Tips For a Successful Wedding

Your wedding day, the one you will remember and cherish, is finally here. So far, it’s been crazy fun planning and looking forward to the ceremony and reception. However, just when you think you’ve got it all together, little, almost insignificant things, go wrong with the result of throwing your mind into a tailspin of anxiety and frustration. Here are some tips for those chaotic last minutes that will ensure a successful wedding.

Timing is Important, But Not Everything

Create a run sheet of the day and schedule everything down with times allocated to each session. One of the main ways wedding and reception times can be thrown off kilter is through photography sessions. Typically, the photographer will meet with the wedding party prior to the ceremony. If the session is supposed to start at 3:00, tell everyone required to attend, from bridesmaids to family members, including the mother of the bride, the session starts at 2:30. When the inevitable late runners finally arrive, you still have leeway. However do bear in mind when creating your time schedule for the big day Shana Thomas the Wedding & Events Co-ordinator at the Crowne Plaza Adelaide advises “Don’t over complicate your run sheet for your reception. Time and time again timings don’t run to schedule and then the bride and groom become disappointed. Focus on including the main points and let the rest fall into place on the night.”

Last Minute Facial? Think Again!

Although a facial before the wedding sounds like a great idea, the kind of facial you get can potentially cause you issues. A normal facial is designed to bring out impurities from underneath the skin resulting in pimples and bad skin. This is the result of the surfacing of toxins and bacteria which hide underneath the top layer. You would be right in doing a couple of facials to improve your skin however make sure the last one still gives you four weeks before your wedding day to clear up any unwanted spots. The week of your wedding day try opting for a paraffin facial. This type of facial is designed to plump up the skin and reduces the appearance of fines lines and wrinkles giving a glowing appearance. If you are not a fan of botox, then this is the facial to have prior to the event.

Safety in Pins

It’s true, grandma always has a safety pin in her handbag! You need grandma’s handbag or an emergency kit for the big day. After all, there’s a 55% chance somebody’s strap will break, hem will drop or hair will flop on the day. Also, a spray can of deodorant can be shared without the ‘ick’ factor for the two or three who forget theirs. Breath mints, hairpins, a sewing kit, band-aids, and spare toothbrushes are good items to keep handy as well.

Glass Slippers

Cinderella wore ultra-fashionable glass slippers but she’s an animated fairy tale character. You, made of flesh and blood, will be standing, walking and dancing throughout the day without the benefit of weightless animation. Some brides admit they only remember excruciating foot pain by the time the wedding was over. Believe me, you want better memories! Others ruin photos because foot pain shows in tense smiles. If you must have style over comfort, at least break in the shoes prior to the big day. Wear them around the house until you can walk and dance for 2 or 3 hours without wanting to cry.

Kisses and Cake

The moments everyone enjoys most are the smooch that seals the deal and the first bite of wedding cake. Keep in mind, you’re wearing new shoes, a fancy dress and sat for hours getting hair and make-up just right. Unpractised dips or twirls can cause a multitude of wardrobe malfunctions and squashed cake on the face simply isn’t attractive. Decide together and practice each situation. A sweet kiss is better than a lengthy, overly passionate display that makes guests uncomfortable and shocks Aunt Sally. Smashing cake on the face is either an absolute no-no or something you both think is hilarious. Frankly, I’d side with the no-no version every time but it may be a couple’s first compromise. Who am I to say it’s ridiculous?

Don’t Forget To Enjoy It

The main thing to remember is the wedding ceremony and reception are just that, a ceremony and reception. It’s not your entire married life. It’s barely a first day together considering how little time is actually spent side by side. It’s one day in what will hopefully be a lifetime together, so enjoy! Don’t turn into bride-boo-boo or bride-zilla over little things. How you handle this day begins how you handle life together. If you come undone because the cake was 4 layers instead of 5, or one of the bridesmaids wore the wrong shoes, life isn’t going to be pleasant for you and your beloved. As our wedding guru Shana believes ‘the night is to be enjoyed by you both, don’t get so caught up in what can go wrong. Otherwise the night will be over before you’ve had the chance to enjoy it. Your wedding coordinator is there to worry about the little things”. So smile and hug all the friends and relatives. At the end of the day, with a crumpled dress and wilted hair, be able to look back and say “Wow that was a great wedding!”

Cute Wedding With Flower Girls and Pageboys

Flower girls and pageboys (ring bearers) add an element of innocent childlike charm and warmth to any wedding ceremony. But cute as they may be, there do definitely pose certain risks. We’ve weight up the duties, pros and cons of including your favourite kidlets in your wedding ceremony.

  • To attend pre-wedding day ceremony rehearsals
  • To walk before the bride and throw petals down the aisle to symbolize the brides new chosen path in life
  • To walk down the aisle with the pageboy
  • Hold a basket of rose petals or confetti for other guests to throw at the newlyweds as they depart
  • To follow bridesmaids up the aisle and depart with the bridesmaids
  • Be present in all wedding photos
  • Possibly stand up with the bridesmaids during the length of the ceremony

Possible duties of the pageboy/ring bearer

  • To attend pre-wedding day ceremony rehearsals
  • To walk down the aisle with the flower girl
  • Deliver the wedding rings down the aisle to the groom
  • Hold a basket of rose petals or confetti for other guests to throw at the newlyweds as they depart
  • Be present in all wedding photos
  • Possibly stand up with the groomsmen during the length (or part thereof) of the ceremony

Pros of Including Kiddies

  • They look great in photos
  • They have the effect of rounding off the wedding party
  • They provide some levity during an otherwise stressful day
  • They’ll love being treated specially
  • Their parents will appreciate your including them
  • You’ll always have a special spot in their hearts
  • If they make it through to the reception, they’ll tear up the dancefloor like no one else
  • A group of kids can easily be allocated a kid’s table
  • Your tantrums won’t look nearly as bad compared to theirs

Cons of Including Them

  • They can be moody and volatile
  • Someone will have to end up babysitting them
  • They may throw a tantrum and affect the ceremony (depending on their age)
  • They could cause disruption/ embarrassment (e.g. screaming, speaking out of turn, etc)
  • They’re prone to causing mess
  • They may have to be taken home after the ceremony, depending on the lateness of your reception

Tips to Control Your Little Ones

  • Ensure that the children you choose for these roles are confident in performing in front of a large crowd. Pre-wedding rehearsals often aid in ironing out some nerves but should not be relied on as a foolproof plan. Kids will be kids and there is a possibility things will go wrong on the day.
  • Ensure the child is there at the pre-wedding rehearsal so they can practice.
  • Ensure that they have had a nap before the ceremony or a good nights sleep beforehand.
  • Under no circumstances should you give the children sugar before the ceremony!!
  • If children refuse to do what they are told it is often handy to resort to bribery. It’s amazing what children will do for a lollipop. Just make sure that they get their treat after and not prior to the ceremony.
  • Make sure the children are dressed in appropriate and comfortable clothing.
  • Take the wedding photos before the ceremony if possible as the child won’t be as tired.
  • Remember that children will often find it difficult to stand through an entire ceremony so it may be a good idea to let them sit down with their parents after their initial duties have been performed.
  • If you are not confident with letting the page boy carry the real rings, allow the page boy to carry replicas and entrust the real rings to your best man. Alternatively you can sew the rings to the ring bearing pillow with a single thread.

Whilst each child’s behaviour and contribution to the actual wedding will differ as vastly as the children themselves, including them will invite relaxed, sociable, and all-round good vibes. Those who are unprepared for what including children involves, however, will be in for a tiny, loud and messy awakening. Consider all these discussed factors carefully before making a decision that will influence your big day either way!

Tips To Choosing Your Bridesmaids

So you’re newly engaged and decided to get these wedding plans a-rolling! But narrowing down who’ll be in your wedding party is one of them most notoriously difficult tasks in the entire planning process. No doubt you’d love to include your close and less- close family, your childhood besties, your favourite uni girls- but the fact of the matter is that you just won’t be able to include everyone. So how do you determine who’ll make your day the easiest, most fun, and memorable, and sidestep those who’ll just add additional stress? We’ve determined some essential methods of narrowing down who’s worth the cut, and who’ll be taking a seat with the rest of your guests on your big day.

 

To begin with, it always helps to put things into perspective by considering what your bridesmaids’ duties will consist of.

Bridesmaid’s Responsibilities

  • Helping with any small- medium sized tasks the bride requests of her in the lead up to the wedding
  • Helping to plan and pay for the hen’s night
  • To be there for rehearsals
  • Ensuring the bride gets to the wedding on time
  • Arriving before other guests at the wedding
  • Wearing the correct attire
  • Paying for their dresses and showing up for fittings
  • Walking down the aisle
  • Dance with a groomsman
  • Being available to pose in photos
  • Looking after the bride throughout her wedding day (yep, that includes possibly holding the bride’s dress while she pees)

As you can see, bridesmaids have a fair amount of responsibility and will be spending considerable hours clocking in in that capacity- especially in the lead up to the wedding. So it’s absolutely imperative you pick your ladies wisely.

Know That Wedding Parties are Not Mandatory

Contrary to popular assumption, it is absolutely not  necessary for you to have a wedding party if it’s not really your style. You can still get all the help you need from your close family and friends, and won’t have to worry about issues like getting any of your bridesmaids upset/ them upsetting you over any of your wedding plans, or what gifts to buy them after the wedding. All you need to do is get your caboose to the ceremony (and you don’t need an entourage to hold your hand).

Manage Your Candidates’ Expectations

In that finicky period where your friends know you’ll be choosing your bridesmaids, be open with them. Let them know that you’re narrowing down who you’d like to include, but in all probability won’t be able to involve all of them purely for logistical/ financial reasons- not emotional ones. Tell them, however, that no matter what the outcome, they’re all incredibly important to you and that your big day would simply not be a success without them.

Do What You Want

Include who you want in your wedding, and those who want to be in your wedding. Including someone you don’t want, or someone who doesnt want to be there will simply impact on your plans and your big day negatively. Throughout this stressful period, you need as much positivity, enthusiasm, and simple mutual respect and affection as you can muster.

Don’t Bend to Guilt or Obligation

Is your mother insisting you make your third cousin who you’ve met twice in your entire life a part of the bridal party? Or a sister in law you can’t stand? Or perhaps a friend who recently included you in her wedding party, so you feel obliged to reciprocate? Don’t. Remember that this isn’t just your big day, but a pretty lengthy process. Including anyone who you don’t genuinely want to be there will simply breed discontent, resentment, and, as importantly, will be absolutely clear to the poor hanger-on. It’s far easier to get over not being included in the wedding party than mending relationships that have been fractured because you’ve been forced upon eachother.

Do Not Invite the Lady Who’s Going to Be Devastated if You Don’t Invite Her.

You don’t want- much less need- anyone who’s going to turn your wedding into a personal drama. This sort of reaction tends to be expressed often, and in ways you don’t expect. Screw that noise and steer clear of this stressful choice.

Don’t Invite the Lady Who You’re Not Sure Will Be Able to Follow Through

Maybe she lives far away, is particularly strapped for cash, is insanely busy, is about to have/ just had a baby, etc. Relying on this lady for all your bridesmaid- related needs is a big gamble, and won’t necessarily pay off. What it will necessarily do it make both her and your life far more stressful (like handing in an essay at the last minute, only with much higher stakes).

You and Your Groom Don’t Have to Match

It is perfectly acceptable to have mismatched numbers of bridesmaids/ groomsmen. Neither traditional etiquette nor your guests will even notice. Rather sacrifice visual equilibrium than incude someone you don’t want or exclude someone you do.

Ask Who You Want

This is one situation in which the best advice is to ignore traditional etiquette and do you own thing. Ask who you’re closest to, who you can rely on, and who you’ll have a blast with. A great support system makes all the difference when it comes to planning and executing your wedding- etiquette be damned (or ‘darned’)!  The main point is to find your own groove and do what feels most comfortable to you.

Be Clear With Your Bridesmaids About Their Monetary Obligations

It is vital to let your bride know what is to be expected of her financially. Traditionally the bridesmaid is expected to pay for her own dress and if located some distance away her travel fare. Alternatively you could offer to help pay for part of the dress or fare as a gift to say ‘Thank You’ for her help.

Conflicting Personalities

Consider how well the women you have picked for your bridal party will get along with each other. You may want to reconsider placing two friends who are no longer on good terms together in close contact. Having said this, however, true friends and bridesmaids who don’t know each other will work together to ensure that your wedding day runs smoothly.

Nervous About Upsetting Friends and Family?

In The Lead Up

Just because you can’t include everyone in your bridal partydoesnt mean that you can’t make your bevvy of friends and family feel special. Aside from verbalising how important they are to you, try and include them in any bridal tasks you’d like. Get them to come to a dress fitting (though not to help you pick out the dress), ask them if they’d like to make a speech or toast at the wedding, see if they can help you out with any minor tasks, such as putting together your bomboniere, and seat them as close as possible to your table at the wedding. Emphasising that it’s due to circumstances beyond your control- like your finances, for example that you can’t include them, along with these extra inclusive measures, will help the medicine go down considerably smoother, so to speak.

Similarly, if you have a friend who thought they’d be a maid fo honour or best man, have them fulfil a duty usually carried out by someone in this role. Sharing the role around a little will make them feel more welcome and potentially less self conscious.

On The Big Day

Perhaps you have a talented friend who can sing or play an instrument on the day. You could ask a relative to do a reading during the ceremony, act as ushers, masters of ceremonies, guest book attendant or even include them in your speech and acknowledge their support and friendship through the years. By taking the time to ensure that you choose a responsible and supportive bridal party you can rest assured that your wedding day will be as enjoyable and run as smooth as possible with the help of your close companions and relatives by your side.

Know More About Wedding Planner Glossary

Acts of God clause:A legal term within a contract which exempts a wedding planner or vendor from fulfilling their duties to your wedding, in the unlikely event of a natural disaster such as an earthquake, flood, locust infestation (yes, seriously) or tsunami.

Bridal consultant: This is a confusing term as many wedding planners go by the title of ‘bridal consultant’. Therefore, a bridal consultant can be a person who helps to plan a wedding OR it can be a person who advises couples on how to plan their own weddings.

Budget: The amount of money that a couple is willing to spend on their entire wedding including the ceremony, reception, pre-wedding parties and honeymoon. Oftentimes, the bride and groom’s parents contribute towards the overall budget. A wedding planner can help a couple to create a realistic budget and stick to it.

Cancellation policy: Should you decide to cancel your bookings with a vendor or to change the date, time, venue, or any other details, the vendor may or may not return your deposit to you. Cancellation policy details will be listed in the contract. Some vendors return a percentage of the deposit whilst others may not return it after a certain date, whilst others still may not return it at all. A wedding planner can help to clarify your vendors’ cancellation policies.

Contract: A legally binding written agreement between a vendor and a couple or a vendor and a couple’s wedding planner. A contract is also drawn up between the couple and their wedding planner. It is extremely important to insist upon a contract with all vendors and to read the fine print before signing anything.

Deposit: Also known as a down payment. A partial payment – usually between 20% and 50% – paid to vendors to secure a booking of their services on your wedding day. The final payment or payment plan should be outlined in the contract between yourself and the vendor.

Engagement party: A party which is held up to three months after the proposal, to celebrate the couple’s upcoming nuptials. An engagement party can be a full-blown soiree or may be a simple gathering of friends and family. Wedding planners are often asked to assist couples in arranging their engagement party as well as their wedding.

Force majeure: Also known as an ‘act of God’ – see above listed term. Force majeure is a French term and is translated to ‘superior force’. A contract may contain an ‘act of God’ clause or a ‘force majeure’ clause. Either way, it removes the responsibility from vendors to fulfil their services to you in the case of a natural disaster.

Full service planner: A wedding planner who is hired to arrange the wedding from the very beginning of the planning stages and will assist the couple right up to the end of the reception. The planner may even make the couple’s honeymoon arrangements for them.

Kickback: Wedding planners often receive kickbacks from the vendors they recommend to you. This means that they receive a percentage of the payment because they did the marketing on behalf of the vendor. Be wary of planners who only recommend vendors from whom they receive kickbacks. It’s important to do your research and make sure that your planner’s recommendations really are the best deals.

Off-premise: A hired vendor who does not come as part of the venue package. For example, an off-premise caterer does not work for the reception venue but prepares the food in their own kitchen facilities and then transports it to the venue.

On-premise: Vendors which come as part of the venue package such as caterers or sound technicians. These services may be purchased at an extra fee which could end up being more affordable than hiring off-premise services.

On-the-day planner: A wedding planner who doesn’t assist the couple throughout the entire planning process but rather acts as a facilitator during the ceremony and reception. They attend the run-through, the night before the wedding, to iron out any wrinkles in the service program and then make sure that the wedding day runs smoothly, by keeping in close contact with all of the hired vendors and bridal party members.

Plus plus: Caterers often charge an amount plus plus per person (e.g. $70.00++). The first plus refers to tax and the second plus refers to tips (nice little hint there, eh?).

Rehearsal dinner: A dinner which is held right after the run-through so that the bride, groom, their families and other attendants can savour this exciting time in the couple’s lives. The rehearsal dinner can be formal or casual and is traditionally hosted by the groom’s parents. However, nowadays, the bride and groom or other attendants may pay for this pre-wedding dinner.

Run-through: A practice run of the ceremony, usually conducted the night before the wedding, with all of the bridal party members and important attendants. A run-through doesn’t necessarily have to be conducted at the ceremony venue but the attendants should be clear on their cues in the processional, when to be seated, where to stand and the order of the recessional.

Vendor: A professional who offers their services – such as photography, catering, car hire or floristry – for a wedding. Wedding planners can recommend reputable vendors to suit the unique needs of their client’s wedding.

Wedding Planner: Also known as a wedding co-ordinator. A wedding planner is a person who is hired to help a couple arrange their wedding. They play a major role in budgeting and hiring vendors as well as facilitating the wedding ceremony and reception. They may also be responsible for assisting with decorations, pre-wedding parties and/or honeymoon arrangements.

Wedding stylist: Not to be confused with a wedding planner, although they often are as wedding planners sometimes offer styling services and wedding stylists sometimes offer planning services. A wedding stylist is a person who is hired to help the couple with the aesthetic side of their wedding. They will assist with colour schemes, the theme, decorations, and the overall look. Brides, if you’re having trouble convincing your future husband to allow you to hire a wedding planner AND a wedding stylist, explain it to him this way: a wedding planner is like a building contractor whilst a wedding stylist is like an interior designer. Although some contractors can do interior design and vice versa, you would feel much more comfortable hiring two individuals to do the jobs separately.

Tips To Plan Your Destination Wedding

Do you have dreams of getting married under a foreign sky, whilst your drink in the exotic atmosphere and culture? The good news is that destination weddings are on the up, and they’re not as expensive as you think. Here are a few handy hints to help you say I do, acepto, oui, tahdon or ich tue!
Location, Location, LocationThis might seem like the easiest part of your planning, but there are loads of factors to consider. While the destination has to be special to you and your partner, you also have to think about your guests. If it’s too expensive, you’ll be getting married with very few of your nearest and dearest there. Travel time and accessibility are also issues, particularly for the elderly. People are more inclined to say yes if it’s a short flight or an easy journey, compared to two connecting flights, then a ferry ride and a final trek up a hill, with your luggage strapped to a donkey.

Legal Eagle

Every country has different requirements when it comes to being lawfully wed, so make sure you know all the rules, so you don’t end up going home as nearly-Mrs-so-and-so. You may have to do the official bit in your city and then have a simple service at your wedding destination.

The Recon

Perhaps you fell in love with Croatia when you travelled there, but that was two years ago, now you need to look at it through bride’s eyes. If time and budget allow for a trip, take it. Imagine the peace of mind if you can visit venues, meet vendors and do food tastings in person.

A Method to the Madness

List people love this part of the process: start your To Do list today! Planning a wedding takes a lot of organisation, planning a destination wedding takes even more. Give yourself anywhere from a year to 18 months, so that you can research, coordinate and book everything for your Big Day. Don’t forget about passports, visas and vaccines.

The Big B

Nope, that doesn’t stand for Bridezilla, it’s Budget. Destination weddings are often small, which can reduce your tab, but regardless of where you get married costs can quickly escalate. Ultimately, a wedding is as expensive as you make it, so establish your budget and stick to it.

Set a Date

The earlier you decide on a date for your nuptials, the more organised you can be. Here are some factors that should influence your decision:
– The weather. There’s little you can do to combat Mother Nature, but you can research and then avoid abysmal conditions like monsoons and the scorching heat of mid-summer.
– The season. Peak time is busy and expensive, while many restaurants and resorts close during low season. Consider the shoulder seasons for your date.
– The calendar. Check for local events, so that you don’t plan your wedding on the same weekend as a national, or worse, international festival.

The Guest List

These are notoriously hard to create (but here’s a great guide to help!), but you need to be realistic from a financial and mental health perspective. Close friends and family often turn this into a holiday, and they’ll be with you for 3-7 days, so pick wisely and spend a glorious week with everyone you love. They’ll need plenty of notification to apply for annual leave, save up for flights and arrange passports and visas. Use a spreadsheet to organise guests’ information like arrival/departure dates, contact numbers and hotels. Although this isn’t set in stone, it’s generally accepted that if your guests are making an overseas trip for your wedding, it may not be considered polite to expect or ask for additional wedding gifts. If you decide that you don’t want them to spend extra money, let them know there is no gift registry because their presence is present enough (you’ll still probably get some gifts from immediate family, and hey, the friends at home who couldn’t make it too!).

Take Flight

When you have the confirmed guest list, look at airfares and see what group rates you can organise. Be flexible so that sporadic flight schedules don’t impact on things like your rehearsal dinner. Provide all the information about transport, to and from the airport, and arrange for people who arrive at similar times to share taxi fares or car rental costs.

The Venue

Book well ahead, so your dream setting doesn’t turn into a second-choice resort. Investigate your décor options at the venue, but often your exotic destination is picturesque enough. And remember that with all weddings, but especially destination weddings, flexibility is key. Getting an overseas event organised is incredibly difficult and bound to have a couple of slip ups- which frequently have to do with the wedding venue. Remember that the venue is simply the background to the main event that is your wedding, and treat it as such.

Sleep Easy

Provide a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets. Ask about minimum stays for guests making a short trip, and inquire about discount rates for block bookings.

Helping Hand

Many people shun using wedding planners, but the extra expense may well be worth it when you wed in a foreign country. There are language barriers and currency conversions, and you’re unfamiliar with the area, people and customs. A wedding planner can secure cheaper rates and make suggestions for photographers and hair and makeup artists. If you don’t use a wedding planner, make sure the vendors are trustworthy by asking for a list of satisfied clients.

Communication is Key

This is vital when you’re getting married away from home, so you can keep tabs on your wedding planner or vendors. You also need to communicate with your guests and the easiest way is to create a betrothal blog. Include information like transport options and times, accommodation, restaurants, activities, maps, contact numbers and your wedding schedule.

Flight Risk

When you check in to your flight, arrange that your dress and the groom’s suit be taken as hand luggage. The last headache you need is for your suitcase to go missing. You should also recommend this to the rest of your bridal party.

Touch Base

Your guests have spent a lot of money getting to your wedding, so a small token of your appreciation will go a long way. It can be a simple welcome letter, a handy phrase book or sunblock and thongs for your beach wedding. If your budget allows, throw a small welcoming party so you can spend time (and share the excitement!) with your friends and family.

Action and Attraction

The more exotic your location, the more eager everyone will be to explore, but find a balance between being a tour guide and enjoying yourself. Plan fun activities you can do together and then leave them to sightsee and enjoy their holiday. A nice touch (and again it’s budget dependant) would be to organise a surprise, like a boat trip, to show your gratitude.

Take a Timeout

Dealing with guests (and family!) for an entire week can take its toll. Factor in some down time where you can relax, so that you get married looking your absolute best.

Don’t Forget The Honeymoon

You’re planning a wedding and you’re effectively organising a holiday for you and your guests, but remember you have a honeymoon to look forward to. Whether you’ve chosen the beaches of Brazil, the snow in Switzerland or the food from France, this wedding is about the journey and the destination.

Special Secrets To a Successful Marriage

There is no doubt that your wedding is an amazing milestone for your relationship, but in the end it’s only one day in what will be the rest of your lives together. Here’s seven secrets to a successful marriage.

The reality

All of the time, money, and effort you put into celebrating the occasion with your friends and family is seen as “normal”. However, only 35% of couples invest time, effort, and maybe a little bit of money, into preparing themselves for marriage.

You’ve picked out the colour theme, the dress, and spent countless hours coordinating, researching, and contacting vendors to make your wedding day the best it can possibly be. It is a sign of the lifelong commitment you have with your partner. But while you field questions about what hairstyle you’ve chosen, how awesome your venue is, or what photos you will be trying to capture, have you spoken to your fiance about what’s going to happen once the presents have been opened and your honeymoon is over? How do you plan for a successful marriage past the wedding?

Talk

It is so much nicer to sit down and talk about what flavour cake you’d like to eat at your wedding reception, but you should set aside some time where you and your fiance discuss the big picture of what your married life will look like. Will you continue in your chosen careers? Will you start a family? Will you join your bank accounts or keep them separate? You don’t need to spend hours talking about every little detail, but whenever there’s an opportunity to talk about the future, begin a discussion to make sure you are on the same page.

Compromise

It’s understandable that no two couples are on the same page 100% of the time. One of the keys to a successful marriage is learning how and when to compromise. There should never be a clear winner and loser. Planning a wedding can be a good ground to practice your skills in compromising!

Money matters

One of the biggest areas of disagreement with married couples is finances. Before you walk down the aisle, discuss your relationship with money. Are you a big spender? Are you obsessively frugal? You will need to talk about what your financial goals might be as a couple, whether it be to save for a house deposit, or pool funds for a big overseas adventure. Being on the same page when it comes to money will help you to work toward the other goals you set together.

Your tribe

You are selective when you choose who you would like to celebrate your wedding day, and you should continue to assess who you keep in your circle throughout married life. Surround yourself with friends and family who love and support you as a couple, and you will have a strong support network to call upon whenever you hit a rocky patch.

Never assume

No matter how well you know your partner, it is best to always ask how they are feeling and what their thoughts are when situations arise. Even when things are going well, never assume they know how much you love them – tell them as often as you can. The power of positive will always overcome the negative.

Seek help

If you are finding it hard to talk about some of the more serious aspects of your future marriage, go to a counsellor or seek the help of a trusted parent or friend who might be able to help you with ways to open the lines of communication.

Don’t feel like you can plan everything

While it is all well and good to talk about your hopes for the future of your marriage, the unexpected can and does happen. The key to weathering these unexpected events is a strong foundation, and if you have been working together as a united team, you will be able to work your way through almost anything.

Should You Know About Wedding Planner Checklist

Planning your wedding is one of the most exhilarating experiences of a woman’s life. It can also be one of the most stressful. Whether you’re planning your own wedding or hiring someone to do it for you, this simple checklist will help to alleviate some of the stress and turn the experience around, so that it’s one of the most fun and special times of your life.

One Year to Go

• As soon you say yes to those four all-important words, “Will you marry me?”, it’s time to start strategically planning your wedding. The first thing you will need to decide on is your budget.

• Once you’ve set an approximate budget, you need to think about how you want to tackle this planning process. Are you going to do it all on your own (which is, generally speaking, tough to swing)? Do you have some fabulous girlfriends, sisters, aunts or fairy godmothers to take a load from your shoulders? Or will you need to hire a professional wedding planner to help you out?

• If you do decide to hire a planner, you have a few options. The planner can help you from start to finish; they can assist you a few months down the track, tying up loose ends; or they can simply help you with co-ordination on the day. Take an inventory of the resources you have at hand – this includes cash and helpers – and decide which package would be best for you. You also might need to consider hiring a stylist as well as a planner, but you’ll find out more about that at the 6 month mark of this checklist.

• If you’re going to hire a professional planner, ask around for referrals. Some venues offer planning services as a separate package, so you might find that booking the venue before the planner is actually more beneficial to you. If not, both bridal expos and directories are a great way to find reputable wedding planners in your area. If you want the planner to help you with the entire planning process, book their services as soon as you can.

• Even if you don’t need a full service planner, you will need to start having consultations with suitable candidates at this time. Each individual planner works to an individual schedule, so you’ll need to discuss the depth of involvement you’d like your planner to have, and work out a suitable timeline from there. Mark important dates in your calendar and make sure that you don’t miss your next consultation. More importantly, don’t forget to finalise your booking.

• Brides who are having a destination wedding need to start sending out save-the-dates and booking venues and vendors now. Hiring a wedding planner in your destination city could save you a lot of stress. Do an online search for reputable planners or, if you have a venue in mind, email the staff and ask if they can recommend a local wedding planner.

9 Months

• Take a look at the other comprehensive checklists we have in our articles section and set up a timeline for all of the tasks you need to tackle. Use a virtual calendar (we think this one is absolutely fab) to help you keep on top of things. You might also find that printing out the calendar, or purchasing a diary, specifically for your wedding plans, is useful as a physical visual reminder of your to-do list.

• This is the time that you’ll need to start having consultations with vendors. You can attend all of these consultations in person, or you can attend with/send alone your professional wedding planner or your maid of honour, to some of the meetings.

• This is also the time that you need to get on top of your guest list, so that you can send out save-the-dates. NB: if you’re having a destination wedding, you should have already done this.

6 Months

• Couples who have decided to hire a wedding stylist and/or on-the-day coordinator should be booking their services now. Some wedding planners act as stylists too, so if you’ve already hired a full service planner, make sure that you read his/her resume carefully before hiring the services of an additional stylist. Also, many venues offer the services of their on-staff wedding co-ordinator, so check with your venue before you begin the search for a co-ordinator and stylist.

• Once you’ve decided on a stylist and/or co-ordinator, make sure that they are clear on the details that you’ve already arranged, such as the venue hire and wedding dress, and then set up a schedule to complete all of the other details.

• If you’re hiring an on-the-day planner, give them your vendors’ contact details, as well as your wedding party members’ (just in case one of the groomsmen goes AWOL on the day). Start working on a program for the big day and keep in regular contact with your planner, from now on.

4 Months

• You should have already booked most of your vendors by now. Make sure that all of the contracts have been filled out, the deposits have been put down and that you’ve clearly listed all of your payment schedules on your calendar.

• Communication is the key to smoothly pulling of an incredible wedding. Make sure that you check in with your vendors a few times between now and the big day. Ensure that they are clear on everything you’ve ordered, where they need to be on the day, what time they need to rock up, and any other important details you can think of.

1 Month

• As soon as you have all of your RSVPs, contact the necessary vendors (venue, caterers, etc) and give them the final head count so that they can adjust their figures if they need to.

• This is not the time to have a meltdown. Take a big breath and remind yourself that you’re on the home stretch now. If you’re finding that the stress of planning is really overwhelming you, delegate a couple of jobs and go and have some downtime. Have a massage, go for a walk on the beach, have a glass of wine with your girlfriends, or just snuggle up on the couch with a good book.

2 Weeks

• Scan through all of your checklists and make sure that everything is on track.

• Contact your vendors and double check that everything is good to go.

The Day Before

• Enjoy your rehearsal dinner. If there are any problems with the program, now is the time to iron out the wrinkles.

• Make sure that everyone is clear on their jobs for the next day.

• Pop everything you’ll need in the car and do a quick stock take, to make sure that everything’s there.

The Big Day

• Do. Not. Panic. You’ve thoroughly planned this day. Trust your planner, or your mum, to take care of the final details, and enjoy your day. You pulled it off, you star!

Should You Know About 10 Budget Dos and Don’ts

Budgeting a grand event like a wedding isn’t quite as simple as trying to pay the minimal amount for every cost. Like any major event (and for some reason, a military coup keeps popping into my mind. I’ll leave that analysis to you.), it takes both strategic and tactical planning. We’ve come up with 10 fundamental rules to take care of both the long and short- term budget planning. Applying these should save you weeks of worry and stress, and leave you plenty more time to sip tea in your foxhole. Ahem- I meant in your home, of course!

1. Never even consider going into debt to pay for a wedding.

If you want a lavish affair, but only have the budget for a much smaller do, consider throwing an intimate ceremony and postponing the reception of your dreams until you can afford it (and hey, nobody will question an excuse to turn one party into two!)

2. Do charge your bills when you can pay the balance in full as each statement rolls in.

Credit card interest rates and finance charges can end up costing hundreds, or even thousands, even if you only carry a credit card debt for a couple of months.

3. Don’t go over budget in one area unless you’re willing to cut projected costs in another area.

You can have significant budgetary leeway in a few areas, as long as the bottom line stays the same.

4. Do overestimate rather than underestimate!

This applies to everything from the number of guests you’ve invited to how much each bonbonniere will cost. Underestimating costs is the quickest sure- fire way to dig yourself into debt.

5. Never be afraid to negotiate.

Although this applies to just about every wedding vendor, venue managers tend to be the most flexible. For example, most venues have a set budget they need to fulfill by a particular date, which is of course influenced by how many guests you have. So if you offer to make the minimum amount of guests you invite higher, this could reduce your price per plate. Similarly, if youre set on a venue that is just beyond your budget, it’s worth telling your sales rep this and asking if it would be possible to subtract any extras, such as seat covers. But at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that you have to be flexible with your expectations- even bargaining has its limits.

6. Do rent as much as possible.

They’ll perform the exact same function, and won’t pose the same storage problems that is put up with by millions for pure sentimentality (after all, what else are photos for?)

7. Don’t agree to any upgrades without first establishing if they cost extra.

This applies to items like fancy chair covers, table linens, cutlery and crockery, generally speaking. Better be safe than sorry, after all.

8. Do talk directly to your suppliers.

They’ll generally either be able to work within your budget, or recommend someone who can.

9. Don’t hesitate to shop around for everything.

Often vendors will lower their prices to match another’s quote!

10. Do your research about timing.

Venues charge a premium for Saturday nights, so you can save money by booking any other day of the week. Take into consideration factors like if the guests will have work the next day or if they’ll be tired from a long week. One great alternative to booking your wedding on a Saturday night is to book it on the Sunday of a long-weekend- this gives you all the benefits of a Saturday night, often at a fraction of the cost. Some venues, however, have realised that this can be used as a bit of a loophole, and charge more on Sunday nights on long-weekends than on any other weekend.

Similarly, consider booking in the ‘off’ season (normally during winter), as this will also save you enormous amounts on your venue budget.

Apply these tried-and-true, fail- safe methods to all possible aspects of wedding planning and you’ll find that not budging from your budget  is surprisingly easy!

Tips To Cut Wedding Costs with These Tech-Savvy Tools

The average price of an Australian wedding is $36 200, according to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and many industry insiders suggest that the price is significantly higher. With expenses like that, it’s little surprise that couples are looking for ways to reduce their wedding bill. Can technology be the answer to more affordable weddings?

Save the Date

Many paper versions unfortunately just end up in the bin, so send it digitally and avoid expensive printing costs (and having to pay for those magnets so they’ll stick onto the fridge!). More and more people run their lives online, and with an electronic save the date, your guests can immediately add it to their virtual calendar.

Registry

Online registries allow you to select gifts that you like from certain stores, but with websites like MyRegistry.com and GiftRegistry360.com, you can combine all your different registries in one place. This improves your organisation and it means your guests just have to visit one site when they’re looking to buy you a gift.

Wedding Website

Don’t rack up huge phone bills talking to all your guests, rather upload all your wedding details onto your personal, purpose- made wedding website. This should prevent you from having to repeat the same information to countless guests. From hotels to transport, everything your guests need to know can be uploaded on your website.

Social Media

Are you having a last-minute delay because of a thunderstorm? Have you got a flat tyre on your way to the venue? You can create different chat groups and quickly, simply and cheaply convey information to a whole group of people.

Wedding Planner

Of course they can help to make your life significantly easier, but if you’re concerned about costs then you’ll be pleased to know that there are electronic versions available. Check out our own snazzy wedding planner, and you’ll have all the details of your wedding in the palm of your hand. With these apps you can organise, budget, schedule and plan all the details of your wedding, while saving yourself money.

Photography

A significant expense at a wedding is the professional photographer. We’re not suggesting you do away with them completely, but rather that you reduce the length of time they’re at your wedding, which will shrink their bill. Use the professional for your portraits, and then rope in your friends and family for the rest of the wedding. There are countless apps, like WedPics and Eversnap, where your guests can use their smart phones to take photos, and then in real time they can upload them to your online wedding album. Because many of these pictures are taken by friends, the results are often more natural and fun.

Videos and Live Streaming

Some of your guest may not be able to attend your wedding, so a great idea is to live stream the events to them, this way they’re still part of your event. I Do Stream is one example of a video streaming website that allows you to connect online. You may also decide to save your funds by shortening the time spent with your videographer, and incorporating the GoPro that’s been gathering dust in your cupboard. Embed it into your bouquet so others get to see the wedding from your perspective. Another way to stick to your budget is by creating your own DIY wedding video through a site like WeddingMix.com.

The Music

When a band performs their music it’s guaranteed to get your guests on the dance floor, but it also comes at a cost. For brides on a budget there is another option. Just about everyone has an iPod and a big library of music, which means that you can compile your own wedding playlist for different moments during your wedding. You know what music you want to hear, and you can ask guests for music suggestions ahead of time. Though we suggest having a band or DJ during the more important moments of the wedding – the ceremony and first dance, for example-to ensure you don’t run into any music malfunctions, for the bride on a budget, a simple playlist might do the trick. After all, an inexhaustible selection of songs will keep your guests dancing for the entire night!

Favours

This is your way of saying thank you to your guests, but quite often favours are forgotten at the venue or thrown away. Instead of spending money buying 150 bottle openers, pot plants or jars of honey, a new and cheaper trend is digital favours. Whether you choose an app, song, movie, ringtone, game or eBook, give your guests a card with instructions on how they can download their free gift from the Internet.

Technology is keeping pace with how weddings are evolving, and this means that thrifty, modern couples can use technology to stay in control of their planning, and more importantly, cut costs while still having the wedding of their dreams.

Having a Separate Children’s Menu

You’ve sampled skewers and bitten blinis, you’ve debated the benefit of seared beef over seared tuna, you’ve tasted seven different wedding cakes, and you’ve even downed a shot glass full of cold gazpacho. After all your tastings, your palate and partner are finally in agreement, and you’ve settled on a delicious menu, but your triumph is short-lived. Your RSVPs begin to arrive, and you realise that there are children attending your wedding, and they need to be fed.

Do you use adult food and just give smaller portions to your smaller guests, or should you provide a completely different menu, that caters specifically to kids? We’re here to break down your two options, so that you can make an informed choice.
Your first step is to speak to your caterer to find out if they offer a children’s menu. Many catering companies do provide this service, but they don’t openly advertise it, while others simply do not. Whether they answer yes or no, dictates your decision.

A Big Menu For a Little Tummy

You’ve spent months planning what food you’re going to eat, so you’re under no obligation to provide different options for the children who are going to be at your wedding.

The Costs

One of the biggest factors to consider is price. An adult-only menu means that the cost per head is the same for everyone, whether they’re 50 or 5. One way to reduce your costs is by asking that one meal be split between two children. This will also provide smaller children with more reasonably sized portions.

The Numbers

Another obvious- yet important- piece of information is to find out how many children are attending, and what their ages are. Wedding guests that are 12 or older are expected to eat from the grown-up menu, and often children below three aren’t included in the price.

The Taste

Children today can have surprisingly refined palates, and there are many eight-year-olds who I’ve seen devouring a plate of sushi. Modern kids – admittedly not all of them – can also be more adventurous, which means they’re willing to try the food that their parents are eating.

The Layout

Many couples are electing to have food stations on their wedding day, rather than a plated service. With a wider variety of food choices, it increases the likelihood that there will be food that children will eat. You can set up a special food station just for the youngsters, so that they don’t hold up the proceedings for the adults.

The Timing

If it’s impossible to arrange for some food to come out earlier, organise a few snack packs for the children, to keep their hunger at bay.

The Flexibility

Caterers want your business, so they’re usually very willing to accommodate your specific needs. You can keep your adult menu, but attempt to make it more kid-friendly. Take your fillet mignon, cook it until it’s well-done, slice it up, put it in a hamburger roll and add tomato sauce. Foodies may be appalled, but your young guests will be thrilled, and satisfied.

A Little Menu For a Little Tummy

You’ve laboured over your wedding list, and you’ve invited certain children to share in your day, so they must be important to you. Make them feel special by giving them their own menu.

The Costs

Most caterers will provide some kind of children’s menu on request, and you can usually negotiate a reduced rate, which may be as much as 50% less per head. With this option, expensive food isn’t wasted if the kids refuse to eat their meal.

The Numbers

The more children you have attending your wedding, the more sense it makes to have a child-friendly menu, particularly if they are under 12-years-old.

The Taste

Children are notoriously fussy eaters, so you could end up with kids eating one potato, pushing the blanched asparagus around their plates, and hiding the smoked salmon in their serviettes. Their little taste buds are different, and they won’t always enjoy the same food that their parents do. What makes children happy is eating kid’s meals.

The Layout

All kids like to feel special, and you can do this by giving them their own food station. You don’t have to include a wide range of options, but they’ll love the novelty of picking out what they want to eat, which is an easy way of dealing with picky eaters.

The Timing

Kids are sweet little rays of sunshine- until they’re hungry- and then they can turn into tempestuous tornadoes of unpleasantness. With a separate menu, you can arrange special meal times that will stop the kids from getting cranky, by feeding them at their usual hour.

The Flexibility

Children want food that they can recognise, but they also want to be excited by it. Ask your caterer to update the menu by serving fruit, cut out into shapes, and attached to a skewer, or by putting chips in a cone, rather than on a plate, and then adding a shot glass of tomato sauce.
It doesn’t matter if you pick an adult-only menu, or a child-friendly option, be sure to find out about food allergies and preferences. Meat-lovers might not comprehend that there are five-year-old vegetarians, but they are out there! Pay attention to portion sizes, and the cutlery and crockery that they will use.

Arrange snack boxes for the younger children, and fill them with goodies like: crackers, cheese, apple slices and popcorn. Put their names on the boxes and add a toy or puzzle for them to play with. You can also put crayons on the table, and use a paper tablecloth so they can keep busy, and more importantly – quiet.

There’s no doubt that children bring innocence, humour and spontaneity to a wedding day, but they also add that element of unpredictability. With the best intentions, parents can’t always control their kids, so increase your odds by keeping them well-fed, whether it’s with chicken nuggets or chicken cordon bleu.

Know More About Bridesmaids’ Dresses Checklist

Choosing the perfect bridesmaids’ dresses, whilst avoiding sartorial-related fights, can seem like a mammoth task. How do you ensure everybody (including you!) is satisfied with their options, without feeling like any of your friendships have been compromised in the process? In short, we’ve found that timeline of your checklist has a powerful part to play: it allows for you to set up clear goals and boundaries; gives your bridesmaids time to explore their budgetary limitations (hey, sometimes it takes sitting down for a few hours with a calculator!), choose their preferred styles, organise the string of necessary fittings, and- lets be honest- provides the time- cushion that’s so often needed to hash out any remaining style issues. This checklist is just a guideline and doesn’t necessarily need to be followed exactly, but it should offer some helpful tips and timelines. Communication is the key. So, make sure you and your maid of honour have a copy of this list, talk about things throughout the whole process, and it should all be relatively smooth sailing.

6 Months to Go• Ask the bridesmaids to work with the maid of honour to start scouting for suitable dress styles. If they’re emailing each other, make sure that they CC you in, so you can offer feedback and suggestions.

• Get the girls to visit a dressmaker, to have their measurements professionally taken.

4 Months

• Send the maids out on a dress-search expedition.

• Once they’ve narrowed down a few options, you can tag along with them to the stores and choose your favourite dress for the occasion.

• As soon as you’ve come to a decision, make sure that all of your maids put down their deposits and order their dress in the right size.

• If they’re having the dresses tailor-made, make sure the dressmaker has all of the correct measurements.

3 Months

• Check in with the maid of honour and make sure that the financial side of the bridesmaids’ dresses has been taken care of.

• Put down your foot on what style of shoe you have in mind for the bridesmaids (see what I did there?).

2 Months

• Make sure the bridesmaids have all of their accessories, including shoes, stockings and jewellery.

• If they’re purchasing their dresses from a store, they should have arrived by now. Send the girls off to pick them up from the store. If they need some alterations, now is the time for them to visit a dressmaker.

1 Month

• Whether their dresses are tailor-made or store-bought, all of your ladies should be having their final fittings by now.

1 Week

• Make sure the dresses have been picked up and that they are wrinkle-free.

• Ask the girls to wear in their shoes, so they don’t get blisters at the reception.

• Make sure that their shoes have enough traction on the bottom. If not, they can scuff up the soles a bit or glue on some little Velcro dots.

The Big Day

• Take a deep breath and try to enjoy yourself, while you have your hair and makeup done with the girls.

• As they’re helping you into your dress, do a quick inspection of their dresses, too. Make sure that they’re all tucked in and comfortable.

• Pose for some pre-wedding photos together, in your gorgeous dresses, and giggle like little school girls, as you look at the playback on the photographer’s camera screen.

Post-Honeymoon

• A little thank you gift for all your bridesmaids is a lovely token and goes a long way in ensuring that your wedding evokes happy memories, in their minds, for years to come. The gifts you choose don’t necessarily have to be physical. You could take all of the girls out for lunch or a pampering session at the spa – just something that says “I appreciate everything you did to make my wedding day extra special”.

Know More About Bridesmaids’ Dresses Glossary

A-line: a dress with a skirt that flares out towards the bottom, mimicking the appearance of the capital letter A. A-line dresses suit pear shaped women as the flare of the dress balances out the width of their hips.
Apple shape: apple shaped girls are usually big busted with small hips and a rounder tummy. Wrap style dresses that direct attention away from the stomach area are great for apple shaped bodies. If the bride isn’t 100% set on floor length dresses, knee length dresses look great on apple shaped bridesmaids as they usually have killer legs which are worth showing off.
Basque waistline: a dress with a U shaped or V shaped waistline which sits closer to the hips than the waist.
Boat neckline: a neckline which curves near the collarbone on a sleeveless dress which usually features quite thin straps at the tip of the shoulders.
Chiffon: a very delicate, transparent fabric which is often incorporated in the outer layers of a dress to add detail. Always check with the bride first about how much chiffon is appropriate for the bridesmaid dresses.
Dropped waistline: a waistline which sits towards the hips rather than the waist and is suited to women with an inverted triangle shaped body who want to draw attention away from their shoulders and towards their slim hips and legs.
Empire waistline: a dress which features a high waistline, just below the bust. An empire waistline suits almost all body types so may be the perfect choice for weddings where the brides wants her maids to dress uniformly.
Hourglass figure: hourglass shaped women have a large bust, small waist and large hips. Think Marilyn Monroe. If you are lucky enough to have an hourglass figure, show it off with a tight fitting yet classy dress but don’t be shocked if the other bridesmaids aren’t willing to wear exactly the same dress.
Inverted triangle shape: women with broad shoulders and narrow hips have an inverted triangle shaped figure. V neck dresses suit this figure because they draw attention away from the shoulders and towards the waist. A ruffled dress will also give the appearance of wider hips.
Maternity bridesmaid dress: most bridal stores stock lovely bridesmaid dresses for expectant mummies. Go dress shopping early to be sure to find something flattering which will match the colour and style of the other maids’ dresses.
Pear shape: pear shaped girls usually have a small bust, big hips, big thighs and a big butt that would make Sir-Mix-A-Lot proud. Wrap style dresses with an A-line suit pear shaped ladies. Capped sleeves will also give the appearance of wider shoulders and a V-neck helps to balance out the small bust.
Scoop neckline: a dress with a U shaped neckline. The scoop can be shallow for modest bridesmaids or deeper for bustier gals who want to show off their goods (within reason).
Sheath: a case to hide a dagger if you have a bridezilla on your hands or a closely fitted dress without a waistline. This type of dress is best suited to hourglass figures and petite frames.
Sheer: transparent material. Always check that your bridesmaids’ dresses won’t turn sheer with flash photography (or the camera won’t be the only thing flashing).
Silhouette: the outline or general shape of a dress, including the bodice and the skirt. Some examples of silhouettes include A-line, ball gown, mermaid and trumpet style dresses.
Tea length: a tea length dress is a dress with a hemline that is approximately midway between the knee and ankle. Tea length is just a fancy word for ¾ length, really.
Tulle: a netting-like fabric which is often featured as an outer layer on the bride’s dress. Bridesmaids, try not to go overboard with tulle dresses. You don’t want to look like ballerinas and you definitely don’t want to out-tulle the bride.