Nailing those thank you cards

All you need is love and … a way to say ‘thank you’

The jobs and etiquette of a wedding doesn’t stop once the day is over.  You will come home from your honeymoon all newly wed and smiley and be faced with getting those thank you cards out.  It is important to thank all your friends and family for their time, generosity and their thoughtfulness on the day.  After all they helped you celebrate your special day and they are the people who are helping you build your life as a newly married couple, surely that deserves a thank you card.

Thank you notes also act as a confirmation that you received a gift that may have come in the mail, it lets the givers know you received their gift.

There’s some tips to make the process simpler

  • Keep the list of addresses when you do your invitations, because you are going to need those again when you do your thank you cards.
  • Keep a list of who gave you what, either before the wedding, or give someone the job of noting it (making sure cards are firmly fastened to gifts) at the reception.
  • Order thank you cards when you order your invitations. www.bemyguest.co.nz/ does beautiful personalised wedding stationary.
  • Save yourself some time by writing thank you notes as the gifts come in before the wedding, it’ll be one less to do after.
  • Ask your photographer to take a photo of you with a ‘thank you’ prop, (either a sign or bunting etc) on the wedding day to use as a thank you card.
  • Don’t try and write them all in one sitting, you’ll get writers cramp, and make sure you share the job with your husband.
  • Wedding thank you notes should be hand-written, and make sure you address the giver by name and reference the gift they gave you.
  • Notes should go out within 2 weeks when the gift is received before the wedding and within 2 months after the wedding, unless you’re lucky enough to be on a 6 month honeymoon, and then lucky you, but you’ll still need to get them done when you get home.

 

  • There are many ways you can do thank you cards, you can just do a thank you card in the same suite as your invitations, and you can order them at the same time, or you can use a wedding photo as a postcard as a  thank you, or you can take a photo on the wedding day with a thank you prop which you can use as part of the thank you card.
  • Don’t forget you’ll need to purchase stamps to send them all, make sure you budget for postage.
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What does a celebrant do?

All you need is love … and a good celebrant!

Being a celebrant is, in my eyes the best job ever! I get to meet many different couples, each wedding is different, just like each couple is different, and it is my job to make each ceremony a reflection of their love story and their personalities.

My journey with a couple usually begins when they contact me, to ask if I am available for their planned wedding date. These enquiries come either by email, my Facebook page or by phone, from that first contact I will check whether I am free on their wedding day, and then organise a time to visit with the couple, usually at their own home (I know how hard it can be for couples, especially with small children, to find time to meet with wedding vendors). Almost every time I  visit a couple for the first time, they always say:

“We haven’t done this before and have no idea where to start”

which is where I come in, kinda like ‘Super woman’ It’s my job to help a couple make their wedding ceremony perfect.  I know the legal bits we have to do, and I have tons of information about what else we can include to suit a couple, e.g, info about including children, remembrance pieces, unity ceremonies, readings.

My first visit with a couple is non-obligational, which means that it’s just a informal chat about what they have planned and what I offer, it gives us all a chance to suss each other out and decide if we are all on the same wavelength. I always take copies of two different ceremonies I have written, a job description (so nearly-weds know what my role entails) and all my contact details. I tell couples at that meeting that I will message them the next day to make sure they still want to book me.  It’s a bit unfair/awkward to expect couples to make a call when I’m sitting across the table from them, and they haven’t had a chance to chat in private about how awesome I am!

After they go ahead and confirm they want to book me, I book them in for their wedding date, and send them an invoice for my services. I require a deposit to be paid within 7 days of agreeing to use me as their celebrant, and I give information on how to pay the deposit.  I  then let  them know that  I will be in contact about 2-3 months out from the wedding date to start the next step of writing their wedding ceremony. In the mean time they are to think about anything they want to include in the ceremony/vows.  I tell couples to make notes of anything they see, read, hear that they like, and we can use that info to craft their ceremony.  I also recommend pinterest and  offbeat bride website.  I like to keep an open dialogue with a couple leading up to the wedding, so encourage them to contact me if they have any questions about the wedding ceremony or the wedding day.  Because I have contacts in the wedding industry I can offer information or recommendations for other wedding vendors.

A week out from the next scheduled meeting I will email them some homework, it is a list of questions which I ask, which gives me a better understanding of their personalities and how their relationship works, it’s very interesting what the answers reveal. The more information I gather from these homework questions and the subsequent meeting, the better the wedding ceremony.

From that meeting, and armed with all the ammunition I can get from the meetings, I sit down and write a draft ceremony for the couple.  I pride myself on making a ceremony as personal as we can get it.  When that is completed I email it to the couple to have a look at, making sure they are aware that we can absolutely change anything they don’t like.  We play around with the ceremony until it is completely perfect, then it goes into the folder to wait until the wedding day.

I give a couple information on obtaining their marriage licence (an absolute necessity for the ceremony to actually be legal) and will continue to ‘nag’ them until they contact me to tell me they have it. When they finally get it from the courts, I tell them to let me know and I will come and collect it from them, that way they have no chance of losing it before the big day, and it goes into the folder with the ceremony until the big day.

Then it’s time for the couple to work on writing their wedding vows (if they are choosing to write them themselves) I contact them regularly to ensure they are on track, and to see if they need any help with writing their vows.  I know they can be tricky, and some people are vowely-challenged.

Once I receive the vows, I print them out onto a personalised nice piece of card, (and I have the vows the wedding day, so no chance of a bride and/or groom forgetting them on the day) I put everything together, so it is ready for the rehearsal. At the scheduled rehearsal  we go over the logistics of the ceremony, who’s going to stand where, what’s going to happen when, music (I create a personalised playlist for each couple on Spotify) and have this on my cellphone which plugs into my PA system and the music and microphone runs through this.  It’s one less thing for a couple to think about on their wedding day.

I arrive at the wedding ceremony at least 45 minutes early, to ensure everything is set up, to calm the groom, and to chat with the guests.  Then its ceremony time, the fun part. I guide the couple and guests through the wedding ceremony, make sure the legalities (sign the paperwork) are all taken care of. Congratulate the couple after the ceremony, take a #celebrantselfie and then quietly leave the couple and their guests to enjoy the rest of the day.

I always provide couples with a package on their wedding day, in it is a copy of their ceremony (it can be hard for a couple to remember what was said on their wedding day, because of all the emotion going on, so it’s nice to have a copy to look back on), the package also includes the couple’s vows cards as a momento  of the day, their marriage licence, and a little feedback form.

I follow up with the couple the next day, via email, to ensure they had a great day, and don’t have any questions, and post away the paperwork.

I love what I do and are always blown away that I get to do this as a job, and I take what I do absolutely seriously, but that doesn’t mean we can have a little fun with it.  I am always honoured to be a part of a couples wedding day, it’s definitely a privilege.

Putting pen to paper – how to write your wedding vows

All you need is love and … advice on writing your wedding vows

Legally in New Zealand a wedding ceremony only has to have one part to satisfy the ‘powers that be’ and that is the ‘I do’ piece. Everything else if totally up to you, so you can perform an interpretative dance if you feel the need ( I quite often offer that option to people, but usually they so no, not sure why)  I generally structure a wedding with welcome, love story, vows, I Do’s, ring exchange, husband and wife, kiss, party!

Your wedding vows are very personal, it is the part of the ceremony where you are speaking directly to your beloved, not the guests. I describe it as the part where you share your gratitude to the other person and your promises for your shared life ahead. They can be tricky and most people struggle with them, use your celebrant to give you some pointers, and to proof read them before you commit to them.

Things to consider when writing your vows:

  • Decide on the tone of the vows – are you going to write them together, or separately? Are you going to keep them secret for the big day? Are they going to be funny or totally serious? Are they going to be the same or totally different?
  • Read as much inspiration as you can get your hands on – the good thing about Uncle Google is that there are wedding vows all over the place. Spend some time having a look on-line and making a note of what you like.
  • Think about the future – how will your vows sound 10,20.30 years from now?
  • Pinterest – it will be your best friend in this situation, tons of inspiration there.
  • Questions to ask yourself – Why are we getting married? Where do I see myself in 10, 20 years from now? How does your partner inspire you? What do you miss about them when they’re not around? What surprised you about them? What have they taught you? What challenges have you met together? What did you think when you first saw them?
  • Don’t leave it too late – Yes you think you’ve got tons of time, but it will run out pretty quickly when planning a wedding. Don’t leave it till the last minute and be doing it the night before.
  • Vows are just for you and your partner – sure everyone is going to hear them, but remember that you are speaking directly to your loved one.
  • Vows should sound like you.  There is no point copying someone else’s long love poem if that is not really you.  Your partner will appreciate it more if it comes from your heart and sounds like you.

Remember it’s your wedding day so do it your way.

All you need is …advice on how to propose.

All you need is love and advice on how to propose.

 

So this is it, she’s the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. Now it’s time to think about how to propose.  Proposals are one of those things that women love to tell everyone about, when they show off the ring, so you want to make it great.  Here’s some do’s and dont’s on how to propose like a boss.

  • Decide if you want to ask her parents – some women may find it sexist and/or offensive if you do this, others will love it, and it could score you some great brownie points with the in-laws.  If you’re ready to spend the rest of your life with her, then you should know the answer to whether you should ask or not.
  • Figure out whether you should buy the ring or let her choose one – you will have a pretty good idea whether she wants to pick her own ring or not. Talk to friends, even take one shopping with you, to get the perfect one.
  • Decide on the day – Do you have a meaningful day? (anniversary of first meeting etc) or birthday or Christmas. There’s definitely pros and cons to choosing a special day, you can do it in front of family and friends who can help you celebrate. On the other hand you will always share the day with another special occasion, which could take the shine off it.
  • Decide location – do you have a favourite, meaningful spot you want to use? Try to get a sense of whether she would want a big public proposal or something more private.
  • Getting down on one knee is always a good idea.
  • Clothes make the man – Be dressed in your best, suited for the occasion and location.  Remember there will probably be photos/selfies, so you want to be looking your best.
  • Don’t over-complicate it – the best proposals are the simple, heartfelt ones
  • Calm your nerves – practice what you want to say. Remember she will probably remember what you say for the rest of her life, make it count.

 

  • Big no-no’s – Don’t propose while you’re drunk, or hungover. Don’t hide the ring in food, so many ways that can do wrong. Don’t break the law to propose. Don’t propose to stop her being angry at you in the middle of a fight.

This is a once in a lifetime deal, make sure you give it the thought/planning it deserves, and good luck.

All you need is … to keep calm on your wedding day.

All you need is love and … to keep calm on your wedding day.

We all know weddings are stressful, especially if you’re a bit of a control freak, like me. You have that overwhelming feeling that no one is going to be able to do it properly except you.

Here’s some tips to keep the stress levels down and let you actually enjoy your wedding day.

  • You don’t have to please everyone – your day is about you and your groom, not your mother in law, not Great Aunty Fanny, but the two of you. Make sure your wedding day reflects who you two are.
  • Keep communication lines open – if you’re nervous, let someone know, if your feeling overwhelmed, let someone know.  You will be surrounded by loved ones on your wedding day, tell someone how you’re feeling so you can get help if you need to.
  • Delegate – you picked your maid of honour, or bridesmaids because you trusted them right? So now is when you call on them to help you out. Make sure they are aware of your expectations on the day.
  • Look after yourself – make sure you eat the morning of your wedding, breakfast and lunch.  Make sure you stay hydrated.  Get some exercise in the morning if you know that will make you feel better.  Take some time to yourself among all the chaos, to just breathe and reflect.
  • Have an emergency kit organised – make sure your bridesmaids know where it is and who’s responsibility it is to take it with you. See previous post https://angelaport.com/2015/10/03/all-you-need-is-a-wedding-day-emergency-kit/ for what should be in your emergency kit.

 

  • Remain focused on what’s important – it’s not just an expensive party, you’re getting married !!!
  • Pace yourself – it’s going to be a emotional, long day, filled with friends and family.  Don’t drink too much before you even get to the wedding ceremony.  Remember it’s ok to take some time for yourself or for the two of you to sneak away for a quiet moment together.
  • Have an itinerary/timeline of the day – make a detailed timeline of the day, who’s going to do what, when etc, and make sure everyone has a copy of it, especially the groom. It will make everyone feel a lot more relaxed on the day.

 

  • Make some “Call anyone except the bride” cards – these cards list contact details of everyone who has responsibility on the day. It means you won’t be contacted if the flowers don’t get delivered, or great Aunty Fanny gets lost, let someone else handle that.
  • Plan B – at the rehearsal, decide who will make the call if Plan B needs to be executed, due to weather etc, then that person needs to contact anyone who needs to know about the change in plans. Decide at what time the decision will be made, so everyone’s on the same page.

Remember everyone you have invited to the wedding loves and cares about you, so only want the best for you. They won’t mind if things don’t go according to plan, or you cry during the ceremony.  Just relax and remember it’s not just a wedding it’s a marriage you’re creating.

All you need is … my real life wedding

All you need is love .. my real life wedding.

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So nearly 21 years ago meet the man of my dreams in a dingy nightclub on New Years Eve, see you can meet your husband in a bar. 16 years ago on July 17 1999 we tied the knot.

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Of course we had the best wedding, I married the man of my dreams how could it not have been the best wedding. But it was probably not everyone’s idea of the perfect wedding.  We only decided about 3 weeks before that we were going to get married, and it was a bit of a rush to get everything sorted.

We got married at Langholm Beach in Auckland, it rained, but then again it was the middle of winter, and they say it’s good luck if it rains on your wedding day.  We had 13 guests, just immediate family and some close friends. We got married on the beach and then made our way back up the hill and had a Chinese buffet dinner and drinkies at my in laws house.  It was pretty perfect, very relaxed and casual.

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All the wedding guests

I bought my dress from a store in a mall, it’s not a wedding dress, wedding dress, but I love it and have now had it shortened and worn it again. Tristan bought his suit from a flash suit shop (it cost more than my dress did), I told my bestie/bridesmaid to wear whatever she wanted.  I bought my flowers from the local florist on the morning of the wedding, and just tied them together with some raffia. We bought the cake from a local cafe the day before (bread and butter pudding cake) and it was delicious. We spent the night laughing and eating and just enjoying spending time with our loved ones.  We then got chauffered off to town and stayed the night at a flash hotel in town, where we spent the night chatting about how awesome our day was.

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Please excuse the quality of the photos, we didn’t have a professional photographer, we just gave everyone a disposable camera (remember them) and told them to snap away, and this was before digital photography, so I had to take photos of the photos out of the album to use.

All you need is … some advice on how to walk in heels.

All you need is love…  and some advice on how to walk in heels.

So you have the beautiful perfect wedding dress that you can’t wait to slip into for the big day, and what goes with a perfect dress? Perfect shoes. Now if you’re anything like me you loooove shoes, and your wedding day is the perfect excuse to get a new sparkly strappy high lovely new pair.

For some brides, this might seem like torture, and if you normally get around in a pair on converse sneakers, then new sparkly strappy high heels are going to be a problem.

I’ve devised some steps to master the art of walking confidently in a pair of heels.

  • Lead with your heel – put your heel down first, followed by your toe, it will make for a more natural looking walk. Most new wearers of high heels are inclined to stomp (or put your whole foot down in one go) which you will agree doesn’t look very natural, unless you’re a dinosaur, and you’re not, you’re a beautiful bride.
  • Take smaller slower steps – high heels require you to take smaller steps because of the height, just go with it, and make sure whoever is walking with you (your dad down the aisle, your groom) knows that you need to slow down and walks at the same speed.  It also gives everyone a good chance to get a good look at how stunning you are.
  • Lean slightly back – leaning back a little will counteract your inclination to lean forward, which happens when you slip on a pair of high heels.
  • Visualise the end point – visualise where you are walking to, whether it is down the hallway at home, or down the aisle towards your husband to be. Don’t look down at your shoes or the ground, but up, let everyone see your beautiful smiling face.
  • The perfect fit – make sure your shoes fit properly. The best time to go shoe shopping is in the afternoon, when your feet will be at their most swollen, that way they will fit perfectly. It’s also important to make sure they are comfortable, you’re going to be wearing them for a large part of the day.
  • Stand tall – ensure you stand tall, throw your shoulders back, lengthen your spine, and stand straight (it will also make you look thinner), be proud of yourself.
  • Practice, practice, practice – and practice on the type of surface you will be walking on on the day, practice on grass, on concrete, and on wooden floors.
  • Rough it up a bit – use a piece of sandpaper to rough up the bottom of your shoes, it will give them a little grip for wooden floors, and prevent you from sliding over.
  • Little secrets – there are a number of little secrets that will make sure day easier, and make it kinder on your feet. Dr Scholl makes a product called “Party Feet” which are gel inserts which stick to the sole of your shoe against your foot to provide a level of cushioning, an absolute must with high heels. You can also buy heel stoppers, a life saver for walking on grass, they slip onto the heels of your shoes and stop them from sinking into grass.

Just remember it’s a special day, your special day.  If you want to go all out and get a great pair of high heels to go with your wedding dress, then it’s the perfect excuse, if that’s not you, then go with what feels comfortable, converse, cowboy boots, jandals, barefoot.  You’re day you’re way!

All you need is … a wedding day emergency kit.

All you need is love and … a wedding day emergency kit.

If only these were real, everything you need in one handy place.                      Essential wedding day swiss army knife

Sometimes things don’t always go according to plan.  That’s why you pack an emergency wedding day kit.  Sometimes the sh*t hits the fan and you need something to wipe it off you to get on with the day.  I’ve compiled a list of what I think are the wedding day essentials.

Panadol (or other pain relief)

Band Aids ( clear, not novelty, no one wants to get married with a batman bandaid)

Breath mints (for that all important first kiss)

Cash (just a small amount, you never know)

Chalk (it covers up last minute wedding dress smudges)

Comb/Brush

Safety pins

Dental Floss

Hairclips/ Hair spray

Wet Ones (or even better a travel pack of baby wipes, they get everything clean)

Make up (for touch ups, you make up artist should give you what you need for the day)

Needle/thread (or a small sewing kits)

Lint roller (no one wants to walk down the aisle with cat fur on their dress)

Nail file/Hand cream

Tape (I find duct tape fixes everything)

Rescue Remedy (to calm those nerves)

Tissues and cotton buds

Tweezers

Some sort of snack (muesli bars – not the choc kind, raisins, dried fruit etc) to keep the energy up, you often forget to eat when getting ready

Sunblock (especially for an outside event)

Water bottle with straw (very important to stay hydrated)

Obviously there are a lot more things that could go on the list, but I think this list covers all the basics.

There are a lot of places where you can buy these already made up and packaged in beautiful bags ready to go, or you can definitely DIY it yourself.

Bridal Emergency Kit Wedding Day Survival, Bride Wife Fiance Gift, Note Card for Groom, Bridesmaids, Couples Bridal Shower, Congratulations

CloverKit wedding day emergency kit

This great kit is available from CloverKit on Etsy

Make it the responsibility of the maid of honour to have  the bag in the car on the way to the venue and then again after the ceremony available on the way to photos and to stash it somewhere discreet at the venue so all the bridal party know where it is if it’s needed. It’s one of those things that you hope you’re not going to need, kinda like car insurance, but you’re glad you have it, if something happens.

All you need is love and …

All you need is love and a great hen’s night.

Hen’s nights are a rite of passage for a bride.  They can also be very loud, expensive and boozy, which is great if that’s what the bride wants, but can be absolutely hell if it’s not.

If you’re the maid of honour or a bridesmaid and have been given the task of organising the hens night, there’s a few things to keep in mind when you start planning.

Pick a budget that suits most people, no point choosing a weekend away at a 5 star hotel if no one can actually afford to share in the celebration. Remember you do not have to foot the bill for the whole affair, work out how much each person has to pay and stick to that, most guests will be happy to chip in for the event to honour the bride.

Make sure you ask the bride what she wants to do. It’s quite risky to guess and just surprise her.  Your idea and her idea may be way off, and you really want the bride to enjoy herself.

Check with her about what she’s happy to have happen at the event. You don’t want to be buying penis shaped necklaces if the idea absolutely makes her cringe. Check if she is happy with a prop for the evening, to distinguish her as the hen, she may not want to wear a veil and sash, but may be happy with something more tasteful like a tiara. Remember it’s her hen’s night, you need to make sure she has a great night.

There’s a ton of ideas for things to do

  • Weekend away, could be a 5 star hotel or a camping trip
  • Spa day, choose her favourite spa, and book everyone in for some pampering.  There are even mobile spa’s who come to your home.
  • Wine Tasting/Wine trail, if you live in an area where you can visit more than one vineyard, you could make a day of it, and have a lunch at a vineyard restaurant.
  • Cocktail party, hire a bartender for the night to make different cocktails. A great chance for everyone to dress up and pretend to be in “Sex in the City”.
  • Dance lesson, maybe a salsa class, or belly dancing or burlesque or pole dancing.
  • Sex toy party, get your giggle on, and maybe stock the bride up for the honeymoon.
  • Hire a private chef and host a black tie dinner party.
  • Vintage High Tea, you can book into some restaurants for this or organise it at home, think vintage china, cucumber sandwiches, mini cakes.
  • Paintball, skydiving, bungy jumping for the more adventurous bride.
  • Pottery/ceramic painting.  There are venues where you can go,have  a lesson and make your own pottery and/or paint some ceramic and they fire it for you to pick up at a later date.
  • Hire a room/suite at a 5 star hotel for the night, and go out for a night on the town, then all stay the night together, kind of like a flash pajama party.

A hen’s night is about the bride coming together with her female friends to celebrate the transition from single to married, it is a chance to reflect on your relationships and for a bride’s friends to support her at this special time.