Raining on Your Wedding Day but Not on Your Parade

Chances are that it won’t rain, but it’s always a good idea to have a wet weather contingency or two. After all, you’ve been planning your wedding for months and it’d be a shame if the rain affected some or all of your big day. Expect the worst Assume it’s going to rain and work your plans from there. If you rely on ifs and maybes then you’ll fall foul of at least one of them. So, if your wedding has outdoor-based portions, make sure you have some gazebos, umbrellas and wellington boots. This is your big day, so make sure you use everything to your advantage. Take advice from your vendors Your suppliers will have seen a few weddings that have been affected by rain, so ask them for their ideas. You never know, your photographer might actually like taking snaps in the rain because of the unique light conditions. Meanwhile, your caterer will know just how to keep your food dry and your entertainers will already have a damp weather routine to keep the kids happy. Singing in the rain So what it rains? It’s your day and it’s unique. Rain doesn’t have to be a bad thing, especially if it’s warm. It’ll be a day to remember, with added umbrellas and splashes! It could be magical There’s a reason why photographers like rainy days; the light can be amazing and the actual raindrops landing on various surfaces make for some interesting close-ups. Sunny days can produce a flat sort of light that, while vibrant, can be a bit one-dimensional. Plus, you might get a rainbow! A... read more

What to Expect from Your Maid of Honour

One of the most important figures at your wedding (apart from you and your intended, of course) is your Maid of Honour. You’ll already know what your MoH is, but you might not know exactly what her role is and what your expectations of her should be. She’s your right-hand…errr…chick Your MoH will organise your hen night and your bridal shower, as well as oversee anything else your bridesmaids are in charge of. She’ll also be your shoulder to cry on and the person to tell you that having that Cradle of Filth tribute act as your wedding band isn’t a great idea. Your MoH is also there to keep problematic family members in line. She takes care of all the small stuff You don’t choose your MoH out of a hat. She’s an old and trusted friend who has always been the one carrying the after-sun lotion on picnic trips. She’s also the one with the sewing kit, the plasters and the bug repellent. She spots niggles before they grow into problems and sorts them right out without a fuss. Your MoH will see you’re getting dehydrated during your reception and will appear, armed with mineral water and a straw, before heading back off to help Grandma to understand the sushi bar. She’s a logistics whizz Keeping in contact with all your bridesmaids, ushers, suppliers and the parents of your flower-girls can get a bit much, so some of this will be handled by your MoH. When it comes to organising your spa day and pamper session, or buying gifts for the flower-girls, she’ll do most of this... read more

Get Your Seating Plan Right

One of the biggest pain points in planning your wedding is the seating plan. You have to keep old rivals apart without making it obvious, keep both families happy, keep old university chums together… It’s hard work, so use these tips to make your logistical load easier. Start planning at once Once the invitations are out, start planning. You can take names off the list as and when people decline. Don’t print up your plan until the last moment, though, as things can often change. When you do print, go large so people can see from a distance rather than crowding around a sheet of A4. Use table names, not numbers If you have tricky families, numbers can spell (as it were) hierarchy. Be ready to be flexible Don’t get hung up on just one layout, as things evolve and change. If the wedding is a small affair, then you might not even need a firm, structured seating plan. Stupid Cupid If you seat singles next to one another, they won’t like it. Period. Remember the kids Younger children need to be with their parents, but older children will love having their own table, complete with activity packs. Cater for all ages If you have older people at your wedding, make sure they have easy access to exits and bathrooms. You need to think about pregnant women, wheelchair users and anyone else who may need extra help. Your top table If having a top table is problematic, then just don’t do it. Alternating genders If this won’t work well, then ditch the tradition. Hive mind Keep people in their... read more

How to Write the Perfect Invitations

We’re a long way past the days when all wedding invitations were written on heavy white or cream-coloured card – all copperplate script and stuffy formal phrasing. These days invitations are a part of the wedding experience in themselves – they can be fun, quirky, individualised and even a bit cheeky. If you go for this sort of style then you can be a bit more freeform, but if you do want some formality, then you should follow this tried and tested format. the invitations should be in the third person; place the time and date before the venue; the invitees’ names should be written separately from the rest of the invitation text, as should the venues of the ceremony and he reception; you should use formal language, like “request the pleasure of your presence” etc, and your parents’ names should be included too. If your wedding is child-friendly… Make sure the venues are able to cope with them – changing facilities, quiet rooms, areas for older children to play and so on. When you’re writing the invitations, mention the children by name or be very clear about the invitation being for the entire family. Your gift registry Your wishing well (or gift list if you do want one) should be on a separate piece of paper to the invitation (but still in the same envelope). Make it clear that there’s no obligation to give money or gift cards, though. You should also include a list of potential present ideas for older or more traditional people who would prefer to buy a gift, like some fancy baking equipment or... read more

How to Have a No-theme Wedding

For the last few years, everyone’s had a theme at their wedding. Themes can be great – they add interest to an event, they can spark conversations between strangers and make for amazing photos. However, not everyone wants to be like the others, so if you fancy a theme-less wedding, you should go for it. You still need some help and advice from the pros, though. Use your venue for inspo Most often your venue will guide your styling. Some places don’t need much doing to them other than a bit of personalisation, or else you risk over-egging your pudding. The venue is where your styling begins, no matter what your theme (or lack of), so if you’re going theme-less, think about a mood instead. You could take some ideas from home, too. If your home has a particular look or colour scheme, then why not extend it to your wedding as well? Here’s the main elements you need to style to create a feeling or mood for your theme-free wedding. The tables Do you want your tables to all be the same? Or is this too theme-y? One good idea, depending on the number of tables, is to have different colours, different ethnic pieces or different continents. Work this styling into place-cards, table linen and so on. The flowers Your flowers are one of the biggest parts of your wedding, so you need to get them right. Spend some time finding a florist you like, or who others recommend and then talk about how you can use your floral displays to express yourself. The menu With the food... read more

Modern-day Wedding Etiquette

The times are changing, and so is wedding etiquette. If you’re about to attend a wedding soon, you may be wondering what the protocol is these days; have some cast-iron rules fallen by the wayside? What about smartphones and Instagram? Let’s have a look. Can you wear black? You used to not be able to, but you can now as long as it’s done with style – team it up with interesting shoes or fun jewellery. If you’re planning to wear a black dress, keep it gauzy and shapely (it can be done). You can’t wear white or ivory, though. You just can’t. Can you take photos on your phone? It’s OK to take a few photos, and some couples encourage it, but make sure you know what the social media policy is before you even think about uploading anything. If you’re not sure, don’t post anything, as you could make a photo public before the bride does, and that’s not on! Also, don’t get in the way of the professional photographer. Or tag the bride in an unflattering photo… Can you RSVP by email? It depends. If you receive the invitation by email, with a request to respond by the same medium, then yes. However, if you receive it on some lovely stationery, you should respond in kind, as someone’s collating those response cards to work out numbers. Whatever the format is, hollering “We’ll see ya there, no worries!” is really not done. Can you avoid some traditions if you don’t like them? A contentious tradition is the throwing of the bouquet. Some women love it, others feel... read more

Tips for Table-planning

Pinning down your table-plan is important as your wedding meal is two or three hours long, so it’s a big part of the day. Once you’ve sorted it, that’s one sigh of relief you can breathe… Start early You can start planning even before the RSVPs come in. Start with your entire invitations list and winnow out the people who won’t be able to make it. Don’t leave it too late as it can turn into a rushed nightmare. Check out the venue Make sure the venue is large enough for the size, shape and number of your tables. You need to leave everyone enough room to get up and move around without feeling packed in and claustrophobic. Mix up friends and family It’s a hard balance to achieve, but avoid filling entire tables with family as no-one will be able to mingle properly. You shouldn’t put all strangers on one table either, though, as it can easily go wrong. Think about ages and interests. The singles’ corner Always seat partners together and don’t ever be tempted to match-make (at least, don’t do it obviously…). Don’t ever have a singles’ table. Just don’t. Even Stevens (and Stephanies) Try to have an even-ish number of men and women at each table so there’s a god flow of conversation and good behaviour. Can you imagine being the only guy at a table of drunk women? Place cards Make sure place cards are clear and visible. You could have themed table names, which is fun, a conversation-starter and avoids hierarchical table numbers. Try tables rather than seats You don’t have to pin... read more

Dealing With Pre-wedding Nerves

Everyone gets nervous before their wedding, whether it kicks in several months before or on the day itself. Thankfully, it’s easy to combat these jitters with a few positive thoughts and clever tricks. Make a list of your main concerns and worries Some are bigger concerns, some are just silly, some involve things you can control and some are things you can’t do anything about so you have to let the worries go. Hang around with positive people There’s always going to be a few people who are a downer about everything or who try to impose their own agenda on you and your wedding. Try to avoid them and bring in more positive friends and families. Share your worries Don’t bottle things up or you’ll blow them out of proportion. Sometimes by sharing a concern you realise how silly they are, or you might find a way to work through more valid worries. Concentrate on breathing Of course, it happens by reflex! However, stress and anxiety can cause your breathing to become shallower, which can make you feel even more stressed. Learn to breathe from your diaphragm and to “exhale” your tension. Spend a few minutes each day practising your calming breathing so that you can switch into it when the nerves start up. You should also work on your posture, as stress can cause you to scrunch down and lower your eyes, which in turn makes you feel even more timid. Stand up, shoulders back, big smile… Let yourself be supported It’s your wedding, but it’s not just your responsibility. You can relax and delegate some jobs... read more

Doing Your Own Make-up

If you’re planning to do your own make-up on the big day, you’ll need some special tips to get it right. After all, it’s not just another day at the office, is it? Practice makes perfect Once you’ve chosen a look, you should practice it a few times, tweaking and adjusting until it’s perfect for you. Investing this time a few weeks before the wedding takes a lot of the worry out of it when it comes to the real thing. Have some facials You should, if you can, have two or three facials in the months leading up to your wedding so your complexion is as good a canvas as it can be. Make sure you have a quiet place to do your make-up You’ll need time and, more importantly, space to do this. If you’re milling around in the same room as your bridesmaids, then it can get a bit hectic, so ask for some privacy. Find your perfect foundation Take some professional advice here and take your time. You need the right shade for your skin and your outfit, as well as the right formulation for your skin type. Be patient. Don’t use anything with an SPF or sparkles in Many SPFs use titanium and zinc oxides, which, as soon as a flash hits them, make you look ghostly white. The same advice applies to very sparkly eyeshadow or highlighter, as well as white or pale finishing powder. You don’t want a clown mask, do you? Work on your brows Brows define your face and so you need to get them right. It’s another case of... read more

Planning an Autumn 2018 Wedding

Autumn is probably the second-most popular season to get married in – the intense heat of the summer has receded but the temperatures are still mostly comfortable and there’s still quite a bit of daylight. Not only is the climate a bit more forgiving, but there’s some interesting and varied seasonal elements that you can incorporate into your ceremony and the reception. True, there’s some precautions you need to take to keep things running along smoothly, but it’s all good fun. Eyes down for an autumnal wedding checklist… Give your flower girls pumpkins This doesn’t mean they’ll be pumpkin girls instead! Carve and scoop out some pumpkins, create two holes in the sides and thread ribbons through to create baskets – then fill them with flowers! Make sure your bridesmaids stay warm Sometimes autumn nights can feel a little chilly, so why not give your bridesmaids a pashmina each as one of your gifts to them? The look gorgeous and serve a practical function as well. Bring in the space heaters It’s tempting to have an open-air ceremony and reception in autumn as the night skies can be very clear. Clear skies can mean chilly air, though, so have an area that’s warmed by space heaters for people to gather. Have a dramatic colour scheme Autumn is a great excuse for an intense palette. You can team up reds, oranges and yellows with rich dark purples, burgundies and even black. Try amber or cream-coloured candles White candles are more suited to summer weddings, whereas cream, golden yellow or amber candles give off a warmer, gentler glow. You can also... read more

Melissa & Brendan – Married 22 April 2017

Being this beautiful couples Celebrant and MC for their Dream Day was such an honour and privilege. I loved every minute of my time with Melissa & Brendan. Being a part of their planning from the beginning … Brendan and I still laugh about our first meeting at the first Expo. I wore a beautiful orange scarf that he loved and wanted to keep.  We chatted for ages about the theme and their plans. That day I became their Celebrant and MC.   We meet a further 4-5 times, had wine, laughed and planned more.    Their photographer/videographer and I worked really hard and well together to capture their special day. Hence the great memories! And I got to keep my scarf!!   Images & Video curtesy: White Images Wedding Photography & Myfilm… Toni Collett Celebrant Here is a few hints from them for your Dream Day.. Melissa and I are two lucky people. We encourage and support each other, joke, laugh and yes cry together.  Melissa is my best friend, my confidant and at the risk of sounding cheesy my soul mate.  It is a privilege to share this brief glimpse of our lives with others and we both hope that our story can inspire and help others. Picking the theme: Melissa and I set out with our wedding in mind from the moment we were engaged.  We started out by imagining what our wedding would be like, who would we invite, where would it be, what we thought it may cost and when the big day was going to be.  We decided to have an outdoor wedding on the Sunshine... read more

Why Choose a Wedding Celebrant

Increasingly, people are leading a secular lifestyle and so they’re choosing to get married outside of the church. They may be secular, or the couple may be from different cultures and so they’ve decided to find a third way that bypasses religion altogether. As well as cultural reasons, there are other great reasons for choosing a celebrant to guide you and your guests through your wedding. Here are the best ones… You can get married pretty much anywhere you want Having a celebrant to lead your wedding means you can choose almost anywhere to get married. You’re not restricted to a registry office or a place of worship, or even to set times of day. If you want to get married on a farm, or in a botanical garden, a Sami tent or on a beach, then you can. You need to make sure that it’s legal to get married there, of course, but once that’s for sure, you can crack on with the planning. You can make your wedding ceremony as personal as you like You don’t have to follow the more traditional wedding ceremony script if you don’t want to. You can write your own vows and your celebrant can get your own unique story out there for everyone to enjoy. You can have a few rehearsals Your celebrant can advise you on the best seating arrangements, timings, music and your PA system. You can also run through the proceedings to make sure that you haven’t left anything out and that all your plans work. Your celebrant is dedicated to you Celebrants tend to only perform one... read more

Tips for a Beach Wedding

Many brides dream of a beach wedding; after all, they look great and we’ve all seen some stunning photoshoots, right? One mistake that people can make when they think about a beach wedding is that planning it involves exactly the same things as a regular wedding that’s not based on sand. There are special things you need to take into account when you’re getting ready to tie the knot by the sea. Don’t do the big dress Wearing a big dress on a beach can be a disaster – it’ll get drenched by the sea, it’ll blow about, it’ll be hot… Additionally, if there’s any lace involved, it’ll collect sand and other beach debris, so think lightweight, tight-woven fabrics. Keep it simple Beach weddings can be harder to hear and follow than ones held in enclosed spaces, so limit the length of the ceremony and any speeches as the sea breeze can whip the words out of people’s mouths. Forget about heels High heels and sand isn’t a great mix, as you can imagine. You could wear satin flatties, or flip-flops or even go barefoot. Stay sun-aware It should be a long day, so don’t forget about that sun! Make sure everyone has enough sunscreen, especially the kids. You don’t want to look like lobsters in your reception photos. The blokes can go casual as well If you’re opting for lightweight fabrics, then the guys should be able to do that too. Forget the black woollen tuxes and let them wear light-coloured linen suits or even shirts and Bermuda shorts! Make sure there’s enough shade Provide at least one... read more

Common Questions About a Wedding Celebrant

If you’ve decided to hire a celebrant to conduct your wedding instead of a registrar or a religious figure, then you may face some questions from friends and family. You may have some questions yourself, too, so here’s a few of the main ones that arise. Why hire a celebrant instead of a registrar? If you’re not doing a church wedding, then why not have a registry wedding instead? Well, registrars have restrictions on time and on what can be included. While registrars are freer than religious figures, they still have some constraints. A celebrant can include pretty much whatever you want and there’s often no time limits. I want a few religious or cultural elements in my wedding ceremony; can I do this? Of course you can! It’s your day so you can include whatever you want. Will I be legally married? You will still need to have your marriage registered officially for it to be legal, but your celebrant can do this for you. Where can I get married? Wherever you are allowed. You can get married at a hotel, or a national park, a restaurant or in a field! As long as you have permission to use the venue or land for that purpose, you’re good to go. I don’t want a quick, rushed-through service, can I make my ceremony a bit longer? Yes; there’s no need to rush, as chances are your celebrant won’t have another ceremony that day, as you find with a church or registry wedding. What’s so wrong with a registry or church wedding? Absolutely nothing! All weddings are amazing occasions, no... read more

Top Four Sartorial Boo-boos

Not hiring a professional make-up artist and stylist Unless you’re a professional yourself, or you’re extremely low maintenance and understated, then you’ll need someone to come and do your hair and make-up for you. On your wedding day you’ll have enough to think about without trying to consider how such-and-such a colour will look on camera. You also can stop worrying about getting your eyeliner straight – leave it up to the professional! Following trends without thinking Just because lots of other people, including celebs, are sporting sarongs on their beach wedding days doesn’t mean you have to do this as well. Know your style and don’t force yourself to go along with trends if you don’t like them or you know they won’t suit you. Feeling uncomfortable in an unfamiliar style of dress will stand out like a beacon in videos, in photos and in person. Work out what your style is and what suits you, then work up from that, not off at a tangent. Not dressing for the venue If your venue has a particular look or feel, you don’t have to exactly match it, but you should take care not to clash with it. If you’ve always wanted your groomsmen to wear zoot suits, don’t get married in a rural, farmyard venue. If you’re really stuck and confused, aim for natural and subtle, with no bright, clashing colours that could go very wrong with your backdrop. Trying to fit in too much to your look in one go It’s difficult to avoid thinking about all the separate elements of your wedding outfit. You want that... read more

Explaining a Celebrant to Worried Relatives

If you’ve decided to have a celebrant conduct your wedding rather than a religious official, you might find that some (usually older) relatives seem very worried about your choice. It’s easy to become impatient with them if they keep bringing up the subject, but you have to understand that they may be genuinely concerned about your welfare – especially if you’re the bride. Traditions matter The thing is, your older relatives may well belong to a generation that places a lot of importance on traditions and ceremony. They may really worry that your marriage won’t actually be legal and that you’ll be left high and dry by your cad of a fiancé (sorry). You need to reassure them that a celebrant is a licensed professional who is legally able to conduct weddings and other ceremonies and that any ceremony led by one is real. As in legally-binding. The ceremony isn’t the legal part People only think of the ceremony at weddings and so they may think that all the palaver is what makes the wedding legal. It’s not, it’s the submitting and the signing of the documents and then the registration of these documents that is legally binding. Your celebrant is actually authorised to do all this for you in the same way as a priest, rabbi or imam is. Which brings us onto… The safety of your everlasting soul. You and/or your partner may be atheist, or you may be from two different religions and so rather than trying to combine the two faiths you may have decided to tread a middle path or avoid religion altogether. This... read more

How to Choose Your Perfect Celebrant

Your wedding day is the biggest and most important day of your life. You’ll be surrounded by friends and family, and of course you’ll be joining together with your loved one. It’s important to get it right and to make it a day to remember and so having the right celebrant with you, leading the way, is vital. Here’s how your perfect wedding celebrant should be. A good communicator Your celebrant should be able to listen to you and your ideas and be enthusiastic about them, but also be able to dissuade you from any ideas that might not work (without you realising it…). A good adviser You haven’t done this before, but your celebrant has! You should choose someone who is a good guide, who knows the legal aspects of getting married and who is a logistics whizz! You need to be confident that all the legal papers are filed on time and in order. Open to feedback Don’t go with anyone who railroads you into anything you don’t want. If your celebrant pressures you to incorporate something into your ceremony and won’t take no for an answer, they’re wrong for you. He or she should also be easily contactable and responsive. Has their own equipment Your marriage has to be audible to all present – legally! Your celebrant should have their own PA system, as well as being able to make adjustments to make the acoustics as good as possible. Creative Having a celebrant means you’re not doing an off-the-peg wedding. You’ll have your own ideas and you should share them with your celebrant, who should be... read more

Planning to Elope? Here’s How

If you’ve decided to elope, then you might be imagining that you’ll get away with all the planning and the organising. This is true to an extent, but there’s still a bit of forethought and logistics involved – it’s just that it’s more about the two of you than the two of you and both of your extended families! Sooo, here’s how you plan to elope. Drop the guilt Many couples feel a bit guilty about eloping, as it means leaving their friends and families behind for this most special of days. However, ultimately, your wedding is about you two. Your family and friends want to share it because they love you, but that love will also help them to accept and understand your decision. Plan a party or other event after the fact If you are racked with guilt, then throw a drinks party or another bash after you return from your honeymoon. You could treat your guests to a slideshow of your actual wedding if you think it’ll go over well. Don’t sweat the guest list Just imagine – no worrying about keeping those two aunties apart. That should assuage any lingering feelings of guilt. Look for the savings Bigger weddings can get seriously expensive, so think about what you’re saving and think about how you can spend some or all of it on just you two. The holiday of a lifetime? Saving for a baby? It’s up to you! Not everything is cheaper though – photographers tend to have a flat fee for weddings, for example. Think big, even if your wedding is small You can... read more

The Best Things About Winter Weddings

Most people opt for summer weddings; after all, what can go wrong? The days are long, the sun shines, there’s little chance of rain and everyone expects a summer wedding, right? Well, not absolutely everyone; in fact, winter weddings are becoming increasingly popular as people realise that these out-of-season nuptials offer advantages the warmer months simply can’t. Here’s seven of the best. Darker, romantic evenings The days are a bit shorter in winter, so you can either start your reception a bit earlier to make the most of the light, or you can embrace your dark side and bring candles, lanterns and fireworks into the mix. This works well for smaller weddings as the darkness brings people closer together in an intimate atmosphere. Out of season can be cheaper Winter isn’t as busy for many wedding vendors and suppliers so you can strike some good deals and bag some great bargains if you get married in the less popular months. Venues have more availability After the mad rush that is summer, many venues have a bit of down time in the winter, so you’ll have your pick of more weekends. You will probably find it all a bit cheaper, too. People are keen to party Chances are that people won’t have been to a wedding for a few months by the time winter rolls around so they’ll be raring to go! Mulled wine Or mulled cider. Or hot chocolate. Enough said. Guests will expect a spot of rain You know there’s a chance of a chill in the air in the morning and evening, so it won’t come as... read more

Four Ways to Make Your Wedding Unique

Of course, you and your intended are unique, as is every couple. The only trouble is, weddings tend to follow trends and customs and it can be hard to make yours stand out from the crowd. These days, though, there are lots of ways to make your wedding memorable, and here are four of the best. VIP bags for guests Your guests will love VIP bags that contain, say, miniature bottles of Champagne or cava, as well as snacks, gift certificates or vouchers for local coffee or toiletry shops. Of course, there should also be a welcome note from you guys. Take-home care packages If your guests are going home in fleets of cars or buses, them help them to prepare for the day ahead by packing hangover kits into these packs and place them on the seats. These could include isotonic drinks, eyemasks, lavender spray and healthy snacks for the morning after the night before. On-site childcare Everyone knows how kids love a wedding, but we also know how tired they get after a certain point in the day – usually just as their parents are getting warmed up… Make sure there’s a room where overwhelmed children can go to sleep, complete with cushions and blankets, a DVD player, soft lighting, snacks and games. And of course a couple of babysitters to make the magic happen!!! Transport of delight If your reception is some way from the ceremony venue, then you can lay on some amazing transport for guests. How about a fleet of school buses, decked out with their destination? Or even a hot air balloon or... read more

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