the best decision they made for their wedding day and now I keep thinking how lovely it would be to have the best bits captured on video to show to future generations!  I’d love to hear from any other brides if they’ve hired a videographer and what they think?  Is it worth it?  Do you have anyone that you would really recommend?  It seems like one of those things that could be absolutely amazing…or really disastrous if you pick the wrong one, so I’d like to go with a recommendation if at all possible.

This weekend, we’re getting cracking on making all our blackboards and pallet signs for around the farm – Gareth’s a bit skilled with a jigsaw, so we’ll be adding to our collection of cow shaped chalkboards to hang up around the barn!

I’ll be back for one more blog post before our wedding – eeek!!

Can you believe it – less than 4 weeks until Caroline and Gareth’s wedding!  It has crept up so quickly.  I am so excited for them both and can’t wait to hear from Caroline one last time before they say their “I do’s”.  

If you have any advice for Caroline and Gareth about hiring a videographer or any recommendations, please do leave a message below in the comments box.

Don’t forget, you can catch up with all the latest posts from our TNWC Real Brides by clicking that link.

Images: (1) Illustration by Izzy Burton; (2-6) Brides own pictures


Emma Lou on 23. April, 2013

Caroline, it all sounds so amazing and I am so excited for you…I am getting bubbles of excitement just reading this! We are having the same videographer debate…wishing you masses of fun on the day from a fellow TNWC bride x

Faye on 23. April, 2013

Caroline, I love your quote wall! I used to have a quote board – mainly from films and friend’s daft ramblings, but they’re ace nevertheless!

Re the videographer, we wrangled with this debate for MONTHS. In the end, just just booked one. My theory is that if you think you want one now, just imagine how much you will kick yourself for not having one once the chance has passed. We’re getting one for sentimental reasons really. As glum as it seems, we know that one day in the (hopefully very distant) future, that CD will be a very precious possesion when loved ones pass on. Plus, I have never yet met a person who had one and regretted it, but I’ve met many who did! Go for it!

Enjoy the last month of your wedding planning too – it sounds like it’s going to be an amazing day, and can’t wait to see some pics on here. Hope it goes well for you both xx

caroline evans on 24. April, 2013

Thanks Faye – i have taken your advice and got it booked!! Found a really lovely local business through a recommendation from one of my customers, and had a fab chat with him last night – totally convinced and i think you’re absolutely right – it might be quite a bit chunk of money, but i think id kick myself forever if we decided not too – we’ve saved quite a lot of money by doing everything ourselves so im splashing out on this one!!
Hope you guys have an amazing day too – yay! x x

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